#106: How to spend three awesome days in Gorski Kotar and the area around it (part two)

I’ve already explained what kind of vacation suits me. What others see as “exhausting,” I see as relaxing. Whoever is with me has the opportunity to see things that everyone can, many fantasize, but few achieve. At least I’m mansplaining that to myself. My son and I connected Corpus Christi Day with a weekend and went outdoors for “a bit”. It will be quite difficult to compress these three days in words and limit myself to certain photos. Have patience, but it will pay off because we enjoyed it.

Day One

We set off from sunny Zagreb to the weather uncertainty of Gorski Kotar. In the mountain even when weather forecast says sunny, it is possible that it will rain. Quite normal for a mountain and a forest, which I have witnessed more than once, and the last few days have been really shabby with a forecast announcing terrible scenarios, Biblical proportions floods and all. But they say that luck accompanies the brave and we set off so decisively towards Zeleni vir and Vražji prolaz (rough translation would be the Green spring and the Devil’s passage). Natural beauty at the foot of town Skrad. I keep returning here and most likely I will come again. Last time I was here with my son was back in 2014. We routinely completed the Devil’s passage in about half an hour in both directions to Muževa hižica, a cave at the end of that canyon. It’s beautiful. Just as we were returning, the sun began to show and as we had the time I decided to win my son over to Zeleni vir, a rather long waterfall with a pool of water. It is a short but intense ascent followed by a plane trail to the waterfall. A beauty that the photos cannot truly witness. Just as we finished, it started to rain lightly. Yes, luck accompanies the brave because we have not had a single drop until then.

We get in the car and enter the coordinates for Novi Vinodolski where grandmother Sanja is waiting for us with lunch. Lasagna – because both son and grandson love it. A pinch of hugs, a bit of chatter, a sip of drinks, … so it was time for my son and I to jump into the sea. All I told him was to be a kid and decide what he wants. He can take a swimsuit and give up at the last minute, and he doesn’t have to do any of that. Of course, he jumped first. We have everything recorded. And in the end, Dana’s “mustached chick” dived as well. It’s a dog, of course … with a mustache and a beard. Something like mine, but the way I would love to have it. Beautiful view of Zavižan and Krk with a very solid sea temperature and then to the car and on the way to Fužine, taking the route over Bater village to take a look at the wild horses grazing on the pastures before the village Breza. Phenomenal. The old road is beautiful, leads through the woods and is great for cycling. It also offers great places to eat such as Vagabundina koliba and Vera. We did not stay long with horses because our host Anita is waiting to host us for the next two days. I have been coming to Anita’s Apartmani Belvedere for many years. There are three reasons for that: she is in Fužine, I am “at home” in her apartments and she is a sweetheart! Whenever I am passing through Fužine I try to contact her hoping we’ll have a drink at least, and if not, I’m pretty sure there will be the next time. And so, it was our turn to sit down and have a drink, pleasantly exchanging stories and catching up since the last time we saw each other. And all this with a view of the Lake Bajer and the sun falling towards the hills above the lake. By the way, Anita is doing a wonderful maneštra that I had the opportunity to try on the Old Year 2018 celebration. In Fužine, they start celebrating at noon thanking the year that’s passing and yet another thing you are free to put on the bucket list.

Well how would it be if the day ended without a visit to the lake. It really wouldn’t be right. Kiddo and I take Dana for a walk down to the lake, but also to witness the wonders of nature of the Fužine region. Ah … I really love Gorski Kotar. And I can’t wait to climb Snježnik!

Day Two

We woke up fairly late. When Kezele boys wake up late, it’t around 8AM then. At least the junior. I had already let the dog out and squeezed lemon and orange juice, which is a part of our daily routine. A little ginger and turmeric powder in it to stimulate the body. My son had a breakfast and did his part of the screen and the media which is quite ok. The whole day we will be on the move so let the child get some time for himself. That’s how he looks at it.

