In front of St. Mark’s Church
Welcome back to Flashback Friday; Rosie’s European Vacation, where we’ve left Italy behind and travelled on to the motherland; Croatia! Both my parents are Croatian so it’s always fabulous to get a chance to go “home” and visit. Here my sis and I met up with my brother and niece and we all travelled around in a hire car for 2 weeks, cramming in as much as we could see and do and EAT! We got to visit family and see friends and generally laze about in a holiday stupor.
So sit back and relax and undo that belt, because there’s a lot of eating to be done….
7th August 2009 – Talk about a painful journey. We sat right next to the carriage doors so we had all the foot traffic coming through from the dining cart. I may have got a full second of sleep before being asked for my ticket or passport. We arrived into Zagreb and about 5am completely delirious and in need of some sleep. Our hotel was in walking distance of the station, so we schlepped there and gave them our sob story (in our very best Croatian) about just arriving into town and asked if we could check in early. We were in luck and got into our rooms without any extra cost. SLEEP!
Woke up close to midday and got ready as Z & T were schedule to arrive at about 2pm from Austria. It was great catching each other up on our trips so far. We all then headed off down into the town centre and looked around until we stumbled upon a restaurant where we had a great spread! Fig rakija to start with (very strong) then fish and rice soup followed by fresh baked fish with potatoes and spinach salad – very yummy and great to finally have fresh food after all that pizza and pasta. Walked around town and then went back to the hotel.
The infamous Ogulin Kula (tower) that was always up on a wall in our house growing up!
8th August 2009 – Off to visit A & B in Lućko, just outside of Zagreb. They own a reception centre/restaurant called Calypso and are looking to build a hotel as well. B was adamant that he wanted to show us around Zagreb so we all piled into his car and got a private tour of Zagreb. First we went to St. Mark’s church, the one with the lovely tiled roof, and parliament house, then down to a grotto where we all lit a candle for luck.
Stopped for a drink at Khala Bar which B said that a lot of rich and famous people come to, but seeing as it was summer they were all out of town – DAMN! Next we went to the huge cathedral in the city but T and I got kicked out as we had exposed shoulders – SACRILEGE! B then took us to the “best” ice cream parlour in town for a refresher before heading off to Medvedgrad which was a monument to the war and housed old armour and weapons and other mementos and antiques. B bribed the guards with beers, as it’s not really opened to the general public, and he managed to get us in! We all had a great time taking turns sitting in the presidents chair and holding 16th Century swords, so not allowed but that made it all the more fun.
Finally we drove by Miragoj which is the largest and most ornate cemetery I’ve ever seen. We would’ve gone inside if we had time but we had to get to Malik (mum’s village) before it got dark and we lost our way. When we got back to Calypso they put on a massive spread for us. Stuffed our faces and bid farewell to A & B and the kids and headed for Ogulin to check into our hotel.
When we found the hotel we’d booked they ushered us up a rickety old bridge/walkway which didn’t have hand rails and had exposed nails in it! WTF? The rooms weren’t even finished; the hotel was seriously only half built. If this was in Australia they’d be violating so many OH&S laws!! We kindly declined the room and headed off to find something else. After some pissing about we decided on the Frankopan Hotel which is right next door to the tower we’d grown up staring at pictures of at home! Dropped our bags off and headed for Malik. We arrived just as the sun was setting and met up with Aunty M and cousin M and her two sons. It was lovely to see everyone after so long. We all sat and chatted for a long while before confirming plans to come back tomorrow and take them all to church. We then headed back to Ogulin for a much deserved sleep after a massive day.
Early morning pics of the beach in Krk
9th August 2009 – Started the day off with mass at the little church in Trošmarija and met up with heaps of familiar faces and they were all so happy to see us. We had many offers for us to come and visit but there isn’t just enough time on this trip which is a shame. After church it was back to Malik for lunch. We then left to check out Dad’s village and took loads of pics and ran around being idiots. Headed back to the hotel for a rest and in the evening went out by foot to explore a little. We had a massive dinner while we were out (oh boy, more food!) I had calamari filled with ham and cheese. It was super salty – WOW! After dinner we walked around the town centre trying to work off all the food, no such luck!
10th August 2009 – Before heading out of town we went to visit D & M. as usual they were lovely and ever so happy to see us. They were disappointed that we couldn’t stay for long. I swear next time I visit I’ll stay for a month. Our next stop was Duga Resa to the council offices to check on Dad’s land and how much of it there actually is. The buildings were all communist era brick façades. Very ugly and boring! Went in and was told it would take half an hour to photocopy the plans and Z paid about $50 for the privilege. What a rort!! Took longer than expected but eventually got them and we headed straight for Opatija. Stopped along the way at a roadside diner for lunch and then I got a chance to drive. Woohoo!! We arrived into Rijeka and I freaked out as the traffic was bad and I kept getting confused about what side of the road I was on. Found our hotel, Astoria Design Hotel, and it was very nice! Checked in and then headed down into the city to make reservations for the following night at Bevanda which was a recommendation in the Qantas magazine. We then had a cocktail at Hemingway, which I’d been to when I was here 5 years ago.
11th August 2009 – Beach day! We paid approx. 140Kuna for four beach chairs which was what we paid for one in Positano! The water was lovely, a little chilly and there were slippery mossy rocks to contend with, but lovely all the same. In the afternoon it became overcast so we went back to the hotel to freshen up for dinner.
Bevanda was über swanky! Champagne on arrival – this is my kinda place. Even T was offered and I reckon she ended up a bit tipsy by the end of the night. We had a selection of octopus salad and two types of carpaccio for starters. Then goat’s cheese filled calamari which was delicious. Also had the sommelier carry on a fancy act with the wine which I’d never seen before, swilling and sniffing and more swilling and tasting and spitting – just pour the damn wine buddy. Fabulous food but it was a little expensive – more than $AUD400! Oh well, when in Rome, errr I mean Opatija!
12th August 2009 – Another glorious hot day. We drove to Krk which is about an hour and a half away. We’re actually staying on the island which I’d never done before. We all thought our hotel would be a dive but it was actually amazing. We checked in and headed straight for the beach, but it seems that was everyone’s plan for the day. Holy shit, talk about a shit fight. There were people on every square inch of sand possible. Finally found a smidgen free for us and we went into the cold, refreshing water. Pretty soon it was lunch time, so we headed back to the hotel and ate on our balcony which overlooked the beach. After lunch we headed next door to the pool and had a good laugh perving on a couple who were a little to handsy in the pool – we didn’t dare go for a swim after them if you catch my drift – ewwwwwwww!
A quick freshen up before dinner on the beach. Had a delicious seafood platter and almost ended up choking on a fish bone! Thank god for the wine to wash it down. Finished off the night with a stroll and a gelato sitting by the water – heavenly!
How a week in time flies when you’re having fun (and shoving ice cream into your gob!) I hope you’re enjoying this series. Have you been to Croatia? What was your favourite place? Next week we travel on, working our way down the coast line. Until then, vidimo se! 🙂 xo