This photo gallery is a part of my winter trip to see Rijeka Carnival and zvončari. I have gone from Warsaw to Vienna, got to sightsee the city, took the train to Ljubljana (Slovenia), and from there to Rijeka. Those photos will tell the story of my 2-night stay in winter Rijeka. The town is better known as a summer destination, but it’s a lot to offer in the winter too.
Arriving at Rijeka
It’s getting dark early in winter, so by the time I have turned up at the central station, it was pitch black already. I have contemplated going to my Airbnb room by foot, but I’d probably lose my way anyway. So, I googled (thanks UE roaming!) taxi number and made a call in English. The guy who came didn’t know the road! He used GPS, and when we stopped at the top of the hill, and he said: “go down, it’s somewhere there.” Did I mention it was pitch black and I couldn’t see a thing? The occasional light lamps didn’t help much. Luckily, some lady walked the dog, and she told me the direction. When I finally went down, I have noticed there was a regular road going to the house I stayed in.
It was night already when I got out (but the darkness looked the same) for a night walk and a late dinner.
Enjoying Winter Rijeka
My schedule was tight. I have arrived on Saturday evening, had one full day to enjoy the town and Carnival, and just a few hours on the morning of the next day.
My first idea of spending the Sunday was to go to a beach in the morning, come back and see the full presentation of groups, and enjoy the nightlife. It didn’t go as planned at all. Not only because the streets were already closed, but I also didn’t want to look for the rerouted bus stops. It was a warm, sunny, and bright day, which for some might be the ideal weather, but not for me. The sun was too intense, the noise and all those people cramming around me gave me a migraine. But at least, I saw one or two hours of the Parade.
I did what I usually do when I feel that a migraine is coming, I hid in an out-of-the-sun place and ate a full meal. I tried one restaurant after another, bustling with people and no free tables in sight. Eventually, I found a rare gem – a table for one inside. I ate a local stew dish. That did help a bit, but I had to go back to my room and get some sleep. On my way back, I managed to see a group of zvončari, so I accomplished my mission for the whole trip.
I rose up in time to see the end of the Parade. It has ended around 20:00 or 21:00. In the end, I didn’t want to go to a club, so I decided to see a beach. The closest one was around 2 km from the city center. So I went there on foot. Through the dark streets by the port. It was a serene time to see the lights of the town and port against the black sky and sea blended. I stayed for a bit looking in the dark and listening to the waves. The water was rather cold, as the Baltic sea at the beginning of summer, when I put my hand down. A refreshing feeling even in the winter.
I managed somehow (with roaming) to find a bus stop going to the center and ran my lungs out to make it before it departs. I came back home around the midnight. It was worth the lack of sleep.
In the morning, I shopped a bit for my souvenirs (books). And a postcard for my grandma, and a friend. I didn’t foresee 30-minute long queue at the post office, but I sent them and walked to the station in time. I could see the station finally in the daylight, and it wasn’t a good view. A run down place. It had charm, however.
The winter Rijeka had its charm too. It was a colorful town both with a peaceful and lively atmosphere. I enjoyed the sea dishes, the walks, the streets with historical and colorful stone buildings mixed with the new glass and metal structures.
I got on the train to Ljubljana again. That was the end of my first ever trip to Croatia. More Croatia/Rijeka photos on my Instagram and Twitter accounts and the Rijeka Carnival Parade will be coming soon in the next post. And the zvončari, of course.
Have you heard of zvončari? Stay tuned, if you didn’t.