A walk to Mošćenice - Balkan Dreams - CycleBlaze

September 23, 2020

A walk to Mošćenice

Looking at this morning’s weather, we’re feeling quite good about our decision to come here for a few days.  It looks wet the entire day, as do the next several days ahead; and we spend the first hours this morning indoors, plotting out options in case we don’t think we can bike on to Cres.  

It’s a complicated problem.  One is that Cres is the natural route south for cyclists, as the first of a string of islands interconnected by regularly running ferries.  If we don’t go through Cres, it’s difficult to move on to Rab and Pag, where five nights of prepaid, uncancellable reservations await us.  The coast highway looks like an awful ride south of Rijeka; there’s the new, mile long bridge to Krk as an option, but that looks like a terrifying place to get caught in the middle of an electrical storm; or there’s the inland route: backtracking a long ways, all the way to the Plitvice Lakes and dropping down to the coast from there.  Too far for the time involved, even if we were inclined to; and of course the weather back in the mountains would likely be worse than here.  So, no to all the above.  If we can’t bike to Cres, we’ll hole up here for the next several days and then take a taxi to Rab.

Once we’ve reached that decision, we look again at the weather.  It’s improved!  It looks like we have about three hours of fair weather ahead, starting right now.  Just enough time to take a walk to Mošćenice, if we start now.  Let’s go!

It’s dry for the moment and there’s a bit of sun out as we walk south along the shore.
Heart 2 Comment 0
We want to be sure to fit our walk in before the rains return, but there’s always a few minutes to spare for thinking ahead to dinner.
Heart 1 Comment 0

The walk to Mošćenice is the most popular outing from here - or at least the first mile of it, which consists of a pretty, level walk along a well developed promenade south along the shore.  There aren’t may folks staying in the village now, but several of them have the same thought as we do and are out walking the promenade while it’s dry.

I surged on ahead of Rocky while she was scoping out menus, but she’s back.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Looking back north up the coast toward Rijeka.
Heart 3 Comment 0
And across the bay toward Cres on the right, and Krk under the cloud layer further out. Beautiful conditions for a walk, while they last.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Looking inland looks more threatening though. That’s our destination, Mošćenice, up top on the left.
Heart 1 Comment 0

It might be that most walkers turn back after this first mile though, because we don’t see anyone else for the remaining quarter mile to Mošćenice.  Odd, but maybe because it is 600 feet up and requires a 750 stair step climb up through the woods to reach it.  As I climb, stopping often to admire the woods and the lovely walk itself, I’m reminded of our 785 stair step climb to Kotohira Shrine on the Japanese island of Shikoku, when my knees were fifteen years younger.  I suppress thoughts about what the descent will be like and focus on enjoying the climb.

The first twenty or so steps are like this, but it won’t stay so for long.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Actually, it’s never bad at all. The stairs are never too steep, and are well spaced and maintained. An easy one, as far as 750 step climbs go.
Heart 3 Comment 0
Some encouragement along the way. Almost halfway there!
Heart 1 Comment 0
Image not found :(
Steeper toward the top.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Just below the town walls, the path leaves the woods and gives us a look across the bay. I say we, because Rachael passed this way too. We’re not together though - she left me behind long ago, at the first photo stop.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Some color along the way, below the village walls.
Heart 4 Comment 0

Mošćenice, the parent town to our pretty seaside village Mošćenička Draga, is an intriguing place to explore.  It‘s a very old place, its prehistoric origins stemming back to when the Liburnians settled here whoever they were.  Here’s the Wikipedia description of the town layout:

The town is typically built as a concentrically conceived settlement with outer walls consisting of houses whose outside walls function as walls of the fortress. In such an enclosed environment, space is precious and all houses are built close to one another, separated by narrow streets and sometimes linked by covered passages. Much of the medieval structure is still visible now.

This looks accurate, from my experience.  After entering through the arched gateway at the top of the stairs, I spent the next half hour wandering through the tiny village, exploring one short, crooked path after another and expecting to find a way out the other side.  I never did though.  These paths led to a few doorways and branched off to other similar short paths, but they inevitably finally dead ended at a stone wall.  I was only able to leave town the way I entered it, through that gate.

After I was out again though, I circled it from the outside and found a second entrance on the opposite side.  So presumably there’s a route through that labyrinth that connects them, but I never found it.

