It was a beautiful day in the high 70s, with the sun shining over the aqua water of the Adriatic Sea. The only thing my friend Lynn and I had to decide was what we wanted to do at the beach the next few hours.
I felt like I was in a dream when I woke up in our little cottage in Bi Village. It was day four of our Share Istria adventure and we were in Fazana, Croatia, just a short walk from the Adriatic Sea.
What made it even more of a dream was that we had a free morning, something I rarely got on a press trip. We could have a leisurely breakfast at the Bi Village restaurant – a nice selection of fruit, cheese, rolls, pastries, and eggs – and then enjoy the beach.
I was trying to decide whether to go windsurfing or paddle boarding as we enjoyed the view on the long walkway that went along the sand on this Fazana beach.
It was a little disappointing when we arrived at the watersports area and Antonio told us the conditions weren’t right for either, but he offered to take us sailing. I wasn’t going to argue with floating on this beautiful scene in front of me.
Lynn and I took turns sailing and relaxing on the beach. It was a beautiful setting and that thought would continue when we headed to Pineta Mare Restaurant, which was also on the water.
Two of the men from our trip, Nicolas and Rocky, joined us for lunch on the patio overlooking the sea. Rocky ordered a big bowl of muscles and the rest of us shared huge bowls of pasta, a fettuccine with truffles and a gnocchi in a cheese sauce. Both were delicious.
Lynn went back to our house to shower first and I decided to take the long way. I stopped at one of the Bi Village pools for some laps and then headed to shower and change.
Goran, our guide from Visit Istria Tourism, picked us up in the familiar van and we made a short drive to Pula.
Our first stop was at the Pula Arena Amphitheatre. This ancient Roman masterpiece is something I remembered well from my first trip. In fact, there’s a photo of it hanging in my living room.
The Amphitheatre had actually gone through some changes since my visit nine years prior. It was now actually being used for shows and a weekly re-enactment of a gladiator fight.
A museum was also added to the bottom floor of the Pula Arena. It contained the plans of the Amphitheatre and quite a few Roman artifacts. Within this very ancient setting was modern technology – the ability to take a self-guided tour with headphones.
The Pula Arena is far from the only remnants of Ancient Rome in this Croatian city. Artifacts are everywhere. We actually saw the newest discovery, found when someone was attempting to clear the ground and put up a new building.
Unfortunately for the owner, any time anything is found that is from the ancient period the land becomes part of the city.
Another thing that I recognized was the Arch of the Sergii, which happens to be even older than the Arc de Triumph. It led into the colorful piazza I also had previously taken photos of.
We then walked across to Parco Tito, named for Josip Broz “Tito,” a Croatian who was a controversial political leader, but a supporter of his home country.
We also walked by the beautiful Cathedral Assumption Virgin Mary and the office building that still bears five flags for the five empires that owned this land – Austrian, Italian, Yugoslavian, and Croatian.
The next part of our tour was in the more modern section of Pula. We went past cafes and clubs lining the streets, and the Mozart Theatre, before heading back to the Amphitheatre for sunset photos.
We were a little early so we didn’t quite get the sunset look, but I decided a selfie was appropriate, and then did another with Lynn. After all, how often am I going to be in an Ancient Roman arena?!
Dinner was at Kantina Restaurant in Pula. Lynn and I, who are both allergic to seafood, had a tasty beef dish. It was served with some flavorful yams, something we hadn’t had yet in Istria.
After dinner, we went to dock to see light show over the shipyard, but it started raining. The show is done every evening, weather permitting, with thousands of color combinations.
We headed back to Bi Village to get some sleep and get ready for a full day of sightseeing ahead in Istria,Croatia.