Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Northward in Croatia

On the road over a month now. Somewhere in Italy (or maybe earlier), this stopped being a vacation and started to become just what I do now - sightseeing and making train reservations is now my daily routine. Hopefully returning won't be a culture shock :).

I've been making my way northwards through Croatia relatively quickly over the last few days - I'm stopping over in the big Croatian cities on my way to other places, really.

August 1: Final day in Dubrovnik

A lazy agenda day - slept in a bit, then went kayaking around the city and out to Lokrum island. Lokrum's a nice little island (apparantly where the locals go to relax) - two things deserve special mention though:

  • Peacocks everywhere, moseying down the paths with the people. I guess there's some sort of nature preserve thing going on.
  • Lokrum has a dedicated nude beach, that surprisingly isn't entirely comprised of old German couples (though they are certainly present). On a tangentially related note, Croatian women are very beautiful.

Didn't cover too much ground - moseyed around the island, lounging on the beach when the views were good ;).

Dubrovnik pictures

August 2: Split

Took the early bus to Split, the second largest city in Croatia and "coastal capital". Croatians take their road security seriously - more passport checks, and I'm pretty sure we didn't cross any borders. Chatted with a Brazilian guy (on his way to Hvar) and Croatian girl (on her way back to Germany) on the bus ride.

Got in around midday, found a room, and wandered around town and through Emperor Diocletian's old retirement palace.

Split pictures

August 3: Plitvice

Plitvice National Park, on the road from Split to Zagreb, is an limestone canyon filled with a series of 16 terraced lakes and the waterfalls connecting them. Running over the limestone fills the water with CaCO3, which adds a nice blue-green color, and calcifies the lake beds, preventing mud and rendering the lakes very clear.

Anyway, it's exceptionally beautiful and a must see in Croatia.

(Plitvice was once a major filming location for German/Italian spaghetti westerns because it apparantly looks like the western US to them...)

The park isn't that big and I did the whole thing in < 4 hours. Long day - picked up the bus from Split in the morning, 5 hour trip to the lakes, 4 hours hiking, then 2.5 hours on the bus to Zagreb (plus ~1 hour of waiting for the late bus to show up, of course).

Had another fortunate stroke with the weather - 5 minutes after boarding the bus in Plitvice, a major hail/lightning storm ensued. I pity the poor Germans who got off a few minutes later at their campsite (they confessed to not putting the fly on the tent in the beautiful morning weather).

Still pouring here in Zagreb as I write this - hopefully things will clear up tomorrow.

Plitvice pictures

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