Plitvice Lakes National Park

Plitvice Lakes

I think I’ve been putting this post off a bit cause it was such a huge disappointment. The original reason I had wanted to come to Croatia was to visit the Plitvice Lakes National Park. I’m sure we’ve all seen photos of it – sprawling turquoise lakes criss-crossed by wooden walkways and overlooked by breathtaking waterfalls – and although it was October it still should have been fairly warm & clear, with the trees changing to lovely Autumny colours. Because it’s kind of in the middle of nowhere and there wasn’t anywhere within driving distance where we could stay and make a day trip, we were spending the night there between Zadar and Pula. Unfortunately this meant that we only had one chance to go and were praying the weather would be good.

We left Zadar early in the morning and already it was promising to be a lovely hot sunny day. But as we headed further inland and into the mountains, the cloud started to build up. Personally speaking at least, with this change in weather my mood went from excited to downright sulky. By the time we reached the lakes we were in thick fog. Not only that, it was so cold we could see our breath – and we were in no way prepared for any sort of cold weather. With our spirits, along with our summer shoes, slightly dampened, we decided to visit the park anyway rather than hold out for the next morning.

I’m not going to lie, it was a rather miserable experience and I left feeling like one day I will have to come back, but it seems that because of it’s location it is very susceptible to bad weather. Towards the end of the day the fog did clear a bit and we got to see some of the waterfalls, but there was one rather creepy moment when we were on a boat crossing a lake and could barely even see the water around us.

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Freezing

We walked back to our B&B through a dark foggy forest known for it’s bears which only added to the days events. But when we arrived we were greeted with a roaring fire, warm showers and a delicious home cooked meal. I’m pretty sure the trout I had had been swimming round the lakes that same morning! Aside from a lovely German couple, who were utterly shocked at my choice of (now ruined) shoes for walking around the lakes, we were the only ones staying there and it was nice to have a little TLC!

We left early the next morning but the fog was still out in full force so I’m glad we hadn’t chanced it! The rest of the day was spent on various buses, and 9 hours later, with a 2 hour wait in Karlovac, something I would 100% not advise anyone to do, we eventually arrived in Pula with the past 24 hours feeling more like a week and very glad to be back in the sun.

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A very welcome sight in Pula!

Zadar


As much as I didn’t want to leave Split, we had a lot of other places to go. So rather hideously early the next morning (this was becoming a pattern) we caught the bus to Zadar. Naturally we got lost trying to find our apartment mostly due to construction work which meant that the street next to ours had become a large hole in the ground, and by the time we arrived I admit I was a little cranky. We had a quick look round the old town then decided as we were both exhausted to just cook dinner and have a night in, which was exactly what we both needed.


The next day we took the bus back towards Split to visit Krka national park. Because of heavy rainfall we weren’t able to swim in the waterfalls, which was a disappointment, but nonetheless we had a great time exploring the park, which is just beautiful. The bad part came when we tried to head back to Zadar and found out that because it was the off-season there weren’t any buses. This resulted in a rather expensive taxi journey and new bus tickets, but it also showed us again how friendly and willing to help everyone is. While it was an inconvenience we made it back eventually, and with one of the most stunning sunsets I’ve ever seen as the backdrop to our long bus journey.


Waterfalls at Krka National Park


Our last day in Zadar we spent actually seeing the city, which admittedly was all you really needed as it’s quite small and hasn’t got much to offer. We visited a couple of churches (there are 34 in the old city alone), although i got chucked out of the cathedral for wearing a skirt that was apparently too short, but the highlight of Zadar was without a doubt what is apparently the best ice cream in Croatia. And after sampling each city’s so far I wholeheartedly agree!


The Church of St Donat


That evening we also headed back to the sea front to see the Sun Salutation lit up. It’s also next to the Sea Organ, which is built into the harbour wall and the waves, wind, and passing boats alter the sounds it makes. It’s quite strange at first but we sat on the steps to watch the sunset and after a while it starts to become quite relaxing. Once it was dark, the Sun Salutation, circles of LED covered solar panels which create enough energy to power the entire harbour front lighting, lit up and started a series of light shows which go on until sunrise. The whole thing is pretty difficult to describe – it really is one of these things that you really need to see and hear to capture the unique atmosphere of it.


The Sea Organ