Thursday, October 26, 2017

Balkans Day 18: Krka

The goal for this trip was to stay in only a few places, enjoy a more local-feel, give Baby time to play, and relax. 90% of the things we were doing were within a 20 minute walk of our accommodations. It was perfect for travel with a 9 month old. But there were a couple of sights that we just couldn't pass up the opportunity to see and one of them was Krka. We've already bragged about how gorgeous Croatia's coastline is, but its interior deserves serious praise. It was with great anticipation that we hit the road early one morning from Split in a rental car, ready for a full day of sight-seeing ahead.

Krka National Park is named after the river it encloses and is most famous for its series of waterfalls, Skradinski Buk. Boardwalks wind back and forth through the upper part of the falls not unlike the experience we had at Iguazu a number of years ago. There is lots of wildlife to be seen where water seems to come from every direction, the air filled with the sounds of rushing, trickling, and falling water. Many off-shoots and viewpoints dot the path, helping to spread out the tourists, featuring a variety of sizes of rapids and falls. We were disappointed when we arrived to notice a sign saying that the natural swimming pool at the bottom was closed due to high water levels. It was perhaps a good thing in the end as the sky had darkened and the temperature dropped with a chilly breeze around us.

When we finally made our way to the bottom, the forest opened up onto a grassy field and beyond was the sight we'd been waiting for.

We took our time enjoying the view and making our way back up to the top of the hill. Even without the chance to swim, we enjoyed the experience immensly and would highly recommend a visit.

With grumbling bellies, we got back on the road and made our way to Sibenik, a sea-side town with beautiful old buildings and a little harbour. We had lunch and took a wander, Craig most interested in the sites mentioned in the book he was reading, Through Bosnia and Herzegovina with a Paintbrush. The main cathedral towered above us as an impressive feat of architecture.

We had one more stop to make before heading back home. Trogir was another coastal town that our Air BnB host had recommended. We bundled up the best we could with the clothes we'd brought and ventured out into the windswept streets. A huge, arching pedestrian bridge took us from the parking lot over the small river and into the old town, which is on an island. It mirrored Dubrovnik and Kotor in its tiny alleyways perfect for exploring on an atmospherically blustery day. Although it was clearly a common tourist destination, Trogir certainly had maintained its original charm, having been inhabited for the past 2300 years. And similarly to the other cities we visited, as soon as we turned off the main tour group streets, the alleys were just as lovely and nearly completely empty.

A bit peckish and willing to push our luck, we got dinner in a restaurant which had set up shop in the ruins of an old home. Vines grew up partially crumbled walls, and trees sprouted up to the sky, thanks to the lack of a roof. This offered little protection from the biting wind but it was still an enjoyable experience even if the gluten-free cannolini did not live up to expectations.

Our pace quickened walking back to the car as the sky darkened and we knew we were on borrowed time with Baby. A quick 20 minutes (plus an extra 10 to circle back and fill up the tank) had us dropping off the car and walking back to the warmth of our home. 

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