Chapter 4 - DAY 8 - Zagreb to Plitvice National Park

Published: September 16th 2011
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Lunch in the countryLunch in the countryLunch in the country

we had a fantastic lunch in rural Croatia
When we left Zagreb, we went out the western side of the city which is newer and a growing area. The buildings were much nicer with less graffiti; there were also lots of new shopping centres. Zagreb has 800,000 residents and is the biggest city and capital of Croatia. It also has the biggest and most respected university in the country with 40,000 students flocking to the city to study, many stay on afterwards and contribute to the population growth. There is no one major campus but a series of facilities spread around the city.

From Zagreb we headed to the rural town of Kumrovec the birthplace of the great Yugoslavian dictator Tito (Croatia was part of Yugoslavia). A section of the village (including his childhood home) has been preserved and it was a fascinating walk back in time. The rest of the village still functions as normal. We had an outstanding local guide Evana, unlike most Croatians we have met she had a friendly bubbly personality as well as a great knowledge of history-both old and recent.

For lunch we headed further deep into rural Croatia, up narrow roads to a
Bullet HolesBullet HolesBullet Holes

we could see the bullet holes in this and other buildings in Karlavac
hilltop restaurant in a stunning setting for lunch. What a time, the views were to die for and all their produce and meats –including salamis etc were produced on site. It was one of those really special times on tour. We sat outside amongst the trees and vines with fantastic views across the valley. It was a beautiful sunny day. The food couldn’t be more local, fresh and tasty.

After a leisurely hour and a half we said good bye to our hosts and headed south to the Plitvice National Park and our hotel for the evening which was located right near the entrance to the Park. We were warned it was a Communist style hotel – no frills, so will be interesting to see.

On the way we stopped at the town of Karlavac the front line of the Homeland Wars (Croatia/Serbia) that finished just 12 years ago really hit home. There is an area of land that has been set aside as a ‘living memorial’ to the conflict – lest we forget. There was a MIG fighter plane, the ruins of another that had been shot down by small arms fire, plus some cannons,
First Man ShotFirst Man ShotFirst Man Shot

The memorial at Plitvice natioanl Park to josip Jovic - the first person killed in the Balkan conflict
tanks etc. What really hit home though was the buildings on the site that were riddled with bullet holes -as we walked through the buildings we could definitely feel the conflict and almost see Croatian soldiers hiding amongst the buildings fighting off Serbian troops as they stormed the buildings.

We also learnt that just outside our Plitvice Hotel the first official death of the conflict occurred. Serbian loggers who worked the area were cutting down trees across roads to disrupt traffic and generally causing problems. Police officers were sent down to sort the loggers out and as Josip Jovic a 22 year old policeman stepped off the bus he was shot dead. From there the conflict escalated. There was a memorial to Jovic just down from our hotel which we visited.

Plenty to think about, we had a quiet dinner and relaxing evening to prepare for our big walk through the park tomorrow.

Have added a couple of extra photos which should be after advert at bottom of page

Additional photos below
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View from restaurantView from restaurant
View from restaurant

Stunning view from our restaurant
Friendly localFriendly local
Friendly local

In Titos village Kumrovec

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