At my insistence we headed straight for the supermarket this morning before heading for Croatia. Here we purchased my new best friend Tom-Tom the GPS. She is small, has an English accent and most importantly knows her way around.
It was a long drive and we were looking forward to our hotel in Rovinji. We reached the town without incidence; Tom-Tom had done a superb job. Nearing the hotel, the streets became narrower with many one-ways and blocked off routes. No matter which direction we approached, we could just not reach our destination. I felt so disappointed with Tom-Tom and in sheer frustration decided to ask for directions. We discovered that we had booked into a hotel in the “Old Town” and no cars were allowed, not even the locals. Were we supposed to drag our over-sized suitcases through the cobbled streets? On further enquiry we were told we could get a special ticket to pass through the boom that blocked off all traffic to the Old Town. This allowed us 45 minutes to locate the hotel and off-load. We painstakingly inched our way through the narrow pedestrian-filled streets, and after three further enquiries finally found our hotel.
Our room was situated down a narrow cobbled alley, through a green door, up a steep staircase. We off-loaded as quickly as we could and were told that we would have to pay per hour for the nearest parking. If we wanted free parking we would have to park on the other side of town and walk back to the hotel. Our journey was not yet over.
The tiredness and frustration of the day dissipated with each step, as we made our way back to the hotel. The charming arched alleyways, green-shuttered windows and cobbled stones had an irresistible romantic allure. Traditional music filled the town square and the small harbour was tightly packed with bobbing fishing boats. The sidewalk cafes were open for trade and doing brisk business. In the distance heavy storm clouds were brewing, darkening the sky, creating a dramatic backdrop to this historic town.
By the time we reached our room, we were enchanted and had already decided we needed another day to soak up the ambience of this special place.
A destination can be worth an arduous journey.
ROVINJI, CROATIA: 30-05-2013