Jackson’s Big Adventure: Hitch Hiking in Croatia
I will start with saying that I survived. It was a roller coaster of a day starting with excitement at arriving at Plitvice Lakes, a place I have looking forward to for months (Part I). It quickly turned to desperation enough to hitch hike back to Zagreb when I got stranded in a snow storm (Part II). It then became an adrenaline pumping high as I rode shotgun to a Croatian man driving me and his family through a blizzard seeing 7 cars and 1 bus crashed on the side of the road along the way (Part III). Oh, I forgot to tell you that he insisted we share a shot of Croatian moonshine called Rakija on the way so that I would get the full experience. Seriously!
So I will start at the beginning. Plitvice Lakes is 2.5 hours south of Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. It is Croatia’s largest national park and its beauty is written all over the pages of travel books. Haley and I had been looking forward to it for months, but the night before Haley decided she was going to pass on the day trip. She was pretty exhausted from the past few days traveling and the weather forecast wasn’t that great. Also, I had been able to pick up a pair of ski pants at a second hand shop for $10 but we couldn’t find any for Haley so clothing wise if the weather turned bad, Haley didn’t want to get stuck cold and wet. But I was determined. The pictures of the Lakes I had seen four months previously had really captured my fascination. In fact, I had made them my computer screensaver.
I arrived a little before 9:30 and saw a large crowd of Asians gathered. I went in to buy my ticket and I was told that a lot of the park was closed due to the weather, but I could tag along with the Asian group since they had a tour guide and still see a few sites. She just told me not to ask any questions since I hadn’t paid for the tour guide. So I made my way along with the group and tried not to get the way of them taking pictures nearly every 5 feet. A friend I made was a lady from China who came dreadfully unprepared. She was wearing slippers and a bag on her head as a replacement for an umbrella – see photo.