Sometimes, when we have failed to come up with anything much resembling a plan, it leads to long frustrating drives and much grumpiness. Other times, we end up on our feet and smugly wonder why anyone ever bothers making proper plans. Sport & Relax (near Rovinj, Croatia) was one of the latter; a superfriendly camp for climbers that we were slightly surprised to find actually existed, as the website hasn't been updated for five years. When we got to Croatia, we were yet again surprised by the temperature, this time the heat - it was about 40ºC, which is categorically too hot for climbing.
(Above left) Amber climbing by torchlight high up on the rocks at Dvigrad and Lukas finally making his ascent of Grappa (7a) on the waterfront at Rovinj.
The boys took us on a tour, and stop one was the seaside rocks at Rovinj which are liberally decorated with graffiti that appears incongruous yet complimentary against the natural colour palette. The walk in was gorgeous, through a park shaded with some kind of pine and the canopy above was littered with bird life. We climbed a few routes on vertical, slickly polished rock which mixed alarmingly with the sweat that dripped from every orifice (not helped by a boozy night). It made for 'exciting' climbing. Ultimately we were there so Lukas could send his project Grappa (7a), which he did, and so followed a lunchtime treat of the home-brewed spirit to celebrate. Gnarly. In the evening we went to the local crag, Dvigrad, and sweated our way up some more routes. It's an interesting crag with lots of friction in comparison to Rovinj and delicate movement for the most; the grading was occasionally a little fruity and the sparsity of hand and foot holds were a lot fruity. We finished the day with a fat slab by torchlight.
Last day, and with it a strong idea to beat the heat: a cave. Pazin is a site both enchanting and a bit slimey. A waterfall curtains the cave and descends into a green pool in a rather tranquil way. Inside the cave it was alarmingly chilled and pretty moist (muddy sloppiness and skid-pan belaying, gurt lush!), consequently, cranking here was a delight in the low temperatures. Just as well really as it was all short, steep and thuggy. Finally we were in our element in comparison to the subtle-natured climbing that the cliffs at Rovinj and Dvigrad offered. Beastin'. Sam got Pet Punti (7b) and everyone else worked Buhalero (6c). Amber's gonna be back for that. Following this, Lukas & Jacob left for Munich; good times had and a rendezvous waiting to happen, Bavarian style. Prost und bis bald!
We would whole-heartedly recommend staying at Sport & Relax. It is a little wild, and no doubt so is Lučano, but in nothing but the best ways. It is the perfect place for a climbing trip, surrounded by all different styles of crag, one within walking distance and a host that knows them inside out. It ticks all the boxes and provides a couple of extras too***. Živjeli Lučano, until next time.
* This wine was good, but savagely potent, the kind of potion that makes your eyes wobble and your knees water. Lučano was decent enough to inform us that it's best taken with 3/4 water to 1/4 wine... After we'd had a full glass without.
** Which was a fucking joke really, the sun blazing on the tent made us feel like ducks in the oven, even at that unGodly hour.
*** Where else can you go for a wee whilst eyeballing with a butch little scorpion?!