Friday, 26 September 2014

Fairytale Izola

It was a hot summer weekend in July, so my boyfriend and I decided to spend it at the seaside. That how we got to Izola. We were pleasently surprised upon arrival to this fairytale like coastal town. Neither of us really new the town, or to be honest, didn’t know it at all, just like most of the people in Slovenia. We all know Koper, Piran and the tourist overflown Portorož, but there’s more to the Slovenian coast than that and by not knowing it, we are quite disrespectful towards them. 

Izola - Giorgio Baruffi;
Izola is a small but really nice town on the Slovenian coast. It has an old town center with tall stone houses, build near one to each other. The narrow streets make you feel the medieval charm of the town. When you get the feeling, the street you’ve entered is a dead end, you’ll end up in another street. It’s like a maze, but you will get the hang of it quickly. You can walk around the town in about an hour. But to get to feel the everyday life of the people and the beat of the city, you will need more time. There are neat paths and many benches to sit on and enjoy the salty sea air. The town is also full of fragrant flowers and colourful parks. My favourite was in the center of the town, dedicated to the famous cartographer and explorer from Izola - Pietro Coppo. In the park you can enjoy the shade of the mighty chinar trees and the view of the main street. It’s where local people love to hang out and chat.

Izola - Trnkoczy;
We went with the flow of the coastal lifestyle for three days and I admit, it should have been for much longer. You see by the sea that the time flows slower. The people really know how to enjoy life – with good food and drink and never in a rush to get somewhere. They rest most of the day, sunbathing, swimming or relaxing in the shade. The beach is the most crowded place of them all. The whole coastline is meant for swimming and sunbathing. There’s a nice pebbled beach by the lighthouse, where young families love to come. And all who love the shade will find it under the pine trees. Not far from it is a concrete beach with a pool. It’s appropriate for handicapped, but the town also features a beach equipped for the blind. And there’s even a place, where the four legged furry friends can have their own beach.

Izola - Jeraša;
In the evenings, when the town gets lively and the pubs near the marina are full of people, you can hardly get a place at the table, to try a cocktail you’ve been wanting the whole day. The quiet parking by the marina becomes and amusement park in the evening, attracting kids and emptying the portents’ wallets. The restaurant gardens are full and the smell of sea food is everywhere. From fried fish, to squid salads and all the aromas, you will get hungry! Every weekend in Izola, during the summer, is a time for an event. It can be a jazz concert in the Manzioli square of some folk festival from the place above the Square of the Republic… you can also hear foreign bands at the park of Pietro Coppo, Which are part of the summer Sundays.

Izola - Ubald Trnkoczy;
The center of Izola, with its old town is located on what used to be an island (hence the name) that was connected to mainland in 19th century. The word isola in Italian means an island and the Italian influence was really strong all along the Slovenian coast. In 19th century they erected three factories for canned fish in the town, so it was the most prosperous, developing and rich city of the today’s Slovenian coast in the past two centuries.  Unlike Piran and Koper, which were hit by crises, Izola was prospering and employed two thousand people. The post war development of Izola was based on toy industry, food processing industry, ship building and tourism. The coast was planned for industry and the part of the town called Jagodje became a residential area. You can follow the historical development of the town in the Paranzana Izola museum, where you can also se the model ships and the former narrow track railroad that was connecting Trieste to Poreč at the turn of the past century. The entrance is 2,5€ or 2€ for students. It’s worth a visit!

Izola - Jeraša;
During the day the kids enjoy the beach around the lighthouse and in the evenings they come to the amusement park. The elderly usually go to the hotel Delfin, which has its own swimming pool and hosts local musicians in the evenings, where there’s also a dance floor. But what about the youth? There are two pubs that are attracting them – the Hanger, which is a bit away from the centre and has many bands and stand-up comedians; and the Plac under Belvedere. You will have to walk along the coast of Simonov zaliv to get to it. It’s a bit longer to get to (some 20 minutes walking), but it’s worth it. A new and lit path along the shore takes you to the dreamy place where the young can enjoy without bothering anybody. Embraced by the sea, under the clear sky, there’s a place with tea candles on tables and a DJ pumping latest hits, under the colourful lighting in a natural grassy floor resembling an amphitheatre. The acoustics are great and the party is guaranteed – so it’s my hint for you where to go!

In one of the many streets of the old town there’s also a nice and modern hostel Alieti. It’s a new hostel in a four floor house, offering 25 beds. The cosy feeling is it’s main strength. It’s a small hostel, but with a very positive atmosphere. It has a kitchen on the bottom floor, with a dining room, a terrace and the toilets. The first floor has four air-conditioned rooms with 4 and 6 beds, along with bathrooms that are always clean. The attic is a dormitory with 5 beds. You can check in while the front desk is open (between 8 and 11 in the morning, or 5 and 7 in the afternoon). For more information about this wonderful hostel you should read the article I’ve wrote entitled When Alieti charms you…

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