Caught in a storm in the streets of Venice, I sought refuge in a small patisserie for a few hours prior to my ferry to Rovinj. The rain turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as finding an affordable place to stay for the night turned out to be a more taxing effort than I expected. Pages of hostel searches yielded no availability, and the only couchsurfer who hosts in the area (a very popular fellow, with over 135 positive reviews) never replied to my request. With few options left, I turned to Airbnb and found one availability – a relatively affordable room in the center of the city.
In a frantic effort to book before it was too late, I was met with a few unexpected hurdles that Airbnb threw my way. As it was my first time using their services, an ID verification was required by text message, which posed a problem as the only cell phone I had was thousands of miles away. A few Viber calls to the states, while simultaneously messaging my potential host for the night in an effort to convince him that I would complete my booking soon, concluded with a verified ID, confirmed reservation and half an hour to spare to catch the ferry.
The bustling, narrow streets of Rovinj in the late hours of the evening was a charming welcome, but before I could explore, I needed to find my room without keeping my hosts waiting for too long. Following the Google Maps directions that I saved on my tablet, it quickly dawned upon me that the ferry had arrived at a different harbor than advertised. With no internet and a language barrier, my search relied on the aid of the locals, and soon I was shaking the firm yet gentle hand of my very kind and smiling host, Nizaj.
The charm of the guest room that Nizaj led me to, which we entered through a separate entrance of his beautiful, Mediterranean-style stone home, encouraged me to request a longer stay. Much to my dismay, the room was booked for the next several nights. Sitting at a small table in the little courtyard that my room opened to, I admired what would be my home for the night.
I was very lucky to find such a comfortable and central spot. The courtyard opened up to a narrow, cobblestone street that led to the top of the city, giving gorgeous views of the Adriatic.
Next stop, Pula