Category: Travel, travels

In Bali, we stayed in Marriott’s Bali Nusa Dua Gardens. Nusa Dua is at the southern tip of Bali and its gated hotel and beach resorts form an enclave providing a more quiet, even more reserved resort vibe than its Legian and Seminyak cousins. Marriott Vacation Club opened this Nusa Dua Gardens only 3 years ago, and built it right alongside Courtyard by Marriott.

Our hotel room is on the ground floor and opens up to the lagoon pool and Lazy River area. Just a short walk from it is the Courtyard by Marriott where they have another poolside bar, a fitness Center and 5 dining venues. A hotel shuttle brings guests to the Nusa Dua Beach where Marriott has an exclusive space and to the shopping arcade for some retail therapy. The arcade has plenty of dining options too. But I like the beach vibe best. Lounge chairs, umbrella tents and white sands. My idea of a Bali holiday.

If you choose to linger in the beach, Marriott has set up a bar to make sunset watch truly fun for its guests. It’s so relaxing here. We felt pampered as the lounge chairs were comfortable and the staff so accommodating. But we headed back to the hotel after a couple of hours here. The landscaped lagoon pool and the Lazy River were just as inviting and we liked the idea of the poolside bar to enjoy our happy hours.

Marriott Vacation Club’s newest holiday resort in the Asia-Pacific is tops. May I just say that the morning we prepped to head for the beach, I had a minor mishap. I missed a step but held my balance, albeit awkwardly, and at the expense of putting my weight on my big toe to break the fall. The very gracious staff attended to me without delay — asking if I wanted to be brought to the clinic, giving me water, a pack of ice on my toe, and never leaving my side. Thank you May and Chandra, and a couple more whose names I can’t recall. Thank you, Marriott, for giving us another wonderful holiday.

For those interested in buying membership in Marriott Vacation Club (Asia-Pacific), let me know. And no, I’m NOT doing this advert because I’m on Marriott’s payroll. Just a satisfied member of Marriott Vacation Club here. Ta Ta!

Pardon the French, but why is luwak coffee so pricey?

Tried different coffee and tea varieties before ordering the famous kopi luwak which literally translates to palm civet coffee. Civet cats feast on the coffee berries. Having digested them, they’re pooped out and then “harvested” to make kopi luwak. So this is really coffee from shit. Excuse the French again.

A live civet was found in the plantation’s store, where it is kept as a pet. It looked sleepy and didn’t mind people who wanted to pet it, even carry it. There were others inside a cage, and the signage warned us not to get too close as these cats can be aggressive.

Bali Cat Pooh Chino. Bali Cappuccino. I appreciate the sense of humour. An old lady was roasting some beans there and even invited us to help roast. I just hope they treat the palm civets well as these cats provide them with the revenues. The time we visited, the store was doing brisk business. So, would you order a cuppa? Quite frankly, I enjoyed the other coffee and tea varieties more. In particular, I liked the hot mangosteen tea and the vanilla coffee more. ☕️

Temple Watch. Food Trip. Shopping. Beach. Cocktails. Repeat. Not necessarily in that sequence. With trips between tourist sites taking far longer because of the traffic, and with temples teeming with too many tourists, temple fatigue’s a natural consequence.

Offerings at Holy Spring Water Temple

Holy Water Spring Temple In Tampaksiring

The first 2 temple visits were welcomed with much enthusiasm and awe. I was actually smarting from how my “elves” seem to appreciate Balinese architecture, art and culture. Those temples may have sucked all energy though after the 4th one. Yup, I may have pushed them too far. 😂. Not even the healing waters of Tampaksiring proved enough to reenergise my family. Unlike the visit to the first 2 temples, it was much warmer in the Ubud area when we visited Sawasrati Temple and the Ubud Royal Palace — which is really more temples than a real palace. It’s hard to appreciate art and culture in this heat. Besides, we were having very late lunches because of the traffic situation. But no tempers flared. Just waning energies and interest. Oh, well.

Bathers praying for healing.

Pura Taman Sawasrati

The last time I went to Bali, Ubud was my trip’s highlight. I liked the rice paddies, the art galleries and yes, the temples too. But there were just too many people here now. There is an area here where you can visit the Ubud Royal Palace, Sawasrati Temple and the Ubud Art Market in one straight and short path. You bet all corners had tourist buses and hired vans offloading tourists round the clock. The Ubud Art Market still has the few art shops but there are more bag and clothing vendors here now. And I suspect there’s only a few suppliers of these bags and clothing. They’re all the same all over the island!

