Italy & Tunisia 2005 >

Istria is a peninsula immediately adjacent to Trieste. A small strip at the top is part of Slovenia, and most of it is part of Croatia. It has changed hands many times in the past several centuries. Our curiosity was originally piqued when we went to Albona, an Istrian restaurant in San Francisco. You have to wonder what view we have of the world outside of eating.
We stayed at the Hotel Kastel, literally inside a castle in the old town of Motovun, like many towns built atop a hill. It's frequently foggy there.
The castle gate to the hotel.
Right after checking in, we headed back down the hill to Restaurant Zagante, which specializes in truffles. Absolutely every item on the menu except a few of the desserts is served with your choice of fresh black or white truffles. Here's the rabbit, with large slices of fresh black truffles. You get such tiny shavings in America. Also, the truffles here tasted more like mushrooms and less like burnt rubber bands.
A truffle monument in the town traffic circle. it's about as hard to read as the statue of Quetzalcoatl in San Jose.
Truffles for sale in a shop near the hotel.
We spent much of the next day in Pula, at the southern tip. Here's a model of the city in a park. My Romanian friends laughed when I told them we went to Pula.
In the archeological museum, an interesting oil lamp.
A statue of James Joyce, who taught English for a year in Pula (in a building that now sells Diesel clothes).
A Snuff Mosaic of "The Punishment of Dirce". The tourist office web page explains the myth: Amphion and Zethus are tying Dirce to an enraged bull, since out of envy Dirce had been cruel to their mother Antiope. The mosaic had excellent geometric figures as well.
geometric decorations
The temple of Augustus and the Communal Palace, which still holds city offices. These buildings don't match very well but how are you going to remodel a temple of Apollo?
Nice tilework on a balcony above the tourist office.
Public sculpture. Our consolation prize for not being able to make a pilgrimage to the menhirs on Corsica.
Close-up of the amphitheater in the city model.
Reflection of the amphitheater.
Fall colors though an opening inside the amphitheater.
A church tower from inside the amphitheater.
In the chamber underneath the amphitheater, there was an exhibit of pottery and of olive-making machinery. In this former Communist country, there was much more attention paid to the individual workers making the pottery (highlighting the unique stamps each one used) than in the other places we visited. I liked this section of the Tabula Peutingeriana, an old map showing the Roman road system.
A little guidebook pointed us to a public sculpture park which was open after dark.
A little gallery near the hotel accidentally had its door open, and Ray grabbed a photo.
We stopped in Beram to see some frescoes the guidebook pointed out. To do this, we had to call someone to take us here, the Church of St. Mary. She unlocked it and waited while we looked at them and took pictures.
She didn't let much light into the building in order to preserve the frescoes.
St. Sebastian (a long exposure). I've never seen a Sebastian with so many knives. Somebody must have a high-score table.
The Dance of Death above the door.
Agony in the Garden.
On to Venezia and Trieste

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