Friday, 9 September 2016

Travelling Europe: Krka National Park

Krka National Park, the second park we visited on the trip and one we highly anticipated due to the ability to swim within a section of the park. Our coach from Zadar dropped us to the Skradin park entrance, from there we decided to buy a ticket for the remainder of the day - it was around 2pm at this point. From Skradin we had a short boat ride taking us into the park and then had to walk through to the Lozovac entrance which we could then get to our campsite from. We made our way to the campsite, along a few long long roads, with nothing but shrubs and abandoned buildings surrounding us. It was like we were the only people for miles! Very few cars passed us on the road and the only other living things to communicate to us were the dogs tied up in front yards barking angrily away. It took about 45 minutes for us to reach the campsite, in the blazing sun with our bags on our backs it was a challenge and we were glad to find the pine trees to shelter our tent as we began to set up camp. We then left our belongings and made our way back to the national park, and spent a good few hours in there, taking the boardwalk route around the waterfalls, reading up on all the crazy wildlife that inhabitated the area. It was so nice and quiet compared to the manic midday jam of people. Once again trying to get their faces in every single photo of the beauty surrounding them. We were virtually alone strolling around the park, and there were a fair few people still relaxing in the water, but nowhere near as overcrowded as before. We found a place to tuck our belongings away and went for a swim in the lake below a big bellowing waterfall. The current from it was so strong, there was a point I was getting really swept away by it. But I blame that on the fact I couldn't genuinely try and swim against it - I was laughing way too much. It was a really nice evening and we left the national park around 6.30pm to make our way back to the campsite for some dinner. 
The next day we got ready and by 10am set out again for the National Park, we wanted to do a bit more of a longer walk that day as there were a few points of interest around the national park I wanted to reach. Along the first road towards the Lozovac entrance we came across two other backpackers in their mid-twenties, standing around looking lost. The guy approached us and asked us the way to the entrance of the national park and on realising we were heading there they decided to join us. They were a brother and sister from California -(their names I've already forgot) and we began chatting about both our trips where we've been and where we were heading. It was really nice to hang out with other travellers for a while. They told us that they had met a Croatian guy the night before who had said he could get them into the national park for free, they just needed to find his house which was on the way to the entrance. As luck would strike we found it without fault, as he had two friendly young dogs who drew our attention to his front gate. We decided to stick with them while entering the park and got chatting for a bit and then eventually began a walk basically down a mountain side and then onto one of the pathways already inside the park. We got away with it just fine and then began our walk around the main boardwalk route taking in the sights and sounds of the cascading waterfalls. Around midday we sat down by the waterside in a sheltered spot and had some lunch, it was there me and Tom decided to head out for our walk and leave them enjoy the water. We said our goodbyes and headed towards an information point to find out where we could walk to around the park. It was at this point we got told that the other parts of the national park were inaccessible to people hiking alone, and we would have to drive further up to be able to do any walking. Great! No hiking available in the main part of the park except the small route around the waterfalls. We were so bummed off, especially when we realised we couldn't enter back into the park, because they were checking tickets further along. With that we decided to do a walk available which took us back to Skradin. That was not too bad and it was just nice to be walking about. We had dinner in Skradin and then began our journey back to the Lozovac entrance and to our campsite. That day felt like a bit of a fail because we had ended up paying for two days and to be honest, wasn't able to do very much. And it was frustrating because that wasn't made clear originally. There were no longer walk paths available at all, and I had always assumed (and was proven so far in our trip) that national parks were good for avid hiking. Not this one, and that unfortunately really let it down in my opinion. Still of course beautiful, it was just annoying that there was so much of the park we didn't get to see! 
The next day we packed up camp and headed off early. We had to get back to Skradin in order to get a bus to Split, but didn't want to go through the park again. The alternative route was basically walking along a highway that weaved its way down a mountain - very very sketchy. We managed ok but had to be so aware of on coming cars - as on certain corners there would be no way of them seeing us. That was probably the most dangerous part of the trip we endured, and it was so endless! We must of followed the road for atleast an hour, walking slowly and tucked into the side of the road. At Skradin we stopped off for some lunch and then waited for our coach, which was late due to a bridge being closed because of high winds! Eventually we were sat down and on our way to Split and a ferry journey booked for the night ahead to be in Italy by the morning!






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