There was no rolling out of camp today since today was beach day! We have thus far very much enjoyed the beautiful city of Rovinj, and thus decided to stay another day.
Rovinj is an absolutely beautiful city set on a narrow peninsula that rises out of the Adriatic Sea. It used to be an island, but population expansion in the 1700’s persuaded the people to fill in the strait separating it from the mainland to allow real estate for the growth of the city. In the middle of the domed island on which the old part of the city and harbor is built sits the church, which stands high above the surrounding buildings. The old part of town is filled with true galleries, where studios can be seen behind the shop limits and artists can occasionally be seen creating their products. When you add in the narrow, cobblestoned streets and the busy harbor, Rovinj truy is a beautiful city.
While Bree slept this morning, I took my bike into town to explore a more quiet version with softer morning light. The streets which the evening before had been bustling with a pleasant mix of locals, tourists, and artists were now completely empty, creating a much different atmosphere. Even the one heavily touristed part of the town – the church (which contains in addition to several pieces of art and altars a gift shop full of trash and trinkets) – was quiet.
The rest of the day was spent drinking cacao (hot chocolate) in a local cafe and hanging out on a quiet pebbled beach. The water here is amazingly clear, and a little chilly! That didn’t stop us from wading into the water and even taking a swim. It is apparent that we have some serious sunscreen routines, though. Our arms, legs, necks, and faces were spared the sun’s wrath. Even though we thought we were doing good – even reapplying periodically – we failed at thoroughly sunscreening and have a few red spots and stripes!
Our guide book describes Rovinj, as well as the entirety of the Istrian coast, as overtouristed and overbuilt. It is amazing, though, that in this “overtouristed” place that we can see miles of undisturbed pine forest along the coastline without any hotels or even roads nearby. Even Rovinj feels very unpretentious and very quiet in spite of the small cruise ship that was in port today. The grocery shopping is plentiful, though cheese here seems to be in short supply! We will have to do some reading to figure out what the locals actually eat. Our campgrounds thus far, which have been located not more than a kilometer or two from the center of town, have felt as if they were in the middle of nowhere. If this is overtouristed Croatia, than we will gladly take it.