Puri Saren Agung (Ubud Royal Palace)

Tanah Lot Lunch Place

Tanah Lot

I saved the Tanah Lot and Uluwatu Temple visits for last. Preferably at sunset. But traffic jams can ruin the best plans 😔 Tanah Lot was a “take 2”. We missed sunset the first time we tried to visit. Then on our second visit, the area was cordoned off because of high tide. We opted to simply have a meal in one of the tiny dining areas with a cliff view of the temple being beaten by waves as high as 3 meters. Apo thinks she had her best Nasi Goreng here, even better than the duck lunch and more we had a day earlier in Tebasari Resto in Ubud. As for me, I savoured the scenic view of the temple while enjoying my Sate Babi and banana split for dessert.

Entrance to Tanah Lot

Lunch at Tebasari Resto and Bar

We said goodbye to our last Temple — Uluwatu — earlier than scheduled. We meant to stay till sunset but once more, the crowds compelled us to head back to our hotel to bathe and scrub the dust away. Tomorrow we’ve decided to just stay in. No more temples. We’d just enjoy the hotel, maybe attend the Pilates session, some water fun activities, wait for happy hours 😍 No more sunset watch. Bintang and Bali beers for company and we’re fine.

Uluwatu Temple

Uluwatu Temple

When you travel with younger members of your family, you’re bound to be doing things you’d normally not do. Like these crazy snapshots on a “nest”, a heart-shaped or round “frame” on the edge, a “hanging bed” or a swing at the edge with the perfect ocean view! We’ve seen these photo opps all over Bali, and found many young people line up for the selfie-shots. What’s that term again? Instagrammable. Some risked their lives for that instagrammable shot. Oh yes! We instantly liked the round and heart-shaped frames as they seemed “safe”. At first, no one wanted to take a swing at the swing. I did. Hmm, why not? I calculated I can just sit there for the shot without really swinging. And voila! 😜 Everyone else in my caboodle followed suit after me and actually ended up doing more poses, more photos.

Look Grandma…. no hands!

Hanging around with apo.

By this time, temple fatigue was about to set in so it was a timely break. The panoramic view in this corner of Badung was quite refreshing and the “selfie pros” that comprise the staff were at one’s service to give you all the tips for a good “instagrammable shot”. Oh, this was insane. But lots of fun. Those frames and hanging swings, beds, nests and cocoons may look steady but we could actually feel it shake! While there was no need to really swing away, the prospect of falling off and sliding into that ravine still posed a bit of a scare.

That tattoo was their idea!

Posing for the camera.

Pardon me for this photo dump. We spent a good half hour here, maybe more, just to indulge ourselves. Many more came after us. Never thought this could be good business! For IDR 60,000, you get lotsa laughs doing all these selfie shots! Hooray for camwhores 😂😂😂

My first shot. Look at that grip!

A hanging cocoon?

This is where it all happened. IDR 60,000 pp.

You can’t visit Bali without hitting the temples dotting the entire island. Balinese architecture is very distinct and it shows in its many temples. Whether on land, up in the hills or by the lake, these temples, big and small, adorn the entire island. While Indonesia is predominantly Muslim, the island of Bali is 90% Hindu.

On Day 2 in this island, we visited 2 temples: Ulun Danu Beratan and Taman Ayun. We timed our visit to Tanah Lot at sunset but we failed to consider Bali’s traffic jams. And what horrendous jam we were in — lasting nearly four hours! When we realized we’d miss sunset here, we scrapped Tanah Lot and headed straight back to our hotel in Nusa Dua. Nearly 9pm when we reached it. Maybe another day. Two temples today will do for my caboodle.

Ulun Danu Beratan is a Shaivite water temple on the shores of Lake Beratan. There was a good crowd when we visited, but we noticed they were mostly locals. You may say it’s their Sunday family day since the temple complex includes restaurants, and a garden park. I like this temple complex as it is well-maintained and any temple by the waters is a natural charmer. Being in the highlands via a zigzag road much like our local summer capital (Baguio City), the weather here is cool and breezy. And because it was far from the island capital, there were not as many tourists. Most visitors were locals. By late afternoon, it was foggy around the lake near the highlands of Bedugul mountains when we passed it a second time on our way back to the hotel. Foggy in Bali! And yes, did I say it was cooler too?

