Pula, War Memorabilia and Public Toilets

Pula Istria Croatia Main Square

After another adequate but not especially memorable breakfast where we encountered considerable difficulty in acquiring a proper cup of tea we set out for a last look at the city and we returned first of all to the market.

It was much, much busier today and I had to conclude that Saturday is obviously family shopping day.  Yesterday’s vacant stalls were all occupied and there was a buzz and vibrancy about the place so much so that it was difficult to find a vacant table to enjoy a refreshment break and after we found a place in the centre of a hectic street but we had a yearning for a more up-market piazza style setting so we abandoned the busy commercial centre and made our way back to the old town hall square instead.

On the way we passed through a street market made up of impromptu stalls of bric-a-brac and old tat.  Even though the merchandise didn’t tempt me it was interesting enough and we were especially intrigued by the choice of military collectibles that were on offer.  Of special note was a stall of Nazi memorabilia and other army discards that was run by an extravagant looking man in military uniform who clearly considered himself a sort of Tom Cruise character.  He spotted me trying to take a sneaky photograph of him but he wasn’t offended and having established that we were English he insisted on showing his photograph album that consisted of a wallet full of creased and age rumpled snaps in various military uniforms that seemed to suggest that he was a sort of film extra.  I wasn’t convinced but he was an amusing man nonetheless.

Pula Istria Croatia

There was nothing much of any value here but I was especially disappointed to find a stall selling old roman coins and I was able to identify one similar to one I had inherited that was selling for the equivalent of a few pence when I had always imagined that it was priceless.  Another dream dashed.

Soon it was time to return to the hotel and collect our bags and take a taxi to the airport.  Someone nipped in and stole our taxi that irritated me a bit but it really wasn’t a problem and eventually a substitute cab arrived and he whisked us away to the airport check-in, which was stressless and easy and in a short time we were booked in, through security, had an exit stamp in our passports and were in the departure lounge and in the bar.

Waiting for the flight I had occasion to use the toilet facilities and I thought that it was nice to see that the custom of checking cleanliness and logging it on a chart on the wall had caught on here.  I don’t think that means much anywhere and it certainly didn’t mean a great deal here; I don’t doubt that someone had passed by for a quick look but the inspection obviously consisted of yes I’ve checked it and yes it is still dirty, yes it still stinks and yes there is still a puddle of piss on the floor below the urinal.  One thing to be said for the UK is the generally high standard of washroom cleanliness because lets face it you really wouldn’t want to wash your hands in most public European toilets.  Having said that I have to agree that things have improved in the last few years, you don’t often come across an open cesspit as you use to even until quite recently.  Even in France the street pissoir (which I always thought to be a bit crudely Anglo-Saxon for the French) has been reinvented as the urinoir, which sounds much less offensive.

If I am judging toilets I like those in Greek tavernas best of all, they are clean but they are generally curiously located at the back of the establishment that involves a detour through the kitchen and introductions to the cooking staff on the way in and on the way back out.  If you don’t want to be responsible for an outbreak of something unpleasant it is probably best not to shake hands here unless you really have risked washing them in the usually inadequate basin facilities.

On the flight home we made our assessment of our few days in Croatia.  We liked Pula, the weather was good and there was a relaxing ambience with a slow pace of life that we both enjoyed.  Best of all we liked the Roman Amphitheatre, the Orfej bistro and the security guard at the Venetian fortress and on reflection there really wasn’t anything to dislike about the place without being down right picky!

Roman Amphitheatre at Pula

One response to “Pula, War Memorabilia and Public Toilets

  1. Disappointed not to see your pic of Tom Cruise…

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