[Part 2: Zagreb, Karlovac, and Plitvička Jezera National Park (Croatia)]
Eventually we became fed up with the ceaseless beauty of Plitvička Jezera National Park and we left for the village of Korana and our accommodations for the next two nights. Mom and Dawn and I stayed in this wee bed and breakfast. ...Roses!
Like the fairy tale village, Korana is built right on the water.
...Okay apparently I'm not entirely sick of water features yet.
The aperitif before dinner: local wine, local beer, and our first introduction to rakija, in honey and pine flavors. Rakija is what the locals make from wine-making leftovers: distilled grape-stuff. Every household makes its own, in varying degrees of toxicity. It comes in many flavors and with a list of health benefits, or so they say. In fairly short order, “RAKIJA!!” became the rallying cry of our tour group.
After a satisfying dinner, a lovely sleep, and a delicious breakfast, we went for a bike tour of the surrounding countryside. Our late-morning stop was Barac's Caves. Here our stern but knowledgeable guide prepares us to enter the murky depths of the underworld.
OMG LOOK A BAT. <33333333 If I remember correctly, this is Rhinolophus hipposideros, the Lesser Horseshoe Bat. It is VERY VERY TINY and ADORABLE.
The cave was not quite as spectacular as the cave we visited in Slovenia, but as caves go, pretty darn nifty. I mean anything that isn't a lava tube is an exotic wonderland as far as I'm concerned. This is the ceiling of the main chamber of the cave. ...Stalactites!
Instead of a floor, the main chamber has a bottomless pit. ...Honestly, every cave should have one of these.
Awesome cave pillar.
Outside of the caves, the forest is very pretty.
Back at Korana, a lot of rain occurred overnight. That waterfall I took a picture of looks like this now:
Village kitty washing its face, with roses. ♥
We took a late-afternoon stroll upstream through the village towards some falls, beers in hand. Some of the villagers have very lovely flower gardens.
Stream, with bullrushes.
The falls. Or, rapids, really.
Chris, one of our Canadians, with rope swing. If it were not a chilly autumn evening, no power in the 'verse would have kept me out of the water.
No I'm not going to stop taking pictures of flowers, actually.
Our village host is preparing to cook us a traditional Croatian mountain meal. To start, pan full of simmering water. (That is not our village host. That is John, from Colorado.)
Next: add a pile of meat.
Next: add lots and lots of meat. Once the meat is cooked, get it out of the way and make a vegetable ragout in the meat juice. (That is our village host.)
VILLAGE KITTY~! I think this is the one with an oral fixation. If you pet him, he starts chewing on your clothing and purring.
The next day we continued vaguely southish, and the scenery changed.
Our first stop: Krupa Monastery.
Pretty hibiscus is pretty.
Things I took pictures of in Croatia: waterfalls, flowers, cats. So many cats.
The monastery courtyard, with the original very ancient cobblestone paving; about 800 years old, I believe.
Inside the chapel. Behind the altar: icons of the saints.
I like this design. It's pretty.
Icons and scenes from the life of Christ.
Murals covered every surface, although much of their original splendor has been lost.
The monastery grounds are lovely. I like this gate.
This wall is embellished with thorny branches to discourage goats and sheep.
The monastery is set on a very lovely river.
On the next episode: kayak adventures!