The border crossing between Slovenia and Croatia was made less stressful by the bottle of Orangina that Yannick found at a petrol station. We would soon learn that the French soft drink was popular among Croats and we would be able to find the "orange gold" in most supermarkets, and sometimes it was even chilled!
I examined my fresh passport stamp as we ate a picnic lunch by the side of the road. This was the first non-Schengen country we entered since arriving in France, and I felt unaccountably nervous while handing over my documents to the authorities. Luckily nothing was found to be amiss and we were waved through quickly. Hello, Croatian coastline! On the drive to Rovinj, we were bombarded by roadside advertisements in English for dino parks, resorts, ranches, grills and naturist campings (aka nudist). Instead of subjecting ourselves to these, we enjoyed the rugged scenery which we felt was like a greener version of Greece.
Rovinj, Croatia (Rovinj, Hrvatska)
We based our trip here on a Lonely Planet recommendation stating that the old town that takes up an egg-shaped peninsula is the star of coastal Istria and fishermen can still be seen mending their nets before lunchtime. Rovinj was originally built on an island, and it was only connected to the mainland by filling in the channel of water in 1763.
It's difficult to tire of such charming little streets, even when they are filled with shops selling water boots, snorkels and seashells. Olive oil was also a popular commodity, as olive trees grow as well here as they do in Spain and Greece.
Croatian weather proved to be sunny and hot, which made navigating along worn cobblestones manageable. Already slippery under clear skies, in rain I imagine they cause accidents.
Locals had little paths down to their slice of waterfront, where they could be seen having a drink, smoke, swim, or touting their handicrafts.
Populated for hundreds of years, Rovinj came under the control of the Venetian Empire and was a highly defensible naval stronghold until the fall of Venice in 1797. Still a sought after town, it was then part of the Austrian Empire until WWI, the Kingdom of Italy until 1947, and Yugoslavia until declaring independence as part of Croatia in 1991.
Next on the itinerary was Pula for some even more old town sights including ancient Roman ruins.
Today's post was almost called: The Historical Intricacies Within-- OMIGOSH A TINY DOG!