10th August 2014
Hello! On 2nd August I woke up at 4am to head off for London Gatwick. We were on our way to Croatia and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't absolutely ecstatic. I've wanted to go to Croatia for a long time which is why I persisted that our family visit Pula (a Croatian city on the East coast) this summer. Thankfully, they'd been convinced and we had no idea what to expect when we packed our bags and headed to the airport.
Landing in Croatia was absolutely beautiful, potentially among the best views from a plane I've encountered. We flew over Venice, Italy before arriving in Croatia which was amazing to see from above. Once we reached Croatia and began the descent, we could see various peninsulas and islands which was stunning. The water was fantastically clear and the land a vibrant green, providing an incredibly scenic first impression.
The weather was fantastic from the moment we arrived. It was a warm and sun-induced day when we landed around lunchtime. On the way to our hotel we drove through the city of Pula, with its fantastic architecture and picturesque antiquated markets and cafés. With a delicious (and much needed) lunch and a quick dip in the pool, we settled in pretty quickly.
The hotel we stayed at was extremely plush. Everything was really chilled out and relaxing, with soft music playing and the view of the sea. From our sun beds. I watched as boats sailed past (we were near the harbour), ate ice cream and slurped lemonade.
We spent most of the time relaxing, reading and essentially doing nothing - which was hugely appreciated on my behalf due to what has probably been the busiest year of my life so far. Occasionally we ventured out to play some crazy golf (which, incidentally, was less crazy than the Croatian people) or table tennis (which, incidentally, I was shit at).
On one morning, my family and I awoke early for a quick breakfast and then rented out some bicycles from a man in a shed. Note: the shed happened to be a rent-a-bike shop as opposed to just a shelter for someone's lawn mower. This was a highlight of the week for me, pedalling through the woods and along the coast. I stopped to take a few Polaroids (below) on my new Fujifilm Instax camera which I really love, then sat down to watch a family of particularly mental Croatians cliff-jumping into the crystal-clear sea. I preferred to admire this from afar rather than attempt it myself - honestly, I think I was more nervous than they were.
On another morning we ventured back into the lovely and historic city of Pula. We travelled on a city bus tour which was really interesting despite my accidentally listening to the commentary in French for around a minute before realising. The traditional shipbuilding city had some beautiful architecture, particularly the amphitheatre, and a heavily Roman influence - which makes sense considering Istria was conquered by their Empire in 177 BC.
All of the buildings were really aesthetically pleasing, though it seemed a necessity that every balcony had potted plants and a washing line of clothes hanging across it, I wanted to take pictures of absolutely everything but unfortunately we didn't have all day. I could've spent hours roaming the streets armed with just a camera and an Americano.
One evening, a huge thunderstorm struck the coast of Istria where our hotel was situated. Though the weather forecast claimed it would storm the entire week, we had beautiful sunshine every day and temperatures of above 30 degrees Celsius. This was the only thunderstorm we encountered but it was by all means fantastic! The lightning was really clear and I've never heard a clap of thunder so loud. I've also never seen about 30 people (who were outside drinking when it struck) simultaneously shit themselves, so it was a first time experience by all accounts. As my Nan so delicately put it, "oh well, let's just get drunk!"
A few days prior to our holiday, I headed into town and found my way to our local book shop. I wanted some easy reads, as well as a copy of Dracula by Bram Stoker because of its heavy influence on literature and film. Dracula was the first I picked up, and I paid an extra £1 for a 'Penguin Classics' copy simply because the cover was really nice. I then asked the shop assistant for some advice on what else I should pick up, He suggested I read 'The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared' which is a New York Times best seller by Jonas Johansson and one hell of a mouthful. I really enjoyed this book; it was easy-going, utterly bizarre and contained many 20th century historical references which pleased me as a history student. The other book the assistant recommended to me was John Green's 'Looking for Alaska' which I picked up simply because his lesser known novel (satire intended) 'The Fault in Our Stars' was such an easy page turner. Looking for Alaska was similar in the way that I couldn't put it down, but at the same time I couldn't help but compare it to TFIOS which was, for me, a lot better. Click here for my one sentence reviews of all the books I read over summer.
On my way back to Room 203 from the pool every day, I liked to take a stroll along the beach on my own. I've always liked having time to myself so I was very pleased upon finding a small rock clearing right by the sea where I could sit. I could've stayed there forever, listening to the waves' occasional crash and watching the boats go by. The place was a picture-perfect definition of my own interpretation of serenity and solace which was hard to leave.
My (previously mentioned) newly purchased Polaroid camera was my weapon of choice throughout the trip. I absolutely love the way most of my photographs printed and I'm planning to hang them on my wall once I've collated a few more from the rest of summer. You can see some more of my pictures on my Instagram and photographs section of this very website.
So that was my trip to Croatia! I believe there's a comment section below in which you can send me feedback on my first blog post or even tell me about your holiday as I love hearing about other people's experiences abroad. I'd highly recommend Croatia for anyone looking for a scenic, relaxing but architecturally enticing break and would love to return in the not-too-distant future.
Thank you very much for reading and enjoy the rest of your summer! Until next time, zbogom (that’s goodbye in Croatian)
By Jack Edwards
My Trip to Pula, Croatia