Welcome to the A-Z Guidebook Link Up where bloggers from around the world can share a picture and story about a place that relates to each letter in the alphabet. It could be a city, a country, a street or an icon. It could be anywhere. If you would like to join, read the A-Z Guidebook tab at the top of the blog and write a travel post relating to the letter of the month.
Remember contributors – 1 photo only!
C or Custom
Croatia is one of my all time favourite holiday destinations. I have many fond memories of the month we camped there in the summer of 2010. It was scorchingly hot, part of the same heat wave that had engulfed us in France and Italy in the preceding weeks. We spent a good deal of our time parking precariously on the rocky cliffs, inching out way carefully down to the cool blue waters of the Adriatic, far, far below. When people ask me ‘What is Croatia like?’, I always answer ‘It’s one long, skinny coastline with the whole of the country parked at crazy angles, doing their best to scramble down into the water to swim.’ And though Croatia is almost all coastline, the interior also has some secrets.
Plitvice Lakes National Park is a spectacular site that’s listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Register. It encompasses a series of lakes, caves and small waterfalls that have formed because of the karst (limestone) topography and subterranean rivers emerging to the surface. Naturally occurring dams as a result of mineral deposits have shaped the shallow lakes, creating stunning azure pools and cascades within a steep wooded gorge. The park was the site of one of the very early battles in the Balkan conflict of the early 1990’s. Despite Croatia’s recent history of civil unrest, it recognised the need to protect and maintain this unique natural feature.
Around each bend is a postcard view, with waterfalls tumbling over mossy rocks and emerald tinted pools filled with carp, lazily swimming against the currents. A series of boardwalks takes you alongside and across the lakes as you slowly ascend to the head of the gorge. On the day we visited, the mercury nudged the high 30’s. Beautiful as it was, there was little respite from the sun and the desire to dive into the cool pools was maddening. It must have been unbearable for those water loving Croatians. Combined with huge crowds of holidaymakers, crossing those boardwalks was a form of exquisite torture. A few degrees cooler or a midweek visit would have made such a difference and yet, here I am writing about it. Once seen, it can never be forgotten.