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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

     

    Eastern Turkey: Doğubayazıt

    After our first night in Van, we traveled 110 miles north to Doğubayazıt. Our goal was to see Ağrı Dağı (Mount Ararat) and visit Ishak Pasha Palace.

    We were super pumped to be within a mile and a half of Iran. David pointed out every watch tower along the border.

     

    Van to Dogubayazit

     

    The drive took over three hours. As we traveled north, we saw a lot more snow. We also ran into fog which made for some scary driving, but David mastered it like a pro.

     

    Snowy roadside

     

    We finally got to Doğubayazıt only to run into some political protests in the street. (Don’t worry – nothing violent.) Police were blocking the street we needed, and we circled around for quite a while trying to find a different way to the palace. We ended up stopping just outside of the town to regroup and stretch our legs.

     

    Our rental car

     

    Behind us, you can see part of Mount Ararat beneath the fog:

     

    Group by Ararat

     

    David wanted to say “I ran near Iran!” so he used his GPS watch and went on a little jog:

     

    David running

     

    Since we had driven so far, we went back into town to see if we could get to the palace one more time. Fortunately, a policeman finally let us through! Do you see the palace? It’s directly above the last power pole:

     

    Driving to Ishak Palace

     

    Ishak palace

     

    Ishak Pasha Palace was built in 1685 during the Ottoman period. Entry was 5TL or free with the Müze card.

     

    Ishak Palace Entryway

     

    ishakpalace

     

    This is the ceiling of the mosque within the palace:

     

    Ishak Palace ceiling

     

    The view of the surrounding landscape was incredible:

     

    Mountain view out window

     

    Mountain Landscape

     

    It was International Women’s Day so we took a picture of the girls in the hamam:

     

    Women's Day

     

    After a while at the castle, we decided to head back so we wouldn’t have to drive in the dark. We passed through several small towns along the way:

     

    Turkish town

     

    Political party flags

     

    We made a quick stop about 35 miles outside of Van at Muradiye Waterfalls. The Turkish word for waterfall is şelale (sheh-lah-lay) – isn’t that pretty? We walked across the suspension bridge and back, but didn’t stay very long. I’m sure it’s much nicer when everything is green and in bloom.

     

    Muradiye waterfall

     

    Muradiye waterfall

     

    I never thought I would see so much of eastern Turkey. And we still had one more day!

    PS. Did you know there’s Mount Ararat bottled water?

     

    Mount Ararat water

     

    » Read about our first day in Van here.
    » Read about our last day at Akdamar Island here.

     

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