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Grabovac , Croatia - #3 - Days 5 and 6

Updated: Apr 25

Our next destination, Grabovac. Despite having a name that sounds like a product hawked by Ron Popeil on late night TV back in the day, it is a small town 250 km north of Split, and another 3-hour non-stop drive. Our basic travel mode has been to enjoy breakfast at a location, and then on to the next locale, arriving early afternoon. We have found that spacing accommodations three or four hours apart has provided us the opportunity to cover a lot of ground without road fatigue and has ample time to hit a site or two along the way. Typically, we will stay in one town for two nights using it as a hub for places of interest in that area and partaking of its own qualities. This allows us to sample a good portion of a region or small country in a relatively short period of time. In that way we are able to catch a lot of regional diversity and plan return trips devoted to spending extended periods in locations we found particularly attractive. So, four nights is usually the maximum for these initial excursions. Needless to say, the new “covid world” is going to force an abandonment of this strategy. B&B hosts will likely refrain from renting for short stays owing to the mandatory down time between guest bookings and the sanitizing of the facilities. But I digress. On the way to Grabovac, after 30 minutes of driving we decided to make a quick stop at the Klis Fortress which morphed into two delightful hours.

Although considered a medieval fortress, Klis fortress was originally built in the 2nd century BC by the Ilyrians and then taken by the Romans. The exterior of this 2000 year old fortress which stands 360 meters (1181.1 feet) above sea level was used as a Game of Thrones, season 4 filming location.

Photo collage from the Game of Thrones Exhibit
Photos from the Game of Thrones Exhibit

If you make it to the fortress, make sure to go into the little museum. There you will see photos of Daenerys Targaryen (Game of Thrones) and her army march up the cobbled walkways towards Meereen. One-hundred and sixty-three bodies hanging on crosses can be seen as Daenerys’ army approaches the city. All the hanging bodies from Game of Thrones were gone by the time we got there.

The building on the left with a person taking a photo, is the museum. It was built using Roman-era foundations and was once known as the Prince's home. Rebuilt and remodeled quite a few times, the most recent structural renovation occurred around 1820. Between the two buildings on the left is an arch with a stairway. My husband is leaning against the shorter building checking his email. We may be walking the path of the ancients but are hopelessly tethered to present day technology. To the right is St. Vid's church.

Photograph of Maria Savidis Markatos and Stephan Skettini
Obligatory selfie of the two of us from Klis fortress with the Adriatic on our back

Less than 2.5 hours after leaving Klis Fortress, we arrived at our hotel, located on the edge of a farm in #Grabovac where we did some bird-watching.

Plitvice lakes can get very crowded very quickly. Sometimes the number of people who want to enter exceeds the number allowed. It is advisable to purchase tickets online or to arrive before opening hours. Sometimes you might feel like Yogi Berra lamenting that “no one goes there anymore because it’s too crowded”. Then you remember that, most often, crowded tourist attractions are crowded because there is something special about being there. This is most definitely one of those uniquely beautiful places.

Early the next morning, with tickets loaded on our phones, we headed to the national park, a full 5 minute car-ride away.. We spent the day (sunrise-sunset) exploring the forest reserve, caves, terraced lakes, and waterfalls. For a glimpse into what we saw, check out the photos below.

Plitvice, like many of the places we visited, is a UNESCO site. The calcium deposits in the 16 naturally terraced lakes that are interconnected by a series of cascading waterfalls make the crystal clear water a brilliant and beautiful turquoise hue.

There are several majestic caves at Plitvice Lakes, these stairs lead to one of them.

One of the oldest and largest national parks in Croatia, Plitvice Lakes has is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage register. Famous for its cascades and interconnected lakes separated by travertine dams, where the water colors constantly change in response to the quantity of minerals present. The photo highlights one of the walkways through the gorge.

Even though this place is crowded this couple still found the space to be somewhat alone.

The changing of the leaves, turquoise water, and waterfalls make this place a sight to see in October.

One of the things we learned about the tourists of Croatia; they have a penchant for rubbing bronze noses. Like the Shakespeare of Dubrovnik statue, this commemorative plaque honoring Evo Pevalek has his nose buffed shiny from that custom.

Next Stop Zagreb, Croatia

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