Thursday, September 12, 2013

Throwback: Croatia and the 4th of July

By July, we knew we were leaving Italy and returning to Texas in August. So we did our best to make sure to sight-see as much as possible those last few weeks/weekends that we had in June and July. While we couldn't afford to go to Rome or Barcelona (two destinations that would have been really cool to see) we did have time to go to Croatia and Slovenia. We chose to make a long day trip down on 4th of July weekend. While we could have easily (and fairly cheaply) spent a few days there, we had the dogs to worry about. I didn't want to pay to board them, plus we were still in the midst of packing and sorting. So day trip it was.

We went to Porec, Croatia and then Koper, Slovenia. Ron's friends ended up being in Croatia and were staying at a resort right near Porec, so we got the benefit of hanging out at the hotel pool without paying, ha! 
We couldn't have asked for nicer weather on the way down. Everything was SO green and the water was beautiful.
Bonus perk: we got our passports stamped entering Croatia (but not slovenia; Italy and Slovenia have open borders as they are both part of the EU).
We actually went to Croatia just three days after it entered the EU but we still had to show passports as well us trade our Euro in for Kuna.

We did not bring the kids swimsuits as we knew that would be so much stuff to pack and worry about for a day trip. However, I wouldn't have let them swim in the water anyway because the beaches were so rocky. Beautiful but so many rocks and the water was super choppy that day.
Ron and his friend Sean, were in heaven at lunch! So much seafood and so very cheap. The kids and I had pizza and the most amazing garlic toast. The food was quite good, the selection was mostly seafood with a bit of Italian as well as German choices.
After lunch we explored more of Porec but the weather took a turn and it got darker, windy and started to rain all in a matter of minutes. We ran (literally we had walked to lunch) back toward the hotel and by the time we got there, the lightning and thunder had stopped. Sean and Zee ended up talking us into swimming in their pool. Maggie and myself had suits in the van, not that we had specifically packed but for some reason they were there, but the boys swam in their undies. Hey, it was Europe. Their little boxer briefs covered more than a speedo.
 The nice thing about Europe, at least where we lived, in the summer it didn't get dark until close to 10pm. So while we left the hotel in Porec around 4, we still had a nice chunk of daylight to spend time in Slovenia. Just as we had decided to leave Porec, we found a place where you could ride horses. Granted it wasn't the fanciest of places but being able to go horseback riding in Croatia on the 4th of July is still pretty cool!
 They were mesmerized by this horse...until it started peeing!
 Our mandatory ''Fourth of July" family photo:

Overall, we really enjoyed Croatia. We only got to see a small part of a small country but we experienced nothing but nice people. Everyone was friendly (most spoke English), the food was good and it wasn't expensive at all.

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