I arrived in Opǎtija (means abbey in Croatian) last night and in characteristic fashion got lost finding my hotel. The train from Zagreb to Rijeka arrived at about 9:30 pm. It was impossible to find a taxi, so I took a local bus. When I got off the bus, no one was in sight. Some high school girls passing by helped me find the secluded hotel (giggling all the way). I was grateful and gave them a big hug.
This morning I decided to change hotels. Accommodations in Opǎtija are pricey but I found an interesting, reasonably priced renovated Austro-Hungarian hotel. It’s in a great location across the street from the beach and Angiolina Park and surrounded by old churches and the sound of tolling bells. The architecture is amazing with 20 foot ceilings in the rooms and more like 30+ in the open areas. The huge dome ceiling in the dining room is a masterpiece. These are nearby attractions:
- Benedictine Abbey of Saint James – 14th century
- Neo-Romanesque Church of the Annunciation
- Villa Angiolina built in 1844 by Iginio Scarpa and now a museum
- 12 km (7.5 mi) coastal foot path along the Opǎtija Riviera
- Famous Maiden with the Seagull statue by Zvonko Car
- Učka Mountain and nature park
Opǎtija (aka the Pearl of the Adriatic) is a 20 minute drive southwest of Rijeka along the Adriatic coast. It’s near the Gulf of Kvarner at the foot of Učka Mountain with a population of about 13,000. Because of its beauty and temperate climate the location is a popular European summer and winter resort. The city is surrounded by bay laurel woods and a rocky coast that leads from Volosko through Opǎtija, Ićići, Ika, Lovran, Mošćenička Draga, and other medieval villages.
There is much to see and do after I get orientated – very different atmosphere than Zagreb. It feels like I’m getting deep into Europe now.