Sunday 30th September
Mr Zarko arrived promptly at 9 am to drive us out to the airport and we collected our car without any problems. We set off for the 2 hour drive to Plitvice National Park with the plan being to drop the car and luggage at our lodging and then spend the afternoon taking one of the walking track walks through the park.
The drive down from Zagreb was through lush green landscape but was most noteworthy for the housing stock along the way. Houses were very humble and utilitarian in design with many unfinished. There was also an abundance of abandoned properties and these would have at least equaled in number those that were occupied; something that was at odds with the pretty rolling green hills we were passing though.
We made it to our AirBnB near midday to find the apartment on the second floor with no lift. Lucky Mark gets a workout! There was a small supermarket directly across the roads and so we called in to buy snacks for our walk, sandwiches for lunch and some milk for the morning.
Plitvice National Park has two main entrances and our accommodation was closer to Gate 2 so, that is where we started from. It was 1.30 pm by the time we’d bought our park entry ticket and, with our walk along Track H estimated to take between 5-6 hours, we set off at a good pace. Or, rather I did. Mark was making many photo stops early and I though his resulting slide-show might would be one to rival Neville’s (an in-joke that the family will get) but needless to say, I was worried he was putting our ETA out to Midnight!
Track H took us through the Upper and Lower lakes and included a boat and bus ferry ride. The path through the park fluctuated between waking on an elevated board walk to that of a dirt track but passed along many beautiful lakes and waterfalls. I’d highly recommend this activity to anyone passing through the region. I’d also recommend doing Track H from Gate 2 as the opposite direction option, Track C from Gate 1, must have a lot more uphill sections as our pathway was predominantly downhill. Keen photographers, though, might be advised to attempt this walk in the morning as it may offer a better set up for photography. We found the sun in the wrong position for our desired waterfall photos; it was low in the sky behind all our vistas.
My good pace through the park brought us out near 5 pm and so we completed the entire walk in 3 1/2 hours and not the suggested 5-6 hours! I can hear Mark whining already that I hurried us along too much.
Our car was parked at Entry Gate 2 and there was a restaurant and bar complex nearby, Restaurant Poljana, so we headed there after our walk to have a drink and dinner. Early thoughts of going home to change and then coming back soon faded after the first beer. We’d had a huge day with the novelty of driving down here as well as a lengthy walk so we decided that an early meal and night might be the best and safest option for us.