Wednesday, March 5, 2014

EUROTRIP 2013 - Plitvice, Zagreb, Kozarac and Budapest 2/2

After 10 days in Pula, it was time for us to leave to the next destination Plitvice lakes in Croatia near the boarder with Bosnia. We rented a new Ford Fiesta from the airport, but to get there we first had to call a taxi. Little we knew that it would be a challenge too. We had this one tourist brochure slash map where the number of a taxi was written down. However no one had told us that the area code was different for a foreign number. There were no area codes written down and not even Google managed to help us with the problem. We tried to ask few passers-by, but no one knew anything about calling the taxi. Finally when we were already in a panic and hurry, someone knew the area code for locals. In the beginning of the trip we had bought a prepaid number that was not even used until now. Obviously you can never be too prepared. We barely made it in time for our appointment with Europcar, but after that we were on the road in no time. 

We drove through Rijeka and Karlovac to Plitvice lakes. The weather was really foggy and driving through the the mountains was a bit difficult because it was nearly impossible to see the road. I remember the drive took us four hours before we arrived! Luckily we had good music, enough food and drinks with us to make the traveling comfy. The landscape, the little we could see from the haze, was stunning and roads in good condition. We were really thrilled to continue our trip because Pula was already seen for so many times. You can read our previous post about the first part of our trip HERE

The nature in Plitvice was as amazing as the nature in Balkans usually is. Bright water surrounded by green forest, mountains and hills. We loved the place! The only minus was to see so many tourists there. Also the water was just invoking us to dip our toes in it, but you were not allowed to swim there. We understand that, because you can only imagine how dirty the place would look if swimming was allowed. They were such a lucky bastards who had visited Plitvice before they had forbade swimming. Weather was not that sunny that day. At least we were not sweaty so that the only thing in our minds would have been thinking about the possibility of swimming. It made it a little more bearable to stand there on the dry land and watch those lucky ducks, who didn't have to follow the rules. Tourists vanished very quickly because of the lack of the sun and the place was entirely ours! We spent nine hours in Plitvice but the time flew so quickly by watching and "eating the place with our eyes". It was just so amazing to see all those fishes so calm, spoiled little ducks craving for food and the pretty waterfalls. 

After a little horrifying journey through the storm with this little rental car we arrived home to Kozarac . First the weather was just fine but the darker it got the bigger the storm got too. Finally we ended up driving through the narrow mountain roads where two cars barely could pass by each others, the sky was pitch black, road was full with big rocks and there was a big storm with ice and water pouring down to us. Thunder was so loud it sounded like it was right above us. You would think even the locals who were used to driving those roller coasters would slow down because you couldn't literally see anything. But that was not the case. People were driving like lunatics and we knew that any time someone could come too fast in front of us behind those constant turns and our reflexes, no matter how good they were, would not be fast enough. Luckily we managed to see a big truck and decided to drive behind it for the rest of the time. At least we now saw four red lights we could follow and the crazy locals would crash with the truck and not us. Thank god this part was quick (110 km took us four hours) even if it felt like an decade had past and we arrived home. We were soooo relieved to be able to go to sleep and feel safe. The constant feeling of fear had taken so much energy and we were exhausted. The adrenalin levels were able to come down now! Our last posts from earlier years about Kozarac and Prijedor are HERE and HERE.

We had so much fun in Kozarac with our friends and family. The best part of the day was waking up without any alarm clocks. After that we went to the kitchen to boil some milk for the morning latte and pick some fruits for the breakfast from our backyard. After that we usually went to the local city center or the second bigger city called Prijedor (place where the two of us have been born) that takes normally only 10 minutes to get there. Shopping, having a good lunch or meeting our cousins and friends at their place or ours or just eating at a restaurant together was so fun. Feeding little stray animals and playing with them really felt good and became something we did every day. Some girls tend to have their entire make up draw in their bags but these had dog and cat food! One day we had a sleepover at our cousin's place and that night we decided to drive to Kozara National Park that belongs to our city. It was pitch black but it didn't bother us at all- the best part of that little trip was when we all ended up running down the mountain because someone had "heard" something in the forest... yep. Imagination is all you have to have to end up in these situations...

