Yesterday I’d hoped to finish our day’s ride by arriving at a campsite located within the Plitvice Lakes National Park, but in the fading light riding on the narrow, twisty and unmarked D42 was getting progressively harder and harder and with the rain still falling I pulled off about 20km short of the lakes so we could overnight in an apartment in Saborsko.

This morning we were awoken by the church bell ringing 7am, and Karen cooked pancakes whilst I fiddled with the bike. We geared up and took the last 20km of the D42 into the lakes, a twisty ride that passed a few small villages before entering the lush forest that surrounds the lake system.

At the carpark I followed a few other riders as they snuck past a barrier, and then we offloaded our helmets and jackets before having a cheeseburger for lunch at the entrance to the park. We had to change some euros to Croatian kuna before we could buy our entrance tickets (110 kuna each, so maybe AU$20) and as we lined up a couple with two ginormous black dogs queued behind us, and they were very friendly (the people, and especially the dogs 🙂 )

The park and its lake system is amazing. Karen snapped heaps of great photos and will upload some asap, and in the meantime you can either Google Plitvice Lakes or go to the official website at

I didn’t really know what to expect, as I had only skimmed Collette Coleman’s description of the lakes in her scenic ride suggestion “Slovenian Highlands and Croatian Coast”, but a breathtaking photo of the lakes in the book had caught my eye, and in real life the lakes were even more amazing to see.

There are numerous walks around the lakes, and whilst we opted for the scenic 3-4 hour walk, I managed to take a wrong-turn which added a lot more trekking to our walk, but which allowed us to see some amazing waterfalls. The lakes are tiered and higher lakes cascade into the lower lakes via waterfalls. A network of wooden walkways and forest paths, supplemented via an electric ferry and a small bus system enables people to access the lakes.

The waters of the lakes was so crystal clear you could see right to the bottom – check out Karen’s photos. I’d read that the park has brown bears in it and there were numerous warnings, but we didn’t see any bears. We did however feel a bit like David Attenborough as we photographed some blue dragon flys flitting around some of the water plants at one of the higher lakes.

We finished our walk after about five hours and had a pleasant ride back to our apartmen, stopping to buy some honey from a young girl working a little stall out the front of her home and seeing a young red deer on the road in front of us, before it dashed into the long grass.

A great day out, and with home cooked bacon and eggs for dinner, a great evening ahead 🙂

We had a late start…waking up around 9.00am but thankfully it didn’t take us long to pack the bike which was parked right outside the front door of our ground floor apartment ( the first we had had ….usually we have many flights of stairs to deal with…so this was blissful). We headed into the “Old Town” and had a coffee and panini (8.40 Euros for the both of us!) overlooking the church of St Nicholas.

It was interesting “people watching” as many varied tour groups and school groups came to admire the unique brass door. It was a work of art in itself, depicting 6 Bishops lowering the body of Christ on ropes. Above them was what appears to be a mummified alien….very confusing….but as the narrators all delivered their information in languages other than English, I was left to decifer the door’s meaning as best I could! Will have to Google it when I get time!

We took a walk into the town and came across a Pandora shop ….so we popped in and young Anna assisted us in finding a turquoise Murano bead for my braclet to represent Slovinia. As we walked back along the river and through the Marketplace it started to pour down. We took shelter under a market umbrella where Vince had an apple and I had some cherries. It wasn’t letting up so we toughed it out and mounted the bike to be on our way.

It was around 11.00am when we left to reach the Plitvice National Park in neighbouring Croatia. We took the scenic 106 and followed that all the way to the boarder where we had to hand over our passports for inspection. The policeman went to speak to another policeman who was busy playing chess on his computer….but eventually came out of his office to question us as to why there was no entry stamp in our Australian Passport. Rather than explain the com plexities of our dual citizenship Vince chose a different tact claiming they were scanned electronically without a stamp. I confirmed this …. our passports on entry to London (Gatwick) were scanned with no stamp….all true …I justleft out the fact they were British! In any case the policemen continued flicking through our passports and mine was empty ( apart from my Pakistan Visa)…. I explained this was because I had just got married and my name was changed so it was a new passport. Our stories must have been accepted as they stamped us out of Slovinia and into Croatia!

We went South to Delnice where we refuled and discovered that half a tank cost 183 kuna ($45) …ouch! The rain did not let up the whole time ….it just varied in intensity…we were both soaked through so Vince offered for us to just get a hotel in Delnice…..Adventure Girl said “No….we’re already wet, let’s just push on”. After getting a little lost, Vince finally found route 3 and we followed that until picking up the D42 that would lead us down to the lakes ….still about another 112km away.

We had a bit of a scary moment on a quiet section of road just North of   Ogulim…….A camper van was blocking the road and people were also on the road …so Vince stopped, I heard the skidding and screaching of brakes….which I knew were not ours…..behind me…..I waited for the impending crash…..luckily it didn’t come….the “little Shit Box” (Vinces terminology) managed to stop just inches from the ANIMALS rear. Vince told me afterwards that he should also get credit as when he heard the skid he released the brake so we could roll forwards a bit. Vince was furious and displayed his displeasure to the driver behind with a wave of his fist…he was not happy! The driver got out and I nervously wondered what would happen next! Vince voiced his verbal displeasure in no uncertain terms and even if the car driver could not understand English he certainly didn’t miss the point. No apology was given but he sheepishly returned to his vehicle. (Vince would like to note that he always pulls over and waves through cars coming up to us from behind but this guy came from nowhere travelling at speed). The last we saw of him he was speeding off into the distance with his wife and kid in the car…….not very responsible!

We stopped in Ogulin at the Lidel and got some food supplies to cook as we still hoped to camp out even though the rain was still falling. We carried on towards the lakes but half an hour later it was too dark for Vince to see the road safely so we pulled off when we saw a sign to an appartment…Maria told us she had one for 4 people available but could give us a reduced rate of 55 euro instead of 65 euro….we had a look and I nearly died……OMG we have gone to heaven….it’s huge….with a private sauna and a space age shower…Vince thinks is from 50 shades of Grey….as well as a separate toilet and bathroom, a split level with two double beds and a whole kitchen, lounge and dining area….we may never leave!!!!