A colleague of mine has called me a while ago and told me I had to get to Istria asap. “If you are planning secession, I’m all in.” She: “You fool! There won’t be any secession. There is a Wine and Walk by the sea festival in Novigrad.” Sun, sea, truffles, Malvasia, Teran, pretty Istrian women…I was not going to miss out on that.
Life is perfect when you are the most famous lifestyle blogger in your village. I have arrived to Novigrad in the late afternoon and got situated at the centre in a small and interesting family hotel Family Hotel Cittar. I emphasized “center” on purpose because I need you to know that I am a snob.
I took a nap and just when I had the best dream about Taylor Swift, my phone rang and my romantic ideal crashed. My friend told me I should definitely have dinner at the Nino Konoba because they have supreme Istrian delicacies. Now I can’t help but wonder, which delicacies could be better than adventures with Tay-Tay?
My disappointment has dropped as soon as the first plate reached the table. I did not want to over do it so I only ordered some prosciutto, cheese, Istrian scrambled eggs, truffle pasta, beef steak and a cake. I don’t really like to binge eat before sleep. I was just thrilled. The food was phenomenal and the owners were really nice. They had great homemade wines and an amazing Biska schnapps. I think that Konoba Nino will be the go-to place for me.
Concerning the following photo: I don’t want to risk someone thinking I’ve become vegan. God forbid! I was as full as Kim Kardashians bank account so I only had some grapes and strawberries for breakfast and took off to winery adventures.
The sun was shining on my beautiful Chucherye head while a Bill Withers’ song “Lovely day” was spinning in it. And then, everything went wrong. I felt like a piglet who realized it wouldn’t become a cherished truffle hunter, but someones dinner instead.
I have forgotten socks and I had to go on a 10 km walk in my new Diesel sneakers. “Dear God, isn’t my lack of hight enough for you?” I have literally walked among people, asking them like a Roman at the tram stop: “Soooocks, socks, got socks?” Eventually I borrowed them from a nice lady who luckily had a pair to spare. Unfortunately, they were in an emasculating hot pink color. I told myself: “Fuck it, life isn’t perfect. Better to look gay than get blisters.”
While I walked around like a village fashion mogul, I have realized how we have all become so superficial. The social networks have destroyed us. The only things we care for are what we look like on photos and what will people have to say about us. I have decided to forget about the fact I had pink socks on and enjoy the rest of the day. After a few glasses of Malvasia, my inner Keith Richards awoke and life was good once again.
At one point I demonstrated an ancient Chucherye village levitating skill.
We walked the entire day and at one point my friend became restless. I asked her nicely: “You need to shit or something?” She: “Yes. But I’ll hold it until we find a toilet.” Me: “We could totally organize a new festival – Shit by the Sea.” She did not like my idea. She has forbidden me to write about this and I have promised I would not mention it. After seven wine stops, I started seeing things. I actually thought there were ghosts in front of me.
I asked my friend if she was seeing lively pensioners floating around us and she said: “You had too much to drink! Those are not ghosts, they are tennis players at a retro tennis tournament in Novigrad. Look, the tennis court is right there.”
I may have had too much to drink, but that was the main reason for my trip to Istria. Malvasia is just heavenly.
The ghosts might have been a vision but so were the beautiful Istrian women. One prettier than the other. Thinking about it, I haven’t even had that much to drink. I even had less wine than I would have back home, at my parents village.
The problem lays in the Istrian wine. Namely, they use the grapes as a main ingredient in producing the wine while my village folks use grapes only in traces. Those are two completely different schools. For my folks, quantity was always prioritized to quality.
Father and Mother get hundreds of liters of the village youth elixir from just one grape, while the Istrians need much more grapes for only a few drops of Malvasia.
The packaging contributes to the flavor of the wine as well. Namely, my folks use the best quality plastic canisters for their wine, after rinsing them from the motor oil, of course.
The Istrians prefer glass bottles so their wine doesn’t really have that PVC scent I was so use to.
After seven gastro-winery stations, we headed to a local party where we continued in great style. The locals were slicing sausages and prosciutto and Malvasia was flowing like Dear Leader’s tears of joy at the grand opening of a new labour camp.
The atmosphere was great. The most impressive thing was a Teran ice cream. There is no Albanian who could ever make such a great ice cream.
Novigrad is a beautiful town and the people are really kind and truly live for tourism. It is a perfect destination for a summer vacation as well as a weekend getaway from Zagreb or any other city.
I can’t wait for the next Wine and Walk by the Sea and an escape to Istria. I shall recommend my cashier lady Helga to start selling truffles at the local store. Why wouldn’t all of us continental people have a chance to enjoy Istrian delicacies?
I have charged my batteries in Novigrad and came back ready for new business projects, starting with filming a remake of the cult SF classic – 2001 A Space Odyssey. My remake was named: “2017 A Village Odyssey” and it is specific because it was filmed with a budget of zero kuna and only with the props already available in the mother of all shit holes – Chucherye.
Author: Josip Novosel aka Dear Leader, self-effacing lover of wind in the hair, short in his homeland and tall in China, corresponding member of the “How to get great wine without any grapes” magazine, a friend to the wealthy, a tycoon and a snob, but above all a human.