"Our routine changes with the season. The temperature, the snow and the very short days make life difficult. We always end the day with wet feet, setting up camp takes longer and so does cooking.
One year on the road, far from our families and friends, in conditions sometimes as difficult as the winter in the Balkans... it's tiring! To crown it all and being perfectly honest, the Croatian welcome was not always very warm. Croatia will remain for us the country of the blues.
Here, we cannot ignore the traces of the war. We have tried to understand a little better these mixed stories and still present in all minds and on the walls of houses.
A dark green coniferous forest contrasting with sharp white limestone rock towers is Bijele Stijene, a subgroup of mountains in Gorski Kotar, a region in western Croatia. Literally "white rocks", this set of karst formations exceeds 50 meters high in places. The peaks are separated by faults that become very dangerous when covered with snow.
This hiking trail was designed and built by the forestry engineer Ante Premuzic in the 1930s. The route was designed to cross the most inaccessible parts of Velebit. From close up, one can understand the colossal amount of work required to build this route, which is perfectly integrated into the landscape. It is a work of art.
This cold and dry wind is dreaded in Croatia. It arrives from Russia and is intensified by the presence of mountains directly on the shores of the Adriatic Sea. Its average speed is 80 km/h with gusts up to 250 km/h. If everyone in Croatia fears the days of Bura, they are also somewhat hoped for because it is known that after its passage, it is sunny and clear.
Paklenica is one of the eight national parks in Croatia and one of the three we passed through. Very well known by climbers, these karst cliffs have made the park famous. There are two main canyons, the "big" and the "small", both are beautiful and are crossed by a hiking trail that is anything but monotonous.
"Deliberately, we enter Croatia without going through the border. At this moment, the idea is above all to show that with our passports of small Frenchmen, we have some unbearable rights. A small barrier, two indecipherable words on a panel... Here we are. In the middle of this forest, on this old track, nobody asked us anything".
The first part of our route in Croatia winds through the thick forests of Gorski Kotar. At the beginning of December, it is cold and dry and we sometimes do not meet anyone for days. After a short incursion to the coast and a crossing of the island of Krk, the serious things begin. We start crossing the Velebit mountain range in the middle of winter. The experience is intense and difficult. We camp in the snow and regularly discover bear tracks around our camp in the morning. Before crossing the border, we climb Mount Sinjal, the highest point of the country.
Discover the pictures of our crossing of Croatia from the forests of Gorski Kotar to the mountains of Velebit. An adventure in the heart of Croatia, with its unique karst formations, its enchanted forests and its wind to decorate the oxen.