Monday, September 2, 2013
Plitvice Lakes to Omis

Off to an early start with breakfast at 8:00 a.m. It's much cooler today and overcast, with a chance of rain. It will be fine hiking weather as long as the rain holds off. Bojana put out a good breakfast spread, boiled eggs, cold cuts, cheese, bread, various sweet rolls, cereal, yogurt, jam, coffee, juice, fruit, and more. That ought to give us the energy to hike.

Nacionalni Park Plitvicka Jezera (Plitvice Lakes National Park) is a lush land of enchantment encompassing 16 terraced lakes and dozens of waterfalls linked together by dirt paths and boardwalks. It's the largest and oldest of Croatia's eight national parks.

We parked at Entrance 2, bought our tickets, and walked 15 minutes to tram stop 2, where we boarded a tram (they call it a train) that took us on a 15-minute ride to the top of the Upper Lakes at tram stop 3. The trams and boats are included in the 110 kuna entrance price.

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This photo came pre-captioned

As recommended by Bojana, we followed the “H” trail through the park. 12 of the 16 lakes are in the Upper Lakes portion of the park. They are all crystal clear, gorgeous, and connected together by waterfalls and cascades. I was happy for the sketchy weather because it kept the crowds away. It wasn't too busy around the Upper Lakes, except for the foot-traffic-jams that occurred on the boardwalks when people posed too long for photos.

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Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

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Upper Lakes, Plitvice

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Captivating cascades

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And me with no fishing pole

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Unique waterfall

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Simply stunning

A ferry ride across Lake Kozjak links the Upper and Lower Lakes. There's restrooms and a restaurant above the Lower Lakes ferry dock. We got ice cream here after the quiet 20-minute ride on the electric ferry.

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Ferry across Lake Kozjak

The boardwalks at the Lower Lakes were crowded with herd-like tour groups. The groups don't go to the less accessible Upper Lakes. We hiked over to the big waterfall of Veliki Slap, along with everyone else in the world, then the trail rose steeply up the side of a canyon, giving us great views of the park below.

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Fabulous flora, Lower Lakes

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Supljara Cave

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Veliki Slap

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Plitvice Panorama

We caught the tram at stop 1 and rode back to Entrance 2. It stayed cold all day in the park, never rising out of the 40s. It misted a little in the morning but never turned to rain. Happily, this is the only day of our trip that we even needed jackets.

I feel like we got a pretty complete tour of this spectacular park. The Upper Lakes are more beautiful and less busy than the Lower, but with the big waterfall and the panoramic view at the Lower Lakes, I'm glad we did both. Overall, I rate this one of my top-ten favorite national parks in the world!

By 3:00 we were on the road to Omis. A few kilometers north of Udbina, there was a long fence with razor wire at the top and some tanks parked behind it, posted with “no photo” and “no stopping” signs. Tom wanted to stop regardless, but I urged him on. Once we got to the A1 toll road, I gave Tom a break for an hour or so and did some of the driving. Yay for me.

At 6:00 we arrived at Apartments Vulic in Omis. Omis is a little town situated on the Adriatic Coast at the mouth of the Cetina Gorge, just far enough from the city of Split to be out of the major traffic.

Once again, the name of our soba wasn't posted out front, but we'd looked at a picture of it on the Internet this morning, so we were able to recognize it. We were greeted by Ivanka, who speaks Croatian and German, and we had some difficulty communicating. At one point I thought she was speaking Italian (after all, she greeted us with “ciao”), so I tried a little Spanish, but it turns out that although the dialect of Croatian in this region sounds somewhat like Italian, the similarity ends there, so the Spanish wasn't helpful at all. So much for that!

Anyway, Ivanka showed us our room and then served us coffee and orange juice in the courtyard. Then I offered her our passports and managed to successfully pay, and all worked out fine. We did learn from her that her son Josip would be there later, and that he speaks good English.

Our room has a nice balcony with a view of the Dalmatian Mountains and a small kitchenette. I was happy to have a kitchen. We've been gone less than a week, and we're already sick of eating out. This place also has one of those separate switches for the water heater. We're not going to be tricked by that again! There's a covered parking area for the SEAT under a huge canopy of mature grapevines. Very cool. We're staying here two nights.

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Apartments Vulic, Omis

At dusk we walked across the street to the beach and watched the sky fade into night. Then we visited the supermarket, and for dinner we made beef with marinara sauce, kidney beans, and bread and butter. We also got some tonic water to try to tone down the sweetness of the liqueurs we bought by the side of the road yesterday. I liked the walnut liqueur the best. They make it from the entire black walnut, fermenting the nuts when the green outer coating of the nut is still soft.

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Nightfall at the beach



Continue to September 3, 2013

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