Our Travel Companions
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
Oct. 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.
The 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).
Gary's Photo Album of Plitvice Lakes National Park
Donna's Photo Album of Plitvice Lakes National Park
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Population: Otocac, 4,354; Jablanac, 118
Oct. 12: After leaving the park, we stopped in the town of Otocac. Bullet-hole memories (also below) remain 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.
Gary's Photo Album of Croatia Villages
Donna's Photo Album of Croatia Villages
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Oct. 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).
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.
Gary's Photo Album of the island of Rab
Donna's Photo Album of the island of Rab
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Do videnija, Croatia. Hvala for a magnificent time!
©Gary and Donna Larson, Seattle, Washington. Modified Feb. 24, 2008.