Clouds are drifting in from the east. They cover up mount Vojak. Sudden gusts nearly knock Silvia off her feet. 1400m above sealevel there is no sign of the sunny heat of Opatija. We strain our eyes to find our trail on the Karst east of Vojak. I found different descriptions of how to get down from Vojak in several travel magazines, but there were no matching trails in our maps. In the small shop on top of the mountain I buy a good map of the area. There really are some grey streaks visible in the country below that resemble trails in the map. So we hopefully continue our journey. Luckily the sun comes out on our descent to Vela Ucka and we bump and hop along the stoy trail.

Blick vom Vojak

bei Vela Ucka

In the evening we spend some time in a neat restaurant at the seaside. Calamari and typical white wine support our excellent mood. Meanwhile Gerhard and Petra have arrived and we talk about the next days. The wonderful forecast makes Cres our first goal.

After a short drive from the camp to the ferry, it takes us smoothly across the sea. The following roads are rar away from beeing smooth at all. Narrow, winding and with a good amount of potholes they keep us busy. Leaving this "highway" shortly after the marina at Cres we bump or way across even worse trails. Rolling hills with hundreds of olive trees lead us to a narrow trail high above sea level. The outlook across beaches and friendly rolling waves is great. Despite all this we keep searching for a trail down to the beach. A grey, stony path leads downhill and Silvia tries to reach the seaside. Some heavy sounds from below tell us, that she and her CJ7 are dealing with interesting parts aof the landscape. No chance.
The first touch down with the sea is at Valun. Despite of a series of famous films this village has kept its pittoresque stile. Neat restaurants with friendly service help to relax and after a refreshing bath at the beach we set out south. Depending on my map there should be a way to get to Vidovici high up on a mountain ridge. Entering the narrow path we meet a farmer. He tells us, that there is no trail leading further south. So we take the "main" road. It reminds me of irish backroads. Narrow, stony and making everything in my truck swinging and ratling along. Quite shaken we reach a hill overlooking Martinscica. The girls want to watch the sun going down at some nice beach. A reastaurant near Martinscica offers the ideal position. A giant red ball called sun touches the horizon and slowly dives down.
That's the opener to our private Cres rallye. One hour to make 60 km along a narrow, winding mountain road is a challenge for our driving skills. We reach the ferry some minutes ahead of the departure. Silvia is nearly finished. She could not call us on CB, because she didn't dare to take one of her hands off the stearing wheel. The headlamps of the old CJ7 where to weak to show the real depht of the ravines beside the road, so she wasn't too frightened after all. Finally we carefully drive home from the harbour and retire quickly to our caravans and tents.


enge Piste

Abend in Martinscica

We spend the next day in the vast woodlands of the Risnjak. Leading up from Rijeka to Gornje Jelenje a good road brings us to the entrance of the park. It is a relaxed and quiet ride on good trails. Decaing buildings offer a sunny spot for a rest. After that we dig our path through the gravel at an old sand pit near Dom Tristenik. At Lisina we enter the Karst. Dense forest and interesting boulders lead us to the lookout above Opatja. Feeling quite hungry we quickly descend to the seaside reataurants.

Herbert in der Grube

Hafen von Moscenica bei Nacht

im Camp

Moscenica bei Nacht

Studying different maps and satellite pictures opened my eyes for interesting spots of this wonderful 4x4 coutry. One of this spots was the camp at Tunarica. Relaxed by a hearty breakfast we set out south.

Passing Labin we enter a quiet byway near Barban. My maps showed different ways to reach Tunarica. Some of this trails simply don't exist, others lead us to a green place between some houses. Only very faint tracks show possibilities to continue. With the help of a local we decide on one of the tracks. It takes some time until my GPS track hits one of the "official" roads to Tunarica. We are welcomed to the camp by a very nice waiter. Maybe he checked our hunger for his excellent food. For dessert we settle down at the beach and after a good dive in the clear water we take a nap in the sun. A narrow moutain road leads us back north to Ravni. The Panorama-restaurant at Plomin invites us for a sweet stop with some coffee. Perfectly balanced we relax in front of our Caravans watching the sun going down over the mountains. 

A soft tapping noise on the roof wakes me up in the night. It is the opening to a famous thundershower. Lightning and dense rain are accompanied by roaring thunder. The echo of the mountains helps a lot to make it really impressing. It's no problem for Herbert and me in our caravans. Silvia, Gerhard and Petra have to dry their tents in the morning. The sun quite shyly lights our way to the pittoresque village of Moscenice.

im Busch

Some of the dark clouds still settle above Vojak as we set out to our tour across the Karst. The ascent near Vela Ucka now is familiar to us. Sweet berries force Silvia to stop her CJ7. It's time for our second breakfast. The trail leads us around Vojak to a gravel road uphill towards Racja Vas. Rumbling along the rocky trail leads to a kind of meditation untíl I'm stopped by four policemen. Traffic control? Speed check? The answer is the proximity of Slowenia. The police check on smugglers. The thundershower waiting for us at Racja Vas finally revives us. Torrential rain washes us down to Buzet an on to Istarsce Toplice. The rain stops and this gives us the opportunity to drive up to Sovinjak nearly following the bee line. Dumping my tires deep into the muddy trail I think about the steep ascent ahead. If it is slippery like the first part along the tiny creek, we could run into trouble. Luckily the trails is steep but the rocky surface offers enough grip to reach the village inn of Sovinjak safely. The innkeeper welcomes us and after a short time we sit at a table overlooking the valley we came from. Shortly after that we enjoy excellent truffles covering perfectly cooked food and taste some really nice wine. Following this really good time my lady Garmine leads us back across remote mountain roads, passing the "sweet" Panorama to our camp.

Blick auf den Vojak
staubfrei Regen mit Bogen

The night again brings thundershowers and lots of sound. This makes parting easier. Gerhard and Petra pack their wet stuff and leave in the morning. We wait for a last calamari-dinner at the harbour restaurant. It is time to roll home. Heavy rain in Slowenia convinces us to continue untiol we reach our home shortly before midnight. It's bee a wonderful journey across many excellent 4x4 trails in Croatia.

G.Richter - with a thankful kiss to Silvia for her pictures.