Arrived in Plitvice National Park Saturday morning in the pouring, pouring, pouring rain. Good thing I brought my dollar store rain jacket! Oh…hmm…where IS my dollar store rain jacket? I think I dissected my entire pack about 30 times trying to find it, but to no avail. I had to resort to paying the highway robbery price of 17KN at the park store for a thin plastic rain poncho. Annoying. Where is my rain poncho? I hooked up with a couple of young girls from Belgium, Stephanie and Kim, who were woefully unprepared for the weather. But no matter…they simply wrapped their feet in plastic shopping bags and they were good to go. I knew we would be fast friends when I found out that they too were headed to Zadar that night, and like me, had no place to stay yet, and also like me, werent entirely sure they had enough money for the bus ticket. Yup, we were meant to hang out. Despite the weather, we made the best of our day exploring the incredible karstic formations and waterfalls. Even more fun to explore was the clothing and footwear choices of the other park visitors, mostly Europeans. They might as well have been going to the corner store or out for dinner instead of trekking through muddy forest and jungle-like trails. Our favourite combo was a red satin hoodie jacket, white short shorts and flowered ballerina flats sported by one middle-aged woman. There were various open-toed espadrilles with very muddy toes peeking out from them. Blah. But I digress. The heavy mist through the hills and valleys of the park added an element to the surroundings that almost felt prehistoric in nature. We felt bad for all the poor people who had to see the park on a nice, dry sunny, warm day! Poor them! Ha ha! Well… except for the fact that a) we were soaked to the bone and cold, b)the mist was so heavy you couldnt see some of the falls, and c) the rock pathways were dangerously slippery. I heard my mothers voice in my ear as I tumbled down some stone steps leading to a cave, re-injuring my almost-healed ankle. No, I wasnt wearing my brace, like an idiot. We stuck it out for 3 hours of the 6-hour hike and then decided wed had enough (we still lasted about 2 hours more than most of the others!). So there we were…cold, tired, dirty, hungry, homeless, broke and injured. We truly had a blast together. We were ecstatic to have 2 hours to sit on a dry, warm bus, and once the toll taker finished trying to play a round of ” the hand is quicker than the kuna” with our money, we dozed off, dreaming of waking up in a rain-free city. It worked!
Next up: The mezmerizing charms of Zadar.