Our lovely Hotel Lyra has a telescope and outside patio to see the stars at night but on a cloud filled evening that does us little good. But the morning brings a ligh rainfall and we head out for the entrance to Plitvice National Park with our raincoats and umbrellas.
Our guide is an older man who has spent his life in this area and explains to us not only the geological history of the region but, just as integral to our understanding of what we see, the brutal war history as the Bosnia-Croatia war started in this very area. We had seen bullet ridden and often abandoned homes along the way but had not realized how intense the fighting had been between the local partisan army and the Yugoslavian backed JNA military force in the early 1990’s. In our very lifetime and with the memories of those who lived through it very much alive and poignant.
The park itself is a symphony of waterfalls. The sound of falling water is everywhere – including on our umbrellas as we walk with a continuous stream of other visitors past lake marsh greenery toward close up views of the falling water.
The walkways are wooden chestnut planks which are being continuously replaced as the water and footsteps of large numbers of tourists wears them out. The views are beautiful but we must walk carefully as the rain makes everything slippery. We eventually come to a camping and eating area and then take a boat across the smooth lake.
By the time we are finished with our tour, my shoes and socks are wet. Jack and Melanie warm up with a hot chocolate at a hotel where we sit and wait for our next ride. Our very comfortable black Mercedes van and pleasant drive Marin arrives and brings us in great comfort to the coastal town of Trogir.
The sun is now out and it quickly becomes warm – the transition from the chill of Plitvice to the Adriatic town of Trogir quite dramatic. Another beautiful historic town with an elaborate central church and bell tower, the Cathedral of St. Lawrence, begun in about 1230 and finished in the 1600’s. This bell tower, like others, reflects the movement of time through its architectural styles – from Romanesque to Gothic to Renaissannce design.
Trogir, unlike other places here in Croatia, was not attacked or bombed and so retains more of its original design features.
We walk for a bit, indulge in yet another delicious gelato treat, and then head off for our destination for the evening, the old city of Split.