I've bloggled about Croatia before, when we went (pre-sprog) to the South of the country, and had such a good holiday there that we wanted to return and sample other bits of the country.
In the interests of variety we thought that, this time, we'd head a bit further north, to the town of Rovinj. We also dragged our two year old son along with us because "stay-at-home" children are a bit of a hot topic in the media at the moment.
I would've been content to let him roam, happy and free, like a wild boar piglet amongst the aisles on the plane but, according to the narrow-minded profiteers who run the airline, we had to pay for my boy's own seat. Apparently there are health and safety reasons with regard to free range children on aeroplanes, especially during take-off and landing. And presumably crashing.
Despite protestations that he's only a half-size human, I still ended up forking out for a full size seat, so he'd better appreciate the holiday because he's already costing us a fortune, and that's just on Cattle Class. He rewarded us by enjoying the flight and shouting "Daddy got a willy! Willy called a penis!" at the other passengers.
After a meal of Croatian fare, which is apparently cold meat and an olive, along with bread you could stun a badger with, we landed and made our way to the hotel.
It was situated in a local nature reserve, and although we didn't have a sea view, we did overlook some nice trees (see earlier post if you want to look at a picture of trees, although why you would do that is beyond me, when you could go and look at real ones outside, unless you're reading this in prison or an iron lung or something, in which case, you should've thought of that before you did whatever it was that landed you in prison, although perhaps not the iron lung, unless you received the wound whilst falling out of a window during a burglary, in which case them's the breaks I'm afraid, now use your head stick to follow this link), and were about a mile from the old town of Rovinj itself.
The following day, after a breakfast of cold meat, an olive and some bread you could use to chock a Fokker, we made our way into town, the suitably catholic centre of which is a church on a hill:
I like churches. This might sound odd coming from a standard English atheist, but they are generally nice buildings and are historically important to many cultures, including my own. I have even been known to give the odd shekel to stop a steeple collapsing on it's vicar, but only after they've had to endure me trying to convert them (rarely successfully) to being a Jedi.
This church is dedicated to someone called Saint Euphemie. I don't think she was christened Saint, but I'm not totally sure about that. I presume she was canonized afterwards, although it would indicate a particularly pushy set of parents if she was named Saint. Like naming your kid Prime Minister Dobson, or Ayatollah Smith.
To be canonised, you're supposed to have done a miracle (thanks Wikimisledia!), so I thought the adopted saint of Rovinj might have turned a pillar of salt into gold, or rid an aeroplane of mother flipping snakes or something (my theology is hazy on these points), but apparently, it can be more tenuous than that.
According to local legend, St Eupheme had already been killed by Roman lions (in the days before the Health and Safety Executive were around to point out the inherent risks associated with keeping heathen lions in close proximity to tasty Christians), and her body washed ashore at Rovinj. Being short of Saintly types in the area, they thought "She'll do!" and saintified her.
Doesn't seem much of a miracle to me, the ability to be killed and then washed in with the morning tide. I reckon I could do it. But then, I'm not a theologian, so whilst I would prefer it if Saints resembled the X-Men, I have to accept that they might not be quite as full as bodacious awesomeness as one might reasonably expect. Imagine St George with freakin' laser beams coming out his eyes, man. That'd be a cool bank holiday.
In the strangely death-obsessed organisation that is Catholicism, they do enjoy showing the gruesome manner of St Euphemie's death in a wall mounted frieze:
It's quite an emotive piece, although the effect is a little dulled by the lion licking her foot, who looks like the one out of the Wizard of Oz:
"Oh, if I only had a heel!"
The Church of the Washed Up Cadaver was quite inclusive though. I looked up and saw the standard paintings of various holy folk going about their cloud floating business on the vaulted ceilings:
This business seems mainly to involve looking down with heavy lidded eyes that I believe is supposed to represent worthy intellect, but usually makes the subjects look like they've smoked a huge cone of Amsterdam's finest. No wonder they're on clouds.
Unusually, they also had an atheist ceiling, which made me feel at home:
After a lunch of meat, an olive and some bread you could anchor a yacht with, we explored other parts of Rovinj.
The old town itself is very picturesquew, with many narrow stone clad streets that were so smooth and slippy you could have skated on them. Places like this, in which elderly ladies live although I can't for the life of me imagine how they get in and out of their own house without fracturing their neck of femur:
There's probably some local class that teaches elderly folk how to roll with the fall so they don't injure themselves, although I didn't see any on this trip, which is good I suppose.
I wouldn't class Rovinj as on a par with Dubrovnik in the south as that's particularly impressive, and has a bigger wall round it which is the definitive measure of how good a town is. Having said that, Rovinj is a beautiful place to while away a few days.
After an evening meal of meat, olives and bread quarried from the very heart of a neutron star we meandered our way back to the hotel, ready for some serious hardcore relaxing.
Mad for it.