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Report 2017: Slovenia, Bosnia, Croatia September 2011

By Christy319 from USA, Summer 2011

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Page 6 of 7: Lipica to Plitvice to Mostar

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Lipica Stud Farm

We then headed down to Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia. This was a longer drive than we realized, and once on the autoroute in Croatia there were no TI’s or easy places to stop and ask the best route (we had a good map, but we’d already learned not to just rely on that for route choice). In fact it was amazing how deserted much of the drive was — we went ages without any towns or gas stations, it seemed. “Don’t let the gas get too low” became our motto in Croatia. This was quite a contrast to Slovenia.

We had a B&B reservation in Grabovac, which was an inconvenient location given that it is northeast of the park, and we swung up from the northwest. Our B&B, House Tina, got great reviews online, but it was the most spartan place we stayed on the trip, with indifferent hosts. It seems like lodging in the area just isn’t very good quality in general, so maybe in comparison, House Tina is good. But I didn’t care for it. We’d read the park is very crowded, so we got there at eight, and managed to see most of the lakes without too many crowds. It’s a very small park — more like an American state park. You can walk most of the trails in a half day. By the time we left, the boardwalks were very crowded, and people aren’t shy about blocking them to take pictures or elbowing you to get a good spot. So you end up feeling like you’re in line at Disneyland, but with ruder people around you. There are women that sell strudel and homemade cheese out of huts near the parking lots — don’t miss them. We ate at the park’s open-grill restaurant (Licka Kuca) and it was pretty good. We enjoyed the couple hours that the park was uncrowded but we were really happy to leave.

Then onto Mostar, which was another drive that felt a lot longer than it was, since signage was not good. We got fairly lost on Bosnian back roads. But we got there and miraculously found our hotel, the Bosnian National Monument Muslibegovic House (I say miraculously because it also isn’t well signed, it’s in an alley, and we never would have found it had the manager not been out front with the gate open). It was a lovely place to stay and I highly recommend it — it’s in an old Ottoman house and also serves as a museum. The hotel recommended Sadrvan Restaurant and gave us a coupon for it, and once there the waiter recommended a rather large platter of food (The “Bosnian National Plate”). We resigned ourselves to the idea that we’d fallen into a tourist trap, but it was in fact delicious and in a lovely outdoor setting. I also had burek for the first time in Mostar and became hooked on that.

Mostar was a very interesting place to stay the night (avoid day trips — it got very crowded with the tour bus crowds during the day). It is definitely touristy, sometimes overwhelmingly so, but still retains its charm and sense of history. We loved our self-guided walking tour from our guidebook — it’s really a fascinating place. The one thing that made me sad was the number of skinny stray dogs. I know this is common in less affluent countries, and I should probably be sensitive to the fact that many people there, too, have a very hard time. But I can’t help being heartbroken by the dogs.

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