The Retirees go Abroad – Croatia – Opatija Riviera

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By the time we meet our tour guide and wait whilst the rest of the tour collect their luggage we don’t get away till 12.00 noon. It is a 21/2 hr bus ride to Opatji on the Croatian Riviera. The trip from Zagreb to Opatija took over 21/2 hours through the countryside and then the mountains onto the Adriatic coast.

Our hotel is quite reasonable and well located overlooking the sea. There is a path that follows the water front and it was enjoyable to stretch our legs. We visited the 15th century church of St Jacob which started life as a Benedictine monastery. The Croatian word for Monastery – Opatija – gave the town its name. The coast line is quite attractive with its clear water splashing against the side walk wetting passers-by.

We have met Avis, a single Scottish lass who lived 18 years in Melbourne then moved to Holland and now lives in Norfolk and has the most complex accent and we have also met brother and sister David and Joy from Rutland the UK’s smallest county. Joy is widowed but has done quite a lot of travel with her husband and after he died has travelled with her brother. So we all have stories to tell and share.

After settling into the hotel, we walked along the beach front. The beach front is a stone and concrete wall with various little harbours and swimming nooks stretching for some 7 kilometres with a walking path atop of it. Opatija has only found fame as a tourist destination in the mid-1800s. Up till then it was a small unimportant fishing village. Our walk took us past many of the villas and hotels from that period and an ancient church the church of St Joseph with its golden Mary outside. There are larger and more modern churches but the favourite is St Josephs.

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