Beauty is But Skin Deep

Pula (20 May 2013)

Pula is just a short bus ride away from Poreč and we went there mainly to see the Roman ruins there. For me this was something to whet my appetite before I got to Rome less than a month away for me.

Our landlord in Pula (I call him that because what we booked was really an apartment) told us that we had made a mistake by only being in Pula for a day. He claimed that there were enough things to do to last us at least 7 days. Later events would of course prove that claim to be absolute poppycock.

The landlord however did give us a very good piece of information. The Croatian currency was the kuna, and “kuna” means “marten” in Croatian. This is so most likely because the Croatians used marten pelts as currency back in the old days. I had initially thought that “kuna” was just the Croatian way of saying “crown” since it sounded a little like “koruna” or “krona”.

Our apartment was practically next to the very well preserved Pula Arena. It is also one of the largest surviving Roman amphitheatres in the world and is still used today for concerts. The Colosseum it was not but it is definitely well worth a visit.

Pula Arena

Pula Arena

The Arch of the Sergii is a triumphal arch that now looks like a gate to an old city street. I also really like the colourful buildings in the vicinity.

Arch of the Sergii

The Temple of Augustus was dedicated to Augustus, the first emperor of Rome. It is fascinating how ancient emperors were able to impose their make believe divinity on their people. Did people then really believe in their divinity? In modern times, people do all sorts of things for their idols that are quite simply irrational to me. They think nothing of spending a ton of money on expensive tickets, albums, posters and whatever the entertainment industry tell them is good or fashionable. I know of someone who buys at least 5 copies every time his favourite singer releases an album just to support her. Some buy expensive presents for their idols and yet will not spend much on presents for their friends and families and the people who actually love them. They support and love people they do not even know personally but only on television and in the movies. They seem to think that being in love with a fictional character who will never know who they are is perfectly sane and normal. They are so very willing to indulge in make believe artificially created personae and believe that fantasy is reality. How many girls in Singapore honestly believe that their Korean pop idols are as perfect as they are packaged to be? It is real only because they want it to be so but not because it is so. I think it might in fact be cheaper in the long run for them to invest in a blow up doll and dildo.

My conclusion therefore is that it is highly possible for people in the past to worship living mortals as gods. Wait a minute, that seems to be what many people in North Korea are doing, or at least were doing with the ex leader.

On the other hand, these Korean pop idols allow sad delusional people to feel good or at least be entertained. What do god-dictators do for their people besides lording over them? The good ones probably give their people a living and are therefore useful. The bad ones merely suck their people dry.

Temple of Augustus

Two other Roman monuments that are frequently mentioned are the Twin Gates, or Porta Gemina, and the Gate of Hercules.

Twin Gates (Porta Gemina)

Gate of Hercules

There was also a Roman theatre in the city and it is now mostly in ruins.

Remains of Roman theatre

E and I spent a lot of time walking around Pula and saw more than just the Roman monuments. But we got bored by tea time again. Two days in a row! I really cannot imagine myself spending 7 days in this town. What did the landlord mean by there being enough things to do to last at least 7 days? I hope he was referring to the whole of Istria, or even the whole country. The old town of Pula is quite pretty but looks alone will never sustain a person’s interest for too long.

Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Church of St Francis

Cloister of Church of St Francis

Altarpiece of Church of St Francis

Pula Castle built by the Venetians in the 17th century

View of old Pula from the castle

View of the bay from the castle

Pula buildings

It started to rain around dinnertime. Just before it started to pour, we bumped into the landlord on the street. He told us that we were really ‘lucky’ because it never rained in summer in Croatia. We would appreciate how very lucky we were in the following days in Croatia.

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