Friday, September 23, 2011

Pula: Day Six

Speaking of asking the right questions, the one we should have asked before booking online for our hotel for  Day 5 was:

1.  Do you play rock music all day long and into the night by your 3 beautiful swimming pools?
 or maybe more specifically...

3. Do you consider yourself a family- oriented " package" hotel?

These features were not for us, but I was finally so tired , that after a cafe supper , I slept soundly and ignored the pastel pea green color scheme to the best of my overly sensitive abilities.

The next morning we were on our way to  Pula and the Hotel Histria that we loved and only left when it was time to wind our way home  again.

Pula's most famous landmark is the reconstructed Roman Arena, the only remaining Roman amphitheater to have four side towers and all three Roman column styles represented. It was constructed in 27 BC - 68 AD and is among the six largest surviving Roman arenas in the World.   It is also the best preserved of all of the ancient monuments in Croatia.

It is often in use today for concerts and operas when grass and chairs are brought into the center of the arena.

                   The monument was bombed in WWII but was rebuilt to it's former glory.  Originally used for gladiator sports and perhaps mock ship battles,  although there is no evidence of the latter.

I felt like the bull in the bullring as there was no escape from the relentless sun.

Luckily there was an exhibition of amphora in some cool rooms beneath the arena.... 

     I found out that Amphora ,used for the storage and transport of olive oil and wine, were marked with the name of the owners and in some cases the name also of the workshop where they were made by slaves or "freed-men"

   These are from first century AD found in the Istria area of Croatia.

They continued to be made for two more centuries.  I liked this Amphora catacombs display. 

Enough, we are out into the sun to look for a phone booth.  There are still phone boxes in Croatia and also one can call anywhere from many of the post offices.  My mobile phone worked in Croatia but as I have "pay as you go", I was not able to pay for more time while out of FRance.

That Saturday, we just happened to hit Pula on a day when all of the dance companies of the area were giving a free recital.  We sat for an iced coffee over and saw at least 25 different dance groups.  

   We were really impressed by the quality of the offerings.   There was some ballet as one might expect, but mostly very creative choreography for modern dance, ballroom, salsa,  break dancing and musical comedy.

We were surprised at how many young dancers there were that were more than proficient in this town of 62,000 + (2006).  I don't think I have ever seen such a large turn-out of aspiring dancers anywhere I have ever visited or lived.

                         We took in some more of Pula,  quite a lively old town....

....joined the other strollers for a bit and then back to the hotel for a preprandial swim.

We had nabbed the last room at the Hotel Histria, a three star.

                                      This is the upper deck outside the lobby of the hotel
                       ....and  looking out from the upper deck of the hotel.  The sea is beyond the trees with more chaises lounges below.

The most coveted chaises were around the salt water pool, however.   We really enjoyed this hotel, with great service and restaurants and wondered why it had only 3 stars. 

 It turns out that next year it will gain a 4th star but it will no longer be under the same ownership.  The new owner will refurbish the spa offerings and facilities but then will charge more.   Dommage! 

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