Decadence, Discovery, Delight

From Zagreb we traveled west to Opatia, a lovely resort town on the Adriatic coast. It has everything you would expect in a luxurious coastal resort most any place in the world.  Luxury shops,  too many restaurants and as many hotels.  We barely got to see the place before we were off to a day of decadence in and around Motovun a hill town that could have been in Tuscany as easly as in Croatia – actually it is a short hop over the Adriatic from Italy.

Our first stop was in a shop that specializes in all things truffle.  There was whole truffle, sliced truffle and minced and creamed truffle not to mention olive oil with truffel. This being Croatia we started our visit with brandy,  honey brandy in this case,  before tasting several varieties of truffle so we could decide what to buy.  Following a tour of the town,  10 minutes to walk the outer wall, we met to have lunch at nearby farm which consisted entirely of locally grown and produced foods including unlimited wine from the farm.

We crawled back onto the bus  needing to doze off,  only to be awakened to attend a brandy tasting.  I failed to mentioned we had been greeted at the farm with two kinds of brandy. We sampled three brandies including apple, herb and a berry (I can’t be more specific,  I didn’t take notes and the day had not ended). We did not buy any,  but certainly enjoyed what we tasted. Resuming our seats on the bus we were warned of a surprise stop. When we pulled up to our hotel, Vlaho told us to take our things and follow him. He lead us into a chocolate museum where, after the mandatory brandy welcome, we stood at a table with cups and spoons on saucers,  all solid chocolate, and a hot chocolate fountain to fill the cups after the presentation. We went way with the remnants of the welcome sign and whatever else we hadn’t consumed in provided paper bags.

Discovery;  we left Opatia with passports in hand to head into Slovenia, a tiny country about which we knew very little.  Our first stop was at Postojna Cave where we had a wonderful surprise along with thousands of others.  This cavern has double track rail system to get back into the good parts.  The total time was 90 minutes.  Carol and I have never seen as beautiful and large a cave.  Kartchner in Arizona is as beautiful and Mammoth may be as large.  None has the rail sytem to handle hundreds at a time.  The largest room  called the Concert Hall has capacity for ten thousand people!

Skipping back a bit, while in Croatia we had a half day in Plitvice Lake National Park. It would be best for you to search for it on the web. It is 16 lakes at all different levels and we walked around three of them. There are endless water falls and sights. It would be worth coming here in a motorhome or to stay in a room to explore for 3 days or more instead of the couple of hours we had.

Delight; Ljubljana Slovenia! This city about the size of Rochester is the capital of Slovenia,  a country of 2 million.  The local joke is that accordion players need a passport so they can extend there arms to full reach. Our hotel is a few steps from the central pedestrian area with shops, restaurants, and entertainment to satisfy almost any desire. Last night we took a 50 minute boat ride on the river then shared an ear of corn grilled on the corner of the triple bridge while listening to local musicians who sounded very klezmer with accordian, of course,  and two clarinets.  Then we wandered off to a highly recommended restaurant to eat more. While there two buskers  entertained on the street. We then went to the biggest square where we are told we would find a local group performing folk music.  Wow! Over 50 musicians, singers and dancers are in the center of a large crowd.  The instruments ranged across the board including 4 accordions, 2 harps,  basses, cellos, violins,  oboe! Trumpet,  harmonium and many more. Many of our group were there and we agreed it was a very energized and exciting concert that ran 10 minutes past its mandatory ending time of 10pm. From there,  as we walked back to the hotel we passed A couple of more groups performing.  Finally we stopped in the square by the Cathedral where two people were playing guitars and singing.  The gelato was too tempting to pass so Carol and I shared a small scoop.

Our last tour as a group was today we went to Lake Bled and toured the castle and the Island. We finally got to see a bride so Carol could add another country to her project.  Her are some photos from these days:

Motovun

Trufftel Dog and handler

Too Much

Required Cave Picture

Carol with corn
One of many pictures from the concert

Lake Bled

Mushroom soup

I don’t expect I’ll be posting again until we are back in Rochester,  but you never know 🙂

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