Wednesday, 26 September 2012

43 YEAR WAIT IS OVER

KRK TO THE LAKES.......20th

A very pleasant sojurn on the island of KRK, some interesting walks past the naturist beaches of which Croatia has a great many.....the sign for one includes the letters FKK....and our evenings have fallen into a very predictable pattern. The sunsets continue to amaze and the weather is very warm and sunny, the town of PUNAT a short walk away and is a pleasant stroll. We did intend joining one of the many cruises out to other islands but they all stopped on the Tuesay we had put aside for it which was predictable as we were leaving the following day.
Stayed on KRK from 15th-18th and then headed inland to the lakes at PLITVICA.

THE PLITVICA LAKES AND NATIONAL PARK

We first heard about the Plitvica lakes in 1969 and planned a camping trip that year to what was then Yugoslavia but events conspired against us and the adventure was postponed for 43 years as it turned out. In the meantime, the lakes became a Unesco World Heritage site, Yugoslavia disappeared, Croatia went to war with Serbia and access to the lakes was denied by the Serbs, who mined the area and murdered the workers, between 1991-995 and we had 2 children, celebrated their marriages and rejoiced in the birth of our grandsons, so a lot of water had poured over the waterfalls..........
With so much baggage I had approached a visit here with some trepidation in case it disappointed. It did not and the 43 year wait was worth it...

There are a series of 16 lakes, fed by the Karana river, which drop about 600 mtrs. through a gorge, like a series of canal locks. The make-up of the water and the limestone is a unique combination which carves out channels and caverns in the rock to produce wonderful waterfalls.  Wooden walkways allow you to cross the lakes and the walk along the lakesides and hillsides; electric boats cross one of the largest lakes and after we had spent 6 hours walking from the bottom to the top there was an electric shuttle bus to take us back to the bottom ( in hindsight, taking the shuttle to the top and walking back down would be a good option, but at least our way meant that although walking uphill we did have the waterfalls in front of us all the time.).

The lakes are a national park now so camping etc is highly restricted. The official site is expensive, large, busy,fairly naff and 7kms from the lake entrance but a shuttle of free coaches arrives at 9am to transport happy campers to the entrance returning at 5pm.. for those not wishing to spend all day, a local bus runs hourly or taxis abound.

We arrived the first day in sunshine but it rained all night, not stopping until 6.30am. We had thought that the visit would have to be postponed another day but the forcast was right and the sun came out and the heavy overnight rain meant that more water was pouring over the falls than usual, so win-win. We were well stocked up with picnics but the catering in the park was of an excellent quality and reasonable price with pig-roast and spit-roast chickens at a huge log cabin complex beside one of the lakes and geared up very professionally for the thousands of visitors......even at this time of the year there was constant stream of coaches disgorging tourists from every corner of the known globe.....I personally took many photographs for young japanese,koreans and americans as you do...but I would not like to be shuffling along in the high summer when the pictures make the crowds look unbearable......bad enough in parts in September. But a great experience and I cannot rate a visit more highly. Go see for yourselves.

Wed. the 20th was Margaret's birthday and a very pleasant evening spent at the restaurant on the campsite where we had a great meal for around a £100 for the 6 of us.

Entrance to the lakes complex was 110 Kune a head 0r £12, which included hopping on and off as many boats or buses as you liked, all of which ran constantly with little waiting about so very efficient and we all thought good value

2 comments:

  1. Not once in 42 years have you ever mentioned "THE PLITVICA LAKES AND NATIONAL PARK" !!!

    No once.

    ever ...

    not even mentioned how much you wanted to go to the former Yugoslavia ... let alone camp by some lakes !!!

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  2. You weren't even a twinkle in the eye in 1969. I did not claim a burning ambition to visit Plitvica merely that it was on the radar 43 years ago and when this trip was planned I saw an opportunity to visit somewhere i had heard of and had wanted to visit many years ago. I had to persuade the other 4 that it would be a good place to go....and then I realised just how much the world had changed in the meantime.

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