Ok, so today is the day I’ve been looking forward to the whole time. Plitvice National Park Day! Plitvice is this crazy magical Croatian National Park. If you’re really interested you can look up details about when it became a national park, blah, blah, ect. But the main thing to know is it is awesome and if you ever go to Croatia and don’t come here you are a fool.
So today started out with a lovely 6:45AM alarm. I would just like to say that since being on this trip I have come to truly appreciate waking up sans alarm and every time I hear one I wake up thinking I am in for a day at the salt mines (read ‘hotel’). After calming myself down, I got dressed and at Alyssa’s request (read ‘command’) I packed the rest of my stuff and we went to eat our requisite(and CHEAP!!!) breakfast of crappy muesli cereal(sometimes things are cheap for a reason), strange European milk, and instant coffee. What’s that you say? Instant coffee? Isn’t that a crime against humanity? I know right. But here in Europe countries that still haven’t developed the drip coffee machine (ALL OF THEM!) either drink espresso, which is good but only if you are a midget or drinking a latte, or this ghastly instant “coffee” garbage. Buuuuuuut, an entire jar that makes like 50 cups is only about 3euro and I would rather spend the 7euro I would spend on espressos every morning, on beer every day anytime after 12pm (read ’10am’). Sorry about that.
Anyway, after breakfast we scuttled(that’s right scuttled) out the door and onto a tram to get to the bus station (called ‘autobussini’ or something in Croatian) to catch the bus to PLITVICE! After boarding our chariot I was sent to procure foodstuffs. So I bought two ‘bureks’ which are these delicious pastries filled with spinach or “meat”. I also bought this amazing orange Schweppes beverage that tastes, no lie, like an
orange cremesicle. Do you remember those from your childhood? I do. And now they are available in drink form. But only in Croatia. Another quick aside here. Shweppes has cornered the market in delicious beverages all throughout Europe. Every country we have been to so far has offered up some new, delicious citrusy Schweppes concoction. So I wonder, why is the only thing we can get in Canada from these guys, Ginger Ale and Tonic or Soda Water. Get with it Schweppes!
Right, bus! So there was a guy simultaneously snoring and kicking my seat pretty much the whole ride, it was hotter then you could ever believe, and Alyssa and I were both feeling motion sick, due to the crazy Croatian bus driver bombing down the twisting road at around 150km/h. Not to mention we had read online that you have to tell them when you want to stop. This part was actually a little bit exaggerated, as the bus driver’s assistant actually let us know where to get off. So about 3 hours and 2 gallons of sweat later we got off the bus, at the right stop, and walked to our nearby accommodations. The host let us know that our rooms weren’t ready yet, but that we could leave our things in our room. He told us some info about the park and pointed us in the right direction. Off we went.
First stop was the local store to purchase water and an ice cream bar. Next, PLITVICE TIME! Woooooohooo! Just saying, I was excited. After buying tickets we walked down a path towards the “Electric Ferry Boat”. A stunningly green-blue like spread out before us as we reached the dock. The first of many. One of the first things that struck me was the insane amount of fish to be found in this, and all of the lakes. These trout have been able to thrive and exist in such huge numbers, due to the fact that you can’t fish there. It was a pretty crazy sight to look down into crystal clear water and see the fish so thick that you could probably just reach down and pick one up. I imagine people feed them constantly, so they aren’t really people shy.
A one minute ferry ride and we were at a section of the park where you walk around a series of lakes. I think there are about 17 lakes of various sizes throughout the park. We saw many of them and they were all beautiful. Words can’t really describe the wonders of this park, and pictures can hardly do justice to the amazing nature everywhere you look. The water is all crystal clear, azure blue, and full of fish and ducks. There are many trees which have fallen into the water over time, causing the bottom of many of the lakes to look like strange underwater forests. Waterfalls abound, and Croatia’s biggest waterfall can be found at this park. And all throughout the park are manmade wooden paths, always slightly above ground or water, allowing you to be as close as you could to the natural environment without ever really disturbing it.
We spent about 6 hours exploring the park before hunger and weariness began to take hold. A rest and a forgettable meal at the park’s self-service restaurant(read ‘cafeteria’), and a quick stop at the store for a few cheap beers and it was back to the room for us. Now showers, a little blogging, a few beers, maybe some chips, a good nights sleep, then back to Zagreb for more cheap beer and even cheaper sandwiches.