Once I left the Adriatic Coast behind, I started driving on the first highway I had seen since Greece. I love driving off-road and on windy mountain roads, but I would be lying if I wouldn’t admit it felt great to drive on a really good highway for about 500km.
My last stop before getting to Zagreb, the Croatian capital, was in the Plitvice Lakes National Park. This is quite a large national park with a massive system of lakes flowing one into the other through some beautiful waterfalls. They’ve done a great job putting wooden paths along the lakes (and sometimes in the middle of the lakes) so you could spend hours walking around admiring the waterfalls and the many fish visible just below the surface. The place is definitely a tourist attraction as there are thousands of people walking around and sometimes you have to literally wait in a line on the narrow paths just to move forward.
From there I drove about 10km further to a camping place I had read about and for 15 Euros I put my car up on a hill and opened the tent for the night. There were quite a few people camping and also lots of camper vans, but the facilities were really good. Super clean showers, a small supermarket and a restaurant with a nice terrace overlooking the valley.
It rained like crazy during the night and early morning so I spent a couple of hours after I woke up just reading in the tent waiting for the sun to come out. It did and at about 11am I was ready to go, not before talking for quite a while with a young German guy who was very excited about my car as he was also driving a short wheelbase Nissan Patrol. He asked a lot of questions about my car and to be completely honest I wasn’t able to answer quite all of them as I’m not so versed in car technical details.
From there, I drove another 100km to Zagreb where I stayed for one night in a really nice place close to the town center called Svi-Mi which the hosts kindly explained it means “all of us”. It’s a complex with a few really nicely designed apartments, with a really nice homey feel. My hosts were very friendly and we chatted for quite a while and then they pointed me to a couple of interesting places to see in town and also to a good traditional restaurant.
Zagreb is a really cool city, very well taken care of and very easy to visit on foot. I can’t really say I’ve done a lot of things in Zagreb except for walking a lot (about 15km in one afternoon) and simply enjoying the city around me.
I also started to get excited about my imminent arrival in Romania, which was happening in about two days after a brief visit to Belgrade.