Castle on the hill

The thing we saw today… was it even a castle? Probably not – more like a miniature citadel – but it was built on top of a hill, so it’s not a complete lie.

Today we were making our way up towards Slovenia and Italy, but on our way I saw a sign pointing up a tiny road that said: Groznjan 3 km. Campers and buses forbidden; take the road via Buje. I only thought what the hell is Groznjan, and why should I want my camper there at all? My interest was peaked. Good job, sign.

A few exits further, there was a road that explicitly allowed campers up to Groznjan. Groznjan must be interesting, I thought. By then I had already refused to let it go.

Groznjan seen from a distance, but a poor representation as the hill and valley surrounding it are obscured by (also beautiful) olive trees.

Groznjan – an old settlement on top of a hill, including several churches, chapels, a courthouse and a prison – is a pretty beautiful and obviously tourist-oriented place. It was actually one of the first towns we went to in almost four weeks that didn’t look like it was completely deserted. It was also all very beautifully preserved and restored, unlike some of the other old Croatian towns we’ve seen on the way (regardless whether they were on hills or in other locations). We had a quick stroll, followed by a good lunch in town, and spent our last Kuna here (on touristy ceramic soap bar holders, if you’re curious). A worthy destination to end our Croatia trip with.

Typical houses and alleyways in Groznjan
Views from Groznjan

With an empty wallet, and an empty gas tank we crossed the Slovenian border, where we filled up gas, and paid with good old euros for prices that are much much cheaper than currently is the case in other parts of Europe. We only passed a tiny stretch of Slovenia, but we already know that we want to come back here sometime this summer. This country is beautiful, and conveniently close to our home. (Some locations are home to three species of viper, and that alone is a good reason!)

For the night, we are now parked north of Udine, Italy, at the parking lot of a place that looks like a hybrid between a German beer garden and a motorcycle festival. I haven’t seen so many people together in a very long time. This was certainly a superspreader event in my book, so I’m happy we’re nice and distant on the camper parking lot. Luckily, most of the people left as soon as the sun was down, so now it’s almost nice and quiet.

I’m not completely sure what we’ll do from tomorrow. We have to be home by Thursday afternoon or so. I am aware that it’s only Sunday, but in my mind it feels like we’re already home. I should probably enjoy the last couple of days more fully. I’ll do my best to make that my motto for the coming few days!

Published by Robin Heinen

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

2 thoughts on “Castle on the hill

    1. I don’t mind avoiding crowds, but this trip was quite crazy. Croatia is only alive during July, August and September. Other months are quiet to the point that finding places to eat is difficult in some areas!


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