Time to Split

Plitvice Travel Blog

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The stunning lakes of Plitvice
Leaving Venice, the train passed through Slovenija and it was breathtaking. The scenery was like a combination of the best of Canada and New Zealand: Rolling mountains covered in pine trees pastelled with the vibrant fiery colours of autumn making the scene beyond magnificent. The Slovenijans on the train were unbelievably friendly and I found myself having to converse in mixtures of Italian, English and German to get by. I met a lot of people just on the train. They were all so excited to tell me about their country and warn me about those crazy, angry Hrvatskans..

I would soon learn all about the history of the Balkans. Basically it is a long, tumultuous and morose past involving impact from almost every surrounding large nation (Germany, Austria, Hungary, Turkey, Italy..
The stunning lakes of Plitvice
.). The most recent history is when the Serbs tried to take over the joint and that annoyed everyone. The Croats had to fight long and hard for several years against them. It destroyed their economy and country. They see themselves as the hard-done-by nation who protected the rest of Europe from the Serbian threat. The Slovenijans smelt what was cooking early on in the peace and mobilised their army and finished the job in less than 10days to give em what they deSerbed! They emerged with obviously very little impact and a strong, free nation. They now boast the most prosperous non-Western European economy. The Croats don’t like this - plus the Slovenes keep trying to get more of the delightful Adriatic coast which the Croats don’t want to give away. Additionally, you should NEVER call a Slovenijan or Hrvatskan an Eastern European - they will be very quick to tell you they are Middle European.
The stunning lakes of Plitvice
..

Zagreb was a great little city. I met up with a hord of Canadian NATO troops on R&R from Bosnia and will attempt to never do so again. They were the epitomy of everything to be ashamed about being an English speaking Westerner. I had to apologise to barmaids and waitresses everywhere we went. The shopping was fantastic and I quickly noted that absolutely no one was working and everyone was out drinking coffee. So I joined them...

I caught a bus to the much talked about Plitvice Lakes National Park in the middle of the country. The bus dropped me off at the wrong stop, at night in the dark, of a very cold and bear infested forrest.  Entrance1 was open during winter and had plenty of cheap accomodation. I was 20km away at the closed and mostly abandoned Entrance2. I stumbled through the forrest in the dark with my pack, tripped and hurt my ankle and eventually saw a light and limped to it. There was a security guard to one of the closed Hotels. He had no idea what I was saying and couldn’t understand what the hell I was doing there. Every attempt to expain it only confused him further. After beating him in paper scissors rock he took me to the only open place in the area which was a 5star hotel and it cost a fortune (in local terms). So I suited up, joined a group of old Japanese businessmen, and treated myself to the 2nd best dam local trout ive ever gormandized, before retreating to my Emperor sized bed...

The lakes were worth it! They are a huge series of delectable cascading waterfalls which run for about 20km. I walked the whole thing and uncharacteristically more or less kept to the path only to later find there are suspected landmines off the tracks. I think the photos say it all..

I hitched a ride from the highway off to Split the next day. This city was my first visit to the Dalmation Coast. Just like the dog, there a lot of interesting 'spots' and over 101 good reasons to visit.. The area also has a strong Venetian influence. White marble abounds. It was beautiful. This is party central in summer with about 40 thumping islands of the coast. I was introduced to Burek here. Its all I ate for the next week as there were hardly any restaurants around and it very difficult to find food! Burek is pastry rolled around either sausage meat, ricotta cheese, or spinach. Its dirt cheap and great hangover food. But eating it four times a day can drive you mad. But eating it four times a day can drive you mad. But eating it four times a day can drive you mad. If I thought Zagreb was lazy then Split was comatose. Apparently the Dalmations are known for being lazy. It must be something in the air…or the Burek…I almost didn’t leave.

I finally managed to split and headed to Dubrovnik...
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The stunning lakes of Plitvice
The stunning lakes of Plitvice
The stunning lakes of Plitvice
The stunning lakes of Plitvice
The stunning lakes of Plitvice
The stunning lakes of Plitvice
485 km (301 miles) traveled
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Plitvice
photo by: genetravelling