Medvednica is a mountain and a nature reserve right north of Zagreb centre. A few of my friends were going to take a bus up to the top. I wanted to go with them, but I wanted to climb the mountain by foot even more. I couldn’t get anyone to join me, alas. It turned out to be an amazing experience (although I did spend quite a while talking to myself while running), and I got some well deserved envy afterwards when I showed the pics of a snowy peak. It turned out they took the bus to Medvedgrad (a fort further down) instead, and they hardly got to look at it, because it was closed down after yesterday’s storm. I did not tell anyone I ran 37km, because don’t want them to think I’m really crazy.
I found a brilliant website called Trail Running Croatia, and quickly decided on the Bikceviceva trail, and felt like I was in for some adventure. I ran from the Hotel Dubrovnik in the north of Zagreb, and pretty soon I was out in the suburbs. This part of the run was not the most interesting, and I would recommend taking a bus to Bliznec first. The only amusement I had was observing how everything was different from home, but still reminded me a lot of Oslo. The geography is very similar.
After a while I catch my first glimpse of the Croatian Amazonas jungle:
The fog just increases the mystery. All I have is a written description and map on my phone.
The first part of the trail is pretty steep but still runnable. The forest is beautiful and smells nice.
At times you have to use your brain to stay on the path. Luckily, they have something like the Norwegian Turistforeningen, and they mark the trees just like in Nordmarka, north of Oslo. Puntijarka is kind of like “Ullevålsseteren”.
It got cold after a while, and I was glad I brought my fleece shirt. Not used to this kind of altitude, since I live in Denmark, where the highest mountain is 130 meters. Dew on my tights.
This little salamander nearly scared me to death. I mistook him for a snake.
About halfway (in time, not distance) I reached Njivice, where several paths cross. This little hut marks the spot. From here I relied on the red and white markings. It looks kind of creepy in the pictures, but it was really peaceful and pretty in real life.
Is that…. snow? At first I had to touch it to be sure. But this mountain is pretty tall. In Norway, mountains this high don’t have much vegetation.
Puntijarka is the end of this trail. They are said to serve good strudels, but I had a peak to reach.
But first I had to find it. At this point I got a little lost, but I didn’t really care. I just felt like I was home in Norway, and besides, I had several hours before I had to go to work.
And just like home, some of the ski trails are terrible hiking trails. Overgrown and soggy wet.
Finally found the path to the chapel!
From here I could see the peak. And the fog was lifting!
Here’s the top. 1035 meters above sea level. Felt like I was on the moon. The air was crisp.
The west side of the peak was sunny, but the east side looked like in the picture below. It’s the same tower as above.
In a month or so, skiers can enjoy their “pomfrit” with this poster of Tin, Grinc and Natko. I’m now at 22km, and I’m starting to head home. Since the path was so slippery, I decide to take the road down.
But I can’t stay off the trails for long. Can’t remember the name of this trail, but it follows the Sljemenska road down.
This log must have fallen down in yesterday’s storm. I jumped over it, because I didn’t dare put weight on it. Very steep hill to the right, and I’m not sure how well insured I really was. All in all, this run turned out a little wilder and more lonely than planned. If I’d known, I would have made sure to tell people where I was going, and maybe use some kind of “find me” app for my phone. Just in case.
One or two kilometres down, and it’s almost like summer again. You can see Zagreb in the distance. The mountains here are so green!
Is that a tame deer?
The trip ended here, at the Zagreb Cathedral. I bought a Sky Cola, and some chocolate with nuts at Konzum, and that was the best superfoods I’ve ever tasted.
All in all a great trip. What surprised me most was that I didn’t feel hungry, thirsty or tired during the run. I was also in decent shape afterwards. It probably means I could add some longer long runs to my scheme, as long as I keep the pace super comfy.
My recovery consisted of singing a couple of pieces for the Queen of Denmark and the Croatian president, dining in style with my fellow musicians at the Hotel Esplanade, and then getting only three hours of sleep before boarding an extremely noisy red-eye plane back to Copenhagen. Definitely a night to remember. Still sleepy, two days later.