Winter wonderland at plitvice lakes national park

Trip Start Dec 15, 2009
Trip End Jan 11, 2010

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Flag of Croatia  ,
Friday, December 18, 2009

Woke up at 8 to head to Plitvice Lakes National Park (Plitvicka Jezera), about a two-hour drive from Zagreb. When we left the house it was a brisk -8C which is something like 18F. The GPS helped us get to the park with minimal error, aside from not understanding the Croatian term for "easypass" or “Fasttrack” and ending up in the wrong toll lane, whoops! When we got to the park we found it to be covered in a deep layer of fresh snow. The park was nearly shut-down for winter, and it being a weekday, there were only about 6 other visitors there.

Thanks to my (expired) UC Berkeley student ID which I made reference to but did not actually present for inspection, they sold my dad and me both half-price student tickets. Win! They explained that most of the park was shut down because of the snow, but that we could hike to the big waterfall and back. We set off on our way. The trip to the waterfall took about 20 minutes, but we were pleased to find out that there were, in fact, a number of other trails open. Some had been cleared better than others, and while my hiking boots were good for traction, they did little to stop the snow from piling in around my ankles. I think I will be on the market for some good, tall winter boots in the near future.

But back to hiking – we wandered around the series of small lakes and then climbed up into some caves where we saw enormous icicles dangling dangerously above our heads. Everything was quiet and still. We waded through snow following any path we could find, and sometimes making our own. I took about a million photos, and found it really hard to edit them since they were all so amazing, so I'm including a deluge of pics along with this post. You’re welcome.

Eventually we decided to head back to the car where we were greeted by a small, very cold, very homeless kitten. She kept meowing in a hoarse, throaty voice, and lifting her paws up, one-by-one, out of the snow to keep them warm. It was heartbreaking. I tried to persuade my dad to adopt her, but instead we ended up giving her our last prosciutto and cheese sandwich since she looked so cold and miserable. If she does have owners, please be aware that she’ll probably never eat regular cat food again. Seeing her made me miss my own kittens, who are home alone in Brooklyn, and probably very lonely and bored with nobody’s face to purr on or attack at 5:23am.

Did I mention that Plitvice Lakes was amazingly beautiful? Highly recommend it to anyone who makes it out to Croatia, totally worth the trek. But I should get to bed, tomorrow morning we are waking up at 7am to drive to Venice for the weekend. Ciao.
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Christian on

I am really pleased to read your well writen and engaging article about Plitvice lakes...I am one, I suppose, of those visitors who would like to be back there on winter....

greetings and Merry Christmas!!

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