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Istria, Hrvatska pages

lead image for this date27 September 2011 : A New Country

Bok. (That's Hello in Croatia, or, as the people who live here prefer, Hrvatska. Who knew?) In Europe, at least in the EU, going from country to country is no big deal...

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lead image for this date29 September 2011 : More Towns ... and language

For all its faults (and Germans ... and in this term I generously include Austrians, because with a few personal exceptions I can discern no difference) I am coming to understand Rovinj...

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lead image for this date30 September 2011 : Across Istria

After a couple of days enjoying back roads, we decided to start our trip to Plitvicka jezera, Hrvatska's best known national park, by traveling across Istria...

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1st per in:|big deal. The money stays the same, although the language usually changes. In touristed places, a little English (at least) is usually spoken. Connections between transport methods are generally pretty easy. Well, today we entered the Balkans. You know the term, "to balkanize"? -- it means to whack things up operationally until they cannot really be administered efficiently. If you run your mouse over the adjoining map, and wait a bit -- it's a big image -- you'll see where we are now. We started on a Hrvatskan bus from Trieste that took us to Rijeka, a large, busy, gritty port city on the other side of a big peninsula. But then we had to get to the airport. "You can't get there," said the helpful lady at the bus station. The Tourist Information (TI) lady said "Not easy. You take bus, then find taxi." Well, our car was at the airport, so we took bus, found taxi. Not as easy as saying. Yes?|
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1st per in:|ming to understand Rovinj. Not to like, but to comprehend its problems and its helplessness in overcoming them. (More about that below.) It's proving a perfect base for explorations into the fascinating countryside of Istria. Today, two relatively little visited towns. If these names contain question marks – Gracišce and Svetvincenat (all those Cs need the little v diacritical like over the S, but it doesn't seem to exist in the 'Net world) – your browser doesn't speak ISO-Latin-2; on the map, I have been able to fabricate their diacriticals, so you can see them correctly spelt. How they are pronounced is still a mystery.|
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1st per in:|ia. The alternative was to return along the tourist road, a magnificent swath of asphalt that swoops straight across the heart of Istria. One of its most striking features is a six kilometer tunnel right through the karstic backbone of the peninsula. I have already written about the back roads here: narrow, twisting, following old trails. Going through towns, they sometimes pass between old stone buildings and walls that are barely wide enough for one vehicle.|
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