Our final morning in Zagreb was beautiful, so we got an early start and squeezed in a final walk into Old Town to shoot pictures and poke around the farmer’s market.
One of our favorite things to do when we travel is to visit the markets of each place. It’s a great way to observe the culture, see and sample the local foods, pick up a local handicraft to take home, and enjoy all of the bright colors of the produce and flower displays. Vibrant colors are what inspire me to put my camera into action, and markets never disappoint!
After returning to the hotel, our group checked out, boarded our bus, and headed out through the mountains towards the Adriatic Coast. Along the way, we stopped at the Kezele Family Estate in the village of Sumecani for a tour and another wonderful al fresco lunch.
The Kezeles were an interesting family! Janko gave us a tour of the winery, his parents’ museum, and his mom’s ceramics studio. She is quite a talented potter, and her massive collection was proudly displayed.
Both parents collect all sorts of things, so they are organized in a small museum they share with their guests. We got to see their collections of antique irons, grinders, lanterns—you name it. It was an eclectic mix!
Meanwhile, the chef was heating up his huge metal pot to prepare our lunch. On the menu was, Kotlovina, an ancient traditional Croatian dish consisting of chicken, onions, tri-colored bell peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, beans, and mushrooms in a white wine and red pepper sauce. It was, of course, enjoyed with some Kezele wine. Delicious!
Janko was a wonderful tour guide, so I gave him a set of my photo note cards as a token of our appreciation of our memorable visit.
Following lunch, Zoran drove us through the hills of central Croatia to Opatijia, a scenic seaside city located on the northern Dalmatian Coast of the Adriatic Sea. A popular tourist destination for Croatians and Italians, the resort town also draws tourists from around the world.
After settling into our rooms at Hotel Sveti Jakov, Sinisha led our group on a walking tour, which concluded at the marina where Bruce and I decided to return for dinner.
Unfortunately, smoking is popular in Croatia, and we were first sat outside next to a table of diners who were all smoking like chimneys! Knowing that more smokers would soon be surrounding us, we asked to be relocated inside. That request landed us at the best table in the house! Not only was it smoke-free, but it was at a lovely table next to an open window overlooking the boats. Perfect! The view was even better!
Our calamari dinner was delicious, just like the squid we had enjoyed a couple of times in Slovenia. Accompanied by a tasty local beer, it was one of our favorite meals of the trip!