Sunday, June 28, 2009

Rovinj round the world

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.

Reward indeed.

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.


  1. I'm getting a general warm feeling that you loved the place and miss the bread. Am I right?

    So are you saying that the only thing that stood between Robert Maxwell and canonisation is the footling fact that his corpse was never washed up? Surely not.

  2. I went to Rovinj on my first honeymoon in 1985 and stayed in what sounds remarkably like the same hotel! And the food hasn't changed. Didn't go into the church though so that was nice to see. Did, however, do the 2 hour hydrofoil trip to Venice, a visit to the Lim Fjord (where they filmed the 60s classic 'The Vikings' with Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis as convincing Northmen) and the Postojna Caves which were huge and fab and had their own colony of axolotls.

  3. Ah Jules! lol that was just superb!

    I think you might have just converted me into being a Jedi

    Can I make an early request that you take me with you on your next holiday, if I promise not to talk about penises on the plane?


    for a minute there i thought you were gonna tell us that saint euphemie was famous for her double entendre....


  5. i am still marveling over those stairs, sugar! did you send me a postcard? xooxxo

  6. Good point, did you enter Saint Euphemia's inner sanctum through the back door Jules?

  7. Mr London St - I think some people have to like them as well, at least enough to feed them to the lions. And St Euphemie was locked in a heavy sarcoophagus, so I don't think anyone cadaver.

    Mrs Jones - Now you mention it, I recognise the vikingocity of the fjord (I've also put the 'j' in the wrong place in Lin Fjord, I've just noticed. Twice. Wish I'd seen the axolotls though.

  8. I love the photo of the steps. Actually I love all photos of stone, especially bridges with water rushing round their pillars. I would like to quote Belloc on this but I can't remember the quote so I'm not gonna try, but he wrote a beautiful description of water rushing under a stone bridge.

    The "free range children" made me laugh. A friend of mine spent some time in Sudan. He flew Sudan-Air once (never again, it had to make several attempts to take off and the dodgy air-pressure made his ankles swell up!). Even during take-off children were running up and down the aisle!

  9. Nice fresco / paintings. I worry that the artist had an unhealthy preoccupation with lady saint feet.

    It would be a miracle to be killed in the Rome arena, dumped in the cloaca maxima, washed out to the sea on the west side of Italy, then currents carrying all the way around to the Adriatic and still recognizable. Kind of hoping she had a nametag or something.

  10. Love the quiet restraint of the atheist ceiling. Looks like you've found your calling!

  11. Girl I - The force is strong in this one. Can you fold up into a suitcase? That would entertain me.

    Miss A - If you want a double entendre you just have to ask, and I shall give you one.

    Savvanah - They are nice, aren't they? Sure the card's in the post.

  12. Mo - Croatia Airlines weren't the most advanced flying coach company in the world, but they eren't that bad. I'm off to look me up some Belloc.

    Eric - Maybe it already said Saint Euphemie and the locals just took it at face value?

    Expateek - Atheism is a shade of magnolia, it would appear.

  13. OK, I love your kid! If you ever come over to the states and need a sitter,I'm more than willing to keep him for you!

  14. Just to make you feel a little better, (or at least in good company,) the first time I took my 2-year-old to church, he stood up and shouted to the congregation, "A PENIS IS FOR PEEING! A PENIS IS FOR PEEING!" I think it's a 2-year-old thing. Of course, we're Unitarians, which is the next best thing to being an atheist, so nobody really cared. Speaking of atheists, I loved the atheist ceiling decor. Very stunning.

    Cat Lady

  15. You have a knack of making me reread your posts several times over. Another great post fae a great blogger.

  16. I now have a mental image of you, rustic loaf in hand, warding off a rabid badger.

    I will carry this image with me as a bit of portable mind art.

  17. Thinkinfyou - He's not a bad kid, although requires a lot of attention. Like his Dad really.

    Larew - They choose the best places to demosntrate their verbosity, don't they? I used to think I was a unitarian, because I can ride a bike with only one wheel.

    Jimmy - cheers, but you can talk bud.

    Vic - Literally warding off a rabid badger. My mind art looks like a Jackson Pollack unfortunately.

  18. To wash up on shore after lions have killed you is a miracle, believe me. Those big cunts don't leave their victims in once piece unless there's a divine intervention.

  19. GB - There speaks a man of lionny experience, I think. Hope you were left relatively unscathed.

  20. I love your sense of humor Jules, nearly as much as I love hard hard bread!

    Well done, well done.

  21. SkylersDad - Aw thanks mate! I'll save a stale bun for you.


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