Pura Taman Ayun required us to wear those shiny green sarongs. Sun was shining brightly but temps were actually tolerable. We didn’t break a sweat even as we rounded up the temple complex. Because this temple is only 17 kms from Denpasar, it’s among first-of-mind temples to visit for tourists. Built in 1634, it claims to be the mother of all temples in Mengwi. With Chinese inspirations, this Balinese temple with its moss-lined walls and lily ponds is a Bali landmark that shares the same anniversary as another iconic Bali landmark, Uluwatu Temple. Across the temple complex is a Museum which features Balinese rituals and passages. If you don’t want to go too far from the capital and have limited time, this is a good temple choice. And without the traffic!

This family trip was just an idea a few months back. Frustrated with a domestic trip to Boracay or Siargao, we finally found a date to travel together. Semestral break and vacation leaves filed, we were off to the Indonesian island of Bali! Same beach holiday, plus throw in some art and culture. My second time and a first for everyone else. Our lodgings are in the more quiet part of the island — Nusa Dua — but I planned on at least a whole day here in the more hip, more vibrant Seminyak.

Entrance to the Potato Head Beach Club

Potato Beach Club

Potato Beach Club

Todo Gayak Sa Seminyak! (Loosely translated: All geared up for Seminyak!) Both Seminyak and Nusa Dua are resort towns in this Indonesian island province. Nusa Dua (where I stayed the last time) is nearly at the southern tip facing Bandung Strait while Seminyak is on the island’s west facing the Indian Ocean. Both boast of high-end hotels, cafes and bars. Where Seminyak will “dictate” your holiday pace, Nusa Dua lets you have it on your own pace. More tourists and expats find Seminyak more vibrant, while Nusa Dua’s gated resorts promise a lot more quiet and exclusivity. You can bet the golfers are in Nusa Dua as the only golf course in the island is here. But the party people? They’re in Seminyak. Not wanting to miss this vibe, the young adults in our family just have to be here! And true enough, they were not disappointed.

Kaum Restaurant is on the 2nd floor with a perfect ocean view.

Sundown Cocktails

And so, here we are landing in Denpasar International Airport one early morning with a full sunny day ahead of us. What to do? To start the day, we had a forgettable breakfast in The Haven. Bleh. Big mistake. Wasted money on a mediocre buffet. After brekkie, some explored the shops while a couple of us found a spa. Now, you can’t go wrong on that. Next, we trooped to Potato Beach Club for beer and sundown cocktails. The calamari and nachos complete the scene. So did the many day beds and poolside lounge chairs facing the ocean. C’est la vie! We have dinner reservations at Kaum Restaurant in Potato Beach Club but that will have to wait till sunset at 6pm. Meanwhile, the beach beckons. My sleep-deprived family hits the beach like there’s no tomorrow. Happy here, even just having a drip and people-watching.

The pool by the shore.

Pre-dinner aperitif

As for dinner, we got that one right. KAUM Restaurant offered good Indonesian dinner and a great sunset view. Just that I need to go easy on spices lest my hyperacidity acts up again. Indonesian dinner through and through but spices on the side please. The Gado Gado, Nasi Goreng, Sate Babi and Sate Ayam, the Grilled Prawns with special sauce (2 orders of those prawns please!). There’s the fresh tuna marinated in lime and other spices (ooops….), plus the shrimp dumplings. You bet the sun set without much fanfare as we wolfed down every yummy morsel. Oink Oink. 🐖🐖🐖

Seminyak Sunset

Dinner at Kaum Restaurant

By the time we were done with dinner, we were eager to go back to our hotel and take a dip in the pool. Alas! The pool water’s cold! You’d have thought it’s warm being summer, but Bali enjoys very pleasant temps — warm during the day but not sweltering hot, and cool, breezy evenings. And cold water in your pool 🧜🏻‍♀️

Pool in Potato Beach Club After Sundown

Our own pool in the Villa.

We’ve long wanted to visit Slovenia so we drove from Vienna to Ljubljana with a Graz pit stop. Clean and green, plus it’s such a small country offering so much. Lake Bled comes to mind, but Piran stole our hearts. On a Food Trip, we included Trieste, Italy in our itinerary. Yes, that small strip of land off the Adriatic and the Italian border to Slovenia. As home to Illy Coffee, plus the prospect of seafood harvested off the Adriatic and cooked the Italian way, we couldn’t go wrong. Next, the van took us on a road trip visiting the small towns of the Istrian Peninsula. All of these destinations couldn’t have been better. By the time we left Istria and reached Zagreb, we were almost unfamiliar with big city vibes. And Plitvice? That was the highlight of my trip.

