Maybe it’s the chemistry, the sparks that fly…
I won’t be surprised if you haven’t heard of the Plitvice Lakes in Croatia. They’ve not been used as a set for Game of Thrones (yet?) and they are a bit out of the way to get to. But this UNESCO site needs to be seen to be believed (my favourite photo is at the bottom of the post).
Me at the Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
It all started with Tufa. And a bit of chemistry. I shall try and make this simple – basically Tufa is a fragile kind of stone that needs special conditions for creation: clean water and warm summer temperatures. I will leave out the super complicated bit and just say that in the 19th century the elements that are important for creating Tufa were presented and thus the Plitvice Lakes became a UNESCO site as it is a unique process – it only occurs here. We filmed in this area in order to show how important it is that we look after the environment. If temperatures continue to rise and the atmosphere becomes more polluted, creating Tufa becomes more difficult and the area’s environment will change. The area could even lose their UNESCO status.
We stayed on site at the Hotel Jezero. I’m just going to say it is extremely old-fashioned and reminded me of my grandparents’ home. There were 6 tour buses out front and hundreds of Japanese and Korean tourists inside the hotel. The room was fine, the breakfast buffet enormous and the dinner actually very delicious. Plus you can hear the waterfalls from your room and the balcony looks out onto billions of stars. It was magical!
Room with a view at Hotel Jezero
Dinner was delicious – esp with some local wine
We were lucky to have a wonderful guide Kathi. She was fun, friendly and always giggling. In the mornings the guides are allocated a group and her office had shamed her as she had picked our crazy Japanese TV group. By mid-day, all the male tour guides and the boat drivers had telephones her as they were jealous – we were filming with two beautiful ladies and they wanted to join us – haha. On the way Kathi picked at flowers and plants and picked some ‘bear’s onion’ leaves, saying we should try them as they are what bears eat after they come out of hibernation. After one small bite I could taste onion in my mouth for the entire day, even after lots of chewing gum and lunch. It’s a good thing I like onions!
The Lakes are divided into ‘Upper’ and ‘Lower’. Kathi preferred the ‘Upper’ Lakes, but it’s easier to film and get around the ‘Lower’ Lakes, so we did that. First we jumped on a mini boat ride from P1 over to P2 to see small waterfalls and stunning walkways along the lakes.
Love these wooden walkways
Views from the boat
Next was the 15 minute boat ride to P3, where there is a restaurant (mostly junk food) and then you walk up the hill and the views are just amazing. If you walk alongside the ledge there are various viewpoints that must have been carved out for photographers. If you go all the way around you get the famous view of the massive waterfalls, but I would to recommend sturdy walking shoes. It’s a hike and we met a viper on the path literally less than a meter in front of us. Kathi said it was a pregnant female which was why she had moved so slowly. One bite and you have 20 minutes to live…
I loved it! We were here in the middle of April and tourist season starts in May – I can only imagine how awful it would be with mass-loads of tourists. We didn’t see the Lakes in full bloom, but it was peaceful and the boats were empty. I love how you can walk around at your own pace and see the lakes from above as well from a boat and walking through the woods is stunning. To sum up, in the words of our cameraman: ‘This is too beautiful! I need a whole week here to capture it all’! I have to agree – the water is so crystal-clear and the colour such deep shades of blue it makes you want to protect the environment so that everyone gets a chance to see this natural beauty.
My favourite photo!