Sailing back into Croatia from Slovenia meant taking the long journey down the west coast of Istria, the largest peninsula in the Adriatic Sea. We debated whether to do it all in one day or to take several, and check out some of small coastal towns along the way. The latter won out and we spent three leisurely days cruising, stopping for the nights at Porec, Rovinj and Pomer.

Porec was large and very busy. It had many shops and a huge supermarket which meant we could stock up on supplies for the next few days. It also had a go-kart track which has become a big attraction for a few of the guys on our boat. Unfortunately loud dance music blared across the entire town for most of the night, so the earplugs had to come out again.

Rovinj was much more charming. We found a mooring buoy in a protected cove a little way from the town and a few of us took a dinghy ride to check it out. We wandered around the old part of town, and then up to an ancient church high on a hill that we’d sighted on the way in. As we stood admiring the view of the water we noticed cloud formations that looked very similar to those we’d experienced on the stormy night we’d crossed to Venice. We quickly made our way down to the square hoping to get back across to the boat before it hit, but didn’t quite make it. We contacted the others still on the boat who were by that time very aware that it was about to hit and had battened down the hatches. Confident that Izabela was in good hands, we found a bar and for the next few hours watched the storm pass through, waiting for an opportunity to dinghy back to our boat. Thankfully Adriatic storms don’t last too long and we were soon back on board sharing storm stories.

Our final stop on the Istrian peninsula was Pomer with a brand new marina and excellent facilities, so after a very nice lunch at the marina cafe, we spent the afternoon catching up on washing, swimming and relaxing.

We left Istria at dawn the next day as we had a long sail ahead of us to Rab. The town of Rab, located on the island of Rab had been recommended as a must see by sailing friends we’d met in Trogir, and its location would mean a small detour north. It certainly did not disappoint. As we sailed into the town we immediately noticed a different look and feel to others we’d visited so far, from the ancient grey stone buildings to the lush green park running down to the water’s edge.

After mooring the boat, we wandered across to the old part of town and discovered that Rabska Fjera, a medieval summer festival, was in full swing. Rabska Fjera has been running since 1364 and celebrates the liberation of the town from Venetian rule, as well as honouring St Christophor, the patron saint of Rab.

For three days, the town goes back in time. The streets of the old town are filled with small artisan stores, music, dancing and competitions, typical to medieval times. Wandering the narrow cobblestoned streets that night was a wonderful experience. Around every corner was a treat – a band playing traditional music, a food stall, or a demonstration of an ancient craft. Occasionally we would find ourselves at the edge of the old city walls and a magnificent view of the Adriatic.

We left Rab, all very happy that we’d made that detour north.