Just click on the following titles to the blog links .

From Vienna to Graz, Austria

Clean and Green Ljubljana

A Rainy Day in Lake Bled

Going Italian in Trieste

Driving Back to Slovenia’s Piran

Groznjan’s Art and Culture

More Truffles in Motovun

How Do You Say Rovinj?

Rijeka Off the Adriatic

Opatija’s Classy Vibe

Summery Day in Pula

Finally, Zagreb!

A Near-Miss in Plitvice

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Trip Length: 12 Days


Hotel Galeria

Hotel Coppe

Hotel Jadran

Hotel Dubrovnik

Many have written about Plitvice Lakes. Many have visited, drew inspiration, photographed and walked the entire park of 16 terraced lakes. Our experience was a near-miss. None in the group ever did much research on this attraction as it was included in the itinerary at the last minute. This trip’s itinerary focused on Slovenia and Istria, and Plitvice as a day trip from Zagreb was really just like an afterthought. In short, we all came unprepared. 🙄 So there we were, wasting time in a place called Rastoke on our way to Plitvice Lakes. No one thought of buying our park tickets online, or sending one of the drivers to buy ahead while we were in Rastoke, which is just a half-hour away. When we finally got there, we even had lunch first before thinking of lining up to buy tix. We all thought it will be easy. WRONG. End of story: only 5 of us stayed, queued up for 3 solid hours, before getting in to enjoy the park for another 3 hours. We were the last batch to enter at 4pm. Not much time to walk the entire park. But we persisted. Call it a test of wills. Having said that, we had energy only for a walk, a ferry ride and more walk before calling it a day.

📸 Ferdi Muro

We’re happy we persisted. Our patience was tested even further with one park attendant with no bedside manners. I won’t dwell on it, but we’re kinda proud we put up with much but felt truly rewarded after the adventure. It didn’t rain and it wasn’t really that hot when we clocked in more steps. Walking around the Park was a delight — reminded us of our Camino/Via Francigena hikes through the orchards and forests of Italy. There were some uphill climbs and precarious boardwalk paths, but it was a pleasant hike. All other visitors with us seem to share the same mood, perhaps because we’re the last batch and no longer feel rushed.

📸 Ferdi Muro

📸 Annabelle Chavez

The lull of the waterfalls and the sight of clear, calm waters invite us to take a break…… except that it’s a chore to stop in the middle of the boardwalk knowing there are people (and dogs) walking behind you. My major concern at the time was kids let loose on the boardwalk. So much for agility but those kids with hormone kicks can get excited, bump you off the narrow boardwalk with an abrupt swing or backstep. I’m overthinking but hey, it pays to be careful. And the dogs? Were they really enjoying the hike? I think so, judging by the stretch of their leash as they prod their masters to walk faster. See? Those canines were excited too!

No overtaking!

The ferry ride was a welcome break. We promptly took our seats and savoured the breeze, the calmness of the turquoise waters and the varying green shades of the lush forest. The only thing lacking was music plugged to my ears. At the end of the boat ride, we found an outdoor snack bar where we promptly nourished ourselves. Rightly so, since it’d be uphill from here heading back to the Big Waterfalls and the park exit.

That ferry ride!

As a UNESCO Heritage site, the park’s nearly 300 square kilometres is a protected area welcoming over a million visitors yearly. It is in Central Croatia near the border to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Besides the lakes and waterfalls, the park’s meadows teem with butterflies, bees and dragonflies. It is a good idea to allocate a full day when visiting this park. With tickets bought online to beat the lines! The snack bars after the ferry ride offer good Plitvice hotdogs and burgers and the restaurant just outside the Park provide good, simple meals like grilled veal and lamb served with salad. If you’re going, make it a full day in Plitvice!

Snacking on Plitvice Hotdogs

Veal and Lamb. Not bad, at all!

It may sound like a lot of time but it wasn’t. We arrived tired and itching for a bath and scrub from Rijeka, passing Opatija and Pula from the Istrian Peninsula. And the hum and drum of a real city — the state capital, at that — welcomed us late that day. We dragged our suitcases from the parking lot to the pedestrian street where our hotel is, amply warned that the city thieves are busy on the lookout for arriving tourists too tired from a long trip. Ding Ding Ding. Suitcase and all, we managed to walk the block — like we didn’t even break a sweat anytime that day 🙄 — towards the hotel, safe and sound and ready for a bath.

