Eastern Europe, Day 13 – Monday, May 27, 2019

Plitviče Lakes National Park, Croatia to Istria, Croatia

Plitviče Lakes National Park is a 100 square mile forest reserve in central Croatia.  Yesterday we saw a waterfall near the entrance of the park. That was just the beginning. Plitviče is known for its sixteen  terraced lakes joined by  countless waterfalls that extend into a limestone canyon. Walkways and hiking trails wind around and across the water, and one of the highlights is  a 250 ft.-high waterfall. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Plitviče gets a million visitors annually.


Katerina knew this, and she also knew the rain wouldn’t keep the crowds away. She wanted us to have the best possible experience with the fewest possible crowds. She arranged for breakfast to begin at 6:30 AM.  She thought there would be fewer people to deal with if we  arrived just as the park opened, took a shuttle to the end of the park, and then walked back to the beginning rather than starting from the beginning with everyone else. That is what we did.

There were waterfalls on our left, on our right, ahead of us, and behind us. Each one  was more magnificent than the next. They were just breathtaking.

Nick and I lunched at the restaurant at the end of the trail (really, the beginning). We joined  a table of two men  from Uruguay who were speaking Spanish, and I was able to converse with them. I loved the experience!

Sam,  our driver, arrived  with the bus, and we began our journey to Istria, a peninsula across the Adriatic from Italy. We proceeded to the  coastal town of Rovinj, and from there, we took a ferry to Katarina Island, the location of our hotel, aptly named the Island Hotel Katarina.  There were lots of oohs and ahhs on this trip, but when I saw this hotel on this island, I was totally charmed. There were water views on all sides, and each room had a balcony with a view. The island was serenely quiet and incredibly beautiful.

We took the ferry back to the mainland for dinner at a restaurant called Masteral, where we enjoyed a salad of fresh seafood, a first course of seafood risotto and a filled pizza,  and  a main course of sea bream, with ice cream for dessert. This was our best meal of the trip!

Before leaving the restaurant,  I asked Nick, who had already been there, where the rest rooms were.  He replied, “You have to go around the building, and then go over a moat, and after that, go up a flight a of stairs that doesn’t have handrails.” I thought he was joking. He wasn’t.

17,845 steps