Croatia or they call it Hrvatska is a small country with the population of 5 million (even less than Jakarta itself) and was a part of Yugoslavia. I will not talk about the whole Croatia parts and I won’t bother you with the history of Yugoslavia, so I’ll just mention places I live and have been …
Pula or in Italian Pola is a place where I live now. It’s the biggest city in Istria region. After living my live for 29 years in hectic, busy and dynamic Jakarta, I found this place a charm. I fell in love with this small town the first time I stepped my feet on its ground. This place is just lovely! I arrived in Pula in the afternoon so I didn’t have much time to explore the town, but don’t get me wrong, what I saw so far at that time gave me exhilaration, for I saw the streets and the buildings were so old, and it was so quiet and peaceful.
The next day I woke up early, had a cup of coffee and headed to the city. I was surprised to find out that it took me only 7 minutes to the center, by car (I was still having Jakarta-traveling-time). After we tried to find parking, which was quite difficult due to working hours, we went to the main square to have coffee (again) in one of the coffee shops. Not like in Jakarta, and like in most European countries, the cafes are just by the street. They don’t have it in malls like we do, and oh yeah, there is no malls here, not even a single one (!). That would make you ask, where all do these people shop then?? I will tell you later.
So, after drinking our coffee, we (my husband and I) went on with our little trip around the city and we arrived at the gate which was actually the sign to enter the city, the name of the gate is Slavoluk Sergijevaca. Since I am so interested in history and architectural buildings, we went to some other places. We went to August temple, or in Croatian is August Hram. You can see the picture below:
I remember asking my husband why Pula is so similar like Italy, and he explained that they got a lot of influence from Italy and also Austria. I personally think Italian influence is stronger because there are some old people who speak Italian, and there are some Italian schools also. If we look by the geographical issue, Pula is only an hour drive to Italy, the nearest city is Trieste. Too bad I have to apply visa to go there, if not I’d have been there a couple of times.
Just in time when I was about to explore the city once more, my sister and her husband, and also my relatives from Holland came to attend my wedding here in Pula so we took them around the city. This time we went to the Colosseum which isexactly alike like the one in Rome, just smaller. There’s a museum down the stairs with original tools used by the slaves to make bread, wine, and everything. I felt so chill, maybe because I knew that it was a slavery place, where people were whipped, or beaten, or kicked if they take some rest or something. I started to have hallucination I think, haha.
Now I will explain how the people here shop. In the main square, along the alley are many stores on both sides. Just name what you need and you’ll find it. I’m kidding. The stores are more likely to sell souvenirs for tourists.
Pula is located on the coast which has so many nice beaches which allow you to do so many summer activities such as camping, tracking, fishing, wind surfing, rowing, barbecuing, snorkeling, diving or even just to put your swimsuit, oil, sun glasses and lay on the beach and get some tan :). Many tourists come during summer from all around Europe which make this town lively during summer. Most of the income of the people come during summer days. That’s why there are many stores that sell souvenirs. Sadly, they are closed in winter, if you come to Pula with the expectation to shop then you come to the wrong place …
I would call Pula a place to relax. Everything seems so relaxing here. No traffic and no rush. We can get to almost everywhere easily and fast. There’s no need to calculate time, will it be enough or not. And the beaches. omigod, I love them! The water is so clean and blue. There is one favorite beach of mine. I call it Lungomare which is actually wrong coz it’s actually a term of ‘a place to take a walk’.
The name of the beach itself is actually Mornar. One thing I’m sad about is that the beaches aren’t wavy like in Bali, so I have to put aside my desire to surf for I don’t know how long. The good thing is the water is a little bit cold, even in summer, so it’s so refreshing to jump to the sea after feeling the hot temperature whole day :)) AND since there’s no waves, I can simply lay down on a rubber boat and relax. Sounds fun, right? :))
It was lucky for me that I came in Summer. I got to see nice places and do summer stuff. All I did during those days were tanning and swimming. On one fine day we went to a small island called Fratarski, it can only be reached by boats. Sooo, off we go and row row the boat and arrived there. Not so many people on this side of the island which made it feel like it was our own private island. But, on the other side of the island, it was full of families. The government provides some playground for kids and places to have barbecue and so many families come there to have fun 🙂
I will now tell you about the custom here..People here loves to drink wine and wine and beer. The traditional wine in Istria is named Rakija. It’s actually wine mixed with honey. It has some sweet and bitter taste. I like it since I tried the first. But, don’t drink too much or you will have major headache in the morning, been there done that :DD
I will tell you some other day about other parts of Istria. My husband and I used to spend our Sundays driving around to show me new places in summer and autumn, but since winter days, we were just staying at home and warmed ourselves =)
Written by : Deasyrae Janjić (wiserukers @ Pula – the largest city in Istria County, Croatia). Photo by : Deasyrae Janjić ([email protected])