From Rocky Sea to Scents of Lavendar – Day Three in Istria

It was the third day of my trip with Visit Istria as part of the Share Istria contest. My friend Lynn and I (team #ShareIstriaUSA1) had spent the night at a cottage in Bi Village.

We were supposed to be staying another night at the Porer Cliff Lighthouse, but a storm had kept us from returning there the night before. I confess that I wasn’t terribly disappointed. I enjoyed the small air conditioned house along the Adriatic Sea much more than I had the accommodations on the sea.

Our group, Andras and Gyorgy from Hungary, Rocky, an American living in Italy, and Nicolas from Paris, was supposed to meet for breakfast, but we were told that we were leaving earlier than expected because there was a window of opportunity to get back to the lighthouse before another storm.

Lynn and I made a quick trip to the Bi Village restaurant for some croissants, cheese, and cappuccino before meeting Goran, our guide from Istria Tourism, and the rest of the guys at the van.

It was interesting how we had already picked our places in the van and comfortably took our unassigned seats each time.  We fit well together as a group and I was soon to learn just how much.

The weather looked calm as we drove down the boat dock, but once we got onboard, we quickly saw and felt the waves.

The trip seemed much longer than the previous day as our well-trained captain led us to the island. We held on tight to the boat.

Once we arrived at the lighthouse, there was the difficulty of getting off. Lynn and I stayed in the boat and let the gentlemen – and they certainly were – get our things while the boat moved out to sea to wait for them to finish.

I know it was only about 15-20 minutes, but it seemed like an eternity as we waited on that rocking boat for the phone call that they had everything together. We then headed back to the lighthouse to pick up the men and our things.

They bravely managed to get themselves and all the luggage on the boat, and we held on as the boat came back to land in the 3-5 meter waves.

When we finally got everyone and everything off the boat, we hugged in relief and posed for a celebratory picture before getting in the van to continue the Istria program schedule.

Looking at the Adriatic Sea along the drive was definitely more relaxing than from a boat, but we were even happier when we arrived at the beautiful grounds of Stacija Meneghetti.

Meneghetti in Bale is an amazing property that I would love to spend a few days at in the future. It’s a Relais & Chateaux hotel, a winery, an olive oil producer, and a restaurant all in one.

We toured before tasting during an amazing Meneghetti olive oil and wine paired lunch. Their Unoaked Chardonnay was one of the best I’ve had and Lynn said the same about their Cabernet Sauvignon. In fact, she bought a bottle of each for us. 

After a delicious dessert of vanilla ice cream topped with Belgium chocolate and olive oil – a combination I will try to repeat in the future – we were off to a most unusual place.

Park Histria Aromatica, also in Bale, is a huge place filled with lavender fields, herb gardens, and aromatic bushes, but it’s not a botanical garden.

Everything within Histria Aromatica is used to make natural lotions, oils, bath salts, and other products.

As you can imagine, it smells amazing here and the views are incredible. We enjoyed the tour and picked up a few products to take with us before heading to our next stop.

Rovinj would quickly become one of my favorite spots in Europe. From the sea to the cobblestone streets filled with cafes, and historical church on a hill, it was everything you dream a quaint Croatia town to be.

After parking at the cruise ship port, we walked through a market filled with fresh fruit, truffles, and olive oils, all typical for this area.

We toured through the old city and you could see the Venetian influence here. It was not surprising since Venice was just on the other side of the Adriatic. I love the glimpses of the sea between the buildings.

The St. Euphemia Basilica in Rovinj was stunning and as we walked past the shops and restaurants I was glad we would be coming back again.

On the way back to spend another night in Bi Village we stopped at Alla Beccacia for dinner. We had soup, meat, and fish at this authentic Italian restaurant. With more wonderful Istrian wine. We were all too full and tired for dessert, though.

Back at our little house in the village, Lynn and I went right to sleep. I think I could still smell the relaxing lavender on my clothes as it was my best night sleep in a while.

We needed plenty of rest for a beach filled day four in Istria, and, weather permitting, my first shot at windsurfing and paddle boarding. 

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