Tuesday 10 September 2013

Croatia and Venice

Team Adventure
 After booking it what seems like years ago, it was finally time for Ally and I to head off on a summer trip and what a trip it was! We had a jam packed time exploring Croatia and Venice and I just had to share a few instagram snaps with you. I have yet to go through the 6 million photos I took on my good camera, but these sum up parts of our trip fairly well!

Playing ANTM in the amazing ampitheatre

We flew into Pula on the Croatian coast to spend 3 days exploring this city and the Brijuni Island before moving on to spending a day in Porec on to Rovinj and then finally an extremely pleasant and smooth bus journey across Croatia and into Venice. Our return flights with Jet 2 were only just over £100 each which was a huge bargain and I am so glad we did both at the same time. I have always wanted to go to both places, but with Venice being touted as a very expensive place to visit I have always been hesitant so tagging it on to another trip seemed a sensible move and it worked brilliantly.

enjoying a blissful day on the Island of Brijuni
We were venturing along the Croatian coast and for anyone considering visiting here I highly recommend it. Pula is packed full of some amazing Roman history which suited Ally down to the ground, from here you can pay around £30 for an 8 hour day trip over to the stunning Brijuni national park island which I highly recommend. Steeped in history it is a wonderful way to spend a day, your £30 includes a beautiful hour boat journey over, an hour on a land train with tour taking you right around the island including a small zoo, a walking tour of some of the historical highlights and then free time to explore before taking the boat back. It was so well organised, we absolutely loved it! We were also incredibly lucky to arrive in Pula at the start of their first ever 2 day digital festival which saw them project specially made displays onto historical buildings and the whole town was invited to the gardens of the city hall to enjoy a huge party. Needless to say we took full advantage dancing the night away with the locals until 3 in the morning, it was amazing!

An adorable office for a shop owner in Porec
Beautiful Rovinj

After exhausting the whole of Pula we headed off to spend a day in the very picturesque harbour town of Porec which is adorable. We were exhausted from a large amount of enjoying Pula so spent the day eyeing up the glamorous people on yachts, stuffing our faces with local delicacies ( the Croatians love a pastry!) and actually found ourselves a little nook on the far side of the harbour and just went to sleep- it was heaven! We then moved on to the stunning Rovinj, probably my favourite place on the trip. I have spoken of my love for Airbnb before (let me know if you want a sign up email with money off!)and it is where we always book our accommodation and in Rovinj we were not disappointed. Our very adorable host Mladen picked us up from the bus station and trecked our bags up to our amazing little apartment for the next 4 days, it had everything we could need plus his local knowledge, some fresh fruit picked from his garden and a bottle of red wine, hurrah! 

Exploring the Rovinj rocks
 Rovinj is an absolutely stunning fishing town that just has to be seen. Friendly people, beautiful coastline and just a relaxing atmosphere was just what we needed. We were lucky again to be stumbling in just on the opening day of their biggest celebratory festival which was just amazing, each night was a huge party of bands, music, local food, local booze and ahuge fireworks display to boot. We had such a good time here I can't wait to come back, you can easily fly into Pula and get a connecting but to here direct from the airport and it is well worth doing. We spent our days exploring the amazing old town completed with winding cobbled streets, lying reading kindles on the waterfront or enjoying some amazing local food.  We were so sad to leave but Venice was calling so we stumped up the £20 it costs to get a 5 hour bus ( at 5am!) into Italy.
Exploring Venice
I am so glad we did Venice, but I feel like it is done and ticked now and wouldn't rush back right away. It is incredibly touristy but still beautiful and if you head off the beaten track you can find yourself in blissful peace and quiet and we loved exploring as much as possible. We stayed on a stunning yacht while we were there,of course I did not take into account how sea sick I get which was a bit of an issue, but after a night of feeling incredibly sorry for myself and taking all the travel medication I could get my hands on we were good to go. I highly recommend always remembering to look at the free apps available for download before heading anywhere, I packed my iPhone full of language translators and offline maps to use, and we spent a lot of time in Venice following offline walking tours which were a godsend in helping us navigate Venice's tricky street layout! It is very expensive here as we were told but as we were expecting it we had already decided to treat ourselves in Croatia and keep it fairly basic here which I actually preferred. We stuffed ourselves with the gorgeous buffet breakfast laid on daily on our boat which saw us ( with the help of some amazing Gelato and the odd beer) through to dinner. we sussed out the location of 4 supermarkets on the mainland, which meant we could just go and pick up an amazing picnic or antipasti, cold meat and cheese and drinks load up our rucksack and just enjoy a picnic at the edge of the canal while watching the world go by, just how I like it. Working it this way meant including the £70 is cost for 2, 3 day boat passes, it only cost us £200 for 3 days! And that is mainly because there is just so much pleasure to be taken in just wandering and taking in the sights for free, we were so lucky to be visiting during the Biennale as well which meant we were constantly going in and out of the pavilions for each visiting country and admiring their exhibition. If you are ever thinking of going to Venice, I really recommend checking going at Biennale time as it adds some really fantastic free opportunities on to your trip.

We managed to fit so much into our ten days it felt like a real adventure! Back to reality now though and lots of exciting things coming up on the blog so lots to look forward too!

Hope everyone has had a fab summer,

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