19 July 2018
The minor road starts just before the Učka road tunnel and runs up in a series of hairpins through wooded hills with views of limestone crags At the top, there are numerous marked paths that lead off into woodlands and a restaurant with a blue haze view to the south of Rijeka and the island of Cres. Here there are ancient forests of beech with glades where the sun traps butterflies and plants.
The path runs out into an uneven plateau of scrub and grassland. A family of red-backed shrikes are noisy and sit on the tops of juniper bushes. A single buzzard mews and woodlarks and linnets make brief appearances. The plants and butterflies are easier to see and abundant; simply dazzling in their diversity. The Balkans were an important glacial refuge and remain a key biodiversity hotspot in Europe.
The limestone cliffs on the road to the satellite station are a rock garden of beautiful plants. These hills need weeks to explore; today is a quick but wonderful splash in the pool.