Plitvice Lake National Park

In between Zadar and Zagreb we spent a night outside the National Park in a bed and breakfast. It was a nice change from sharing rooms with multiple strangers and no air conditioning.

We woke up early to get into the park as soon as it opened. We chose the F route which was the “best” route and started our hike.

The trails in the morning were relatively uncrowded but got crowded as the day went on. We were up hill and down hill, staring at waterfalls, daring one another to push one in, and staring straight into the bottom if the lakes. The lakes are special because of their mineral content. The water is super clear because algae and most plants can’t grow. It’s really beautiful. So, I could sit here and talk about walking, but I’m just going to start the pictures (that’s what you want to see anyway).

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If you eve go to Croatia, you have to go here. This is honestly one of the most beautiful places I’ve been.

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Split, Zadar, and Zagreb

Split, Zadar, and Zagreb were the last three cities we went to in Croatia. My friend from home flew into Split the same day that we ferried from Hvar. We met her at the hostel and did a bit of exploring that night. We didn’t wander too far, but we saw some traditional Croatian dancing on our walk. The city was pretty cool, but definitely touristy. The next day, Jessie and I woke up early with intentions to ride bikes in the park. We woke up early, took the 20 minute walk to the park and found NO BIKES! Zero. None. So we walked. And walked. And Jessie for her feet into the Adriatic for the first time.

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That afternoon we took a bus to the national park (more on that later).

Zadar. Oh Zadar and its beautiful sea organ. We didn’t spend much time there. As soon as we got in, we went to the store and bought two bottles of wine, bread, Pag cheese, and an assortment of meat. We found a wonderful spot at the sea organ and ate our dinner, drank wine and chatted.

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Jeremy had to get up early to catch a flight so we called it around midnight. Jessie and I woke up early in search of bikes to ride around. We found them!

20130726-085541.jpg we rode around for a while and then tried to find Kirsten at the “sandy beach”. Jessie finally got to go swimming in the Adriatic and I got some sun. It was a good day.

Zagreb. Jessie and I had planned to spend only the evening there. We were supposed to catch a train to Budapest at 10am the following morning. On our mission to explore Zagreb , which is a wonderful city by the way, we ended up staying out until sunrise…

20130726-090112.jpg To no surprise to anyone, we missed our train. Whoops. After a minor melt down/freak out, the hostel people offered me a beer at 11am to make me feel better. While it did make me feel better, I spent the better part of the day napping on their couch.

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We did finally wander the city.

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The next morning Jessie and I caught our hellacious train to Budapest.

Croatia is easily my favorite country on this trip. I had a blast.

Hvar…what a ride!

We skipped Korcula and stayed some extra days in Dubrovnik. So, when we finally made it to Hvar we were ready to party.

We spent the first night having dinner and checking out some of the bar scene. I think it may have been a little over our heads and we were downright exhausted, so we called it a night.

The next day we woke up and rented this monster of a boat. It had 5 horsepower and no ladder to get in it.

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We also got a cooler, rafts, beers and lunch to help us through our journey through the Adriatic on a dingy. Oh! Another thing… The whole transaction was sketchy. The guy made me pay secretly, we signed nothing and put down no deposits. We could have sunk the dingy and walked swam away from it and nothing could have been done about it.

We had a great time on the boat. We found a little cove to swim in for a while

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We left the cove because we were running out of beer and needed more. We trekked over to the island bar. Although kind of pricey, it was totally worth it.

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We had mojitos and bought some beers for the rest of our “sailing” adventure. We headed over to another cove and made our late lunch of torn bread, cheese and salami.

20130724-083941.jpg we floated for a while and Kirsten and I swam over to some boats with American flags. They were not impressed. We decided to head back after that. We had all drank our weight in sea water (you thought I was going to say alcohol), and were ready to be out of the sun.

That night we ordered pizza and drank wine on our hostel terrace.

20130724-084208.jpgwe had to catch a mid-day ferry to split the next day.

About that ferry… Turns out that you have to book them a day ahead of time! We didn’t do that. So, we had to steal a cab from people that almost got Kirsten punched and booked it to the ferry over on the other side of the island. We are lucky we made it.

Hvar is pretty great. If you ever want to go, bring your wallet, sunscreen and be ready to party.

Dubrovnik – The Pearl of the Adriatic

Our first stop in Croatia was Dubrovnik. It’s old town is a walled city. We got in mid-day from the earliest flight anyone has ever taken with a hangover from Rome. Our hostel was up the “Spanish Steps”. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it with the green monster in my neck and the 90 degree heat.

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We had planned on kayaking the city walls that afternoon, but my travel buddy desperately needed sleep and I can always do with a good walk. So, we parted ways and I explored the city. When I got back, we booked our day trip to Mostar, Bosnia and our kayaking tour.

Bosnia, well at least Mostar is beautiful.

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We walked around the shops, almost went in the historical stuff and then headed back to Dubrovnik. Our driver was pretty determined to get back by 7. I don’t think I have ever pulled my seatbelt so tight. I thought we were going to go flying off the cliff and that would be the end of our trip. We didn’t and it wasn’t. When we got back, my friend Jeremy had arrived from Chicago. We cleaned up a bit and headed out for dinner.

20130720-080256.jpg black risotto might be my new favorite thing. Then we went for drinks at the Irish pub.

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Although we had a great time getting drinks, it may have been smarted to take it easy considering we had a day long kayaking your the next day. (I can’t pull up the pics. Sorry!)
Kayaking was a blast! Although it was a solid 7 hours, we got to go in some caves and arches. We also learned about Croatian history.

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The next day we got a late start to walking the city walls. It was so got and so crowded, but the views were amazing.

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We added a night to our reservation because we needed more time to actually see the city. Jeremy and I did a beach day. We got some fierce sun while Kirsten was in Montenegro. That was our last day in Dubrovnik. I went on the cable car tour up to the top of the mountain. It was so cool to see the while city and the war museum.

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Dubrovnik is a wonderful city despite all the steps. I’d love to go back!