We just started driving along Bajer Lake when vehicle singnalized a drop in tire pressure. We got back to the gas station in Fužine and while inflating the tire I see a screw in the back left tire. At the gas station, they tell me to go to Čebuhar in Vrata, which I immediately do. I parked in the driveway of the tire shop, entered the garage and like fallen from the sky shouted: Good people, help my son and I go hiking! The young man lets go of whatever he was doing, takes the screw out of the tire and puts a patch. 10 minutes and we’re back on our way. Well done! Fast, efficient and affordable. Kind and dear. Another great story from Gorski Kotar. I didn’t dramatize because it’s not my first rodeo with a flat tire. In Austria, I barely made it within working hours at a tire shop that robbed me for 70 Euros. I will just say that this today was exactly what I had hoped it would be. Quick and easy with a minimal price.

We continue our plan to Platak, skiing resort above Rijeka, with a bit of a delay but to kiddo it was just an extended Media time (translation: time with the display). We started the citizen’s trail. Wide and gentle forest road that alter turns into a single trail, occasionally mixing with the forest road. It’s quite important to emphasize that we came across the VA sign, which means that this route is part of the Via Adriatica trail. Beautiful! Although when we arrived by car to the starting point it seemed that the weather could screw us, on the way to the top we were followed by the sun and at the very top, along the path over the ridge, we witnessed the beauty and the view of the mountains to the north and neighboring Risnjak peak in the east. Beautiful! Most of all, I am delighted with my son’s enthusiasm. We sit on top, look at Risnjak, eat sandwiches and pick bacon from the lunch box. Lunch at the top. Hardly we can do better than that.

Still, the clouds slowly shifted over Snježnik which we reached in a about hour and 20 minutes, and we headed back over the old mountain house on Snježnik, through the path kroz grlo. It’s an easier trail, but offers fewer views. We reached the car in about 40-45 minutes. It was a bit slippery, but we solved it without any problems. We got in the car and headed towards Rijeka. I’m always looking for the balance. The child should also be afforded with something modern.

This modern thing is actually quite interesting thing because we went to revisit Peek&Poke, a museum of old computers. A complete time machine. ZX Spectrums, Commodors, Amigas, first PSs, Nintendos, PacMan and joysticks are just a part of the offer. Fantastic! We both played. Son mostly enjoyed Pacman and Super Mario, and I tried a little of Colin McRae on the original PS console. Awesooome!! The kind gentleman also showed us the Toy Museum which is just the next door but not fully operational.

It would be foolish while in Rijeka, not to check the downtown walk, Rijeka’s korzo, the main street and the pedestrian zone. So we did, finding one of the best ice-cream places in Rijeka (as I was told) – the Filodrammatica. And I got to be honest, they trully do have good ice-cream and the place is quite comfie. Two hours in Rijeka passed in the blink of an eye, but we needed a reset. We returned to Fužine to rest a bit so that at the end of the day, after 5 pm, we could make a circle around Lake Bajer to the Lake Lepenica. These are two connected lakes, separated by a dam. A beautiful promenade, and Matej tried every exercise device along the way. Dana still showed no signs of fatigue, but the two of us did. Towards the end of that approximately 6.5 km long walk, we sat on the terrace of a smaller, new cafe for a cocoa and beer. Each of us enjoying his thing. We refreshed ourselves a bit and continued to the car parked at the lower dam because we had plenty of hills for today so no more walking uphill.

Day Two was fulflilled as the day before, and we are looing forward to the next adventure on the Day Three. We are going to Winnetouo’s Roswell and the river Kupa spring that we initially planned checking on the Day One, but we changed our minds the last minute.

Day Three

Departing Anita’s place is never joyful as it’s not fun departing Fužine at all. I truly belong there. There is not much of a wisdom to that, as there is no much of overthinking when I need to pack my stuff to a car. Before departing I went for a quick coffee in neighboring pizzeria Landravec, a simple and an unpretentious place with the great pizza and fine coffee. They hadn’t opened yet, but dear lady was happy to make me coffee. Gorans, what else to say! They are wonderful. The car is packed, the morning juice routine done, Matej’s breakfast and a bit of media time, as he likes to call it, done as well, and here we are on our way to Roswell. We headed towards Vrata, passing the exit for the highway, and after a hundred meters or so we turned left, following the signposts, under the highway and further into the forest. The forest road is in quite solid condition and there should be no problems for any car. We arrive at the first of three today’s destinations, but they were still closed for public. Three dogs ran towards us to welcome us, followed by a young fellow and two girls who were taking care of the horses there and still let us on a short tour. Too bad they weren’t open ’cause we were hoping to shoot a little with a bow and arrow or an air rifle, but even a short tour of this more of a ranch than a town is quite great. Some updates to this town are also visible compared to our last visit, so we saw a new piano and a pool. They also have chickens that I didn’t get a chance to see the last time. That’s great. Roswel has become an attraction of the Fužine region. Some don’t see the link but I think it’s better to take advantage of something that was left from the movie set and enrich the tourist offer.

