If there really is such a thing as patience and if such a virtue has a face, then it belongs to the guys from Alba. A few selected members of this trekking team from Labin, were waiting on us for 5 hours at the start of our kayaking section of the trip, at the Rasa bridge. But I can explain everything. Really. So, read all about it.
The weather was definitely not on our side, when I had to set off to Pazin where there was yet another interview to be done on Dobro jutro Hrvatska, morning TV programme (do I need to mention that I wrote the blog post about the previous day that morning in the car, while Cedo was driving me?). Due to circumstances we didn't leave Pazin until after noon, even though our plan was to set off at 9 am, (at this time our trekking team was already on that bridge waiting for us).
While they were waiting, we were working. With Robi Faragun and Dino Alberini as our guides, accompanied by Biba Istra-bikerima (Biljana Tezak, a girl who, in team with Suncica Hrascanec, won at Paklenica climbing competition Big Wall Speed Climbing (we will come to this part around 30/04 and 01/05) and won an award for the best alpinistic achievement with the first ever Croatian all female ascend in El Capitanu), we started cycling towards the Rasa canyon. A few radio interviews later, applauding the amazing nature around us, we got to the river. The canyon itself is amazingly beautiful and great for an easy, flat ride on nicely beaten macadam.
At this point our trekking team from Labin were deliriously happy to see us, thinking we'd be ready to set off again, but, no such joy. Exhausted and hungry, we couldn't say no to Robi's lunch invitation at a nearby tavern in a place called Terget. This delicious break gave us a proper, much needed energy boost, and gave our patient team another two, two-and-a-half hours of waiting more. However, as patient as they are, Dino and Mladen and the adventure team in a sit-on-top kayak, Eler Dobric and Dorian Viskovic didn't mind all the waiting (on record), and accepted our apology. So finally, sometime after 3 pm, we finally boarded our faithful kayaks and set off down the river Rasa, towards the Tunarica bay. I have to state again how gorgeous this kayaking was. River Rasa has given our rowing and visual experience a whole new dimension, and the bay itself, beyond the estuary, is completely gorgeous.
Mladen's strategic report on adventure tourism for this area wasn't taken seriously enough by the tourist board (even though it won an award as the best development project in the end), so I hope Eler's plan for adventure kayaking, trekking and cycling tours will indeed be successfully realized. It would be a great pity for such a huge potential to go unnoticed.
And now. Let me present Robert Faraguna. I've known this guy for almost ten years now, and even though we don't see each other that often, I always think of him as a local-patriotism enthusiast and a real fan of mountain cycling.
He had organized many races, marathons and cycling gatherings, with his Istra - bike club. He is always telling me about the area of Labin and all the perfect MTB grounds. Truth be told, I never completely believed those stories, not until yesterday's tour which Robi chose. I think I will be drunk with joy and singing with rapture about the amazing grounds of Skitaca, for many days to come. Such beauty! Now I understand what that German team was going on about, when they said it was worth travelling thousands of kilometres just for Skitaca. All of you reading this right now, I urge you to believe me when I say – this is absolutely amazing. Come and see for yourselves!
Icing on the cake is spread every day by our lovely hosts, whose welcome is always truly delightful.
Istra-cyclists (in cooperation with TZ Labin) treated us with their company and a dinner at the Kvarner Tavern. At the end of this exhausting and absolutely thrilling day cherry on top was Villa Celeste with their lovely host Julija. Before we even started the adventure I was lucky enough to receive her e-mail, inviting us to come over and stay at Celestina. And whenever someone (that would be Robert) mentioned Julija, there was special compliments paid. What a villa, what a host! I am not worried about our tourism when there's people like her around. Thank you, Julija (with special compliments paid).