So here it is, the first of my posts from our time in Croatia. Not to go on (and yes Mr R, this is directed at you!), but I could have live blogged this trip had I had a computer!! If I am truly honest though, it was actually really lovely to have some off-screen time and just relax with the family. Not being on top of things blog wise currently (thanks baby) has been bothering me of late, and you know, maybe it took him accidentally leaving it at home to make me realise that posting less for a while is OK, and I will get back to my normal levels in time. Anyway, what’s the pressure? I hasten to add Mr R still managed to pack his blinking work PC, funny that!!
Back to our trip… Neither of us had ever visited Croatia before, despite our friends here all going on about it (it has to be one of the most visited destinations from DE I well imagine), and I wasn’t really sure what to expect… Something quite Italianesque given Croatia’s heritage perhaps? Maybe something a little Greek-like thanks to its stunning azure seas, and menus full of seafood? There’s definitely a little of both of the above in evidence, but Croatia is still very much her own person – with an awful lot to offer.
Given the proximity from Munich (around a 7 hour drive after we had stopped a couple of times!) we opted for the Northerly Istrian peninsula, with its historic hill towns, glorious coastline and clear blue seas that are perfect for snorkelling! The beaches we found to be usually pebbly, but to be honest I am not a great lover of sand – particularly with a soon to be 9 month old who would undoubtedly love to eat it!
Our home for the week – Villa Bura (part of the renowned James Villa family), lies a few kilometres outside of historic Labin (a very photo heavy post on that place coming up soon, you have been warned!), up a tiny winding road and perched high up on a hillside with the most magnificent views out across the sea and beyond. With a bird’s-eye view of Labin to the left, and what I think was Rabac far in the distance you might be tempted to sit by the pool and admire the view for the entirety of your time here – if you can actually sit still and relax. Unlike us! We still managed that in the evenings though, and Mother Nature kindly provided on a few spectacular sunsets for our viewing pleasure – far better than the week of football I would have been subjected to otherwise!
The villa itself far exceeded my expectations, it was really luxurious. Our hosts – the lovely Daniella and her husband, have thought of just about everything for the perfect break – including for mothers with slight laundry obsessions – as yes, this place includes a washing machine and dryer!! Gone are the days when proximity to things such as nightlife and beaches were my main priority – nowadays this is near the top of my list of must haves such is my hatred of returning home to “washing mountain”!
And, in case you live with a “food enthusiast” Villa Bura has to have the edge for self catering as it doesn’t just have one kitchen – it has two – with one in the (what we termed “the Man Cave”) pool house next door. It has three double bedrooms (one with a balcony with that view!) each with its own bathroom, an extra bathroom downstairs (always handy with kids!), a spacious comfortable lounge with all TV/DVD/Wifi mod cons (perfect for our tweenager to keep in touch with friends, and for her mother’s other social media addictions)…
The outdoor space, where we spent most of our time was equally perfect – with a beautiful pool to cool off in, and sun beds nobody had to fight over. Mountain bikes were even provided so we could explore the nature trails in the surrounding countryside – great to pop down to the nearby hamlet where they produce honey and wine and all things lavender goods! Also appreciated were the little touches like badminton rackets for overly competitive tournaments, by the pool, a table football set in the Man Cave which as well as the extra kitchen also contained Mr R’s favourite thing – the indoor barbecue. Yes really. I am honestly racking my brains to think of what else this place could do with.
Would we go to Croatia again? Most definitely. Would we stay at Villa Bura again? I would love to. It’s hard to find somewhere like that, especially with those views! The privacy of the location meant the Small People (and the big kid) could make as much noise in the pool as they liked – and there wasn’t any near drowning of any other guests as per past holidays. We could hog ALL the sun loungers with the best views, and yet we were still close enough to pop to places like Labin and Trget Bay for food missions, and history explorations which I will tell you more about soon (told you we can’t sit still)!
A week full of a lot of memories, and some big new adventures for the baby – with his first swim and all that…
My only suggestion if you are thinking of a similar break would be to bear in mind that when you book a week just isn’t long enough. Back with more soon…