Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Medieval Motovun

Motovun is touted in the brochures to be the best preserved example of a Medieval village in Croatia.  You enter through an arched tower, the passageway of which is lined with ancient artifacts.  Emerging onto the stone wall, beautifully preserved,  a string of cafes and shops greets you.  Handmade jewelry, unique clothing and accessories, edible treats and Truffle delicacies line the main walk.  While the shopping is wonderful and the scent of Croatian delicacies are scintillating in themselves, it is the view from the wall that is truly breathtaking.

Freshly  tiled rooftops and their faded, older cousins drift in a mottled red sea to the valley floor far below.  Curving roads snake their way into the hills and forests which in November were richly painted in a tapestry of gold, magenta, and copper.   Quaint buildings and narrow and curving cobblestone alleys entice and beckon the traveler from the wall, daring an exploring foot to enter.

As in many villages, the 'old town' boasts a square, accessed through castle walls by curved archways.  Rambling leisurely between narrowly placed houses and up and down steep avenues is indeed a delight of fairytale-like proportions.

Motovun has a brand of humor all its own.  When we arrived at the entrance to the road that led up steeply to the village proper, a parking attendant asked us politely whether we wanted to park 'upstairs' or not.  (In my opinion, only the valiant with calves of steel would dare to park 'downstairs'!)

It was not far from here that we happened upon a man and his dog in the act of truffle-hunting.  It was a thrill to watch as the dog 'pointed' a truffle, and his human counterpart dug with his truffle-scoop to reveal a valuable specimen for his pouch.

This little spot makes an ideal side-trip.  It is one more place among the many in the area where the past and the present collide, where ancient meets modern, where old and new peacefully co-exist.

It is one more chapter in the book that tells the magical story of Croatia.

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