Hotel Bristol - Opatija, CroatiaOctober 29 in Croatia
Leaving Venice, drove through small villages and some interstate. Roads were pretty narrow through some of these towns - didn’t faze Jan, our bus driver. We were rocking and rolling the whole way. Of course, a super blustery day with heavy storm clouds contributed to the van shaking around just a bit. We did almost run head into another vehicle at an intersection on a curve - that was a close one! Some of the group is staying at one hotel and we are staying at an older historic hotel in the city center, built in 1906. Gate1 has a lot of trips running out of here, as they seem to have everywhere.
Got to the hotel about 5 and have about 2 1/2 hours before meeting with the other members of the group. Tried to take a nap, but too wired. Janet got an email from the guy on the plane who worked for the CDC and was now heading for Uganda for the next 3-5 years. Janet had given him her business card and later he gave us one of his - really nice of him to touch base. That rarely happens with a seat mate on a plane. Have only been up for about 30+ hours now. Meeting and then we’re getting dinner as well and then we should be totally wiped out!
Seems like a good group - director went over the program. Met a couple of nice ladies (Sara and Mignon). Went upstairs for a big buffet which was quite good actually and had dinner with a nice couple from Kansas City who had traveled extensively. We decided to go out for a stroll in super windy, rainy conditions, although the temps were around 65. A few pictures are attached. Wish we had more time. Tomorrow we are off for Istrian Peninsula and Pula and Rovinj.
A short blurb from Rick Steves on Opatija:
And just outside of the peninsula is Opatija (oh-PAH-tee-yah). It's on the water, but it's not your typical Croatian beach town. In the late-19th-century golden age of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, this unassuming village was transformed into the Eastern Riviera, one of the swankiest resorts on the Mediterranean. While the French, British, and German aristocracy sunbathed on France's Côte d'Azur, the wealthy elite from the eastern half of Europe — the Habsburg Empire and Russia — partied in Opatija.
While the Habsburgs and Russians are long gone, Opatija retains the trappings of its genteel past. Most of Croatia evokes a more ancient Mediterranean, but Opatija whispers "belle époque." With its welcoming and elegant promenade, it may be the classiest resort town in Croatia, with more taste and less fixation on postcards and seashells. ©Rick Steves
And on Rovinj:
While the Istrian Peninsula has many tacky and forgettable resort towns, the seafront port of Rovinj — like a little Venice on a hill — is one of my favorite small towns on the Mediterranean.
Rising dramatically from the Adriatic as though being pulled up to heaven by its grand bell tower, there's something particularly romantic about Rovinj (roh-VEEN). Some locals credit the especially strong Venetian influence here — it's the most Italian town in Croatia's most Italian region. Rovinj's streets are delightfully twisty, its ancient houses are characteristically crumbling, and its harbor still hosts a real fishing industry. ©Rick StevesRead more