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The traveler: An expected journey This time it's the Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Sweden & Norway before England again for several weeks and on to Croatia.

Plitvice: Land of the falling lakes

CROATIA | Tuesday, 30 October 2018 | Views [111]

It was this place that first captured my interest. It is the reason I know where Croatia is. The highlight of this place is simply, or incredibly the lakes. It’s hard to put into words what a photo can say, and even then it’s hard to truly capture the magnificence of the waterfalls. If Rivendale ever existed on Earth it would’ve been here. 

Each morning arriving at the first overlook or the first series of waterfalls and pools I was in awe. The water was a crystal clear aquamarine with fish slowly weaving just beneath the surface as though suspended in glass. The simple wooden walkways curving across lakes blend in so well with the natural landscape, and yet are extremely trusting in everyone’s sidewalk sense (only in a few places will you find wooden railings). Yet I did not see anyone take a topple into the water!

I had the very good fortune of 2 dry and partly sunny days, though still cold enough for my full winter coat in the morning (40s F). Had I kept my original plans to be in Plitvice a couple days earlier I would’ve been wet, if not soaked. 

It’s amazing how the small choices you make set you along different paths! Moments difference and you meet different people. One hello can become a new friend, or a few minutes of silence and someone will remain just a stranger. Sometimes conversations are short, and sometimes they last. 

On my first boat from the entrance to the starting point of the upper lakes I was tempted to say something to the man in front of me when he commented to his father in Spanish about the beauty of the lakes. I did not, but as it happened he asked me in English a few minutes later, and for the next couple hours I proceeded to walk with him and his father past the waterfalls. We parted half way up and then proceeded to bump into each other again that afternoon. The world is smaller and all the more interesting with the new people you meet and the interests you share.

On the second afternoon I took the road less traveled on the forest paths, which had caught my eye the day before. For 3 hours I hiked completely alone through paths of leaves, beeches, and firs with occasional bird song. If not for the well marked path from tree to tree it would’ve been incredibly easy to get lost among the sea of leaves. Scattered in patches between the trees were what I Initially I took to be huge outcroppings quartz. On closer inspection I realized they were probably statues of limestone instead, which forms the malleable skeleton of Plitivice itself.

I doubt you can ever be in Plitvice without other people, but only a few times in my 2 days there did I really find myself admits a crowd. It is a very different experience as everyone vies for photos of the same waterfalls. It gave me just a taste for the summer months and I would not recommend it; they have even taken to closing the park in the middle of the day because of the number of people. 

At this time in late October the major crowds are gone. Though the hills around the lakes were a dull grey there were still green leaves hanging to branches, and the forest floor was covered in golden brown. It was far from disappointing.

 

Tags: croatia, hiking, plitvice

 

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