So we decided to have a holiday and headed off to the sea from Hungary to Croatia. It was a long drive (about 500km) but worth it as we were both keen to see the sea after a long period in-land (the last time we heard proper waves was in Denmark). There was some lovely scenery driving through Croatia to the coast and the only incident was the bee that flew in the window near the end of the journey and stung my leg ! Still M was on-hand to administer first aid, which consisted of "it's ony a bee sting, stop fussing... we're approaching a hairpin bend and you need to pay attention (this bit was shouted)". Still we got there in one piece.
We hadn't really read up on Croatia (ie : M didn't know what to expect because she hadn't read the lonely planet guide from cover to cover) and I'd picked the location using the tried and tested map and pin method and convinced her it would be fine. So we were both pleasantly surprised (and me relieved) to find such a lovely wee place as Rovinj.
It's not as busy as some of the other resorts on this bit of the coast and we had a nice campsite on it's own swimming bay just outside of town. Rovinj itself is in Istria and close to Italy, so a strong Italian influence, with good Italian food restaurants and scooters (so we were in our element), lots of Italian hunks (which M enjoyed) - interjection from M: Eh? I never even noticed, and I prefer lanky Scots to hunky Italians anyway! - and generally a nice laid back feel to it. We'd planned to stay about a week (our longest in one place) but managed 10 days mostly cycling or scootering to beaches nearby and sunning and swimming until we finally got bored and felt the pull of the road again.
We did manage a bit of exploring. We toured the Lim Channel (or Limski Draga Fjiord, to give it it's correct name) on a boat and then by scooter the next day. It was a nice spot and on day two we trekked down from the top of the gorge to a deserted beach at the edge of the channel. Having got there we realised that although we were wearing our bathers, we didn't have towels. Unbelievably before I knew what was happening, M had gone all "naturist" stripped off and jumped in for a swim...unfair as it left me in a difficult position. Swim in my bathers and be a wimp or go for it. It usually takes me a while to get into the sea (getting used to the temperature), not on this occasion though - straight in ! M informed me afterwards that her decision was based entirely on practical reasons - she didn't fancy going on the scooter in wet togs and also she was only following the example set by Edward and Mrs Simpson, who'd done the same thing in the 1930's apparently. I must add we weren't alone (we were on the beach !, I hasten to add), Croatia is quite a big area for naturism (it was purely by chance that our campsite wasn't one of those where you have to go nude, we heard about one with 6000 places all for nudists !)
Anyway "naturism" aside, we had a lovely time, with good food (lots of meals out in Rovinj) and the weather was excellent (mostly).
We did have one thunder storm, which struck on an evening out. We decided to make a run for home on the scooter (bad plan) and were thoroughly soaked through by the time we got the 5km or so back to the campsite (I don't think I've seen M in a worse mood on the whole trip...so far than the one she was in when finally we got back, particularly as she'd thought we said we should sit it out and lo and behold, as we were ringing out her nice white (now grey and mud spattered) skirt the rain stopped ! That's Mediteranean weather for you !
We also had our first van incident...a puncture. No panic, we found a tyre changing place, swotted up on all the appropriate phrases in Croatian and Italian, only to find the mechanic spoke English (which we hadn't swotted up on). Still he had it fixed in a jiffy (which is more than can be said for his garage awning, which came a bit of a cropper as G reversed into it (under his direction !). Still it was all smiles in the end and he waved us off with two fingers (a standard Croatian gesture of fond farewell we're told).
Anyway enough rambling, we're back on the road (in one piece) and heading to Romania (where) next, so a couple of long drives and then...Romania (whey hey can hardly wait !)