Cascades and Turquoise Lakes
Trip Start Jul 18, 2008
10Trip End Aug 02, 2008
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Where I stayed
Like a couple of the other hotels on the trip, our hotel here was obviously built in the communist era. Low profile non-descript concrete structure, lots of wood paneling inside, wide curved staircases, royal blue carpet with no underlay,matching royal blue curtains, sparse decor, and vast dining / function room where the waiters push the food around on trolleys. There are 3 of these very similar hotels operating now in the park, but there were many more before the recent war here (1991-1995)
We have seen and heard a few other reminders of the war, such as bullet holes scarring the cathedral doors in Sibenik and the contrast of old roofs vs bright new ones that were rebuilt on bombed buildings in Dubrovnik. What brought the war to life most was Igor's story of how he and his family once stayed in a room at our hotel in Split as refugees for 6 months. The fighting was essentially right outside their doorstep, so they fled with only what they could carry in suitcases. Igor was about 17 at the time, and his sister a couple of years older. They left his grandparents behind, since they didn't want to leave. Thankfully they survived even though the house was destroyed. Although the Croatian gov't eventually gave them money to rebuild, Igor's family did not want to move back afterwards. I didn't pry into any further details, since it seemed painful for him to talk about.
Despite all that recent history, Igor is a warm, enthusiastic, caring person and has been a fantastic guide. He has a lot of pride about his country, even while acknowledging the less pleasant bits. The country seems very safe now - I have never felt at all uneasy about being out at night and haven't seen people begging or anyone obviously down on their luck. Hopefully it's not just orchestrated orderliness staged for tourists.