Croatia 2016 Day 6 –  Krka National Park waterfalls and Sibenik

Back to normal morning routine, by the time we were done 930am.

We were visiting the Krka National park and it was going to be our first drive out of the tight spaces. As I had parked head first into the carpark, I wanted to do a “many point turn” so that I could just drive out – it was a bad decision. After reversing onto the road, mommy got out of the car to help guide me as I struggled but the 2 cars parked along the road made it impossible for me to drive out. Baby K was cranky after sitting in the back seat for too long made it all the more frustrating. Tried to go back to the landlord for help but no one was to be found. It was then the neighbor who parked one of the cars by the road side came out, a face of displeasure and mouthful of complaints saying that we had hit her car (which we didn’t of course). She told us to stop moving and she got into her car, maneuver it onto the kerb and created space for us to drive out. We thanked her, which made her feel better, before we drove the car out to the main road and towards the national park.

The drive to the park was fairly easy, just about getting onto the highway and followed the GPS to Skradin for about an hour. The toll was 31 kuna. When we got close to the parking lot, we were welcomed by a lot of (fake) parking attendants, all seen wearing the “P” Tee. Learning from my lesson in Mostar, I stuck to GPS route that brought us right to the correct carpark.

Toll receipt
Skradin car park

We entered the tourist information center but there weren’t much to see (the payable restroom was public one and located outside the building) and I had earlier purchased the tickets online in Singapore. The boat however was running on a schedule so I went to get lunch first. There were many stalls along the walking pavement near the port and I bought 2 large ham and cheese for 54kuna and one ice coffee 30kuna from the food stalls there. At the same time while having the sandwiches, we fed baby K. Couldn’t finish the huge sandwich and we proceeded to board the 12pm boat (we missed one that left earlier at 1130 because we thought the frequency was by the hour).

Tourist information
Boat transfer from Skradin
Skradin dock
Fast food for lunch
Ice coffee
Ham and cheese sandwich
Boat transfer to Krka waterfalls
On board the boat

The boat ride from the port to the falls was a 20mins slow gentle ride. The surrounding wasn’t very much interesting as the river meandered between trees towards the disembarkation location at the falls. We got off the boat with lots of passengers and as we walked towards the falls crossing crowded bridge, we passed the ticket counter which already had a queue. With the printed tickets, we walked to the entrance route of the falls manned by 3 staffs. Upon showing my printed tickets, they said that it had to be exchanged at the ticket counter! Mommy went back to queue and got the exchange while I let baby K enjoy kicking the small rocks on the ground.

Entrance to the falls
Ticket counter

It was a very busy day with many people streaming into the park. The falls were pretty close to the entrance and we walked onto the bridge where we could see the majestic falls and the many people having a dip in the lake in which the falls send the waters. Tried to take some photos on the narrow bridge, difficult but we managed with a selfie. We continued through the bridge and then there was some steps that brought us further upstream. We could see there were still some smaller falls and had to go close to the waters that were fenced up to prevent people from going into the rushing waters. We didn’t venture further upstream (as we didn’t know if there were more or not).

Dipping in the waters
Upstream of the falls
Gushing waters

As we return crossing the same bridge, I was very interested in getting my feet wet by the lake and taking a dip but mommy was overly concerned and I to give up the idea, disappointingly. We walked all the way back to the pier to wait for the next ferry, which already had a crowd waiting. We managed to board the 130pm return.

Dock at the falls
Leaving the waterfalls

As we returned back to Skradin, we got ourselves some icecream at one of the stalls and drinks and before going back to our car. There were still a couple of places to go and off we went after following the GPS route to Roski Slap. The toddler was quick to fall asleep during the drive there. The route got more difficult as we approached the falls and become single lane which I wasn’t comfortable with as it would be a problem if a car in the opposite direction came but thankfully none did. After merging from the 1 lane route onto a clearing, the park attendants directed me to park a clearing atop a small slope as the main carparks were full.

Mommy and I had to take turns to go see the Roski Slap since baby K was sleeping in the car. With the same tickets I walked to the entrance not too far from the car park and advanced quickly downhill. It wasn’t a straight forward route as there weren’t signs but it was not difficult to find either. The Roski Slap was just one falls and from the place that I could see, it was quite far away and didn’t turn out to be as majestic as I had in mind. After a few snaps, I returned to the car so that mommy could go see the falls. While in the car, I couldn’t do much as there wasn’t any signal for mifi. Mommy returned soon and we decided to skip visiting the smaller multiple necklaces falls as it was about 1.35km away.

Walking path to Roskic Slap
Roski Slap
Little falls

Our last nature viewing for the day was to check out the view point called the Visovac lookout. From there one could see a tiny small island with a church in the middle of the river. It wasn’t far from the Roski Slap and we soon found ourselves on a major clearing where I parked the car so that we could go look over the cliff at the island. Again we took turns, I went first followed by Mommy. There was in fact a way to visit the island by taking a boat but we weren’t that interested.

Visovac pano view

Baby K woke up from his nap as we embarked on our journey to a nearby town Sibenik. Worried that parking could be a problem at the old town, I parked at a carpark meant for ferry passengers which had barely a few cars but at about 750meters away from old town. Approaching the old town, we visited a supermarket to buy yogurt. Supermarketing became like a habit that we had to do it at the different towns, as we stocked up our supplies of bottled water and foodstuff for baby K.

