We crossed back into Croatia mid afternoon and headed to the campsite where we stayed a few days before- bugger closed for the season! We headed up the coast to find an alternative, camp 2- closed, camp 3- closed. We eventually found a small but immaculate site right by the ocean that was open all year, it had a couple of pitches left so we took one. By late afternoon it was full, they had vans in the parking lot and were turning people away!
In the afternoon we drove a little further down the coast to Porec, where the craft beer festival would kick off tomorrow.
We found a camping-platz within walking distance of town, a large parking area next to a funeral home and cemetery, but very convenient.
The next evening the beer festival properly kicked off so we spent the morning exploring Porec and it’s 2,000 years of history... and it’s picturesque harbour, cute narrow streets, medieval architecture, blah blah and its cafes.
The Istrian Truffle festival is held in the small town of Livade over about 10 weekends in Autumn, white truffle season. So that’s where we headed the next morning.
The festival is actually organized by Zigante, the major company in the Istrian Truffle business who manufacture a surprisingly diverse range of truffle products. From fresh white truffle to truffle chips and truffle chocolate!
Motovun is not only a charming medieval hilltop town 270m above sea level, but also the birth town of Mario Andretti who was a bit of a motor racing idle of mine in my youth, though I was certain he was born in Italy! It turns out that in 1940 when he was born, this area was actually part of Italy, it then became part of Yugoslavia after WWII and is now Croatian. It still staggers me how much change has taken place in Central Europe in the recent past. Apparently Mario got the passion for racing haring down the towns steep streets in home made billy carts. Funny how my brother first started in racing the same way and, like Mario, he made it all the way to F1 albeit as a designer rather than a driver.
That night we headed back up to the old town for dinner in the Kaštel Hotel, where we dined beside the cosey fireplace, couldn’t believe we had been swimming less than a week ago!
Between 1902 and 1935 the Parenzana Railway served as a crucial lifeline through Istria, providing producers in the hinterland with easier access the larger market towns and ports. The rail fell into disrepair after its closure but was revitalised from the the middle of the 2000’s as a 116km long walking and mountain bike trail from Trieste in Italy, through coastal Slovenia to Porec, Croatia. The stretch adjacent to Livade is regarded as one of the most picturesque sections and includes several tunnels and viaducts.
In the afternoon we headed back to Opatija, just outside Rijeka where the van was booked in for its makeover in a couple of days time and we needed to give it a thorough clean, including the roof that had 10 years of road grime and mould that needed removing- Tuesday’s chore!
Wednesday we left early, dropped the car off at the salon, then headed into central Rijeka where we had rented a small studio apartment for a couple of days.
We went to head off the next morning but the battery was completely dead! ‘Travelswithmycocker’ tried to give us a jump start but no luck. A few hours later the roadside assist guy came, changed the 10 year old battery and we were on our way, drove an hour or so to a camp that was closed, went to reverse out.. no camera.. bollocks, phone call, a meeting with Autosac in a truck stop, then back to @#v$% Opatija again
The guys at Autosac met us at 8.00am the next morning and got the camera working. Problem appeared to be with the wiring for the original camera that was in the van when we bought it. Fixed and on our way... to Split.