Today we continue our Topdeck Mega European Tour heading further north into Croatia by leaving Dubrovnik and stopping first at the 3000 year old city of Zadar on the Croatian coast, we then continue further north to the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Plitvice Lakes National Park where we will spend a further two nights.
04 June, 2012 – Dubrovnik to Plitvice Lakes
This morning we were able to have a bit of a reasonable sleep before heading off on the next portion of the trip. Today we are heading up the Adriatic coastline to the Plitvice Lakes region in northern Croatia. Today we will not get to see the lakes themselves as we will get to spend the entire day there tomorrow, along the way we will stop in the Croatian city of Zadar north of the port city of Split.
Zadar is full of many Roman ruins, we are taken by our tour leader through the square/park that now has a quite a lot of them laying around for people to get up close and see. The city if full of many churches and has an old town feel about it as you wonder the streets, but in a bid to attract more tourists the city has introduced a very modern attraction. Right on the shore line a Sea Organ has been built along with a massive solar panel, sitting by the water you can listen as the combination of water and wind makes the organs under you make their tune.
While in Zadar we wondered around the town, as we spent about five hours here we all ran out of things to do and if we had it our way we would have rather go to our camping site at the lakes a lot earlier just to chill out. As this was our only real opportunity to have dinner tonight, we opted for an early dinner at around 4:30 before we needed to be back at the coach.
Tonight was also supposed to be our ‘Euro Trash Party’ so a group of us decided to all chip in some money and make a cocktail to share rather than buying individual drinks. As an ex-barman I opted to be senior mixologist for the night as we explored the few supermarkets we could to come up with an appropriate cocktail. We decided we were going to make a Sex On The Beach, however one of the ingredients was Peach Snaps, and we could not find it anyway to save our lives, so I came up with the idea of just substituting the things we couldn’t find and come up with our own concoction.
Instead of Peach Snaps, we used Peach juice, and with Cranberries being big in Croatia it seemed appropriate to try and get some sort of Cranberryness into the drink. After we left Zadar we headed further north to the lakes, our accommodation for the next two nights was in a camping ground in really nice cabins. Once we checked in I got straight to work on our cocktail now titled Sex On The Lake.
Dan’s Sex on the Lake Cocktail…
2 Litres of Peach Juice
1 Litre of Cranberry Juice
2 sliced oranges
700ml of Vodka (plus a little left over from another bottle 800ml)
Mix all of this together in the bucket… Add ice to your cup and now it’s ready to go…
Tonight we had our Euro Trash party within the confines of the camping ground, a few noise complains and an empty cocktail bucket later… we would all surly be sporting sore heads the next morning for our walk around the Plitvice Lakes National Park. You know you have made a good cocktail when the people drinking it cannot taste the alcohol and the next morning they ask what was in it because they have the sorest head ever!
05 June, 2012 – Plitvice Lakes
This morning with many people a little worse for wear we all got up and onto the coach to be taken down to the National Park entrance. From the main coach parking area it is a short walk to the entrance where we have our tickets handed out and we are then left to fend for ourselves for the day, Topdeck also provides us with a packed lunch for us to carry around.
It’s important to get to the park at opening time as the place is literally packed full of tourists (like us) and a lot of them are from tours involving ‘senior people’ who like to walk very slow. The walking tracks are pretty narrow, most of which are decaying wooden tracks on top of the lakes, so passing others is quite tricky. The first part of the park is the decent into to craters that contain the lakes, the track zig zags down and this is where the bulk of the frustration of trying to overtake people comes.
There is plenty of time to see the whole park, so I recommend doing the longest track possible especially if you are a group of fast walkers. This route includes catching a ferry across one of the lakes, you do not need to catch it as the track goes around the lake and ends up in the same place, but you might as well to experience the park from the water. Once on the other side the track continues in many loop tracks, before the tack starts heading back to the ferry there is also the option to catch a train back, but it’s not really worth catching it if you still have plenty of time.
Once you arrive back at where the ferry dropped you off, you need to catch another ferry for the short trip to the other side of the lake where the major loop track continues. From here you then walk the entire length of the biggest lake to the entrance, however there is still a small part of the park near the entrance that remained unexplored, this end of the park contains one of the bigger waterfalls you will find in the park. Here there are also benches set up in front of the falls for large group photos.
After completing the walk around the park it was time to head back to the coach for the short trip back to our camping site, tonight was an included dinner and most people were pretty tired from the long day of walking around the National Park. This was one of the highlights of the trip so far, it is one of the rare opportunities on the tour where you are not staying in a city and get to experience a more rural setting in another European country.
Tomorrow morning we are back on the coach and head to another country, we are off to the Hungarian capital of Budapest for two nights.