Posted by: Gary Guertin | October 22, 2012

10. Croatia/Med./Ft. Laud. Air/Cruise – Istria Peninsula – Pazin / Motovun

Hi All,.

Today, Friday, Oct. 12, we return to Pazin to look for family.  In our previous visits, you may recall, we had found records of Susy’s grandmother, Maria Basa, her great grandparents, Antonius Basa and Catharina Buzdon, and her great, great grandparents, Joannes Baxa and Josepha Brescic.  I only bring that up because we are going to go looking for someone with those last names in an area just north of Pazin.  From our Information Center guide we had the name of a small village where several Basa families lived and a small cemetery where we might find some of the family gravestones.  If my spelling Basa with an X sometimes confuses you, don’t let it.  It seems between the different powers over Croatia, Austria-Hungary, Italian, and back to Croatia, the recording and spelling of the same names changed.  An X changed to an S, and back again to an X, is very common. 

As we passed through Pazin for what we considered the last time, I’ll show you one last landmark, St. Nicholas (1266 – bell tower 1705):


If I haven’t said it before I should explain that the entire Istria Peninsula is mountains.  The main crops are wine and olives since the Roman times.  As we headed north out of Pazin the scenery from the road was beautiful:


When we arrived at the little village where the Basa’s lived we found them at the second house we stopped at:


Susy with her cousins.  The boy on the left (17 years old) spoke perfect English and his bother spoke a little, but understood everything.  The father offered us wine, and when we accepted, he went down to the cellar and got a bottle of red wine he had made.  The wine was very good.  They didn’t know any Basa’s from Susy’s branch of the family, but were very friendly and helpful.  After we drank a glass we headed out for the cemetery at Toncici.   You can’t believe how beautiful this little church and cemetery turned out to be.  Here’s some pictures, but they don’t begin to do justice to the setting and scenery:



About half the graves were either Basa or Brescic, most probably related to Susy’s great, great grandparents.  They were from this area, but we didn’t find any graves marked earlier than the late 1800’s, so we couldn’t make any direct connections.  Here’s a couple of examples:



It was still about mid afternoon, so between Susy and GPS we decided to see Motovun on the way to our hotel.  Motovun is known as one of the most famous of the fortified towns in the Istria Peninsula.  As we got close you can see why:


That’s it off in the distance, and the day began to turn bad, pouring down rain, as we got closer:


The old town or upper town is surrounded by a wall built during the 13th to 14th century.  Later, a second wall was built around the lower town.  There’s only one entrance and as we drove up toward the top you see the narrow medieval streets:


We walked up to the top of the upper town, occupied by a hotel, and several stores and café’s.  Here’s a look at the upper level:


We had a coffee in the hotel while the town was surrounded in clouds.  Just as we came out of the hotel, the clouds parted and we got a few shots of the wonderful view from the upper town:



On the way home (to our hotel) we had another conflict with GPS (alias Gary) because it took us an extra 10 or 15 kilometers out of the way trying to take a direct route that didn’t exist.  It was the first real error GPS made and Susy made the most of it.  We finally arrived, and turned in, ready for another adventurist day.

Love You All,

Gary (alias Gagu)


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