Friday, October 21, 2016

Plitvice National Park

After our night in Llubljana, we headed south to Plitvice National Park in Croatia.  I loved our time in Split and Dubrovnik last spring, and this trip just added to my love for Croatia.  It was a few hours from Llubljana, so we didn't get there until after lunch time, but it was the perfect way to spend the afternoon.  

You have the option of buying a one day or two day pass because the park is so big.  We only had time for the one day pass, but I could see how some serious nature lovers (or photographers) could spend two days there.  It was beautiful.  They have all sorts of paths and trails for you to walk along and even in the fall, it was pretty crowded.  Because it's a national park, you aren't allowed to swim in the water, but I was grateful for that because it added to the ambiance and allowed us to see nature in it's natural state. 

The water is actually that blue!

There were tons of waterfalls all around the park, which I just loved!

There was tons of wild life throughout the park, which was fun to see. I'm always amazed at the different animals we see when we travel.

That lady behind me would. not. move.  She must have taken 1000 pictures.  We waited for a while for her to finish and then finally gave up.

We kept seeing little hints of autumn throughout the park, but overall, it was SO green!

The only way to get to some parts of the park are by boat.  We didn't have time (and didn't want to wait in line), but if we had come for a second day, it would have been a fun option!

Both of us were extremely impressed with Plitvice National Park and we're both beginning to realize how much we enjoy travelling outside of the city.  We spent the night in Zagreb, Croatia, which was a couple of hours away.  It was a great place to stay the night, but I enjoyed spending the day outside and surrounded by nature.  Oh, and Mike and I spent the majority of the time in the park talking about different Slovenia/Croatia itineraries.  We're ready to be your travel agents!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Horses and Caves

Our next stop after Lake Bled was Skocjan Caves, which are the largest caves in Europe and also a UNESCO World Heritage Sight.  For my Virginia/Mid-Atlantic friends, picture Lurray Caverns on steroids.   When we got there, we found out that we had missed the 10:00 tour by a half an hour and the next tour wasn't until 1:00.    Since we had some time to kill, we decided to take a detour to the Lipizzaner Farm, which was about 20 minutes away.

As a huge (or yuuuuge! as Donald Trump would say) horse enthusiast, I was probably more excited than the average person about this little detour.  Plus, Lipizzaners are so cool.  I remember going to see them perform one time when they came to Norfolk and it was a blast.  They dance all around doing all sorts of intricate dressage moves.  Even if you aren't a horse person, if you get the chance to see the Lipizzaners perform, you should go.  

The horse farm was beautiful and made any farm I've ever ridden at look like the slums of the horse world.  The stalls were gigantic, the grass was green and the dirt paths leading to the rings made it look like the scene of a movie.  These horses definitely lucked out. 

Fun Fact: Adult Lipizzaners are white (or called "grey" in the horse world), but they are born black and as they grow, change colors.

We didn't have time for the tour, but I am sure it would have been fascinating.  After walking around for a while, we grabbed lunch and headed to the caves. 

The tour was two hours and it's the only way you can go into the caves.  Our tour guide was great, providing all sorts of information about how the caves were formed, the wildlife that lives in the caves (I prefer not to think about it) and the work being done to preserve the caves.  Unfortunately, you can't take any pictures while in the caves, so the only picture I have is a selfie at the end, but let me reassure you that the caves were cool.  Also, my fifth grade teacher Mrs. Villanueva would be proud.  I remembered her teaching us the difference between stalagmites and stalagtites.  Stalagmites might reach the top, so they start on the bottom.  Stalagtites have to hang tight not to fall from the ceiling.  Mike smiled when I told him that.  I think he's just jealous :)

We ended the night in Llubljana, Slovenia.  We were pretty impressed with Llubjana, although I'm glad we were only there for the night.  It gets classified under the "great places to live" category that Mike and I have created.  I'm sure there are museums and such that you can see, but we found it to be a great Eastern European town to walk around and enjoy.  We found a  street food festival where we ate dinner and a pub to grab a drink at afterwards (it was cold and we were glad to get inside!).  It was the perfect place to spend the night after the caves.