Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A drive through Croatia

Croatia is another hidden gem in Europe, much like Slovenia.  It is an absolutely gorgeous country with rolling mountains and a beautiful coastline.  I took all of these pictures from the car.

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The sign below is how the Croats say Croatia.  “Hrvatska”.  I had NO idea prior to entering the country.  Learn something new every day I guess!

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I just couldn’t get enough of the beautiful scenery.  Everywhere you looked there were breath-taking views.

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We were stopped on a country road waiting for construction and I snapped this photo.  I really like it!

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These were the views when we were driving through Rijeka, otherwise knows as the Croatian Riviera.

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Driving through Europe is fun because there are lots of tunnels and big bridges all over the place, and Croatia was no exception.  Abbie likes to scream “Tunnel!!” every time you drive through one.  It’s great…

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You can see lots of quaint little towns from the highway, and we passed over a few rivers on our way to Plitvice Lakes also.

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So then came the fun part.  Thank God I had printed off driving directions before we left, thinking our GPS might not work in Croatia since it’s been a few (4) years since we’ve updated the maps.  Our GPS ended up being a lot of help….  Not!

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It was tough even with the directions printed because the distance on what I printed were in km, and obviously our cars trip odometer is in miles.  So it was a lot of guesstimating as to how far we had to go before the next turn.  And we were thinking we’d be on fairly decent roads since Plitvice has LOTS of visitors every year.  At least ones with lines painted on them.  Wrong.  We were on this road for about 40 miles.  It was very narrow and curvy and it was a little scary when you met an oncoming car.

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Our driving directions had told us to turn (vs go straight) so we turned on to this road that was literally not much bigger than a cow path.  We were really wondering what we’d gotten ourselves into at this point and we weren’t sure we’d ever make it to the park.  And the ENTIRE time Mark and I were trying to figure out where we were and where we should be going we had Abbie in the back asking rapid-fire questions.  “Where are we going?”  “Why’d you turn here?”  “What are you doing?”  “Why are we turning around?”  “Why are we going this way?”  “We already went this way.”  “You need to turn there.”  “Go faster.”  As you can imagine, it definitely helps your concentration and nerves to deal with that on top of being lost…

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The upside of being lost is that we got to see some more even prettier scenery.  There was a small house overlooking this little valley with the stream running through it.  I wonder what it would be like to live in such a secluded area, but be surrounded by so much beauty.

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At this point we knew we were completely lost, but we wanted to see where the road lead, so we continued on until we came across this sign warning us of land mines.  We decided that was a good time to turn around.  Apparently during a war, Croatia was just coated with land mines and it will take lots of years for people to de-activate them all.  We saw quite a few signs on the curvy road that we were on saying beware of the land mines.

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Sidenote:  My husband is probably one of the calmest guys on the planet when it comes to being lost (or in general).  He’s always up for an adventure and he never gets crabby when things aren’t going according to plan.  He’s a lot of fun to travel with.  One of the many reasons I love him to death.

As I said in one of my previous posts, Croatia has LOTS of sinkholes.  I’ve never seen landscape like this.  There were parts where it was just one huge sinkhole after another, but they all were old and had grass in them.  But they’re almost perfectly round so they look like a bunch of empty ponds.  It was interesting.

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We passed lots of abandoned houses and buildings on our drive on the country road.  Most of them were made of the orange brick and it was hard to tell if they were building them or if they were really old at first.  And then we saw one with a huge hole in the roof so we’re assuming that was from a bomb from the war.  We probably passed 30+ of these houses that were abandoned.

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We also passed buildings with lots of bullet holes on the side of them.  It was interesting and eerie to see history up close like that.  I guess I don’t think of past wars that often, accept when I’m passing buildings that have been destroyed by them.  Sad and fascinating all at once.

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I truly hope we get to go back to Croatia before we move.  I would love to go to Dubrovnik sometime although that’s 10 hour drive from us, so I’m not sure the kids would do too well being in the car that long.  Maybe someday!!

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1 comment:

Anna said...

Definitely beautiful! I wouldn't have known! I'm so jealous of all your traveling you have been getting to do!

I hope maybe someday we can be stationed overseas and be able to plan some trips too! *CROSS MY FINGERS*