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Driving, Eating, and Drinking Croatia

We stop at a roadside inn near Plitvice Lakes National Park, looking for a place to stay.

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Just a few of the lakes in Plitvice National Park

Yet another restaurant/accommodation, “House Sapina,” in the small town of Korenica, pours us a free shot of wormwood based liquor.

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Yuck!

If you don’t indulge in the local food and drink of any country, you insult them. In the spirit of “world citizenship,” we must honor our duty! I enjoy the actual spirits more than Marilynn. Of course, we shall spend the night in this lovely place.

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Veliki Slap, the tallest waterfall in Croatia

In the morning, we hike through Plitvice Lakes National Park, around multiple waterfalls, seven lakes, and limestone-formed pools reminiscent of Havasupai, Arizona.

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Walkway through Plitvice Lakes National Park off season

Despite our off-season travel in the winter, the shuttle bus fills with friendly Asian tourists. This place must be a madhouse during summer months.

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Photo from a brochure of walkway in Plitvice during season

Time to drive down the mountains to the coastal town of Opatija, full of old, elegant villas and hotels that the rich and famous used to frequent. We find an apartment on a hill, and better yet, a local eatery. We’re only about an hour away from the Italian border, so no wonder the friendly patrons resemble “Sopranos” cast members!

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Why do I feel like I am eating with the cast of the Sopranos?

“You must try our gnocchi in truffle sauce,” our waiter suggests. “We grow some of the best truffles.”

“I make my own gnocchi at home,” I respond, trying to impress.

He’s not impressed. “Try ours,” he says, almost rolling his eyes.

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Gnocchi with truffles and mushrooms

Well, the waiter was right. The tiny cut gnocchi in a sauce of truffles, porcinis, Istrian sausage, and sheep milk cheese could be my new personal favorite dish.

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The Amphitheater in Pula

The following day we have time to drive to Pula, a city on the coast that highlights an amphitheater built by the Romans for Gladiator games. I can’t help making an analogy to the NFL stadiums in the United States. Let the games begin!

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Rovinj

A final drive north to the fishing town of Rovinj, where the streets are empty and the food is excellent.

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The streets of Rovinj

Again, the gnocchi impresses. This time it’s a larger cut, mixed with Ox Tail stew.

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Gnocchi and Ox Tail stew

However, it’s time to drive out of Croatia, onward to eat and drink our way through Slovenia – homeland of the first lady. All we ask for is that the travel angels keep us safe on these narrow, curvy roads, where everyone flies at high speed!              Ron Mitchell

 

 

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10 Comments Post a comment
  1. Visited many of these same places when I was there in 2009. Gorgeous!

    March 2, 2017
    • I would love to see it in the spring or fall. I hear summers are very crowded. If we ever get the chance, would do an island hop next time!

      March 2, 2017
  2. ma and pa #

    Gotta say the gnocchi
    does look good! Can’t wait to see you guys!! Stay safe!

    March 2, 2017
  3. Wanna go have that oxtail gnocchi! Or try yours. 🙂 Loving the adventure. And that shot of Marilyn, priceless.

    March 2, 2017
  4. Alice Chambers #

    If you can, be sure and go to Kosovo where you will be welcomed with open arms so says the ambassador to the US from Kosovo at a meeting I went to Wed. night.

    March 3, 2017
    • Alas, didn’t make it there. Just got in to Prague from Slovenia. Flying home in a couple of days. Would have been interesting for sure.

      March 3, 2017
  5. alberttrotter #

    fabulous post ..all pictures are stunning..Croatia seems like heaven on earth..i feel so relaxed and refreshed after reading your post…please do share some more pictures of that heaven with us..

    March 26, 2017
    • Thank you, Albertrotter! I wish that we were still there, but it’s onward to the next adventure.

      March 27, 2017

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