Border Between Upper & Lower Town

Ban Jelačić Square

Dinner at Lanterna na Dolcu

Dinner was serious business as we all felt famished after a bath and a change of fresh dry clothes. We glimpsed the Ban Josip Jelačić Square and the Zagreb Cathedral of the Assumption first in broad daylight and then later, lighted up at night. Both are quite a sight, especially at night when it’s all lighted up. The tram stops at the central square give a touch of nostalgia, though we’ve grown overly careful crossing the tracks from our hotel to the square. As in one needs to look left and right as the trams come in short intervals. There’s a chance to see these Zagreb attractions again in the morning when we do our walking tour of the city. But cameras aside, evening strolls around the city are quite interesting. Our hotel location allowed us to walk to many of the attractions as well as many shops and restaurants. Being a city, the choices are more varied and have a more international flavour. Even the bars are more modern. We passed one where there were no stools, only big fat cushions on the outside floor. Interesting. The Upper Town is even more festive with free film showings “under the stars” — best enjoyed while sipping beers or vinos. But this first night in Zagreb, our sapped energy only allowed a leisurely stroll, a proper dinner and an early night. 😴

Dolac Market

Zagreb Cathedral

Woke up early, refreshed and energised enough to explore around the hotel. We walked past the square, explored the Dolac Market and went inside the Zagreb Cathedral. We even stumbled into a tiny park, another church, and a 30-meter long street mural of Gulliver being tied by petty Lilliputians. We walked away from the Cathedral, its old walls and rounding back, found our way through the steps leading to the market, square, and back to our hotel. By the time we joined our walking tour later that morning, we have clocked nearly the day’s 10,000 steps. We could have been all wasted even before the walking tour began but Luca, our very competent Croatian guide made sure he got all our interest and attention. Such a fine, young man speaking so clearly with his compelling spiels on Zagreb history and trivia.

St. Mark’s Church

Stone Gate

We met Luca right under the statue of Ban Jelačić in the Central Square. (Trivia: Ban in Croatian means “Governor” and Jelačić is the city’s first back in the 19th century.) From here, Luca first brought us to the Upper Town where many of the historical sites are. No funicular. We walked. Rather, we climbed. There’s the Stone Gate, Porta Di Pietra, where the miraculous statue of the Virgin Mary is venerated behind iron bars. All whole and unscathed from the fire that burned everything around it. Next we walked towards St. Mark’s Square where 3 important structures are: the St. Mark’s Church, Parliament and the HQ of the Prime Minister. The 13th century parish church is an iconic symbol of the capital, especially with the coat of arms of Zagreb prominently displayed on its colourful tiled roof.

Opatovina Park

From St. Mark’s Square, Luca walked us through a few of Zagreb’s quirky museums. Like Museum of Broken Relationships. And there’s also the Museum of Naive Art on the same street leading to Lotrsčak Tower where Luca timed our arrival just before noon. He promptly advised us to ready our cameras, zooming in on the cannon at the top of the tower, and to wait till he tells us to stop.

See the video below to check what happened. No spoilers here.

Unlike the little towns we visited, this Croatian capital offers a more vibrant nightlife. On our second night, we found a row of outdoor cafes and bars with many locals and tourists having cocktails and dinners. Old and modern blend seamlessly in the Upper Town where the oldest parts of the city remain. Glasses clink in sync with the ringing of the bells from nearby cathedral and churches within the Kaptol area then ran by the religious in earlier times. Many churches, monasteries and other spiritual centres are located on this side of the former river. Kaptol was then one of 2 towns of Zagreb. The other (Gradec) is just across the now non-existent river that used to divide the 2 uneasy neighbors. Interestingly, the 2 neighbors were connected by what was then called “Bloody Bridge” spanning across the river. Luca brought us to the spot where the bridge used to be — now a very busy road lined with many shops, bars and restaurants. Obviously, the two uneasy neighbors have blended and made peace. ✌️

Bloody Bridge No More

Tomorrow being another day trip (to Plitvice Lakes), we did our shopping after a simple but good Croatian lunch in the Dolac Market of ćevapi. This Croatian dish is very much like kebab. Luca recommended it, and even claimed visiting and eating here at least twice a month. Post-lunch shopping was a breeze, as we made time for an afternoon siesta back in the hotel. Did my packing too as I doubt there’d be enough time, nor energy, after tomorrow’s activities. So there. Three nights in the Croatian capital but really just a whole day and a couple of nights to enjoy Zagreb. All’s well. No rants here. Tomorrow is another day.

