Many centuries ago, Slovenia and Northern Croatia were ruled by the Venetians. The result is an interesting, ancient part of the Adriatic with wine, olive oil, truffles, pizza, and hill towns that some say are just like Tuscany.
I think it’s a stretch to equate anywhere in Croatia with someplace like Tuscany! Really, what place in the world could possibly live up to that? But Istria doesn’t need to be Tuscany. It can just be Istria, with its own culture and wisdom that bears the strength of its challenging history. The country of Croatia and its growing success is the result of a people who have struggled to endure and define their existence for generations.
They are remarkable because they always survive.
Italy is not the only place that can claim Roman ruins and ice cream….
Motovun is an ancient city-state built up on a hill, with towering stone walls, a church, and gravestones dating from the first century.
It is also overwhelmingly saturated with the powerful scent of truffles. Wafting out of doorways and the terraces of restaurants, the smell was everywhere! That can be either heaven or hell, depending on whether you like truffles.
I do not like truffles. So we had to sit outside.
I’m not sure what’s wrong with me as I’m getting older, but the smell of truffles doesn’t sit well with my nose. Tourists can sign up for truffle-hunting tours through the forest, with dogs and pigs and everything, but I think we’ll just spend that time having lunch.
Pula is another beautiful city along the coast, the largest city in Istria and an easy drive from our apartment in Rovinj. In Pula we found naval ships, fountains, an amphitheater, a fortress, a museum of Croatia’s history during the war, and a street life vibrant with cafes.
The boys burned off some energy running around, and we bought Eli a new leather jacket.
The sun was shining bright over the ships in the harbor, and we passed a lot of burger bars. What’s up with Eastern Europe and the burgers? Or maybe, what’s up with all the tourists who come to Eastern Europe and want burgers? Whatever, it sounds like both sides are figuring each other out, and willing to take steps on common ground through food.
Food is where it all starts, isn’t it? A lunch, a drink, a coffee. Or somebody ordering a warm milk on a first date.
Or, I guess, a burger. There are a few things, at least, that the world seems to cherish together.