The following words are very special. Not because of how they are to be written but purely about the subject matter that is being written about. I feel so very privileged to write about this special place in the World.
May I introduce to you Plitvice Lakes.
Over the past few days after our visit Lauren and I have been constantly recalling the many wonders that this place has to offer. This is how we saw it…
We jumped in our rented car from Split and I must say I sat in the driver’s seat for a good minute as I tried to orient myself with how to drive on the other side of the road. After a couple of “interesting moments” we found our way onto the highway and we were bound for this place that captured our attention over a year ago via a website displaying the ‘Top 10 most beautiful places in the World’. It didn’t disappoint.
We arrived at Plitvice Lakes just after lunch and decided it was time to get a ticket and explore. Without trying to make all those that are reading this too jealous, well, it was like nothing else we had ever seen. We jumped onto the wooden board-walk (which must go for 10km’s plus through the whole park) and turned the first corner and caught our breath. We were met with two words “Valiki Slap”. Now my Croatian isn’t wonderful and far from fluent, however I was able to decipher that ‘Slap’ means waterfall. I am not to sure what the word Valiki means but it must mean something like ‘epic’ or ‘amazing’ or ‘get-a-load-of-this’. I can remember that some of my first words uttered weren’t even recognisable as I was left speechless at this natural beauty and then I think I turned to Lauren and asked her if she thought that the water had the ability to give ‘everlasting life’. We had arrived at the eternal springs.
The blue water doesn’t register on any known colour wheel, there is cascade after cascade of waterfalls, there are caves and chasms everywhere you look, the board-walks take you directly over the raging rivers below, the fish are so clear you think they are floating and for us it was pretty much deserted for the first day. In the morning it had apparently stormed quite ferociously, which sent all the buses of asian tourists packing and left a clear sun-filled board walk for the afternoon. We felt very lucky. Lauren even said, and I quote, “when you grow up, you realise that all those fantasy lands don’t exist, you know all those ones that you read about as a kid. Peter Pan, Lord of the Rings, Middle Earth… Well this one does”. This is due to 3 of Lauren’s most favourite things being, 1. Clear water, 2. Open spaces and 3. The smell of pine trees. At times the excitement of these 3 worlds aligning was all too much for Lauren to contain and she ran, jumped, skipped, hopped, leaped and hooted along the boardwalk. It added to the beauty.
Anyway, enough of my ranting. I think that you get the picture that we both highly recommend a visit to this place. As far as what there is to see, the lakes consist of two separate parts, the lower lakes and the upper lakes. We chose to tackle the lower lakes first. As the pictures display we just soaked up all that the lakes had to offer. We stayed until the closing minute and we prayed with might that the next day would also be just as sunny. It was. We felt very blessed.
What the pictures don’t portray is that there were many many snake sightings. There are native water snakes that live all around the banks of the river. I must say that there was one particular moment on the 1st day that I thoroughly enjoyed. We saw a water-snake try and attack a fish in the water and then swim around and poke it’s head out for a while as though to say to us “now is the time to take a photo” however I was too smart and caught it all of a video which includes commentary in a Steve Irwin style manner. It looks like it is all in HD however that can only be attributed to the clearest of blue water that the event took place in.
Where we stayed deserves an equal mention as it was as much a fairytale as where we visited. Let me just summarise. Upon arrival at our Villa we were greeted by a lovely lady who laughed after every sentence as though unsure if her english had been delivered in the right way. Now, I would include her name, however it is not only impossible to spell but also impossible to pronounce. For the purpose of this blog we will all assume her name is “Mareta”.
After our first meetings with Mareta the following events that occurred, in both cronological order and order of greatness, put a smile on our faces. 1. We got an upgrade to a bigger room which had a very comfy King bed. 2. We were invited upstairs to sample some of Mareta’s home made plum-brandy. 3. This was followed by an array of home-baked cakes 4. We were able to cook one of our first home-cooked meals in weeks in Mareta’s own kitchen 5. We were given a very healthy sample of some cheese from a HUGE wheel of delicious cheddar fresh from the farm… and finally the sealer 6. Mareta, God bless her, offered to do our washing from the past two weeks. Now, not only did she do our washing from the last two weeks but it was all ironed and folded when we arrived back from our day at the lakes. It can safely be said that the accommodation mirrored the fairytale place we were visiting and were very sad to say goodbye to this part of the world and our terrific host.
Next stop, Rovinj.