It seems as if everyone comes to Poreč, or what the Italians call “Parenzo.” Old photographs on the walls of the little place where we had a great lunch show scenes from 100 years ago when the town was just a fishing port with some interesting old Roman and Byzantine ruins. Now it’s chock-a-block souvenir shops and hucksters trying to sell you something. “Mister! Sprechen Sie Deutsch?” No, we reply. We don’t. (Even though of course, we both do.) My wife gets indignant. “Do I look like some bleach blond German woman?” she asks me. This was a lovely town at one time, and we are certain that it is a lovely town – off season. Unfortunately, we have to do our scouting trips when we have time, not always the perfect time. Crowds hustling in and out of souvenir shops, gelato on every corner, cheap souvenirs and some of them quite shocking and sexual in nature right next to a fine jewelry shop. It’s sort of a mess, and the Romans who lived here more than two thousand years ago would not have approved. (Or would they? We need to find an old Roman and ask him) At least lunch was good, taken in a nearly empty restaurant down near the water. Jenean had a rumpsteak smothered in parmesan flakes and arugula. She had to send it back for some more time on the fire, but that’s better than getting a steak which has been burnt through. My pizza was just fine, it said “with olives” and sure enough, one lonely green olive sat perfectly in the center of the pizza. I tried a local beer, trying to support the local economy, but sent it back after a sip. It was slightly stronger than 7-up. A Heinekin replaced it. I was surprised to see the bad beer on the bill when it was time to go. Also surprised when I asked the waiter to break up a 100 kuna note and he brought back two 50s, obviously thinking this dumb tourist would opt to leave him a 25% tip with one of those 50s. Guess he hasn’t been reading my blog, because he got zip.
The Demanicus is the old Roman road and it is lined today with fine Venetian houses from the 1300s. Gaze up at the architecture, not to the left or right at the kitsch in the shops, and you will be enchanted.