We applauded our choice of destination as the airport transport from Pula dropped Mr Word Loft and me off at the Belvedere Resort, Vrsar. Cerulean sea, small islands, a busy harbour and glorious sunshine. The scene was replicated from our balcony but from a higher vantage point. Spectacular!

Down to basics. We searched for a supermarket and stocked the fridge with Croatian drinks and snacks, and were impressed by craft stalls and the fishing town on our way there and back. There was only time for a quick look around the sprawling hotel complex before going to dinner, but afterwards, we investigated the ground’s coastal paths. Blush-coloured skies and muted sunlight changed the Adriatic Sea to powdery blue. Exotic grasses wavered and aromatic shrubs scented the air as we passed by. And eventually, we came across a dreamy bar and sipped the night away.

Mr Word Loft appreciates a sea swim before breakfast, while I take time to get ready and have a read. Most days, as soon as breakfast was over, it was down to the swimming pool. A highlight of my holiday, Belvedere’s pool is a curvy irregular shape with a children’s activity section. Swimming around the circumference and basking under a parasol while youngsters splashed around was a joy.

The waterfront adjoins the Belvedere complex. There are several restaurants, ice cream parlours and bars with plenty of non-alcohoic drinks on the menus; an essential in the heat. Imaginative and zesty, I particularly savoured variations of the local lemonade, when sometimes different fresh fruits, elderflowers, mint and cucumber were added. So refreshing!

Leaving the harbour, buildings are stacked up the hillside, and like most Istrian towns, there is a church at the top. It can be reached via lengthy stone steps that end up in a small square with a bar, a small church, known as St Anthony of Padua with architecture resembling a loggia. There is also an arts and crafts shop called Butizin, selling stylish quirky products. I was surprised to see a  statue sitting on a bench outside. Casanova, the Venetian adventurer and author visited the vicinity in 1743/44 and wrote about it in his memoirs.

A whitewashed archway leads to a larger plaza with eateries and bars and two shops with apartments above. Kartolina, a gallery selling handmade goods on one side, and Aura, a family distillery on the other. On some evenings spent there, live acoustic music played, and I wondered what it would be like living so close. Windows were open, and a woman sipped wine in the shadow of her grapevine-draped porch, so I concluded, they thought it a pleasure listening to singers and musicians from the comfort of their homes.

Since arriving in Vrsar, all views had enthralled us, so halfway through our holiday, we dedicated a day to going to the places we hadn’t already seen. By bypassing the supermarket and bars, and up the steps I mentioned previously, we ventured to the top where there is a park. Lizards zig-zagged in the undergrowth, and the panorama from the gardens took in more of the area’s eighteen uninhabited islands.

Across the road, there are the remains of a Medieval Castle that was originally the bishop of Poreč’s palace until 1778, but is now owned privately. Next door, St Martin’s Church with its landmark bell tower looked cool and inviting. Inside it was tranquil sitting in the pews admiring the altar, paintings and works of art. The frescoes reminded me of blue Wedgewood with details in muted shades.

We sauntered back down small lanes and through to the larger and then smaller square, where over the weeks, we had sat and people-watched while having drinks. On a couple of occasions, we reached these spots via a little tourist train which also travels through more recently built estates, as well as streets influenced by various historical periods.

Wherever you go, there is an abundance of contemporary and classical sculptures, which seem to epitomise Vrsar with its medley of old and modern ways of living.

It was a superb base throughout our stay.

Until next time,
Sue. X