Our holiday snaps, 1986: Plitvice Lakes National Park

Crawling out of our tent, we were greeted by extremely grey skies accompanied by temperatures of about 15 degrees. For the first time in a long time we remembered what it was like being cold. Wrapped up in jumpers and eating breakfast in the communal kitchen, we spoke to a German man who’d been to the park the previous day and confirmed our suspicions that whilst it was incredibly beautiful, it was just as incredibly busy. We mulled over what to do, looking at the dark skies and contemplating elbowing past hundreds of people to look at the waterfalls. Safe to say neither of us were particularly enthusiastic at this point. I was still reeling over having no camera in such a beautiful place and with nowhere to buy another for 50 miles in any direction.

We mooched around the campsite all morning until the skies brightened and it warmed up, so we decided to brave the crowds and cycle the 7km up to the entrance of the park to see what the deal was. Luckily, around 1km before the entrance, we chanced upon a path that led us into the park with an awesome view of some of the lakes below. We had read that you weren’t allowed to cycle inside the park but with no signage being a popular choice in Croatia, we feigned ignorance and went for a little cycle along the cliff top tracks.

After a bit of nice mountain biking and a few more stops to look over the edge, we arrived at the end of the path which just so happened to lead into an area just inside the main entrance. After negotiating around the NO ENTRY sign, we were told by a guard in no uncertain terms to leave and that bikes weren’t allowed in the park. Ooops.

Forcibly ejected, we were now at the entry for the park but after having already seen the lakes for free and seeing the queues to get in, we decided to look around the gift shop for a Croatia sticker to put on our bikes. In the shop, not only did we find a sticker but we found a camera too! It wasn’t exactly an awesome digital camera with GPS and HD video, but our Fun Saver disposable camera was to be our celluloid companion for the next 39 pictures.

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New camera acquired, I was in a much better mood and we headed back down the road to where we’d entered the park before to get a snap (click, turn turn turn turn turn turn) and eat some fruit in the sunshine.

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Satisfied with our short but sweet trip to the lakes, happy with our camera and having not paid a penny for the park, we headed back to the campsite to bask in the rest of the afternoon sun before sitting outside in the evening in our sleeping bags watching Bob’s Burgers on Neola’s laptop.

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Our 2nd and final day off at Plitvice was much less eventful than our 1st. We had been kept awake in the night by a huge storm, complete with rolling thunder and constant lightening and the rain had carried on well into the afternoon. After venturing out to the local shop for supplies, we spent the rest of the day watching the F1 and planning our next move. Neither of us were looking forward to getting back in the saddle and back onto crazy Croatian roads so that evening we devised a solution; to cheat.

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