Thursday, July 11, 2013

What the heck is Croatia??

I will be the first to tell you that I am geographically challenged. I am even challenged when it comes to the location of all the states in the United States... which is super embarrassing. I have no idea why I have always had such a hard time keeping places where they are meant to be, but my cluelessness has come to a new level since moving here!

Now that we live over here in Europe, I am discovering places that I didn't even know existed. Can I be honest with you? The first time I even heard of Croatia was after I moved here, and I definitely couldn't have told you where it is located. I knew that it must have a coast and be warm because I asked somebody where they went in the winter to get some nice weather, and they told me the beaches in Croatia. That is literally the first I had heard of it!
It is crazy to think that I have now been to somewhere I didn't know existed a few months ago! That is one of the most incredible ideas to me... just imagine how much my world has expanded in such a short time. Don't get me wrong- I have always been interested in traveling, and I have been a lot of places in my life, but there is always somewhere new to explore. Our whole lives could be spent in one small town, or in every continent of the world, and there would always be a new nook to discover.
Anyway, for those of you like me, here is a map so you can place Croatia:
Do you see it? Croatia is the country below Hungary and Austria that looks like it is trying to eat Bosnia and Herzegovina (? another place I have never even heard of until looking at this map). 
Our trip went something like this:
Thursday, 4 July 2013:
Bled, Slovenia
We left Bad Windsheim at 6:00 am with our first destination being the last ESSO station in Germany.  We can get gas for American prices at ESSO gas stations within the borders of Germany, so its always important when driving out of the country, to stop and fill up! It took about three hours to get to that first stopping point, we switched drivers, and made a call to the owner of the apartment we would be staying in for the next few days. After another three hours of driving through Austria, we arrived in Slovenia, and made a stop in Bled for some lunch. When I first heard "Slovenia" my mind automatically thought of some rough, beat-down, cold, dirty Eastern European slum. I don't know why, and I am sorry for being so ignorant of Slovenia, because I couldn't have been more wrong! Look how absolutely wonderful it is!  After lunch, we continued on for about 2 1/2 more hours and found ourselves in Rovinj, Croatia. We grabbed some Kuna (the local currency) and hung out at a small bar/cafe until Maria came and took us to our apartment.
Our first night we stopped in at an Irish Pub, had a few drinks, and got a recommendation for dinner.  After dinner, we explored town a bit and had some super expensive drinks on the rocks right above the sea. We eventually went back to the Irish Pub for some live music and had a great time sitting outside drinking beer and playing "Never Have I Ever." We tried to check out a local club, but absolutely nothing was going on! We went back to the Irish Pub to finish out the night, and then picked up some pizza and a doner. We may, or may not, have gone for a scantily-clad past-midnight swim in the invigorating (a.k.a. COLD) Adriatic before going up to the room and crashing ;)

Friday, 5 July 2013:
I woke Cody up and we went down to the market across from our room to get some breakfast goodies. We discovered a butcher and a fresh-fish market, as well, and were kind of disappointed we had paid so much for seafood the night before- we easily could have cooked an amazing meal in the apartment! After the others went for a jog, we suited up and started walking towards Lone Cove to check out some local beaches. We stopped for lunch on the water along the way. We sunbathed and relaxed on the rocky beaches for a few hours before heading back to the room, stopping for gelato halfway (it was hot out!). After a nap, shower, and change of clothes we went out for dinner at one of Maria's recommended restaurants and then took a taxi to Eden hotel, hoping to catch a performer from the local Jazz-fest. We ended up seeing a dance show instead, but I think everybody was satisfied with the show and after a few drinks we went back to the center of town happy. We had to grab a snack (of course!) of pizza and the local "toast," which is just a smashed ham and cheese panini. We started at the Irish Pub again, but it was quieter than the night before, so we went to Havana for some yummy mixed drinks, and ended our night at Boa, the club that was dead the night before was full of dancing and fun!

Saturday, 6 July 2013:
On our last day, we woke up and slowly got ready to head out into town for the day. We went out for
lunch and ended up discovering my favorite meal of the vacation at Kantinon (beef stew over homemade gnocchi, handrolled pasta with clams and bacon, and octopus soup were some of our meals!) Then, we hiked up to the town's church and were surprised by how ornate and beautiful it is! Sam and I headed down to secure a place on the rocks below the church for sunbathing and Cody and Eric stayed up in the courtyard to have a few drinks. It seemed so natural, yet breathtaking, to be sunbathing on the white rock cliffs along the sea and to be able to jump straight into the Adriatic wherever we pleased-- although we were a little scared at first and went to an area where we could step in, instead :) When we finally reunited with the boys, they were having a drink at a sea-side bar/restaurant, and after another bout of sunbathing and swimming, we went back to the bar and met the nicest American couples who graciously bought us a round of drinks! We finally headed back to the room after getting all the sun we could handle, and after a shower, went out for our last dinner. How funny is it that we chose a "Mexican" restaurant?! Its interesting the places you will go after seeing the same menu so many times over the course of a few days... After our late dinner, we grabbed a seat at a cafe in the town center to watch the outdoor concert and spent hours people watching, sipping drinks, and slipping away to grab treats and snacks. We even ran into the couples from earlier in the day and coerced one of the men to come have a few drinks with us! At the end of the night, we sleepily walked back to the apartment and slept-up for our long drive the next day....

Both drives took us right about 9 hours, but because we split it up into 3 hour sections each time, it didn't feel like very long at all! I would happily head back to Croatia anytime- I loved that Rovinj catered to tourists, but still had its own unique culture and feel. Everybody was super friendly, and 90% of the tourists were European, so it was amazing hearing all the languages and seeing so many different nations coincide! Next time, Cody and I would like to travel farther South to see different cities and check out the sandier beaches available along the southern coast; but I would happily spend another lazy weekend in Rovinj :)


  1. Yep another one to add to my growing list of must do's

  2. I have a feeling you will have to make an extended stay sometime in the next three years!!! ((Maybe you can drug Terry, wheel him onto a plane, just tell people that he is really tired or something, and then he will wake up in Europe and it will be too late to change his mind! Then, you guys can buy a camper, and travel where ever your heart desires!!))