Slovenia: Piran

“I’m in Slovenia not Italy. I’m in Slovenia not Italy.”
I had to keep reminding myself of this as this seaside town on the coast of Slovenia had such an Italian influence that you could have easily arrived by sea and believed you were in one of a number of Italian towns.

After a quick bite to eat I headed out to walk around the town. I knew it wouldn’t take long but was keen to do it early before walking became tiresome in the heat. Stepping out of our hotel I found myself immediately in the main town piazza, where there was a bustling Saturday market. It was bustling in terms of it being busy but was in fact blissfully peaceful without cries from locals selling their wares; perhaps because it was more home crafts and antiques than fresh fruit and fish.

It was so peaceful in the town that I was able to get lost in my thoughts as I wandered away from the square, past the small harbour with the locals reeling in their daily catches and to the end of the harbour jetty, which offered beautiful views of the town.

From here I followed the coast round as far as I could. There’s not really anywhere to sunbathe as you would usually expect because there are great big boulders along the shore, so the town has put in ten or so little jetties with steps and ladders on. Perfect to dive into the salty, refreshing water when you need to cool off.
At the furthest end of the shore I climbed up a steep cobbled path, through colourful, miss-matching houses and came out at the church. The church offered stunning, scenic views of the town below, including the harbour, piazza and beautifully European rooftops!
Looking down from this vantage point I could see where the locals had crept along the shore to more secluded sunbathing points far beneath me. Unfortunately not far enough away to be reminded that, whatever age they are, they sunbathe in the nude on the continent…!

I continued my meandering until I got perfectly lost. Lost because I could not have pinpointed my position on a map but perfectly because the town is too small to really be lost, and offers a whole heap of little surprised round every corner. (Some of which made me giggle more than others..!)
It also turns out I have a bit of a thing for old doors and windows. I’m not sure what it is about them but I had to snap them all up with my camera…
As I expected, my bearings came back to me all too soon, as I found myself back at the hotel. But it did mean I could join the others for an iced coffee overlooking the local market, before heading out for a delicious lunch. We opted for a little restaurant with outdoor seating, tucked away from the crowded shoreline.

Lunch was finished off with Grappa which was ideal preparation for an afternoon nap in the sunshine! As I snoozed and the waves lapped around me, the time ticked on, and it felt far too soon that the sun and temperature began to drop. We headed back to the hotel, retracing my steps from earlier for about the tenth time, such is the size of the town!

We once again enjoyed our wine on our hotel balcony, this time overlooking a small wedding. It was rather a different Slovenian wedding to the one I enjoyed not so long before, but I quite enjoyed the people-watching from our tucked-away balcony corner. The balloons that were let off also offered a rather mesmerising view as they sailed high, high above us…

I’d taken a recommendation for Pri Mari from the web for dinner, but it was obviously as good as t’internet suggests as it was fully booked. Instead we came across a very pretty-looking place. I forget the name but if you go you’ll spot it near Pri Mari (if you walk towards the town), surrounded by Taittinger banners.
It was a lovey restaurant with friendly and helpful staff. However my advice will be to pick your meal straight off the menu rather than ask the waiter for his advice in best dishes. More on that later.
Actually, his first choice was splendid – a meat plate with deliciously sweet, local tomatoes and mozzarella, which we had after a little coleslaw&proscuitto number. The local extra virgin olive oil is mouth-wateringly good.
Then we had the main. Fish, split between 3 of us. This is where my point above becomes valid. The waiter recommended 3 fish, from which we selected the dorada. We thought we’d seen it on the menu at a reasonable price but we must have been wrong. How much d’ya reckon this little man went through the till at?

If you guessed €50 you’d be ABSOLUTELY…wrong. €90 for this bad boy! NINETY! And I couldn’t even bl**dy finish it because I’d filled up on smoked duck and sugary tomatoes!! Was it worth €90? No. Short answer. But it was probably the best fish I’ve ever had and perfectly cooked so maybe at €30 each I’m being a little unfair.

However, the shock could not be taken from my face. Even for a photo, it would appear…

The waiter tried to soften the blow with icey chocolate sticks and more fizz.
Well….it helped a bit…


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