These three pictures under are taken from our terrace :) We see that mountain Kozara and the small area of the National Park from there. The peak in the photo is called Kozaracki kamen and it is 659 meters high. The tallest peak of Kozara is Lisina with 978 meters. Kozara is a part of Dinaric Alps.

Soon it was time to pack our luggage to the car and say goodbye to our home once again. We drove to Zagreb for three hours and managed to get a room from the really nice hostel. The owner wanted to adopt us three! And we loved that goofy yet fatherly owner too! It was really nice to have a refreshing shower and sleep together in one king sized bed! It reminded us of our summer vacations from our childhood. As you know we have been in Zagreb too last year- you can read a post from that trip HERE. Zagreb is so cozy and nice city, one place we could imagine ourselves moving to. Definitely! It feels like home, it's warm in there and you always have something to do. It's a city where our mom lived when she was a young woman. You can go shopping, sit in the park or at the cafes, visit museums and hit the club if you feel like dancing. We found one café that had the best freshly squeezed orange juice we had ever tasted! It really was so smooth and refreshing! Food was also great like it always is at Balkans!

Leaving from Zagreb was one big mess... Why every time we have to go to Budapest something bad happens? Luckily H wanted to take care of the necessity errands first in the morning so we were able to find out early enough that train schedules were not valid for the next day so we had to take a bus. Who would have known the Croatian buses were all cancelled too for that same day. However, lucky for us, a private bus line from Ljubljana, Slovenia, was driving through Zagreb to Budapest that same day.

When we tried to buy the tickets for that private line from the shelter, the customer server told us that we have to buy the tickets from the bus and gave us the time and the platform number. She also emphasized that the tickets should be bought in kunas. Later we went to the shelter again because we met this girl from Israel and tourists from China who had bought their tickets from the desk. We managed to get them too- but this worker sold us all the wrong tickets! We all had tickets for the next day! Then the bus driver told us to go and return the tickets and we managed to do that and got kunas back. You can only guess what the bus driver said next. Only Hungarian money or euros were valid... Chinese had no euros nor Hungarian money and the money exchange desk said they do not buy the local money. Luckily H had enough euros for the bad day and we managed to get tickets for ourselves. Israeli girl had enough to lend to the Chinese tourists and we all could relax... Or at least try to relax. The Hungarian bus company had the worst bus ever- the seats were so small and their shape was ok for the guys suffering from the bad Osteoporosis- not for people with normal backs. It really was so inconvenient to sit there for the next eight hours... 

In Budapest we managed to get a room from the same hostel as the Israeli girl. It was just great to spend one day in there and  to once again see how enormous city Budapest really is. Our last visit was also last year, you can read about it from HERE. We ate a breakfast and then just walked around the city before it was time to go to the airport. Our flight was delayed because the plain was leaking oil! Good that they noticed it in time, because all our luggage was already in plane and we were standing next to the plain ready to climb up the stairs. Luckily the crew members were nice and we even got greetings from them every time they passed by us.

Even though the trip back was a bit difficult like it was last year too... (Budapest- you are always messing the things up for us!) it was one of the best ones we have ever made! This summer won't be an exception, we are going again and waiting for the next troubles to bump into.

- Evi and Herminica


  1. Upeita kuvia!! Saako kysyä että mitä kameraa käytätte ja käytättekö kuvan käsittelyä väreihin, tarkkuuteen ym, vai kameran valmiita ohjelmia? Jos vielä muistatte paljon kamera maksoi niin ois sekin kiva kuulla :)

    Mut siis pakko li kysyä kun nää kuvat on oikeesti upeita! Katteeksi käy, mut tuskin pelkästä kamerasta kiinni, vaan taitaa kuvaajallakin olla silmää kuvaukselle :)

    1. Yleensä ihan manuaalisti kuvaillaan aina, kuvia muokataan yleensä koneella- ei aina :) Meillä on kummallakin sama kamera, itselläni uudempi versio (olikohan n 1,5 v vanha tää oma) Sony NEX Alpha 7, tarkemmin en nyt muista kun ei itse runko ole tässä lähellä. Ostohetkellä oli jonkun päälle 700e alessa :) Nykysin varmaan edullisempi :)