Sunday, September 29, 2013


It was dark when we arrived at Hotel Vista in Croatia. The staff asked if we had missed their country and in fact we had. We should have arrived several hours earlier, if not for a wrong turn. Instead of being in Slovenia for a few kilometers we had gone deep into the country. Slovenia is beautiful, but it was just not where we were going. Maddie had begged me to get a GPS for the rental car, but I felt confident that the maps I had printed from the Internet would be sufficient. We just needed to follow the coast from Venice to Vrsar. It did not look too difficult. The first clue that we had gone awry was when I noticed the sun was on the wrong side of us. When we passed a sign for snow skiing I stopped to ask for directions.  

Sometimes when you make a mistake it is a good thing as the kind man at the hotel desk told us. Wait until tomorrow, you will see. You are in Croatia now, you can relax. In the morning when we went to breakfast Maddie filled her plate and went to go sit on the terrace. A moment later she came to get me. Mom come here, she said rather urgently. The view above is what we saw. The three of us stood staring at the intense blue water and took a long, deep breath. We could indeed relax. If we had arrived before dark we would not have had such a lovely surprise. Being lost is okay, but we would try not to repeat it...  too often.

Addison and Maddie at breakfast

High on a hill, near the church steeple in the photo below Hotel Vista is nestled between a quiet street and the hill above. It is a lovely inn with a gracious staff and spectacular views. We enjoyed the absolute best breakfasts of our entire trip each morning on their secluded terrace. Homemade pastries, cakes, and breads, fresh fruit, grilled vegetables, meats, cheeses, and eggs just about anything you could want to eat was artfully arranged to please the palette as well as the eye. The happy, helpful staff made us feel as if we were guests in their own home. 

Hotel Vista terrace

The terrace runs the length of the hotel creating an inviting space to relax and enjoy the beautiful views of the water and the marina. Chaise lounges lead to the welcoming cabana below. It is a lovely place to sit and gaze at the water. I don't know what it is about water that is so calming, but I can just feel myself relax when I'm around it.
The view from the cabana below
A short walk down the hill leads to a rocky beach where sailboats lazily dot the horizon. 

We would visit the local bakery for a picnic lunch to enjoy after swimming and lounging on the beach. I fell in love with a spinach and cheese-filled pastry. The sales person tried to teach me how to pronounce it, but my mouth would not wrap around the words. It is a difficult language for sure. I don't remember what the pastry was called, but it was delicious.

Maddie and Addison racing to the buoys
Spinach and cheese filled pastry

We added Croatia to our European itinerary because Maddie wanted to go some place different. Addison and I were game because we love water. One of the many benefits of miles/kilometers and miles/kilometers of coastline is the extremely fresh seafood which we took advantage of as much as possible. While the Internet is a great tool for finding good places to eat never underestimate the value of the hotel staff to steer you in the right direction when you are hungry. 

Dining on the terrace of Trost which overlooks the Vrsar marina is a real treat. The view is pretty. The waiters are charming and the seafood has just come off the boat. Maddie had sea bass in lemon sauce with polenta. I had grilled scampi, that was tender, sweet and smoky. I would rather my food not look at me, but these little guys were so succulent I didn't mind. Addison had grilled scampi with pasta. The waiter presented him with a tuxedo bib to spare his shirt which he wore with great humor. 

Grilled scampi

When it was time to leave Croatia Addison and I walked down the hill a short distance to get the car. Maddie stayed with the luggage at the Hotel Vista. We had to make a loop to get back up to the hotel. It took a little longer than it should have, as I got a bit lost. Thankfully, there were several signs leading us to the hotel to help us find our way. As Maddie patiently waited with the hotel staff they joked that perhaps I should get a GPS - a GOOD GPS - next time... Perhaps, but it is not so bad being lost in Croatia. In fact, I look forward to the next time that I am.

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