Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Day Eight: Brijuni Excursion

Brijuni Island

The Brijuni Archipelago's largest island called also Brijuni, is where Tito lived while dictator of Yugoslavia and received his world famous guests until his death in 1955.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brijuni

 Now it is accessible by a large, comfortable boat if you buy a ticket for 30 euros at the town of Fazana  where it departs some mornings of the week in September.   We decided that we were ready to be around water on such a day of over 30 degrees centigrade....... so off we went.

Arriving at the dock we see one of three hotels on the island.  

And as you can't avoid paying for the excursion, we decided to see what that was all about.

 The walking part of the excursion takes an hour of wandering through "nature"and featuring the pine alley where many newly weds get their pictures taken in the Tito's personal Chevrolet ( 700 euros for the day)

 The "walk" also included a look at an ancient olive tree  (IV AD.)

 ....and finishes in a hall where one can see a grisly exhibition of stuffed animals, once live gifts to the dictator (said to have died of natural causes),  and  a vast photo exhibit of Tito and his guests.

After a lunch break , we are given a look inside a lovely 15 century church,  (with well done copies of ancient roman freschi found in Istria)

 And then we install ourselves inside a tiny motor train that inches along in the blazing sun.

We get a glimpse of the rare "green" golf course  where the grass is brown ( since no artificial watering system is used).   And the "greens" for putting are of  sand.  We even see a golfer pulling his irons along.


Then on we go to a underwhelming safari area, where we see very few animals and those we saw  were sheltered under a few sparse trees or lodgings in the distance.  We stop in the shade of a tree and can buy drinks or ice creams and eat them hearing opera off a boom-box.

                                                        Sad elephant who lost his mate

                                                                 Istrian    Donkey

                                                        Istrian Bullock, Istrian Sheep

We also got a train view of some Roman ruins of a country house ..... and some of the hidden palatial homes still used by the Croatian heads of state to house important guests.


NO, the excursion wasn't much although I learned a few interesting factoids......

 but the real reason to pay the 30 euros is to come by boat to a protected island where you can stay long after the train has gone and the boat has taken most visitors back to the mainland.

The real joy is to look out at the vast stillness of the sea...

And to swim and  count the many species of fish of all sizes , to see for yourself the urchins and shrimp thriving in the clean water...

And to not go home until the next to the last boat leaves at 5:30 pm and all is quiet and calm and even coolish.     It changes everything to bathe in the clearest waters of nature.

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