Friday, May 21, 2010

A Touch of Italy


After a walk down to the lake once more, we depart this lovely area and continue our journey south toward the Istrian Peninsula.
We want to make it to Lipica to see the Stud Farm of the Lipizzaner Horses - the tour is at 2pm. It is drizzling on and off. The tour is quite interesting and we learn that the horses here are not the same ones in Vienna. After WWI, the horses were split evenly among Austria and Italy, which is now Slovenia, and the horses here have been bred in this area since then. Did you know that they are born brown and turn white, only 3% stay brown? At age 4-6 the stallions are trained and work until age 25 or 26. The horses are beautiful and apparently the breed is known for its gentle personality. They are for sale and can cost up to $60,000. We were entranced by the performance, though felt the horses at the Spanish Riding School were a bit superior in their execution.

Next stop, Piran, by the shore, where we stop to walk and have dinner. The Italian influence is clear, and this seaside town resembles a small Italian coastal town. We have seafood and watch the sunset over the Adriatic. Moving on down the coast we cross the border into Croatia and finally arrive at Rovinj at night. The GPS is not quite perfect this time in taking us to the hotel, and we stop in front of a house to check our map. A group of young men walking out of their house tries to help us. They are so helpful and kind, laughing and offering to ride with us up the street. We end up following them up the street and they very happily point us to the Pension Vega, where we are to stay. I have to say, I have been impressed by the kindness, friendliness and safety of Slovenia and Croatia. It has exceeded my expectations of comfort and level of westernization.

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