Favourite things

Living by the sea:

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The sky was so clear that day, and visibility so far, that one could see that the horizon wasn’t smooth but made jagged by the distant waves. Incredible. Four and a half years later, I’m still amazed to live by the sea.

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Summer holiday: Zadar

From Pula, we took another ferry to Zadar. I caught this last photo of Pula on our way to the port. Someday I want to go back there and sit in that bench when I’m not so much in a hurry!

Pula is in Istria and Zadar is in Dalmatia and the ferry between the two went out to open sea and was five hours long. This ferry was even larger than the one we took the day before; the inside looked a bit like a large transatlantic airplane. Unfortunately, on this trip neither Joanna nor I got seats by the windows but sat in the middle of the ship. I promptly fell asleep once we left the harbour and missed most of the excitement. According to Joanna, when we were between islands, the sea was really wild and the ship rocked a lot. She and most of the passengers were seasick. Meanwhile, I slept blissfully unaware and the sea was calm when I woke up again. The sea got a little choppy later on, but I thought it was fun. 🙂

It was so deliciously hot in Zadar that we went first to the beach to wait out the hottest time of the day. We had to go out the Land Gate to get there. Again it wasn’t quite like a beach: this time it was a little wooded area that dropped off into the sea. There weren’t any waves and an area was roped off for swimming, so it felt like swimming at a lake, only it was the Mediterranean.

We spent most of our time wandering. A lot of places were closed, or cost money, or we weren’t terribly interested in going inside (or were turned away, because, gasp, our skirts were too short! Probably a first in my life…). One place we did go inside was the Ancient Glass Museum, in which Joanna and I learned that glass blowing was developed far earlier than either of us had thought, and that medicinal and toiletry bottles in the Roman period were far more attractive than our plastic bottles.

Fortunately there were plenty of things to see from the outside, like St Donat’s Cathedral.

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As the day waned, we made our way to the harbour to watch the sunset. There we walked along the Sea Organ, an amazing work of musical art. Wide steps lead down to the sea and holes are cut all along the top step. Under the pavement are pipes, and as the wind blows in from the sea it goes through the holes into the pipes. The resulting music is beautiful, eerie. We sat, watching the sun sink into the water, hanging our feet over the waves and listening to the music of the sea.

 

That was our last evening to watch the sunset over the sea. The next day, we went to Zagreb…

Summer holiday: Pula

From Trieste to Pula we took a ferry and a bus. We passed by Slovenia on the ferry before landing in Croatia.

We landed in Rovinj; from there, we took an hour and a half bus to Pula. After checking into our flat in Pula, and receiving a map and suggestions of places to go from our host, Joanna and I set out for exploring. Of course, the first place we went was the Roman amphitheatre:

That week Pula was having an open-air film festival, called ‘Under the stars’. The venues for the festival were both the amphitheatre and the castle. A huge screen was erected at the front of the amphitheatre with chairs filling the open space in front of it (seen above in the lower right photo). It was neat to see the space still being used as a venue for entertainment.

And, of course, I couldn’t miss out a photoshoot with The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner. It has become a tradition of mine to take one of Turner’s books with me whenever I go to the Mediterranean. I thought this shot of The Queen of Attolia would go well with the ones that I took of The Thief in Cyprus. (I also took a moment to pretend to be a thespian.)

The chambers underneath the amphitheatre held a small olive oil production exhibit. We learned that Istria — the area of Croatia that we were in — was second to Italy in producing olive oil in the Roman empire.

After wandering around the town, passing by the medieval town hall, the temple to Augustus, and stepping into a Franciscan church, we went out to one of the beaches. ‘Beach’ is a bit of a misnomer, as it was rocky cliffs that suddenly met the sea, not sand. Joanna and I clambered down to one of the tide pools where we could watch the waves crash mere feet away from us. The sea was so warm and so salty — enough that my hair was stiff after it dried. It was wonderful to sit on the rocks in the sunlight, reading and watching the sunset.


We turned in early because our ferry the next morning left very early in the morning…

Favourite things

Swans and the sea:

For those who are tuning in or have forgotten: The ‘Favourite Things Friday’ posts are in response to being asked what is my favourite place or thing around Town. I couldn’t decide on any one thing, so instead you get a weekly snapshot of something I particularly love about the town I live. Sometimes they are things I intend to take a picture of, and sometimes, like this one, they happen by pure serendipity.

Favourite things

The Harbour:

The words to the Dalmation lullaby I am learning are much more poignant for living in a town that it is still, in some ways, a fishing village:

Hush my babe, my little one,
Thy father sails the deep;
But warm thy bed is, pretty one;
Lie still my dear and sleep.

Cold the wind is blowing,
Angry is the sea;
Guard, ye saints, his going,
And bring him back to me.

When the morn shall break again
Over hill and lea;
Then my love shall wake again,
And dance on daddy’s knee.

Hush my babe, my little one,
Thy father sails the deep;
But warm thy bed is, pretty one;
Lie still my dear and sleep.