July 3, 2013

Amazing Places - Camping in Croatia

A few years ago, while living in Garmisch, we decided to take a road trip with our friends Lori and Uwe to Croatia for a camping trip. Google maps gave us 3 routes to pick from, all quite different from each other, but we decided on going through Austria to Slovenia and then down to Croatia, stopping along the way near Osp, Slovenia to climb. The climbing near Osp is fantastic! Unfortunately, we only had time for a few routes on high quality tufa limestone. 

We stayed at a campground close to Pula, in a trailer overlooking the Adriatic sea. Pretty awesome place with grocery stores, playgrounds, and restaurants right on the grounds.

Meals are 1/3 the price of other European countries
The beaches are rocky for the most part in Croatia. However, there are fields and grass close by to lay on instead. The Adriatic sea is super salty, and the fish/sea life was quite different than I am used to seeing. We saw plenty of hermit crabs, colorful striped fish, sea cucumbers, and sea urchins and no jelly fish thankfully. I hate jelly fish.

Quick Geography lesson. Croatia is not a member of the EU yet, and you probably thought "Is Croatia safe?" when you first read this post, and that is because in the early 90s, they had a terrible war from 90-95 with the Serbs. However, it is a very nice, safe country now with plenty of tourists from Germany and Austria swarming its coastline. It is located at the crossroads of Western Europe, the Pannonian Plain, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean Sea. Croatia borders Slovenia and Hungary to the north, Serbia to the northeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, and it has a sea border with Italy to the southwest. The section of Croatia we were in was a whole lot like Italy.

The closest large city to where we stayed was Pula. In Pula, a must see is the Roman Amphitheater (it is the 6th largest in the world).  
Quick History Lesson. Apparently St. Euphoria was dropped in the arena to be fed to the lions there, but they didn't eat her! She was 15 and would not deny her faith, so the Romans crushed her bones on a wheel, then threw her to the lions who slightly nibbled an arm and walked away. Unfortunately, the Romans still killed her. Her bones are buried in Rovigno, the only town I really wanted to visit that we didn't make it to yet. Supposed to be a like Venice without all the tourism, and you can also see Venice from there on a clear day. 
Hoping to return again for a longer stay and explore more areas. If you have been Croatia, any places you can recommend? We'd love to hear from you.

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