Sunday, October 20, 2013

Days 2 thru 4 - Zadar (Plus Surrounding Areas)

Alright! Days 2-4 (Saturday thru Monday) of this Croatia extravaganza took place in a small town called Zadar. This was actually my favorite town that we visited in Croatia, primarily because it was so tiny - the smaller, the quainter, the better, in my opinion.

We ended up taking a pleasant bus ride through the Croatian countryside (or something like that) to Zadar... unfortunately, I missed the majority of the scenic bus ride since I legitimately PASSED OUT for the couple of hours our journey took. Oh well.

Once we got to Zadar, the host for the apartment we were renting (Ivana) ended up meeting us at the bus station itself, which was great since there was a whole flurry of activity going on (and I was still not fully awake). Anyway, Ivana turned out to be just the sweetest little gem in all the land - SO bubbly and full of all kinds of information. The best kind of host, if you will.

Our apartment turned out to be a multi-apartment cottage which screamed all kinds of things adorable. Check out our very own COBBLESTONE PATHWAY!

After settling in to our new digs, we were ready to start exploring. As we hung out in the little courtyard area, waiting for everyone to be ready, we noticed a small (adorable) grandmotherly Croatian woman beckoning to us from a neighboring apartment. She didn't speak any English, but quite frankly, she was so adorable, so I just eagerly headed on over to see what she wanted.

Boy, am I glad that I did! As if this woman wasn't adorable enough, she had also... MADE THESE WARM AND DELICIOUS MINI DOUGHNUT THINGS (I think it's a traditional Croatian treat) for our group!

We could NOT get enough of these things! They were just so warm and delicious (and I'm not even the biggest doughnut person). Quite frankly, it was more the gesture than anything else that did it for me... I mean, I wish we could've snapped a PICTURE that fully CAPTURED this elderly woman's pure adorableness without being totally creepy.

Oh well, that didn't stop us from shamelessly snapping pictures of other elderly people...

RIGHT?!? Okay, I'm all about the holidays but how creepy / weird is this guy?

Moving on...we continued wandering around the town and taking in the sites - because Zadar is situated right on the water, we had plenty of simply lovely views of the sunsets...

How cool is this HUMONGOUS sundial??

We wandered for a bit more, ended up having dinner at a place called Atrij (delicious, chill and located in a prime spot for people watching!)...

Okay, there was more to dinner than that, but you get the picture (no pun intended ;)).

The next couple of days were filled with outdoorsy touristy things - we were planning to visit Plitvice Lakes and Krka National Park. Both are known for being beautiful, forest-y type places with amazing waterfalls. Both of these activities are pretty popular and touristy, and we ended up going with this tour company called Romeo and Juliet Travel Agency , based on our host, Ivana's, recommendation.

I am going to do all I can to advertise this tour company because we simply had the BEST experience with our tour guide, Ivica. He was simply wonderful - so unbelievably knowledgeable, personable, and funny. Not to mention... he is totally in the know with all things American pop culture so you better believe we had plenty to discuss, given the VMAs that had just taken place (as he references it: "The Shame of Miley Cyrus" hahahah!!!).

In any event, we all piled into this tour minibus/van thing to begin our sojourn to Plitvice Lakes.

En route, Ivica spoke to us about the history of his country, including but not limited to the war which took place in the early '90s. While everything Ivica spoke about was interesting, his personal stories and experiences about the war were what stuck with me the most.

We soon arrived at Plitvice Lakes... and were basically taken aback by its beauty. It's basically a magical forest, if you will.

The trees can't get any greener...

The water can't get any clearer...

And of course, you can't forget those waterfalls...

We also visited a little cave that was located up some steep-ish steps which was nice. I would have to say the steps themselves are probably more exciting than the cave, though.

Okay, so that was Plitvice Lakes. We ended up hitting up Krka Falls the next day as well, per dear Ivica's recommendation. We were actually more impressed with the views and the waterfalls we saw there moreso than at Plitvice!

Okay, this is the problem with blogging about trips months after the fact. I have such a terrible memory that I'm starting to confuse what pictures were from Plitvice Lakes vs. Krka Falls. Oh well, all you need to know is that both places are spectacular. Although, if you are pressed for time, I would recommend Krka Falls over  Plitvice Lakes (if you are purely interested in seeing amazing waterfalls), as it seemed to have the more majestic waterfalls to look at... AND you get to swim in the falls (which we did)! Can't beat that, right?

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