Dobrodošli u Hrvatska

Trip Start Jun 08, 2010
Trip End Aug 26, 2010

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Flag of Croatia  , Istria,
Saturday, June 26, 2010

I hit a string of hotels without internet on my first days in Croatia, so I'll be catching up for a little while. If you see a day or two either skipped or posted without pictures, stay tuned...

Today was my first day in Croatia (Hrvatska in Croatian). I was a little concerned about crossing the border because I'd read things in guidebooks like "You need a green (auto insurance) card." and "Border guards know that rental cars usually can't go into Croatia (I haven't seen a good reason why), so make sure you've got the proper paperwork when you pick up the car." It turned out that getting into Croatia wasn't any harder than crossing the US border into Canada. I had to show my passport twice, and the Slovenian guard opened to a random page and stamped it for no apparent reason other than he likes to stamp things (also just like Canada), but that was it. It probably took less than five minutes total, including waiting in line.

With that out of the way, it was on to my first Croatian town, Poreč. Poreč was a lot like Piran. The two towns have similar histories: first came the Romans, then the Byzantines, then the Venetians, then Napolean, then Austro-Hungary, then Italy, then Yugoslavia, and finally, independence. In fact, I think this is basically the history of every coastal town I'm going to visit on this trip. So feel free to assume so unless you hear otherwise.

Poreč wasn't as beautifully situated as Piran. It was on a peninsula, but there were no hills. The lack of hills was good for my legs, but it meant I had to climb a belfry to get a good view of the town. There was also a lot more activity in Poreč. This could be because of the weekend, or maybe I've finally hit the high season, or maybe Croatia has a better marketing campaign than Slovenia.

The old town was interesting because it had more of it's original architecture than Piran's. This included several Gothic and Romanesque buildings, a small section of Roman-era ruins, and a Byzantine Basilica. The basilica was what made Poreč stand-out from the rest of the small coastal towns of Istria. The Euphrasian Basilica (Eufrazijeva Bazilika) was one of the most intact examples of Byzantine art, and had the UNESCO World Heritage stamp of approval. Much work had been done to restore a dramatic mosaic in the apse, but more of the original artwork (stonework and mosaics) was found in a mid-sized museum located on the basilica grounds than in the church itself.

So far, (Istrian) Croatia has been a lot like (Istrian) Slovenia. I even had another lunch of pizza by the water. My only complaint was that my soda cost $5, just one dollar fewer than my pizza. I'll have to be sure to check the drink prices before I order next time.

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Gosia on

I was there few days ago. Now I'm looking for page of this sanctuary (I made photos, but without name of this street. Do you have it? Ciao!

eundel on

Unfortunately, I don't remember the road name. I was just wandering around since the peninsula was so small... You might try commenting on the picture of the sanctuary because a poster there said they knew the place well. Maybe they would respond.

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