Windstar Day Eight: Rovinj, Croatia
PHOTO: Taking the ferry into Rovinj, Croatia
What I remember most about Rovinj is what a relaxing day it was, a must needed break. I had made several friends on the cruise -- actually I think I made a lot of friends on the cruise -- and the night before, while we were sailing away from Split towards Rovinj, we had a bit of a wild night staying up until at least 4:00 am. I know ... me! The girl who usually goes to bed at 11:00.
While you may perceive the Wind Surf to be a journey filled with older couples (not exactly wrong), we were all fortunate there were so many young people on this cruise, as well as a lot of hard-partying older couples. In fact, the crew of the Wind Surf told us what a stark contrast we were to the immediate previous journey and how much they dreaded us leaving since we were "so fun." There wasn't a day when someone didn't make friends with someone else, and inevitably everyone was asking another group to join them for dinner.
The configuration of the Wind Surf actually is highly conductive to this kind of a rollicking good time. Post-dinner, there is always live music and "after drinks" both inside the main lounge lobby as well as outside on the indoor/outdoor space Compass Rose. This was where the young kids like me hung out after dinner, which I found out by surprise when my handsome dinner companion took me there one night. The music duo was accomplished and the dance floor packed! In fact, I would highly encourage young people to embark on these kind of smaller, luxury cruises because, when you actually factor in the inclusive nature of the food and drinks (not alcoholic) plus no transportation costs since you are being taken from place-to-place it averages close to $300-$350 a night, well within means.
Also, little known Windstar fact: the sometimes have online cruise specials where a $7,000 cruise can be had for as little as $1,500 so this brings the cost of your cruise down to less than an AirBnB!! FANTASTIC!!
PHOTO: Caught on the back deck late the night before (c) Sery Kim
So yes, we were all a bit lagging the next morning and Rovinj was the perfect way for us to ease into our last full day onboard. Located on the north Adriatic Sea, with a population of 14,294, Rovinj is an active fishing port and very popular for tourism. From 1283 to 1797, Rovingo (as Rovinj was formerly known) was one of the most important towns in Istria governed by the Republic of Venice. Famous places to visit include the Church of St. Euphemia, the Batana Eco-Museum and the Rovinj Heritage Museum.
PHOTO: The beautiful streets of Rovinj, Croatia (c) Sery Kim
I knew when I was in Rovinj I wanted to buy some Croatian wine. Since it is still an emerging country, there is no wine distribution into the United States and, by all accounts, the wine is fairly amazing. What I did not expect is how wonderful the truffles and oils would be. I doubt this is just solely due to the influence of the Italians and more to do with the geographic topography but still everything tastes so fresh and lovely.
PHOTO: Truffles in the famers market (c) Sery Kim
I had to refrain myself from repeatedly saying, "Look how cheap this is!," so as not to insult the purveyors of the goods. I also had to refrain myself from buying everything. My near empty second suitcase was, by this point, completely full with wines I had bought in Italy though, the previous night's festivities saw me rid myself of these bottles on the back deck of Compass Rose -- "What is wine for if not for a party!?!," I cheerily exclaimed.
I told the gang I had to buy more wine and we came across this great wine shop, set back from the rest of the main street Garibaldi. The store is called Binoteka Banulla and while I do not have an actual street address for it, if you put it into your GPS you will find it. There I bought the most brilliant Croatian wine (actually I think it is liqueur), two bottles in fact, and found this little gem of a bottle of grappa. SO FUNNY!
PHOTO: Buying two bottles of this Terraneo Croatian liqueur (c) Sery Kim
The Terraneo is super powerful and flavored cinnamon cherry. We had some samples of it and it woke us the heck up! WOW, so tasty. The lady at the store actually had to go out her store to her "back up store" to retrieve about six more bottles since we bought everything in the store and then some! An absolutely steal for $9 U.S. I am going to save these two bottles for a very special occasion, TBD.
PHOTO: Silly bottle of Grappa (c) Sery Kim
Afterwards we made a bee-line for some water and snacks. Lucky for us, we happened by sheer and utter luck to pick the restaurant with the best pizza I have had in Europe. Atlas Restaurant serves this mouth-watering Atlas pizza. Topped with mushrooms, proscuitto, cheese, salumi, ricotta cheese and a sunny-side egg, everything about this pizza drove my tastebuds wild with desire, particularly the marshmellowy dewiness of the ricotta cheese juxtaposed with the thin silvers of meat. Every aching bite resembled a medley of flavors which I have never tasted before, on a bed of moist and perfectly cooked wheat. I can't tell you how much I just wanted to inhale all of it, but, of course I shared.
PHOTO: The Atlas pizza at Atlas Restaurant in Rovinj, Croatia (c) Sery Kim
After we stuffed ourselves, we went back to the farmer's market to do a bit more stimulating of the economy. They are known for their soaps and these heavenly smells act as room refreshners.
PHOTO: Soaps in Rovinj, Croatia (c) Sery Kim
And finally I ended the day with some water sports. The Wind Surf actually has available kayaks, water skiing and this big trampoline. I hadn't noticed it until today, but apparently this day was the only day the back deck was open for water sports. I squeezed myself into my swimsuit and, while the water was absolutely freezing, we had a great time doing cannon balls off the side of the boat and the trampoline. Great times!!
What a fun and relaxing day in Rovinj, just what I needed after a night of crazy fun!!
PHOTO: Water sports off the back deck of the Wind Surf (c) Sery Kim