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Conner's Big Adventure 2017

Croatia - Natural Wonders

CROATIA | Wednesday, 17 May 2017 | Views [654]

Not quite to the top of the stairs yet....

Not quite to the top of the stairs yet....

NATURAL WONDERS

While in Croatia we visited two of the national parks and they were even more stunning than I imagined. The first park we visited was Krka National Park. In my dreams I have never imagined so much water in one place. Croatia is a very green country and Krka was like the epicenter of an explosion of vibrant green plant life. Waterfalls and spills, lakes and rivers, streams, springs. I was smiling like a toddler in a toy store! We took the ferry out to Roski Slap which took about an hour and a half both ways. If we had known more before we went we would have saved the $50 and driven to the entrance by Roski Slap, but the ferry wasn’t all bad. It was a pretty ride through the canyon and we got to stop at an island in the middle which had been built stone by stone (the whole island was built by monks in the 1800s!) and on the island they built a beautiful monastery surrounded by gardens and olive groves. This is the monastery where we found the museum I mentioned with the war memorial. Roski Slap was a beautiful series of small cascades ending in a very pretty mid-sized waterfall. The rushing water was once used to power a large grain mill which had been preserved for tourists to go into and see how things were done long years ago. It was very cool to see how the mill was set up and for Conner, little engineer that he is, to see how a water wheel works. We hiked all around the area and up 517 steps (that felt like five million!) to a small cave where they have found evidence of human inhabitance dating back to 5,000 B.C. We also saw two cute little furry brown bats which caused Conner to squat down and duck walk quickly away whispering fiercely “Mom! Don’t talk! Come to me!” Hahaha! After the ferry ride back we took a bus to the other side and walked the boardwalks around Skradinski Buk. It was amazing walking through endless cascades and pools and flowing streams. I could have spent three days there easily. Since we were early in the season there weren’t too many people there with us which made for easy walking and viewing around the boardwalks. Really just a stunning place.

The day we chose to go to Plitvice National Park was a different story. We ended up going on the Croatian equivalent of Labor Day, so the park was PACKED. Unlike Krka where the boardwalks are a one way walking trek, Plitvice’s boardwalks are a free for all, so there were people going both directions and lots of them. Plitvice was certainly beautiful, but it did put a slight damper on things having to fight! through so many crowds. We had to wait in line for an hour to get on a ferry to take us further into the park. I can’t imagine being here in high tourist season! Crowds aside, Plitvice was breathtaking with its huge falls and endlessly deep lakes with colors I can’t even describe. The water in the lakes at Plitvice was such a mesmerizing blue/green I just wanted to sit and stare at it. At the same time it was so clear you could see trees and boulders 30 feet down that had fallen in. If the magic at Krka was the endless water, at Plitvice it was the color of the water. The pictures we took hardly do it justice, but even still they are incredible. I am so thankful to be able to have seen such places of natural beauty as these. When people tell you to “imagine your happy place” Krka and Plitvice most definitely fit into mine. Plitvice also had an old grain mill that you could walk around and these were actually working when we were there. There were two active mills grinding corn which delighted Conner (since parental explanations rarely make much sense to children without being demonstrated).

 

All in all, Croatia was an incredible experience and I would love to return, multiple times ;-).

Tags: croatia, krka, national parks, natural wonders, plitvice

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