Sunday, 31 July 2016

Sun 31 Jul 2016. Around Plitvice Lakes, to Karlovac

Sun 31 Jul 2016. Around Plitvice Lakes, to Karlovac
Started early to beat the crowds. Walked the Upper Lakes for four hours today, past 8 of the green and blue lakes. More of the impressive long-drop waterfalls today, although the cascades over the rocks in the forest itself were really pretty too. 

Think you would have heard this one fall...

Gradinsko Lake:

Sooo beautiful.....
Not sure if one of the flowers spotted was an orchid; found fungus, water grasses and wild flowers. In one of the pools watched a camouflaged frog sneak up on one of the large indigo and brilliant green dragonflies - without success. 

Mali Prstavac drop:



Heat increased steadily in afternoon, glad most of the walk was in shade, so happy to see the bus-train at top to take us down again. Noticed the sinkholes on walk back to carpark.
Agreed it was one of the best national parks ever - although there were villages inside it, there was strictly no swimming, absolutely no rubbish, the boats were all electric or rowboats so there was no pollution of these pristine waters. The only criticism we had was that pet dogs were allowed, a couple menacing anyone who came near their owners, or getting into a fight with each other. We asked one of the Rangers who agreed they could be a nuisance but said “policy set high up”. 

Would have liked to see national dress and dance

Pulled out of oven-like carpark as more buses were arriving, on the road north towards Zagreb. Stopped at boring-looking campground, AutoCamp Radonja - as owner said, people pull in from mid-afternoon onwards just to get off road and use amenities. He still wanted 20 though! Asked us to park on sandy ground as the weather forecast promised rain - we chased the very little shade around until other campers arrived. Hand washed the two days’ worth of stinky clothes. Ham salad wrap for dinner, followed by local jelly cake with raspberries. GirlRob just managed to finish her book before giving in to fatigue...

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Sat 30 Jul 2016. Split to Plitvice National Park

Sat 30 Jul 2016. Split to Plitvice National Park
30˚ at 10am. Headed towards highway, views over Trogir shipping port. Sibernik, round houses made of flat stones amongst terraced stone fences. 

Last views of Adriatic Coast before turning inland towards Plitvice Lakes. 
32.5˚ at 10.45am - ugh! 
33˚ at 11.15am - stop going up!! 
Played a distraction game trying to remember radio call sign alphabet: alpha, bravo, charlie.. got stuck mid-way! Aussies in a van waved enthusiastically as they overtook. Drove a long valley with graphic white limestone mountains rising suddenly from edge of plain. 

Took Zadar turnoff. Stopped for morning tea, 15mins later back on highway. Two lanes of traffic backed up and slowed to crawl. Found out why 20 minutes later when we came to a minor 3 vehicle accident. Highway pace resumed once gawking had finished. Turned off highway, countryside immediately green, forested, wild flowers, farmhouses. Bought 1kg of local unpasteurised cheese (the taste bite was tart and smoky). Other stalls also selling “med” honey and local wine. Oh-oh, our lane of traffic has come to a full stop this time - people up ahead out of their cars. Yes, another accident, this one a nasty head-on with one car in a ditch, family with young children and a guy in leathers standing around, his motor-cycle nowhere to be seen. Lanes took turns getting around the pile-up. Passed police and ambulance racing to the scene. 

A lucky young family

Stopped in Mukinje for groceries just before the Plitvice Lakes carpark, where because it was already 3pm we bought a two day ticket. We hope to see 11 of the 16 lakes in all. This afternoon we crossed the biggest, Kosjak Lake by boat, marvelling at the numbers of fish in the clear waters, usually swimming in same direction. 

Over the next couple of hours completed the walk along the bottom (including the lovely boardwalk) past the turquoise Milanovak, Gavanovak, and Kaluderovak Lakes to Veliki Slap, the Big Waterfall. 

The scenery was as delightful as promised, the lakes all at different elevations, with cascades tumbling between. Passed 3 or 4 caves in the limestone, dolomite, sediment and tufa layers, but with all those tourists no glimpses of the wildlife in the brochure (would have loved to see brown bear or wildcats - at a distance of course!) 

Big Daddy fish...

Veliki Slap, the Big Waterfall
With no free camping in the national park, pulled into one of the crowded caravan parks nearby and used our own amenities. Really looking forward to going back again tomorrow!