Hello! 🙂 Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegvina and finally… internet! We finally can share our first impressions from the trip! On early Saturday evening we left for our Balkan trip. The way we like it – by car, far away. We said goodbye to Warsaw eating a quickie at Harbińskie Pierożki, which is starting to become a sort of a habit. We always like to eat something tasty and nutritious yet light, before the trip. There’s no time for cooking at home or sitting long in a restaurant. Dumplings are a great solution!

And after that it’s time to hit the road! We did quite a lot of thinking before deciding where to stop first. Our initial plan was to see Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania and Macedonia. We wanted to spend the first night in Belgrade, then we thought about Zagreb, but Łukasz said that he wants a bigger treat after 1300 km of night drive! It’s worth ending in a small town that’s charming, that lets you rest after the trip, have a lazy walk, eat something tasty, drink some wine sitting in the sun. When he proposed Rovinj in Croatia I said yes after hearing two arguments: great views and… calamari!

We reached Rovinj in the morning – the Old Town looks like taken from a postcard – the cathedral towering over the city is the first thing you notice. We chose our destination spontaneously (on the road!) and didn’t have any accommodation booked – we did that plenty of times: in Europe, Asia or Mexico. But usually, we didn’t have to look for a place to stay at 5 am! This time we miscalculated a bit. Pretty much all of the houses had “sobe/apartments” signs, but in most of them, there was no response. In some, we heard the most painful thing after so many hours in the car – “we are full”. We drove around Rovinj for about 1.5 hours, slowly losing hope, but finally made it! The owner wasn’t happy about us wanting to stay for just one night, but eventually we managed to convince her!

 

Rovinj, Croatia, vacation, urokliwe miasteczka

colourful town like from a postcard

 

St. Euphemia's Basilica, Rovinj, Rovigno, Croatia, Balkans

St. Euphemia’s Basilica from the 18th century – the remains of the saint are kept here

 

Rovinj, Rovigno, Croatia, papryka, targ

on a local marketplace

 

A short nap, some regeneration, then a walk, chill, beautiful narrow streets and fried calamari – a dish that reminds me of vacation like no other. Reminds me of summer and of the moments spent in Spain or Italy. And they never taste better than in some little town in the south! I quickly added Rovinj to my personal list of charming places. Here, you can sense the southern way of life that I love so much. Feasting in the evening, lazy time by the carafe of wine or a cup of coffee. You can feel the atmosphere in Rovinj even more since one third of its 13 inhabitants are Italian! You will find pizza and pasta everywhere, ice cream or panna cotta for dessert and in most places the name of the city is written in both languages – Rovinj and Rovigno. When I’m in such places I miss my beloved Positano and the atmosphere of southern Italyvery much. Culinarily, Rovinj isn’t as good as Italy though – a usual thing in touristic places. But don’t fear! If you look, you will find something good! We managed to eat dinner in Balbi, a tiny restaurant in the old town, where there is a constant line for the table! The food is simple yet very tasty – pasta, risotto and my beloved fritto misto – a mix of fried calamari, shrimps and tiny fish. Just perfect!

 

Croatia, Rovinj, Balkans, travelling with a child

picturesque harbour

 

Croatia, Rovinj, Balkans, vacation, travelling with a child

narrow streets – we love them so much

 

Croatia, Rovinj, what to see in Croatia, St. Euphemia's Basilica

having a bath near St. Euphemia’s Basilica towering over the city

 

From a feminine perspective, Rovinj was a fantastic place not only because of the southern atmosphere, narrow streets and picturesque harbour, but also thanks to omnipresent shops and stands selling lavender which is quite popular in Croatia, with the one from Hvar island being considered one of the best in Europe. Little bags with dried flowers hang in most of the souvenir shops, some are so charming that I want to buy them all! And the scent! A must have from Croatia – mine is already in the suitcase… and it smells so good!

 

Rovinj, Rovigno, Croatia, lavender, souvenirs from Croatia

most beautiful lavender shelf

 

Rovinj was our first, quite spontaneous stop during our 2 week trip to the Balkans.

After Croatia, we’re going to see Bosnia and Herzegovina, then Montenegro, Albania and Macedonia. We can’t wait to get on the road again! On Monday morning, we visited Mostar and we’re already stunned! It’s our first trip to the Balkans! It’s also our first trip on which we’re only going to use a mobile phone for taking pictures. And not just any mobile phone but a HTC One (m8). It’s quite a novelty for us, since we usually carry a camera, a flash lamp, 3 lenses and a tripod for evening photos – thankfully, we still take a pram with us for long walks and do not have to carry all this stuff!

Now, we carry HTC One in our pockets and there’s no need to ask “Have you taken the lens?” every time we go out. We’ll see how it works on the road and how it handles pictures taken in various conditions. We’ll also see how it works in the hands of dedicated iPhone users who didn’t lay their hands on any other phone for the last few years. The first impressions are very promising – you’ll see the effects soon – i.e. on the pictures from amazing Mostar (Rovinj was photographed using an iPhone). And then, we’ll take you to beautiful places such as Budva, Kotor or Sveti Stefan in Montenegro. Then we’ll explore Albania and Macedonia.

If you have any recommendations from these areas, tell us about it! 🙂 If not, stay tunes – we’ll search and recommend 🙂