Monday, July 04, 2016

Venice to a Croatian Farmhouse

Monday, July 4th, Venice to Trieste to SKABE Farmhouse

Art leaves our Pension early to go to the ATM and returns empty handed. There seems to be a daily maximum withdrawal and 24 hours haven’t passed since we last took out money. We have some Euros but will be in Croatia this afternoon and I hoped to get more. We catch the vaporetto to the train terminal, arrive early and sit on the steps watching hurried travelers pass by. We find our train easily and settle in for the two hour trip to Trieste. It is a slow train that makes many stops but the time passes quickly as I catch up writing this blog. John reads his book, Snow Crash and Art jots notes in his journal and naps.

Our train arrives in Trieste at 12:15 and Kate, a long time friend from the states is waiting for us. She moved to Croatia nearly 10 years ago and because her grandmother was Croatian, was able to apply for Croatian citizenship and now has dual citizenship. After our excited initial greetings, we walk with her through the city to find a cafeteria that she recommends for lunch. (A cafeteria in Europe is more like a tapas bar.) On the way, Art is able to withdraw 500 Euros from the last Italian ATM that will be able to access and we are more relaxed with our pockets refilled. The sun is blindingly bright and the formal and expansive city square overlooks the waterfront. We keep to the shade and walk across town in the direction of the cafeteria but when we arrive, discover it is closed on Mondays. Kate inquires where there might be another similar style bistro/cafe and we retrace our path back to the main square and sit at the newly recommended outdoor café. Kate orders a steak tartar bruschetta, which they serve cut into four portions. Although, I am somewhat squeamish about eating raw meat, it is wonderfully fresh, well seasoned and delicious. Kate and I drink proscecco and we order salads and roasted vegetables and enjoy a wonderful lunch together.

Main square, Trieste
Kate, John, Steak tartar, Trieste Italy

The toll road from Trieste into Croatia passes through Slovenia. Two weeks ago, when we landed in Rome, our passports were never stamped and the border officials here are distressed that we have no point or date of entry into Europe. For a few anxious minutes, they hold onto our passports and I pull out a copy of our airline itinerary. Although I have thrown away my boarding pass, Art has his and the officers are satisfied and allow us to pass out of Slovenia and into Croatia. Our route is down along the Istria Peninsula and Kate drives the winding back roads to the SKABE Farmhouse where we will stay for three nights. The village lanes are narrow and after a few wrong turns she pulls into the gates of the stone farmhouse.
Kate, Skabe Farmhouse Courtyard
Marty, Skabe Farmhouse

This farmhouse has been passed down through many generations and is now the home of Mira, a woman my age, her husband and the part time home of her daughter, Maya and her son Robert and his new wife Angelika. Maya is a friend of Kate’s. The afternoon is brutally hot and we sit and visit in the shaded courtyard and tour their organic garden before being shown to our beautiful upstairs two bedroom apartment. John takes the front room with a tiny kitchenette and bathroom and Art and I take the more private adjoining room with a terrace. We check e-mail, relax and read.

Organic farm garden
Beautiful lettuce

It is after six before we leave to drive to the coast and to the national beach park. Kate makes several wrong turns before she finds the correct dirt road leading to the Safari Bar and it is close to eight when we make our way down towards the beach through brush and bamboo and find the quirky and secluded tables of the beach bar. A few remaining guests sit at rough hewn tables enjoying their drinks and children play on hand made slides and merry-go-rounds. John walks a slack line before we make our way down to the water. Kate and John go swimming and although the evening is still hot, the rocky shore is now shaded and I am not tempted to swim.

Safari Bar kids area

Safari Bar slack line

Evening time at the beach - too late to swim
Returning to the nearby village we have dinner on the terrace of an ambient restaurant. I order a vegetarian risotto which is excellent and we share pastas, fresh fish and a Greek salad. This dinner far surpasses the meals that we have eaten in Italy and the bill is reasonable.

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