Day 4 – Monday 1st August – Bus to Korenica to Plitvice to Korenica (0km)
Through my earplugs, I heard the distant ring of the alarm clock going off in both of our mobile phones at 7:00, then Nat switched them off (yes, both of them) and there was silence again. She did not try to wake me up and I, tired as I was from two days of travel, was not particularly interested in finding out why. An hour later I woke up, pulled one of the plugs out of my ear and immediately hear rumbling thunder. I turned to Nat and asked ‘seriously?’ Two days travelling at well over 30ºC and today, the day we were going to go hiking to one of the most famous tourist attractions in Croatia, it was raining? No doubt, that was God getting back at me for having mocked his Italian Evangelists…
We waited for a while, but the sky did not give us any hope of the weather improving soon. It was covered in menacing looking clouds, and there were bursts of hard rain every few minutes. There was not much to do, so we decided to go to the supermarket to do the shopping and kill some time. On the way there we saw a tourist information stall and asked about the natural park to see whether we would have enough time to see it the following morning before heading to Omiš in the afternoon.
The girl told us that there were trains and boats if we did not want to walk, and the map also showed some cafés and restaurants were we could take shelter from the rain. Not wanting to pass the oportunity to visit the park and seeing that there was a bus leaving in about 5 minutes, we decided to risk it and go right there right then, without going back to the apartment. Fortunately we had taken jackets, the camera, the passports and some money with us.
It was still cloudy, but the rain had stopped when the bus dropped us at the park’s entrance. We studied the map and decided to take a boat across the central lake and hike to the main tourist attraction – the big waterfall. It started raining again when we got off the boat, but as luck would have it, there was a small souvenir shop where I could get a raincoat to prevent the rain from stopping us now that it had become clear that the park was defintely fighting the elements for.
One of the oldest natural parks in Europe, Plitvice consists of 16 lakes and countless waterfalls that connect them. It may take up to 8 hours to visit it all on foot, more than that if you want to explore the whole network of footpaths and hiking routes in and around the park. While most people come to Croatia for its beaches, this area of outstanding natural beauty, one of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites is an absolute must.
After seeing the big waterfall we hiked back to the entrance in the pouring rain and took shelter at a café, where we had some lunch. Not wanting to finish our visit just yet, we took the train to the other end of the park to see the upper lakes and hike back .
It was definitely worth it, and we were rewarded with a break in the weather and fewer tourists than on the big waterfall. My very limited talent at writing would not do it justice, so here are a few pictures. You can find a lot more on Facebook.