We drove from Ljubljana in Slovenia, to Plitvice, in Croatia. It was a bit of a ridiculous trip, and we had issues crossing the border. I shan't say more than that because it's not really my story to tell. There was much waiting, and a little bit of stressing, but we eventually got through okay. It was a bit of an eye opener, though. Still, I think we were all very glad to get moving. There was a load of mountains between the border + Plitvice. We watched lightening strike the other side of the ranges as we wound our way through, which was bizarre. I think we were all glad to finally get to the bungalows that night.
That second day the boys disappeared for the day and me + S hung out. It was raining, which was unexpected and was a bit of a downer. We spent our time getting lost, watching movies, and hanging out at the restaurant. After lunch we freaked ourselves out by having lightening strike quite near us. There was a blinding flash that startled me, followed by the loudest crash of thunder of I've ever heard, it made my heart beat a million times a minute, scared the living shit out me, and made me run like a headless chicken away from where we were. We laughed hysterically, with fear. It was bizzarre, and neither of us could settle afterwards, the adrenline running through our veins was ridiculous. It meant that when the boys did get back, we were all very relieved. I think we were all very glad to back to a happy foursome, and we all hung out together, watching tv + napping. Had dinner.
After Jimmy + I went to Bosnia for dessert. A little town 40k away, across the border. It was novel, crossing the border for drinks. There was wandering around the centre of the tiny town we'd visited. It was bizarre that every bar we passed was blasting american pop songs as loud as they could. We had gelato, and picked a random bar and drank some ridiculous Croatian/Slovenian alcohol. We stayed for ages. Long enough for several rounds of whatever took our fancy. Rounds of chocolates + espressos. Vodka + Orange's. Bosnian beer. Something that tasted like herbal jager. We made friends with the barmen, one of who spoke English, another who didn't. I remember the currency being pretty random. We paid in Euros, and got Konvertibilna Marks back. I was amused no end, it's one of the perks of travelling, I think, the many different currencies, the different weights and images and dimensions. I got a kick out of it, anyway.
The next day we hit up Plitvice Lakes. It's a giant world heritage site, and is gorgeous. There are a dozen or so lakes that cascade one into the other, with very pretty waterfalls between each. The lakes are gorgeous, and are all super clear (you could see the bottom of each quite clearly, including the fish that lived in them) and were gorgeous colours. Turquoise, azure, green. It was all kinds of phenomenal. The lakes were surrounded by a pretty lush rainforest, clearly there was some kind of rich ecosystem goodness going on there.
When we went it was raining, and cold. I'd also done my ankle in, so the four hour hike was all kinds of fun for me. I used Jimmy as a crutch more often than not, which was fun for us both. We didn't buy one of the maps, but the signs were easy enough to follow. There was a ferry ride (which was gorgeous, and freezing) and towards the end, a bus ride back to the information centre where we started. By this point I was positively shivering, and was glad to headed back to the campsite. Still, it was a gorgeous experience. I've never seen anything so pretty.
We left the next morning, and headed towards Split. I was all bundled up, and was wearing as many layers as I could. It was pretty brilliant driving down the mountains. The closer we got the coast, the warmer it was. I discarded layers as we descended, it was pretty random. I adored the heat, though. I love being warm. It was pretty interesting to see how the terrain changed the lower we got. The lush rainforest switched out with dusty scrub. It was bizzare watching the socio-economic level change, too. In Plitvice there were loads of well kept buildings. Out here in the scrub buildings were abandoned, and falling apart. There were giant holes in roofs, missing doors or fallen down walls.
Worse was getting pulled over by the policija. We hadn't been going very fast (it was a 3 tonne red van, not exactly the speediest of vehicles) but we'd going well under what TomTom had told us what the speed limit was. Sadly, the policija said that the limit had changed, and we were well going over it.
We pulled over, as requested. It was hot, we were on the side of a completely deserted dusty road in the middle of nowhere. Not suss at all. Jimmy went over to talk (which, as they spoke little english, was mostly sign language, I think) to them, and came back, sure enough, to ask us how much cash we had on us. In Euros, not Croatian Kuna. We pooled what we had, and he went back, paid the fine, and off we went. Later he told us how 'the paper' cost €150, and 'no paper' cost €100. We'd effectively bribed the policija. Apparently this is not uncommon at all.
Soon after we hit the coast. The view was gorgeous, and there were all these little viewing platforms from which to admire them. The buildings looked fancier, and things in general looked like a civilisation I recognized. By this time it was well too hot to wear clothes, and I was well glad to be warm again. It seemed mind boggling to have started that morning fairly frozen and then to be standing a few hours later in a tropical climate.
I was glad to have left Plitvice, and looking at the gorgeous ocean views, I was very very glad to be in Split.