One of the Most Beautiful National Parks in the World!
Plitvicka Jezera Travel Blog› entry 35 of 98 › view all entries
I hadn't seen much of Zagreb, but with the rain the day before, I was alright with that-I've seen my share of churches and paintings the past month, and it's definitely time to head outdoors for some real nature. Thirty dollars later and another failed attempt to find a postcard (bad luck the past few days!) we started our four hour bus ride down to the Plitvice National Park, arriving at a seemingly random bus stop where we asked the National Culture Office how to get to the guesthouse we're staying at. He tells us to walk two km. 'Taxi?' McKayla asks. The man behind the counter just laughs. First our waiter laughs at us for asking if the bread put on our table was free, now we're being laughed at again!
After walking a few blocks we realized that we have no idea where we're going, and head into the National Culture Office to ask for directions. Better yet, the nice guy let Aimee use the phone, and the owner of the guesthouse came and picked us up. Sweet! We walked into a cute little house not far away and as soon as we stepped into the kitchen, he pulls out a bottle from the shelf. 'Welcome drinks,' he explains as he pours all four of us shots of his home made apricot brandy. At just 11:45, I remind myself that it's 5 'o clock somewhere, and like us girls do, we all pull out our cameras for a prime photo opp.
The nice man, whom Aimee quickly dubs Dad, drove us down to the entrance of the park where we payed nearly $20 to get in-definitely the most expensive park entrance I've ever paid, but as soon as we saw the first waterfalls rushing into the clear blue water, it was so worth it. A quick ferry ride across to the first falls had us all snap-happy in amazement at the beauty and sheer numbers of the hundreds of falls cascading from one part of the lake to another. Plants and rocks jutted out of the water as we traversed the terrain by walking over winding paths of wooden bridges and steps, often with water gushing over or through them. A bit flooded, our park adventure was even more exciting as we attempted to not get our shoes soaked in unruly water. The entire day I was amazed at not only the natural wonders of the waterfalls and caves, but the network of wooden paths snaking across the water and rocks almost as if there as a piece of artwork themselves.
As the day goes on, I'm getting to know Aimee, Andrea, and McKayla better and better, and as they amuse themselves with songs and random dancing, I join in and am amused as well. These girls are really great; I've just met them the night before and they're making sure I'm in just about every one of their pictures. They've all got funny quirks, and on a side note, suddenly I feel better about moving to a new city in the Fall-if I can find cool people I click with out here in the middle of nowhere in Croatia, I'm bound to find a fantastic set of friends in San Francisco.
I became increasingly impressed with the park as the day went on and we enjoy ferry and tram rides to where we need to go, and periodically there's posted information about local culture, geology, and biology. One of the coolest parts of the day was descending into a 'cave' with no ceiling. I have this random ever so slight fear of slipping down stairs, which I tried to ignore as I walked down the slippery steps, covering my camera as big drops of water fell from the stalagtites up above us. Once at the bottom we could spot what is actually called the 'Big Waterfall,' which is only reached by walking through large amounts of water spray and over stairs completely engulfed in water gushing through from below. Eh, guess I could use a second shower today!
The waterfall was absolutely stunning, and the big treat of the day was the rainbow the sun and spray created together. Finally done with the park and completely satisfied with the day, we headed off to buy snacks for tomorrow. The girls tried to buy beer in glass bottles, and found that is you have to pay a deposit on these glass ones, as opposed to not having to with the plastic bottles, which was interesting. After walking along the highway about a kilometer past the pizza place we were trying to find, we realized that we weren't getting any close and kicked ourselves when we realized that we'd gone right by it about 20 minutes earlier and we could've avoided fearing for our lives from the crazy Croatian drivers. Pizza was great, and the converstation was too as we wrapped up our night.
Life is great!