Ogulin - Balkan Dreams - CycleBlaze

September 13, 2020

Ogulin

Today’s ride is less dramatic than some, especially after the past several days; so I’ll take the opportunity and just touch on the main points.  From our hotel by the lakes, we coast back down the final climb we made riding up here, dropping 700’ in four miles.  Then we leave the highway for a minor road, cross the Korana, and start climbing westward up the opposite bank of the river.  Six miles later we’re still climbing, but it’s surprisingly relaxed - it averages maybe a steady 3-4%, and we’re comfortable holding about a steady 7 mph pace.  When we finally summit we’re biking through a refreshing beech/fir forest, enjoying the cool shade sheltering us from the sun.

Then, about a thirteen mile gradual descent; followed by lunch on the grounds of a war memorial; followed by a flat final ten miles to Ogulin.  A lot easier ride than we’d been expecting, but we’re both feeling the effects of the hot afternoon sun by the time we roll in at around 3.

After dropping for four miles from Plitvice, we crossed the Korana river and began climbing up the ridge on the opposite bank of the river.
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Looking across the canyon of the Korana River. The Lakes begin a mile or so around that bend.
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Four miles later we’re still climbing, with two more to go. Most of the final two are like this, in the shade of a beech/fir forest similar to what we walked through at the Lakes.
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The European silver fir is one of the characteristic species of these forests.
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From the 2,600’ summit we enjoyed a gradual descent off the west side of the ridge for the next ten miles.
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After dropping from the highlands we follow the minor Dretulja River through an agricultural valley.
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Video sound track: Fill Me Up, by Shawn Colvin

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Strange implement.
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We broke for lunch in Plaški, sitting on a crude wooden bench on the grounds of a war memorial. These are three national heros, declared as such by Tito in 1953 after their bodies were discovered in a British caving team. They had been killed by Chetniks in 1942, and then thrown into the bottom of a 1,200’ deep pit.
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After their remains were discovered, they were interred here in Plaški. Balkan history is so complex, but these were all Serbian officers of the communist-led insurrection that attempted to reclaim Croatia from the Axis powers and fascists in WW II. Prior to that, at least some of them fought in the Spanish civil war and then ended up imprisoned in Germany until they escaped. Material for a good war story here, maybe a novel by Alan Furst.
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The final ten miles to Ogulin were flat, easy riding, mostly following a rail line.
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Remains of the former train depot at Latin.
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Kleg Mountain, near Ogulin, is a peak in the Dinaric Alps and part of the Gorski Kotar highlands that we biked into from Karlovac, not far north of here.
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The Marmantov Bridge over the Mrežnica, between Josipdol and Ogulin. According to the information panel, it is built of limestone and erected between 1809 and 1813 during the French occupation under Napoleon.
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Another view of the bridge.
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Jacquie GaudetIt seems this bridge outlasted the river.
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1 week ago
Approaching Ogulin we start seeing many roadside produce stands, like we saw when leaving Varaždin.
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The squash on this stand are amazing - I’ve never seen one like the speckled ones on the top shelf. After biking past I doubled back and stopped for a closer look.
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This couple is overseeing their produce stand, the one with the speckled squash. While I was photographing it with their permission, the woman walked over, reached into the middle shelf and with a smile handed me a colorful small gourd to take with me.
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Ogulin is the first in a series of five one night stands.  After all of the multi-night stops we’ve had so far, we’re tired already thinking of having to pack up and carry our gear for five days straight.  We’ve gotten so soft!

We’re staying in an apartment here, and it looks like another winner.   Neat, roomy, full kitchen, A/C, and perfectly located - directly across the street from the castle, three blocks from the restaurants, and less than 100 yards from an entrance to the the massive cave system that runs directly beneath the town.  

I hadn’t really expected much of our stay here - Ogulin is hardly mentioned in the tourist guides - but there’s enough to see that I’ll post a separate page for it.

Our apartment. A tidy little place, until Team Anderson has its way with it.
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Still life with gourd and bottle opener.
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Jen GrumbyThey look like long-time friends.

And love that polka dotted surface!
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyIsn’t this nice though? I really liked how their colors are so compatible.
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1 week ago
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Ride stats today: 45 miles, 2,100’; for the tour: 896 miles, 32,400’

Today's ride: 45 miles (72 km)
Total: 896 miles (1,442 km)

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