Exploring Pula

We toured around Pula with our little Fiat van but once you are in the center of Pula you can walk across the entire city in about 45 minutes.

What we did:

Our first stop was the Market Hall.  We literally bought the best cherries I have ever tasted IN MY LIFE (for really cheap too). We also stocked up on fresh vegetables. Has anyone ever noticed that local European tomatoes are way more vibrant red than the ones in North America and taste WAY better?  Oh, and There are also pastry shops everywhere. Don’t leave Pula without heavily indulging. Seriously.

In the main square of old town you will find the Temple of Augustus. There are a few ancient ruins littered around Pula, but this one was my favorite. There are a ton of little coffee shops to choose from in this square but go to Cvajner café! You get an unrestricted view of the Temple AND it’s super cute inside.

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The Pula Arena  is one of the most well preserved Roman amphitheaters in the world. Entrance fee is 40 Kuna but you can see everything you need to see from the street. Personally, I recommend enjoying the Arena views at Caffe Bar Scala and have a nice 9 a.m. beer (hey, the locals were doing it).

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One of the afternoons we lunched at Ambrela Lounge & Restaurant, which is about 2 km from the city.  We felt no need to venture down to the popular and sandy Ambrela Beach as we could easily people watch from the balcony above…with our bottle of wine.

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Istrian wine isn’t typically sold in Canada so Leon and I went to a local winery in Pula to try it out. We ended up choosing to go to Trapan Winery.  You really get a local feel here as the winery tasting is literally in someone’s house. It was a tad expensive at 150,000 kn for tasting five wines plus some cheese and crackers. But, that being said, I loved most of the wine and the young lady that was conducting the tasting was absolutely amazing! Not only was she extremely knowledgeable about the wine, she was extremely personable.

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Out of the City:

Our last day in Pula we decided to try and find the hidden Blue Caves at Grotte von Pula.  At first we were hoping to rent some kayaks. When we realized there were no kayaks for rent, we bought a hot pink floaty.  There’s a trail just right of the dirt parking lot that takes you to flat-ish rocks with amazing views of the crystal clear blue water.  If you keep walking you’ll see a bunch of people cliff jumping.  This is where we decided to float.  Under where people are jumping (yes, watch for falling bodies) you can take your floaty into a cave!! It is VERY dark and kind of scary, but if you go during tourist season, there is bound to be someone with a light also going in. Very cool!

Check out this handy map here!

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I had to do a separate blog post of Rovinj because I got too excited and wrote too much. View it here – seriously go, it’s only 40 minutes away from Pula.



5 Hours in Venice

If you’re spending a hot minute in Venice, it’s all about time management and efficiency.  So basically learn from our mistakes.

Getting there

Leon and I rented a Car from the airport ended up parking at Park San Giuliano because we were under the impression that we could catch a boat into Venice from the pier. We thought wrong. After walking around for an hour we ended up taking the bus into Venice – not a huge deal, but time was of the essence as we weren’t planning on spending the night.
Side note – I have no clue how the bus works – we jumped on and tried to pay but the bus driver didn’t take our money (you probably had to buy a pass from a grocery store). Anyway, we accidentally fair evaded both ways.

What you should do – From the airport, walk 5-10 minutes to the docks. Here, you can catch a €15 boat/ferry into Venice. The views as you approach Venice are supposed to be spectacular. Tickets can be bought on the boat or in advance at the main tourist office. You can also get a private boat or water taxi into the city (If you’re a baller $$$).

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Getting around

We chose to attempt to walk off our jet-lag and explore Venice by foot. I knew If I sat down it would be game over for me. I was EXHASTED.  A less strenuous way to get around is by the Vaporetto (the Venetian water bus).  I suggest if you don’t have a GPS to rely heavily on, take the Vaporetto.  Each ride of the Vaporetto costs €7, but you can buy a TravelCard, which offer unlimited travel from anywhere between 12 hours to 7 days.

What to do

The best thing to do in Venezia is to wander along the canals and admire the majestic views, or perhaps hop on a romantic canal ride (if that’s your cup of tea).  We opted to skip out on the canal ride because it looked a little boring.

Visit the famous Piazza San Marco! It’s crowded and you might have to dodge a couple hungry pigeons, however, despite this, it is still a magnificent place.

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Climb up the Campanile Bell tower for arguably the best views of the clustered roofs of Venice.

To escape the crowds, take a walk down a staircase of encyclopedias to Libreria Acqua Alta. Located in the Cannaregio area, this bookstore is a hidden gem littered with friendly cats and bathtubs filled with books.  The Cannaregio neighborhood is in a quiet, mostly residential area, however, it is also home to many local hot-spots.

The 16 hour flight really worked us up an appetite so we indulged in pastries at Pasticceria Tonolo . Trust me, they were to DIE FOR.

While you’re in Cannaregio, eat at L’Anice Stellato or somewhere in this area instead of the overpriced restaurants near the Rialto Bridge or St. Mark’sWe had our heart set on eating here but to our surprise L’Anice Stellato didn’t open up until 7pm (someone PLEASE go and tell me how it is)!  We now know Its very common for places in Italy to shut down after lunch and re-open around 7:00 p.m.