Croatia, Europe

Solo Backpacking Europe in 80 days: Croatia

ZAGREB & PLITVICE LAKES » 6-9 March (3 nights)

Oh, Croatia…how could you be the best and the worst of my trip! First of all, thank you for teaching me that I can beat the ass of my loneliness, and second, thank you for giving me my own perfect Winter Paradise and totally winning my heart.

My first moment entering Croatia happened right at the Slovenian-Croatian boarder, when I was asked for my passport and it took me twenty minutes to find it, a lot of clothes out of my backpack, and two very angry guys waiting for me as I delayed the train. Sorry…I guess I’ve said this a million times, but again, Croatia wasn’t in my plans either. Being Winter, I had excluded it for obvious reasons, as the places I wanted in this country were Dubrovnik and Split. Zagreb was never a place that called me, but The Plitvice Lakes had been in my dreams for ages! And while in Ljubljana, I discovered the train to Zagreb would only cost me 16€, to which I said YES right away. Again, my mother hated this, because I did it all the time. One day I was going to Hungary, and the next day I decided I would go to Croatia. Sorry, mum!

My stay in Zagreb was like being punched hard in the face and then seeing Paradise in a dream and coming back to reality.
In Zagreb I arrived already with a weird mood, as I was made fun of for counting my money about three times to know how much I was spending on a slice of pizza! I then discovered I was the only guest at my hostel, which didn’t made any good to my feelings of loneliness. The receptionist girl seriously tried to make me some company, but well, I was on my own.

I had reserved my second day to explore the Plitvice lakes, which would take me 2h30 to get to by bus, but I guess trying to catch a bus at 7am is a mission impossible. Lets just say I arrived there one minute before and it had already departured. Damn you, Croatia! I missed my Italian always late trains.
I then had the worst cappuccino of all time at the station. And this is how the day I decided I didn’t like Zagreb, started. Waking up before the sun, missing a bus, and having the worst cappuccino on Earth, besides being the only guest at the hostel, and the streets being flooded with people and me feeling like a dwarf trying to walk normally and the fact that nothing there was exciting for me.

And then the next day I was able to get to Plitvice Lakes, and when the bus dropped me off I suddenly started crying, and I cried a couple of times more during the rest of the day. Even not being prepared for that much cold, and the fact that I bought a return ticket that I could only get two hours after the park closed and that I was forced to pay for a new one, when a bus leaves you in the middle of snow mountains you will make that moment count!
From the start of my trip, I had dreamed to arrive in a place covered in snow, and I had lost my hopes on that, when suddenly I’m in a place with so much snow I can’t even understand where I’m suppose to walk.
Plitvice Lakes are a dream! A place were you’ll get lost searching for watterfalls, frozen lakes, with views that don’t even seem possible to be real. I was out of there with my face burned with cold, but fuck it I was happy, like crazy stupid happy and in love!
So this was Croatia, a mix of opposite feelings in just three days, a bunch of bad times that were all worth it by getting the chance to make a dream come true and see Pltivice Lakes with my own eyes and confirming my love. I’ll be back!

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