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Published: September 24th 2018
We get up early and set off on the 158 mile drive north to Plitvice National Park. It’s going to be a shock to the system; after 2 weeks of travelling in temperatures around 30 degrees, by night time it will be minus 2.
The majority of today’s route is along the A1, a lovely modern motorway which is a relief after some of the gravel tracks we had to negotiate in Bosnia and Montenegro. It is, however, not cheap. In 100 miles we notch up over £10 in tolls.
The drive is another spectacular mountain extravaganza, only this time on a proper road. It’s an incredible piece of engineering consisting of a series of bridges, raised sections and tunnels. One tunnel is 5800m. That’s more than a parkrun worth of tunnel. On the other side of the tunnel we are met by torrential rain and the temperature plummets by 12 degrees.
By the time we reach Plitvice, the weather is hideous; the temperature is 8 degrees, it’s raining, the wind is blowing the trees sideways and visibility is almost nil. Going outside doesn’t seem like a great option, less still communing with nature.
We try and
check into the guesthouse early but the room isn’t ready so we buy some bread and cheese and have a picnic in the car in the supermarket car park.
An event of great excitement; we fill the car with petrol and the emergency engine light which came on a week ago finally disappears. The man in Montenegro was right – it was caused by bad petrol.
The nice man from guesthouse Nenad finishes cleaning our room and lets us check in 2 hours early. The view from the window across the forest is nice, which good because I have no intention of leaving the room.
The old man, being old, decides he needs a nap and proceeds to sleep for the entire afternoon. So much for looking forward to leaving the constraints of the city for the great outdoors, I spend the afternoon watching the rain pour down and listening to the old man snore.
In the afternoon we take a short walk around the edge of the park, find an ATM to pay the hotel bill (Croatia is very much a cash economy, which we aren’t used to, and we spent the last of our cash on petrol), buy some food and retire for the evening. We want to make an early start tomorrow, the National Park isn’t cheap and we’re determined to get our moneys worth.
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