Velika Kapela. This part is something special. You’re just a little ride away from the coast and even closer to the mountains. In between there are hills, forests and small villages. The wind blows, the sun is shining. Leaves are falling from the trees and the days are getting shorter. People work on the land or in the wood-industry. Nothing reminds you of the coast tourism, except the views on the sea.

Last night a lady in Pod Bilo prepared a bed for me in her living room. Her husband gave me a ride a bit further up the road, because he wanted to help me. The fact that walking is a choice, that I like to do it, is still for most people crazy behaviour. I stopped trying to explain and got in the car.

I am on my way to Samarske Stijene. The hiking path still needs too much work to call it a trail. I am too tired to fight my way through it, so I stick to the road. I won’t complain, it’s lovely out here. A different approach, but still an adventure.

Not knowing what the day will bring, what the road will bring. But one thing I know for sure,  I love the “less developed area’s. The in between area’s which many people not consider worthy enough to visit. A piece of land you pass through,  a piece of land that connects one place to the other. I like the people who live here, they are anything but fancy or hip. It’s not about money or achievements. They look at me, don’t understand what I’m doing, but they see me.

In between stage

This in between stage, this part of Croatia is something special for me. It reminds me of previous journeys and my first time in Croatia a few years ago. I cycled from Istria up north. Land inwards. The people I met, the road I cycled and the feeling of the area, in a way it has the same atmosphere. A similar vibe. I’m glad to be here.

From Velebit to Gorski Kotar, another day on the road. Hiking, hitch-hiking and hiking again. In Breze a truck-driver takes me to Stalak, a place in the middle of the forest. Now it’s forest for the next few hours. Forest everywhere. Good smelling trees. Old trees, big trees. All I see are trees, trees, trees.

I hike on the asphalt and I like it. I’m glad I don’t have to enter the forest. It’s like a certain, I don’t know what’s behind, but from the road it looks dark and scary. From the stories of other hikers, I’ve learned that it’s wild. Bushes, plants, more bushes chest-high, head-high – everywhere, anywhere. I can see that from the road. I’m doing good, I’m doing great. No regrets, I don’t feel sorry. This us my way. For now.

Velika Kapela
Biljana and Neboša in Jasenak


Jasenak. Houses, dogs, a school, a swimming pool, a mini-market and a bar café. Yes, they have dark beer. No rooms though. Ah well, I’ll sit and wait. Something will come up. “You need a room?” A friendly voice asks me. The caffe-bar-lady holds her phone next to my ear. “Yes, I do” I reply. “Wait there, my mother will pick you up in 30 minutes. And she did.

Half an hour later a car arrives. I’m in good hands, I felt it immediately. Biljana, the mother of the voice on the phone had prepared a room for me. She’s got a twinkle in her eyes and a smile on her face. Although I’m not very hungry, she prepares a hikers-meal. “Energy-bomb” she tells me. “You need it.” While I’m eating, she cleans the mushrooms her son picked in the forest. About five kilos of them. It’s a speciality if the region. Wild mushrooms. I eat and look at her. I’m happy to be here.

Not only that, but I feel welcome and thankful. Another great day on the road. And I’m a morning-walk away from Samarske Stijene. Tomorrow I’ll be back on the trail.


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Hiking & Biking the Balkans

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