Croatia Bus Road Trip. Fourth Stop Plitvice Lakes

I'm taking delight in realizing that I'm planning less compulsively when it comes to travelling. When I left for Croatia, I did not have all the hotels booked and all the bus schedules learned by heart.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels - Plitvice Nature Park Plitvice Lakes Croatia
The turquoise pools look just mesmerizing.

And yet, I'm not getting stranded in the middle of nowhere without a roof above my head; um, should this teach me a lesson?

In the sense that you can always learn a thing or two when travelling, definitely yes.
Hence although I'm getting a bit more anarchistic when it comes to setting up my itinerary, I still like to go where I'm going and avoid getting stranded in the middle of nowhere.
And since the bus driver was not able to figure out on google maps at which stop I had to get off, I followed the route pretty panic-stricken on my phone - it was like playing a very exciting video game.

Of course, everything worked out perfectly: I got off at the correct stop - the blue spot on google maps blinked happily and indicated that we had arrived.

And even if actually anything got wrong - the sight of mesmerizing Plitvička Jezera, the Plitvic Lakeland, would have made up for everything; the blind would gain sight, the lame would throw away their crutches - this place is simply a piece of paradise. And I say that although hords of tourists are marching around like ants in a row. They have to march like this, otherwise, they would fall into the ice-cold lakes; and on top of it all, that's forbidden.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels - Plitvice Nature Park Plitvice Lakes Croatia
Why do we need filters at all?! Nature has the best paintbox.

So not only didn't the masses impair my visit, unintentionally they even made it better: Since at the jetty where you go on a boat crossing one of the lakes was a line that promised me a wait of over an hour, I decided to...take a hike; literally.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels - Plitvice Nature Park Plitvice Lakes Croatia
Happy goes lucky - but in the background you can see the tourist band marching.

This long hike along the shore was finally the best part of my two-day visit to the National Park: a handful of visitors does it, so it's basically you and mother nature - just breathtaking.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels - Plitvice Nature Park Plitvice Lakes Croatia
Me and mother nature - we get along pretty well.

The maps and the signs at the park are rather confusing. I think that I really made the best of my visit to this wonderful place and today, I was already able to help some people at the park; actually, they said I should work there - oh, I wish!

So stay tuned since I will share my recommendations in the complete Croatia guide to be published at the end of my trip.

A quick side-trip back in time IV

And then Christmas was over and my mother had a very well-paid job and not only did my parents trade the used sky blue Simca for a brand new dark blue Chrysler, they also had this incredible idea to go on a plane! Finished the incessant cruises across Europe, no more peeing in a bucket on the backseat while my parents argued in the front seats, smoking like chimneys.

At that time, flying was a huge deal. I think I didn't know anybody that had ever taken a plane - especially not going on a family trip. Well, since we weren't the only people on that flight, my mother was obviously not the only regular person who had a well-paid job, but anyway....big deal!

There is proof that I'm not exaggerating: Coming down the gangway, there was a photographer taking a picture of each and every passenger; come on, they certainly don't do that on Ryan Air Flights. So - big, big deal. 

We spent a vacation that nowadays for me would be torture: At an all-inclusive hotel, laying on lounge chairs around pools. The sand on the beach was black lava sand - definitely not the epitome of a dream beach.

However, we went on walks on those black beaches, and one day a guy stepped out of nowhere and made my parents a very tempting offer: Gold watches! If you now expect me to describe how my mother laughed on top of her lungs and my father threatened to punch him, you'll be disappointed. These two, both academics, decisive people who had made it to Germany to seek political asylum, will say not very moronic at first glance, took those watches, examined  those watches, asked the shady guy about twenty times if they were real gold for r, examined them again and again. And since the guy swore on someone important's life,.....they finally bought those watches!
They bought watches on a lava beach somewhere on Tenerife believing they were gold! And man, were they surprised 
when the Austrian watchmaker, who shared our all-inclusive table at the terrible tourist trappy hotel, disclosed that, yes, these were watches, indeed, but no, neither made of gold and nor of very good quality.

Although the trip at that time must have cost close to a fortune, Tenerife was not that big of a success.

Bus Road Trip - so how is it working out so far?!

Most tourists here in Croatia are driving. Since I'm not, I depend on public transportation - like everywhere I go on this planet.
And if you wonder how it is, I can say - fine. Totally fine. Even given that I have only three weeks for the entire trip.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels - Rijeka Istria Croatia
This is a city bus - but the one from Karlovac to Plitvice was just like that. Therefore I had to have a printed ticket...old school style.

There is an excellent bus system that takes you basically everywhere.
Only the frequency and schedule might require some flexibility or adjustment on your side since there are various routes covered by only three, two, or even one bus per day. This might make things a teeny bit complicated if you have a connection. For instance, when I went from Poreč to Cres via Rijeka, I had to take a bus at 8 in the morning and then wait for five hours in Rijeka for my ferry since all the following buses were in the afternoon. I don't understand why there is not another bus between 8 a. m. and 1.30 p. m., but in the afternoon, there is a whole bunch, but that's how it is - and as a matter of fact, I'm pretty grateful since that way I discovered Rijeka, a great city that initially wasn't on my itinerary at all. Flexibility pays.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels - Rijeka Istria Croatia
Rijeka is greeting its visitors with the beautiful Gospa Lurdska, Our Lady of Lourdes church - right next to the bus station.

Sadly, for the same reason, I decided to skip the famous beach of Baška since due to inconvenient connection, it was not worth the complicated trip to a destination where I wanted to stay only two nights, anyway.

So, to cut a long story short, public transportation is great, it takes me everywhere I want to go, but I have to be a bit thorough - or flexible - when planning.

The bus tickets are not very cheap - we for sure are spoiled by the Flix Bus fares - but still ok, the ferry was dirt cheap. I'm buying all my tix online, but one time I had to have a printed version....which allowed me to become acquainted with a lovely lady at a tour agency in Poreč who was kind enough to print out the stupid ticket. But normally it's sufficient when you have the code on your phone.

Until now, all means of transportation were amazingly punctual, the buses are clean, comfortable, there is a bathroom and WiFi onboard.

At most stops, there's not only a bathroom, but at least one cafeteria, sometimes a locker room for your luggage, and a kiosk so that your fellow passengers can stock up on cigarettes; I mention latter in a very bitter voice: As I complained in my last post, I'm still suffering from e-v-e-r-y-b-o-d-y around me smoking.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels - Plitvice Nature Park Plitvice Lakes Croatia
Guys, how can you smoke in paradise?! 

People were smoking while hiking the glorious trails of  Plitvička Jezera - that's a sacrilege! They will go to hell for that - but then again, that should be the perfect place for smokers, anyway....

Note to the curious reader: Like I did during my former trips like e. g. Cambodia, while on the road, I'll be posting little stories and reflections. 
At the end of the entire tour, there will be an extended travel guide with all the relevant information including addresses, links etc. 
Until then, just share some thoughts and special moments with me.

Wanna know about the former stops? Here is where I've been: 

Croatia Bus Road Trip. Third Stop: Rijeka

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