Living Istria

What’s life really like for a foreigner in Istria? Well we’ve lived here for the past seven years. Here are tales of our experience, plus those of others who either live or have a holiday home here.

If an item is underlined but not clickable, it means an article is in preparation. I’ll add the proper link when it’s ready for you to read. Bear with me, this all takes time!

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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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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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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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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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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Istrian Maneštra

December 20, 2013

A sort of pork and beans, this quintessential Istrian soup, is a meal in itself. Made in every Istrian restaurant and home, everyone has their own family recipe which varies according to what’s in season. Any restaurant’s recipes are a well-guarded secret. This isn’t quite Katica’s maneštra recipe but it’s very close. She says you...
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A tale of two poles?

November 4, 2013
Blank poles outside village

In my hectic expat life in Istria a quiet, relatively uneventful week makes a nice change: I managed to spend quite a bit of it in bed. When I finally got moving, I pottered in the garden, clattered at the typeface and pondered ‘The Arrival of the Two Poles’.   Monday 14 November The...
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Mushrooming knowledge

October 14, 2013
Basket with Istrian wild mushroom selection

Istria is famous for its truffles, but this is only a tiny fraction of its fungi offering. In autumn, when conditions are right, Istria’s woods are full of wild mushrooms: the weird and the wonderful, the tiny and the tremendous, the delicious and the deadly. And as the fungi appear, so do the mushroom...
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Fig scrumping

August 29, 2013
Marija picking figs

Istria’s dotted with fig trees and  all summer long they’ve been steadily growing, soaking up the Istrian sun. Come early September, they’re fat and juicy and ready for harvest.  With none yet of my own, I went fig scrumping with Marija and we picked loads! (OK, I admit that in fact we had permission to...
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What happened to my lazy week?

August 21, 2013
P&S in pool, Istria

Revisiting one from the archives, with a trip back two years which shows very little has changed! Tired after our UK trip and, with a few guest-free days, our plan was for a lazy week. As usual, played ‘catch-up’ instead. But did get time for dinner with friends, the Porec ‘end-of-season’ party and a...
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Pljukanci in creamy mushroom sauce

August 14, 2013
Pljukanci in creamy mushroom sauce

I enjoyed this dish so much at Monte Carlo that when I went back, I talked the recipe out of chef, Adriano. Please note these are very rough quantities – just getting the ingedients list from Adriano was a challenge; quantities were even more problematic! Most often, the amount was ‘a little’ or ‘just...
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Holiday homes – Yugoslav style

August 12, 2013
building-house--sepia

Today Croatia is a popular destination for foreign, second-home buyers looking for a place in the sun. Holiday homes are a new relatively idea to many of us coming from northern Europe, but not to most Croatians. For many Yugoslavians, under a communist government, a second home by the sea or in the countryside...
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My Istrian Recycling Saga

July 18, 2013
Box with a few of my bottles needing recycling in Istria

A simple trip to the bottle bank becomes an epic journey, but along the way I discover how rubbish recycling works in my small corner of Istria. “I’m going to the recycling bins on the way to the shops,” I said, eyeing up the overflowing box of bottles and cans threatening to take over...
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