Croatia Trip September & October 2015 Post 9 – Plitvicka Jezera National Park

Day 26 Sunday 04/10/2015 – 94162 on Speedo left Camp Krka 10:00
After the usual fill-up and empty we paid the nice lady owner of AutoCamp Krka, her name is Davorka, we had a good chat about how she started the camp site. She was a farmer and was getting  tired of milking the cows and making cheese so sold her four cows and with her small savings had enough to buy a little bit of land with a derelict house on it, her husband built the first toilet block then they opened for camping, then as she made a bit of money they converted the upstairs of the house into apartments then bought more and more land 10 or 12 meters at a time.   But, she says “ my house is still not finished”. We really hope she does well as she really has the good attitude to make the place very welcoming. The Krka National Park we enjoyed very much but we were now heading for Plitvic National Park which everybody says is even more amazing. We had researched all the camp sites but decided that Camping Karona which was a bit more expensive because they didn’t give ACSI discount would be easier as they had a shuttle bus to the park from the site so would be the most convenient. The drive was interesting because we started encountering flat fields rather than the constant mountains as we headed away from the sea. Croatia has a large top end then a very thin silver running along the coast broken by the few kilometres of Bosnia which divides the country. But now we started seeing fields with cows and crops growing. A nice different drive.
Stopped at 13:00 – 94361 – 199 km today – Camp Korana, Near Plitvic NP – 44.94826N, 15.64801E
Day 27  Monday 05/10/2015 – Still 94361 on Speedo
We got up early and Steve went to the Camp Shop for some bread for sandwiches for the day in Plitvic Lakes.We met the shuttle bus on time at 9 am and arrived at the lakes at about 9:30 bought our tickets and were away on the trail. There were four options A, B, C, & K, “K” said it would take 6 to 8 hours which we thought was pushing it a bit so  opted for the “C” route which was 4 to 6 hours. We had seven hours before we had to catch the coach back so a little bit of leeway.
The trail started just after the ticket office where we came upon a view point overlooking the highest falls, and they were spectacular. Ok as with Krka it will obviously be better in spring with the high levels of water but it was still spectacular.
The trail snaked back and forward on paths made of, what looked like granite cobbles as it descended steeply  into the valley then at the bottom became a board walk made of sawn logs. Taking a right turn  with water rushing all around us even under the boardwalk we found ourselves right in front of the highest waterfall actually in the spray, it was spectacular.
The boardwalk was endless passing lake after lake and waterfall after waterfall, different heights and widths.Quiet and tranquil or fiercely rushing over a drop. The lakes were a P1050238gorgeous azure blue, green absolutely clear with shoals of trout ranging from tiny to about 18P1050260 inches long.
We came to a clearing by a lake with a cafe, toilets and souvenir shop etc. Our route “C” said we should take a boat to the other end of the lake so joined the queue. The boat arrived and it was electric so virtually silent, how great in such a tranquil place. The boat took 100 people and we found ourselves sitting with about 98 Japanese and Chinese people on tours with all their cameras, face masks and selfie sticks, although we can’t complain because we have one of those now, P1050304except it is small and discrete and lives in Steve’s pocket when we are not using it. Apart from the constant jabber from the other passengers who seemed oblivious to the beauty and  tranquillity around them we somehow shut it all out and managed to enjoy the peaceful interlude before disembarking to hit more boardwalks snaking from rushing cascade to impressive waterfall to peaceful pool. Dodging people who would suddenly stop to take yet another photo as they were dodging us doing the same. What did we do when we only had 24 frames on a roll of film?P1050256P1050291
We came to a point where the signs for route “C” pointed towards the land train back to the start and we still had four hours left so we decided to follow the signs for the “K” route, wish we had followed that one from  the start. We came across a number of benches beside a lake so sat to eat our picnic and bottle of wine. Of course the inevitable scroungers arrived within seconds of us opening our rucksacks.
We really had a great day, extending the “C” route by probably another five miles but the sad thing was that Steve forgot to start his “MapMyWalk” GPS tracking app on his phone so we couldn’t see the strange wiggly route or the distance we had walked. But we were both suitably tired and a little stiff as we sat to wait for our bus to arrive at 5 o’clock to take us back to the van. What a fantastic day and certainly the highlight of the holiday so far and the weather was perfect, not too hot but dry and warm. A few hours reading and Steve working on the blog then as we got into bed the rain started
Day 28  Tuesday 06/10/2015 – Still 94361 on Speedo
The rain continued throughout the night but stopped while we packed up and did the usual chores. Checked out and set the TomTom  for a possible night stop just before we would get to Slovenia where we had read there was a small fortified church with incredible frescos and art work. The rain continued for the whole day and going over the mountains we were actually in the clouds. With some really steep descents in torrential rain Steve was again  extremely pleased to have the magnetic braking system.
The journey took on a strange disturbing tone as we left the mountains we started seeing many abandoned houses apparently fine except for numerous bullet marks and some badly damaged houses with a new one built on the same plot. We also noticed many graves right beside the road and very many cemetery’s nearly full of new shiny black marble graves, quite disturbing and bringing the very recent war only twenty years ago when neighbour was against neighbour into stark focus more than anywhere we had been so far.
We arrived at the campsite we had put into TomTom but it had just closed for the season, so backtracked to another which was open but a little expensive just to park for the night in the rain. We don’t usually book into sites just for the night preferring; Aire de Camping Car, Sosta’s or Stelplats etc. but we have now established that what we heard is in fact true, that parking overnight anywhere other than on a site is illegal in Croatia. I suppose that is fair when their major industry is tourism.
Stopped at 17:00 – 94570 – 209 km today – Camp Meoveja – Medveja – 45.27077N, 14.26915E

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