Tuesday, September 23, 2014

9/17/14 Day 244 Plitvice Lakes

Well Devna left last night and we dropped Casey off in Rijeka this morning and we are off on our own again. Driving down the coast of Croatia is extraordinary with islands galore, more than a thousand in the country even passing by Krk island, coincidentally Kevin's initials. We continued on down the coast until we reached the beautiful city of Senj, at which point 'twas time to head East into the mountains for the rest of the journey to Plitvice. Through the mountains and over the hills until we reached the National Park, and with the intention of camping overnight to spend the whole next day exploring the lakes. Plitvice Lakes National Park is a UNESCO world heritage site and is one of the biggest attractions in Croatia. There are 16 lakes in total, separated by Travertine dams which are created by the combined reaction between moss, algae and bacteria. One of the real highlights of the lakes is the varying colors that they give off in beautiful shades of greens, blues, and greys that seem like they could only be expressed in a watercolor painting. We pulled up to the information center as the rain started to pour, I ducked into the building to find some maps and read the printout explaining that the lakes are flooded and the original 110 Kuna (15€) price was reduced to 55...but only some of the lakes would be accessible. Crushed, I went back out to the car to deliver the news to Kevin. In frustration we stumbled around the outside of the tourist office examining maps and weighing our options, when we realized we could hear rushing water we looked up and with a few more steps we could see Veliki Slap (the big waterfall) one of the main attractions of the park crashing down 78 meters. Apparently the ticket window was no longer open this late in the day (only two hours until closing) and we had accidentally entered the park, and from this vantage point we could definitely see people who had crossed the closed boundary lines (at their own risk) and were exploring the flooded areas. You don't have to ask us twice, we were on our way down the boardwalk in no time to see what we could of the park before night set in, and for free! Unfortunately for us those amazing colors the lakes are known for could not be seen as the lakes gushed into one another in huge volumes. Satisfied with our shoeless visit that was not tourist dominated we decided it would not be worth our time and money to come back the next day and pay 55 Kuna to see just the upper lakes, which were the only ones we didn't get to see. 

The beautiful coastal city of Senj, quiet and sleepy a great place for us to spend a few hours lazing in the sunshine. 

Leaving the fantastic beach drive on the coast we enter the amazing mountain drive to get us the rest of the way inland

Plitvice Lakes National Park
From the top
Small cascading falls in he background make for some good nutrient rich waters for the fishes 
Just ignore that tape
And Veliki Slap from the bottom

Fire watch tower, we noticed many of the homes in these valleys have been scorched

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