Decadence in Rovinj

Well here we are again. Another travel blog update. Rovinj is the city of artists on the Istrian coast. Istria is in the far north east of Croatia and was once a part of Italy, and until last century a big part of Austria’s economy. Istria and Rovinj is absolutely gorgeous, except for the fact that were in an internet cafe listening to Bobby Brown. Music sadly doesn’t have the same life cycle that it does at home. In other words, crap music lives forever in Croatia. Only down side is that the ocean water is nowhere near as clear as it is down south in Hvar and Korčula. Nor do the locals speak as much English. So much so that if you come to Rovinj, its like getting a free stop over in Germany because there are so many German tourists here. Rovinj would have to be a highlight of the trip so far. Because it has an old city (no city walls though), so much art and charm in abundance. Like down south, there are plenty of ferries to catch to little islands and stuff. But we’ve well and truly had our fill of that. And the weather has been a little more than average sadly for boating expeditions. Oh and truffles are incredibly cheap in restaurants up here. We had spaghetti and truffles for about $17 AUD. Awesome! Speaking of good food, we’ve just come out of Monte’s, a restaurant not in any of the travel guides. We’ve had an incredibly sumptuous five course meal on par with View Du Monde in Melbourne with wine for...

Breaking those city walls in Dubrovnik.

Good news. We’ve just got ourselves a Seat Ibiza rental car to drive around in. But the real revelation is that driving in Croatia is like having Keith Moon as a personal chauffeur: spontaneous and fun, but genuinely terrifying. Its good news because until this point, its been a relentless melee of crack of dawn ferries, jet lag and countless steps to the top of every Dalmatian hill – of which believe me there are several. Even if every street corner here had a lard coated Krispy Kreme store, it wouldn’t make a lick of difference to the locals’ waist lines. The locals walk up more steps in a day than you’ve had hot dinners. It’s an old town thing and the stairs mean everyone gets an ocean view. So that old adage about women in comfortable shoes is not true here. You do a lot of uphill walking. Bring comfortable shoes! Dubrovnik was worth the price of admission alone. The bus drivers make Fangio look a bit soft getting to the old town, but when you walk the city walls, it’s all worth it. Just a stellar view. It’s a fifteenth century walled town, but unlike other Dalmatian cities, each and every stone has been polished. It’s a real site to behold at night. Rest assured if these walls make the place sound like a fortress, two bars permeate the walls Buza (as in boozer) I and Buza II. You literally can buy a drink and then sit with your feet in the Adriatic and watch the sun go down. Go for a swim even! And just sit...

Rained out in Korcula

Well so far the holiday has been friggin’ awesome. But Korcula seems a bit like a Portsea or a Sorrento back home. A very affluent small beach town, and they don’t give a rats’ arse (I cant find the apostrophe on this Croatian keyboard!). Fortunately after the first day, our stay improved tremendously and I really warmed up to the place. Our B&B hosts were brilliant, and let us sample the local grappa and a really great red. One thing you simply have to do in your life, let alone Korcula, is rent a scooter and ride around the island. It’s a true La Dolce Vita experience! Korcula can very easily afford you a beach to yourself for the entire afternoon! I hadn’t ridden a motorbike before but the roads are both picturesque and very easy going. The water of the Adriatic, as always, clearer than a nuns conscience on Sunday. The old town itself is quite small and you could probably do it in a few hours, let alone days. Aside from a few art galleries, especially the Atelier Gallery in the old town, meh its a bit average. One thing to definitely AVOID is Marco Polo’s house. Firstly it probably has about as much to do with the great explorer as my undies. We found a dilapidated shack down the road with a plaque that looked like it was his real home. Secondly, you pay 15 Kuna to walk up a rikety staircase designed for midgets, that is one corpulent American tourist away from total collapse. Once you get up there, it’s an OK view, but not...

Whats happening in Hvar?

Lo and behold, Hvar must the be the only true pirate down of the Dalmatian coast. Because before they came, it probably had some beige name like Port Berkshire or something. But pirates mandate rolling Rs, so Hvarrrrrr it is! All your Lovely Planet guide books describe Hvar as party heaven. In summer it may well be. But we’re walking past empty bars playing Tina Turner type tracks in Croatian to the dulcet tones of cicadas chirping into the night. So there’s no better time to be there than now. Unless you’re single and the party type. grinding your teeth through the week until the next rave, choking down disco biscuits and grooving to crap dance tracks. Hvar truly has it all. Bikers ride down for the weekend for the twisty windy roads, millionaires come to show off their yachts and we came to gorge ourselves on the great food and take in the beautiful Adriatic sea. Hvar also connects to Bol, a tick on a flies arse island that just happens to have the most postcard friendly beach in the world Zlatni Rat (below). Its a proper pebbly Euro beach, but what a beach. Not a surf beach by any stretch of the imagination, but no one comes here for that. If you want to pull up a glass of beer and a sun bed by the crystal clear Adriatic and do N-O-T-H-I-N-G for a week, just come here. Plenty of people are content to do just that. It’s quite simply the most amazing beach I have ever seen in my life. It does have casinos and anything...

stop 1: singapore changi airport

Orrightey. So 3 movies, 2 books and a magazine later and i’m at Changi airport with 3 hours to burn. Thanks to Singapore Airlines, I now want nothing more in this world but to see Kenny G and his whole sux-text of painfully shite ‘jazz’ musicians dead and buried. So here I am in Singapore. The Switzerland of Asia without the liberalism and the activity. The Monaco without the tax exile. The city where Asia tries its hardest to be lily white and falls flat on its face every time. Frankly I hate it. And if Kenny G coming through the on flight speakers wasn’t enough, you should check the security guys at the airport. OK so these are times of terrorism. So I was totally expecting to see guys in jackboots with some kind of Abrahms fully sick machine gun action. But they also have parangs on them. Parangs! This is a cross between a macette and mum’s Best Pocket Knife (it has a curve at the end which is just great for a bit of Brie or slashing someones throat!). That just amazes me. Clearly one of these weapons is to make white people feel safe, and the other for a short, sharp ‘good night nurse!’ before you even knew what hit you. So I guess that’s one thing keeping these faux white try hards back in old school. And in a strange kind of way it’s an interesting clash of cultures. Unlike our boys, I think they’d know what to do if those fancy guns jammed up. They probably don’t need them at all. Anyway it’s...