Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Rovijn, Croatia August 2013

Having tasted Balkan BBQ in Ljubljana, we followed our stomachs further south and joined the 1.45624526 bazillion Italians on the Croatian coast. The proximity of Istria to both Slovenia and Italy means the stoney, sun-baked towns are brimming with tourists come August, but we swapped the mountain solitude of the Julien Alps for the promise of diving into the much warmer waters of the Dalmatian sea. And the promise of ćevapčići was also fairly persuasive (warning: not for vegetarians. ćevapčići= meat + meat + meat + garlic + onions) ...

Rovijn at night, with the church propped up in the historic city center

Just an hour and a half from Ljubliana, Rovijn sits on the Istrian peninsula and wears the marks of Italian, Balkan and even Spanish civilizations. Tour books promote it as a "town where people fall in love" and a "photographer's dream come true." All this romanticizing is largely warranted- the streets are small and narrow, the buildings are painted calming yellow and pink pastels, green shutters close off the windows of those lucky enough to take midday naps, a stoic church provides a peak from which you can watch the sunset over the sea. A small bay harbors ships and an odd forest/park provides overheated visitors shallow spots to wade into the sea. These characteristics prove a potent combination, and the easy to access/lovely town/beautiful sea/places to swim and sail factors lure  in overwhelming numbers of vacationing families. 

Houses fall into the sea and cafes double as swim spots

Nonetheless and for all its laid-back, easy summer vibes, Rovijn (and I imagine the whole Croatian coast) is plagued by tourists that just need an exorbitant amount of space. Think Jersey Shore attitude (and style)- pumped up lads wearing Marcellekes and looking like Oh Oh Cherzo extras- but in a more charming seaside town. Our objectives for the trip were relatively simple: find delicious food and a quite place for embarrassing jumps off the craggy rocks into the sea. In the end, the trip was rather ironic:  that perfect place for swimming was in the most densely populated part of the town: right underneath the church at the heart of the historic city center and a true Mexican caballero (with the words "Libertad" and "Patria" embroidered down the legs of  his vaqueros and on the brim of his sombrero) beaconed us into a restaurant serving some of the most delicious and authentic Yucutan cuisine.