This was a Sunday drive – February 16, 2014.
Salvare is a Croation resort town on the Adriatic. It is on a small bay. Beaches here are small, nicely rounded pebbles. Salvare has a short lungo mare – cement-stone path along the waterfront – and a small canal-marina to dock boats. We stopped at the lighthouse built in 1818. It was the first light house in the world to work on gas distilled from coal. It is the oldest still functioning light house on the Eastern Adriatic coast. I walked on the beach out to the rocks to pick some seashells! The area has of course lots of campgrounds, hotels (I saw the Melia Resort), and tourist condos. There is also a large upscale condo-hotel-golf complex just west of Salvore that was very reminiscent of resorts in Mexico. The low rise buildings were painted different shades of pastel pinks, ochres, blues. The landscaping was Mediterranean with oleanders and palm trees. The oleanders are evergreen but all the palms were wrapped in white plastic tarps with the fronds tied tightly. They looked like giant plastic mushrooms!
We then went on to Umago further down the coast. It has a small piazza with a Venetian bell tower from 1691 and late baroque style church built in 1760. It has a long name! Il Duomo dell’Assunzione al Cielo di Maria e di S.Pellegrin. S. Pelligrino is the patron saint of Umago or Umag in Croatian. The piazza has been ruined a bit by the addition of some new buildings from the look of them – concrete and shapeless I would say they are likely from the communist era. Umago has a picturesque port as the buildings (restaurants, bars, gelateria) lining the path are all of the carsic grey stone and behind are a few remaining Venetian streets, narrow, winding with all the buildings attached.
By then is was late in the afternoon and we headed to Hum for dinner in a konoba. Hum is just past Buzet (where my mother was born) and along the way we had a great view of Montona perched on its hilltop. The konoba is in a restored farmhouse. The dining rooms are in what would have formerly been the cattle barns. The building is all stone and the room we were in had low dark stained timber ceilings, with a large stone fireplace. The fireplace was lit and not only was it nice and warm, the fire gave off an orangey glow that was very welcoming. There was a family gathering just ending as we came in – probably a birthday party. There were lots of flowers on the long wooden table and there was a man playing “harmonica”. We had the Istrian grilled meat plate with cabbage and potatoes. In this part of Croatia the service is always available in Italian too. The lady suggested fritolle for dessert and brought out a small plate of still warm, crusty but tender fritolle. These are delicious small round yeast dough balls, deep fried and sprinkled with icing sugar. They bear no resemblance to the taste of tim bits in case you are wondering!
The drive back was beautiful. All the hill top towns, Buzet, Montona, Hum, Buje have their campaniles all lit up so you can see them from quite a distance. I was worried about the driving on those narrow, winding, dark roads with no shoulders (I was not driving) . But interestingly enough there are reflective light standards about a meter high along the sides of the roads and it is quite easy to see where the road is headed. The distance from Trieste is not very far maybe 50 km but in that stretch you see the Adriatic, mountains, towns, rolling pastures. That diversity of landscape in such a small area just amazes me.