Croatia – Pula and Rovinj

A very depressing start to the day, but as our tour guide pointed out, we have our own worries and so let the politicians worry about the affairs of the state.

The coach was only coming at nine to pick us up and we had plenty of time. Kumar annan and I did another 6 mile walk and at the same pace.

The coach arrived soon after nine. The places to be covered today are Pula and Rovinj.

Croatia has been governed over the years by lots of other countries and you can see the influence in the towns. In Pula you can see the Austrian influence. The town railway station and nearby hotel are examples. A number of Austrian buildings were destroyed during the Second World War. In the centre of Pula you can see the sixth largest preserved amphitheatre in the world. A relic from the times of the Roman occupation. It is an imposing structure which dominates the centre and provides an important landmark. The outer wall is still standing and apparently was built in such a way that if preserved will stand for another 2000 years. So not only are you witnessing a relic from the past but also something that future generations will come to visit and admire.

At this amphitheatre people from all over Istria came to watch the gladiators wrestle not only wild animals but each other as well till the sports was banned in the 5th century. If you close your eyes and take a moment you will be transported back in time when you can still hear the echoes of the crowd baying for the fighter’s blood or taking pity on him and letting him live. The walk through the dungeons added to the intrigue of the place.

After this the guide took us to the city centre and showed us a few more relics along the way, the forum, the city walls and the entrance gates. Next to the archway, the locals had put together stalls, which show us how the Romans lived in those times.

After some free time in the city we joined the group for our next trip. Rovinj is a medieval town which used to be an island but was converted into a peninsula. In the old part of town, we walked up narrow cobbled streets and steps made of local limestones to reach the church of St Euphemia on the hilltop. St Euphemia is the patron saint of the town. The sarcophagus containing her remains, the story behind the discovery of it and her gruesome end are depicted through artwork in the church.

On the way down we stop at a little pub for a quick drink and snacks before making our way back to the coach. The girls at the till were quite excited when we told them that we were from Kerala. One of the girls is planning to go there later this year.

When we get back, I go for a swim in the sea. Although the temperature today has been in the high twenties the sea temperature is not brilliant and it feels slightly rough for my taste and so I give up and go to the hotel swimming pool. After a short swim I call it a day. It’s time to take a shower and have a leisurely dinner.

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