When I decided not to stop in Naples and go to Pompeii (yeah, what was I thinking right? Pompeii in Aug?! Met a guy who had just returned from Pompeii. He didn't look like he felt too good.) I chose to delve a little deeper into Slovenia and Croatia. Both countries are lovely and this time I headed further down the Slovenian coast to Izola, Piran and later Split Croatia. Stopped in Venice for a couple of days prior.
There were a couple of apartments I wanted to check out in Venice and Piran. Good thing I did because it turned out neither location will work for us. After this short re-visit to Barcelona and realizing how much I still want to return, I will make a more concerted effort (subject for another post) to find an apartment for next time.
Split felt completely different from Dubrovnik. I prefer Dubrovnik much more. Split seemed to have a large number of pregnant English girls living there? And numerous shoe stores. One from which I purchased a pair of sandals. Once you get off the Riva (their equivalent of a seaside boardwalk), few people spoke English.
Make sure you remember what the currency exchange is roughly because everything will be priced in the hundreds (Kuna). Their credit card machines don't have you verify how much you are paying before asking for your pin... And there is sales tax. I'm so used to the VAT, I right away thought an error was made after my transaction went through, until I remembered.
D and I were in Venice last June. There was a noticeable difference this time maybe due to the Euro crisis and also tighter pockets of tourists who still want to see new places but have reined in their leisure spending?
Firstly, there were a lot of empty seats at restaurants and lots of signs about cover charges or no cover charges. It made things look a bit tacky. We have such wonderful memories of relaxed dinners in pleasant restaurant environments watching boats go by. There was an air of desperation this time which ruins the magic of Venice.
From what I could see, people were just eating ice cream for lunch and dinner. Don't blame them, it was 37 degree Celsius, full sun, no breeze and humid. Others were walking around with pizza slices (5 Euros). The ones sitting down at restaurants were eating pasta or pizza vs seafood. Last year we had trouble finding an open table and school wasn't out yet.
I did discover a delightful new to me restaurant, tucked away in a courtyard. Two antipasti, a bottle of mineral water, an espresso plus tip came to 50 Euros. Even thought prices were higher than I remembered, the food was worth it and the people working there were happy, friendly and relaxed which made all the difference to me.
There were a tonne of tourists but not many were spending. I also noticed a decrease in number of smaller neighbourhood cafes. Shopkeepers gestured from inside the store at window browsers trying to get you to go into their shops. Not what I was used to. There were also more people begging -- Italians! Not gypsies. Some of them will follow you. Just turn around and look them straight in the eye so they know you know.
Watch out for cover charges at restaurants and outdoor cafes. Depending on where you are, you can pay up to 20 Euros for a cappuccino. Ask before you sit.
The Riva, Split Croatia
On my way to apartment check, Venice.
Delivery day on the Rialto.
These yummy treats are sold by weight.
Found in a little cafe west of the Rialto market Venice.
They aren't misshaped. I had gotten to them before the photo.
Main square, Piran
Salt flats Slovenia. They are well known for it.