Most visitors to Croatia go to Istria, our largest and westernmost peninsula, for its coast, for Roman amphitheatre in Pula, for Brijuni Islands, for beautiful Rovinj, or for Unesco-protected Basilica in Porec, but not everybody thinks that they should venture into hinterland, oblivious to all the beauty it hides.
Last December my husband and I went to Istria for a weekend, and once again we decided to stay at the coast overnight, but to focus our interest on the interior of the peninsula, on the sights and paths that we had missed on our previous trips. This time the route was to take us from Opatija to Rovinj via Svetvinčenat and Dvigrad.
Map of Istria with a drawn route we took that day
We are always happy to revist Istria for its colours, architecture, cuisine and its proximity and semblance with Italy, but this is the first time we got a chance to see it in winter time; its land dry, trees fruitless, branches swept by winds, but the warm sunshine that day painted the remaining leaves nice golden shade and we were happy leaving the smog of the capital behind.
Our first unplanned stop is by the road where I spotted a traditional shepherd’s hut, made of stone (drywall). Kazuni have been in use for centuries, once as shelters (for shepherds), later for storing agricultural tools, and reportedly the same type of structures were used as dwellings in prehistory.
KAZUN – typical shepherd’s shelter in Istria
On the other side of the road stands a small country church built in the same style as many Istrian sacral buildings. Still, it was unusual to see it placed along the road with no villages or houses nearby.
A little church I know nothing about near Svetvinčenat, Istria
Half an hour later we are already in Svetvinčenat, a fascinating little town featuring a regular, square piazza closed in by the Parish Church, city loggia, several Renaissance houses and the monumental Castle Morosini-Grimani. This Medieval jewel was built as a square fortification with round towers and simple façade. In the 15th ct it was owned by the Morosini family who enlarged it while adding it some Renaissance features. On the other side of the square the quaint Parish church of St Mary’s Assumption is decorated with a distinctive Renaissance trefoil façade.
A shooting star ornament on the church was signalling that Christmas was just two weeks apart, but the place was magically quiet, with no people (and much less tourists) in sight, and we felt as the only breathing people there.
Castle Grimano in Svetvinčenat
The sunlight was harsh and glaring, contrasts too strong, and I knew that photos would be nothing to brag about, but I was excited to be finally exploring what seems to be one of the most scenic places in Istria.
Roberto Cacciapaglia: “I composed “Canone degli Spazi” around essential elements – the harmony of the triads, the melodic repetition and the cycles that follow the orbits of the planets and the structure of harmonics – the very same rules that Pythagoras followed to make the laws of the Universe coincide. Sound can help us realize that the space inside us is as vast as the space outside and that in reality there is no difference between them. Sound travels through walls – the walls of the mind too – transcending both time and space. Enjoy listening.”
From the left bank of the Tagus River, a magnificent, red-painted, steel suspension structure crosses the bay and takes you straight onto shores of Lisbon. All you need to do is follow its shadow.
25 de abril
Weekly photo challenge now appears on Wednesdays, but I will continue to post for it on Fridays. The theme this week is Shadow. Our blogger friend Restless Jo likes walks but she also likes bridges, and I am sure she crossed this one before. Please, join her for her latest walk in the south of Portugal.
This has been a month of watching/cleaning snow and reading Russian novels. Winter has been at its worst in the last 54 years or so they say, and besides enormous work load I did not get to do much of anything but the usual chores.
Still I hope you will enjoy my walk or should I say waltz in the snow.
P.S. This is the last post this week. I can’t seem to find time to post and to view my favourite blogs, so I will take a blog break till next Thursday (22 December). See Scheduled challenges for updates.