Visiting Croatia

Opatija

I know that this is no time to start packing suitcase, but the right time will come, eventually. The sooner the better. 

I visited Croatia often enough. It is close to where I live. A–not always so–pleasant car ride, but the main reason to travel to Croatia in COVID times is the Dentistry Industry of Croatia. 

About the car ride; Croatia is not a Schengen country, hence there is a need to stop at the customs, then the first part of the ride is along the country side, on a small tortous road that goes thru deserted and sad looking villages, where there isn’t a soul on the streets, perhaps they populate in touristic season…, yet the speed limit is very low (about 24 miles per hour), and one better respect that limit because the police are hidden behind a bend in the road and they fine you more than mercilessly, like 200€ if in cash on the spot, or 400€ by cc! And yes, they take euros!

Dental tourism is a relatively new phenomenon and one of the good effects of globalization. It does offers Croatia an opportunity to prolong the tourist season throughout the year, as people have teeth problems all year long, thus it influences the development of tourist facilities and infrastructure (hotels, restaurants, travel agencies) and probably raise overall employment.

There are numerous clinics that operate for the Italian clientele. They provide quick efficient services, they have the best equipment and materials, and they try to accomodate the client on the same day as much as possible for interventions that require a further check up. Like early morning and back in the afternoon to complete the service. 

And now an honourable mention to the clinic of my choice: Smile Dental Polyklinic. I definetly reccommend!

On my last appointment was in Opatija (or Abbazia in Italian), a lovely town on the coast of Istria. That area, once Italian, became part of Yugoslavia in 1947, and in 1991 became independent. Today Opatjia is a beautiful touristic destination.

To me Opatija is the most beautiful all the towns on the Istrian Peninsula (Koper, Porec, Pula, Rijeka to name a few). There are plenty of the most beautiful hotels with a grand style. The numerous Habsburg-era villas are a rare view of past splendours. The 1800s Villa Angiolino is one grand example, it now houses a Croatian museum of tourism, the Villa is set on a beautiful park of exotic plants.

The lungomare 12 km-promenade snakes along the coastline, and offers a beautiful view of Opatija, the neighboring Islands, and the beautiful background of the hills that surround the city. 

The promenade is most recommended at sunset naturally, although, these days the weather is “off-season” and rather cloudy. 

Most (if not all) Cafes and Restaurants are closed, or they serve only take-out, on-the-go. Most (if not all) Croatians do not wear a mask at all.

I’ll have more occasion to travel to Opatija and I’m looking forward to the season of sunshine.

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I lived the most part of my life in Washington DC, now in Italy getting to know again my country. Plenty of surprises, for good and bad, and lots of nostalgia for DC.

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