Plitvice National Park - Rain Or Shine

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Three years ago we booked a dream trip to Croatia that we ended up having to cancel due to our move to Arizona. Since the flights from Phoenix are not ideal it took us a while to book again. But...

Three flights, a full season of Ozark watched (highly recommend if you haven't watched), and 16 hours later we made it to Zagreb! After proceeding through customs, we picked up our car to head to Hotel Degenija. This hotel is located about two hours from the Zagreb airport and is just minutes from Plitvice National Park. Pro tip, make sure that your GPS is not set to avoid toll roads or it will add an extra hour to your journey from the airport (learned the hard way). Thankfully, Jer was driving because I could not keep my eyes open and fell fast asleep half way through. 

We arrived late with our stomachs growling. We dropped our bags in our room and rushed to dinner. I had my first of many pasta with truffles. Satisfied, it was time for bed. 

The next morning we woke to overcast skies. I checked the weather and there was a ninety percent chance of rain. I'm so used to never having to check the weather anymore because it rarely rains in Arizona. I was not going to let a little rain damper our day. Rain or shine we were headed to Plitvice National Park, umbrella in hand. 

We arrived at Entrance 1 since it was closest to our hotel. The entrance fee is $25.00 per person (may change). Plitvice can best be described as a fairytale oasis. With crystal clear blue lakes, a plethora of waterfalls, and wooden walkways that guide you through Avatar like woodlands. It is a place where you have to pinch yourself to check if you're dreaming. 

Choosing which hiking trail was the hardest decision with so many options to choose from. We settled on the Complete Lake Program C which was estimated to take about 4-5 hours. They have shorter and longer options as well, depending on how much time you have to explore. Remember swimming is not allowed here, although tempting. 

The rain clouds came and the showers began. At first it was light showers that you could duck under trees and not even notice. This is when we made the mistake of taking the long wooden walkway around a small lake where there was zero tree cover. The rain came down in buckets. My hair was a frizzy mess, my pants became semi see through, the walkway became extremely slippery, and the umbrella was not shielding us from the heavy winds. Then, I felt like I was being pelted by small rocks hitting my back. Only to realize that it was actually hail. I could now see my breath as it dropped about 15 degrees in only a few minutes time. Curses and laughter ensued simultaneously as we couldn't believe our current predicament. We still had a ways to go to find any cover. 

When we finally made it to the park's bus station we were soaking wet but still had smiles on our faces. We grabbed a hot cocoa for me and a hot coffee for Jer to warm us up. By this time we had spent at least 5 hours in the park (the hours pass quickly in this wonderland) so we decided to pack it in and head back to our car. We were very lucky that the rain started at the end of our time in Plitvice so we could fully enjoy it. And that we did. 

Plitvice exceeded my expectations and was an amazing start to our trip. 

We changed out of our sopping wet clothing for our 2 hour drive to Zadar. Here we walked along the marina and stopped to listen to the Sea Organ. The waves crashed against the marble steps and you could hear the peaceful harmony it played for everyone. Not a bad way to end a busy day. 

Next up...Krka National Park

Stay Tuned.