September 02, 2006

BALKANS TRIP - PART FIVE: PLITVICE LAKES

This is the fifth article posted, from my vacation last month...

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From Krk, we drove off the island to Plitvice National Park, about an hour inland. This park is a series of twenty lakes, all connected by waterfalls and creeks, and separated by natural dams that grow larger each year.

On a side note, Croatia was part of Yugoslavia until 1991, when it broke free from the republic. This whole chapter in history can be traced back to an incident at these lakes, where Croats and Serbs had a short but intense fight. Two people were killed in the battle, a Serb and a Croat, destroying what little remained between these two groups.

If you want more information on this incident, click here.

And now back to the post...

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After parking, we walked down to the first lake and caught a ferry to the other side.

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Along the way you can see dozens of small waterfalls and river entrances, connecting these lakes to form one of Croatia's largest natural preserves.

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After landing, the rest of the park is a series of raised wooden walkways, twisting and turning through thick forests.

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Perfect...

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I love how this bridge clings to the side of a hill, as a river passes underneath.

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Mmmmm...

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Along the way, you can stop and enjoy all the nooks and crannies of the park...

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...such as this waterfall and crystal pond.

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You can also take dirt hiking trails up the hillside, to get a better view of the lakes. Plenty to see and do, out here.

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A few more steps and I'm done for the day. Lookin' a bit flushed! Maybe it's sunburn... :)

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We jumped back in the car, just as the sun began to sink below the horizon. It was time to head back to Krk.

Soon, we would be driving south, to the city of Split.

Stay tuned...

Posted by Dan at 07:16 PM | Comments (1)

September 10, 2006

DUBAI DETOUR

A quick interruption:

I am in Kuwait, and will soon be flying to Dubai. I have a last-minute business thing, and will be gone for the week. I'll try to keep updating the site with pics from my recent vacation, but only time will tell.

Cheers...

Posted by Dan at 04:23 PM | Comments (1)

September 15, 2006

DUBAI IS SOOO YESTERDAY...

I'm back in Kuwait; just a quick update before I head north to Baghdad. My trip to Dubai went well, except for my iPod and camera being stolen out of my luggage. At least my phone has a camera on it, so I still took a few pictures. I'll load a few when I get back to Baghdad...and I still haven't posted the rest of my vacation pics.

Stay tuned for more from Croatia, Germany, and Dubai...

Posted by Dan at 04:17 PM | Comments (2)

September 30, 2006

BALKANS TRIP - PART SIX: SPLIT, SUPETAR, AND SUPER TIMES

I apologize - this posting is long overdue. September is usually the busiest time for my company, as we are doing all sorts of crazy software testing - but I don't need to get into that. I still owe you pictures from my vacation last month.

Oh, and if you get the feeling that this article was rushed, how very observant of you!

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In this picture, we're driving along the coast, looking at the many islands that surround the calm shoreline of Croatia. We left Punat, from the island of Krk, and headed south to our next destination, Split. This city is one of Croatia's largest, and certainly one of the more historic locales.

If you need the map from my vacation, click here.

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Split is a strange mixture of Roman relics, cozy villas, and communist-era apartments that look something like honeycombs made of concrete. Most of these structures were built in the 70s and 80s, when Croatia was still part of Yugoslavia. This explains the feeling I got, walking around. Everyone seemed friendly enough, but it was as if the entire country just recovered from a major disaster.

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This is the city center (Centar).

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Walking between the shops and storefronts, we were rewarded with beautiful corridors and quiet alleyways.

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Sometimes I felt like I was walking on a movie set.

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The streets are lined with vendors, selling everything from homemade rum and whiskey, to soap and straw hats, along with many other souvenirs. Standing behind them, giant walls are all that remain of the Roman Empire.

One thing about Split: the city is very packed and there is no parking. I'd recommend you take a taxi or walk...or have a whole lotta patience.

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One of our days in Split, we boarded a ferry and boated to the Island of Brach, to a town called Supetar. Approaching the harbor, the village looks like something out of "Pirates of the Caribbean."

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You'd almost expect to see rum runners and tobacco plantations here.

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OK, time for some artsy photography.

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One more...

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This is just the side of an old church, but I loved this courtyard. Wow, I'm starting to sound like an old guy. :)

After the cruise, we returned to Split and went for a swim near our hotel. Our next stop is a small village by the name of Trogir. I'll have pictures tomorrow.

Stay tuned...

Posted by Dan at 12:20 AM | Comments (0)