Colours of Rovinj (Croatia)

How can something as mundane as hanging laundry and peeling wall paint look so interesting? It was all I wanted to photograph. 

The light perhaps? Not the 'white' light that we often  get in Singapore due to the cloud cover, but brilliant light that streams through the narrow alleys, casting strong shadows on the buildings and all around. And of course the colourful pastel facades of these century-old buildings provided such a characteristic backdrop. 

I've heard a lot about Croatia from EB and his countless summer sailing trips when he was growing up. So it was nice to be able to finally visit as an extension of our annual summer trip back to Austria. We chose Istria, the peninsula closest to Austria (4-hour drive), and used the charming old town of Rovinj as a base for exploring the region.

It was high season when we visited, so the region was bustling. With its beautiful, rugged, rocky coastline, we were unsure initially if the lack of sand at the beaches would still be interesting for the kids...but they took to the pebble beaches like a champ and had lots of fun anyway scooping pebbles and building rock-castles. Days were spent usually with a mix of activities - by/in the water, in-land, island day trips, sunset boat rides, driving around the peninsula, and seeing new sights. I think we surprised ourselves by how much we enjoyed this vacation with two toddlers in tow, finally a vacation without too much drama! (No campervan break-in this time, and no one fell ill). 

A quick dip in the sea is always just around the corner, and something that everyone seem to revel in, whether it's in the middle of old town, or in some nudist (FKK - Freikörperkultur "free body culture") corner tucked away behind some forests. People seem to live in their bikini/swim shorts here, and lots of activities revolve around the water (lucky country to have access to hundred of kilometres of drop dead gorgeous landscape and shoreline). People are VERY comfortable with their bodies here and I've seen more nude bodies than I probably needed to - including a middle-aged couple who was driving naked (!)

In Rovinj, I got reminded of how sweet and juicy tomatoes are and should be, just like when we visited Santorini years ago. Something about the Mediterranean sun? We bought tons, and made fresh homemade tomato pasta sauce. Food in general was awesome - plenty of fresh grilled seafood, and with its history (Rovinj was a part of Italy), it had a lot of Italian influences and access to delicious Italian food is all around. Cozze and vongole almost every night for me, and gelato every day for the little ones. 

For two mornings in a row, I sneaked out before the kids woke up to go for a photowalk. Here's a little impression of this charming little cobblestoned seaside town in Istria, Croatia.


On the drive back home to Austria, in 4-hours we had effectively stepped foot in 4 countries - Croatia, Slovenia, Italy and then Austria - a reminder of how compact yet diverse this part of the world is.