Friday, May 03, 2013

Eurotrip: Plitvice

Immediately after getting off our overnight train from Munich to Zagreb, we headed to the bus station for the two hour ride to Plitvice Lakes. Once again, I have Rick Steves to thank for this leg of our journey. Angie & I were watching YouTube clips of Croatia while we were in Mallorca, and once we saw Rick in Plitvice Lakes, we knew we had to go too. Turns out Plitvice Lakes National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and it is obviously very protected and cared for.

We stayed at hotel right near a park entrance, and after dropping off our bags we headed straight to the park. We consulted this map to plan our journey.

We were immediately blown away be the scenery. The map is accurate - we walked along paths and wooden bridges all around the park. Here are a few shots depicted what we saw.


We hiked for about 6 miles on Day One and covered half of the park. On Day Two, we went to the other side of the park and passed loads of tourists to see the giant waterfall.

Then we found this somewhat secluded path and followed it for a few miles to get views from the top of the waterfall.

Eventually we had seen the entire park! But there was still more hiking to be done, and we opted to go through the forest for a few miles. Little did we know that there were bears in the forest... and this helped us to make a decision to cut our hike from 20K to about 8K. We only passed five people on the entire hike, and the trail was not well maintained, making for a bit more nerve-wracking hike than we had anticipated. Luckily we sang at the top of our lungs to keep the bears away!

The hike had really varied scenery, as evidenced below.

There was even snow!

We both were happy to get back to the lakes and see people again. Angie was happy because the risk of bears dropped, and I was happy because I was exhausted trying to keep up with Angie. Since we had walked almost all around the lakes, we decided to forgo the shuttle and walk the remaining two miles back to our hotel. This gave us a total of 18 miles for the day! As a reward, we each got massages. (While not the best massage ever, it was relaxing and certainly less creepy than the one I got in India!)

Overall Plitvice Lakes has been a trip highlight. We have joked that we were at Plitvice Spa because we walked everywhere, ate well, had two sober days, reconnected with nature, got massages, and got some rest. This came at the perfect point in our Eurotrip, as we both are getting a little tired of swarms of tourists and big cities. I also confirmed that Angie is super cool, and will happily play improv games and sing camp songs to keep us entertained.

I can't wait to see what else Croatia has to offer! Next stop: Split!


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