Thursday 30 June 2016

Hello Opatija

Day 10 – For the first morning in the beautiful seaside resort of Opatija we embarked on a guided walking tour along the promenade. The walk passed along the Adriatic Sea and through many aspects of Opatija’s splendid past such as Villa Angiolina, Saint Jacob's church, the painted wall of celebrities who visited the city, Opatija’s symbol and the Croatian Walk of Fame. The afternoon found many of the ladies visiting another landmark…where they explored one of the two malls that were located in neighbouring towns.


Day 11 – This day found us travelling on the sea. We left the hotel early morning to enjoy a full day boat excursion to the islands Cres and Rovinj. Stops were made in Malinska on Krk and at Beli on Cres. While on the islands we enjoyed fun in the sun with water activities, jumping off 20 foot walls or enjoying a leisurely stroll along the seashore. On board we dined on local wine, mackerel, sardines, sausages, varieties of meat and fruit. Entertainment was provided with a local accordion player intermingled with taped Rock and Roll music. Most travellers were on their feet dancing to the beat, so much so we thought we might have to “Sit Down, We Were Rockin' The Boat.”

Day 12 – Off we travelled to Postojna, Slovenia (a 90-minute bus ride from our hotel) for a tour of the Postojna Caves, the second largest cave in Slovenia. The caves are 2 million years old and are located several hundred metres below the surface. We travelled by train to the what seemed like the centre of the earth. The temperature on the surface was 30 degrees Celsius, however in the caves it was 9 degrees Celsius. We travelled 5 kms through awe-inspiring stalactites and stalagmites made of limestone tinted with iron and manganese. Each of these columns or spikes takes thousands of years to form from water dripping down the limestone. In fact it takes 100 years for 1 cm of growth! We walked through passages, tunnels and ended our tour in the spectacular Concert Hall where sound echoed for 4 to 6 seconds.  The choir took the opportunity to sing “Fare Thee Well” to the international visitors to the caves. The sound in the hall was spectacular!!!

We were unable to visit the lowest level of the caves as the river Pivka flowed freely through the caverns. So, we boarded the train to take us back to the surface where sunshine warmed our chilled hands and feet.

Back on the bus to travel back to Croatia for our next stop. Here we enjoyed chocolate tasting at a local Opatija Chocolatier. We were greeted with a large slab of chocolate that welcomed the HHMAC and companions. Our guide told us of the many flavours that were produced in the building and asked the attendees to identify the mystery centre of one of the chocolates for a prize of 1 kg of chocolate. To the surprise of the group the centre was made from balsamic vinegar. A variety of chocolates were sampled and then back to the hotel to freshen up to enjoy a leisurely dinner at one of the many local restaurants.

Day 13 – Back on the bus to travel to our final destination…. Zagreb.

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