22.06.2011 30 °C
The best drinking waters from these parts come from the mountains - and that means we have to go get it. After all, the mountain won't come to us - lol. So today is the day to go up - up - up the mountain to get that lovely elixir that is life sustaining. From the house it takes about 30 minutes to get there over winding roads. So Irma and myself and a trunkload of empty bottles of varying sizes meandered our way to the Spina (pronounced shpina = faucet) that will give us fresh, cool, unpolluted water and guess what? --- it's FREE! ... and ...we can take as much as our hearts desire (or as is limited by the amount of containers brought)!
To meander the roads is quite easy - it starts the moment we leave the house. There is a long semi-winding single car lane that leads to the highway at the bottom of this big hill.
Many times luck is our side not to come face to face with another car coming in the opposite direction. What happens if we do? Well, we all get out of the cars and wrestle each other to the ground to see who gets the right of way --- LOL ... NOT!! There are some spots that are just wide enough that two cars can barely squeeze by each other, and other times someone will just have to back up till they locate that sweet spot so both can pass by.
Once we reach the highway then it is a quick ride till we reach Mount Ucka (pronounced oochka).
The scenery along the way is quite lovely and oh so country ;0) The scenery on the way up and down Mt Ucka is spectacular and diverse. Talk about curvy roads - in some places hairpin is not the word!
The first order of business is to stop at the lookout and get a cappuccino at the restaurant located there. After all we need sustenance in order to fill up the gazillion empty bottles we brought.
The cappuccino was quite delicious - honestly one of the best I have ever had and only about $1.65 cdn (you cannot find a great cappuccino for that price in Montreal).
This is not the peak where there is an observation tower (we will visit this another day) but another lower spot that still offers a beautiful view of Rijeka (Fiume) providing the day is clear. Today the day is hazy and the view although quite nice, is not too clear. Well - I will have just have to come back another day when we do another water run ;0)
There was an interesting building across from the restaurant and I wanted to know what it was. As it turns out it is like a hostel, however, not just anyone can use it. Mt Ucka is a Nature Park and as such has many hikers and backpackers going through it. This hostel is geared strictly for the backpackers making their way through the mountain - such a neat idea!
Once I finished exploring it was time to continue on with we came here for - water! We approached a water fountain I thought was the one we were going use to fill our bottles but - not so. What we came up upon was a historical fountain called Water of Joseph II.
This is no longer being used by the people as a water supply even though the water does come from the mountain. Tourists who do not know still use it as drinking water and I guess it is at their risk. It probably is good but is not government regulated and this means it is not tested regularly to make sure it is void of contaminents. It is an old structure and would cost too much to maintain and upkeep to the level necessary. I have taken pictures of its description so you can read for yourself its historical importance and why it has not been closed and boarded up.
If you continue up the road another few hundred meters then you come to the Spina that is used by the surrounding towns and villages and also by the tourists that know of its existance.
Sometimes one is lucky and you are the only ones there (as we were) or you must wait your turn in line. This faucet is regulated and tested by the governmant and if there were any dangers we would know about it. Boy that would be such a tremendous loss to the entire surrounding area I can only imagine...
The scenery around the spina is quite captivating as you can see. People do live on the mountain - many do so year-round.
Irma and I went to work and started filling one by one the bottles we brought. The faucet sprayed quite a bit so a funnel was necessary for the bottles where the opening was too small to accomodate the tip of the faucet. For the 5L and 15L container it was a snap filling. Where I kept running into a glitch was on remembering which way to turn off the faucet. It runs counter to how we do it and I turned it 'on' full force when I meant to turn it 'off'. Hmmm - what a soaking I took - lol. after the first time you think I would have learned - I didn't!!!! I was so careful but just when I thought I had it - wham-bam-I did it again. Oops...all wet...oh well - it WAS refreshing nonetheless. What could I do but laugh at myself - I'm not sure Irma found it funny as she had to scramble out of the way - LOL.
And this takes of today's adventure. As most (family and friends) know, I have injured myself somehow some time back and have been going to physio twice a week for a while now. My physiotherapist has done wonders in preparing me for this European trip. I have to say that as good as she is my muscles and tendons need rest inbetween excursions otherwise I would be down for the count and I do not want that. I want to keep exploring and since I will be here another few weeks I will do just that - take things slow. I have strengthened my muscles quite a bit to my surprise in just these few short days. The terrain here is hilly and walking it is doing wonders in strengthening the muscles and tendons that my physio has been working on.
So what am I really trying to say you ask?? Ahhh ... all this means is that I will not be venturing forth every single day. Since tomorrow is a holiday I will stay at home and rest up for the next excursion. By the way, I only just found out that Saturday coming (25th) is another holiday --- boy, three holidays in a short span (1st-national; 2nd-church and 3rd-government). Till next time - doviđenja.