When I woke up the next morning, my prayers were answered, a bright blue cloud free sky
. I got up early because I was told you need a good 6 hours to see all the lakes. I packed up and started the walk through the little town and forest to get to the entrance. I hopped on a tram that takes you up to the top lake for you to hike down. As I started walking around the first lake, I started to realize how special this place was. I was surrounded by crystal clear, pristine lakes with beautiful greenery all around and mountainous backdrops. Walking paths were constructed out of tree logs that snaked in and out of the forests and over the lakes and streams. From one lake you would walk over rapids down to a waterfall that lead to the next lake. I spent about 2-3 hours walking from the top lake down to the bottom. All in all there were about 10 lakes and waterfalls along that first leg of the journey. Once I hit the middle there was a large lake where you had to take a boat over to the start of the next set of lakes and falls.
On the boat I ran into two Austrian guys that I met the night before in the restaurant in town. We ended up having lunch together in the park and as it turned out, they were driving back to Austria that day and heading through Zagreb, which is where I needed to go to catch a train to Slovenia. They offered me a ride and since I was tired of the cramped buses, I happily accepted.
For the rest of the day I continued with Tobi and Mike as we explored the park together. As we continued down the lower lakes and waterfalls, they continually grew in size. A few hours later we made it to the biggest waterfall of them all. It was about 30 stories tall, with three different streams creating vails down the side of the mountain. It was an amazing end to my time in Croatia and probably the most memorable and most beautiful day of all of them.
After my time at the falls, I packed my stuff and met Tobi and Mike for the 2 hour ride up to Zagreb, which was the launch point for my trip to the rest of Eastern Europe.
Finally the day had come to say goodbye to the Croatian coast, and I was off into the center of the country. My goal for a long time was to see the famous Plitvice Lakes which I heard so much about. I got on the next bus I could from Zadar and took the hour and a half bus ride into the country. I had booked one of the top bed and breakfasts on hostelworld.com and it turned out to be a nice cabin-like house in the forest. When I arrived in Plitvice it was pouring rain, and walking for 20 minutes to find the house in the rain was not fun, but I was prepared for it. The family that lived there consisted of two brothers, their father and grandmother. They were very nice and welcoming as they gave me a room upstairs. Since it was pouring rain, there was not much I could do besides read and go to bed early, hoping that the next day I would have clear weather to see the lakes.