This morning we woke up at 4.30 am because we needed to catch the bus to Plitvice National Park. The way to the national park went very smoothly and we had wifi in the bus, so we could even work a little bit! At 8 o’clock in the morning the bus arrived at the national park. This park is very well known about the many waterfalls you can find here. Actually there are 92 waterfalls in this park which end in 16 crystal clear blue lakes. You pay a little entrance fee which they use to maintain the park. If you really don’t want to pay the fee, it is possible to go inside for free, as the park isn’t closed with gates or what ever. Just know that you can’t take the bus or boat then, and that means walking a lot!
We paid the entrance fee, could drop our backpack in the luggage room and went inside. It just took a 5 minute walk before we saw the first waterfall and it was big! Even it was only 8.30 am the sun was shining and the temperature was perfect. We walked a little further into the park and saw more and more waterfalls and couldn’t believe how beautiful these lakes were. You could see the bottom everywhere, we saw fishes and even scorpions in this water! Halfway there we could catch a boat to cross the biggest lake and we were dropped on the other side. More waterfalls, more lakes, the one even more beautiful than the other one it was just impossible to stop taking pictures!
Just when we reached the end of the park the first rain drops were falling down. We could find a shelter in one of the little huts until the bus came to pick us up and brought us down again. From there it was just a ten minute walk to go back to the place where we started and we had some late lunch. We went back in the park to see the big waterfall one more time and decided to go to the road to try to get out of here by hitchhiking. We were standing on the road with a sign “Rijeka” which is in the direction of North Croatia. We already arranged us a couchsurf address in Koper (Slovenia) but we weren’t sure if we could make it there today. To get there is almost a 4 hour drive if you go straight. We already read on the internet it is hard to get away from the park, so we were prepared for the worst. Anyway some man come over to us and he explained us that he used to hitchhike a lot when he was younger. A sign to Rijeka should not really work, because it is quite an unknown place and we should better first go back to Zagreb and try to get a lift from there to Laibach (Ljubljana) and from there to the coast of Slovenia. As we just wanted to go away from this park we decided to listen to him and used our old sign with “Zagreb” written on it. It just lasted 5 or 10 minutes before the first car stopped. A girl from Germany told us that she was going into the direction of Zagreb. We were glad someone would take us to a better place and got into the car. When she drove away with us we asked her where she was going and she told us she was celebrating holiday with a couple of friends in Umag. We found out where Umag was and it seemed just a 30 minute drive from Koper!!! Nooooo way!!! We were looking at each other as if we still didn’t believe it. We thought it would be so hard to get there and now we almost have a lift straight to that place!
after 2,5 hours driving (by that time it was already 7.30 pm) we stopped at the Mc Donalds because all three of us were very hungry. We had some diner and continued our trip. We were looking at google maps to see how much longer it was before we get in Umag to guess if it was possible to even go to Koper today. Just as we checked on google maps where we were, we noticed this German girl was driving towards the Slovenian border!? But.. Why would she take that road? We asked her if she knew she was almost crossing the Slovenian border and she just said: ‘Yes I know, it’s just the way my navigation tells me how to drive’. Again we were looking at each other as if we couldn’t believe what was happening. Because if she took this road to Umag she would exactly drive through Koper! We still couldn’t believe it and couldn’t stop laughing. This means we had a lift from Plitvice national park in Croatia straight to Koper in Slovenia! So after all it took us only 4 hours instead of 2 days! This was just amazing. She dropped us at a perfect crossing and from there it was only a 10 minute walk to our couch surfing address. This address wasn’t an average address as it was just a caravan standing on a big property of someone. This person wouldn’t be there for us to open it, because he was busy with other things. We got the following description to find the trailer:
“When you will cross small river you can count 11 street lights (250 m) and than turn to right – after bench and waste box. Trailer it’s 40 m from main road. GPS location (45°31’28.6″N 13°44’24.6″E or 45.524610423669046, 13.740161208795143 ) You can open window (raise the window) and than put hand inside and with hand open the door. Inside you will find tourist maps, rules, guest book,…..”
So after we crossed the small river we counted 11 street lights and turned right onto a self-made road. After we crossed the bushes there was a caravan standing with a sign on the door: ‘Welcome couchsurfers!’. This was just amazing. We put our arm through the window and were able to open the door. There was no electricity, no fresh water and no toilet, but there was a bed and there were some candles that gave us some light. This was just perfect! We were quite exhausted after a short night and a long day so we went to bed straight away, even though it was only 09.30pm.
We were sleeping already when we woke up because of some noise. It looked like talking people approaching the caravan. We checked our watch and it was 1.30am. What was going on here? Were there more people coming? Just some seconds later people knocked on the door. We opened the door and 5 people were standing outside. Both parties looked a little strange like: ‘Huh, are you also here with couch surfing?’. We laughed about it and we started taking our stuff to the little room we were sleeping. They could all get there stuff inside too. The caravan had a bunkbed in another small room and a table with two couched. When we looked at the table a little better it seemed it was possible to make a bed here too. The 5 persons who arrived slept with the tree of them in this bed and two others in the bunk bed and we slept in the big bed. Wauw, 7 people sleeping in this tiny caravan! Luckily these people were very nice and we just made the best of it.
This was just what we call our perfect day! And this is exactly why we love to travel so much! Nature, adventure, surprises, all in one day!