View of (some of) the lakes from a precipice above.
Technically speaking, we're in Split
to write this entry, since there was no internet access at Plitivice National Park, despite the fact that there were hotels and restaurants (that did have internet for themselves). But before I start to complain about the horrible service and terrible hotels and unpalatable food, let me describe the positive elements of the park so I don't sound like such a complainer, and so you'll understand why despite it all it was well worth the visit.
Plitvice National Park - located in the center of Croatia approximately halfway between Zagreb
(the Capital) and Split (a major resort town) - is nestled right in the mountains, and consists of a series of 12 lakes of varying sizes that range in color from the deepest blue to a most inviting green.
One of many glorious waterfalls.
Each of the lakes is situated at a different elevation from the other, and, as a result, are interconnected by streams and waterfalls cascading through dense forests, ferns, mosses, and other various flora native to the region. There are kilometers of trails encircling the lakes, as well as some wooden plank bridges and trails that allow you to get in to get a closer look at some of the more spectacular waterfalls and interesting land formations. The largest waterfall was over 80m (200 ft) in height, wheras others were only a few feet.
Kalin and I decided to take the 4-6 hour hike (there were several different options available, lettered A, B, C, etc. that ranged from 2-8 hours), and we did it in reverse to avoid having to slowly idle behind the large groups of camera-weilding septugenarians that seemed to dominate many of the easier and more striking paths.
Beautiful afternoon creating a cool reflection on the largest of Plitvice's lakes...
We soon realized why the trail was meant to be taken the other way, however, as our trail led us to have to take an enourmous and winding staircase up the 200ft waterfall (heheh) wheras the rest of the journey was much less steeply graded. The view from the top of the waterfall was well worth it though, as it was simply astounding to see mother natures splendor from up there. Additionally, we ended up seeing a foot long!!!
slug. ew... We ended the day by renting a rowboat for an hour on the largest of the 12 lakes. Kalin got to sit back and enjoy a nice row around the lake, while I worked my ass off. :)
Now for the complaints. The bus dropped us off 3km from our hotel, even though we asked him before we got off if it was the right stop for the belleview hotel.
Another cute waterfall!!!
So, our options were to either walk along the shoulderless highway (which seemed incredibly dangerous, not to mention tiring), or pay 110 kuna each ($22) to gain admittance to the park (giant backpacks and all) and hike uphill for 15 minutes where the free shuttle would pick us up and take us to the hotel. All this while it was about 30 degrees outside. Yay. When we finally arrived at the shuttle, (we decided to eat the cost and take it), someone had puked all over the floor in the 3rd car and the whole thing was a reeking cesspool of disgusting, closed in, muggy vomit-scent. Luckily, there was still room for us (and our gigantic packs) on the second car, although not without hitting some people in the heads with them. Then when we got to the hotel, the receptionist was a total prick.
A really trippy rock/moss formation, with water dripping off of it (of course) as seen from our Rowboat!!!
He took our passports (which is normal for croatia, beacuse they have to register you with the police by law) and when we asked when we could come get them back, he simply said "i have three hours of work ahead of me," in a totally rude tone. Not only was it rude, it didn't even answer our question! He didn't offer us any maps or explain how breakfast worked or anything. Then we got up to the room and it was stinky and smelly and tiny and still contained all the original 1960s decor (and for 100 Euros a night, that was a burn). The restaurants out there were all "self-service buffet which i guess means cafeteria, and the people working them had the same crappy attitude as our receptionist. (as did the Info desk lady, but i'll get to that in a minute). The spagetti and meat sauce I ordered was frickin terrible (the sauce wasn't even red, it was brown) and the salad was terrible... And it wasn't even cheap!!! Then when we went to leave, we asked the information desk how to buy bus tickets and she (rudely) told us that the timetable was on the wall outside. We were like "yes i see that but where do you buy tickets?" and she told us to "buy them on the bus." When we actually got ON the bus, the ticket guy was like "where are your tickets?" and we were like "they told us to buy them on the bus" and then he shook his head and gave us a dirty look. Luckily he let us stay on though, but obviously you are NOT supposed to buy your tickets on the bus.. Grrrr..
And to top it all off, the 45 minute phone call i made to my parents from the hotel room (I should probably preface this by saying that when Kalin and I made 3 phone calls to our respective parents, it cost us about $30 Canadian) cost me ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY DOLLARS!!!!!!!!!!!!! That about topped it off for me, that they would charge 15 Kuna a minute for international calls (I guess i should have asked first). Especially considering the Internet Cafe i'm sitting in right now offers overseas calls for 1 Kuna a minute. (that same 45 minute call would have been about 10 bucks.)
Anyway, it was still one of the most beautiful natural places I've ever seen, and would definately be worth a day trip (MAX 1 night) for anyone who happens to be in the country. I'll upload some pics when I get a chance to give you guys an Idea of what i mean. Talk to ya Later!!!!!