Day 19, Saturday, September 23, 2017
Today we drive to Senj, about four hours south of Pula. We wanted an early start so we can visit a couple of towns along the way. First stop is Rabac, which is a popular seaside resort.Even if we could afford these five star hotels we both think we prefer our little Arbnb’s .We wandered along the beach and found place to sit and then remembered that we had left the cell phone in the car, sitting in plain view, so we cut short our beach visit. I was surprised at how warm the water was. Of course our car is parked way up at the top of the hill overlooking the beach!
Rabac is only 4 km from the town of Labin, pop. 12,000.
We wander the streets of Labin and end up at the Gothic Church of the Blessed Mary’s Birth. I liked the book stand that looks like a little dragon. Closer inspection revealed it was only a bull with wings, but I so liked the idea of it being a dragon.
We decide to climb the bell tower. The entrance fee is only 7 Kuna each, about $1.40, which is so reasonable. I am surprised at how inexpensive the entrance fees to museums, churches and monuments are in Croatia. I don’t suppose it will be that way in Italy though. We climb up 68 very old steps that are almost like ladders to get to the top of the tower. This is the view looking down the opening beside the stairs which has the two ropes for ringing the bells hanging here. It is a long way down!
There are two bells at the top…
and great views. This is looking towards Rabac.
The narrow streets are paved with stone which is rutted from centuries of passing wagon wheels. At the front of this photo you can see that these stones are placed on edge so that they will not shift easily, They are at least ten inches deep which surprised me.
Many of the streets are only wide enough for pedestrians, or perhaps a burro or two?
We have seen lots of cats in Croatia but this is the first kitten and it is so tiny.There are several artists displaying their work along the streets. I wonder who buys this kind of art?
This stone wall was growing plants and purple flowers, they are some sort of campanula I think. There are hills to climb…and lots and lots of steps…
and then more steps.
We both like exploring these little towns that are not so ‘touristy’ but soon it is time to make our way to Senj. We decide that we will avoid the toll highways, which we soon discover is a bit of a mistake. We have about two hours of driving on very hilly winding roads with quite a few hairpin turns.We are both rather relieved when we are back on a major highway. It is much easier driving and certainly a lot faster. Not all of Croatia is old, we just like the old parts the best. There are more modern areas around the old parts of towns, with new fancy buildings and quite a few of these generic sort of apartment blocks. They are not very attractive and many of them look quite neglected and in need of repair. These are some of the nicer ones that we have passed along the highway.
This is our first glimpse of Senj, our home for the next seven days, and yes, of course it has a church on a hill!