Misal – sparkling delight

May 28, 2015
Misal bottles, Istria

Sparkling wine – the taste of summer! But, when you think of sparkling wines, Croatia doesn’t come naturally to mind, so I was surprised – and delighted – to be offered both white and rosé at Sv. Nikola, one of Porec’s top restaurants, both from Misal. They were delicious so, when I found they...
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Let’s go hunting … for Istrian asparagus!

April 8, 2015
Maria-pokes-the-hedges

Istrians love food and in Spring that means asparagus, picked wild from fields and hedgerows. With pickers popping up everywhere around me, this seems a good time to revisit the very first article I wrote for Live Istria in 2010. Moving abroad, living in a new country, is all about discovery: discovering new things...
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Avoiding the Slovenian motorway toll

March 19, 2015
local-map

Coming on holiday to Istria by car? A few years ago, the Slovenians introduced toll stickers (‘vignettes’) for their motorways, similar to the system in Austria. If you are only driving across Slovenia to Istria, this makes the short (10 km) motorway journey, from the Italian border at Trieste to Koper/Capodistria, very expensive. Obviously...
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Let renovation begin

January 21, 2015
Amir tunnelling out under the front wall

Renovating an old property can be challenging – even when you delegate all the hard work. So, doing it for the first time, with a builder who doesn’t speak your language, might be called fool-hardy. I guess I was about to find out – let the work begin!   Renovation projects in Istria come...
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What’s in a bottle of wine? Go grape picking to find out

September 29, 2014
Nicky empties bucket of gapes into trailer

My expat life in Istria takes me grape picking. In mid-September picking teams start to pop up in the Istrian vineyards, roads clog with tractors trailing mounds of grapes – and I get a phone call late one afternoon. It’s Marija: “Mico says, would you like to go grape picking tomorrow?” I’ve never been...
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Pazin: a castle, gorge and giant’s cave

August 1, 2014
Pazin Castle, seen from cafe across gorge, Istria

Pazin doesn’t feature highly in Croatian guidebooks, but hidden behind this apparently non-descript administrative town is a magnificent castle, perched on the edge of a dramatic gorge, with an enormous cave beneath. How this came to be depends on the tale you’re told. My favourite is that of the giant, Ban Dragonja.   The...
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Wrestling with risottos

May 12, 2014
Mushroom & red pepper risotto

Thanks to the Italian influence, risottos are a real Istrian speciality. But my attempts at risotto had always been disastrous (because I was always too lazy to stand over them, constantly stirring in more liquid, as you are supposed to do). So I had more or less given up on them … but since...
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Porec is Thunderstruck!

April 11, 2014
2Cellos playing Thunderstruck from video

It’s a YouTube sensation! The 2Cellos latest music video  – their take on AC/DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’ – has gone viral, with over 12 million views to date. Watch it and you’ll never view the cello – or Thunderstruck – the same way again! It’s certainly an amazing performance; but even more amazing to me is...
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Novigrad – the perfect seaside-holiday town

March 31, 2014
Novigrad, Istria

Imagine, for a moment, an ideal seaside-holiday town. First, it needs to be the right size: big enough to have things to see and do; yet small enough to be easily explored on foot. Obviously, it should be centred around a picturesque harbour, with fishermen working from small boats. Attractive old streets with colourful...
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Growing success?

March 26, 2014
Vrt Express = Ryslavy family

In April, Vrt-Express is opening a garden centre in Istria, on the Porec–Pazin road in Žbandaj. But why am I telling you this? Why should you care? Because this isn’t simply the latest in a big company’s chain, it is a far more personal affair: the realisation of a dream by local nurseryman, Srdjan...
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Franc Arman – one of the best

March 20, 2014
Franc Arman vineyard, Istria

Teran is the red wine of Istria and they don’t come much better than Franc Arman. A pioneer of high-quality Istrian wine, you’ll find bottles of Franc Arman in many of Istria’s leading restaurants. I loved their Teran when I tasted it and so I set off to the winery to discover more, only...
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Visiting Istria – do you need a car?

March 15, 2014
Porec bus station, Istria

‘Do I need a car?’ It’s a question I’ve been asked many times by guests looking to visit Istria. Of course it depends on where you’re staying and how much you want to explore: for my places, which are in villages, the answer is probably ‘yes’. But is this always the case? Does every...
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Vrsar – romantic perfection

January 28, 2014
Vrsar from the sea

Of all the towns along the Istrian coast, Vrsar is probably my favourite. Set on a steep hillside, over-looking its harbour, it is a beautiful sight. With its old buildings and narrow streets, this small town is a wonderful place for an afternoon stroll, soaking up the atmosphere and admiring the glorious views. I’ve...
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An English country garden, kissed by Istrian sun

January 16, 2014
looking-up-to-house-1

An expat life in the sun was long our dream: achieving it was no easy task. When we bought our property in Istria in  2004, the garden was a huge mud patch. Turning it into the beautiful garden we have today, has been a seven-year labour of love – and lots of hard work!...
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A life in the sun

January 14, 2014
Relaxing in my Istrian swimming pool

Have you dreamed of quitting the big smoke and escaping abroad to the sun – but wonder what it’s really like? Well we did, and I started the ‘Living Istria’ section of Live Istria to show the realities of living and working in a sunnier climate – and a surprisingly different Mediterranean culture.  ...
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