Sunday, May 8, 2011

From Bled to Rovinj

Saturday morning, a guesthouse on 43 Ma-Divisione Istriana st., (the Italian name). No, 43 is part of the name of the street; the number of the house is 23, I think. Not that it matters to you, but one should know the exact address of the hotel one's staying at, should one get lost, right? All street names, as well as other signs, are in both languages -- Croatian and Italian. Which makes it easier for lots of people, I suppose. Me among them.

If you're a foreigner driving around, you might get lost; many streets are one way. But on foot our B&B is very easy to find: from wherever you are in town you can always get to the waterfront. Along the waterfront, you find the central bus stop (though you could miss it... it doesn't look much like a Central Bus Station.) And right next to the Natale tourist agency, who got us this place, is a street going uphill. You just walk up and up until you've about had it, and there you are.

Once you're in a private B&B like this (which I doubt Steves & Hewitt et al would even deign to review), you appreciate the amenities and niceties of places like the elegant Penzion Mayer in Bled.

We spent 2 nights at the Mayer and, looking back, I wouldn't have minded staying another day and going on a tour of that fabulous-looking castle across the lake: [Looks like the slow connection here is not letting me upload the pic. Which is strange, because I did manage to upload pics to Facebook.]
Though the book says the main thing to recommend it is the view from that vantage point rather than the interior of the castle itself. If any [tourist destination] is worth staying at at all, it is worth staying at least 2 nights, is my general philosophy. I can't stand dragging luggage back and forth, packing and unpacking, for just one night. You don't manage to get the feel of a place, become familiar with it, become "apprivoise", (with an accent aigue on the e), as the Little Prince says.

There's no comparing Bled and Rovinj, actually. So I'm not, really. Though both seem to exist mainly as a tourist attraction. Bled has an Alpine chalet look & feel; Rovinj has an Italian coastal tourist trap look & feel.

The main thing we did in Bled was walk briskly around the entire lake, about an hour and a half; dine at well at the elegant Penzion Mayer restaurant; and try not to bump our heads against the low ceiling of Room 301 which is a garrett (which is a picturesque name for an attic.) Room 301, a.k.a. the room at the top [of the stairs, not the 1959 movie) was only 57 euro, compared to 82 euro for the standard room on the 2nd floor, and we thought it a good deal, though it was very oddly shaped, with a hall leading to a bathroom up ahead, and to a long narrow corridor on the left, which opens up into the bedroom.

The 2nd main thing we did when in Bled is drive around the beautiful, jagged Julian Alps, with the famous 50 hairpin twists and turns. This is the way I like Mother Nature: well sign-posted, clean and tidy, not overly crowded, no traffic jams, no queues to the toilet...

But I'll stop right here for the nonce, otherwise I'll be stuck here at the laptop all day rather than enjoy a blue-skyed warm day in this picturesque -- if somewhat tattered-looking harbor town.

- to be continued -

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