8/18/2011 (Only two days late! More to come later…)
When I left you last time, I was awaiting dinner at a local restaurant. Today I write this in the throes of the beginnings of a common disease affecting thousands who visit the Istra region, The Lazyworm. Those afflicted with The Lazyworm find that afternoon siestas are the way to spend the day, moving about only in the cool of the mornings and evenings. Their stacks of brochures and lists of plans lie idle as they sleep under the cooling breeze of a ceiling fan, or in a hammock under a shade tree or cover.
Yesterday I could feel the Lazyworm coming on. We spent a majority of yesterday at the beach, sorry audience, with Benji along we spent it at the regular beach, not the nude stretch. We all swam/waded in the crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic for an hour or so and then headed back to the beach to stretch out on our beach mats (think thick pads like what you might find on lawn furniture; these mats make it easier to lie on the rocky beach), dry off, worship the sun and read. Midday we headed to a beach front Konoba for beers, food and to play Farkle under the shade of their canopy. I had my first experience trying sardines (thanks to Ri’s ordering prowess), and they were REALLY good. I ordered what was basically a salad Nicsoise, DH had a cheeseburger – Istrian style, and R ordered calamari (everyone else had doubles of something I’ve mentioned). I love fish and seafood, and I have to say that the calamari (or sometimes its cuttlefish, depending on what the fisherman bring in) is hands-down THE best that I’ve ever had. Melt-in-your-mouth delicious!
Speaking of seafood, I have also learned that mussels are not my friend. Thankfully, they like me better than scallops do, but the length of time I’m uncomfortable is directly proportional to the number of them that I eat. It’s about 1 hour of discomfort per mussel. No more mussels for me. Too bad really, they are QUITE tasty here!
We headed back to the beach in the afternoon, repeating the mornings routine, and then headed back to the house. I should describe the houses in this area. MOST of the “houses” are known as “apartmen”, or apartments. They are more like condos or townhomes, with blocks of them joined together at the sides, back “yards” – which are more like courtyards – that butt up to alleyways for pedestrian traffic between them. There are often 3-4 large complexes on a “block” with a parking area placed somewhere in the center. The apartments are single floor units, often the upstairs owned by someone differently than who owns the bottom. They run about 500-800 square feet, the original floor plan consisting of a kitchen/dining, a bathroom, a bedroom and an entryway (from the street side). There are occasions where both floors are owned by the same person, and they might join them together, or they may rent out one unit as income. Since these are summer homes, many of the owners rent out their homes when they are not there. M’s parents, with whom we are staying, have modified and added onto their home here, so we’re really comfortable here. Yes, everything IS smaller in Europe. That’s just the way it is, and don’t be an “ugly American” and make a big deal about it if you come over.
The family had a friend visiting for dinner last night, Vida, a woman who grew up in the same town in Slovenia as M’s father. What an interesting woman! She was an Aid Worker for Red Cross for many years, on the mental health end of things, and regaled us with stories of where she’d been and what she’d seen, from the Tsunami in Asia a few years ago to the Bosnian-Serbian War. She has lived in all kinds of areas in the world, and told us about some of her visits to the US in the 1970’s and how taken she was with the landscapes. Again, what an interesting woman. Dinner was eaten in typical fashion… LOTS to drink. We’ve been teased about being “babies” for drinking so much water the last few days, but I didn’t want my liver to go into shock with the vast quantities of alcohol that it was being asked to process.
This morning came a bit early as we had to head to Fazana to catch the boat over to Veli Brijuni to tour the grounds of the home of former Yugoslavian President (really dictator), Josip Broz Tito. We didn’t get to see the ACTUAL home, as the “White Villa” is still used by the Croatian President and is guarded by the Croatian army, but the rest of the grounds were nice to see, and we learned quite a bit of history of the area. Prior to catching the boat, we grabbed breakfast a chocolate croissant and the equivalent of what is a large raised donut filled with chocolate (and I’m not talking that chocolate pudding or frosting filling either) with a dusting of powdered sugar on top. Very tasty! Once back, we purchased our tickets for the catamaran over to Venice, Italy for Monday, I had my first experience with a foreign ATM, and then it was back here to Barbariga for lunch at a lovely terraced restaurant, where the lunch special comes with soup, salad and the choice of: sardines, calamari or “mixed grill”. My initial choice of sardines (sardella) was no longer available, so I opted for the calamari and DH got the mixed grill, which came with a beef patty, a pork chop and a sausage. The food here has been really good, but I’m trying not to overdo it!
And that brings everyone up to speed. I slept for three hours this afternoon, intent on sitting down with Brutus (DH’s laptop) to type up a blog entry and work on a new story a friend wants to write with me, and as soon as I sat down, lying down sounded really good. As soon as I laid down, my eyes closed and that was all she wrote… or I wrote… which was nothing until now.
I understand that due to it being so hot today, dinner is going to be a light affair, and we’re eating pancakes and fruit. The pancakes here are very thin and crepe-like, and are usually served as dessert, filled with Nutella or fruit jam. Tomorrow is another lazy day and then we’re heading in to Rovinj (“Roe-Veen”) for touring and dinner at a place that I’ve heard has the BEST Chateau Briand EVER (that was even in the USA that I’ve heard that, and not just from people I know). Okay, I heard something about food being ready… I better go! Till next time!