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Cunard Queen Victoria 2018
Mediterranean Cruise part 13 - Piran
Map Venice and the return to the UK Civitavecchia2 (for Rome), Italy Corfu, Greece Split, Croatia Piran, Slovenia

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Piran, Slovenia - Thursday 11 October

This was a maiden visit to Piran in Slovenia and the Queen Victoria was at anchor and her first tenders were loading at 08.00. Yet again, as Top Sailors, we had special cards with Priority Embarkation and we joined the middle of a group of people on an organised tour to disembark early. The local immigration authorities had insisted on a full face-to-face inspection of disembarking passengers and we were told we must carry our passports on shore. Otherise there was the risk of a fine of 400 euros and being sent back to the ship. Slovenia is part of the EU and its currency is the euro so those passengers who had British or EU passports were in practice given a fast exit whereas those from other countries had to join a line for a proper inspection.

We escaped from the tour groups and disappeared through the narrow streets emerging along the coast opposite the Palazzo Trevisini near the Tartini Square. Piran is a delightful small town on the Adriatic coast on the tip of a narrow peninsula. The first target was the Church of St George which could be clearly seen on the hilltop. Like much of Piran it is a product of the Venetian rule and was built in the 17th century in baroque style. Following a footpath sign marked St George's we got mislaid in the many delightful narrow streets and ended in the Trg 1 Maja. This square was the town's main meeting point and is surrounded by baroque buildings and has an 18th century stone cistern for fresh water.

We emerged on the waterfront and then went back towards the port to Tartini Square to try again. This large marble square was once the inner harbour until it was filled in 1894. It is named after composer and violinist Giuseppe Tartini (1692-1770) whose statue stands in the centre. His birthplace is just across the square and the Tartini Theatre on the waterfront bears his name. The Town Hall, the Court Palace, the Venetian House, the Tartini House and St Peter's Church are all visible from his statue.

We found a different set of steps from the Tartini Square to make a second more succesful attempt to reach the Church of St George. It was not open until later in the morning with entry via a museum but it was possible to stare inside through a metal grill and we got some good photographs. We later found that almost all the churches in Piran had metal grills. There is a Baptistry adjacent and a small museum through which there is access to the church and also to the treasury and catacombs. From the Church of St George there was an excellent view of the Queen Victoria at anchor and her little line of tenders. We were too early to climb up the 146 steps of the Bell Tower. It was built next to the church in 1608 as a smaller copy of the Campanile in St Mark's Square in Venice. There was an easy footpath down to the coast at the tip of the peninsula, to the lighthouse then a pleasant walk back along the seafront with its carved sculptures to reach the church of Our Lady of Health.

The town is very small.In the distance there had been a view of what we thought was a fort but turned out to be the impressive City Wall which has many small towers. The Tourist Information Office in Tartini Square explained how to reach it. It is on the exact opposite side of the town to the lighthouse, but was easy to find by passing the Church of St Peter then climbing past the Monastry Church of St Francis where we spent a pleasant time admiring their collection of artwork as well as the cloisters and church. We then turned along the Ulica IX Korpusa climbing steadily. The city wall comprises two parts and there is a small charge of 2 euros to climb up to the main four towers joined by a narrow walkway. Again the views from the top, especially the third tower, are excellent. We descended by the rest of the city wall, through the Raspor Gate, and were soon back in the Tartini Square.

There only remained one more target - to find an ice-cream. There are several gelato shops in the centre and the standard price of 1.40 euros is much cheaper than all the other places we have been on this cruise. In fact everything we did was cheap or free, a day ashore cost under 10 euros although we did fewer museums than usual.

This was an excellent start to the day and later we celebrated 1000 days on Cunard ships at dinner in the Verandah. Our cruising started in 1991 in the Caribbean on the Cunard Countess and continued on the QE2 and then the current three current Queens. We have seen much of the world, places we would never have reached by means other than cruising and in an unforgettable style.

 

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Content revised: 4th November, 2018