Sunday, September 09, 2007

Now that's something you don't see every day

Pula, Croatia

It turns out that Ljubljana is about the size of Reading, but is a capital city. In fact the whole of Slovenia has a population of 2 million, and is probably about the size of Toronto + suburbs + exurbs. What I hadn't reckoned on was the paucity of things to see in Ljubljana: one day there was plenty to cover the points of interest.
The hostel I was in was right by the river Ljubljanica and in the Old Town. It was also right below the castle hill. The castle at the top of the hill was free to enter and walk around, even though it had obviously gone through a lot of regeneration and had smart wooden floors and fancy restaurants inside. The tower provided a good view of the city - actually most of the country too, I imagine...
After wandering around the rest of the Old Town, and going to the train and bus stations to figure out where to go next, my day was done. The next morning I left town at 06:20 (apparently there is such a time) on the train to Rijeka, a port in Croatia. The journey there took about three hours, including a very rigorous customs check which consisted of two people having a brief look at my passport. After some breakfast and a trip to the bus station I headed towards Pula, 100km to the west and on the coast. For some reason the bus was pretty unstable: a little girl behind me lost her breakfast and I wasn't too far behind. So when we arrived at Pula after three hours I was in no mood to walk to the hostel, in a village 4km out of town. Taxi!

After Ljubljana, which seemed to be a hub of British backpackers going 'off the beaten track' (like me) Pješčana Uvala seems to be a world away. There are SUVs here from Germany, Austria, Holland, Russia and Slovenia, taking advantage of the big marina and big houses in the village. I feel a little out of place paying €18 a night for a room...

After chillaxing on the beach yesterday, this afternoon I walked into Pula and had a good look around. Pula is apparently 3000 years old, and has several reminders of that dotted around: viz. figure 2, left. There is also a Roman temple in the forum (different buildings, same shape) as well as lots of younger memorials and buildings. Apparently the Venetians tried several times to deconstruct the amphitheatre and take it to Venice as a sign of the power of their empire. Can you imagine an imperial power doing something like that? (Hmm...)
So anyway, tomorrow I'm trucking out of town back to Rijeka on the Vomit Comet. What's most distressing is that there's actually a motorway between the two places, but the bus just doesn't take it! Then tomorrow night I'll board a ferry down to Dubrovnik at the other end of Croatia. See you there.




1 comment:

Matthew said...

For some reason the bus was pretty unstable...

I often skip breakfast when I travel for that very reason. Lunch is somehow much easier to keep down!