Fishermen’s fridges in Piran:
Piran and Portoroz:
Piran and Portoroz on the Slovenian Riviera, and the old town in Porec, Croatia
Our final destination in Slovenia was along the coast of the Adriatic Sea, the picturesque town of Piran.
Piran’s old town has a small fishing port and narrow cobblestone streets lined with gothic and Venetian architecture.
There are lots of beach goers from all over Europe who come to Piran to swim, eat the Adriatic seafood, wander the narrow streets, and enjoy a beach vacation.
There are no sandy beaches in Piran, so people sit on concrete slabs on top of the rocks, that were created instead of beaches.
There are also many cafes and restaurants along the coast in which people sit, unless the seawall is unable to stop the strong waves from spraying seawater all over the boardwalk.
We rented an apartment in an old building in the middle of the small town.
Below us was a small vegetable and fruit seller, in a small square with an accordion player who played for tips that people dropped in his leather hat.
In the hills above town, there is a beautiful church with a Jesus crucifix, where He is nailed to a cross in the shape of the letter Y.
The Y shaped cross symbolizes the tree of eternal life, and the sculpture is very touching.
One day we took a long walk from Piran to the neighboring town of Portoroz.
A beach town looks a little sad when it is cool and rainy, and Portoroz, with its empty beaches with hundreds of empty beach beds and closed cafes, felt even sadder.
It is only mid September, but the summer season is most definitely over.
Shops are selling heavy coats, along with towels, beachwear and reef shoes.
We did not see many visitors or locals in nearly-deserted Portoroz, but back in Piran, every morning the town floods with tour groups of tourists who have come by bus to stroll the old town.
From Piran, we drove south to the Croatian border, towards the town of Poreč.
Crossing borders used to be a lengthy affair, but the European Union has made this process effortless, and as quick as paying a toll on a highway.
The Croatian side of the Istrian peninsula is populated with small farms growing olives and fruit.
Along the road there are small farm stands selling locally made olive oils, fig jams and all sorts of truffle products.
The mushrooms and truffles are collected in the local forests.
We stopped at one road stand to buy some freshly picked forest mushrooms to cook in the apartment we had rented in Poreč.
Poreč is a popular summer resort on the coast of the Istrian Peninsula in western Croatia.
Our apartment is located in the middle of the historic old town, which made it a bit noisy but so convenient for walking all around the place.
Unlike other summer resorts which stand empty during the cold months, Poreč was full of tourists, because it has the UNESCO World Heritage 6th-century Euphrasian Basilica complex, famous for its beautiful Byzantine mosaics.
We had made our apartment reservations online, using Booking.com.
When we arrived at the old town, Jules waited by the car in an Illegal place to park, and I went to the apartment to ask where we should park.
The apartment building had nothing to indicate where I could get the keys, and my emails to the owner went unanswered.
I called the phone number provided with my reservation, and a young woman told me to go to a boutique nearby owned by her father, to pick up the keys.
I walked around the dozens of boutiques, not sure which one was theirs.
Most people do not speak English in Slovenia and in Croatia.
Only those in the hospitality business like cafes, restaurants and hotels speak a little bit of English. German is much more frequently spoken in this region because German tourists tend to drive south for their summer vacations to the Adriatic coast.
After not being able to locate the right boutique, the girl met me in front of a hotel and took me to the apartment.
It was a newly renovated and attractive apartment, full of light and space.
After the initial hassle of getting the keys, the apartment was great, with good wifi and a perfect location.
Her father, who spoke no English at all, took me on his electric scooter to guide jules to the parking spot he had reserved for us.
It seems to me that a few old families in town run many of the boutiques, shops and apartment rentals around town.
They also own some merchant stalls on the pier by the marina, and operate restaurants.
It feels like a town being run by families that have been living there for many, many generations.
We spent a few days walking around Porec.
Jules got a bit of a sniffle and fever and it was nice to be located so centrally.
We stopped over in our apartment between walks, to have a rest.
The cathedral mosaic was beautiful, made of small cubes of tiles resembling gem stones.
The whole town is very picturesque, with a maze of narrow streets and old open courtyards full of Roman stone ruins and with the bright blue sea framing it all.
From the Istrian Peninsula in Croatia, I am sending you lots of love,