Istria 2016/2017

Posted Aug. 8, 2017 at 17:28

Last year upon entering Croatia we decided to deviate from our usual beaten path which is the shortest to the mid-Dalmatian islands.  Instead, we thought of cruising a bit the Bay of Kvarner, the east side of Istria and the island of Krk.

So as we passed Pula (Pola) and the lighthouse at the SE corner of Istria, we took a sharp turn to the north and sailed into the bay of Medulin and Pomer.  It was a treat to D as she spent some summers there in her childhood camping with her parents.  Medulin itself became a tourist village with new residences and villas totally obscuring the old parts...  Just as we started walking down-hill and descending into the old town,  in search for some seafood, as the bay is full of fish- and mussel-farm nets, we got stopped by two girls inviting us to try their restaurant's menu...  Yes, they had mussel dishes, fresh out of the sea...  D had the best grilled mussels ever (and still so, a year and a number of other mussel-dishes later), so the Medulin visit was a success.

Heading further north from Medulin, there's a fiord-like long bay, the mouth of the river Rasa, leading up to the village of Trget.

We found a nice little cove with a pebble beach, tied to shore and stayed there four days in early July without seeing a single charter boat!  We only had day-time small local boat visitors, one or two a day, that come to the beach during the day from the car-camps a mile of so away.   We took a day to sail up to Trget and try the mussel farms there, but the cooks there were not as good as the girls in Medulin.

From D's friend Zs, we had heard about an old hilltop village, Labin, some 20 miles further north.  So it became our next 'destination'. With the weather still holding we left Dazzle at anchor in a large bay off the village of Rabac and started off on foot up hill.

Rabac ahead

However, we missed the turn for the nice goat-path that leads up through the valley and pines, and ended up instead on the serpentines of the busy two-lane regional road... Oh well, taxi time.   D was looking for a stationery shop too, to buy some brushes, so the taxi driver took us to 'Labin' and explained how to get to the 'old' part.  So the first part of the day was spent walking through the dilapidated communist-era concrete apartment block houses finding the few small stationery stores followed by a good climb in the middle of the hot day, up two hundred years back, to the small Venetian-era village-fort of old Labin.

Leone di Venezia

Picturesque and cute, with nice all-round view of the country and the sea, of course all devoted to the tourist industry, complete with art-'galleries', art-shops, museums, olive-oil producers, etc, etc.  And a few restaurants on an airy plateau over the fort walls...  Heat, sumbrellas (new z-word), cold-beer, wine for D :-), a view to some distance...   Pleasant.

yes, those are bbq.-ed baby (pork ;) ribs!

This year, to our great surprise and happiness we received word that D's father's adopted German brother Robert and his family will be vacationing for ten days in June at: Banjole, Istria, which is only half a klik (km) from our usual hurricane hole anchoring spot!  We were there a week early, so...  let's go to the quiet river Rasa, out of the way.  It was same as last year, relaxed, and the weather was stable too.

Our secret Rasa spot

It was very nice to meet Robert, Lieselotte, Annette, Barbara and Ralf...  They spent many summers camping on the Adriatic with D and her little sister Ester and their parents, so there were lots of common memories to be dredged up... Ester got Gianni away from the shop again and they also came by car to partake in the festivities. We visited and treated each other at local restaurant, spent a day at a beach, another day on a nearby beach where we all arrived by Dazzle, and then, since all were interested to try sailing and it was another perfect light-breeze day, we sailed out an eight-of-the-way to Rimini,Italy off the SE Istrian lighthouse and then back into Pomer to let everyone off.

It was such a nice sail out that it was hard to resist the temptation of Rimini calling and just keep going...   Alas it was time to part because we had to continue towards another commitment.  But they agreed to come and meet us two days later at Rabac, pick us up by car (mini-van really) and to go up to old Labin for a visit...   Another great day!

On the way back, everyone was hot from walking the hot stones of the old town and the lunch we enjoyed there, so we decided to let Google take us to a nearby beach for an afternoon swim...  Oh boy, darn that Google, we almost ended up in the sea!  As we tried to back out of a Google-advised suicide run involving a dirt-road sharp-turn over a cliff, the VW minivan clutch started issuing smoke signals...  Fortunately, Ralf realized it immediately, we all got out and let the car cool off for a half hour or so - afterwards he was able to back it out, park it and we all continued on foot on a foot-path Google claimed was safe to drive on... We all had a nice swim in the sea...  After we said our final goodbyes of the season, they wrote back upon their arrival to Germany that the (rental) minivan didn't make any further fuss on the way back, which we were all worried about.  There are always some unexpected things to remember events by - it's great when they turn out inconsequential.

- Z -