I have been to New York on several occasions, and the city with 56 million visitors a year and 2 million passengers riding the subway every day is the pure opposite of Northwest Istria. About 1,5 million people live on Manhattan, but during the day you will find as many as 4 million people there! Right next to Central Park you will find a church the size of the Zagreb Cathedral, and it still seems miniature surrounded by all the skyscrapers. The skyscrapers, about ten of which are in the process of construction right now, are perhaps the main landmark of New York and its famous skyline.
At first look, a holiday in New York could not be more different from a holiday in Northwest Istria. The easy rhythm of the beach and sun, slow food restaurants, cycling trails and the nature attract me to Istria whenever I want a truly relaxing or active holiday. The constant rush and incredible crowds of people are my New York adrenaline, but they have also taught me how to enjoy the wholly positive slow pace of Istria, thanks to which I have also learned the true joy of sitting on a terrace in front of my house reading a book, with nothing but the song of birds around.
But the two destinations have more in common than one might think. On both sides of the Atlantic, one should give into the moment and not plan anything. In the Big Apple, of course, I am going to need Yelp to find good restaurants, while in Northwest Istria besides the apps I can always ask the locals for tips where to go, since they are more than well acquainted with the gastronomy of the region. What also connects the two is the great diversity of the visitors, the only difference is how fast they walk. In Istria it’s a casual stroll, with no rush, while all of Manhattan is running somewhere.
I have also found similarities between Istria and the other coast of the US, in San Francisco and California. Calmer and more peaceful, California is very much like our biggest peninsula, especially Nappa Valley, where we tried a number of excellent Californian wines, as its hills very much remind me of the ones in Istria. The road we took from San Francisco to Big Sur reminded me a bit of the one from Novigrad to Umag, if for no other reason then because of driving right along the shoreline. An active holiday is the mark of California, which just like Istria has a great number of cycling trails. But the place I learned about real American hospitality is Chicago, where we spent three hours driving around the city getting to know it with professional guides.
Besides the exciting moments, long journeys have given me a good perspective of local destinations. Overseas trips are exciting, different, often more exhausting but also more expensive. And almost always more rushed. Northwest Istria is a synonym for a holiday for the soul which gives you a break from everything.