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Born to be Wild!

Day 38 and 39 Zagreb to Pula

sunny 28 °C

Get your motor runnin'
Head out on the highway
Looking for adventure
In whatever comes our way

- Steppenwolf

Today was all about picking up the car, getting out of Zagreb and driving to Pula in a manual left hand drive car and driving on the right without a scratch, 250 km's away. We are in our Road Trip with no firm plans" phase of our holiday. We walked to the car rental and pick up our super machine.....brand new Ford Festiva with 6 km on the clock. Maps-Me app at the ready, we head for Pula and we were "looking for adventure, in what ever comes our way"!


Off we went, Jen perfectly navigated us out of the city and we hit the highway, feeling quite pleased without ourselves. And stop, crap, toll gate and no Croatian Kuna and we did not organise automatic tolls. With a tricky manoeuvre, we had to do a U-Turn and found a shopping centre to get some cash. Okay back on the highway and we were off, take 2. We discover though that the toll gate is the entry gate where you only collect a ticket and can pay when you pass through another zone, or exit later on. Oh well. By the end of the trip we're experts at the process.

We were on the A1 and it is a great road - quite new and our civil engineers back home would be very impressed.. Speed limit is 130 km / hr but in reality the locals treat this as a guide, whizzing past me at something more like 150 km / hr or more. Me, I was happy with our Buzz Box revving the crap out of itself at 120 km / hr and letting the BMWs and Audis fly passed me.

We arrived in Pula, our apartment was in a great location, a "Lovely" apartment and Valter, our host, greeted us with a bottle of home made honey schnapps.
We are quite chuffed with our location, about 50 metres from restaurants, icecream cart at the door which makes Jen happy.

Croatia plays Spain, so we head out for dinner and to watch the game.

It was one of those perfect holiday moments, sitting in a restaurant taking in the atmosphere, friendly waiter with a blankie for Jen as a cool air comes off the water, watching the sunset while the town kids play football in the square.
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We had a delicious fresh fish and seafood dinner that was amazing - eat bite was sensational. At half time we headed down to the "Forum" to catch the second half along with 2000+ Croatians all dressed in red and white checks. The score was 1-1 and a great game. The atmosphere was huge! When the Croatian keeper saved a penalty and the crowd went nuts - beers sprayed in the air, flares and firecrackers. Croatia only needed to draw, and the crowd was happy with that, but with two minutes to go Croatia scored a magnificent goal and the Square erupted with beer, flares, fire crackers, cheering and dancing, ecstatic with their win. Great fun and luckily Croatia won. If they had lost it might have got ugly!

Next day we are back on the tourist trail. After getting our bearings with the nifty scale model, and went to the Colosseum - conveniently 400 metres from our Apartment.

I had visited 30 years ago and when Jen first saw it she could not believe the size. Amazing piece of architecture and the second biggest Colosseum in the world. Jen and I wandered around and inside and Jen took some fantastic photos. It was a place where we could feel the history, both standing in the middle of the arena, where gladiators battled to death and many many many innocent souls were lost for the entertainment of those that would have occupied the galleries above.

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The Arena is now often used for Rock Concerts and a stage was being erected. We not sure if the HSSE inspector was having the day off or existed at all...
After local pastries and coffee with an okay view,

we wandered around the cobble stone streets, quaint narrow lane-ways, through the now quiet Forum,

Up to the small Roman amphitheatre and to the look out.

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears

Our apartment is about two doors from the chimney structure. We wander the waterfront, marvelling at the clarity of the water. Tonight we decide to have fish for dinner.
(fortunately these guys were safe)
It was nice not having too many tourists around but we knew this won't last as Florence and Rome will be over run with tourists.

Tonight we have a date with the European Cup. We donned our Hungarian soccer shirts on and made our way down to the square to watch Hungary vs. Portugal game.

Happy Hour is rather good...

We found a restaurant with a TV and devoured a great meal and put down 0.5 l jugs of beer. It was a great game at 3 all and this meant Hungary moved into the next phase. well done Magyars!

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After the game, being so close, we could take some very special night photos of the Colosseum, the shiploaders on the dock that are lit up at night in a clever light display and walk along the waterfront..


Pula was a great first stop and that night we also decided to throw our original plans out the door and head down the coastal road towards Zadar. Ah the beauty of travelling on your own, make the plans as we go.

Posted by tszeitli 22:49 Archived in Croatia Tagged football adventure driving car seafood roman_ruins tolls european_cup

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Again looks great. Having the place to yourself well almost. It's Friday now when I'm posting this approx beer o clock look good at your drinking photos. I might have some fish for dinner. Take care driving.

by Sumo

I am more impressed with Jen's attire! Clearly you are not an American tourists whose uniform for travelling are largely t-shirts and shorts regardless of gender...

by Angela Zheng

All good we dropped the car off, no stacks but the last half hour of driving was done at breakneck speed....this will be expanded on in the future blog!

by tszeitli

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