Saturday, August 15, 2020

Croatian Conundrums: Plitvice National Park

Croatian Conundrums: Plitvice National Park

August 15, 2020

"Life is tragic simply because the earth turns and the sun inexorably rises and sets, and one day, for each of us, the sun will go down for the last, last time. It seems to me that one ought to rejoice in the fact of death--ought to decide, indeed, to earn one's death by confronting with passion the conundrum of life. One is responsible for life: It is the small beacon in that terrifying darkness from which we come and to which we shall return."

 ~ James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

I realized 10 days ago that I had been in Europe for a full year, a first for me. I also realized that I have been traveling without a laptop computer for that same amount of time. The things I'm able to do on my phone would have seemed like science fiction a few years ago. I'm able to procrastinate at a really incredible pace, not many people can keep up. Are you just a beginning procrastinator? Well don't aspire to my lofty attainments, because it will just leave you frustrated. Don't put off everything at once, spread them out.

I've been in Croatia now for two full months, which leaves me only one more month before I need to exit. I've spent most of my time in the mountains, around a thousand meters elevation where it's dramatically cooler and more comfortable for me. Plus I love hiking in the mountains, and I think laying in the sun is a kind of torture anyway. I still haven't been in the sea once the whole time I've been here.

For the last couple weeks I've been working my way south, in the direction of Split, one of my favorite areas in Croatia. I've been mountain-hopping on the way, but yesterday I realized that I was driving through Plitvice. It's one of the most popular tourist destinations, and deservedly so. I'd been there four years before and thought about not going at all this time. At the last minute I thought, why not, just go in for a short visit since you're here. Hence, this scintillating text followed by some photos that may be worth your time.

Does it really make a difference, ultimately, what holiday destination we choose, or where we go for dinner, or what dish we order when we're there? Sometimes it seems like it does, but I can tell you with some degree of certainty: it does not. These fleeting experiences, they may seem magnificent or special or boring in the moment, but none of them persist. They come, last for some time, and then go. 

"Confronting with passion the conundrum of life," Mr. Baldwin says. What do you think he means by that? More importantly, what would YOU mean by that?? It's worth a ponder…

Love always, even when I don't write,


The river that runs through this park is really incredibly clear, and parts of it are an amazing turquoise blue.

I didn't boost the colors on these photos, although I can't speak for the intentions of my camera. You may know that modern camera phones are designed to produce photos that are pleasing to our senses. 

Some phones will try to capture more realistic colors, while others will boost the intensity of the colors. But enough of that for now, it looks like some waterfalls are peeking through the branches of the trees.

That seems a little unlikely now, doesn't it?

More like impossible! The water is filled with a mineral that tends to bind and grow where there is pressure, for example the water running over the top of the rock. As a result it naturally tends to level itself out and make these amazing waterfalls where the flow is not centered in one spot.

This waterfall is challenging the theory from my last paragraph.

It looks like I'm here by myself taking photos. What you don't see are oh-so-many people taking selfies and posed couple photos, blocking the rather narrow wooden boardwalk. I think they may have been overcome with their own beauty and couldn't simultaneously contemplate that there were others in their world. It must be dangerous for Narcissus to be surrounded by so much water.

I'm not sure what makes this photo thinks that he belongs in this collection.

The up close and personal waterfall. Perfect for: Narcissus selfies! I don't have any false teeth yet, but I kind of whistle when I say that.

This waterfall works its way through the forest in a place where it doesn't seem like there should be a river.

There are kilometers of boardwalk that run through the park, and endless pools.

At 2:02 p.m., here comes the little ferry to take us across this narrow part of the river.

By 2:06 p.m., it was raining buckets.

Good job Dad! I walked from that little boat to where I'm standing to take this photo, and within that short period I was soaked to the skin. Seemed like a good time to call it a day...

(The End)