Volosko, Croatia

This time last year I was in Croatia, and right about now I am really itching to go back. If the weather is as nice as it was for us, it is the perfect time to be there. No crowds, everything is still a little sleepy, however the locals are busy going about their days, which to me adds to the whole experience.

I imagine most of us have special places from our childhood that we are drawn back  to. Volosko is one of those places for me. It is a tiny fishing community right next to the resort town Opatija, where we used to go to the beach when I was a child. Small, narrow passages, a little harbor with colorful boats, art galleries, restaurants by the water, and in the last 10 years it has also become a foodie destination.

This is my favorite approach from the top, descending down into the village with these great views of the Adriatic Sea.

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I love this beach for the views but the water is not the cleanest, since it is nestled between the port city Rijeka and the harbor above. I found cleaner beaches with clear water in Cres and Mošćenička Draga. Those are all pebble beaches, so bring water shoes.

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Every pathway has a glimpse of the water. I love these narrow walkways, it feels so intimate. There will be laundry drying, cats sleeping, little flower posts everywhere. IMG_2868IMG_2844.jpg

There are great places like Plavi Podrum right by the water (above picture: the restaurant with the blue awning), but I wanted to try a new to me place. Konoba Tramerka was a great farm to table find through my favorite travel website Frank About Croatia. Tucked away in a maze of little passages it was not easy to find. But ask the locals for direction, they will point you to it. I loved the old brick building and the cozy atmosphere inside. My favorite was the appetizer punjeni njoki s pršut (Gnocchi filled with ham – local ham that is, as in they know the pig farmer personally). As I was drooling over their olive oil, my waiter immediately called his supplier and arranged a couple bottles for me. I brought two bottles of Mate home and wished I had ten more. Later I found out Donald Sutherland had dined there and raved about the Risotto. On my list for next time. konoba tramerka, voloskoIMG_3078volosko, croatiaIMG_2863volosko, green shuttersIMG_0651

How cute is this local mural, depicting Volosko?

My mom is heading there as we speak, I’m so jealous. Have you been to this area, anything I missed?

Have a wonderful day,

Sofija

 

Volosko, Croatia

The Island of Cres, Croatia

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Croatia has many islands which are easily accessible from the mainland. The island of Cres is about a 2 hour boat ride  from Opatija. We docked at Beli, the oldest village on the island, that is also a wildlife sanctuary. The pebble beach was so inviting with blue water so clean and clear, we decided to right there and not hike up 15 min to the village.

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Rocky sea shores, the smell of salt water, blues skies, the occasional fish (maybe a dolphin?) jumping out of the water. For lunch we had fresh fish, salad, potatoes, and local wine. All that accompanied by our host playing the accordion. Life was pretty near perfection.

Sofija

All pictures where taken by Sofija Burton with the iPad or Cannon Rebel. Except for the bird pictures, those were taken by Esther Burton. The excursion we took is called Fish Picnic, a really fun experience.

The Island of Cres, Croatia

Finn’s First Trip to Europe

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My little man turns 16 today, hard to believe! I went through some old pictures and thought I could share some more pictures from our epic Europe trip back in 2000. Way back when we only had one child. We schlepped the poor kid all over Europe; he was barely 2. We went to Germany (Frankfurt, Duesseldorf, Bavaria, and the Black Forest), Holland, and Croatia. Needles to say  he is not always happy on the pictures.

Here he is with us near Nuernberg. We were staying with my friend Chrissy’s family and had just climbed up some little peak. Love the hat David is wearing.

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In the next picture we are in Croatia enjoying some ice cream right by the Adriatic Sea. Good times. You can find more Croatia pictures here and here.

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The next one is pretty self explanatory…Silly Americans!! We were in Holland for my friend from high-school’s wedding.

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The next one is one of my favorites, Finn and his new friend. We were somewhere near Duesseldorf.

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Next some pictures with my family. Here is my beautiful sister. These two were quite the pair. My sister took him shopping and Finn loved tagging along with her and her friends.

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And my mom. He got the special treatment from Oma which involved lots of trips to the park, ice cream, and a brand new tricycle.

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I get nostalgic every time I look at these.

These were the last pictures we took on a non digital Canon camera, but we had them digitalized right away.

Have a great day,

Sofija

If you like travel posts, here are two from a more recent trip two years ago: an old castle and our visit to the Playmobil Park.

 

 

Finn’s First Trip to Europe

Opatja, Croatia

018_14AThere is a place in Europe that is so beautiful yet hardly known. Growing up I spend many summers there, because my family leaves nearby. Opatja is a small town on the Adriatic coast. It has changed hands frequently in the past. It has been part of Italy, former Yugoslavia, and now it is part of Croatia. Because of its history it has an Italian look and feel to it. That is what gives its flair. These pictures were taken in 2000, when I took my husband and then 2 year old son on their first trip to Europe. I dug these pictures out of my closet today and I am reliving the memory of this special trip.

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Opatja sits right on the Adriatic sea and has pebbled beaches and pedestrian walk ways all along the shore. I have fond memories of walking, walking, and walking (it’s a European thing), for miles, passing hotels, restaurants, and even an open air movie theatre. Here is the beach more known to the locals.

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I love walking though these narrow streets that only aunt size cars can navigate. Looking at these old houses, with crumbling facades, and old doors.
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After all that bragging about walking, here we are in a water taxi (a first for me). Taking in the scenery a little faster. Behind my husband is the center of Opatja, with the big hotels, where most of the tourists hang out.
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Gosh, I am fond of these two. 019_15A

A local church in town.

034_30AA local woman selling hand made lace, something Croatians are known for. Traditionally women wear black for one year when they mourn the death of a parent or spouse. I don’t remember my grandma ever wearing anything but black.
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Here is the center where local vendors sell merchandise, or local artist draw tourists. Everything is within walking distance from here: Shops, restaurants (do try the local filled pastry called Burek), coffee shops, galleries, parks, etc.
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What do you think? Will you add Croatia to your itinerary on your next trip to Europe? I highly recommend it. People are very friendly, and they try to speak your language more than in Italy or France.

Do let me know when you are going, I will have a shopping list for you.

-Sofija

Opatja, Croatia