After waking up in the park, we headed to a local adventure/excursion agency and got their only automatic rental. We started on our 3 hour journey to Plitvice National Park. It promised more waterfalls than we would be able to count and it did not disappoint. Almost immediately after entering the park you see what looks like the tallest, widest, strongest waterfall ever. We were in amazement. I didn’t think it could get much better (although it was pretty crowded for a midday/midweek trip). We hiked up the trail a bit until we were able to get to the tram stop that takes to the top of the park where we intended to walk back down along the falls. This is where we saw Indian Kellyn. For those of you who don’t know Kellyn – please disregard and move on to the next paragraph. For those of you who do know him… please see the below photo.
We made our way to the top and began our venture down as far away from the crowds as possible when we came across a couple who told us that the trail up ahead was closed down because of flooding. It had been very rainy the past couple weeks and was also raining on and off during the day. We decided to check it out for ourselves before turning back and ended up just playing a little game of hopscotch through the puddles on the boarded wooden walkway to avoid getting our shoes wet. It turned out that this was an incredible decision. It felt like we were completely alone. No one had ventured this way because of the “flooding” and the waterfalls along these paths were stunning. Wall to wall falls everywhere you look, words nor pictures will even begin to describe the beauty of this place. Get your butts to Croatia and go see this park. It is worth it, PROMISE.
It was already pretty late when we left the park but we decided to head to our next destination, Mount Biokovo National Park, anyway. It was a few hours away but we knew if we got there we could crash out in the car and wake up with the sunrise. We made it all the way to the base of the mountain and then Rob had to drive up as I was too nervous to drive the narrow curvy roads at night (quite challenging). Like many of the crazy roads we’ve encountered so far he drove them like a champ. For about and hour we weaved all the way to the tippy tippy top of the mountain and we parked the car to overlook the sea. There is a large spaceship like antenna on the mountain top, the landscape is incredibly rocky and the stars seem to be on the same plane as you rather than above your head. The city lights stretch out into the horizon and eventually merge seamlessly into the matrix of stars in the sky. It truly felt as if we were in outer space. There was no one around yet again and it was the most calming beauty. We’ve seen views and vistas aplenty on this trip, but this one was in a totally different category. Both visually spectacular and one of a kind. A few hours later we were able to watch the sun rise over the water with the lower mountain tops in front of it. What a site! We ended our day with some relaxation at the bottom of the mountain on the beautiful beaches of Makarska.
Our final stop on our Croatian journey, Primosten. This was likely our most relaxing as well as our most exciting stop in the country. We came here to get our scuba certifications, both OWD and AOWD (open water and advanced open water). We chose DC Pongo because they had the best balance of right location, right price, and great reviews. It felt like the right choice and it was. They were able to arrange an apartment for us for the 7 days we were there, so we had an entire place to ourselves, which was amazing. This allowed us to cook our own meals, relax after our courses, spread out a little and just enjoy our own space for a little bit instead of sharing with other people or knowing we would have to get up and leave in 2 days. We had a grocery store around the corner where we stocked up on food – including the greatest seasoning ever along with HEINZ ketchup! We had two instructors – Miky and Marijo. They were both really fantastic instructors. Miky especially took great care of us. We did our first dive within a couple days and it was unbelievable. Being able to be underwater for 30 minutes or more without having to be concerned with holding your breath. We both had a very hard time with equalizing our ears at depths below 8 meters, which was a big concern of ours. Micy suggested we try an over the counter nasal spray to clear our sinuses. We gave this a shot on our 3rd dive and like magic we were able to go from 8 meters down to 25 meters. Our first big dive had finally happened! We were able to swim with ease and complete all of the necessary exercises for the course and then as a special treat we got to see an awesome ship wreck AND our first octopus!!
Just to give a few more props to Miky… Our first night after diving he took us out squid fishing. While we didn’t capture anything, watching the sunset from on the water was really relaxing. We talked with him and Julie, a girl from France who was closing enjoying one of her last nights as Croatia’s tourist season came to a close. We had a lot of fun sharing travel stories, and especially hearing about Miky’s former exploration adventures in South America and Madagascar. The last item of note for Croatia is that we (Rob) caught a turtle and we kept it as a pet until it really stunk up the apartment. It has become apparent that we just shouldn’t have a turtle after now deciding against it for a second time. I will not beg Rob for a turtle any longer.
Croatia proved to be a great stop- our 6 day initial plan stretched to around 24 because of the diverse amount of activities and sights to see. We’d love to go back, and strongly encourage anyone looking for a cool place to go to look into it. It’s affordable, the people are great (and speak English) and the food is great. We promise you’d love it as much as we did!!