Sunday morning we decided to go explore around Rovinj. But first, some different little boreks from the bakery–one spinach, the other sour cherry.

The weather was cloudy though warm, so we wore our bathing suits in case we found a beach to hang out on. I’d found a website that detailed some of the surrounding beaches, so armed with the site and the GPS we collected the car from the free parking lot, and off we went. I’d read a description of Cisterna Bay which sounded appealing. The GPS helpfully told me how to get to Cisterna in Italy, but was silent about Croatia. So we followed the vague directions from the website…”and in order to continue your journey to Cisterna Bay, you have to take the unasphalted logging path which turns left some 10 meters before the Camping entry. You have to turn left before the Camping Mon Paradis and then follow the road, turning right at every crossroads until you reach the bay. “

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Well, we followed several gravel roads through the bushes, turned into someone’s driveway, had one argument, backtracked, and eventually glimpsed water. We saw a tiny parking area, and continued down the road a bit to where another car was parked in an olive grove. I don’t know if we landed at Cisterna, but we certainly found a gorgeous little cove.

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Crystal clear water, stony beach, and a handful of people. Just lovely. And yes, there was one nekkid lady. Not me.

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We were ready to move on by lunchtime, so went in search of a place to eat. This area has many camping parks and informal restaurants, but many of the restaurants only served dinner. We drove by one place that was open, with a sign with a smiling pig and a big wood burning BBQ that had Larry sniffing for grilled meat. Kids playing on a fabulously old fashioned playground, large tables of families happily chowing on huge piles of food.  We started with an octopus salad which was tasty, and then shared an enormous platter of mixed grilled meat. Lamb, skewers of pork, slices of pork, tiny sausages, and chicken on a pile of french fries and some intriguing vegetable dishes. I particularly liked thin slices of a smoky pork, and the slightly piquant red pepper/tomato mixture that reminded me of a Moroccan salad I’ve had. Wine, coffee, and we refused the offer of grappa. It’s called Kanoba Mezza Brenta, and I have no idea what road it was on. Look for the smiling pig.

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After lunch we went in search of the Bronze Age Monkodonja hill fort nearby. Amazingly, there was a sign at the turn off point. Monkodonja was inhabited between 2000 and 1200 BC. It had several rings of walls, some of them doubled to increase their thickness; an acropolis; many homes and workshops; and at its height perhaps 1000 inhabitants. And the builders certainly picked a beautiful piece of real estate to defend, with a fine view down the hill to the sea.

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We were the only ones there, and enjoyed picking our way through the walls and different areas in the silence. There are some informative signs to help make sense of what you’re seeing.

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Dinner was the local prosciutto, truffle cheese, apricots and bread. And oh yeah, wine.

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