Time to split from Split. Another quick turnaround, and it’s still raining. We had also heard that it was teeming down in our next destination: the Plitvice Lakes, but the boys picked up our Audi Mohusive and we carried on regardless. Visibility was virtually nil for most of the way and we were very relieved to have got there unscathed. We jogged/ran to the one singular restaurant in the vicinity for a celebratory drink before cooking up a feast back at the apartment.
The next morning there was a four hour window when the clouds lifted. We grabbed it. Leaping into the car we whizzed off to Entrance 2 of The Lakes, bought tickets and joined the orderly queue for the bus. It was quite a long wait, so we amused ourselves with a selfie or twelve. Much hilarity ensued (see below).
So, remember all that rain? It was only when we got out at the other side that the extent of the flooding was obvious. The lakes had flooded (apparently they can!), the walkways were under water, the ships’ mooring points submerged, and the walking tours were limited to two circuits. Although what we saw was pretty, I have a feeling that it has a lot more to offer when it hasn’t been raining for five days straight.
Then it started raining again. So we figured it was time to go back. No more orderly queue. Quite a feisty scrum, it turned out. After an hour or so of politeness and a beer in the soggy, packed café, we squidged ourselves onto the fifth bus, abandoned the second circuit and headed back to the apartment to dry off. We hadn’t really counted on getting quite this wet every day – at least, not without a swimming cozi.
Leaving the lakes behind we headed for our final destination: Zagreb. The rains had had a devastating effect on surrounding areas: we passed a fire engine and a number of men in wetsuits boating food parcels over to submerged houses in Karlovac. Had we not been in our big car there were some roads that would have been impassable as rivers had burst their banks and engulfed bridges we were trying to cross.
Dropping the car off was a mission in itself, but once we’d been shown into our ultra-luxury apartment smack in the middle of the capital city, any stresses we might have had melted away. High ceilings, huge rooms, dripping with chandeliers…we couldn’t have asked for a more luxurious end to our hols.
Zagreb reminded us what we love about a capital city. It wasn’t raining, (that day, at least) so we climbed a tower for a view of St Mark’s church square and its chequered roof; drank posh dark beers at a strange little pub/restaurant at the stone gate; thought the street lights were on fire until we realised they were gas-lit and finally met up with an acquaintance from my work who whisked us out into the suburbs for traditional meat & potatoes dinner.
Taking breakfast in the dining room (and bemoaning the fact that Juanita hadn’t laid the table before we got up) we decided (on reflection, perhaps incorrectly) to walk to the Graffiti Wall and train station. In the rain. Our central location meant that we could come back, strip off, re-dress for the next part of the day and set out again with dry feet. This time for the Museum of Broken Relationships, which was a heart-wrenching, all-absorbing feast for the senses.
A surreal, but no less interesting afternoon was spent visiting Studio Jura, where a splendid Audient mixing console resides. Apart from the excitement of all those flashing lights and faders, this sojourn gave us a little insight into life in quieter, suburban Zagreb.
Our final night was spent sampling Middle Earth beers in the Tolkien’s House and discussing what WE would put into the Broken Relationship museum…which was a very interesting topic, brought to a hasty finish by Jeremy’s discovery of a caterpillar in his kebab. It was alive. The good news: by then it had stopped raining! Yippee!!
Croatia is a beautiful, friendly, diverse, amazing and interesting country. In Jeremy’s words: like Italy but less expensive. Here’s hoping we can go back to explore the bits that we missed some day soon…