I have settled into a nice routine in Pula and find it very calm and relaxing. I guess it can be said life is easy here. I have figured out the summer crowds and know when and where to avoid them.
I go to the green market and fish market in the morning and then go home and cook a nice lunch with all the fresh finds of the day. I usually go the beach around 5pm since it doesn't get dark until 9pm which makes for a nice, long day. Usually the buses are crowded coming home so I ride it half way into town then get off and walk the rest of the way.
I have found a nice beach area along the Lungo Mare which is a walking path that stretches almost 3 miles along the water. It's a beautiful walk through the pine trees, so lots of shade available. There are many areas where you can find a spot to jump in the water along this pathway. The problem is getting out! I usually find an area where there is a ladder or there are steps built into the rocks. Like most beaches in Croatia, there are very few sandy beaches and you just find a nice flat rock to lay on! It never ceases to amaze me to see older folks making their way over these rocks and getting in and out of the water so easily.
The reward for all this effort is of course the glorious sea. The water is so pristine and clear with a lot of sea urchins clinging to the rocks which is a sign that the water is very clean. You just need to be careful not to step on them which would be very painful. The different shades of turquoise and blue in the water and the limestone sea floor make for a beautiful swimming experience.
There seem to be many more fish this year, big schools of them feeding off the reefs. I have encountered some jelly fish that are small, puffy, clear clouds swimming around. I have been told they are harmless and because of the warming trends of the water, (Global Warming), they
are more visible this summer.
A highlight of my stay in Pula was to attend opening night of the Pula Film Festival. What a gloriuos night sitting in the Pula Arena under the stars with a lovely ocean breeze watching a film.
The first film was called "How I Learned to Fly", a Croatian, Serbian film with English subtitles. It was filmed on the island of Hvar in Croatia which I had visited last year. It was a heartwarming film about a young girl coming of age spending the summer with her grandmother and aunt. Thinking it would be a boring summer, it turned out to be a time when childhood ends and exciting new times begin with the discovery of the first kiss. There were some very funny, sweet moments and lots of old relationship drama with the grandmother and aunt. I thought it was an entertaining film with some good acting. After the screening of the movie the actors all came up on stage to take a bow.
Another highlight of my trip was a day snorkeling trip. Driving a small power boat with a group of 8 of us, we left the Pula Marina with Captain Tea at the helm! Tea was a delight and we had an immediate
connection, laughing and talking the whole trip. She gave us a lot of history about the area and grew up in Pula loving the sea.
We visited Seagull Rock which were cliffs you could jump off and a cave to explore while snorkeling. It was very crowded the day we visited so I didn't swim into the cave because of kayaks coming in and out. No cliff jumping for me either because at my age it is not on my bucket list!
Beside racing on the Adriatic in a power boat, the highlight of the day for me was snorkeling at Cape Kamenjak National Park, the most southern tip of the Istrian peninsula.
Here the snorkeling was some of the best I have experienced in Croatia. So many schools of fish circling as I was swimming and some really beautiful reefs. The water was cooler here and even more pristine.
My time in Pula has finally come to an end, I am excited for my next adventure, Rovinj which is a quick forty five minute bus ride from Pula. I packed my bag and set off for the bus station stopping at the Pula Arena one last time.