Day 15 - Krka National ParkAugust 18 in Croatia ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C
We had a wonderful sleep had with air conditioning, but the alarm went off at 6.15am so we could beat the crowds getting into Krka National Park.
After showers, we put what we had been told was milk in our coffee & on our honey Cheerios. It was liquid yoghurt which sank to the bottom of our coffee & pooled in a puddle in our cereal. The mystery of why my milk plopped whilst camping has now been solved. We were buying drinkable yoghurt, it seems that the Croats only have UHT milk or yoghurt.
We abandoned our breakfast & headed out, first to the bakery for a meat pasty each, then to the Krka National Park ticket office to buy our Park tickets funnily enough. Our tickets qualified us for the boat ride from Skradin to Skradinski Buk inside the National Park. We were told we had to buy additional tickets inside the Park for the boat trips that start at 10.00am.
Krka National Park is described as ‘109km sq of the loveliest section of the Krka River including it’s seven waterfalls. The national park is a vast and primarily unaltered area of exceptional natural value, including one or more preserved or insignificantly altered ecosystems’.
We were on the 8.00am boat that was the first departure of the day. Twenty minutes later we arrived at an empty Skradinski Buk & wandered around getting our bearings. The signs that were apparently also in English were sporadic to virtually non existent.
We found the ticket office for the boat trips just after 9.00am & bought our tickets for our chosen 4 hour round boat trip. Only then were we informed that the 1st boat wouldn’t be leaving until 11.00am, the same starting time it had been for the last couple of months.
With an extra hour now on our hands, we decided to walk the entire trail around Skradinski Buk, which was mainly on a raised wooden walkway over a series of small waterfalls & vivid blue & green pools. There were lots of fish, snakes & the obligatory heron. It was very pleasant & eerily quiet. We weren’t sure where everyone had gone. Maybe we were missing something. Needless to say, I took loads of photos.
The walkway took us around in a big loop passing the spectacular main waterfall at Skradinski Buk where people were now starting to gather in significant numbers. Despite many signs up displaying the Park rules including ‘No Swimming’, people were now stripping off & wading out into the water.
We continued on through the Park to where our boat was due to depart. On the quayside it was chaos. People were gathering for several different trips, but no queues were forming because no-one knew where to wait. To make matters worse some people hadn’t got their tickets yet & were sent to the ticket office 400 metres back down the path.
We jostled & harried & eventually boarded the correct boat & got a pair seat on one side. It was a pleasant 30 minute boat ride up the Krka River to Visovac Island and it’s Monastery. Visovac Monastery, is part of the Franciscan Province of the Most Holy Redeemer based in Split. It is the home to 3 monk elders & 5 student monks, who were there for a year to learn & decide if they wanted to be monks for the rest of their lives.
We first visited the museum, where most notably they had on display the world’s smallest book. The book pages are only 3.5mm x 3.5mm & contain the prayer ‘Our
Father’ in seven different languages. There were also broken relics & photos from 1991 showing the destruction of Catholic Religious objects in central Croatia caused by Serbian rebels & the so called Yugoslavian Army.
We then visited the church with it’s unusual 2 alters & heard the monks teaching in a room in the vaulted ceiling. Jackie lit a candle for her mum.
We returned to the boat for the cruise continuation up to Roški slap, also called the 'vast waterfall'. It is made up of a 22.5 m high main waterfall and countless backwaters, cascades and travertine islands. Sadly it was more of a dribble.
The boat stopped for us to disembark & after lunch of crisps & water, we took the 25 minutes educational trail, once we actually found out where it started. I’m not sure how they could describe it as educational, it was just a trail in a loop around the backwaters.
Halfway round, we came across a series of wooden steps leading up to Ozidana Pecina Cave. The sign advised that there were 517 steps to reach the cave. Jackie chose not to, but I was going to get my money’s worth. I zoomed up, overtaking many people on the way & reached the badly lit cave. It was just 59 metres in length, 7 metres wide & 2.5 metres in height. I managed to bang my head on the ceiling.
The views looking at the top were incredible, but fearing time was getting on I raced back down the 517 steps. I arrived at the bottom a very soggy mess to meet a very anxious Jackie, fretting that the boat would leave without us. We walk/jogged around the rest of the trail & were the last 2 people to board.
The hour boat ride took us back to Skradinski Buk, where we were horrified to see a mass of people, including Brits who had turned up on tour buses. So much for it being an unaltered area of exceptional natural value. It seems money talks!
It was time for us to leave, so we returned to the dock just in time for the next boat back to Skradin. It had been a nice day in Krka NP, but I don’t think it would have been the same experience if we had gone later & encountered all the crowds. The information & signposting was shambolic, mainly non existent or just wrong. We felt it was also overpriced, £25 entrance fee & £15 boat trip each.
We stopped for a beer on the way back to our digs & Cherry’s husband gave me some fresh figs & blackberries he had foraged locally. That evening we went to Evala Restaurant where Jackie had the mussels & pom frites, whilst I had a meat plate for one, which included pork neck. Another good meal.
Shattered, we returned to our balcony to finish the sherry & I think we we asleep just after 8.30pm making the most of a proper bed.
Song of the Day : River by Josh Groban.Read more