Wednesday, May 11, 2011

House Tina, Grabovac, Croatia

Walking in Nature for hours sure is tiring! It’s good to have a room in a place like Tina’s to come back to. Especially since, as I mentioned, our previous accommodations were not the best. That being the case, we naturally wanted to make sure to do better this time around.

I wonder whether this guest-house is mentioned in any Hebrew-language guide book. We consulted the Rick Steves book, upon which we’ve been relying pretty heavily this trip. Turns out he also explains about the infamous biljeta that cost us an arm and a leg; we simply hadn’t read that part (but had relied on the car-rental folks to warn us of such details.)

Anyway, we left Rovinj and headed east north-east until a place that begins with K – wait, let me check – Karlovac -- where we turned south in the general direction of the famous Plitvicka Jezera national park. It may be world famous, but I bet most of the world’s population had never heard of it. Anat, one of my exercise-class chums, had told me in no uncertain terms: “Whatever you do in Croatia, make sure you go to Plitvicka! Repeat after me: Plitvicka!” Other fellow-Israelis had expressed themselves similarly. As I explained to Canadians Andy & Victoria (whom we’re still half-expecting to bump into around the corner), Slovenia & Croatia (often said in one breath, as if they were twins) are a popular destination with Israelis: a short flight away, pretty scenery that combines abundant greenery with beaches, mountains and shopping hubs; and a European flavor without the expense of France or Italy, say. Andu & Victoria’s Canadian friends, on the other hand, reacted much like our own Canadian daughter upon hearing our destination: “Croatia?” they gasp, “What kind of a place is that?!”

It was a long drive – five hours, including two short stops. We’d decided to eschew the big hotels in the park itself and find a good B&B. Anyone who’s done this trip knows that the countryside is choc-a-bloc with B&Bs. Signs saying Sobe-Zimmer-Apartman are practically on every country home. So without anyone to guide you or recommend a place, you’re bound to be pretty confused. House Tina – our guidebook says – has received consistently good feedback. So here we are. The owner, actually Tina’s mom, a lovely woman named Lubica (pardon my misspelling) has wisely painted her picturesque house yellow, which helps it stand out among the other houses. Internet permitting, I shall of course upload a photo. Briefly: Clean, neat, comfortable, good size. Very pleasant landlady. Spanking-new, highly aesthetic dining room serving a decent breakfast. Though the coffee/tea could be hotter; when it’s served in flasks (thermoses) it inevitably isn’t as hot as it ought to be. The shower stall is a bit small, but why quibble when everything else is fine. The bigger, highly-sophisticated shower stall at the Villa Ladavac certainly did not make up for that place’s shortcomings. So there. The Internet connection is a sore point. There should be wi-fi, and we have the password, but for some reason there’s no connection. Bother.

Back to the lakes and waterfalls of Plitvicka. I am lost for words. Let’s just say that if you wanted to make a movie that takes place in the Garden of Eden, I would highly recommend this location. Of course, you’d have to close it down to tourists for the duration of filming. Or perhaps you could sell tickets and have visitors, suitably hidden and camouflaged in the foliage, watch the filming; should pay for the production quite nicely, making up for lost revenue. But I digress.

My adorable tiny Cannon can’t possibly do the place justice: waterfalls everywhere, amazing blue-green lakes and streams, lush greenery everywhere, and wooden plank walkways. A word of warning about those walkways: Watch your step. They’re very pretty, those planks, but sort of uneven, with uneven gaps between them, and shallow steps that take you by surprise. Half the time I had to look down carefully to make sure I don’t miss a step and go sprawling. Another warning: Come early in the day, as well as early in the season. Otherwise, the place is mobbed. As it was (earlyish morning, early May), there were some “traffic jams” on those wooden walkways, with groups of high-spirited local high-school kids, or of sedate, elderly European tourists, walking in opposite directions, cause congestion and a bit of dismay. See, most of these walkways do not have rails, and do have water at least on one side. So you really do not want to be shoved over and find yourself among the fish.


By now it's a day later; I obviously did not find myself among the fish, and am now miles away, in Split. Another post to follow, when I've recovered from the first day in Split.

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