Friday when I met my new friend, Ágnes for coffee, she told me she was going to Plitvice Lakes in Croatia. I remarked that I had always wanted to go there – had heard it was spectacular. She had booked a day trip with a local travel agency that had a few seats left on the bus leaving at 3 a.m. Saturday. The very next morning. I was surprised when she asked “Do you want to go?” But I thought Why Not? I would be alone for the weekend anyway, and this would be a great opportunity. Ági took to me to the travel agency where I booked the trip. So, I got some kuna (Croatian currency) at the exchange office. Ági booked a taxi to pick me up at 2:30 a.m. since the tour bus stop was too far away to walk at that time of the morning. So, I set my cell phone alarm and got up at 2 a.m., caught the taxi to the McDonald’s parking lot!!!! And got on the bus. It’s a six hour ride to the Park – so we slept most of the way there.
Well, no wonder this is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. An amazing place with a unique geography. Tavertine is a porous carbonate rock formed by the sedimentation of calcium carbonate from water. The amazing color of the lakes come from this process. And the chemical process is ongoing, changing the landscape literally day to day. It produces geological formations, especially waterfalls among the lakes and streams. There must be hundreds of waterfalls. And it’s all set in a beautiful forest – apparently a portion is a virgin forest.
We walked about 5 hours throughout the day on the paths – many of which are built right above the water. There are too many to walk in one day – it is a very large place. A word about the fish – wow, the water is so clear that you can see the fish all over the lake. And I saw all sizes of fish in the lake – apparently there is no fishing allowed. But I did not see a black bear – they are supposed to live in the park. Botonists have identified over 1200 species of plants, 55 of orchids alone, and over 300 species of butterflies have been recorded.
So here’s is a short video look at the park – I made while hiking the trails. I kept the video in chronological order, so that you could “walk” the path that I took. It was a great day – but long 6 hours over, about 5 hours of hiking, 30 minutes for lunch – well, actually, mostly for a beer, and 6 hours back.
In fact, about the beer break. Ági and I got so immersed in our conversation and pivo (beer in croatian) that we forgot to meet the group as it left for the next hike. But we took the path and knew we would catch up, as they did not walk very fast. There were quite a few older women on the trip - yes, even older than me. I was surprised they walked so far as I can not imagine many Americans that age making such a long hike.