Entering Mošćenice, one way.
Heart 2 Comment 0
The tower of Saint Andrew’s Church, built in the 1200’s on top of the previous church that was 400 years older.
Heart 1 Comment 0
The clock, Saint Andrew’s Church.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Image not found :(
A typical passageway. Those Liburnians must have been tiny folks. Maybe they were the inspiration for Swift’s Lilliputians.
Heart 3 Comment 0
I didn’t find an exit, but I did find the belvedere, a platform atop what was originally the village ossuary until the bones were relocated to a new cemetery about two hundred years ago. That’s Mošćenička Draga below on the shore.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Another look toward Krk. It still looks fine for awhile, if you’re looking in that direction anyway.
Heart 1 Comment 0
It’s been wet up here recently from the looks of it.
Heart 3 Comment 0
Another view of Saint Andrew’s Church - about the best one available in this cramped setting.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Still seeking an exit.
Heart 2 Comment 0
The village cistern.
Heart 4 Comment 0
It began sprinkling, so I waited it out beneath an arch. Waiting beneath the opposite arch was another creature waiting for improving conditions.
Heart 1 Comment 1
Jen GrumbyLove how those beautiful eyes coordinate with the blurred foliage in the foreground.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Mošćenice, a fine spot for an aimless walk as long as you’re not trying to get anywhere.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Gleanings for tea? It reminds me of the sacks of lime tree blossoms gathered for tea back in Albania.
Heart 1 Comment 0

So I didn’t find a way out, beyond the way I came in.  Once I found my way back there though, I decided to sit a spell because suddenly the roof fell in.  I didn’t keep track, but I must have waited at least twenty minutes until finally the downpour abated enough that I decided to take my chances.  After descending about a hundred steps I came to a dead end, having found the wrong way down.  I climbed back up, asked for directions this time, and started down again.  

The descent wasn’t bad, and was easier on my knees than I’d worried about.  The rain never did stop until I was nearly back to the apartment, but it was light enough that it wasn’t really a problem.  The trees provided at least some shelter; and it was warm enough that it didn’t matter that I was damp and hadn’t bothered bringing a coat.

When I arrived Rachael was already there, her soaking clothes all hanging up on the shower rod.  As it turned out she had sheltered under a different arch, probably just yards from me; and had left earlier - too early, she’d discover, and she arrived home quite soaked.  Rain or not though, it was a terrific walk that we’d be happy to take again.

Waiting it out.
Heart 5 Comment 0
The reason I’m still waiting.
Heart 7 Comment 0
A bit of wind picked up and blew rain in under the arch, so I moved to a more sheltered spot by the opposite wall. My place was soon claimed by these rain refugees.
Heart 3 Comment 0
As I said though, there’s a bit of a crosswind through here.
Heart 4 Comment 0

So that’s the story for the day, pretty much.  It rained off and all afternoon so we stayed indoors until dinner time.  For dinner we walked down to another waterfront restaurant and enjoyed a fine white fish dinner of some sort, sitting once again by the waterfront staring at the sea and clouds.  At our feet was our grey table cat, who showed up within seconds of our arrival and stared at us intently the whole time, hoping with some success that a stray fin would land at his feet.  Once we moved on to the chocolate palačinkas though he lost interest and move on to our newly arrived neighbors.

While we were waiting for our first course to arrive we enjoyed an extended conversation with an interesting German couple.  He’s a diving instructor, and the two of them have been coming here for years.  They have bikes, and have been enjoying how unusually quiet the roads are this year.  Interestingly, they also regularly go to Florida in the winter.  They left in a rush in February before travel restrictions went in place, leaving some of their belongings inside; and are wondering when if ever they’ll be going back.

We’re of mixed minds tonight, looking again at the weather.  We want to get to Cres tomorrow, but things could be way worse than staying on longer here.  A very seductive place.

Our backdrop for dinner tonight. Very seductive. This could grow on you.
Heart 3 Comment 0
Ahem! Shouldn’t you be dropping something about now?
Heart 1 Comment 0
Rate this entry's writing Heart 9
Comment on this entry Comment 3
Jen GrumbyFor some reason (post-evacuation syndrome?), the first thing I thought of when you were describing the labyrinth of Mošćenice was ..

What if there's a big fire in or near the village?

Did it seem as though people could get out with only 2 exit routes? Or would it be easy enough to pole vault over the walls?

Anyhow .. what a great place to explore!
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyOdd that you would think about fires at this time. It’s not a concern though. They rake their forest floors over here.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Jen GrumbyWhew! The Trump Forestry Management System never fails.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago