12 August, 2007

East coast glory and potential noodle sightings

Yesterday we took a day trip to Istria’s eastern coast. The journey there turned out to be a comedy of errors—several missed exits and a detour around a traffic jam threw a wrench into our initial plans.

It all turned out for the best, however, because we saw a lot of the countryside and got a better feel for the real Istria, far removed from the tourists and the various business set up to accommodate them. (us)

We had a fabulous lunch—in a restaurant tucked away in the mountains in the Učka national park. I finally got to try some real Croatian food, fuži in a really nice mushroom sauce, polenta and some roasted vegetables. It was delicious!

After lunch we finally found our way back to the beaten track and on to Lovran, the Croatian Riviera. Lovran manages to be both bizarre and spectacular. There’s a 14th century center, which is surrounded on the coastal side by a string of gorgeous villas from the Hapsburg era.

The main street, which is still named after Tito, spawns countless small alleyways down to the sea where people sunbathe on concrete platforms nestled between enormous sea-worn boulders. There are many beautiful high-maintenance buildings with dilapidated vacant buildings sandwiched between them. One even had a sign in the window advertising a visit by Pope John Paul the II back in 1998!!!

The boys ate their fill of exotic ice creams and we searched for sea glass and watched a bunch of crabs fight over pieces of stolen meat. As the sun set we successfully scored a bag of ripe peaches using sign language and what is left of my rusty Russian language skills.

Today we hung around the campground and relaxed. Swam a bit, read a lot and just ate a nice relaxing dinner with a bottle of good wine.

I think I mentioned that this campground has one half devoted to nudists. Of course such a titillating fact just can’t go unnoticed—we haven’t actually seen any naked people yet, but they make regular appearances in our dinner conversation. The kids keep mistakenly calling it a “noodle camp”, which is doubly funny since Nudel is apparently German slang for “penis”.

S keeps asking if we can go check it out—I think he had the idea that we could go and drive around fully-dressed in our car as if we were doing a car safari. :-D

This campground has a lot of different activities for children and one of them is a boat trip down the coast to Poreč where they will visit the local aquarium.

We just heard from neighbors that the trip itself first passes along the nudist half of the camping, and that it provides priceless entertainment. We had already planned to take this trip on Wednesday, so it looks like S might get his wish after all! ;-)


Goofball said...

hmm does Croatia have a special relationship with nudists??? Now I get another flash-back to that same trip in 89. We were not in a big tourist area, just a small appartment block along the road with like >100 steps downwards to a pebble beach with the most clear water ever......and 100 meters to the right, there was a nudist beach as well! I had forgotten about that.

Runaway Rubber Duckie said...

I love the stories about your camping trip!! I hope S won't be scarred for life when he gets his wish :)

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing your vacation stories with us. Two months and one week and we are off to Portugal for our vacation. Have fun. Lurking Lisa

Betsy said...

Ellen I don't know-- actually I think it's ze Germans who have a special relationship with nudists. There seem to be a lot of them here.

That said, we bought our house in Sterrebeek from the president of the Belgian Nudists Association, so I think they're everywhere... ;-)

Stacey Being an avid nudist himself I don't think S was at all scarred today by his "noodle sightings". In fact, I don't think he noticed the naked people at all because he was too busy drooling over their speedboats! :-D

Lisa Portugal is supposed to be gorgeous! It's definitely on my list of places I want to explore. It's pretty far away, though, so if we're going to drag our monstrosity of a camper out there we'll need a few weeks to do it in. Maybe next year???

Enjoy your vacation and tell us about it when you get back!

Betsy said...

PS, Stacey, I'm coming down here to upload travel stories every other day partly because I got the idea from you. I really enjoy your blog and I like the idea of getting everything down while it's still fresh in my mind.

Too bad I don't have the duck with me-- I've definitely had a couple of moments which would have been duck-worthy!