Fog, rain and snow
No complaints about rain again.
Today it snowed all morning!
Our departure from Starigrad was in the rain, but since we were driving, that was ok. In dramatic swoops we rose through the mountainous hills of the coast into steep rocky landscape. A fast toll road took us through a 12 km tunnel into a higher, lusher plateau dotted with bushes. Further on, in a long valley, cows were grazing. Substantial farm houses and loosely formed villages showed that agriculture sustained this area.
Almost imperceptibly the rain passed through sleet into light and persistent snow. The temperature had dropped from 12 Celsius to 3 Celsius. For some time the snow didn’t stick to the ground or the road; until it did tinge the grass and then accumulated on the roadsides, and finally coated the trees. Even more astonishing, it had blanketed the Plitvice Lakes National Park
where we were to hike. Manka and Tomas exclaimed that they had never seen snow at this time of year in this place; Manka had already told us that there were no other attractions in the journey today, and that we would walk regardless of the weather, meaning rain of course.
Making the best
Judith at Plitvice Falls
Cold and wet can be exciting!
of reality, we put on our sweaters and coats, loaned each other scarfs and hats and poles, and walked to the shuttle bus that took us up to the top of the path. Most of the path was groomed and easy for our hiking boots. We photographers quickly dropped to the back as we struggled hopelessly to keep our cameras a little dry while capturing the eerie beauty. The formation of lakes and waterfalls was a cascade of “plates” flowing into each other. Pretty falls, then placid water, then falls, then placid water. The lakes reflected the shades of grey in the sky, and the falls decorated them with the lace of rushing water. Dark tree limbs framed dramatic compositions. Green new leaves dripped with shiny water droplets. Almost every step revealed new visions, causing Lelia, Susan and I, carefully watched by Manka, to fall farther and farther behind the gazelles of the group.
Carefree walking was stymied by a long series of boardwalks over the wetlands, that when dry would have be a joy to experience. Unfortunately, the wet snow tromped on by a fair number of park visitors created slushy ice, requiring great attention to foot and
Eventually we all joined together to take the two-minute boat ride across to the service buildings and another ten-minute walk to the very welcome restaurant. The huge washrooms reminded us of ski chalets where people similarly strip off their wet outer gear. Lunch was cafeteria style; I had grilled fresh sardines, mixed vegetables (seemed the kind that come frozen in a bag), potatoes, and a hearty piece of apple strudel.
The trip reversed itself through elegant, towering, snow-covered evergreens for an hour or so as we descended into a new, long valley in rain. We were on a main road, but not a toll road; it was two lanes without much shoulder. The vegetation became thicker as we wound around mountains down towards the sea again.
Off a small road, we stopped at an old traditional mill, now restored for tourists. The mill was built at the natural falls on the Gacka River; the water rushed through wooden gates and turned paddles. On the other side, a still pond hosted Mallard ducks, which were quite capable of resisting the pull back into the onrushing river. The historical importance of the mills was as an economic
Majerovo Vrilo on the Gacka River
Springs feeding a traditional mill
engine and social gathering place, as well as in their obvious function in milling grain. See my video.
After our coffee break at a gas station in Senj
, the road led down to the holiday towns of this part of the northern Adriatic. Hundreds of colourful homes and apartment buildings clung to the rock, possibly affording sea views to everyone. Tomas told me that very few beaches are sandy, most being gravelly. The uninterrupted sequence of towns evolved into Rijeka
, a big city that spread all the way (and beyond) to our Hotel Park
. The style of buildings and way of life is quite Italian, being about 100 km from Trieste
(spelled Trst in Slovene on road signs).
Situated on the narrow main road, our hotel is the epitome of modern: our bathroom has hooks for clothes, a hot towel/clothes drying rack, face cloths, shelves for putting things on, and a leak-proof shower – some of which have been missing in all the other hotels (three star). We ate at the hotel buffet: trout encrusted in nuts, fried potato wedges, beet pickles, fresh tomatoes, and pastries for dessert, with red wine.
Manka’s husband, Lajos, and two children joined
Sweeping along the Adriatic Sea
us here for the weekend, after driving from Hungary where the family lives. Her son, Mici, longed to play with his phone but was discouraged. Her daughter, Reka (12), was studying English, and we conversed for considerable time during and after dinner. She was preparing a presentation on Canada, and with the aid of Susan’s iPad we had a delightful time looking up each others’ homes on Google Earth. Sometimes technology is wonderful. Advertisement