Pula

In the morning we ventured to Pula, where we toured one of the best preserved amphitheaters still in existence. During our visit, an ice hockey rink was being installed. Considering it was over 80 degrees and an ancient Roman site, I was more than a little surprised.  There are concerts and other events at the amphitheater throughout the year. I love that they use it for practical purposes while preserving it at the same time.

Pula at a Glance
-With a population of 57,000, Pula is the largest city on the Istrian Peninsula
-The city still functions as an industrial port town
-Part of the 1999 movie Titus with Anthony HopkinsandJessicaLangewas filmed in Pula’s amphitheater

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They were cleaning the stone to make it look like it would have in its prime.

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Below the amphitheater are the honey comb-like mazes where animals and gladiators were kept before the fight. This area is now a museum featuring a large collection of Roman amphorae (shown above). After the amphitheater tour, we explored the rest of the city with our local guide.

IMG_0771 In 1904 a young James Joyce lived in Pula where he taught English for less than six months. Above is a statue of Joyce in front of what used to be the Berlitz language school where he was a teacher.

IMG_0768 During WWII, Pula’s Temple of Augustus was hit by an Allied bomb. During the Allied occupation, the Allies helped rebuild the temple.

Rovinj

After we departed Pula, we stopped by Rovinj. It was beautiful but also very touristy. My dad and I trekked to the top of the hill and enjoyed exploring the narrow winding medieval streets along the way. The view from the top was spectacular.

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IMG_0787 The Church of St. Euphemia at the very top of Rovinj features the relics of St. Euphemia, who was thrown in with the lions at a Roman amphitheater as punishment for refusing to worship Pagan gods. Instead of attacking her, the lions licked her wounds and tears.

IMG_0794 You can climb to the top of the tower at the Church of St. Euphemia, however between my fear of heights and the ninety degree weather, I chose to forgo the tower and decided we’d rather sit at a café with a cold drink and people watch.

Next – Day 6: Opatija & Plitvice Lakes National Park