The best thing about bicycle touring is the contrast. You experience the discomfort of being outdoors in all kinds of weather, eat a variety of strange foods, both good and bad, and sleep in lots of unorthodox places. With the first leg of our bicycle tour, from Rome to Russia, behind us, Stephen and I have been reflecting on the best food, drink, and accommodation we've had.
Villa Orsula was built in 1939, in the Mediterranean style, using the local white stone for the walls and traditional red tiles for the roof. It was completely restored and refurbished for its grand opening in spring 2012. They claim that it's the most luxurious accommodation in the city, and I can't disagree.
Croatia's recent accession to the EU has given exporters cause to celebrate too, as the path to international trading with this exciting European market has never been smoother. As the EU's 28th member state, entry into the EU means an increase in the free circulation of goods, services and people between Croatia and the UK, as well as removing some of the existing barriers to trade.
Travelling through the Istrian region of Croatia, you'd be forgiven for wondering if you'd stumbled into rural Italy at first glance. Lush expanses of carefully preened produce are everyday scenery in this part of the world. Olive groves and vineyards stretch out in every direction, disturbed only by the occasional mountain and sea view.
With the cheese-fest that is Valentine's Day fast approaching, it's time to get your exit strategy in place. For whatever reason (you're recently heart-broken, perpetually single and cynical, or you just happen to have taste), here are the places where you're most likely to be left untroubled by lovebirds.