02.07.2013 - 02.07.2013
Our plan today was to visit Pula (POO-lah) in the morning and spend the afternoon and evening in Rovinj (roh-VEEN).
We got up this morning and Jen didn't feel good after we grabbed breakfast. I went out and got her bread and some bubbly pop for her stomach. She told me to go hang out and come back in an hour and she would feel better. I wandered the town and climbed the bell tower.
View of the town
Town gate with Venetian Lion, Istria was part of the Venetian Republic.
This is a fisherman's town. Many of the town lanes end right in the water. Fishermen would pull their boats up directly to the end of the town streets.
Homes on the water
View of harbor from bell tower
Twisty town lane
After I returned, Jen said she was going to take a nap. After some arguing back and forth she insisted I drive to Pula, and that she would feel better by the time I return. I sent for the car.
Pula was not a very attractive town, but it has some really cool Roman ruins, as it was a important Roman town. It has one of the best preserved Roman amphitheaters in the world.
They still have concerts in the amphitheater
Buildings that were part of the old Roman forum
Development is difficult in Pula. Frequently when vacant lots in Pula are excavated to put up new buildings, they find archeological ruins and construction stops.
A mosaic found under a parking lot.
A mothballed construction site that was full of ancient Roman jugs
On the way back from Pula to Rovinj I planned to stop at an unusual church in the small town of Vodnjan. I didn’t know exactly where in town the church was, so I headed to the city center. Unfortunately the streets got extremely narrow and it made for nervous driving. So after I escaped the center I decided to skip the church and head back to Rovinj. But as I headed north and skirted the town I finally caught a glimpse of the church nearby, so I parked in a nearby lot and walked a couple blocks. The church did not seem very unique, so I originally thought that I was in the wrong church. Then after exploring the interior a bit, I saw an area roped off in the corner with a bunch of leaflets. Talking to a young person manning the area, he told me that it was the entrance to the museums and admission included an opportunity to view the mummies. The museum had interesting relics, like a supposed thorn from Jesus’ crown, and the bones of many saints. However, the most interesting and creepy part of my visit was actually stepping behind the curtain-draped alter to view the mummies. The docent left me alone with the mummies and played a tape describing what these holy people did while they were alive and how they died, which was usually gruesome. At the end of the tape it gave various scenarios of how such bodies could resist decomposing (certain poisonings, embalming, certain properties of the soil where they were buried, ect.). The recording then dismissed all the explanations it posed for preserving the bodies and suggested that there might be some things science can’t explain. This made me laugh as a scientist myself, because the tape was basically postulating hypotheses, then dismissing them based on evidence, which sounds like a scientific process to me.
Returning to Rovinj I started feeling guilty for abandoning my wife. I showed up to the hotel reception so I could retrieve a second key and get into the room, but Jen was on the couch in the reception area reading and waiting for me. Turns out I had perfect timing, Jen woke up only a half hour ago and was feeling better. We made reservations for dinner at La Puntuleina.
Walking out to La Puntuleia
We were shown to a table on a outdoor balcony overlooking the water. Below the restaurant balcony they had some tables set up on the rocks, which looked really cool until a boat wake came up on the rocks and almost drug a chair away from the table. The balcony tables had wonderful views, but the tables were cramped together. We were sitting right next to another group of people, who I could tell was asking the waitress if she could smoke. Unfortunately I must have done a poor job of hiding my displeasure. I was concerned Jen didn't feel good earlier in the day, and now she has to deal with potential asthma problems from smoke. They seemed concerned about my telling reaction, and I felt a little ashamed and embarrassed because I might have come off a little rude. I pointed to Jen and said 'asthma'. After this they were all then very apologetic, and the woman said something equivalent to no problem and got up to smoke elsewhere. We asked for a wine recommendation from the waitress, which resulted in us ordering the same bottle as the table next to us. Showing them the wine when it arrived, we all smiled and laughed.
Dinner boats below us
View of the town on the way back to bed.