After months of planning and late night group chats on WhatsApp, we were finally on our way. We met up at O.R. Tambo Airport. Excited, enthusiastic and more than ready to embark on our 92km Walk through the Istria Vineyards and Villages in Croatia.
Our goal, besides completing the 92km, was to raise funds for Restmount Children's Holiday Home.
The last reasonably priced drink we'd have until our return.
Abu Dhabi Airport - all smiles but starting to feel weary.
Leaving one country in winter and arriving in another in the middle of their summer is quite an adjustment. Turned out they were in a middle of a heatwave! A fact that would impact the days ahead. We also learnt that ice is not readily available and for most part it seemed we were the strange ones for asking for ice in the first place!
Fiore Tour Guide, Ilija, met us at Trieste Airport and transported us from the airport to Casa la Parenzana , our base for the next 2 nights.
Parenzana essentially means Istria Railway
The best place to sit for WiFi access
Having a good laugh with Perro
On arriving there Illija handed us 5 contour maps, one for each day, and one Road Book with written instructions
Brief sentences interspersed with pictures of landmarks. He went through the 5 days of walking in less than 10 minutes. After being in transit for close on 36 hours none of us had fully functioning brains. As much as we tried to focus, it was too much to take in.
The routes throughout the whole walk turned out to not always be that clear. Some paths were overgrown and we couldn’t always find the red and blue or red and white markers they referred to – painted either on a tree or a rock.
Our main concern was that the instructions measured distances to landmarks, by minutes. Have you seen us? We’re all different heights, different levels of fitness and most definitely different ways of walking. We tried timing ourselves and did all manner of mathematical calculations to see if we could map our pace to the instructions. We soon realized the only way to do it was to focus on the actual landmarks.
Anyway, our first night was full of fun and laughter. Our waiter for the night, Perro, must’ve thought we were the craziest bunch of women he’d ever met. His English was pretty good, but asking for ice proved to be a challenge. We soon learnt that the confusion was the pronunciation and meaning of: ice, eyes and arse! Much hilarity. It became a standing joke for the 2 days we were there.
Perro explaining the selected wine
He took charge of our meal and we were treated to: a starter of 3 carpaccio’s (swordfish, tuna and beef);
4 mains: zucchini lasagna, mushroom pasta, truffle penne and ravioli; and a variety of desserts to share. Delish!
Our rooms did not have air-conditioning or even a fan! Sharon tried her luck at getting us fans.
The owner beamed at the opportunity to help. Fan? Yes I have. Off he went and returned with a hairdryer!
We were all looking forward to a good night’s sleep in a bed rather than a cramped airplane seat!