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Our Travel Companions

along a Plitvice boardwalk
Fellow tour members on a Plitvice boardwalk

at Plitvice Lakes National Park
Elizabeth, assistant guide Levente and Dave during the Plitvice boat ride

at Plitvice Lakes National Park
Carol, Carol and Arlita at the Big Waterfall.

Jim and Kathy at Plitvice Lakes National Park
Kathy, Jim and a Chicago Cub after visiting Plitvice Lakes National Park

Nancy and Dave in Rab
David and Nancy relaxing outside our hotel in Rab

Bonnie in Rab
Bonnie enjoying the scenery surrounding the Rab harbor

Elizabeth and John in Rab
Elizabeth and John from their hotel room in Rab

Carol and Kay in the Adriatic Sea
Cousins Carol (left) and Kay testing the Adriatic Sea in Rab

Two Davids lookin for Rab ferry
Two of our three Davids lookin' for the Rab ferry from atop a barren hill

Three Nights and Dazed in Croatia

Oct. 11-13, 2007

Dobar dan, Hrvatska!

Population: 4.5 million (similar to Louisiana). Area: 22,000 square miles (similar to West Virginia). Capital: Zagreb. Government: parliamentary democracy. Latitude: 45 degrees north (similar to Portland, Oregon, and Venice, Italy). Mostly part of the former Yugoslavia from 1929-1991. Famous for neckties (the original cravate), sunny coastal beaches, explorer Marco Polo, former Yugoslav leader Marshal Tito, tragic wars.

Plitvice | Otocac/Jablanac | Rab

Plitvice Lakes National ParkNatural Wonders of Croatia

"PLEET-veet-seh"

Plitvice Lakes National ParkOct. 11: Today we had a scenic bus ride into Croatia for an overnight, back-to-nature stay at Plitvice Lakes National Park, about two hours south of Zagreb. The park is on the UNESCO World Heritage list for the unique geological, biological evolution of its ever-changing lakes and waterfalls.

Plitvice Lakes National ParkThe park's trails and boardwalks (also in column at left) lead to 16 terraced ponds and reflective lakes, colorful fall flora, a short, serene boat ride across Lake Kozjak (also at left), winding, mineral-rich streams, and countless waterfalls, more waterfalls, and the 250-foot Big Waterfall (also at left).

Plitvice Lakes National ParkGary's Photo Album of Plitvice Lakes National Park

Plitvice Lakes National Park Donna's Photo Album of Plitvice Lakes National Park

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Dinaric MountainsFrom the Forest to the Sea

Population: Otocac, 4,354; Jablanac, 118

Oct. 12: After leaving the park, we stopped in the town of Otocac. Bullet-hole memories (also below) Harbor town of Jablanacremain there of the bitter war between Croat and Serbian neighbors in the early '90s. But friendly shopkeepers and children (also below) move on in peace, and we drove across the Dinaric Mountains to the Adriatic Sea (also at right). In the tiny, pastel harbor village of Jablanac (also at right), we boarded a ferry to our enchanting island retreat.

Happy children in OtocacGary's Photo Album of Croatia Villages

Bullet-holed bulding in OtocacDonna's Photo Album of Croatia Villages

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pedestrian alleysA Free Day on Croatia's Island of Rab

Population: 9,000

bell towersOct. 13: Today we had a "vacation from our vacation" on the Adriatic Sea in the Gulf of Kvarner. In the town of Rab, we spent a day strolling the pedestrian-only, cobblestone alleyways (also at right) and enjoying the sun, beach promenade, Komrcar Park, gelato and pizza. We were enchanted by the town's fishing boats and boat harbor (also below), red-tile roofs, remainders of ancient churches, and four Venetian bell towers (at right and below).Sunset in Rab

And we ended one afternoon with a friendly, funny happy hour with all our travel buddies--complete with a close shave for tour guide Ben, a new-scarf contest and other raucous behavior! That evening: a wonderful Adriatic sunset.

ancient ruins and clock tower in RabGary's Photo Album of the island of Rab

Rab boat harborDonna's Photo Album of the island of Rab

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Do videnija, Croatia. Hvala for a magnificent time!

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┬ęGary and Donna Larson, Seattle, Washington. Modified Feb. 24, 2008.