Our Final Few Days In Croatia – For Now!

On Monday morning, we bade our final (for now!) farewells to Camp Marina, and headed north for The Plitvice Lakes National Park. Again, we took the inland route and witnessed further the consequences of The Homeland War – quite saddening, to be honest and it really has piqued an interest in what exactly happened to all these people whose houses now lie derelict. I read an interesting article on the timeline of The War – just to satisfy my curiosity on the matter – if you’re interested, you can find it here.

Our journey up to Plitvice was a long trek, by our usual standards, but the views and the fab roads made for yet another great drive. The roads here are superb and seem to be very popular for motorbike touring – the bars, restaurants, hotels etc welcome bikers with open arms, advertising the fact on their signage and, in some cases, offering discount to them. Fair play, we say! Pity more establishments back home don’t do the same! We’ve seen huge numbers of German and Swiss bikes touring in groups, some appearing to be on organised tours. What a fab holiday THAT would be! Arriving at our chosen site for the night, Turist Grabovac, we were a little shocked by how busy it was and we just about managed to grab a pitch with electricity before they were all taken! Mental note to try arrive at sites a tad earlier in future! We were pitched very much on a wonk and were more than glad to have had the foresight to invest in a pair of Milenco Quattro ramps before we left home cos we sure as hell needed the whole 18″ lift to straighten us out – we almost had to abseil down off Sebo’s step to get out but, hey, it’s only for one night!

The temperatures here have been rising steadily for the last week or more and we’re now sweltering in 30C+ during the day. We’re not complaining but it does take some getting used to for us Northern Ireland folk!

Tuesday morning we were up bright and early and off our pitch before 10am to drive to The National Park entrance. We parked up in the shadiest spot we could find on the already busy car park and set-off to purchase tickets and walk the longest route we could find on the map – marked trail K, some 18km which would allow us to see pretty much all the lakes and waterfalls within the park. The first few kms took us over the boardwalks to the Veliki Slap, the highest waterfall and we were absolutely stunned by the beauty of the place. No amount of research into this place can possibly prepare you for what you actually experience here! I’m just going to let the photos do the talking….

The place was crowded – lots of Oriental tourists, many busy posing with their selfie sticks in the middle of the walkways, holding up the traffic (why do they do this???) – so we were relieved when our chosen trail branched away from the main drag and took us off through shaded woodland and around the lakes – the trail less travelled it most certainly was, for which we were thankful! Unfortunately, we somehow managed to cut our walk short by hopping on one of the boats to cross the lake (we should’ve just carried on walking!) and, following further discussion over lunch (a soggy one, since my water bottle had leaked in the rucksack and soaked our sarnies! Grrr!) and with the intense heat and the thought of our long drive to Zagreb later in the day, we decided to just follow the return trail back to Sebo rather than get back on the boat and resume our intended walk. All in all, we walked around 12km though so we didn’t feel too much like failures!

When we got back to Sebo, around 3pm, the temperature on the roof was showing at 35C and it wasn’t much cooler inside! Windows down and just drive! So we did – the 196km to Zagreb! Needless to say, we didn’t take the motorway – and we should’ve done cos, though the drive was hugely scenic, in the main, apart from Karlovac, it also passed through lots of 40km/hr zones and, thus, took what seemed like an age! Anyhow, we were mightily relieved to arrive at our current abode – Camp Zagreb– to find they had pitches available! 15km outside of Zagreb city, with a free shuttle service down to the local railway station, this site is awesome! Beside a lake, with walking/cycle trails leading directly off it, it has fab facilities, the cheapest laundry facilities we’ve come across in Croatia (25kn for a wash!), a lovely restaurant and bar overlooking the lake and the friendliest and most helpful staff on Reception. For €19/night with our ACSI Card, we think it’s good value! Our original plan was to spend two nights here and visit Zagreb today – we’ve now decided to stay here for an extra night, have a rest/laundry day today, do Zagreb tomorrow and leave here on Friday for Lake Bled, Slovenia.

Zagreb looks interesting so we’re looking forward to having a mooch around it tomorrow. Meanwhile…..laundry beckons, as does a walk around the lake and Harley, little does he know it yet, is in for a shower as there’s a doggy wash here! He ain’t gonna be happy but needs must!