Our Journey of Thirty-two Sleeps: # 31 and # 32! Rovinj, Paxin, Beram, Hum, Motovun, Grozjnan and Orpaltjo and the Frescos.

Sleep # 31: Rovinj and the Istria Tour:

With our local guide , Livos and car, we passed from Rovinj to Paxin, Beram, Hum Motovun, Grozjnan, Orpaltj, a fresco church/museum, wine tasting and a truffle-tasting lunch.

I really cannot think of a clever way to describe each town to you or a proper way to distinguish each sufficiently, so what I will do is lump the experience together, showing some photographs depicting the distant views of hilltop towns, the surrounding countryside and the interiors as well. Experiencing the hilltop views and then being privy to the centers of these towns is something we will never forget and something I recommend for you to experience first hand if possible.

The countryside of the peninsula of Istria was magnificent this mid-November. The colors were amply apparent and just beautiful.

The hilltop towns can be seen from a distance, raising anticipatory levels.

The town of Grozjnan poking through the clouds.

I included this different photo of one of the same towns because it struck me as very unique looking from a distance and actually, my jaw dropped when we first viewed this sight.

This is my personal favorite viewing experience among many unique and favorite viewing experiences.

Entering each town we were struck with the awe of following in ancient footsteps of inhabitants so long forgotten. Since we cannot bring back a particular individual, I hail you all who came before and hope that your life was good and you prospered.

Included here are some views of the environs of those who have come before us in these hilltop towns.

Olive press?

I wrote postcards and mailed them in this little town of Grozjnan, and just a few moments after we paid and stamped the cards, the post office closed for the day. Post office hours are from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., then the postmaster goes to another little village for two hours and then another.

Do you see the checkerboard flag? It is the flag of Croatia and there is a story, truth or legend, I do not know.  In 1062 A .D., the Venetian Doge held the Croatian King against his will. The King proposed that they play a game of chess, hence the checkerboard, for his freedom. The Croatian King won the match and won his freedom.  The Croatian flag is flown here with the flag of Istria and I am unable to remember the third flag flown.

We drove on to the outskirts of Beram to the tiny Church of St. Mary full of fading frescoes painted long ago, with an attached cemetery. Croatians take excellent loving care of their ancestors as you can see from all of the flowers, candles and other icons placed at the gravesites. All of the frescoes have important meanings and were painted so that farmers and others who did not read would be able to understand stories from the bible.  Our guide Livos explained his favorite fresco on the top of the back wall. called The Dance of Death.

The meaning of this fresco is that everyone dies and you should not be afraid because it is just a continuation in a different context.  The artist showed the highest-ranking people as skeletons, and depicted all the people of the community who will die, the oldest, the youngest, the most important rank and those with no rank at all.  No one escapes death because it is supposed to be part of life. No, I did not take any photos of the frescos. It was a very dark, very old church with fading frescos and how could I even ask? The lady drove miles to keep our appointment. She is the keeper of the keys and you have to notify her when you are coming and she will meet you at the little church with the door open, for a bit of a hefty price worth every Kuna.

Here is a photo of the unassuming church with a big special secret inside. This church is so remote that you would not be able to discover it without guidance. I think that its remoteness is what has saved and protected these magnificent frescoes that were here for us to see.

The lovely cemetery behind the church of St Mary and the frescoes.

Gate to the town of : Orpaltj

Little old lady with cane, broom and dustpan. I watched her for a while and wondered what she was doing with her tools. A few minutes later she was in full swing cleaning the street of her antique town. I smiled and waved to her, and our guide told her I was impressed with the fact that she was keeping her town clean. You can see her smiling in photo 2.

IN ORPALTJ

The olive pickers at the side of he road were only too happy to pose.  They even showed us from a distance the rake they use to gently coax the olives off of the tree.  They must pick, gather and process the olives within 24 hours of the first picking. Their first press is Extra Virgin. Our guide said the Extra virgin is the best, but they use second and third press for cooking which is good, too.

HUM

I would like to make special mention of the town of Hum pronounced (Hoom or whom), booked as the smallest town in the world.  Could be, but I think they ought to check out the town of Harmony, California. Either way it was a thrill to walk up to the heavy metal doors protecting the entrance to this teeny tiny walled and fortified town. The doors were opened and we entered to lovely sights, expected. The doors were used in ancient times to make certain that only desirable neighbors were entering either for work, visitations or protection. They say that Hum has become a touristy town with its two shops, but actually we were the only visitors.

In the vicinity of Hum the largest Truffle was found.

Doors to Hum are closed.

We made it back to Rovinj for a walk into the town to get the feel and see what we might have missed during our wonderful day in and around the peninsula of Istria.

Dark photo as it was quite late in the day.

Rovinj city street

SLEEP # 32

We slept on and off on  the two planes with major delays taking us ultimately HOME SWEET HOME.

I do have to report that the magical millefleur beads are missing. They have been missing since the hotel stay in Venice. Let me say that when we unpacked on the Seabourn Spirit (lovely ship, lovely passengers and lovely all around experience) they were gone. Let me say that maybe they were accidently left at the hotel or maybe I was pick-pocketed. They are just missing.  So those of you who were going to get magical beads will just have to wait, because not only aren’t they magical, someone else has them.  I will work to get more, the real magic.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for commenting. Thank you.

Until next time.

Sincerely,

Sheila

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