Summer in Pula (or Pola in italian) is a wonderful thing. Royal blue water laps the pebbled beaches and hordes of locals and tourists alike flock there to escape the day time heat. Summer in the city centre can be just as fun as there are plenty of ice cream shops to keep you cool while you look at the ancient Roman relics including the beautifully maintained arena and the arch of Sergei or the crumbling Austro-Hungarian apartment houses that line the streets.
Whilst walking through the streets of the town center, I stumbled across the last hour of a colorful market. The benches were permanent – made of stone – and since being I have discovered that this is mainly a farmer’s market with locals taking their produce grown on their farms to sell. The colours were just incredible! As it is July and therefore summer, the benches were heavy with plump ripe peaches, dark purple plums, red tomatoes and pale capsicum. Plaits of garlic and red chillis were hanging off the stone benches. I was in fresh food heaven.
There was also a stall selling goats cheese and several selling locally produced honey. The bees seemed to like the honey tasting stations as well.
The fish market was about to close when we arrived but I was just in time to snap some photos of local brancini and orade. I had eaten Brancini in Trieste a few days earlier, oven baked, and they were simply lovely. Next time I visit Istria, I will definitely hire a car and drive to local towns to taste the local produce – I have heard that the cured meats and wines, particularly Malvasia are amazing.
The town of Pula is well worth a visit and the town center is alive at night time with bands playing and people strolling through the narrow streets, arm in arm. It has a terrific buzz in summer time and the cost of food and accommodation is very reasonable. I can’t wait to return!