With the Bicajos Vándor association, we have been planning to visit the Plitvice Lakes for quite a long time, but it has got canceled every time. But not this passed three days. The journey itself didn't take too long, so we planned a tour both on the day we arrived and the day we went home.
On the first day, when we didn't even arrive to the camping, we stopped for a waterfall somewhere in the middle of a village. They claim that there were watermills there in the past. At the arrival, weather looked like it is going to be rainy, but as we set the tents up, it has got sunny and hot quickly. The camping was located at a beautiful hilly place, and the service was excellent. I have to say, this was the best camping I've ever been to. I could've never believed that this title goes to a Croatian camping, and not to an Austrian or a German one.
On bicycle tours usually we have a ritual of getting lost. On this trip, it happened right when we haven't even left the camping. Twice. The camping was big, and we took a wrong turn. When we have made our extra rounds, and known where we were, and tried to get out of the territory, we bumped into its fence. At our third attempt, we have successfully left the camping (insert Benny Hill theme song here).
Our route was mostly on abandoned roads, and most of them were not paved, just covered by gravel, which caused difficulties only on uphill and downhill sections.
We went through meadows and smaller forests. A quite interesting thing was, we haven't came across with villages for a long time, but there were houses by the road, each with several hundred meters or few kilometers far from each other. All of them were abandoned and taken over by the nature, and many of them were bombed during the Yugoslavian war.
Hiking at the Plitvice lakes
The second day was expected to be the most exciting of the weekend, since the Plitvice lakes are what we went for. Three buses take the tourists from the camping to the national park each morning, and back each afternoon free of charge. We took the opportunity, since it is not accessible by bikes, and we didn't want to leave them on the street.
There are 16 lakes in the area connected by numerous waterfalls, making the view breathtakingly amazing. Around, and in between them, there are built paths, allowing the visitors to take a closer look.
The national park has no shortage of caves. The most interesting one is the biggest one as well, not far from the entrance, and the path leads through it (yes, it has two openings).
The ticket includes one ride on the ferries running on the biggest lake, and also there are some strange looking means of transportation on the eastern shores of the lakes. They call them buses in spite of their looks. Without these, given the breadth of the national park, we wouldn't be able to see the most beautiful sights, and who knows, what we have missed… One day is certainly not enough for visiting the entire place.
Usually there are crowds in this park, but there were few minutes, when I was just sitting on a bench all alone, listening to chirps, quacks, ribbits and the waterfalls in the distance. I wouldn't mind this kind of calmness at home as well.
The rest of the weekend
Unfortunately that calmness didn't extend to the night. There was a massive thunder, but luckily my tent is rock steady, no wind can blow it away, and no rain can wet it through. It was raining in the morning as well, so we canceled the tour we planned for this day. Instead, we decided to stop at Zagreb towards home for a sightseeing, but when we got there we didn't feel like sightseeing, so we headed directly home.
All in all, this three (or rather two) days of harmony was needed. Croatian people are kind, and the fact that they understood when I put Croatian, German and English words in a single sentence, proves that they are pretty good at languages, unlike other countries in the region.