Julia Molden reports on day two of this year’s Croatian Language And Culture Trip to Rijeka and the surrounding area.
So here we are starting on our first full day. Our guide, Nada, arrived at the Villa Peppina suffering from bruised ribs after a recent fall, so after yesterday’s inauspicious start, it looked as if we may be proceeding in the same vein today but time will tell. Anyway, off we set en route to Rijeka and today’s adventure. The first stop was the Governor’s Palace where there was a museum covering a huge range of subjects, from shipbuilding to what happens after death, to which we are assured that all roads lead. Thanks for reminding us! As it stated, also rather obviously, on one of the displays, ‘For someone to die, he must be born first.’ Well yes. Is this the museum of the bleeding obvious, as John Cleese might ask.
However, moving on, in the stairwell of the aforementioned building there was a superfluity of old amphorae, which had once been used for storing oil and wine and were now stacked up in a vertiginous, but very impressive, display. On the first floor we moved from one lavish room to another, beautifully decorated and furnished, and named, rather uninspiringly, the green salon, the yellow salon, the red salon and the white salon. There was also an opportunity to see how we looked clad in virtual armour, which one or two of us couldn’t resist, not to mention the chance to try our hand at Glagolitic script, where we could write whatever we wanted with little chance of anyone being able to decipher it, which again was a chance not to be missed by some of us.
After a pit stop for lunch we progressed to a walk around the old town of Rijeka where we encountered a leaning tower to rival the one in Pisa without any of the attendant tourists that accompany the Italian version. How come no-one has ever heard of the Leaning Tower of Rijeka? The theatre was a dead ringer for the one in Zagreb, which is hardly surprising given that they both date back to the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. We also spotted a blackboard bearing the message ‘the more you weigh the harder you are to kidnap’ – has John Cleese intervened again?
After a quick tour of the monastery and castle at Trsat it was off for a well earned dinner but this wasn’t going to happen without a false start either. We marched in to the restaurant, where we had a reservation, to find ourselves being conducted to a table which would accommodate about twenty five people, to be greeted by disapproving looks that we were only five. Well yes, I know our numbers may have dropped a bit but not fivefold. To add insult to injury, there was a racket masquerading as music, which instantly turned some of us against the prospect of eating in this place. We made a hasty withdrawal and, after dropping Nada off at her home, we returned to Lovran where we settled down to supper in a local restaurant on the edge of the sea where we were joined by Donna, who had finally managed to escape from Heathrow and join us. Heaven at last!
Tomorrow our lessons start and I wonder what other hurdles we will have to jump. Vidjet ćemo!