Plitviče Lakes National Park, Croatia to Istria, Croatia
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.
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.