"It's a poem in the middle of nowhere".
23.05.2013 - 23.05.2013 14 °C
After breakfast this morning we wheeled our bags down to Reception and met the members of our tour. I haven't actually counted them but I think we have 25 people in our group - so obviously a big bus. We have about 6 Belgians (who speak French), 6 ladies from Brazillian (who speak Spanish), and the rest of the group are from all over, but are English speaking. We have two guides (Mariana and Simon) who share the translations. So consequently we have 3 commentaries - bit of a pain for everyone - none more so than our guides I would think. But it works pretty well, you just learn to turn off when you don't understand the language.
We left our hotel at 8.30am for a morning tour of Zagreb. Our first stop was the Cemetery of all places. This is really grand - with an Arcade at the front containing the graves of well known and wealthy people. An impressive place. Then into the city itself, past buildings that we saw yesterday, but this time with more information (and less sun). We went inside the beautiful Zageb Cathedral, the roof of this cathedral collapsed during the earthquake back in the early 90's. Would you believe, the chandeliers are actually from Las Vegas! We walked through the lower town and upper town and then had a couple of hours of free time to have lunch and wander around for a bit.
Then to Plitvice (pronounced Plitvitser). We expected some lakes on different levels with some waterfalls connecting them. In all my born days, I have never, ever, EVER - seen anything like this! The Plitvice Lakes National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the most beautiful National Park that I have ever seen, and probably will ever see. Any waterfall that I have ever visited in the past - simply pales in to insignificance. There are a total of 16 lakes here, and we only saw 8 of them - but what we saw today, I think will stay with us until we're old and grey.
Firstly, we started by walking down to the base of the tallest waterfall which is 78 metres high. The lake here is 45 metres deep. The water was a beautiful turquoise colour - even though it's overcast today. From there we walked up along the sides of different lakes, along wooden paths or decks, sometimes with water washing up and over the paths. Up and up we walked seeing waterfall after waterfall - of different sizes and speeds. Captivating is probably the best word I can think of at the moment to describe Plitvice. We took so many photos and video - we just couldn't get enough of it all.
Nature at it's most beautiful. I met a lovely lady on the tour this morning - her name is Fabiana and she is from Brazil. In her words about this magical place - "It's a poem in the middle of nowhere". I couldn't have put it any better!
At the end of our walk we boarded a boat and took a slow peaceful trip around one of the lakes and then walked up 218 steps to where our bus was waiting for us.
I have written these words about 30 minutes after we arrived at our hotel - I wanted to put this on paper before the euphoria diminished. This place is in a small part of Croatia - about 2 hours drive out of Zagreb. If you've heard about Plitvice and think that you might like to go there, I urge you to. This experience has been an absolute highlight of our trip.
Okay. I'll calm down now.
We checked in to our hotel, a lovely place in Plitvice - just 2 years old. We've now just come back from dinner with our new group of travelling companions. A variety of people from all over the world - there are some real characters in there. We've shared a great day with them today.