Posted by: Gary Guertin | October 19, 2012

8. Croatia/Med./Ft. Laud. Air/Cruise – Istria Peninsula–Pazin/Porec

Hi All,

It’s Tuesday, Oct. 9th as we start our drive for the Istria Peninsula.  Our objective is to make Porec, and our hotel, the Hotel Valamar Diamant.  Since we’re going to spend the next 7 days driving around the Istria Peninsula let’s take a look on a map of the places we’ll be seeing:


To get our bearings look at the right center of the map for the town “Rijeka”.  We will be driving in from the east (right side of the map) past Rijeka then down the route that does southwest across the peninsula.  In the exact center of the map if your following down that route you will see “Pazin”, which we go by.  Pazin is important because we not only stopped in today but spent several days there.  Pazin is the birthplace of Pina, Susy’s mother.  Now to find Porec, where our hotel is, go over to the coast, in the middle, above Rovinj (almost a straight line west of Pazin on the coast).  In the days ahead we will visit Rovinj, and Pula (at the southern tip of the peninsula.

Getting back to the drive, I now have to tell the story of the third person in our party, GPS.  As we left Plitvice Lakes National Park, Susy had been told to drive north to a town call Karlovac, then head west to Porec.  GPS, on the other hand, wanted to take us west almost immediately.  Susy won out on at the first turn off, but as we moved further toward Karlovac, she gave in to GPS and off we went to the west.  Well, needless to say GPS was taking us the shortest route, but the roads were all like forest trails, and we drove for miles and miles through mountain roads with no sign of civilization.  Susy got more and more upset, until we finally reached the main road again.  We had to fill up with gas and as we did Susy went in to the station and came out with a big road map.  The trip was now becoming a test between GPS and Susy as to what directions we were going to follow.  For those of you who know Susy well, it wasn’t GPS who took a beating but “Gary,” who was a live person representing technology, and therefore GPS. I also must mention the fact that I was driving and had to decide who I was going to follow, Susy or GPS.  Take heart, I’m still alive writing this post, but can’t wait to turn the car over to the rental agency and get on the ship.

Back to our drive, as we came to Pazin, Susy wanted to pull in, have a bite to eat, and see if she could run in to some family.  Coming in to Pazin:


We stopped in the center of town at a tourist information center and met a lady and gentleman who would guide us in our future visits to Pazin.  Just down from the Information Center was a Pizzeria that had very good sandwiches and proved to be our eating hole on all our stops in Pazin.  Here’s a shot from the Information Center up the street to the Pizzeria.


After lunch we drove on to Porec, checked into our hotel, and were lucky to get a room with a wonderful view of the Adriatic Sea.  The view out our balcony:


The next day, Wednesday, Oct. 10th, we drove back to Pazin, and due to our Information Center guide started to research Susy’s/Pina’s family at the local and national archive centers.  We didn’t find anything in the national center, but hit pay dirt at the local registry.  First we found the Baptism record of Maria Basa, Susy’s grandmother:


Entry 12 says on Apr. 1, 1907, Maria was baptized, the parents being Antonius Basa and Catharina Buzdon.  Here’s a shot of Susy with the man who was very helpful and friendly:


The next find was even better, because it was her great grandfather’s baptism record:


Entry #7 shows on 14 May 1880 Antonius was baptized, son of Joannes Baxa and Josepha Brescic.  In one day we had traced Susy’s family back to her great, great grandfather and grandmother.  We also found out that they were not from the town of Pazin itself, but a region just a few miles away.  The registries closed early so we decided to take the rest of the day to sightsee in Pazin.  That’s a laugh because it’s just a little town, but it does have a Castle, so off we went. Here’s some of the streets:



The Castle from afar:


A little history, the castle is called the “Kastel”.  It can be dated from a deed of Emperor Otto II dated June 7, 983.  It was originally built in the medieval period and was used to protect the trade routes which ran through Pazin.  It was modified in the 15th and 16th century.  It is said to be the biggest and best-preserved medieval fortress in the Istria Peninsula.  Inside we found a courtyard:


A square tower:


and kitchen with Susy deciding what to cook for dinner?????:


That’s it for the day.  We climbed back in the car and let Susy get us to Porec, with GPS taking over in town due to some closed roads.  Anyway it was a good day and we looked forward to the next venture.

Love You All,

Gary (alias Gagu)



  1. You are giving a whole new meaning to GPS: Gary Punished by Susy.

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