Bura, Jugo, Bura, Jugo, Bura and there’s the Jugo again. Jugo brings clouds and rain from Italy, Bura blows it with a good dose of freezing cold air all away. In between it’s calm. So serene. Although I’m constantly checking the weather, it’s actually not bad at all. It’s exactly what I wished the winter to be like. Fresh air, clear skies and a whole lot of quietness. I learned that my tent can’t do wind, but even that’s okay. Just have to be a bit more strategic and opt for a room when there’s no other way out. Now I’m this close to Učka Nature Park, I will give everything I have to cross the finish line. Or in this case the finish top.
After Vransko jezero the Via Dinarica Trail goes to Benkovac, Donji Karin and then up towards Obrovac and Paklenica. When I hiked the White Trail I already passed by Obrovac and Paklenica, so I decided to take a different route. From Donji Karin I headed towards Novigrad, a road hike with a fantastic view on Velebit and Paklenica. Somewhere near Paljuv I found a fantastic bivy spot where I could pitch my tent and stare at the mountains. There was even fresh water floating directly in the salty sea, such a treat.
The island of Pag
With the sun on my side I walked the long long road to the island of Pag. A surreal landscape. Nothing but stones, a road and the sea. And sheep. Pag the town was totally empty. No tourist, no party people and only one hotel that’s working during the winter. No problem, I like it when it’s quiet. Also the popular party destination Novalja doesn’t expect visitors in winter. Perfect! A little less perfect were the ferries. If it’s windy or going to be windy there’s a chance they don’t go. They didn’t go. Neither in Lun or in Novalja. “Try Žigljen, that’s the most regular route.” Regular yes, but not on my route. And so another detour was born. I got on the ferry to the mainland, hiked from Prizna to Stinica where I got on the ferry to Rab.
The island of Rab
A large part of the coast on Rab has an excellent promenade, this friendly and scenic walking path took me to closed campsite where an old man gave me permission camp. The next day I got back on the Via Dinarica all the way to the other end of the Island. Since there was another Bura coming, I prepared myself for the worse: no ferry. No ferry indeed. Going back to Rab old town and stay another night on the closed campsite seemed to be the best option.
This time the old man gave me a room, because it was too windy for my tent. How sweet? He also offered me to drive me to the ferry the next morning. If the ferry would come. Think someone heard my prayers. At 7AM I got on the catamaran and had bumpy, but successful “ride” to Rijeka. By taking this catamaran I skipped the island of Krk, but I couldn’t really be bothered. I’ll do that another time. By bike.
Učka Nature Park
In Rijeka an adventurous mountain friend took me to her home at the foot of Učka mountain in Učka Nature Park. I could rest, wash my clothes and enjoy the spectacular view. In the evening we went to town for the Christmas market or advent and of course had some glühwein at the old fortress. With only one more day to go I started to realize that my Via Dinarica adventure would soon be over. That I almost finished the last leg of the last trail. One more hike and I would be done!
The last hike couldn’t be better. Učka Nature Park has an amazing network of hiking trails and perhaps one of the best views of the Blue Trail. Vojak peak looks out over mountains and the sea, from Istria to Italy and Slovenia. I could see Velebit, Risnjak, Snežnik, Nanos, Triglav and even the Dolomites. So so beautiful.
Happy, proud and thankful, but most all I felt satisfied. I finished before Christmas, hiked all three Via Dinarica Trails and still I’m not fed up with these mountains. That’s a good feeling. I’m happy and proud and thankful.
Mission accomplished. Right?
Previous Via Dinarica Blue Trail updates
Montenegro: EAT SLEEP HIKE REPEAT (#1)
Island of Pag and Rab & Učka Nature Park
As soon as I have uploaded my GPX tracks on the Outdooractive platform, a map with WayPoints and all the other good stuff you might want to know is gonna show up here. Please be patient 🙂