I am sitting in the café at Skradinski Buk
, an indescribable torrent of waterfalls. The others have gone for a boat trip, and I am skipping the experience and avoiding feeling ill. Louder than any of the many visitors is the cascading roar of the water.
We were almost alone for the first hour of strolling amongst a lace of waterfalls. By the end of the second hour, we rejoiced that we had finished before the big bus tours arrived.
Part of the Krka National Park
(pronounced as spelled), a vast quantity of water tumbled from the surrounding mountainous hills through a long downhill stretch of rocks. Over long ledges it rolled into the raging Krka River. Down craggy cliffs it crashed into thick foam. Rivulets traced tiny lace patterns among the plants. Grasses bounced in the turbulence; moss shined bright green on protected rocks. Some trees impeded the flow, causing captivating flowing patterns. Trees overhung all, making shadows on the pools between falls. The grand climax was the huge, multi-part cascade of the Skradinski Buk. See my slide show.
The others went off to board the boat, and I relaxed at the café with a glass of lemonade, which like everywhere here is
Traditional use of flowing water
made by squeezing a whole lemon into a glass and filling the glass with water. Sugar was on the side. I succumbed to one packet of sugar and later added water from my water bottle. My drink lasted the whole hour it took to write up part of today’s and all of yesterday’s notes. I was sitting on a gravel patio furnished with small picnic tables, benches and umbrellas. During the hour, families came to have lunch, mainly hotdogs and fries from what I could see.
A little chilled from sitting so long, I had a another look at the falls and then wandered over to the buildings representing a mill village – not sure if the little houses and out-buildings were originals. One was furnished as a home with hearth, stone benches or perhaps low counters, and implements. In one building a weaver demonstrated traditional Croatian loom work. To my surprise, the weaver added slack to the weft after passing the shuttle through the warp; her English-speaking companion explained that this enabled her to tighten the weave more when she pounded the weft, covering the warp threads. She was doing black and white stripes, although there were much
Cikola River valley
Rock with many names: travertine, tufa, calcium carbonate, and limestone
more colourful examples of her weaving on the walls. See my video.
After a quick look in the souvenir shop, I just had time to take pictures of how the mill stream was channeled through the mill. The mill building itself was another souvenir shop. I thought I had to hurry, but actually I had to wait about twenty minutes before Manka and Paul arrived in the van. The others had been taken to the lunch restaurant by Tomas because we were well behind schedule. Lunch featured a pork stew common to the whole of Eastern Europe, dependent on having good paprika, according to Manka. I might make it at home.
For our afternoon excursion we drove to a remote section of the National Park where Manka and her husband used to go camping; now to her disappointment it has been developed a bit with picnic tables and a protective railing. Access was through a village populated with stone houses and stone walls, and then along a narrow gravel road. Even as the buses came close to the site, I could see that the land came to a great halt in front of a canyon. More astonishing, as we leaned
Quiet town with a beautiful protected harbour
over the railing, the huge perfectly circular Torak Lake was revealed in a setting of flooded marsh. The lake is fed by a deep spring, and the overflow runs into the marsh and into the Cikola River, eventually joining the Krka River, which spills so spectacularly into Skradinski Buk. The canyon is a gigantic slash in the landscape, leading to our speculating about a geologic river that might have once raged over the plains, gouging this and other precipices in the distance.
Upon our return to Skradin
, we had free time to enjoy some ice cream and a stroll through the few village streets. Over the past couple of years, a lot of restoration and rebuilding has been undertaken and is still underway. Later Manka told us that the war had caused a lot of damage in this area, because it was the border between Croatian Croats and Croatian Bosnians, who declared their own independence.
Several of us admired some of the luxurious yachts in the harbour. For a while we watched a fisherman, mystified by his actions until the net came up. View my video.
Then we laughed at a handsome, greedy swan who wanted the bottoms of our
Judith, Elizabeth, and Lelia
On top of the Fortess of Turina
ice cream cones.
Elizabeth, Lelia and I chose first to wander and then to find the Fortress of Turina and the local churches. The small medieval Fortress was up (of course) a stony path. Its interest was simply in its ruined presence; we spent quite a while just sitting at the top and chatting while soaking in the view of the great canyon that stretched past the village to the harbour and the sea. A young German couple with a small baby came up, and we exchanged travelers’ talk with them; they were on a month-long camper-van trip through many Eastern European countries, all the way to Turkey.
After scrambling back onto the path down, we tromped along a multitude of pathways, not entirely clear whether they were for the public or were private yards. We did find the main street, found the Catholic church and the Orthodox church, and navigated back to the Skradinski Buk Hotel.
Dinner: tomato soup, excellent grilled red snapper, and apple strudel, with red wine. Five of us regularly drink red wine and take it in turns to pay.
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