Istria, A totally different part of Croatia

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A very social night had with Heinz and Ruth from Basel with the time disappearing just about as fast as the beer. These guys were in NZ working in 1982, and funnily enough when we introduced ourselves from NZ their first question in jest was “oh what street ?”. A great night and we hope to meet up with again when we are in Switzerland.

Krk village itself is once again your standard Walled Medieval City that is pedestrian only. Krk sits proudly at the end of a peninsular and was very much built for defence in its time. This unfortunately is another small Croatian area that is going to really struggle to keep up with the tourist demand, as it only 3 – 4 hours drive from both Germany and Italy, it is becoming the must visit summer destination.

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With Miss Stella packed up, watered and clean we are back on the road again shortly after lunch, and busy “kiwi waving” to all the oncoming MOHO’s, we get about 1 in 10 that wave back, still we try though, “smile and wave”.

Todays objective is Pula at the southern end of the peninsular part of Croatia, an area known as Istria. The “avoid tolls” works really well getting us around Rijeka and heading down the peninsular on Highway 751.

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This was brilliant, it is a manequin, and the arm with the flag goes up and down to slow traffic for road works.

Now according to our map book, (which we have found is not the most accurate publication ever produced) 751 follows the coast down. I need to point out here that we are following signs for this road and not Jacinda’s advice, (not entirely trusting baby brain either).

The signs are saying A3 and 751 in same direction, on the same road which is not uncommon we have found (think it saves on signwriting costs) ourselves lining up at a toll booth before entering a tunnel. OK that’s cool the tunnel is tolled, the tunnel was quite a long one 4.5km and then the road coming out was a toll road as well, never mind we will stick this one out. 91kune (12 euro) for about 60km. (that’s tonight’s beer money gone).

The Istria region is so different to the rest of Croatia with a lot of more arable farming taking place on the Adriatic side, along with really lush bush areas.

Into Pula and very much on the tourist route, especially it seems the younger generation, a lot of “generation OE” in the supermarket stocking up on provisions, (beer and easy food in English accents).

The only thing we are keen to see here is the Ampitheatre, this is a Roman Built “colosseum” from the first century  but unlike the one in Rome this one’s outer wall is pretty much intact. A very well done visit highlighting the Gladiator side of this time as well as importance of this area in Roman times on trade in regards to Fish, Olive Oil and Wine, the relics and artifacts on display are amazing.

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However as with all this towns and cities parking is an issue, being 7m long we tend to stick out of angle parks a bit and generally need 3 -4 normal side on parks. Some towns have dedicated Camper parks but as was the case with Pula, bloody miles away at the end of the tour bus line and fees are rather high. More than once so far we have claimed not being able to understand the signage and just parked up. Then you just spend the next hour or so wondering whether they clamp or tow here.

Freecamp tonight (GPS 44.946402 13.788939) on a lovely beach just up the coast from Pula in the Gulf of Venezia. Swim time and then sit back and watch the locals all come out for the evening beach time. All sorts and shapes of people out here.

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Susie was firmly hooked to her book, but the camp fever had set in for me so I went for a bike ride around the promenade, and once again astounded by the way things are changing to suit the incoming tourists. The big on being that this is not a natural sand beach, it is rock and stone.

2 things from this firstly the water is crystal clear and secondly the beachs are all trucked in. With miles and miles of concrete walking/cycling path that joins each of the beachs together.

The real joy of this sort of freecamp is the mornings when you have the beach totally to yourself and it is a lovely way to start the day so it actually takes a while to get motivated on moving.

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On the road again and absolutely determined to STAY OFF toll roads today, with destination Punta Sabbione, Italy programmed in.

It worked with a good run through the Italian side of Astria, Olives and Grapes, (except for this common occurrence we have of finding our roads shut due to roadworks with very little direction regrading alternate routes).

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Through the border crossing into Slovenia, (a lot quicker getting out of Croatia than into it). Unfortunately Slovenia isn’t on our time frame so it is a drive through, a lunch break and a Fuel up for this country, before driving between two old huts and we are in Italy.

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Venice is our objective here but we have been told to head to Punta Sabbione to camp and then take the ferry across to Venice on a daily trip.

Looking at trusty but slightly wrong map book we see that highway 14, will take us right down the coast from Triest to Venice, without tolls.

Jacinda duely programmed to above instructions, off we go. 1 hour later we have gained about 10 -20 kms as this way is all through towns and coastal villages. Bugger it Toll Road here we come. 120 km and 1 ½ hrs later we are in Punta Sabbione and decide to use a campsite here while we are away from Miss Stella for day trips.

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Motorway Brisge Building Italian Style

Park4night. GPS 45.441299 12.4212. 20Euro, Full services. 10 minutes walk to ferry across to Venice. Gates locked at night after 10.00pm.

Today has been incredibly hot and the night is finished off with another amazing thunderstorm.

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