Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Plitvice Lakes

*Warning: this post has LOTS of pictures!!

Last weekend we went to Croatia.  I had seen pictures of “Plitvicka Jezera” online and had been looking forward to visiting it since I saw them.  It definitely didn’t disappoint.

IMG_9472

Plitvice Lakes has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1979.  It is the oldest national park in southeast Europe and the largest in Croatia.  Each year more than 1,200,000 people visit the park.  And it. is. beautiful!!!

IMG_9504

IMG_0082IMG_0076

 

Pretty much everywhere you look is picture-perfect and it literally takes your breath away.  The water is the prettiest blue-green ever, but also it is crystal clear.  You walk along these wooden walkways that are all over the park.  They go across the lakes and are sometimes even right over the waterfalls.  It’s neat to hear and see a waterfall underneath you.  Most of the walkways didn’t have any railings, except for areas where there would be a significant fall if you fell off of them.  I had trouble sleeping after the first day we were there because I kept envisioning Abbie falling off one of the walkways, or one of us falling off wearing one of the kids.  Luckily, that didn’t happen.

IMG_9487IMG_9498

IMG_9617IMG_9641

IMG_9631IMG_9663

There are 16 lakes in the park and there is a 103m difference between the highest and the lowest lakes.  They were formed by flowing water creating natural travertine dams between them and the dams grow at a rate of 1cm per year.  The park has been endemic species in it and there are 55 types of orchids that grow in the park (but we couldn’t find any).

IMG_9511IMG_9529

IMG_9627IMG_9516IMG_9557

(Abbie was talking about how a crocodile lives in this hole when a little boy walked by with his family.  As we were walking away I heard him tell his mom that a crocodile lived in the hole.  LOL!)

IMG_9521

Most of Croatia (and Slovenia) are known as “karst regions” – meaning they are chalk full of caves and subterranean rivers.  All along our drive to Plitvice and even in the park, you see rather large sink holes everywhere.  They look like empty ponds everywhere.  Kind of neat to see, but kind of weird too.  It made me wonder when other parts of the ground would sink also.  All of the sink holes were pretty old – had lots of vegetation in them – but it was neat.  There are two caves in the park that you can visit, but we didn’t visit either.  Apparently there is an absence of water above ground in the karst region, but there is an abundance of water below ground.

IMG_9540IMG_9582IMG_9957IMG_9836

IMG_9551

Our little man did REALLY great on the whole trip.  He’s such an easy going boy and he just hangs out and takes it all in, or he falls asleep.  Mark carried him the first day, and I carried him the second day.  Thank God he’s a good little traveler but man, the whole 20lbs of him gets HEAVY when you’re hauling him up and down huge flights of stairs and hills.  I’d be huffing and puffing going up stairs and if he was awake, he would start laughing at me.  Glad one of us was having fun on the stairs… =)

IMG_9552

IMG_9592

IMG_9680IMG_9829IMG_9998IMG_0037IMG_0196

Abbie also did pretty well considering she’s 3.  She’s at that “testing” age, but she listened pretty well in the park.  We would let her walk some when she wanted to, but we carried her the majority of the time.  It was just easier, and probably safer, having her on our backs instead of trying to get her to hang on to our hands when we were on those narrow walkways.  She would always freak out when Mark got ahead of me while he was wearing her and I was wearing Ben and we were going up stairs.  (I swear we went up 2000 stairs while we were in the park…)  Mark told her the first time that I couldn’t talk because I was trying to breathe, which was true, so every time after that when we went up stairs she be asking if I could breathe.  Nice.  Especially since Mark was always like 20 feet ahead of me and there were other people around and I have my three year old yelling back to me asking if I can breathe.  I wasn’t the only one that couldn’t breathe though.  Those stairs were TOUGH and I was carrying a 20lb kid plus the DSLR.  Anyway, she had fun collecting rocks and looking at the waterfalls and always wanted to touch the water.

 

IMG_9952

IMG_9896IMG_9712IMG_9849IMG_9856IMG_0146IMG_0188

So the waterfalls are obviously the highlight of this park and it seems as though everywhere you look, you see a waterfall.  They were absolutely breath-taking.

IMG_9599IMG_9601IMG_9611IMG_9875IMG_9785IMG_9805

IMG_9973IMG_0085IMG_0093IMG_0115IMG_0144IMG_0110

IMG_0157

This thing was pretty neat and I’ve never seen anything like it.  It was basically a waterfall that was going through a cliff instead of over the cliff.  It wasn’t very big, but there was quite a bit of water going into it.  I’m not sure where it came out, but it was neat.

IMG_0159

People say that Plitvice is what they envision the Garden of Eden to look like, and I would agree with that.  I’m not sure I’ve been to any place that was more beautiful than this park.  I really hope we get to go back sometime.

IMG_0173IMG_9681IMG_9692

**None of these photos have been edited in any way.  We took over 700 pictures in the park and they were all good enough to put on the blog.  I had a hard time deciding which to share with you here!

4 comments:

Jane said...

OMGoodness! What an amazing trip! These pictures are all breathtaking! I wish you had put all 700 up!

Anna said...

It looks beautiful Monica and I give you MAJOR props carrying the kiddos on your back through the whole thing!

BTW We have the same Ergo! Go us! :)

Jessica Lynn said...

Gorgeous! Too funny, I just (finally) finished my post about Plitvice and I'm publishing it tomorrow. It looked as different as night and day from when we were there! Now I REALLY want to go back on a sunny day :)

Tyler and Laura Smith said...

Gorgeous photos -- isn't that place just amazing!?! I love that Abbie kept asking if you were breathing...that SO sounds like her and cracks me up! :)