Water, water everywhere!

Trip Start Apr 15, 2003
Trip End Sep 01, 2011

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Flag of Croatia  ,
Thursday, October 11, 2007

Hi everybody!

On the way South on our trip we had skipped the Plitvice Lakes National Park due to rainy weather. As we drove North after leaving Bosnia-Herzegovina, on our way back toward the park, the weather turned bad again with very heavy rain and fog. We arrived late at night in the area of the park having driven very slowly through fog so thick that it was sometimes very hard to see. Despite the bad weather, we just couldn't skip this park again. We were wet, but the mist, rain and fog only added to the mystique of this amazing landscape.

Our guidebook (Rick Steves, again) describes Plitvice Lakes National Park as "Niagra Falls diced and sprinkled over a heavily forested Grand Canyon". There are 16 terraced lakes separated by natural dams and connected by countless waterfalls. Because we were there in fall, the colors were pretty as well.

This park also has the largest brown bear population in Europe - along with wolves and fox. This caused some anxiety when, late in the day, we started off on a hike at the top of the lakes, expecting to be able to take a boat across the lower lake to the exit, only to find that the boats had stopped running. Without a proper map we found ourselves walking in circles seeing the same waterfalls over and over as the sun sank lower in the sky. The park is completely natural...no nightlights.. and we didn't have a flashlight either. Melanie had visions of falling off a boardwalk and being eaten by a brown bear or freezing to death while Chris was completely obsessed with not stepping on any of the many spotted salamanders crossing the wooded paths. We finally found the main road that the busses drive (they had also stopped running) by scambling off-trail up a hill. Once on the road, we followed it in total darkness to the park entrance and then spent another 45 minutes trying to find the parking lot (which we had forgotten was on the other side of a highway crossed by a bridge) and our car. It was only when we stopped in one of the hotels which had a stuffed brown bear in its lobby that Chris realized how big and ferocious these animals really are!

In any case, we made it back safe and sound having seen some amazing scenery. As an aside, there was a Japanese tourist group in the park early in the morning when we started. You'll see many pictures of their umbrellas as they walk the boardwalks.

Enjoy the scenery!
Chris and Melanie

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Where we slept:
* Mukinje: Knezevic Guest House . Clean and comfortable. Run by a very friendly family with a big friendly dog (although the dog seems very guard-like when chained outside). Very convenient to the park and after a cold, wet day the pizzeria across the street hits the spot!

Where we ate:
* Plitvice Lakes National Park: We had lunch at Licka Kuca Restaurant. With a large open hearth wood fire in the center of the restaurant this was a warm and cozy break from the cold and rain outside. It serves traditional Croatian fare, including grilled trout - which Melanie loved.
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