Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Croatia & Slovenia - Part 3

At the last minute, we decided to take an unplanned hike up to a big waterfall just down the road from the Mount Vogul gondola.  I had no idea it would be such a steep climb up - 543 steps to be exact (yes the boys counted).  It wouldn't have been so bad if it weren't so late in the day and after a long hike the day before!  My parents and the boys were pooped!!  But it was so worth it!!  And the victory dances at the end were hilarious!!!  The boys were so proud of themselves for making it all the way and back! 
Trail head started easy enough
Easy path leading up into the forest
And then came the stairs... 543 of them.
Happy hiker
Boys rest on a giant rock

I couldn't get enough of the fall colors!!!  It's been too long! 
We don't see this in the desert of Doha or even in Houston!!

We made it!
A stunning waterfall!
Isn't God amazing!!!  His creation is breathtaking!

After a glorious 3 nights in Lake Bled, Slovenia, we headed back to Croatia.  First stop:  Rovinj.  A beautiful little town right on the coast.  The old town consisted of tiny little pedestrian alleyways full of restaurants and art galleries. 
Our apartment just outside of Rovinj was about as local as you could get.  Ken could barely fit our oversized van up the tiny alleyway to get there!  But it was super cute inside!!

Attic bedroom for the boys

Rovinj harbor

Then to Pula ... with a great Roman amphitheater.  We loved that it is still used today for community events!

Mom and Dad brought sticker books for the boys and it turned into the best restaurant entertainment ever!  This is how the boys looked while waiting for nearly every meal on vacation.  Jaden finished his book on the last day of the trip.  Nicholas still has many pages to go!  Will have to remember this trick for future vacations!!

Stickers are serious business
And if they weren't doing stickers, they were drawing pictures. 
This one is of the Ninja warrior competition they watched on TV the night before. 

We had another amazing drive from Pula to Plitvice, Croatia - our final stop.  Lots of tunnels. We also drove through the longest tunnel I've ever been in - 3 miles long!  Again, the fall colors and mountains and coast line we drove through and around were stunning!  Reminding me again just how awesome God is!!

Plitvice was such a beautiful place!  Heaven on earth!!!  It was a series of 16 lakes with hundreds of waterfalls!  It was a leisurely hike for a couple of hours, then we broke for lunch and took a little boat ride across the largest of the lakes.  The second half of the hike was a bit more strenuous, but not too bad.  At the end of that trail, we caught a shuttle bus that brought us most of the way back.  We only had to hike a little bit more at the very end.  It was really cool the way they put it all together!

  Love that you can see the next tunnel through the first on in this picture. 
Plitvice as seen from the road driving in to the National Park
the "big waterfall" seen from the entrance to the park

We made it! 

Entrance to a really cool cave that we hiked up and through for a bit.  Pictures didn't turn out so great in the pitch black, but it was neat. 

Inside the completely dark cave.  Thank goodness for fancy cell phones with a flashlight ap!  We wouldn't have been able to see a thing without it!!

Ferry boat ride across the largest of the lakes - midpoint of the hike.  Perfect time to rest the legs!

I know, I know, you've seen enough yellow trees by now, but I just can't help it!  I love fall foliage!!

One of the many lakes in Plitvice
The lakes were spectacular shades of blue and green with the most amazing reflections!
The water was crystal clear.  You could see every plant and every fish.
But the real reason to visit Plitvice is for all the waterfalls.  They were EVERYWHERE!!  Here are pictures of just a few!
I love this shot with the walkway over the water leading to the waterfall in the background.


And if you like to see people in your pictures ... this next set is for you!

It was a long day of hiking, but we made it!  The boys had to "carry" my parents at the end!  :-)

End of the hike celebrated with hot cocoa

on the shuttle bus back to the main entrance


One last view of the pathway as we exited the park. 
Back in our guest house, we enjoyed a rainbow out the window
The boys had fun at the playground for our guesthouse.  Perfect way to start and end our days in Plitvice!

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