Rovinj, The Romantic City
I have heard throughout my traveling that Rovinj is a beautiful, romantic city. I can attest to it being a beautiful city, and I can imagine it would be very romantic if you were with someone. The beautiful sunsets, the lovely restaurants, good food and wine. The beautiful Venetian architecture and the gorgeous yachts docked in the harbor.
Then there are all the delicious gelato stores. So many different flavors to choose from. Sharing an ice cream while watching the sunset...sounds like heaven!
I am still on my quest to find a little romance and open to the possibilities the universe may send me. For now, I'm just enjoying the blessing of being here and loving the everyday adventures, and yes I am feeling the romance!
So many people ask me why I chose Croatia as my summer holiday destination. Having already spent last summer here, I know what this country has to offer and have figured out the best ways to get around, explore, and visit.
For me, the top reason is affordability. I had to find a place where I could afford to live for 3 months without depleting my savings. You can find a great apartment here that is either on the water or a block away for $1800.00 a month and sometimes less depending on your needs. I have discovered on Air B&B that if you book a property for a month you get a big discount as opposed to renting for a week or a few days.
Food is delicious, highly influenced by the Italians and very reasonable. You can eat a fish dinner with salad, main course, wine and desert for $25.00 or less. Pizza and a beer is $12.00. My grocery bills are under $40.00 as compared to $90.00 in the US. Lots of farmers markets with fresh fruits, vegetables, and fresh fish, all at affordable prices. A dozen fresh eggs, straight from the farm cost $2.50. Bus fare is $1.50 to go anywhere. My bus from Pula to Rovinj cost me $6.00. Even the ferries to the islands range about $6.00 US.
The exchange rate at the moment is 7 kuna to 1 US dollar. Last year at this time it was 6 to 1. Will be nice to be in Italy and Portugal later in the summer where the Euro is almost equal to the US dollar for the first time in years. Hopefully they don't raise prices accordingly.
Another reason I love Croatia is the friendliness of the people. Most people are very nice, helpful and always interested in knowing where I am from. Even if they speak a little English we are somehow able to communicate and I get to where I am going.
One caveat to this... Jamie and I had a standing joke last year about the women who work in the Konzum and Studanac Markets which are like our 7 Elevens in the US. They never smile, they are usually so grumpy and nasty, we decided it was a prerequisite to work there! In their defense, seeing how busy they are and the number of tourists they have to deal with on a daily basis, I imagine I would act the same way.
The majority of people speak English here which makes it easy to get around. I had a conversation with a tour guide, Dalibor from Croatia and a couple from Estonia about how they are required to learn English as soon as they start school here. I was explaining that in the US, we are offered language classes in high school and usually forget what we have learned by the time we are able to travel which is unfortunate. Try learning a new language at seventy years old!.
Then there is the Adriatic. The most beautiful emerald sea comparable to Tahiti, Fiji and the Caribbean. Water temperature averages about 72-78 degrees and is so fresh, clear and pristine with loverly shades of blue and turquoise.
Snorkeling has been really good this year with an abundance of fish and some beautiful reefs. I find it interesting that the water is not very salty. In fact you get out of the water and you don't even smell like the sea.
.Although it is hot here, it is nothing compared to 105-115 degrees in Palm Springs, California. The average temperature here ranges from 82-88 degrees. Although in recent days we have been getting unusually high temperatures like the rest of the world. I am actually looking forward to rain tomorrow that is predicted.
The country is extremely dry and with the higher temperatures, fires are a severe threat. At the moment there are fires burning near the border of Slovenia and Italy. Therefore the air quality is not the best with a haze lingering on the horizon. I notice my photographs don't have their usual crisp and clear quality.
After the forty five minute bus ride from Pula, I arrived at the Rovinj bus station. Located in the center of town, I found my apartment in fifteen minutes. This apartment is smaller then the one I had in Pula but perfect for me. It's like a large studio, large enough for a couple and maybe a small child.
It has a nice, large bathroom with a powerful shower and lots of hot water. The bed is very comfortable, and the kitchen is perfect for cooking with a drawer full of products needed during my stay. There was even a full bottle of vodka in one of the cabinets! The apartment has a washer and there is nothing better then fresh, clean clothes dried in the sunshine.
Although located in the center of town, I just have to shut my windows, turn on the AC and relax in the quiet. I actually love having the windows open during the day and hearing all the noise of the busy town below. The apartment is above a good Italian restaurant called Veli Jozeso, so the smell of Italian food abounds.
There is always a breeze during the day and then about 6pm the wind stops and it becomes very hot and still.
The biggest advantage of the apartment is that it is located steps away from the water. I love getting up in the morning and taking a swim to start my day.
Stay tuned, more to come of my adventures in the town of Rovinj, Istria!