Plitvice Lakes National Park

On Sunday, we packed up out apartment in Rovinj, and headed to the bus station.  There is not a lot of passenger train service in Croatia, so we were on buses for a few hours.  Our bus left Rovinj at 9:15, and proceeded to head inland towards Karlovac (on the way to Zagreb).  We left the beautiful Mediterranean deserty feel to lush hills of evergreen trees.  We went through tunnels, and the road hugged cliffs with dramatic bedrock precipices.  It got cooler too.. Rain swept the roads (which did not stop the bus driver from passing on the left, or weaving through traffic).

When I booked our tickets, I had the option of a 5 minute layover in Karlovac, or a 2 hour one. The bus company recommended the 2 hours – because delays.  Luckily for us, our bus was on time, and the 5 minute layover bus was 10 minutes late.  So, we grabbed 5 seats on this bus – getting into Plitvice a couple hours early.  The bus driver even gave us a good deal on the seats (because the tickets were with different companies – they were not transferrable)

We arrived in Plitvice, and hailed a cab to get to our hotel.  Turns out our cabbie has lived in Cleveland.  That night was game 7 of the NBA finals, so we talked Cavs basketball for a while.

So we arrived in our cute little hotel – 300 meters from the entrance to Plitvice.  We had a quick snack, and made our way into the nature.  It was a cool “seattle” day. Not raining.. But certainly water was falling from the sky.  This turned out to be be blessing – it scared off just about everyone else.

Our hotel had a great garden area – you could rent a bow and arrow!

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So, why did we venture for half a day on a bus to go to some park in Croatia?

You know when you are watching movies like the Hobbit, and the characters walk into Rivendell, and there are waterfalls everywhere, and water of other worldly colors of blue and green?  Or when you see the water planet that JarJar is from?  And you think – “man Peter Jackson/George Lucas has an incredible imagination” – waterfalls over every surface?  It isn’t imagination. It is places like Plitvice.

Plitvice is a series of lakes that cascade into one another through waterfalls. Hundreds and hundreds of waterfalls. Big waterfalls.  Small waterfalls.  Trickles over rocks and through  trees.

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To see these beautiful bits of nature, the park has built boardwalks.  Boardwalks that make me think of Ewoks.

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Seriously, if some fuzzy little creatures walked by carrying a golden droid on a raised chair – I wouldn’t blink an eye.

But these boardwalks also are built on top of the waterfalls

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So we have water rushing around trees, and through a forest floor.  We as the tourists are walking above all of this – just taking it all in.

There are plants just tenaciously holding onto whatever hold their roots have.

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Some water was rushing OVER the boardwalks.  It is like nature has run a little mad.  There is a bit of nutty Dr. Suess imagery running through my head here.

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In between each set of falls – there are these beautiful serene lakes – full of greens and blues. Colors you can’t really believe or explain.

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At the lower lakes, there is a BIG waterfall.  See that boardwalk in the middle of the falls??

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You better believe we went there!  Its an adventure – of course we would.

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Aside:  Note that “waterfall” in Croatian is “slap”

So here we are entering that boardwalk:

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and looking back after we crossed:

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and underneath the top half of the slap:

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Every couple hundred meters, mother nature throws you a curveball:

 

Of course – water rushing through bedrock leads to things like :Awesome caves you can walk through

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Beautiful walks.  Beautiful greens and blues. Water next to you. Below you. Covering the forest floor. Nature like you have never seen before.

 

This is why we took a long bus ride into the mountains of Croatia.

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