[Not only is Kali growing up and starting to look like Mariza, she has now also started to write like Mariza! – Jarik]
From Slovenian Istria to Croatian Istria was a rather eventful affair with the border crossing. We did, however, eventually get through and went truffle tasting in the heart of Croatia’s most renowned truffle region. We visited several little hilltop villages and a castle. The boys had a pretend sword fight after we fought our way through thorny bushes to sneak a peak over a half broken down wall surrounding the castle. Fun fairytale stuff.
At exactly 6pm we made our way up a steep hill and into the village of Motovun. Our lovely hostess, Zvjezdana, welcomed us with cold beer and chocolate milk. What a find!! Our apartment is part of an old building inside the walls of the ancient village. The view from every window, as well as from our large terrace, is outstanding.
The entire village is perched on top of a steep hill with sweeping views over the surrounding valleys. Vineyards and fields of corn and sunflowers and the largest natural truffle forest in the world stretch out over the horizon. The valleys are surrounded by hills, each with either a church or a little village on top of it.
The best part of staying in Motovun is that every morning run starts going down the hill. I know this would be terrible for some (having the uphill at the end) but by the time you have to run back up the hill again, you’ve found your second wind, the surroundings have you on a high and you’ve had sufficient semi-flat running for a while. And, you have no choice. Starting up that hill would make for an easy excuse to go back to bed. The first five to ten minutes are in any case always the worst.
We had some productive school time here, despite the many attractions in the area. We extended our stay to fit in a number of great day trips. So many beautiful places to explore. The highlight, on Zvjezdana’s recommendation, was a day picnicking and swimming in the rough ocean off a headland in a national park. No facilities, but incredible beauty. You have to walk and climb a fair deal to get to it. Great way to keep the masses away!
In Motovun we spent lots of time wandering through the uneven cobble stone streets and on the old stone walls. And we had the best burgers ever, watching the sunset over the valley. Priceless.
We were sad to say goodbye to Zvjezdana and marvellous Motovun. We will never forget this wonderful experience, or the ginormous slab of chocolate she gave the kids upon our departure.
– Mariza –