Tag Archives: dogs

Luxury Istria, 2010

Buzet in the region of Istria, is not a place that springs to mind when you think of a honeymoon destination. For a few weeks of the year during truffle hunting season, it’s the place to go for the finding of both the black and white varieties of the fungus, but for the remainder of the year it appears to be largely deserted.

My husband and I visited the local tourist office where they were amazed that we had not hired a car, as buses were not frequent in the area. They gave us the number of a local man who could give us a lift if it was on the way to where he was heading for a small fee and a plan to find some sulphur springs that were not in the guide book while we were in the region.

The main reason we had come to Buzet was for a truffle degustation at Stara Ostarija. So we booked for dinner, hoping that our journey into the middle of nowhere was not for nothing. We returned to the restaurant at twilight for our six course slow meal and were the only ones in the restaurant. Now this was more like it, I thought to myself.

First course was soft cheese with white truffles on bread. Kind of like cream cheese with a nutty twist. The second course was hard cheese with black truffles, prosciutto and olives. Not unlike a mezze plate and very tasty.

With both black and white truffles, the signature dish was the third course of soup and it was most definitely the best course. Course number four was ribbons of flat fettuccine pasta with lashings of truffle shavings. I had had this dish once before in Rome, but not with quite as many truffles. I guess they don’t exactly have a shortage of them in Buzet.

By course five, meat with larger truffle shavings, I was beginning to get a bit truffled out. So by the time the desert course of cake with truffles arrived, I really could not stomach more than one bite. So that’s what truffles taste like, I thought, as we rolled ourselves down the hill and back to the hotel.

By the next day, we had forgotten our gluttony and headed to the Zigante Tartufi truffle shop to stock up on various truffle pastes and oils to take home.

We called our local man with a spa who drove us to Istarske Toplice mineral spa. We planned to spend the day here, as there was only one bus back into town that afternoon. The outdoor sulphur pool was closed, so we headed to the indoor pool, only to discover that no more than a thirty-minute soak is recommended for the sulphur pools.

After our short dip, we had lunch as the one hotel on site and wandered around the grounds. There was a mini golf course that was not in operation and some truffle hunting dogs in cages. I would have loved to have been here in truffle hunting season so that we could get a glimpse of these clever dogs in action. As is always the way, our procrastination almost caused us to miss our bus back to town and we had to run to catch it on the main road.

Of course, Buzet will always have a special place in my heart because it was my honeymoon. The town was beautiful and the truffle degustation was also the most romantic meal that we had on our trip that sparked a lust for degustation dining that continued when we returned home to Sydney.

Related posts: Pag and Buzet, 2010, Split and Zadar, 2010, Dubrovnik, 2010, Destination Thailand, 2010

Sri Lanka, 1998

On the way back to Australia, I went to Sri Lanka to visit my mum’s side of the family.

I stayed in Colombo and hung out with my cousins before heading upcountry to stay with my aunt and uncle who were managing Norwood tea estate at the time.

Their Rhodesian ridgeback Sandy was about to have puppies which was very exciting. They also had a huge black Labrador called Salsa and a Golden Retriever called Goldie. The manager’s house had a lovely blue swimming pool which the dogs liked to swim in.

I climbed Adam’s Peak again with the creeper- a guy who was learning the art of tea growing from my uncle. The view at sunrise was good this time and I got to ring the bell at the top as I had climbed the peak before.

We went to North Cove Cabanas to stay the night. The house was recently built on top of a waterfall and they found panther paw prints in the wet concrete that had appeared overnight. It was a beautiful place to stay- I do love a water feature.

I smiled at the tea pluckers and had a tour of Norwood tea factory with my uncle, before it was time to head back to Colombo for more partying with the cousins. I took one of Sandy’s newly born puppies with me to be rehomed in the city.

It was nice to spend some time relaxing and being taken care of in Sri Lanka as my year abroad drew to a close and it was time to head back to the reality of university, finding a job and finding a place to live.

Related posts: Canada, 1997-1998Berlin, 1997, Part 2: To the East!Berlin, 1997, Part 1: The West SideCzech Republic, 1997Austria, 1997Hungary, 1997Romania, 1997Bulgaria, 1997Turkey, 1997Greece, 1997Italy, 1997, Part 2: Bella ItaliaItaly, 1997, Part 1: From Rome to FlorenceSpain, 1997, Part 2: Beyond Barcelona,  Spain, 1997, Part 1: Barcelona,  France, 1997, Part 2: The South of France, France, 1997, Part 1: ParisBelgium, 1997Holland, 1997England, 1997I first started travellingBy special requestHome is where you make itI first started writing

All Creatures Great and Small

I have always been a great lover of animals. From an early age I remember watching nature shows with my dad and can still tell the difference between an albatross and a seagull thanks to David Attenborough.

In primary school I completed elaborate and illustrated projects on animals that were four times as long as they needed to be just because I was so interested in the topic.

I begged for a dog as a child, but my parents liked a nice garden with birds so all I could have was a guinea pig, a budgerigar or a pet rock.

I choose to have a budgie called Kiki who flew away soon after when my mother made me clean the cage outside.

Then there was Skye who was my favourite and actually lasted a long time until we left him when we went to Sydney one weekend and he was found dead upon our return.

Next there was Benji who actually turned out to be a girl and was very cuddly as a consequence. She looked hot one day so we watered her down using the sprinkler but accidentally left it on her all day and she caught a cold and died.

The last one, Kokopetal, almost lost his head during an argument with my dad. When I ran into my room my dad said not to slam my door so of course I did and my budgie was on top of the door and the door caught his neck. He survived for a week longer but his neck was so damaged that he could not eat. So that was the end of my pet ownership.

I have always loved dolphins and have seen pods of them many times from boats. I also had a Sea World experience on the Gold Coast where I got to swim, touch and play with a dolphin and it was great. This year I finally got to swim with wild dolphins in Hawaii which was fantastic.

Having a love of dogs, I have always loved wolves and huskies. A few years ago I had the opportunity to play and run with the Malusky husky dog sled team in the Hunter Valley. They are beautiful hard working dogs and I would really love to see them in the snow on the Iditarod trail in the USA.

Working with Labradors and retrievers at Guide Dogs has cured me a little of my rose coloured glasses around dog ownership. Don’t get me wrong, I still think they are cute, loyal and the most lovely bundles of unconditional love. But they can also be stubborn, demanding, constantly test your boundaries and limit travel possibilities.

Related posts: I first started writing, Travel rememberings