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Victor's and Barbara's Travel Diaries

 Croatia 2013
We were heading south into Croatia from Slovenia to escape the constant rainy weather experienced so far on our East Europe holiday. We reached the Istrian peninsula in north-west Croatia on 17th May, and found a resort called "Stella Maris", near Umag. This was a large, modern resort, with accommodation in self-contained apartments lining the beach-front, a large boat harbour, a pool and two restaurants.   We dined at one restaurant from which we witnessed a marvellous sunset over the Med to our west.

We then found a base at Lovrecica (San Lorenzo in Italian) for four days. From here we toured Istria, with intermittent rain and sun. We went to Novigrad and Porec. We visited the old hill town of Buje where we climbed the bell tower for fantastic views over the hills and coastline.   Further south we saw the amazing Roman coliseum at Pula. Another day we visited Vrsar and Rovinj.
Sunset at Stella Maris, Umag, Croatia View from our terrace at San Lorenzo, Istria
After 4 days we left our hospitable apartment and drove across the Istrian peninsula to the car ferry at Brestova, which took us to the island of Cres. Here we lodged for 2 nights in an old-fashioned apartment in Cres town, a bit cramped, but very cheap! It was cold and rainy, and the island is fairly barren and stoney, with extremely narrow roads lined with stone walls. We saw an amazing archeological dig in progress at the southern tip of the island at Osor.
Roman coliseum at Pula, southern Istria, Croatia Stara Baska, Krk Island, Croatia
The next day we took another car ferry across to the Island of Krk, in pouring rain!   But in the main town of Krk we found a lovely spacious apartment (Sobe) which we made our base for 5 nights. Our first full day here it rained, and we explored the old city perched on rocks on the edge of the Med. The next day we drove to Glavotok, and extremely pretty tiny harbour hamlet with an ancient monastery. The next day we drove south to Stara Baska. This is an enchanting pictureque gem. Sadly, as we were driving out on an extremely narrow gravel road perched preciptously on a cliff edge, we had an accident in which a 4-wheel drive scraped past us, scratching our leased Peugeot seriously. Our last full day here was rainy so we stayed inside most of the day, venturing out in the evening for a nice walk in the pine woods along the coast.
Magical tiny harbour near Senj on the Dalmatian coast. The main drag (Placa) in Dubrovnik
From Krk island we drove across the bridge to the mainland, and drove south down the Dalmatian coast. The sun came out! We had lunch on a pretty jetty at Novi Vindolski, then admired the fabulous coastal scenery, passing through Senj and Karlobag. We stopped in Zadar, a port city with its own Roman forum. We found one night's lodging in Sukosan, a few miles further south. Sibenik was an awful messy depressing place, we had trouble finding our way out, and landed at a nice place, Primosten, where we had lunch on a bench by the beach, and we walked around the pretty promenade. Our next overnight stop was for 2 nights at Trogir, which is an amazing medieval port city with its own fortress and an impressive line-up of luxury yachts along the main promenade.

Eventually we reached Dubrovnik, which is a marvellous walled city, and bathed in sunshine!  We stayed 2 nights at Mokossica, about 2 miles north of Dubrovnik,  in a pleasant room with a balcony overlooking the inlet. The proprietor was very enthusiastic and helpful!  In the massively crowded centre of Dubrovnik we were hailed by Gary and Robyn Spry, old friends from Drysdale. In fact Gary was MP for Bellarine, now thoroughly enjoying retirement travelling. We enjoyed coffee, cakes and a huge chat in a delightful sidewalk cafe. We wallked all round the ancient city walls, and had a luxurious late lunch at a restaurant on a terrace overlooking the walled city and the sea.
Barbara looking out from Dubrovnik's city walls. Victor obscuring the view of Dubrovnik from the east city wall
We heard news about huge floods in the Danube, and in Prague, Passau, Salzburg, Bratislava , Vienna and Budapest. So on Monday 3rd June we abandoned our original plan to drive through Montenegro and Serbia to all these places, and instead we booked a car ferry across the Adriatic to Bari in southern Italy.