There wasn’t an itinerary for Sibenik since it was an ad-hoc visit knowing that it was just 30mins away from Krka NP. We thought of just lounging by the port and so tried to find a cafe. As we walked around the old town, it was like walking in a maze, not knowing where the route would lead us. After heading in the general direction with google map, we finally found the Rivera with cafes by the sea and went into one.

Fountain at Sibenik

I was in an urgent need to pee but as I visited the cafe’s one and only restroom, it was busy and I had to hold it until it was available ( there was someone shitting behind unlockable doors.) we ordered a scoop of vanilla icecream, sprite and Coke Zero to cool ourselves from the heat and baby K delighted to have his first taste of icecream after having his yogurt.

Sibenik cafes
Sibenik port

After our short lounging session, we walked back to the carpark and paid 12kuna for carpark. Then the return on the highway to Split resulted in a toll of 27kuna. With the previous disastrous parking the first day we arrived, I decided to try parking butt first and I found easier much easier in fact! However we couldn’t do it upon arrival as the private lot was chained up to prevent other people from parking. We had to get the landlord to help unlock the chain.

Toll tickets
Narrow road to the Airbnb parking

Mommy cooked while I did some washing of bottles and entertained K and cleaned K after he crapped. We only left the apartment again at 830pm for dinner in Split’s old town.

There were a variety restaurants to choose from and we entered one of the restaurants, De Belly which featured a live band, making the dining experience relaxing and also a distraction to keep baby K’s attention. Ordered mussels in white wine and turkey ham and it was not bad!

Bowl of mussels
Turkey ham
De Belly restaurant

After dinner we walked along Riveria to look at the mobile stalls selling things from food to souvenirs. The whole strip was lively with many restaurants, and it was a nice feeling to soak in that atmosphere. Baby K was walking about with me as we visited stall to stall. We returned back to the apartment late.

Shopping street
Split port night view
Split Riviera
Funny road sign

Bath time and it was off to bed.

Escape plan to Croatia/Slovenia September 2016

A brief summary on the itinerary

Escape Plan to Croatia/Slovenia 2016:

Total duration 18D18N
Singapore is 6hrs ahead of Croatia and Slovenia.
Flight time is 11hrs 25mins on Turkish Airlines from Singapore to Istanbul, Turkey followed by a 1hr 50min flight to Dubrovnik, Croatia after about a 4hour transition at Istanbul.
Return is 2hrs 30mins from Salzburg to Istanbul, a 11hrs layover then a 11hrs 5mins flight from Istanbul back to Singapore.

Flight from Singapore to Istanbul at 10pm, arriving at 425am in Istanbul and fly off again at 920am arriving in Dubrovnik at 1010am. Return flight from Salzburg is at 1125am and touching down in Istanbul at 255pm and flying off at 150am and finally touching down at 555pm.

Day 0 Flight to Istanbul
Day 1 Arrival in Dubrovnik, old town visit
Day 2 Day trip to Perast and Kotor
Day 3 Day trip to Mostar and Blagaj Tekke
Day 4 Dubrovnik to Neum to Split
Day 5 Day trip to Hvar and Stari Grad
Day 6 Krka National Park waterfalls and Sibenik
Day 7 Split – Diocletian Palace and old town
Day 8 Split to Trogir to Zadar
Day 9 Plitvice National Park waterfalls and towards Zagreb
Day 10 Zagreb old town towards Opatija, Motovun visit
Day 11 Opatija to Pula to Rovinj
Day 12 Rovinj to Porec, border crossing, visit Postojna Cave and Predama Castle to Ljubljana
Day 13 Ljubljana old town and castle
Day 14 Ljubljana to Skofja Loka to Lake Bled, Bled castle
Day 15 Lake Bohinj and Trenta Valley
Day 16 Lake Bled to Salzburg, Mirabell gardens
Day 17-18 Flight to Istanbul then Home Sweet Home

This annual family trip we wanted to do a road trip as it would be easier for us to manage with toddler in tow. With a car, we could get from place to place at our own pace. A few other options did surface (such as Eastern Europe – Prague and Budapest) but we were more in favour of this itinerary as we thought in terms of security these countries had less issues as it seemed less popular amongst tourists and therefore lesser target for security issues. Though we had concluded that it was really difficult to travel with a toddler from our Europe trip last year, I guessed wanderlust got the better of us?

Budget – Depends – budget buster for us due to choice over comfort.

The total amount spent was about 12k SGD, mostly coming from the plane tickets and the car with all the tolls and petrol. Accommodation was the other major contributor especially in Turkey airport. Food expenditure was not very high and comparable to Singapore’s standard of eating out at a normal restaurant, unlike in other European countries. Croatia had its own currency and there would be some losses due to double exchange from SGD to Euros to Kunas.

Complexity – High without car. Ours made easy due to car and Google maps on data plan and GPS.

Although there were multiple border crossings, it wasn’t really difficult with our own transport since we have everything with us most of the time. Road signs were clear and easy to navigate. Only roads in old towns were narrow and parking were challenging to find. We had to purchase data SIM (12-15euros?) which eased the navigation bit as Google map was accurate to the dot. The map that was used in my Garmin GPS was neurotic, often choosing the smaller roads which made the journey longer than it should have been thus unreliable.