|Left Zadar late morning and decided to drive the coastal road again and lunch at an obscure town Grab which is halfway to our destination of Krka National Park. On the way we passed some rich agricultural country in the valleys and stopped twice amongst the many fruit stores by the side of the road. Croatia has such beautiful fresh fruit and it is so cheap out of the main tourist areas. We use a lot for our daily smoothies to keep up our energy for this high content itinerary.
Driving north east on the western side if the new freeway and the high bare mountains there are wonderful opportunities to take postcard photos and this included a high steel arched bridge over an inlet of the Aegean sea where bungee jumpy is set up due to the amazing height of the bridge at Most (a small Croatian town). The road to the capital Zagreb which we were travelling to access Krka NP was more like a cattle run with only two lanes and windy bends with a restricted speed limit that you couldn’t really ignore. Many did. As we descended the mountain range we turned off to Grab and eventually found it but there was only a road station or hotel. It seems after the start of the war in 1991, the Serbs who had controlled some of these areas as a small republic had forced the Croatians out of their houses and these have been left vacant and become derelict. After 1995 and the finish of the war many of the Serbs left as well left and the result is many isolated and vacant homes.
When we arrived at the Krka NP it was early afternoon and a queue of people all waiting at the administration office for a bus to take them down to the starting point of the treks. We had heard that this tourist point would be forgotten when we saw the grandeur of the Plitvice Lakes NP and tomorrow we will have the opportunity to compare them.
As a background Krka NP contains a natural karst river covers an area of 109 sq. km and the Krka River flows two kilometres below the town of Knin to Skradin. Travertine is limestone that has settled out of the water and accumulated on the travertine-building mosses and algae and other organisms. The colour of the water originates from this form.
The walk varied in level of challenge but was really enjoyable especially as we descended to the base station where a major waterfall feeds into a beautiful lake. There were hundreds of people in the picnic area basking in the sun or frolicking in the water just below the waterfall. We hadn’t prepared for the trip and not having our swimmers we had to be content with dipping our feet to experience the warm waters. Overall it was a well organised site with plenty of scenic places to marvel at the beauty of nature in all of its forms.
Next to drive to Plitvice Lakes and to try to find our next accommodation which is located just inside the NP on some narrow curving access roads. As it is in the NP the roads cannot be widened with the result that there were some close exchanges with vehicles approaching us as the afternoon light was fading.
Well we are now located in a two storey Austrian style ski lodge called Etno Gardens in a group setting with large grounds to accommodate families and little children. Ahh! No it’s not that bad. The hosts prepared a suckling pig on a spit roast but we settled for some local trout The Croatians love their meat in these parts where in winter the outside temperature can drop to minus 20 C. The is also a strong Austrian influence from the time when the Hapsburgs ruled Croatia and it adjoining lands.