Highs and lows

Let’s start today with the lows, and end it on a high note.

We spent the night near Rovinj, a pretty town on the Istrian west coast. The campsite was nothing special, and just too far from the center to comfortably walk the distance back and forth with the kids. Now, In Rovinj, most parking lots are barred with a 2.5 m gate. We couldn’t get in most of them due to our high roof, which is 2.85 m. A bit further off center, there were some gravely empty lots, mostly used by locals and small trucks. They were still paid parking lots, which also had a ‘no camper, bus or truck’ sign. Our car fits a normal parking space, and usually these signs mean you cannot spend the night here, which we weren’t planning to anyway. There were also trucks and another large camper on the parking lot. None of the parked Croatian cars even had parking tickets, so it was a risk we were willing to take. We took a ticket for three hours and just left.

We walked around in Rovinj for about an hour. The town was pretty, we bought some pastries, coffee and bread in a bakery in town and had an early lunch on the promenade, while being preyed on by young sea gulls and a flock of pigeons. Rovinj is a nice town, but I wouldn’t stop by here again. It’s not that special either…

When we got back, all of our windows had yellow stickers. Obviously, I already knew what this meant. Wheel clamps. I had just seen the other camper leave the parking lot when we returned, so this person must have cut a deal with the parking dude, because he was nowhere to be found. Interestingly, none of the local trucks had wheel clamps. Now, I don’t mind being wheel clamped. It cost us 11 euro to have it removed, which is not causing me any personal harm. What annoys me about it is that this is a targeted attack, specifically on tourists, and it is just silly and horribly inconsistent with their own signs. I called the parking guard and he was back ten minutes later. He immediately said “I just do my job”. Sure. I said that it was fine, but asked him why the trucks had no wheel clamps. “You are a camper, there is a sign”. Sure, I’m a camper, but that’s not what I asked. The sign also said that small trucks weren’t allowed. In response he kept threatening that if I didn’t want to pay, he would leave without removing it. I had the money ready, so he kind of missed the point. I chose to risk a wheel clamp, I’m totally fine with paying to remove it. It just annoys me that they were only clamping foreigners, and the guy was clearly just only hunting for campers, not buses or trucks, or even cars without any tickets. “I just do my job.” Well, no, you don’t… “Why you even care, you have money, in Germany much more expensive!” Irrelevant. How about you just charge campers 11 euro (or 25) to park and skip the wheel clamping bullshit? I would have gladly paid. It’s obviously useless arguing with him, so I didn’t say much, but I think there are more efficient ways to make money off of camper tourists. Anyway, that was the low, which although it annoyed me a bit, also wasn’t all that low. My first wheel clamp. It’s also a win!

The high was high, because it involved a cool town in ruins – Dvigrad – that was very nice to stroll through, and obviously, it also was a high because it involved some snakes. On the old overgrown drywalls of the town, I found several western whip snakes, Hierophis viridiflavus carbonarius, and in contrast to the one I spotted earlier on Krk, I managed to get a really crappy picture of the first one here! If there’s one thing, this trip is a reminder that I need to buy myself a decent quality 200/300 mm lens for my Canon DSLR. I have a good camera body, and walk around with empty batteries and too short of a reach all the time. How the hell can I do field herping and come up with such shitty pictures…? I really need to step up my game…

Dvigrad ruins
Algyroides nigropunctatus juvenile
A little below the center, a pitch black Hierophis viridiflavus carbonarius lies coiled up, soaking up some sunlight
On top of the light rocks in the middle, the snake slithers away. I promised you these pics would be crappy. I lived up to it, didn’t I?

Published by Robin Heinen

Father of two | Husband | Entomologist and Ecologist | Postdoctoral Researcher @ TUM | Traveler | Coffee Addict

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