News>Croatia: Enjoy beautiful coast, amazing people
Spend the day sailing along the Istrian Coast, seeing beautiful beaches and meeting the most amazing people by going on an Information, Tickets and Travel Croatia by boat tour. ITT does the trip twice a month. For more information, e-mail ITT@aviano.af.mil or call 0434-30-3107.
6/14/2012 - ROVIGNO, Croatia -- If you haven't taken Information, Tickets and Travel office's Croatia by boat tour yet, you are missing out. For a small price, you could be spending the day sailing along the Istrian Coast, seeing beautiful beaches and meeting the most amazing people. Fortunately, ITT does the tour twice a month so there are plenty of opportunities to experience Croatia by boat.
In preparing for this trip, you need your passport. The bus goes through Slovenia to get to Croatia so you'll be able to check two countries off of your travel list. Other things you may want to pack are your bathing suit (weather and time permitting), sunblock and comfortable shoes. As for money, Croatian currency is called kuna. You will be able to withdraw kuna once you arrive in Rovigno.
The itinerary for the trip is almost always the same. You depart from Area 1 at around 4:30 a.m., and arrive at the Croatian border around 7:30 a.m. After an hour of exploring Parenzo, you meet the captain of the ship and the rest of his enthusiastic crew. With their charisma and charm, the members of the tour group make your time spent on the water unforgettable. On the lower part of the boat, you can enjoy baskets filled with bread, singing, dancing, and of course, great conversations with strangers from all over the world. You can also head to the top of the boat for beautiful views as you travel along the Croatian Coast, passing Lim Canal Natural Park, until arriving at your first stop in Rovigno.
If you enjoy open markets, you won't know what to do with yourself in Rovigno. From the moment you step off the boat, you could see market after market and shop after shop. Stands have shoes, magnets, towels, snorkeling gear and postcards - everything a tourist could love. While some vendors may take euro, it is best to withdraw kuna here. Once you have kuna, you may want to prepare yourself for some aggressive vendors. It is likely they will follow you around their shop, explaining every detail of the items, persuading you to make a purchase. However many of the vendors in Croatia understand and speak English, so you may firmly tell them you're just looking and hope they get the hint. If shopping isn't your thing, you have just enough time to make the hike up to the church that dates back to medieval times. After an hour or so in Rovigno, it is time for lunch on the ship. You have your choice of fish or meat - and if you choose fish, be sure to let them know if you'd like the head cut off or not.
Before you know it, you're dropped off at the second stop - Vrsar.
In Vrsar, you have the most time to shop, explore, sight see, take pictures and really enjoy Croatia and all of its beauty. This is a great time to put your feet in the Adriatic Sea or enjoy some gelato that is a very close second to Italy's. While the food and scenery in Croatia are great, what really makes the trip unique and worthwhile is learning about the people. Many of the vendors or shop owners have worked in Croatia for decades, and with it being such a high tourist area for people around the world, it is likely for many Croatians to speak five or so languages at a minimum. Instead of being greeted with "Hello!" or "Ciao!" or even in their native tongue, "Halo!" Croatians greet you by asking where you're from: "American? Italiano? Deutsch?" Depending on how you respond, they then ask you how you are and if you'd like to come purchase whatever it is that they are selling. After chatting to the locals about their lives and experiences, it definitely motivates you to learn another language (most likely Italian) and appreciate the cultures that surround us.
The last stop is in Parenzo, which is of course where you started out. You now have time for dinner and to pick up a few souvenirs. Parenzo's two main intersecting streets are Cardo and Decumanus.
If you plan your timing just right, be sure to check out Marafor, which is the oldest part of town and has remains of the Neptune's Temple and the Temple of Mars. You may also be able to visit the first museum in Istria founded in 1884, the Regional Museum, which is housed as an 18th century palace. Soon enough your time in Croatia comes to an end and your estimated four-hour journey home begins.
ITT's regular Croatia by Boat tour is offered several times each month in the spring, summer and fall. For more information, e-mail ITT@aviano.af.mil or call 0434-30-3107. Other helpful resources are the Croatian National Tourist Board, which can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 00385-4699-333 or visit www.croatia.hr.