A day on Brijuni island. A National Park in Istria. Croatia.

From Fasana to Brioni National Park in a summer day with low temperature to admire the wonderful color and sea.

A short-holiday in Istria (Croatia) in the summer. For us, that we travel only off-season, a very unusual opportunity. A unusual heavy summer rain in the early morning which prevent the beach, and now we are here in Fasana, a beautiful village on the western coast of the Istrian Peninsula.

I’m thinking that I’m not a big lovers of the sea and I much prefer it today than yesterday. There are few people and the village is more leisurely. The sky gray and windy that gives us a scenery with all colors and all details very particular.

The sea is a bit rough but the best thing for us who love the cold, is that the temperature has dropped considerably, and for us there is nothing more beautiful than to discover the world without suffering hot temperature. In the small tourist office of the marina are offered trips to Brijuni National Park. The archipelago is under the State protection and all private boat landing is prohibited except in small island Jerolim called peacocks that can be compassable with daily tours that leave from Pula. Another alternative is to stay directly to the harbour of the island of Brioni or stay at one of two hotels on the island, all state-owned. By this way, the state has full control of the business of the park. The website of the park is institutional and, while describing the features of the park and all the numbers and possible dates, fails to convey the beauty and tranquility that this place gives, as well as the Facebook profile which is even a private profile that at the time of this post had little more than 300 “friends.”

A unique ticket available that includes ferry boat (fifteen minutes), train trip around the Island with Italian guide and come back to Fasana. All for a couple of hours starting at different hours of the day and planned to return accordingly. We starting with the ferry in the morning which provides for the come back at the end of the tour, in the early afternoon. We admiring the sailing that in the summer is in this part of the sea.

When we arrived at the harbour, the guides that waiting us immediately divided by the language. As the Italian group is complete, we seat in a separate section of the train and start our journey around the island. I do not know if by this programming so stiff or by the manner to sale of tickets in Fasana, but more than a tourist visit, I feel a bit a number printed in a government program decided for us.

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The guide explains us in great detail and “like a book” the history of the park, once used as a summer residence of Tito he liked to receive large heads of state and celebrities.

Knowing the passion of Tito for exotic animals, all the guests brought a gift the most different animals, many of which are still visible in the park. Most, like tigers and lions, unfortunately died, unable to live in climates so different from their natural habitat.

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The deer roam free on the island and a big area bounded by large automatic entry gates and separate spaces, is a home to many exotic animals.

The history of each of these has been explained with precision from our guide, perhaps like a little printed manual and … please, do not try to ask some information about what she saying, as did the gentlemen in front of us, because the answer is always the same: “Wait a minute and get there.” I have to admit that leaves no question unanswered, but with this way to do, I’m feeling into the journey of Don Camillo in Russia of Guareschi!

The sea of this island are crystal clear and shades of blue blend with the sky, now even more than usual for the weather condition, creates scenery really beautiful.

Old tractors for those dealing of animals of the the park, when the fodder is distributed, permit to see animals in large enclosures.

Even the most common ones here have a special story that brought back the past glories of the time. I think Tito is appointed, within a few hours, at least a million times!

The only animals that seem really at ease, free in the park, are the deer.

Probably the deer eating also contribute to the maintenance of large areas of the park and at the pruning of trees and shrubs that would otherwise require significant financial resources.

At the end of the path the train makes a stop, and allows us to get out. Just enough time to take some pictures and buy a drink in the small – and a little bit sad kiosk.

The scenery and landscape are one more beautiful than the other. Another train is soon to come and guide invites all to rise rapidly. Be careful not to linger for not being scolded by the diligent and omnipresent guide!

Returning to the harbor, where are also located the two hotels, a restaurant, kiosk, souvenir and the main buildings of the island, the tour includes a stop for the history of the Tito’s limousine with which he loved to drive with her guests around the island. We are also aware that today you can rent them for a tour of the island, of course at prohibitive prices.

On the island there are also some interesting historical sites from different eras.

The architecture is pleasant and attractive, although in a sort of jumble of styles and periods which are overlapped in the time.

A stop is a must to Koki, the nice white parrot gift from Tito to his niece’s birthday and, encouraged by countless invitations … greets tourists with a “hello” in different languages.

We visit then the museum that is divided into two sections. The first is dedicated whole at homage to the greatness of Tito and repeated once again like a mantra. There are all photos with countless famous people, and the thousand artifacts available and collected in glass display cases. The second part is for animals stuffed.

They are the countless animals given as gifts to Tito who died and were stuffed. There are animals from all over the world from different climates and latitudes and the guide tells the story of the many giraffes visible here who have died all in a very short time of their arrival on the island, due to an unknown virus.

I keep to myself all that I think as well as any comments and facial expressions, and while walking back to the harbour I try to talk with our guide asking for information about hotels, golf courses we have seen and how to stay on the island.

Having concluded his speech all pre-packaged, it finally more relaxed and she is happy to tell other beauties of the island, even if they out of the program. I can even understand, even if he says nothing, which isn’t agreement with the arrangement of tables decorated for an upcoming wedding on the island, exactly on the Roman excavations. I Agreeing emphatically on his judgment and obviously doing the right questions, he explains that, in spite of what they told us when we purchased the tickets, it is not mandatory return by boat immediately at the end of the tour, but we are free (yes, free! He used that word!) to remain on the island and take the ferry back we want and gives us the timetable.

Not at all. We can even rent bicycles or electric vehicles to move and go around the island. Not only shows us the place where we can hire, but we also recommend some interesting sites that the tour don’t touch.

It’s enough “hidden” but we can find him! Since the electric car has a price very hight, we opt for the most economical and practical bicycles.

These allow us to approach a lot more animals and explore the island in complete tranquility.

The views that can be observed in this way are lovely and the day became, finally,  completely different and unexpected from the guided tour.

Just look the satisfaction on the face of Valeria to realize that the sense of freedom is a privilege and it is difficult to give up it, even – and especially – on holiday.

And my husband is the same. With all the kicks that I had to pull his shins on the train to shut him up every time the guide extolling the magnificence of the great Tito!

Now we can closely observe the animals and take pictures.

To stay close to various fence opening double gate with the red button.

And above all, we decide the time and rhythm of the day.

We pause in front of the zebras sleepyor in most deserts and scenic views.

Stay on the numerous beaches whereis possible also swim.

And we do not have the towels, but  is not a problem.

We can even see up close the elephant. A solitary specimen in this place that, in its cage by high iron bars, moving slowly and hiddening itself by the tourists who seek it when the train stops.

The ruins of the Basilica of St. Maria, a church with three naves dating from the fifth / sixth century.

The Castrum which exhibits layers of different ages.

Then turn around a magnificent villa is completely fenced and closed to the public and the sweet up and down the paths and lanes to discover the island in complete tranquility.

The day is coming so quickly at the end and even a heavy rain that pours suddenly forcing us to quickly return the bicycles to seek shelter in a kiosk in front of a drink, does not damp the thoughtlessness of a day that had begun in one way and that continued in completely different way to permit us discover this corner so beautiful.

We come back to Fasana with last ferry available … and it is time to dinner! Are many places that overlook the harbor and offer different dishes and seafood specialties. We have chosen the last near the parking. The view of the harbor is a bit limited than the others, but, for this was the most peaceful. Exactly what we needed to finish off the day … and the seafood dinner was excellent!

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