The final day of the Huck Finn Istria Multisport trip was spent walking in the Plitvice Lakes National Park. We went there via a back road from Rijeka, through vast woods, and saw an instance of the Yugoslav Wars, a house with bullet marks on it from when the Serbians (or was it Bosnians) had attacked Croatia.
The park, which is near the border with Bosnia, is on the the UNESCO World Heritage register.
There’s a series of lakes and attractive cascades, and the water is crystal clear. It can get pretty busy near the entrance. For some unknown reason, the park is particularly popular with visitors from South Korea. Everyone seems to obey the rules of the park which do not allow off-track walking.
The sedimentation processes which created the lakes are described in Wikipedia.
The day after the bike run along the Parenzana, we went truffle hunting with a Motovun restaurant owner, and then it was back to cycling. This time TJ and Tim from Huck Finn drove us to Draguć, a pretty hill village. It was a very clear day, and we could just make out snow on the Dolomites, far to the north west.
There were several stops to eat cherries on the bike run, and we enjoyed lunch at Sovinjak, a particularly picturesque village. We were well-guided by TJ and Tim, with TJ in the van behind us, and Tim in front, on the relatively busy road before Istarske Toplice. The ride finished at Livade.
After some hill walks last summer I was finding that my legs cramped up while driving home, to the extent that driving became impossible and I’d sometimes have to stop the campervan and stretch muscles. After the walk up A’Bhuidheanach Bheag and Carn na Caim yesterday I did quite a lot of stretching before getting into the driving seat and this seemed to do the trick.
Selfies at the top of A’Bhuidheanach Bheag
Despite a below average forecast, the weather stayed reasonable for the walk, though a bit windy and some drizzle later on. These are two relatively easy mountains, as you start the walk at some altitude on the A9 and there is not much descent between the two.
On the way, we heard stories from Lindsey’s friends about their walk up Mt Kenya last year.
The track down the mountain was not difficult, but there were some loose stones in some steeper spots, making the descent hard on the balls of the feet.
The two mountains were my 86th and 87th Munros. I’ve been at this lark for decades, and haven’t even climbed 100 yet!
The town on the hill in the photo above is Motovun, and was to be our destination for the night after a bicycle ride which started in Livade, went up the mountain and over to Grožnjan and then down part of the Parenzana.
Grožnjan is an attractive Istrian town with a long history. It has some Roman buildings, including the one above, which was a Roman pub. A number of artists have settled there in recent years.
From Grožnjan we joined a section of the Parenzana. This is a cycle track along what was once a railway between Trieste and Poreč. After the Great Depression the railway was not profitable, and the Italian fascist government dismantled it. Nowadays it is a fairly popular hiking and cycling route. TJ and Tim, the guides from Huck Finn, were very helpful in pointing out the parts of the Parenzana where you needed to concentrate because of larger stones in the pathway.
Looking back towards Grožnjan
Our room for three nights was in Villa Borgo, an hotel with gorgeous views over the valley.
One thing I noticed in Istria was that while the roads are well-maintained, and there are hardly any road diggings, the same can’t be said about many buildings. In the backstreets of the lovely hill towns you can find many crumbling houses.
The second day’s activity involved kayaking around Rovinj.
We started north of the town, went round an island and back towards Rovinj, landing on the island we’d been staying on a few days earlier at the Hotel Katarina.
The boat was a two-person sit-on kayak, and very stable. It was nice seeing the town from different angles.
TJ and Tim from Huck Finn collected us from Rovinj and drove us to Poreč, where we were based for three nights on the first stage of the Huck Finn Istria Multisport trip. It turned out that we were the only participants, and it was in essence a private tour.
Poreč is another lovely town on the coast of Istria, similar in some ways to Rovinj in that it has a major Venetian influence, though there are also Roman remains as well. Unlike Rovinj, you can walk around the edge of the peninsula old town.
We had a lovely room in a newly renovated building next to a restaurant.
The first day’s kayaking started near the Huck Finn offices and included landing on an small island where gulls were nesting and there were various herbs, then on to a larger island with an hotel, and finally kayaking around Poreč. As usual, Lindsey wore her Spirit f the Spey hat for the kayak trip.
Rovinj is a stunning town.
The area was inhabited by man in the Bronze and Iron ages, and later the Romans had a presence here. The main influence of what you can see today comes from the Venetians. I was intrigued by the fact that it was once an island, but in 1763 the isthmus (just to the left of the photo above) was filled in as the town grew bigger.
The older parts of the town consist of winding alleys.