Labin - An Autumn by the Sea - CycleBlaze

September 12, 2018

Labin

Today is a transition day: we’re leaving Dalmatia and it’s string of mountains behind and are returning to the mainland for good, at least for this tour.  One last time, we get up early and on the road to catch the ferry.  This time we’re heading to the north of Cres to catch the short ride across the bay to Istria.   The ferry departs every ninety minutes all day long, and we’re targeting the 10:30 departure.  It’s seventeen miles to the port with a significant climb in between here and there, so we’re on the road by 8:30.

We start climbing almost immediately - a thousand feet in four miles once again, which seems to becoming a theme for this tour.  Then a bit of a drop, and another three hundred foot rise; and repeat.  Finally we top out at about 1,500’.  By now it’s 10, and we still have six miles to go.  They’re all downhill though, so we have no worries.  I’ve got time to slow down for a few last photos while Rachael pulls ahead to pick up our tickets.  I roll in with five minutes to spare.  No problem!

Leaving Cres, a town I’d be pleased to return to some day.
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The ride to the north end of the island is beautiful, and very quiet. Great cycling route.
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Looking south down Kvarner Bay
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At its high point the road is well surfaced but has a primative feel. No striping, vegetation grows over the pavement, sheep occasionally wander out of the oaks ahead of you.
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This part of the island has a rugged beauty, with karst outcrops contrasting against the bright green oak forest.
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At the summit. Ahead, Istria.
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We reach the end of Dalmatia, and this phase of the journey.
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Well, we haven’t quite reached the end. First we have to endure this swift six mile descent.
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Once across the channel, we face something we’ve been looking at a lot lately - a four mile, thousand foot climb.  This one has a different flavor though - it starts out fairly steeply, at 9%; then eases off for a bit.  Then 11%, and another break.  Then, at the end, a 14% killer.  Not really so much fun on a burning hot day.

A bit past the top, we pull off at a scenic overlook and admire the huge, coal burning Plomin Power Station, the supplier of a large share of Croatia’s energy.  Croatia doesn’t have its own coal resources, so the view also includes the terminal where coal apparently arrives by boat and is piped up to the plant.

Not the most scenic spot for a picnic, but there’s shade and the time is right.  And, it looks like the plant may not be operational at the moment.  While we sit there, we constantly have to fend off a grey cat with a strong interest in our cheese and ham; and we have a pleasant conversation with a German woman from the Ruhr Valley who has taken an interest in our bikes and is trying to figure out how they fold up.

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What more could you ask for as a picnic backdrop?
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The coal import terminal. No activity today. Maybe it’s shut down for good?
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After our break we drop a few hundred more feet and then resume climbing another five hundred footer before finally dropping to Labin, the day’s destination.  Something goes afoul though, as Rachael pulls ahead of me on the climb, and then waits in the shade for me at the summit.  I don’t see her there, and whiz by; and she’s not looking just at the moment, so she continues waiting.  Ten minutes later I come to the outskirts of town, a bit concerned that I haven’t seen her yet.  Just as I reach for the phone, she calls.  Where the hell am I, she’d like to know.  Thank heavens for our cell phones!

We’re in town at one but can’t access our room until 2:30, so we hold up on a bar surrounded by smokers as one of us has a beer and the other has ice cream.  Then, off to our room - only a half a mile away, all of it steeply up.  We’re staying in the historical town, a lovely place on the crown of a conical hill.  Very nice, once we finally make it up here.  It looks like a beautiful place to spend a couple of nights.

She’s not alone in pushing up to the old town. Steep, hot, and cobblestones just ahead.
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The view from our apartment. We’ll be here for two nights, with time for a relaxed visit.
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Starting in Cres, it feels like we’ve entered a different country. More Italian than Slavic.
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After the predominantly grey and stony architecture of Dalmatia, the colors of Istria are a delight.
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Strange to say, but we didn’t see anyone bicycling up into the old town.
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As with food photos, I think I’m allowed about one cat per week on this site. I think I’m behind quota, actually. I’ll keep looking.
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Steve Miller/GrampiesWe like both food and cat photos, the more the merrier.
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3 months ago
Jen GrumbyOnly one cat per week? I don't think that's enough.

More cats, please!
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3 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyThat’s two votes for more cats, so we may have to reconsider. Perhaps one cat per week, per author. Probably should apply to food photos as well - Rachael has been carping (heh, heh) that we’re not showing her favorite fish dish because we’re maxed out.
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3 months ago
A window box
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Labin’s photogenic clock tower
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There’s a lot to admire here.
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The Venetians came this way.
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We climbed up the steep stairs to the top of the campanile for a look around. Well worth the effort.
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Labin is about two miles from the coast, above the port/resort town of Rabac. Across the water is the island of Cres.
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Ride stats today: 37 miles, 3,600’; for the tour, 475 miles, 35,300’

Today's ride: 34 miles (55 km)
Total: 482 miles (776 km)

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