croatia on my mind

August 12, 2009 at 1:04 pm 3 comments

you know you’ve left hungary when the signs at the bathroom doors have reverted back to geometric shapes (triangle for men and circle for women). in hungary, profiles of a gentleman and a lady are used instead. as you see, the days of knights in shining armour may have been long gone, but the practice of chivalry hasn’t been completely forgotten in this country of 10 million. for instance, no true hungarian will roll his eyes when you bow and kiss the hand of a lady in public.

we crossed the border into croatia in the municipality of gorican in medimurje county, croatia. one of the border patrol guards came up to the bus and collected our passports for inspection. i’d heard that the bus driver may be required to pay up to 4,000 euros or nothing for the “privilege” of checking our passports. it would all depend on who’s in-charge at the time of the crossing.

it started to rain again when we left the border. for lunch, we exited to a dirt road leading to a family-run diner hidden among the trees. the road was flooded about a foot deep due to recent heavy rains. at one time, the bus staggered as if it was gasping for air and stopped. luckily, the driver was able to restart it.



the owner, seen here talking to our driver, was only too happy to welcome us.



the place looked so isolated and rural that i was surprised that anybody would be serving food there.



you could see chickens roaming around. a small deer even came close and allowed to be petted.

we were served different kinds of cheese, bread, cold meats, fruits and vegetables.

after lunch, we headed to the plitvice lakes national park. it’s croatia’s most popular tourist attraction. it’s one of the most beautiful places that i’ve seen or will ever see in this lifetime. in 1979, it was granted the unesco world heritage status.

the park is situated in a deep woodland between mountains populated by varieties of trees and vegetation. it features 12 Upper lakes and four lower lakes inter-connected by waterfalls descending from as high as 2,085 feet. it’s also home to several species of birds and animals.



we arrived at our hotel in plitvice by half past two in the afternoon. at our guide’s suggestion, we went to the park right after we checked in for the night to give us an opportunity to see the lakes and the waterfalls in the afternoon light. he added that they change to green, grey, or blue based on the direction of the sunlight.



when we went back to the park the following morning, we found that the colors of the waters had indeed changed. but i felt it did nothing to diminish the majesty of the place.



the park is truly a hiker’s paradise covering 185 square miles. it offers many trails that lead to hours of exploration. i’d never been in a place where my senses have been engaged all at once. every scenery is breathtaking especially when viewed from the top.




after our morning hike, we drove for three hours across the mountains to jablanac where we took the ferry to rab island. while on the way to jablanac, we passed little villages that show reminders of the last serbio-croatian war in the 1990s.



some of the damaged buildings remain unrepaired and filled with bullet holes.




rab is an island in the adriatic. when we arrived, we found it already full of tourists. it’s a favorite spot among europeans to relax and enjoy the beach and the ocean. we went there for the same purpose. after more than two weeks of touring, we needed a vacation from our vacation.





with no schedules to follow, some (me included) went to explore the island on their own. i knew that i might never have a chance to come back to this place again. the others elected to relax and stayed close to the hotel.

after spending three days and two nights in rab, we went back on the road again. this time our destination was slovenia. i’ll write about it in another post.

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Entry filed under: Blogroll, travel, vacation. Tags: , , , , , .

romantic budapest enchanting slovenia

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. croatia on my mind | Croatia today  |  August 13, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    […] Go here to read the rest: croatia on my mind […]

    Reply
  • 2. fortuitous faery  |  August 18, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    that park is wonderful indeed! that’s a skinny-looking deer, though!

    hey, i mentioned you to my croatian friend when we met in NYC recently. i said i knew someone who just went to croatia…even if i’ve never met you in person. haha.

    Reply
    • 3. plaridel  |  August 19, 2009 at 10:40 pm

      fortuitous faery:

      the chickens look terrible, too. maybe because of the rain.

      croatia is beautiful. you should include it in your itinerary someday..

      maybe we’ll meet in croatia. who knows? life’s full of surprises.

      Reply

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