Krka & Trogir

In the brochure of Krka NP there was a mention of an educational trail from the parking lot near Visovic island to Roski Slap as one of the most beautiful walks in Croatia. Since the area looked indeed very nice, we had already decided to return today to do that walk. We get up early since it’s about an hour’s drive, but even so there are several seniors already at breakfast. We request and get some extra bread and cheese/ham from the breakfast bar and make a simple lunch. It should be quite sunny and up to 25°, we decide to stick with shorts and tshirts.

The drive back is quite nice, first back north along the highway and then inland on smaller roads towards the start of the walk. This side of the NP is much more quite and we see a lot less busses, so we start hoping for a quite walk away from the crowds. The parking lot near the boat to Visovic island is almost deserted and anyway has only room for a couple dozen cars and two busses. The ranger stationed here tells us where the walk starts and that we have to buy the entry tickets for the NP at the end of the walk. We take off, first on a macadam road but then start climbing on the type of trail we’ve come to known from the other educational trails in Croatia. The trail climbs steeply all the way up the side of the hill. We’re walking towards a canyon with sides that are about 150 m high so basically we first climb 150 m from the lake side to the top of the canyon, then cross the plateau and climb down 150 m again to the lake on the other side of the canyon, where the water falls down from about 15 m high. While walking we have great views of the lake and canyon. The trail itself is sometimes pretty rocky and uneven, but mostly the leaves and pine needles form a bit of a cushion that softens the step. On the plateau itself we encounter a strange flying thing. It’s about the size of a big butterfly, seems to have four wings, but a body like a long thin beetle. They are sitting all over the path and the nearby bushes, but don’t sit still for long enough to get a good look.

Around the ruins of a medieval fortress built on an outcrop next to the river we startle a snake that is sunning on the path. We actually only see it once it is properly startled and quickly slithering away to a hiding place in the rocks. It seems to be about 30 cm long, dark with a pattern and as thick as a garden hose. We’re really impressed and walk on carefully, both to avoid stepping on one and getting bitten (we’ve read on the educational panels that one of the snakes living here is poisonous) and to make sure we could get a good look and hopefully a picture before it slithers away again. But no such luck (good or bad), we continue on to the waterfall without seeing any more reptiles.

There seem to be three types of country here on the walk and in Croatia we’ve seen so far: steep rocky hills with trees and bushes clinging on for dear life; flat high rocky plateaus where not much seems to grow and that are cut by canyons; and then sometimes a valley between the hills that has filled up with soil carried down by the rivers and turns into a small perfectly flat oasis of earth and green. Anywhere you go though there is a multitude of flowers, butterflies and birdsong. We never actually see the birds, but assume that there are no hidden speakers. The flowers vary from really small – only half a cm wide – to quite big and come in all colours and shapes. The butterflies are ridiculously many, sometimes you have to wave them away to avoid collision. Once there is actually a cloud of the little blue ones resting on the ground, when I walk by they fly up and flutter away prettily. We only meet one other couple on the way up, it’s a big difference from the visit of Kradinski Buk.

Arriving at the waterfall we ask around about where to pay the entrance fee. One of the museum attendants is not helpful in that regard but points out a snake sunning nearby. It’s curled around a rock in a vertical wall, right above the water. It’s a bigger one than before, light brown with a chequered pattern. It ignores all the fuss and seems to be sleeping.

We continue on, pay our fee and find a nice spot with a view of the Necklaces to have our bread/cheese/ham lunch. There is a small yellow long-tailed bird flying around, but it’s very quick so we don’t even try to take a picture. There are also a bunch of bright blue dragonflies. It must be mating season, because we see a lot of twosomes and threesomes dancing around above the water. The Necklaces water falls are very pretty, it’s a series of really shallow falls where the river is very wide, so the sound and view is rather soothing.

We start back along the same track, first a steep climb up to the level of the plateau. It starts with actual wooden stairs, the total climbing time is about 45 min. We have promised ourselves a pit stop with our chocolate cake leftover from two days before as an incentive for when we reach the top. No more snakes, three other couples walking in the opposite direction. It’s quite warm, especially when the wind is blocked by the cliffs. We apply sun screen regularly and aim to finish all the water we have brought with us (2,7 L). Somehow we finish the way back about an hour quicker than the way out and are back at the car around 16:30, hot, tired and with aching calves, with 17 km on the counter

We have planned to visit Trogir this evening and since we won’t have another occasion we decide to push on. We aim the GPS to the center of town and find an odd parking space in between ambulances. We cross the pedestrian bridge and wander around in the old town, guided by Arne and a 12-year-old Lonely Planet. This doesn’t matter much when it concerns centuries old buildings, but the recommended restaurants did not exist anymore. We want to visit the cathedral but we are just too late. An older lady, also a tourist, sees our disappointment and shows us the pictures that she has made from the inside. We pick another restaurant that looks to be in a quiet corner, I order fish soup and baked tuna (rare), Arne has octopus salad and filled squid. We’ve learned that you’re supposed to order your vegetables separately, so we have grilled zucchini, mushrooms and eggplant.

Today’s statistics: 29.368 steps, 20,73 km, 176 floors

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