Fig trees are everywhere. It was 'smokva' (fig) season in early November, and fresh figs were plentiful at every market. They were among our favourite snacks. We always had some in the car to munch on as we headed out on our day trips!
Every sign we passed was a language opportunity - my sister and I struggled to practice our growing store of Croatian by reading everything we could.
Mealy, warm, and delicious, they were the perfect accompaniment to a touristy stroll. Chestnuts of excellent quality are produced throughout Istria.
Rural areas are dotted with tiny, almost secretive fields and vineyards accessed by winding trails lined with stone walls, like this one. Many of the walls have been in existence for generation upon generation, their origins hidden in the memories of ancestors long-forgotten.
Acacia groves lend a deliciously aromatic perfume in spring. Tiny lizards dart about on the sun-warmed rocks.
We were fascinated by the car-ports. Where we live, a garage is important to keep vehicles out of the snow. Here, the only requirement seems to be protection from the hot Mediterranean sun. Each parking space was prettier than the last. Most were draped with overhanging vines - this one hung heavy with ripe kiwis. I couldn't shake the thought that the lovely tile and stonework would be dangerously slick in Canadian winter conditions!
These experiences opened my eyes to the role culture plays in our development. No wonder travel is such an education; we create the opportunity to view and live beyond our own cultural norms.
When you travel, open your eyes wide! Compare, contrast, expand your horizons. The world is waiting!