We met a Texan on the train to Krakow who asked us why we went to Croatia. Number one reason was Leigh had friends in Rijeka. Kevin, Kristy and their 3 kids(formerly of Missoula) are with Campus Crusade for Christ and have been in Rijeka for almost a year. When Kevin offered to meet with us and give us a little orientation I was expecting a guy in a suit and skinny tie instead he was wearing shorts and a backpack. Kevin walked us to the “Centre” and gave us great directions for finding our way to the interesting parts of the town.
Rijeka (270,000 pop.) was actually Italian into the 20th century. There was some dispute after WWI and the Allies refused to give it back to Italy. Even earlier the Hungarians claimed it as their access to the Adriatic so it is quite a popular place. Currently it looks like a working port and is much more industrialized the typical Croatian coastal towns. Rijeka has pedestrian malls with LOTS of outdoor cafes and bars, also churches and a castle.
Our biggest regret is not getting a picture of Kevin, Kristy and their kids AND ALSO trying to go around the block when we saw the sign for a hotel. In the U.S. when you see a sign to turn, you usually drive at least 15 yards before you turn. In Europe we have learned turnà means NOW!. It took us about 45 minutes and a trip through an endless parking lot and then out of town to go around the block.
When we finally got to the hotel it had a great view of town, a reasonable price and most important they told Dennis the place he was parked in front of the hotel was just fine. We didn’t have to drive one meter further. We are very glad Leigh had friends in Rijeka otherwise we would never have taken this slight detour in our travels and we would have missed meeting these really nice people and the climb hundreds of stairs to Trsat Castle and some great views. Slide show