Have you ever had an absolutely gorgeous place all to yourself?
I recently returned from a whirlwind 3 weeks in Eastern Europe that included many highlights: the old-world ambiance of Prague, Dubrovnik and Rome. The scenic lakes and mountains of Slovenia. The pastoral countryside of the Czech Republic and Hungary.
But there was one magical hour that stands above all that.
It happened amid the waterfalls at Plitvice (pronounced pleet-VEET-say) National Park in Croatia. (Plitvice is one stop on REI Adventures' Croatia Multisport trip.) My wife and I had planned only a short time there: one afternoon and the following morning.
Upon our afternoon arrival, we began walking the extensive boardwalk system over and around the dozens of waterfalls. The scenery was pretty but the park was crowded with fellow tourists and the afternoon light was not conducive to photography. I was, sadly, a little underwhelmed.
That all changed the next morning. We awoke early and somehow found ourselves as the only 2 visitors on the first boat of the morning that takes you across the lake to the most scenic area of waterfalls.
What a treat! The morning light was ideal. The unexpected solitude was exhilarating. The scenery? Breathtaking. We will treasure that special hour or so in Plitvice forever.
Below are a few photos of what I'm talking about. How about you? What magical moments of unexpected bliss have you experienced on a trip?
Above: Boardwalks take you through dozens of waterfalls large and small.
Above: The morning light was ideal for photography.
Above: Waterfalls are seemingly everywhere at Plitvice National Park.
Above: A lush forest partially hides the many smaller falls.
Below: The park's extensive system of boardwalks is most impressive.