Monday, September 10, 2018

Croatia Bus Road Trip. Third Stop: Rijeka

I'm on a Road Trip, so I'm obviously moving on and on. Although I'm not racing through Croatia, I hardly spend two nights in a row in one place.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels - Rijeka Istria Croatia
A Croatian city for Croatians - but they share it generously with visitors from all over the world

If I had to choose one, though, it would be Rijeka.


Which is actually funny since initially, I intended to skip Rijeka all together: After having been to three cities before coming to the coast, I was looking for something else.
Coming from Poreč, though, I had to take an early bus which gave me over four hours in Rijeka before taking the ferry to Cres; there was no other option.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels - Rijeka Istria Croatia
Port of Rijeka - gateway to the paradisaic islands.

These four hours convinced me that Rijeka is a great place. It's beautiful and charming, there are tourists, but the Croatian life continues undisturbed. There are real stores where real Rijekians - or whatever the locals are called - are shopping for real things like clothes and toiletries and groceries. I cannot remember having seen one souvenir shop. But I've been to a wonderful farmers market taking place at two beautifully decorated halls.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels - Rijeka Istria Croatia
Nope, this building is not the opera house; it's the farmers market.


Huge and juicy and fresh produce, grown to perfection under the Croatian sun.
Between all this abundance was an old man sitting a bit crocked behind a wooden counter. In front of him about eight tiny bundles of chili peppers, six pieces each. He looked so touching - I had to buy chilis, no matter what.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels - Jadrolinija Rijeka Istria Croatia
The Jadrolinija building. Jadrolinija is the shipping company that's taking people from paradise to paradise.

I had coffee in front of the Hotel Continental and a soft drink in front of the majestic Jadrolinija building. I felt so comfortable and relaxed in Rijeka that I even adjusted my route a bit.
Okay, to be honest, the main reason was that I had foreseen a stop which would have been a bit complicated to reach. So change of plans, why not stay one night in Rijeka before hitting the road again.

A word and a blow, this morning I came back and did not regret it. The Apartman is not only located right on the main pedestrian street, it is also newly renovated - actually, it still has a light smell of renovation and new furniture which I like a lot. It's huge - big rooms, high ceilings*.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels - Apartman Jasmin Rijeka Istria Croatia
Apartman Jasmin. I'm not sure if there is a Jasmin since the owner is an extremely friendly young man.

Yesterday, I wrote that some of the Apartmans' furnishing would not qualify for Better Homes and Gardens Magazine - well this one definitely would. Too bad I'm staying only one night.

Besides being a beautiful, interesting city, Rijeka is also a great base and starting point for many day trips and excursions to the beaches and the countryside. Actually, I could have visited even Poreč on a daytrip from Rijeka.


* 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.






A quick side-trip back in time III



Hours and hours and hours in the back seat of an old light blue Simca.

One of the things my parents wanted to enjoy after they'd made it to Germany was getting to know places; the more, the better. Certainly understandable - many years later their daughter became a travel blogger, after all. But they did it in a quite obsessed way: After my father had determined the route, he had made the calculation with the help of his big Shell Atlas how far the individual legs would be, how soon we would get there provided there were no jams on the Autobahn - would get there, not could... -and how much we had to pay for gas till we reached our final destination; which, by the way, was our home, since this was a road trip - a merciless one.
  
So I basically spent three weeks in the backseat of this old car my parents had bought as soon as we arrived in Germany. 

Them, obviously, in the front seats, smoking one cigarette after another. 
In lucky moments, my mother rolled down the window a teeny bit. 

My father's precisely scheduled itinerary had some flaws. Besides not considering all the other families driving down South at the same time and causing jams, he hadn't considered that I was a seven-year-old with a bladder that was also only the same age. Hence it needed to be emptied somewhere on the road between Northern Germany and Southern France. 

My father was extremely annoyed by this realization. But he solved the problem; by buying a plastic bucket which should enable me to empty my meanwhile irritable bladder.

Since then, no human desideratum impaired his personal schedule anymore.



Although I really like it here in Croatia and do feel very comfortable in general, there are two elements that drive me berserk.

These elements are fire and water.

Water - bottled, with or without gas, no difference: It's terrible! It tastes like someone dissolved a fistful of Alka-Seltzer in the bottle. It's salty and bitter and really, really gross. Plus, I have the feeling that it upsets my stomach.
I would love to support the local economy by buying Croatian mineral water, but this taste makes it just impossible. By now, I've tried about six different brands: No difference worth mentioning.
I will have to switch to some imported stuff.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels - Sablicevo Rijeka Istria Croatia
My complaints about Croatian water refer strictly to the one in bottles.
This beach called Sablićevo can be reached by the city bus #1 in about 15 minutes.

The other element, fire, is even worse: Everybody in this country is smoking! Everywhere! At any time.  On any occasion.
When the overland bus stops at a red light, everybody gets out to smoke at least half a cigarette. Okay, you've got me: This is a lie.
But they do get off at any stop the bus has to make and they smoke and then they come back and sit next to me and they reek!

I cannot sit on the terraces of restaurants because around me everybody is smoking. It's like having lunch in hell. I also have the impression that the cigarettes here are stinkier than anywhere else. Or maybe I'm becoming more sensitive.

Seriously, it's unbelievable. Like in the 1950s when people didn't know about the long-term effects of smoking.

I don't like that the coffee here is often sweetish - I don't know if it's their way of roasting or if they add sugar when preparing it.
I don't like that people tend to jostle, push, and shove each other instead of waiting, giving way when indicated, enter and exit one after another - nope, it's always the law of the jungle; I wonder how British and Americans cope with this survival of the fittest way of 'queuing'.

But these flaws can be considered folkloric foibles - hence the smoke is just killing me - metaphorically; and those who cause it, literally.



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? Here is where I've been: 



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