Istria in March....

Monday, March 31, 2014

....still remains very close to my heart. 

It was a quick visit - one and a half day - and from what it looks it is going to be the last. Time is running out and there are still many more places I need to visit before we head back to Athens in August. 

This time is was all about my favourite places. Porec and Limski Kanal, Motovun and Rovinj. And about the food. Even though it was very early in the tourist season and most restaurants hadn't opened we were thoroughly satiated with very generous portions of meat, truffles and handmade pasta at the restaurants we did find open. I will never forget the steak tartar we ate at Konoba Daniela near Veleniki. It was made right in front of us by a very experienced waiter (and very tall, now that I mention it, all the waiters were freakishly tall at that restaurant!) who mixed ten different spices and herbs with fresh raw minced beef to produce the most amazing, velvety and so intensely flavoured paste. We spread it on toasted bread and for a minute I thought that this is how food haven must feel like.  It was so good I didn't even think to take a picture before we devoured it all. 

The weather was very good to us and we enjoyed every minute of the lovely sunny days. 

We stayed in Funtana, a small village a few kilometres south of Porec, at a small B&B. I love spending time in small family-owned places like these. We were warmly welcomed with a glass of homemade medica - pronounced me-di-tsa - which is a sweet honey liqueur and had a simple but very filling Sunday morning breakfast.

As you will see from my photographs below, my obsession with Istrian doors, windows and cats is still going strong and I was very happy to use my new 45mm lens on something other than food. 

A lone window pane at an old house in Motovun

George and our friend George - walking on the cobblestoned alleys of Motovun. There is no typo in the previous sentence. Our friend's name is George!

This is why I love cats...they always find the best place to take a nap!

Old door in Motovun

The view from above in Motovun

Spring is starting to bloom

The intense blue of this door, enough to brake the monotony of the greying old stones, drew my eyes like a fly is drawn to a burning light. 

The beautiful light of the golden hours
The lower hills around Motovun are starting to come alive and the green is overtaking the brown. It is lonely at the top.
Motovun is not by the sea. It's way inland, a village with stone backsteets and old houses, perched on the top of a hill rising from the flat of the planes. It is a magical place but also a very solitary place. A place where you can sit for hours, contemplate life while  looking at the valley beneath you. Maybe even write a book about it. 

Rovinj on the other hand, is alive and full of people and colours and art. I haven't seen so many galleries and artists gathered in one place in the whole of Croatia as I have seen in Rovinj. In every little backstreet (and there are so many), in every small courtyard there are shops selling paintings and clothes, jewellery and pottery all made by local artists. I remember the first time I was there in June 2012, I was entranced by the animated atmosphere of the days and the vibrancy of the nights. It is a beautiful place. A place where I would love to live for the rest of my life.

The colourful streets of Rovinj. Work is slow as the tourist season has not yet opened

Different shades of blue.

On top of the hill the Church of St. Ephemia with the iconic campanile

There are those kinds of places that really speak to you in a language that only makes sense to you and nobody else. Places that pull me towards them and while I am away continue to feed me with an endless stream of pictures, memories and wishes to come back and experience them again. Rovinj and Motovun are like these places to me. I will always keep them close to my heart.