To Rabac and back - An Autumn by the Sea - CycleBlaze

September 13, 2018

To Rabac and back

We had planned a fifty mile loop through the Istrian interior for today, but cancelled it in deference to some unscheduled maintenance: my backside is in need of repairs, and sitting on a saddle all day sounds neither wise nor pleasant.  Instead, we decide to go for a walk and stop in at a pharmacy along the way.  

We have plenty of time in the day, so we get off to a relaxed start.  We have breakfast in our room (scrambled eggs and cheese, that we picked up at the market last night), and then I go downstairs to a cafe on the plaza for a macchiato and to use their WiFi to work on the journal.  In many ways we’re staying in a dream apartment here in Labin, but their WiFi is frustratingly erratic.

Finally, about 9:30 we start off on our walk -the roughly three mile trek down to the sea at Rabat, the most often cited walk in the immediate area.  It’s a pretty walk, through a mixed hardwood forest most of the way, and along a minor stream for the last half.  It’s a fairly challenging trail though that drops bout a thousand feet, and by the time we reach Rabac I’m wishing we had brought hiking poles along.

I woke up a bit early this morning to use the facilities. On the way back to bed, I looked out the window. Ooh, I said to myself, grabbed the camera, took my best shot, and went back to bed for another hour,
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The well marked trail from Labin to Rabac starts right at the edge of the old town.
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It’s quite a varied trail. At times we’re walking on dirt, or smooth rock slabs like these, or scrambling down rough, rocky inclines.
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What do you say, Bill? I’m thinking Bicolored Italian Trail Lichen.
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Bill ShaneyfeltClose enough for me! Not much out there that I'm even vaguely familiar with...

I did find a website with a lichen ID key for Italy...

http://dbiodbs.univ.trieste.it/ident.html

Good luck!
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3 months ago
Labin, from partway down to the coast
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This will prove to be a great hike for fungi.
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We’re not lost yet!
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I view photos with me as the subject as like cat shots, but much less endearing. We should put a quota on them.
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It’s not me - the trees here all really are growing on an incline.
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Arriving in Rabac I’m reminded of why we are staying in Labin instead of down at the coast.  It lies in quite a pretty setting on a small, slender bay, but is pretty well spoiled by mass tourism in my view anyway.  As we emerge from the woods we walk past a wall of huge four star resort hotels, and the main walkway through town is lined with trinket stands.  There’s plenty of lodging to be had down here, but if you want a quieter, more authentic experience I’d look for a place up on the hill.

We stop in first at the pharmacy, and then I sit down in a cafe while Rachael continues along the waterfront for another mile.  My knees are objecting a bit to the uneven descent and I pay respect to them by taking the weight off for awhile.  When Rachael returns we walk back to a nice Italian restaurant she found on a quieter part of the waterfront, and we settle in for a light lunch.

On the Rabac waterfront
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Looking back toward the route of our walk, which ends in the depression behind the depressing phalanx of resort hotels.
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Triplets!
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I’m going to save this photo from our lunch restaurant and use it as a study guide. I’ve only heard of about a third of these pasta varieties.
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A neat solution to an eternal decor problem
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There are at least three different walking routes back up to Labin, including just backtracking the way we came down.  We had a brochure from the information center that describes the options, but it seems I dropped it at the pharmacy or the cafe.  Not knowing how long the other alternatives are, we opt for the known quantity and just backtrack.  It’s as pretty a hike going up as coming down, and I’m happy to find that my knees are just fine with the climb back up.  In fact, they feel better at the end of the climb than when we started up after lunch.

We’re rethinking our game plan. Why are we knocking ourselves out biking when we could just spend our days lying around in a crowd under a beach umbrella?
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Another great find that we missed on the way down
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Horse chestnut
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Wooded stream
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And another!
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Looks like he’s considering taking a bite! (The green circle is a trail marker)
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A deadly embrace. The oak is in pretty sad shape, but the climber really is dead - it has been cut off at its base.
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We arrive again in Labin in midafternoon, and after taking another brief pass through the old town for things we didn’t notice the first time, we head back to the room and hang out in the room until dinner.  It’s gotten quite warm again in the last two hours and we’re happy to laze around in our air conditioned apartment until hunger strikes.

The gate to the walled town
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An emblem of the short-lived Albona Republic, formed when the miners in the region rebelled against repressive Italian rule after they were granted control of Istria when the Austen-Hungarian Empire collapsed at the end of the First World War. The date is the day they declared independence. The motto, which translates as ‘The mine is ours’, was the rallying cry of the striking miners. They named themselves as the Albona Republic because Albona is the Italian name for Labin.
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The seaward belvedere of the walled town is lined with busts of local heroes. According to my source at the information center, most were antifascists who died during the Second World War.
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The gate to the walled town, from inside the walls
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The interior of the Church of the Virgin Mary’s Birth
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