Plitvice Lakes National Park – July 28th, 2009.
Waking up early is not exactly great, and I don’t think my Argentinian room mates are impressed with me. But I have to be up early, have to be at the bus station at about 8, otherwise I won’t get to see why I originally come to Zadar for.
I go and grab a coffee from the shop and update my journal for a bit whilst waiting for Sarah to meet me to go to the bus station. We clamber onto the bus, and plug in the iPod and fall asleep. Its a two hour bus ride to the magnificent Plitvice National Park.
We get stopped about an hour and a half into the journey at a random gas station in the middle of nowhere. Its a good time for a quick ‘relief’ stop. I get a bit weirded out by the numerous stuffed bears and other animals. Its not til after relieving myself that Sarah motions me to out the back of the gas station.
Out the back of the station, are two fenced in areas. One has a few deer in them. The other has a 2 big brown bears roaming around and a little baby cub. Definitely weirdest truck stop I’ve been too, but something surreal.
Its not long til we are dropped off at the Entrance to the Plitvice Lakes National Park. And its a short walk from the bus stop through some gardens to the entrance. A small fee gurantees us entry and transport around the park (if we are to see it all, we really do need the transport). And we look at the map to discuss what route we should take. We eventually decide on the K walk (I think, from memory) which lasts about 5-7 hours. We need to do it in 5 otherwise we’re camping out here with not much more than the clothes on our back.
We hang and wait for the train to pick us up. In reality it is a tractor pulling people around. It makes the hike up to the top of the Park bearable. And its not long til we get there.
Plitvice Lakes National Park is really a bunch of lakes, waterfalls and rivers that are an outstanding bit of nature. The lakes have this rather turqoise blue shade to it. The area was actually taken over by the serbs during the hostile period in the early 90’s and its pretty unsafe to walk away from the marked paths as there are landmines still around.
The beauty of this place is unmatched, it really is amazing. Its something that is completely unexpected – you hear of it and its beauty – and sometimes your let down a bit by all the talk about a place. Then you get here and witness it and your blown away.
We make our way along the top lakes, which are massive expanses of water, with some stunning falls. Before having lunch waiting for the boat to take us over the biggest lake here and down to the most popular part of the park.
The next part is really spectacular. Its a tiny gorge, filled with tiny turqoise lakes, and waterfalls. The beauty is there, but its sort of overwhelmed with tourists.
We go check out the Veliki Slap (english translation Big Waterfall) as its the biggest fall here, before making our way up to the ridge and wandering back and witnessing the lakes from above, truly magnificent.
We get to the ‘train’ stop and wait whilst having a good old fashioned ice cream – it is that hot the ice cream melts before I can even open the package. And then have a kip whilst waiting for the bus back to Zadar.
Upon arrival at Zadar, we grab some turkey breasts and wraps and head back to the hostel with a few beers and have some dinner. Its here were we hear the ‘dreadful contiki conversation’. To keep this g-rated, well lets just say it involved his sister, getting married, and not wanting her husband to find out she wasn’t a virgin. Yes Restitching the hymen. Ouch. But to top it off, he said it in a ocker tone and as loud as physically possible.
We decide to bolt and go for a walk along the beach, where we find a pier to sit on and just let the night flow by for a bit. We head back and plan to go to the bus stop together. Its off to Split tomorrow.