15 August, 2007

Up and down (and up and down) the west coast

Yesterday we drove down the coast and spent the afternoon in Pula, which was absolutely amazing. The Romans had a thriving colony there in the first century A.D. and against all odds their colosseum has survived 2000 years more or less intact. This arena was the fifth largest in the Roman empire and was used for gladiator fights. There were also two large holding pens for wild animals which were fed a regular diet of unarmed Christians and petty criminals.

Pula itself is an attractive city—it’s scattered with Roman ruins and has a lot of lush, shady parks.

Today we went on an epic boat trip down the coast. It was organized for the children on the local campgrounds and featured some sort of vague pirate theme that I never quite figured out.

We traveled to a small island called St. Nichola where we tramped around in the woods in 30+ degree heat. After that we sailed to Poreč where the kids visited the aquarium and came out bubbling over with tales of sharks, eels and lobsters.

B is swimming-- I can’t believe it! It’s partly due to the swimming lessons and partly because of the practice and repetition in the pool every day. All of a sudden it’s clicked for him in a big way!

The last two days have been fun but busy. I think we’re going to take a day off tomorrow, take a hike in the morning and stick around the campsite for the rest of the day. I’m in the middle of Margaret Atwood’s Catseye and am again reminded of why she’s one of my favorite authors…


Anonymous said...

there's more than one colesseum? who knew? thanks for the education. I'm learning alot from your posts. makes me want to add this place to my list of 'places to see' before I die kind of thing.
Yeah, we're flying to Portugal, too far to drive.
Taking a weekend to Strausbourg in two weeks. Now I can add France on my european visits list. Coffee session should occur soon! Lurking Lisa

Goofball said...

ooh Jan has a friend in Pula...I think we need to refreshen those friendship ties, when I see your pictures :p. I had no idea there was such an arena in Croatia!

@ lurking Lisa: there well preserved arena's in the South of France too and theatres in Turkey etc...They've scattered buildings everywhere the Romans lived really. Not sure if there are any in Portugal.

But Portugal is indeed gorgeous. I've been in the area in between Lisbon and Coimbra: Lisbon is a must, Coimbra is really pretty too and in between you stumble from one fabulous cathedral to the other eg Batalha (a myriad of gothic decorations), Alcobaca (marvellous white in its simplicity), ... One of the prettiest little walled towns I've visited is in that area as well: "Obidos". A little walled town with lots of little narrow cobblestone streets and white houses. Cute!

Brillig said...

WOW!!! What a fantastic adventure!!!

Marleen said...

wauw, jij bent zelfs op je vakantie druk aan het internetten. Ziet er mooi uit, ik krijg bijna zin om weer op vakantie te gaan. Onze vakantie eindigde dan ook in een dikke regenplas. Maar dat hoor je wel weer als je terugbent. Veel plezier nog, en geniet van de zon!!! Marleen

Runaway Rubber Duckie said...

I can't believe that town is called Pula! (A well-known dirty word in some parts...)