We had so may good options for a title, we just couldn’t decide!! Plitvice National Park, Three Hundred Hairy Bears, Split, European Heat Wave…
So here goes our day…
Plitvice Lakes National Park
We got up bright and early to beat the worst of the crowds into Croatia’s first and most popular park. It is a series of lakes and waterfalls that is really pretty spectacular, especially considering the rest of the country is very rugged and mostly barren. The water was perfectly clear and a bright, beautiful blue that is difficult to describe. The vegetation is lush.
Every turn brings a new view of lakes, waterfalls, cascades, and overall beauty. It just doesn’t get old walking through that scenery! The other part that is neat is that the trails and boardwalks are right there in the middle of it all…on the edge of the lake, boards barely clearing the surface of the water; stairs literally right over the waterfalls so you are walking through the middle of it all! We thoroughly enjoyed our morning there and by the time we left about 11:00, we were VERY glad we made the effort to get up early!
A couple of things to note when comparing Plitvice to US.. National Parks, which we visit A LOT! The best comparison is Yellowstone, since it is America’s oldest and probably most popular park. First, size: we saw the best highlights here in about three hours, on foot. It would take you two or three days to see the best of Yellowstone (about half of which could be in a car). Yellowstone is HUMONGOUS in comparison. Next, cost: Plitvice cost us about $25 each, plus parking. So about $55 total. If we wanted to go back tomorrow, we’d pay the same amount again. Yellowstone is $25/vehicle for a 7 day pass.
Three Hundred Hairy Bears
To understand this title we have to backtrack a bit. Apparently in Slovenia, they don’t really cuss in their own language. They know cuss words in other languages, but in Slovene, the worst phrase they have is the equivalent of “three hundred hairy bears.” Grant really tried to follow suit while we were there and use that phrase just for fun, but it’s a difficult one to say spontaneously, as you can imagine!
After we finished there, we headed southwest to Split. Once on the highway, it felt like we joined the rest of the continent on our journey to the coast. Soooo much traffic! As bad as I-75 North through middle Georgia during Spring Break. Maybe worse. Tons of cars packed to the gills with stuff from countries all over Europe. It was slow going for a while, especially near the really long tunnel (5.6 km). I gotta say, the Croatian transportation folks like their tunnels! So, the “three hundred hairy bears” is for the nightmare traffic & the long, claustrophobic tunnel!
We finally made it to Split, which is right on the coast (crazy pretty water, again), returned the rental car…Grant is very glad to be done driving! (More to come in another blog entry)…took the shuttle bus into town, and got settled in to our apartment.
European Heat Wave
The temperatures here have continued to soar. It’s been in the 90s the last few days, today reaching at least 100 at times. Looks like those temps will stay until we head home. 🙁 We generally try to travel north in the summer to avoid these kinds of temperatures. Apparently, Mother Nature didn’t get the memo this year.
Tomorrow, we will explore the Old Town and hopefully find some interesting stuff in Split.