A hike from Samobor through Cerje to Okic and part of the way back. November 2018, Croatia. Approx. 20kms.

Samobor is on the eastern slopes of Samoborsko gorje. Situated 20 kms from Zagreb, the journey takes about half an hour and cost 31 kun there (from the ticket office) and 28 kun return (from the driver) .

Samoborsko gorje (Samobor mountains), Croatia

I took the tram to the bus station and then the Samborcek bus to Samobor, a regular service. Platform 610 is in the furthest corner of Zagreb bus station and it is just a matter of going and waiting there. Don’t expect to find anyone official to ask or see any signs – simply look on the ground for the number and trust!

The River Gradna

There is not much of note along the way to this popular summer and weekend destination for those who live in the capital city and tourists.

One of the many bridges across the Gradna Stream, built in 1906

It is a 10 minute walk from the bus station in Samobor to the centre – follow the signs to Centar.

A stall holder at the market in Samobor, Croatia

I visited the market first, walking round initially to see what was on offer, and then choosing certain women for their fresh looking produce.

Seasonal greens and sunshine crysanthemums being sold at the market, Samobor, Croatia

Long tables were punctuated with stallholders wrapped in shawls sitting in front of a handful of spinach, a pile of rosy apples or bunches of parsley. Without a doubt everything was local, seasonal, and had just been picked that morning.

It was very difficult to make myself understood, even with gestures and smiles. I wanted to buy from every one as they all seemed so keen, perhaps had come a long way with a paucity of goods, presumably relied upon sales for their livelihood.

I checked out a bakery kiosk looking for the speciality Fasnik, I had read about. It looked like a custard tart. What I found was yoghurt based and I was unsure if it was the right thing so I waited.

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View of Samobor, Croatia

After a brief visit to the King Tomislav square with it’s cafés, and having failed to find the Tourist Information, I made my way towards a spire on the skyline (I had read a little before I came and had a list of places in my notebook).

The Parish Church of Saint Anastasia (above and below), Samobor, Croatia.

From there I followed my nose, as they say, climbing through the woods. It was the lure of the red and white circles I think, reminding me of previous treks.

Past the municipal cemetery, Samobor, Croatia
It was really misty although at ground level the leaves glowed all the same.
Tepec Hill, Samobor, Croatia
St Anne’s (patron Saint of Samobor) Chapel, Samobor, Croatia

As I stepped up from one Station of the Cross to another I relished the fresh smell and feel of the soft earth beneath my feet.

A pavillion in the woods, Samobor, Croatia
Here is St George fighting his dragon again (see Zagreb 9).
Stations of ther Cross in the oak forest, Samobor, Croatia

More red and white waymarkers, Samobor, Croatia
St George’s Chapel , Samobor, Croatia

The second Chapel (St George’s) was plainer and round the back was a young dog who barked at me. The man with him had made a beautiful yet simple sculpture of stones and sticks which complemented the architecture and natural surroundings.

I started spying an array of fungi taking me back to the Via Sacra last Autumn in Austria.
Chestnut and beech foliage now
The Anindol Pyramid

There is probably a magnificent view from up there but my tummy turned over at the thought of it and as there was zero visibility I didn’t feel too bad.

In fact the sun was beginning to stream between the trees as I got higher and it was warm on my cheek. It was breathtaking. I couldn’t help myself going on and on.

I stopped to admire the dew laden spiders webs and I smiled

Suddenly I was on a road and soon a sign indicating the village of Cerje. I was still going steeply uphill but the red and white waymarkers continued to draw me.

Vines, laden orchards and layers of red rooves
A wayside shrine

People were working on the land and apples littered the path which I juicily enjoyed. I skipped from side to side where there was a pavement, to be safe on the tight bends.

I knelt to capture wild flowers with my phone camera and, as I relaxed into my stride thoughts pestered me

Note to self: learn legilimency (as J K called it) to develop the ability to push out the unhelpful memories and worries, once acknowledged!

High up now I could see down to the valley and had to choose between there and uphill. I chose the latter

I spent time at a bus stop because I knew I was on a one-way walk and that the daylight of course ends at 5pm here in November. I photographed the timetable and carried on, confident I would get back to Samobor that way (a bus had passed me earlier).

The homesteads were strung out and I began to wonder if I might actually turn back if the trail was going to continue on asphalt.

 

Caffe Bar ´Uzbuna´

A sign to a café with a stunning view didn’t yield the desired result: open from 5pm, presumably because it is dark by then and there needs to be somewhere to meet up during the long evenings.

Feast your eyes
Barking dogs and basking cats; turkeys with red gizzards huddling
Autumn squash to last the winter
Horreos full of sweetcorn, first seen in Spain but because those ones are stone you cannot see what’s inside.
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A Galician north west Spain) winter storeage unit.
Hay packed up to the rafters. Literally
The bridge was down across this stream so I took a great leap (across a narrower part!)
Through woods where I lost the signs more than once

I had to retrace my steps sometimes because the way is generally so well marked that as soon as 10 minutes passed without a sign I knew I was wrong.

Still new green ferns, even at this time of the year

There were lots of trees down blocking the way, but walkers or cyclists had been there before me if I looked carefully.

 

It was downhill at times at this stage and tantalising signs to Okic, which when I looked on Googlemaps said it was a tourist attraction.

As I neared, worrying a bit about the time, I wondered if it would be worth it.

 

It was: Okić, a Medieval town perched on top of an isolated hill south of Samobor is mentioned in 1193
Another magical vista

I didn´t let myself stay long (although long enough to admire the woman with the chain saw) and her produce. I rather rushed up the hill, despite my tiredness, and almost immediately lost my path. What made me plough on regardless I do not know, but I ended up in one of my fixes – very steep, knee deep in nettles, several dead ends and my head started to popund. In the end I went over a fence into someone´s garden and out through their front gate, only to hear a loud noise behind me – a bus. I was not at all sure where I was but I flagged down the bus and begged and, yes, he was on his way to Samobor.

wp-1541705606261..jpgSlowly I calmed down, somewhat embarrassed , and my head stopped throbbing. I was all but out of water. Up and down and round he drove at top speed, letting people off, driving round the village square and going back the way he had come through pretty places with shops, bars and attractive churches.

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Blurred as I took it through the coach window

Until we arrived back where I had started at the bus station in Samobor. I could not quite face a traipse back into the town, so instead I drank my green tea in the station cafe (full of smokers, so I sat outside) where the waitress the age of my daughters spoke customarily wonderful English and refilled my bottle adding ice. I marvelled at the table tennis room, the pop-up cinema and creche, all making up the modern station complex (free, clean loos as well!)

There more to see if you visit: a museum, a cave and a castle for example.

Lonely Planet on Zagreb

15 things to do in and around Zagreb

Bus timetables

King T Square

Visit Samobor – great site which even had a donkey on the front page (my patron saint – what does that say about me?

Have you visted Croatia? Leave a comment below with your favourite places if you like – I would love to hear from you.

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