Friday, July 3, 2015

Truffles, Mines, and Mistletoe - Day Five in Istria

My friend Lynn and I slept well in our last night at BiVillage in Fazana, Croatia. We were comfortable in our little cottage just a short walk from the Adriatic Sea.

We could have easily just stayed there and enjoyed the beach, but we had plenty more to see in Istria.

After a breakfast of fruit, cheese, yogurt, and croissants, we headed back to the house to get packed up and wait for Goran of the Visit Istria Tourism office to pick us.

It was the fifth day we would be traveling in the familiar van with the other writers and guests, Rocky, Nicolas, Andras, and Gyorgy. It was a great group and we were all having lots of fun together on the Share Istria Adventure.

Our first stop of the day was in Labin. I could never get tired of these small Istrian towns as they each had their own personality.

Labin was once a mining town and we got to actually go through a replica of a mine. I don’t know how those men did it, my back was hurting from being hunched over for just a few minutes.

After exploring the Mining Museum and the tools used for mining, we explored more of the artifacts at Museie Gallerie Dell Istria.

We also got to check out some of the art galleries in the town, which is very popular with artists looking for a scenic place to work.

Lynn, an artist herself, and I loved walking around the downtown and looking at the handmade items, but we didn’t have too long to browse before we got into the car and drove to our lunch at Konoba Vrh.

The meal there was my favorite to date. We had two different soups, Nettles and Minestrone, and three types of pasta, spinach, asparagus, and truffles. It was served with beef.

From the restaurant we didn’t have far to go for an activity I had been looking forward to since first getting my itinerary for the trip – truffle hunting.

When we arrived at Karlić Tartufi in Buzet, they had some of their brandy waiting for us. I loved the cherry brandy, but can’t say I’m a huge fan of the mistletoe. I think I’ll just use mine to hang up at Christmas.

After we finished our drinks we went outside to the vans. The dogs that they used for hunting were as excited as us, jumping right into the back of the van when they were told where we were going.

It was a fun experience I will remember and hope to repeat. We were running through the woods following the dogs. They definitely knew what they were doing and they twice found black truffles.

Before we left we stopped at the Karlić Tartufi store. I bought some truffles to take home with me. They were quite reasonably priced.

We then drove back to Rovinj to check into the Lone Hotel. We had been told this was a five star hotel, but, quite frankly, five star hotels in Europe aren’t always what you expect. This one was.

Hotel Lone is a contemporary designed accommodation with lots of open space. The same held true for my room, which had an infinite plunge pool on the balcony

Goran got to go home for a rare night off (he’s one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met) and we walked to downtown Rovinj for dinner.

The guys raved about the large selection of delicious seafood. Lynn and I, who are allergic to shellfish had some antipasto, including locally cured meats, and a tasty snap pea dish with pomegranate seeds.

We also enjoyed a few glasses of different locally produced Istrian wines, including a malvasia and a dessert wine served with a scrumptious cream cake and some cheeses.

It was a beautiful night for our walk back to Lone Hotel. By the time we returned we were exhausted and ready for a good night’s sleep – and our final full day in Istria.

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