While staying in the sleepy seaside town of Rovinj, Daniel and I decided to take a day trip to the town of Pula. Located about one hour away by bus, the city is home to the famed Pula Roman Ampitheater (also known as the Pula Arena). At over 100 feet tall by 434 feet wide on its longest side, the arena is one of the world’s six largest surviving Roman arenas.
Istria. Located on a peninsula in the northwest corner of Croatia, the Istrian region of Croatia is renowned for good wine, good food, and a mild Mediterranean climate. What it is not particularly known for is hiking, especially near the coast where I was located. Or at least that is what I thought before arriving in Istria.
I sat at a makeshift picnic table, eating a sandwich and marvelling at the view. The Dalmatian coastline stretched out before me and the Adriatic Sea shimmered in the distance. The town of Split, 20 kilometers away, was clearly visible down below. Behind me, I could see far off mountain ranges which I suspected were in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Getting up here had been difficult, but it was worth it.
After walking around Split for a few days, Daniel and I decided to take a guided tour of the Dalmatian hinterland. Mostly we wanted to see Klis Fortress which is perched on a hilltop about 15 kilometers outside of town. The tour also included stops at Stella Croatia (a local family-owned food company) and Vranjača Cave.
Split truly is a magical city. I was enchanted the moment we arrived and continued to be delighted as we wandered around Old Town and Diocletian’s Palace. But we soon grew tired of the cruise ship crowds mobbing Old Town. We headed west to escape the crowds and soon found ourselves climbing a hill towards Marjan Forest Park.
When we disembarked from the airport shuttle bus near Split’s ferry terminal, the sun was just about to set. The setting sun cast the harbor in a lovely golden hue as we walked along the wharf to Split’s old part of town. The main pedestrian-only thoroughfare was lined with pricey restaurants and vendors hawking souveniers to the holiday-goers. Then we turned a corner and were transported back in time.
Barcelona is one of my favorite cities in the world and a place that I keep returning to. Daniel and I kicked off the international portion of our vagabonding adventure in Barcelona so that we’d be in familiar surroundings while we recovered from jet lag.