Sunday, 29 November 2009

Exploring the island of Cres

After spending two days in central Istria, road led us to the island of Cres in Croatia. On our way to Brestova - our ferryboat link to Porozina, we passed by Plomin. There was a tall thermal power plant chimney piercing low clouds in this narrow bay.

Not an idyllic seaside destination by my standards, but it looks kind of nice in this photo anyway.

After an uneventful, 30 minute ferry ride across to the island of Cres we spent an easy day planning our stay and settling in a small apartment in the town of Martinščica.
We have been on this island many times before, but usually just to get to it's southern neighbor - island of Lošinj.

As we have discovered, Cres offers many interesting locations that are worth visiting.

Since we were hungry, we decided to visit the fishing village of Valun and taste some fresh fish. We weren't disappointed with grilled cod and relaxed setting at the restaurant Toš Juna.

The restaurant walls are covered with replicas of ancient stone tablets (Valun tablet) the village is famous for. Tablets are believed to have served as an 11th century gravestone. Written in bilingual (Old Croatian and Latin) and digraphic (Glagolitic and Latin) writing, the tablet truly is special.


Monday, 23 November 2009

Charming hill towns of Istria

As I already mentioned a couple of posts earlier (click) I recently visited some charming hill towns of central Istria, Croatia.

If I had to pick one of them, Groznjan (Grožnjan in Croatian) would be my favourite choice. Ancient feel of this town is really hard to ignore. It seems like time has stopped on that particular hill. When we were driving towards it, I wasn't sure we were on the right way at all. When we finally reached the town, parking lots were full of cars - only a few license plates were local. This seemed a bit strange, since from a distance it really looked like a small and peaceful medieval town.

Today Groznjan is an artist colony, which is a result of the Croatian government’s effort to save hill towns from abandonment by offering cheap rents to artists. This seems like a good solution since the town was abandoned by its mainly Italian inhabitants after the Second World War. That happened when Istria was given from Italy to Yugoslavia.

It is a small town but offers many beautiful vistas and picturesque narrow stone alleyways to wander. Every corner is filled with flower pots and various examples of local art. Definitely a right place to just wander around and soak in the positive vibe. I think the artistic touch on the above photo captures the atmosphere of this town perfectly.

On one of the many town squares we found a promising tavern called Bastia and enjoyed a great meal topped with a glass of superb red wine. All that for a very reasonable price. Since M. is not too fond of truffles, we left them for our next visit. I definitely recommend you visit this place when in the neighborhood.


Monday, 16 November 2009

Fresh Truffles on the Menu

Recently a friend of mine was driving towards Istria. She stopped at a Slovenian village of Socerga (Sočerga in Slovene), just next to the border with Croatia and sent me a couple of photos just to remind me of my own visit a few months ago.

Next to the road going through the village of Socerga, there is a local tavern - Gostilna Sočerga. It looks quite unattractive and to a random visitor it may not seem worth a visit.
Well it might look like that, but as you should know - looks can be deceiving. The tavern doesn't offer a great variety of dishes on the menu, but everything is really genuine. A better idea then looking at the menu is simply asking the waiter about the daily special offer. Usually at least one of the dishes is some kind of a truffle dish.

I recommend you visit this place. If not for anything else, I am pretty sure this character of a waiter will make you laugh. You should not expect fancy service and also whatever you might order will not be delicately arranged, but it will probably be very tasteful and you definitely will not leave hungry. I could say portions are very generous at the least.

Well let me get back to this friend of mine... When she was trying to decide about the daily offer, the waiter came around with a plate full of black truffles. "To help her with the decision", as he said. I guess I don't need to explain, why she decided for the "fuži s tartufi". That is some kind of local handmade pasta with creamy truffle sauce.

I don't know about the actual price of the plate on the above photos, but I would guess the guy had to pay around 500 Euros for it. I am pretty sure he sold them for much more then that.

If you want to read more about truffles and The place where you can get to know them up close and personal, you should also check out my previous post.

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