Brijuni by Che Walling

Pillbox en route to Brijuni

The last two days have been incredible! We left Pula for a different place to explore, and we found one named Brijuni. There was a big seawall, guarding a crescent-shaped bay and we found a spot to tie up. It is very hot in the boat, so Mom and Dad looked on their phones for a place to go. We had no idea what they found because when they did find a place they wouldn’t tell us. They said it was a surprise but they agreed to give us a few hints. Long story short, they were not clear at all. They said, “We are going to rent bikes,” and, “You’ll see.” We walked along the bay side and passed a yellow hotel looking for a bike rental. Mom said it would be around the back of it. I spotted it on a hill and we rented a few bikes to go to the surprise place. Just like that, we were off! We rode our bikes around the windy paths and came across a lot of cool things on our way. There were a lot of trails surrounded by vast areas of sun-soaked grass. Enormous trees shadowed our path with their big branches. We whizzed by a golf course and a lot of fields. On one field, I spotted some deer, but they ran away because of the bikes. After a little longer we stopped at a tall stone wall and walked through an archway. What laid behind the wall was not expected.

Byzantine Castrum

It was massive! Ruins of buildings stretched all the way to the ocean side, which is far! On all four sides, tall walls stood proudly, defending the old town from invaders. We walked along the ruins and saw weird things. I saw a little stone head lying on the ground but I couldn’t read what it said. Dad spotted a big opening that lead down into a deep hole. I followed him over and looked down. There was nothing down there but some trash and overgrown plants. I thought there were steps and almost stepped down but I realized at the last second that it was a straight drop down. It wasn’t that far but it still would have hurt and been unexpected. One side of the wall, which opened up to the ocean, was not tall at all. In fact, we could walk up it and see the view of the whole entire town. Even when in ruins, I could see what used to be there. There were two courtyards and from the middle of both, an oak tree rose. We climbed down and listened to Mom explain was it was. It turned out what we were standing on was not the original ground! After being around for almost 2000 years what we were standing on must have actually been 6-9 feet deeper! I wondered what it would have been like to wind through and out of the alleyways.

Nearby Basilica

We found our way out and hopped back onto our bikes as if that was the full surprise. It wasn’t at all. I went ahead on the bike and came to a huge door that read something that I couldn’t see because I was too far away. When we all got to the door, we looked up and read what it said. It said, “Safari.” I thought it was going to be something boring. I did not expect it to be a zoo! We pressed the button which let us in. We didn’t even have to pay for it because it came with the marina spot. We entered, and it really was a safari. There were huge acres of land which almost matched the authentic habitats. I’m so happy to see a zoo that was a fair size for the animals.  Best of all, the animals were all from gifts from various countries when Croatia became its own country. We were allowed to bike through it and saw many wild things. To the right of the path were zebras and a very odd llama. They had an enormous space to roam and hide when they wanted to. The zebras were rather big when up close. We were on the fence and the zebras were right there on the other side. Two of them stood there, and the llama sat at their feet. Half of the llama’s face was white with a bit of black on the end of its mouth. It looked like it was wearing a skull on its head. Further on there was an intersection which lead left and right. We went right and saw a wonderful surprise.

There was an elephant who was gifted from India. It was very tall and covered in orange dust. Its habitat was very reasonable. Along the sides of its home, there were orange dust marks where the elephant would use the walls as a scratching post. Across the path was a turtle rehabilitation station. The turtle would be nurtured to good health and then released back into the wild. We went further on and there was a small herd of ox lying in the fields. Continuing further, there was another intersection. We went left and came to a big door that read dinosaur prints. We later found out that when the dinosaurs were around, some of them stepped in clay, covered with a sediment and over time it was turned to rock. It was very cool and interesting to see something from nearly 65 million years ago. Further down, we passed a pillbox and got to go see what was inside. When we got to the end there were two shooting holes. On the path out of the safari, there were some more donkeys and two very tall ostriches. After the zoo we went back to the boat and had a wonderful dinner. We went to bed after watching a movie knowing that we just got to see some pretty amazing things.

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