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Here we are. Near the end. Special year.

And special (Pruga) people! The summer was laced with mixed feeling and the illusion of normality that Pruga provides. I am very grateful for all of you who managed to come and spend the lovely summer days with us! And those who didn’t – I hope there will be an opportunity very soon!

I took this picture sometime in mid summer, thinking about quarantine and isolation and how hard or not hard it is depending on your disposition.

Brtačići is a village about 100m bird fly distance from Lovrinići. We have been there exactly once in the last eight summers. That made me think about many people (especially woman) who have, more so in the past of course, never been much further than the nearest town to visit a doctor or a local fete. For their w h o l e lives. And life was still good. Or not. I guess I was trying to remind myself how, of all places, being “stranded” in Lovrinići was a pretty sweet deal.

We came to Pruga later than usual this year. The first guests arriving later, the whole Covid craziness where I felt safer being in the city – where my family is and where there is better health care. That notion of “safer” was literally shaken by an earthquake in Zagreb at the end of March. Still, we stayed in the city until mid May. The earthquake was not a catastrophic one, but big enough that many old buildings in the city centre were damaged. And big enough that our 6th floor flat shook so much that I “felt” the fantom quakes for a few months afterwards. Even at Pruga. Above is a picture of our street in the days after – they closed the street to remove all the damaged chimneys and roof tiles. (Not sure who took the picture – it was shared on social networks.)

When we finally made it to Pruga, peonies were already in bloom. Few more flowers each year!

Mitzy quickly found a new favourite spot.

I am not sure any more if this is the same tree, but we have two very slowly growing cherry trees in the garden: sweet and sour cherry. And there was exactly one cherry on each tree this year! Don’t think there will be cherry strudel from these any time soon.

We also have a very old, beautiful cherry tree that was very fruitful this year (2020 was great year for cherries in Istria) – unfortunately, these are not that great to eat. They are ok, but they look better than they taste.

We met a friend in Boljun on a perfect spring day. This is view to the Učka mountain.

More friends were met at gorgeous Kozlović winery with blooming olive trees all around.

And more perfect views (from Kozlović winery) to Momjan castle. Because of Covid, more friends dropped by at Pruga this summer as everybody was using every opportunity to escape the city and Istria is just perfect for a weekend away. Restrictions were in place, but we still had lovely dinners in restaurants, sitting outside. Now, in lockdown, sitting in our Zagreb flat, with rain and sleet outside, it feels like that was long, long, long time ago…

In Rovinj, new super fancy Grand Hotel Park opened with the most amazing views onto old town. It is worth paying through your nose for a g&t and take in those views from their top floor terrace.

And snap a photo of a very black cat. (The landscaping around that hotel is magical.)

Back at Pruga, we felt very lucky to still serve breakfasts and welcome guests who could come! If you are worried about the distance, this was one big family staying in both apartments 😉

In the spirit of “life is continuing whatever normal is or will be and we are here to celebrate it”, obligatory apricot jam was made.

And perfect sunny afternoons by the pool were enjoyed.

With g&t of course! The fashion to put “things” in looks cool in the photo, but pink peppercorns, as nice as their flavour is, is very annoying in the mouth with all the bits, a bit like popcorn, if you see what I mean. Like with jams, I am now firmly back in the “classic” camp. Jams with (a good amount of) sugar and maybe some lemon juice and g&t with lemon and perhaps a sprig of something eg rosemary – definitely not something that you have to spit out or avoid when siping. Is it age?

In no time, September came with huge plum yield.

Helpers were needed to pick them all.

More (classic) jam!!!

And of course, ajvar!

We found a bottle of Pimms in the cupboard that somebody nice sometime brought from the UK so autumny pimms was served.

Our cool, creative guests had fun and left the results for us to enjoy. These and the intro picture made me smile for the rest of the season.

One of the things that suffered most this summer from my Covid malaise was the garden. Yes, there definitely was malaise. For one, I didn’t write one blog post the whole summer. I took photos, I was going to, but somehow didn’t feel like it. It wasn’t the busyness that usually is the reason for my rare posting. The pace was slower as we had less guests and most guests that could come we knew from their previous stays – it is more relaxing when you have met somebody before. You do worry if everything is still as they expect it but a bit less as you know a bit about what they do like and expect. Then there was that constant feeling of worrying about what is going on with the pandemic, how it affects us and will affect us for time to come, how strange it was to be in this perfect spot while there is so much uncertainty and real toil all around us… So, as well as blog, the garden fell a victim of all that. At one point I just gave up and let it overgrow. Then I pretended it was beautiful like that (it kind of was), but it did bug me that I gave up. Sigh.

This is very old oak tree on a walk near our house that we walk by very often but this day the light was perfect to see its full beauty.

And soon after plum jam was made, it was time to close Pruga doors. All September guests had to cancel and we decided to explore Dalmatia with Mala for a few weeks (as lovely as Istria is, we did miss Dalmatia, having spent our last eight summers at Pruga).

Always a bit sad to leave.

We couldn’t fit everything in one carload so came back (some of those jams and ajvar are needed in the city as well) in late November. Our persimmon tree, that we never see the ripe fruit of as we leave too early, was waiting with a few for us to pick.

Mitzy and Mala look good in this light.

Winter light threw some lovely shadows.

Reminding us to look forward to the summer of 2021!