Welcome to Croatia

Trip Start Nov 15, 2004
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Trip End Nov 10, 2005


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Thursday, September 1, 2005

After a scenic bus ride through the Austrian mountain we arrived in the capital of Croatia, Zagreb. It was 1 am and when our taxi driver drove us what seemed like 100kms out of town and then got lost we were a bit worried. Eventually we found our accommodation which was very nice and only 20 minutes on public transport from town. There is not much to see or do in Zagreb, but it is clearly a city on the move.

We stayed only a short time and headed towards the coast stopping at the absolutely stunning Plitvicka lakes National Park. The Park is a series of lakes and waterfalls formed by karst activity and layed out on a series of descending plateaus. We spent a couple of days wandering and cursing the restriction on swimming in the crystal blue water. Food supply here was rather limited to cheese sandwiches, hamburgers or sweet pastries filled with fruit that little old Croatian ladies sold through the park.

Next stop was the homely island of Pasman, where we had had an offer of accommodation (thanks Zora!) that we couldnīt resist. We stayed with Krsto, born and bred on the island, but now living in Adelaide most of the year. He was a great host and filled our bellies constantly with local produce including fish, squid, grapes and local wine, figs and the juiciest tomatoes, all garnished with a healthy dose of local olive oil. We lazed around a lot, swam and took a boat trip to the Kornati Islands National Park. It was a very pleasant stay but eventually we decided that we should move on.

We spent a day in Split, checked out the 3rd century Roman palace that dominates the town before catching a ferry to the Island of Kornacula. Kornacula town is a walled city jutting out on a peninsula and surrounded by crystal clear water. Again, we lazed around, did a lot of snorkeling and eventually dragged ourselves away before we decided to settle for an early retirement!

Final stop in Croatia was the "pearl of the Adriatic" Dubrovnik. A stunningly picturesque city, similar but larger than Kornacula with a great coastline. We went scuba diving off Dubrovnik, but got a bit more than we bargained for. We dived by a small island down a wall and into a cave. It was all very good until Michael's air took a dramatic plunge and he ran out. Thankfully Kate had enough air to share and we made our way back up, thinking along the way how far up it seemed to be. Once safefully on the surface we discovered that our remarkably unproffesional guide had taken us to 49 metres, over 30 metres deeper than we are safely allowed to go!! Thankfully we were not too deep for too long and we had enough air between us to get to the top and escape the bends. Not the most pleasant experience but certainly one we won't forget too quick!

Our time in Croatia has been great, the people very friendly and the relaxing lifestyle hard to leave. However, time is now running short - it doesnīt really seem that long ago we were lounging around the coast of Thailand and counting the weeks we had been away - now we are trying to not think about how many weeks we have left!
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