Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Croatia's Coolest Corner; Autumn Is the Time to Take a Leisurely Ramble through a Beautiful Adriatic Country

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Croatia's Coolest Corner; Autumn Is the Time to Take a Leisurely Ramble through a Beautiful Adriatic Country

Article excerpt

Byline: ALAN BESTIC

THE war is long over in Croatia, but the memory lingers. When I said I was walking along its Adriatic coast, in the Kvarner region, there were more than a few snide jokes about mine detectors. In fact it was beautifully peaceful, as I knew it would be - one of my reasons for making the journey.

Ann Knowles, who runs World Walks with her husband, Christopher, wanted me to help her road-test their new programme and I accepted because their approach to this walking business was nearly as flexible as mine. World Walks, she insisted, embraced the sprightly sinewy as well as the sinfully slothful. When she said I could thumb lifts and take taxis, I was hers for at least 200 miles.

Our launch pad was a languid farmhouse half way up Mount Ucka where the air was crisp and the living easy. A fig tree by the front door gave us jam for breakfast. Inside we were spoiled rotten by a housekeeper, a chef and Mr Drago, who said he would drive us anywhere on request, from Rovinj on the nearby Istrian peninsula to legendary Trieste.

Prising myself reluctantly from this paradise, I set off with Ann on Walk One - down the mountain to Lovran on the coast, then left to Nazade. On one side, the Adriatic shimmered. On the other, dignified houses eased their way up the mountain, holiday homes for the rich in Austro-Hungarian Empire days.

They are apartments now, but cling to an air of decent decadence.

Two hours of this leisurely rubbernecking took us to Nazade in time for lunch - squid stuffed with pasta and smoked ham, [pounds sterling]8 for the pair of us.

Then crisis struck - rain. Ann hailed a water taxi, which puttered us back to Lovran for another [pounds sterling]8. She had honoured what I had felt was an extravagant promise.

Next day we took a ferry to the island of Cres to walk and visit Eco-Centre Caput-Insulae in Beli village, and there I experienced my first and only hint of violence. My knock on the door produced a cacophony of snarls from a terrier, bouncing with indignation in the window. …

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