I’ve always been in awe of the grandeur and expanse of the Roman Empire. At its peak, it ruled over much of Europe, North Africa and Western Asia. An empire that stretched from Great Britain to the Middle East. There may have been bigger, longer-lasting empires but in my book, the Roman Empire’s mark in our history, art and culture strikes a special element of sentimentality and psyche. Think gladiators in those Roman Colosseos! (And the hedonists in the Roman Baths too) Years ago, I thought there was only one — that grand colosseum in Rome, Italy. Until I found similar, though lesser-sized amphitheaters in Verona (Italy), in Arles (France), in Pompeii (Italy), the Roman Theatre in Pamukkale (Turkey), in Nimes (France), in Ephesus (Turkey), Caesaria (Israel), and surprisingly, a well-preserved Greco-Roman amphitheater in Aphrodisias, Turkey. So very, very impressive. Oh, Caesar!

Pula Arena or Amphitheater

World’s 6th Largest Amphitheater

The amphitheater in Pula is one of the oldest and best-preserved. Pula credits this Roman heritage for putting this Croatian city on the tourist map. It is said that as many as 25,000 spectators can be seated here back in its prime. For what? Gladiator combats of course — that most cruel ancient game. Built around the same time (1st century AD) as that in Nimes, both can house the same capacity crowd which is really just half of the capacity of Roman Colosseo. Nevertheless, the Pula Colosseum remains very impressive. Still used these days as a default place for concerts and other festivities, it is also the city’s best attraction and activity place. The Old Town is right behind it, and promises more attractions.

Visible is the Church of St. Anthony past the Arena

Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Pula Cathedral

The Roman amphitheater is right along the coast, where seafood restaurants, souvenir shops and a busy marina are. We took a long table with a view of the marina in a seafood trattoria before we did any sightseeing. Need all that energy as the midday sun was bearing down on us and sapping us of our last bars of energy. The squids were very fresh, and the beers paired well with the steaks. Except that one of the steaks was well-done versus how we ordered it — medium rare. Hmmmm, still a good source of the protein we needed on that hot, sunny day. And for good measure (and to up our supply of potassium), we had our fill of Swiss Chard. Without risking being branded as pesky tourists, we politely complained over our steak doneness only after we paid the bill and got ready to leave. Bravo to patient diners!

Order your seafood!

Lunch done, we took the road to the Town Square in search of the Temple of Augustus Caesar, the 1st Emperor of the Roman Empire. Likely it was built during his lifetime, when Pula was still known by its Roman name: Pola. It is only a reconstruction of the original since the Roman monument was bombed and destroyed during WW2. Now a museum, some ancient Roman sculptures are housed inside. Right beside the Roman Temple is the City Hall housed in a 13th century former palace with both Gothic and also Renaissance features. Both are within the same Forum Square or Forum Romano, making up the “Little Rome” in Croatia. Tracing our way back to the Amphitheater, we stopped for some gelatos and took a break in front of the Pula Cathedral which also faces the Marina. The Cathedral’s early 18th century belfry is unique, and distinct in that it was built from blocks removed from the famous Pula Arena. Who’s to say why they did that? Perhaps they found it more meaningful to build a Cathedral using antique pieces from that part of the city’s Roman history.

Temple of Augustus Caesar

Pula City Hall

Rounding up the entire Colosseo, we chanced upon the Church of Saint Anthony from where there is a vantage point of this Roman antiquity. Pula is fortunate to house the world’s 6th largest surviving colosseum. It is now used for open-air concerts, ballet, sports events, opera and the film festival especially during the summer months. As it was summer, the mood was festive around the Arena. The wharf looked busy with yachts and small boats, the Arena was surrounded by vendors selling ceramic souvenirs, and the seafront restaurants and those around the town square were doing brisk business. We liked the vibe here. But it was our hottest day on this trip. After rounding up the Colosseo, we were eager to go back to our air conditioned vans to escape the summer heat. No amount of gelato would convince me to walk further in search of the Twin Gates, Hercules Gate and some other Roman monuments and ruins. The Arena, The Temple, Cathedral, Forum Square and City Hall Palace meet our day’s quota of history lessons. Enough already. 🙄

St. Anthony Church

Inside St. Anthony Church