We didn’t stay long because it took another 45 minutes to reach the river Kupa spring. Although Google Maps may offer you to continue along the forest road in the direction of the north, I am telling you to go back the same way you came from and go to Delnice by asphalt road (local or highway) and head towards Crni Lug. Instead of turning towards NP Risnjak, at the crossroads turn right towards Gerovo and continue driving until you come across a sign for the Kupa Spring (Izvor Kupe). It is a forest, but mostly paved road (the entrance is a gravel for several hundreds meters). The ticket office (they only accept cash) instructs you that you are at the beginning of the trail. There is a 2 km trail to the spring, which actually starts with the museum. The descent is not dramatic, but know that you have to go back the same way. The lower part is steeper but it absolutely pays off. Going down the riverbed might remind you of the movie Jurassic Park 2, but the fact that you won’t see Julianne Moore photographing a herd of stegosaurs isn’t too important because the first glance at Kupa is admirable. About fifty meters to the left is the spring itself. A beautiful green sight that would make you very eager to throw yourself into the water. Of course, keep in mind that the temperature is around 7 degrees Celsius, so without a wetsuit you would probably be deprived of joy. We enjoyed that wilderness and beauty for a while and headed back up. The dog jumped merrily everywhere without showing any signs of fatigue, but the steep climb back up, towards the car is definitely not something easy. OK, it’s not too hard neither. An elderly couple in front of us paved the road without half a problem. The son grumbled a little, but in the end he successfully overcame that ascent. The first part of the climb is a bit more demanding in terms of fitness, but if you start at a moderate pace, everything is fine.Half way up there are no more serious climbs but a wide road. A path suitable for every age. You just have to have patience.

We get in the car and Dana shuts down. She seemed to have had enough, too. For today, that’s actually it. Our last destination is Delnice and their hunting lodge Lovački dom on Jalpenški vrh. I’m not here for the first time, but I came across a novelty on their menu – Wildburger. This is definitely a good fusion if you ask me. Something domestic inserted to a foreign thing. I think the value for the money is pretty good. I enjoyed it. Fine secret ingredients’ sauce and french fries are included in the price of wild game burgers. Appropriate to the region in which we found ourselves. The whole event was enriched with a meeting and pleasant chat with the sports enthusiast and motivator #1 in Delnice, Darko Pirc. Darko is a wonderful person, the leader of Cross Sport Delnice and a great athlete who encourages the people of the Gorski Kotar region to be active. We were lucky that it was a beautiful, sunny and warm day so we sat on the very corner of the terrace and enjoyed the view of Delnice. A beautiful place of humble and hardworking people. Darko says it’s nice to live here and I trust him. I’m sure it’s not easy and there are challenges, but his has that contagious energy. If you are based in Delnice, know that you have another great place for lunch, on the opposite hill, Petehovac is a great restaurant and hotel. Also, an absolute recommendation, and if I’m not mistaken, pets are welcome in the restaurant itself, which is not seen everywhere.

All good comes to an end, so we had to say goodbye with our host Darko, pleasant staff of Delnice Hunting Logde and head to Zagreb. He enjoyed ourselves. This article is not to brag about where we have all been but to give you ideas. Other people give me ideas so it’s my turn to push forward. My son says that not everyone has my energy, so schedule your time in Gorski Kotar in the way that suits you best. Maybe you will throw something out or you will add something from my previous article (in English as well), maybe add another day in this beautiful region and it’s nature. A visit to National Park Risnjak or rafting in Brod na Kupi maybe? I did that as well, so I can say that it was great, but maybe on another occasion I will write about it. I overdid it with the text anyway.

If you need gpx files for any of mentioned routes that I put link on, ask in the comment section and I can send it your way for download. Leave you email and I will send it. Gladly.


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