I came to Novigrad in the afternoon and checked into the Cittar Family Hotel, a cute, interesting family hotel in the centre of town. I’m intentionally emphasising the centre of town, because everything was at my fingertips, both the starting point of the event and the amazing party at the finish line, also in the centre of town, in a park with a sea view.
I decided to take a nap, and just when I began dreaming about an irresistible woman my mobile rang, shattering my romantic idyll. A friend was calling to tell me that I simply had to go for a dinner featuring amazing Istrian delicacies at Konoba Nino. As if she had known I’d be ravenous after a dream like that.
I didn’t want to overdo it, so I only ordered a little prosciutto, cheese, an Istrian-style frittata, fuži pasta with truffles, a steak, and cake. I don’t like to stuff myself before bed. The food thrilled me. And I’m hard to thrill. Phenomenal food and friendly owners. They have excellent homemade wine and an amazing biska mistletoe brandy. I think Konoba Nino is going to become a frequent destination of mine.
Let me explain the next picture – just so no one thinks I’ve gone vegan. Heaven forbid! I stuffed myself the night before, so I just had some grapes and strawberries for breakfast before heading off on my wine adventure.
The sun was shining on my beautiful, bald head as the lyrics from TBF’s “Alles Gut” ran through my head – “Nothing’s going to ruin my day.” And then everything went to pot.
I forgot my socks, and I had to walk 10 kilometres in new tennis shoes. “Lord,” I asked, “isn’t it enough that you made me short?” I literally asked everyone around me if they had any spare socks. It might be hard to believe, but someone actually did. A kind lady lent me a pair, but they weren’t really my colour. They weren’t really a masculine colour, either. They were pink. I said to myself: “Well, life isn’t perfect after all. But better to look like a girl than to get blisters on your feet.”
As I walked about, displaying my highly advanced fashion sense, I realised how superficial we’ve all become. Social networks have ruined us. All we worry about is how we’re going to turn out in pictures and what people will say about us. I decided to forget about the fact that I had pink socks on, and enjoy the rest of my day. After a few glasses of Malvasia, the slumbering hedonist in me awoke, and life was beautiful again.
At one point, I began to show the locals a skill handed down in my family through the generations – levitation.
After seven wine stops, I began seeing things. I thought I could see ghosts in front of me.
I asked my friend if she could see people floating around us, and she replied: “You’ve had too much to drink! Those aren’t ghosts, they’re tennis players at a retro tennis tournament. See the court?”
Maybe I really had drunk too much by that point, but then again, that’s why I came to Istria. Among other reasons. Regardless, one thing’s for sure: “Malvasia is from Heaven!”
The ghosts were a hallucination, but the gorgeous Istrian girls definitely weren’t. Each one more beautiful than the last. After the seven food and wine stops, I headed off with them to the big party at the finish line of this 10-plus kilometre wine and gourmet experience. After strolling along the sea, we kept on dancing in the park until the early morning hours – with the ever-present good food and a glass of wine. Or two. Or three. Or four. Glasses. Or bottles. But who’s counting…
Novigrad truly is a beautiful town, its people are exceptionally friendly, and they live for tourism. The perfect destination for a getaway from the city, and both the service and the selection is excellent, even out of peak tourist season. What impressed me most was the Teran ice cream, and the atmosphere and the experience were truly something to remember.