Rijeka was both a relief & a slight disappointment. A relief because it felt good to be out of our drenched clothing. After Plitvice we jumped on the last bus at 9pm and headed to Karlovac to jump on another bus to Rejika, needless to say we arrived at our hotel in the early hours of the morning. We had spent over 12 hours in cold, damp clothing and we were desperatley looking forward to hot showers. It was a disappointment because the weather for the last 2 days of our holiday were gloomy, our hotel was noisy and there isn’t much to do in Rijeka. However when we booked our flights we knew Rijeka was going to be our least favourite destination, we booked to fly out from this place because it was cheap and it enabled us to travel up the Dalmation coast in order to visit amazing places around Croatia. Ideally we would have loved to have finished up in Zagreb which is the capital but flying out from Zagreb was expensive.
For our last 2 days we opted to stay in a Botel (a boat converted into a hotel) we thought this would be a quirky aspect to our trip, I mean it’s not everyday you get to say you stayed in a botel! It was a cheap novelty but so noisy, not only did we unfortunatley have a room opposite the most vocal family ever known to man with an energetically loud tween and screaming toddler (this toddler continued to cry & scream during breakfast-clearly very spoilt) but right next door on another boat, someone decided to have a giant, extravagant birthday party in the middle of the week until 4am! The manager of our botel was as surprised as we were and told us “That party boat doesn’t usually allow for parties until the weekend” and he did go over there to try and tell the party to turn the music down. It would not surprise me in the slightest that that boat party was hired by some spoilt rich kid celebrating their 18th and has absolutley no care for anyone else but themselves. However me being the up-beat & positive person in the relationship I always look on the bright side and to be honest, no holiday is perfect, things go wrong and you just treat it as a learning curve. It was fun to stay in a Botel and there were aspects to Rijeka that were charming and therefore it is worth visiting this city for a day or two.
I think if the weather remained sunny & warm then memories of Rijeka might have been better, although I am aware this part of Croatia boarders Slovenia and Austria so it is bound to recieve changable weather. Rijeka is quite classy with it’s baroque architechture, quaint art galleries and lush cafes giving it a glamourus Italian feel. Jon & I spent 2 days wandering about some exhibitions, gorgeous book shops and enjoying plentiful home made chocolate cakes with hot chocolate which to you might seem sickly but after our very watery time in Plitvice we welcomed some indulgence and warmth. We also discovered a beautiful Tea shop which I fell in love with as it housed all kinds of tea from around the world, the way everything was presented, displayed and packaged was a delight for the eyes, I would love to own and work in a cute little shop like that. That is something great about Croatia and Croats in general. Croats have a sense of class and style which I believe comes from their culture being closly aligned with Italians. Croats enjoy everything to a high standard from making the most delicious cake, to creating a well presented art exhibition to owning a beautiful shop. These people are avid readers, jazz and blues music can be heard everywhere and numerous individuals value having a crafty hobby whether that is to paint, make jewellery or write songs. Croatia to me is my slice of cultured heaven, I could live here and feel safe, enjoy the climate and immerce myself in the elegant and artistic lifestyle.
One hightlight for Jon was our discovery of a shop turned museum created by an avid collector of vintage & retro toys, games and technology. His museum is called “Peek & Poke” and should be on tripadvisor for places of exellence to visit. I enjoyed viewing old children’s books and vintage dolls and Jon was extatic to be allowed to play on a retro PacMan game! This place was created out of love and the owner was a delightful, cheery man who got excited when we asked him to give us a tour. He genuinley loves this museum that, like most Croats, started off as a hobby which then became too big and he was unable to keep everything in his own home so he decided to turn the project into a mini museum to share with others. Now many Croats and people around the world donate retro toys to his place and it is constantly growing and changing. Most Croats have a love for creativity and whimsy and some start up a buisness or project out of their passion for their art. Many artists own art shops, writers own cute book shops and jewellery makers can be seen selling their one-off pieces on a little stall in a market. I just adore the way of life here, Croats are just incredible people!
After 2 days in Rijeka it was time to fly back to the UK but we were already planning our next adventure to Nepal. We loved the laid back pace of Croatia, this holiday was needed because Morocco was so fast paced with early starts, many activities and late nights we came back to the UK exhausted (in a good way) but then we went straight back to work! We needed a holiday to relax from Morocco! This is what Croatia was for us. Croatia was a good balance of adventure because we travelled up the Dalmation coast but it was also relaxing because we spent plenty of time swimming in the sea, sun bathing and pottering around galleries, art markets & the old towns. We also managed to visit a whole other country as well, Montenegro is also worth visiting if you have time. It was overall a peaceful holiday and Croatia on the whole is absolutely stunning, I highly recommend visiting here for a glamourus European break, for a honeymoon or charming, quiet family holiday.
If you missed previous Croatia write-ups click on the links below:
Four days in Dubrovnik.
Day trip to Lokrum Island.
Day excurision to Montenegro.
Three days in Split.
Day trip to Milna on Brac Island.
A night & day in Plitvice Lakes.
Soon I will be posting about our 18 days backpacking around Nepal which also includes a video!
I am also on TripAdvisor.