Sunday, September 9, 2018

Croatia Bus Road Trip. Second Stop: Cres

One of my favorite European cities is Venice. And the sight from Riomaggiore over the Sea left me speechless. God knows that.
Sometimes he likes to amaze me with a nice surprise. So he thought a bit and then remembered that there was still a little room left on this Adriatic island called Cres - so why not just combine the beauty of Venetian architecture and the natural splendor of the Cinque Terre in one spot?!


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels - Cres Istria Croatia
Location, location, location: My Apartman is in the olive green house - second on the left.

Said and done, cute little houses were built around an unpretentious jetty, lush hills and narrow pebble beaches were added - eccolo: Paradise on Earth!

I'm not exaggerating, Cres is definitely one of the nicest places I've ever seen in my entire, by now pretty long life.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels - Cres Istria Croatia
View of beautiful Cres

I have to be precise here: Cres is an island and on this island is a town also named Cres; and that's the jewel. The island of Cres is connected to another island called Lošinj which is more popular and therefore also touristically more developed. I had my share of touristically developed in Poreč, so Cres to me was like entering paradise.

There is the atmospheric center - somewhere between cute and sophisticated. There are the expensive yachts in the small port, but there are also the old men with weather-beaten faces, drinking Rakija and having heated discussions in Italian, albeit the times that the Venetians ruled Cres are long gone.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels - Cres Istria Croatia
Italian heritage at every corner

The cold, clear waters can be enjoyed on small beaches within walking distance or larger beaches where different types of boats take you.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels - Cres Istria Croatia
Somewhere beyond the sea....

Too bad that more wonderful places are waiting for me: I would have liked to spend much more time here - maybe the rest of my life.





A quick side-trip back in time II


'Hush', barked the coyote, 'there are armed soldiers!' Our little group ducks in the high grass close to the electric fence. From far we can hear a shot and then a dog is barking fiercely. Suddenly the beam of a flashlight points in my face....

Yeah, no, it was nothing like that when our little family migrated in 1968 from Czechoslovakia to Germany - technically illegally.

In August, the troops of the Warsaw Pact had come on a visit to free the Czech people from the danger of western capitalism: Since January 1968, Alexander Dubček had been in power and things had changed a big deal. Freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of...many things that were quite normal on the other side of the "iron curtain" had slowly been installed and proved the other Eastern Block countries that socialism with a little freedom here and there was possible and quite pleasant. 

The government in Moscow strongly disagreed, so that on August 21, 1968, I woke up, looked out off the window and knew that something was on - since usually there was no tank in front of the small supermarket across the street. Now it was.

Since I was five, I don't know when my parents decided to lease Czechoslovakia, neither do I remember since when I knew it. I have the feeling that I knew it all along, but that cannot be right, it would have been far too dangerous to bring a five-year-old blabbermouth into the loop of a plan that could have lead to a little something like 20 years of prison.

So one day in October, we took the train. My mother and I that is, my father had to work one more day and would join 24 hours later.

We left Prague, we arrived in Nuremberg where we had a connection to Hamburg. 

Waiting at the station for the connecting train, we did some window shopping. Yes, it was the exciting, sparkling west: In one window, probably advertising for a toy store, raising a small child's desire, was a play store - run by hedgehogs. The customers were hedgehogs, too. The hedgehog thing gave the whole scenery a surreal glamour. But my covetousness was the shop. Man, it must be paradise run your own shop. Even if your customers are only urchins. 
'Will I get one like that?', I asked my mother. 'We will see', she smiled, probably knowing our financial situation and uncertain future in this new, strange country better than me. Of course, I would get one like that, we were in Germany, after all, now we would get everything we wanted. That's why we had come here, right?! Of course, I would get one like that.

My father arrived in Hamburg safely the next day.
I never got the play store.



Wonderful Cres is a good opportunity to write a little bit about where I am staying during my road trip.

Since usually I'm spending just the night at my room, I'm a little cheap when it comes to accommodation. However, I appreciate a nice room, but the price matters. But I'm not doing hostels. I love hostels - young, fresh travellers hanging out, exchanging experience...great energy; but I'm very, very, veeery uncomfortable sleeping in one room with people I don't know; actually, I'm also uncomfortable to sleep in one room with people I do know.

Well, Croatia caters perfectly to people like me.
Are you familiar with the Casa Particular system in Cuba? People rent out a spare room they have polished according to some very strict rules established by the Máximo Líder and rent them to...people like me.

Here in Croatia, you hardly ever use the common area together with your host, however, sometimes they just live next door. What you get is a small Apartman or studio; not always furnished like in Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, but with lots of love. You find everything you need: A clean bedroom, a tidy bathroom, a small kitchen or kitchenette - and lots of care by your host.
Actually, I think this is why it reminds me so much of Cuban Casas Particulares: The hosts get out of their way to make you feel at home. They offer to pick you up wherever you arrive, they don't stop to tell you to let them know whatever you need - they are just so nice! Genuinely nice!

