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    SB14: Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

    After Krk, we left the coast and headed to Plitvice Lakes National Park. The park was my favorite part of our trip! Plitvice is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The drive there was beautiful with mountains and forests, but the road was crazy with a lot of switchbacks.

    Entrance to the park was 110HRK, which is about $20. (Price conversions were tricky this trip… with a lot of initial sticker shock!)

    My professional guestimation is that we saw 16,939 waterfalls.

     

    Plitvice Waterfalls

     

    We walked along footbridges that weaved in and out and over and around the waterfalls. We scored big being there during off-season. We heard that during peak season it can be so crowded that you’re shoulder to shoulder with people the entire walk.

     

    Plitvice footbridge

     

     

    Purple flowers

     

    Wood pile

     

    We took a ferry across one of the lakes. We had a funny culture shock moment on our return ride. In Turkey, we’ve learned to be aggressive in lines. Our ferry was packed. Some people had to stand in the aisles. We sat on the benches at the very front. As we pulled up to the dock, we immediately stood up so we could be the first ones off the boat. And we looked like idiots. Everyone very methodically and in true Western style exited the boat row by row. People didn’t even stand up until it was their turn. Shame on us.

     

    David on the ferry boat

     

    Plitvice Waterfalls

     

    Everywhere we looked… waterfalls and more waterfalls!

     

    Plitvice Waterfalls

     

    Plitvice Waterfalls

     

    https://vine.co/v/MiZdbazEnzT/p>
     

    Plitvice Waterfalls

     

    On our way out of the park, we made one last stop.

     

    Plitvice Waterfalls

     

    Here’s our travel group:

     

    Our travel group

     

    The water came over the footbridges in some spots:

     

    Chacos and water

     

    So much so, we had to walk across bridges on the footbridges. As David said in his Vine video… “walking on water!”

     

    Footbridge bridge

     

    It was an awesome last waterfall to see!

     

    Jumping by a waterfall

     

    David and a big waterfall

     

    Where we stayed
    We stayed at Hotel Bellevue. We chose this one over Hotel Plitvice because it was cheaper. It was very basic and fairly clean, so it worked for a night. The hotel was a 10 minute walk from park entrance #2. It was nice that we didn’t have to worry about parking.

    Where we ate
    There were no towns or villages by the park, and our only option was the restaurant in Hotel Plitvice. After we dropped off our bags, we walked across the street for dinner. We had a really weird Grand Budapest Hotel moment. There was a grand dining room with white tablecloths and napkins, but only a handful of the tables were being used. The meal was average. The breakfast the next morning at Hotel Bellevue was awesome. It was just what we needed before our hike in the park! We stocked up on snacks and fruit before we got there, so we had plenty of munchies for our hike.

     

    Here’s a recap of our trip:
    » Day 1 & 2: Zagreb, Croatia
    » Day 3: Bled, Slovenia
    » Day 4: Ljubjlana, Slovenia
    » Day 4: Škocjan Caves Park, Slovenia
    » Day 5: Krk, Croatia
    » Day 6: Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
    » Day 7: Split, Croatia

     

    An Afternoon on Mackinac Island

    Since we were so close and it’s probably Mom’s last summer in Michigan, we decided to do a quick day trip to Mackinac Island. We were there last year for the Lilac Festival 10K.

    It’s about a 15 minute ferry ride from the mainland to the island. We passed the Mackinac Bridge, which connects the lower peninsula of Michigan to the upper peninsula. (We drove across it last year with David’s family while on vacation!) The Chicago to Mackinac sailboat race going on that day:

     

    Mackinac Bridge

     

    As you approach the island, you can see the Grand Hotel. It’s the setting for the movie Somewhere in Time:

     

    The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island

     

    We spent the afternoon walking around and looking at the cute shops. Mackinac is unique because no cars are allowed on the island. I think they might have a fire truck and an emergency vehicle, but other than that, you get around by foot, bike, or horse.

     

    Mackinac Shops

     

    Mackinac bikes

     

    You have to watch out for horse pies when you walk across the street!

     

    Horse drawn carriage

     

    Mackinac Island is known for its fudge:

     

    Fudge Makers on Mackinac Island

     

    We had lunch at Mary’s Bistro:

     

    Mary's Bistro on Mackinac Island

     

    David got a lamb and bleu cheese burger, I had a crab salad sandwich, and Mom had crab cake sliders. Yum!

     

    Mary's Bistro Lunch on Mackinac Island

     

    The island is absolutely beautiful! It was a gorgeous, sunny day.

     

    Mackinac Island

     

    We walked up to the Grand Hotel. Mom, Mary, and I have stayed at the hotel before. It’s very fancy and formal. After 6 pm, they require women to be in dresses or skirts and men to be in suits. There’s a fee to look inside if you’re not a guest.

     

    outsidegrandhotel

     

    However, there was no fee to eat at the new Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor connected to the hotel!

     

    sadiesicecream

     

    More Hudsonville Ice Cream! Mmmm!

     

    sadies

     

    Mackinac Island is one of my favorite places in Michigan!

     

    Kites on the Mackinac Island pier

     

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