Monday, May 3, 2010

Hum (Istria), Croatia: Things That Make You Go "Hum"

The guidebooks all give the tiny village of Hum, at the gateway to Istria, must-see status. Hum advertises itself as The World's Smallest Village. So how tiny is Hum? It has about 20 full-time residents. All are employed in the gift-shop business.

It is fun winding through the back roads of Istria to find Hum. Istria is a peninsula jutting into the Adriatic Sea off Northern Croatia, between the Gulf of Trieste and the Kvarner Gulf. The entrance into Istria from the main part of Croatia is rather dramatic, as you pass through the three-mile long Učka Tunnel. I wasn't planning on doing the full scale holiday in Istria thing. Istria is supposedly the most Italian section of Croatia (as it was controlled by Italy between any of a number of the wars that used to happen like clockwork in the eurozone). That'll be another Croatian holiday. I exited the main (ish) road across Northern Istria and decided to make a side visit to Hum on way to the Slovenian border crossing (which was not uneventful, more to follow).

I was winding down one-lane back roads, occasionally seeing a sign for Hum which let me know I was not completely lost. Every so often I had a "what the #$%&^@ am I doing" thought, driving a small rental car (Ford Fiesta) through windy, barely-paved one lane roads in a place where I speak three words of the local tongue. Then, I saw a small stone town up on a mountainside, looking like Brigadoon.

It was Hum. It was cute and it was quaint. And I loaded up with Hum souvenirs.

(1) The outskirts of Hum. IOW: the view from the parking lot.

(2) Just inside the entry gate.

(3) - (4) The old church. Supposedly there's an elderly woman here you can find to let you in the church. I didn't look for her, because I was running short of time. I wanted to get to Hrastovlje.

(5) A view down the main "street" of Hum.

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