Along Istria’s coast and nestled around Kvarner’s Opatija Riviera is Učka—mountain range, peak and Nature Park. Učka’s biodiverse ecosystem supports many protected, native plant and animal life. Campanula tommasiana or Adriatic bellflowers bloom there during May and June. From Učka’s highest peak you can see all of Istria, Kvarner Bay and islands, Mount Velebit, the Alps and Italy. I was told that while skiing there you can look at the Adriatic.
Učka is said to be the site of an energy vortex which gives it spiritual potency and healing properties. In the 20th century energy vortices were described as places where the earth’s energy fields align or intersect. Artist Boris Pecigoš’ Stražica-Sapaćica Land Art Trail in Učka Nature Park helps people travel much further back in time to feel it’s energy. His installations on, with, and of trees, plants and rocks are found along a 6.5 km looped trail. Pecigoš encourages human visitors to think about their place and relationships in nature as they experience Učka’s magical spirit.
Childhood memories of Učka are etched along a path between the beaches of Sveti Ivan and Moščenićka Draga. Croatian poet Rikard Katalinič Jerotov’s poem Sipar is dated 1940 but I need to find out when the inscription was made. Sipar is a nostalgic reflection about summers spent on those pebble beaches.
Beach pebbles are sometimes called sipar. These smooth stones tumble down to the Adriatic from a stream up on Učka mountain. In recent years local artists interpreted Jeretov’s life and poetry in performances near the ‘Sipar path’ which connects coastal villages. Another Sipar is found near Umag on Istria’s northwest coast. It is the name of an ancient village almost completely underwater. *