Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Krka National Park

November 20 and 21

Another day of travel by bus on the 20th. There are some disadvantages to bus travel, but we think the advantages outweigh them...less stressful, more sightseeing, no parking problems, more exercise in walking, less cost, no rush to get to the next attraction, and an opportunity to mix with the people and enjoy the street scenes.

The ride along the coast from Trogir to šibenik reveals a difference in terrain from that in Istria. No red clay. Instead, white stone karsts and cliffs down to the sea. Much higher hills and open land mostly covered with scrub trees.

We started out after a little breakfast on the main piazza in Trogir. Sandy treated herself to a large glass of freshly squeezed orange juice while Dick had Americano coffee and a pastry.

Our plan is to travel by bus to Krka National park which is near Skradin, about 1-1/2 hours from Trogir. The interim stop is in šebinek which is a port city of 50,000 people. We read about a neat restaurant there, so we searched it out on foot, asking directions of many people along the way, and in the process saw the old town. Our waiter reminded us both of Buddy Hackett, crooked mouth and all.

The final leg of the days journey was a 30 minute bus ride inland to our final destination for two days, the village of Skradin. It's a tiny town, and probably mobbed during the summer because of the park. In November, it's empty and quiet.

We rented some great bikes on Monday morning, and rode 4km to the Park along the Krka River. Then, we took a delightful 3 mile walk to see the seven waterfalls known as the Skradinski Buk. One falls has seventeen cascades with very unusual growths called travertines. It is said it is one of the best known natural beauties of Croatia and it was stunning.

Much of the walk was on either paths and steps paved with native stone or wooden planked path that bent and turned and seemed to cross the river from small islands and fit in with the landscape. The park is designed to protect the environment and they have done a great job.

We were lucky to encounter one couple so they could take our picture. That was it for crowds. It was a perfect, serene, sunny day . We are trying to mix indoor and outdoor activities, along with scenic and historic. What a way to learn history !

We saw the first hydroelectric plant in Croatia located in the Park. It was designed by Nikola Tesla (a native of Croatia). He worked with Thomas Edison to build a similar plant at Niagara Falls that went into operation only two days prior to this one. Tesla felt that AC power was the way of the future, and eventually broke away from Edison who invented DC. Guess who won, but didn't get recognition?

Our days activities ended with a pretty steep walk up to a destroyed fortress above the village. Some work has been done to restore it, but there's much more to complete, if ever they do it.

This town was bombed and fought over during the 1991 civil war. There are still buildings that were destroyed. And yet, many have been rebuilt, and the village is a nice destination.

Enjoyed a great dinner at a local restaurant that Dick has already written Trip Advisor about since the food and people were outstanding. I had black cuttlefish risotto and Dick had green gnocchi with shrimp. Everyday fare !

Had another funny "lost in translation" moment this morning. One of the owners asked if "everything OK ?" and I asked if we could have more heat in our room. He said "sure" and then asked, What is "heat"?

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