Thursday, July 14, 2011

The final destination - Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

The final stop in our week long Croatian holiday was the renowned Plitvice Lakes National Park. Because the budget airlines near us only fly into Zadar in the north of the country, it seemed like the perfect excuse to visit the nearby lakes & waterfalls. After our detour into Mostar, we arrived back up north, all feeling exhausted after a long day on the road, only to find our accommodation we had booked wasn't exactly as expected - apparently booking 3 rooms at this place = 1 room with a double bed, single trundle bed and fold out couch... And apparently this is adequate for 5 adults?!?!? It was late, we were tired, there was no-where else to go and after much arguing with the owner, we finally agreed to stay at a much lower rate. Thankfully the 5 of us are really good friends (if we can spend 5 weeks straight living in each others pockets in one of the most challenging countries to travel in = India, and not only come home still friends but wanting to hang out again less then 24hrs after arriving home, you know you'll be friends for life!!!) and managed fine in the end - brought back memories of those good old school camps with all of us giggling and acting like kids.

We woke up the next morning and headed off into the mountains - as we got further from the sea, the temperature stats on the highway signs got lower and lower. I think at one point it said 13deg - and none of us (bar Mitch) had jumpers and were all in shorts/tshirts and a dress in my case! Once we had reached the park, it was POURING rain, freezing and just plain miserable. We then discovered that it's near impossible to see much of the park without doing significant amounts of walking (I had read previously that you could take little shuttle buses all over the park to sightsee from but it wasn't exactly the case). I was on doctors orders to not walk very far so that was out of the question - however, despite the rain and slightly $$$ entry fee for a park, we sucked it up and bought tickets with the intention of just taking a boat ride across the lake.

It was worth it - on the boat ride over, we somehow managed to end up with an entire boat to ourselves. The rain cleared and the water was a gorgeous shade of blue, not to mention crystal clear. There were little waterfalls, lots of fish and ducks swimming around. We stopped on the other side for a hot drink, became easily amused by a glass door that warped our features and took a more crowded boat back to the other side.

I think that to get the most of of this national park, you really need to be able to do the hikes. We all love a bit of a hike (the 5 of us actually trekked the Himalayas together) but unfortunately the weather and my medical state at that point in time just meant it wasn't going to happen. I'm still pleased we got to see the park though - it would've been a shame to go all that way and not visit. And that brought our Croatian holiday to a close - a beautiful country, one that I'm pleased to have finally seen and ticked off my travel to-do list :-)

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