When I got to my first Apartman in Zagreb and met Irena, the art aficionado who rents out rooms decorated by her artist friends, I thought it was just a lucky shot, that we got along since we are both so art buff.
But then I came to Poreč, and Martina was also so welcoming and nice and sent her husband to pick me up at the bus station although it was only a ten minutes walk to the Apartman. There he wouldn't stop fixing the TV so I could watch German television. I'd told him about five times that I didn't want to watch TV in general and particularly no German television...in Croatia. He finally fixed it, I never turned it on.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels - Cres Istria Croatia
Dolores' cozy haven is on the first floor in the olive green house - second from the left.

Yesterday I came to Cres and finally met Dolores, the sweetest woman ever, who had sent me about twelve WhatsApps to explain precisely how I'd get from the jetty to the Apartman - we're talking about 150 meters here.
Tomorrow, I'll get to meet Jasmin in Rijeka, and I know already now that she will be very friendly and helpful since she already told me she'll try to have my room ready early since I'll get there in the morning. I wrote her that I just needed storage space for my suitcase since I intend to hit the beach right away, but she sort of insists*.

Guys, if you ever happen to feel lonely in your life, just rent an Apartman in Croatia - your host will shower you with affection.


I'd like to know: What are your favorite accommodations when you travel - rather luxury or rather homestays or....? Share it with me and my readers in the section below.


* I will list all the accommodations where I've stayed in the complete guide on my Croatia trip that will be published end of this month.




Note to the curious reader: Like I did during my former trips like e. g. Cambodia, while on the road, I'll be posting little stories and reflections. 
At the end of the entire tour, there will be an extended travel guide with all the relevant information including addresses, links etc. 
Until then, just share some thoughts and special moments with me.



Wanna know about the former stops? This was the first stop:  




If you choose to pin this post, please use this picture:




19 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. I love a peaceful quite harbour town like this. And your photos of Cres look gorgeous! I too don't prefer staying in a hostel, sharing room with others. Which is why Airbnb works perfect for me.
    I was looking forward to food recommendations. Any good food there in Cres ? I love a good Mediterranean cuisine !

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    1. In Croatia, it's a mix of cuisine of the Balcans which is pretty heavy and a lighter cuisine from the coast which is very close to the Mediterranean style of cooking.

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  3. I've been following along on your visit to Croatia and thoroughly enjoying it. Cres is beautiful!

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  4. Cres looks like a beautiful little island. I have family ties to Croatia (which I know nothing about). The country fascinates me and I have a strong desire to go and experience it for myself. Posts like this stoke that desire and add more destinations to the list.

    I look forward to following more of your adventures in Croatia and hopefully I will follow in your footsteps one day.

    Thanks for sharing. Keep travel blogging. Adventure is better shared with friends!

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    1. You should definitely go - I haven't been to one place that wasn't breathtaking! Not one!!

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  5. It's seemes like Croatia has been so hot for travelers right now... was it crowded? Thanks for sharing about your experience. My family loves to stay in a place near most attractions. We sometimes spurge but mostly we go easy on the budget.

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    1. Yes, Croatia is becoming really popular. I'm here in September and some places are still packed. I do not want to know how it must be in July or August - fresh hell....

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  6. Cres looks utterly beautiful, a lovely place to add into a Croatian itinerary. I also loved reading your story about your family leaving Czechoslovakia for Germany.

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    1. Thank you, I'm honestly happy you enjoyed the read.

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  7. Cres looks a great place and i will certainly cover when i could reach Croatia someday. ppl like Dolores make this world beautiful. Following your bus road trip now. Keep traveling and keep sharing.

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    1. Thank you, I appreciate your encouragement. Yes, Cres was one of the highlights. Good thing is, it's only a bit over an hour from Rijeka which makes it easy to visit.

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  8. Cres is such a delight! All these small Mediterranean towns are so similar yet each is so unique in its own way. I bet you roamed through endless streets and poked into nooks and corners all day long.

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    1. It is just so picturesque but it has this 'real' touch to it that I really like.

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  9. Wow -- Cres with a bit of Venice and the scenic splendor of the Cinque Terre combined in one? That sounds amazing, and your photos made it look every bit of that. Now we have to visit!!!

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    1. Yes, you do - it's really beautiful and not so packed like other places.

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  10. Cres looks stunning and very colorful. I would love to visit this one day and also loved your olive green stay with jetty views.

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  11. Oh, I like the idea of writing short stories during travels, but I don't take my laptop on my trips, and writing a post on my phone is not an option. :) Anyhow, the island of Cres is one of my favorite places in the world. I am a Croatian, and I have spent the last five summer vacations in the camping near Osor. We usually go to Cres once a week- for a walk and the best scampi in the world (in restaurant Melin, should you be visiting again). Kvarner Bay scampi are indeed the best I've ever tried (and scampi have been my favorite dish ever since I was a foodie child:)). Enjoy the rest of your trip! ps- I prefer B&B's, since the host is present, but not too present, and everything is usually well taken care of (cleanliness of the rooms, etc.)

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    1. Thanx Anja, a comment from a Croatian is very interesting for me. What do you mean by B&B? The 'sobe'/'Apartman' where you stay at some local people's place? I did it almost everywhere - and the one hotel-stay was by far not as nice as all the privately rented rooms.
      All my hosts were just very warm-hearted sweethearts!

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