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Plitvice Lakes National Park

From Lake Bled we drove right back through Slovenia again to Plitvice Lakes National Park, in east Croatia, near the border of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The park is made up of dozens of interconnected lakes surrounded by lush forests and bordered by hundreds of waterfalls. We arrived there after a few days of seriously heavy rain (see previous post) which meant that a few of the lakeside walkways were flooded and impassable. But that didn’t stop us from getting around.

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To begin we took a boat from one side of a lower lake to the other and then accidentally found ourselves on a half-closed walking track that wound around the hillside above the lakes, affording us with some pretty incredible views…

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Of course a few photographs were taken along the way, and hereto-forth you shall be inundated with them. You’re welcome.

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Lake Bled

We departed Zagreb after a night of driving rain and had some serious driving to do - all the way to Slovenia!

As we got further into the countryside we discovered that we hadn’t seen the half of it with the rain and rivers around the country had broken their banks causing widespread flooding! Ever the helpful tourists, we stopped to take a few photographs when we were unable to cross a bridge to visit a little town since their main street was looking like this:

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Other parts of the country were happily unharmed, and the ever-changing landscape of little country houses dotted around rolling hills and growing mountains kept us entertained for hours.

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Zagreb

It was with a bit of sadness that we bid goodbye to Sardinia, and Italy in general. There is something so nice about traveling in a foreign country where you can (to the locals’ great surprise) actually speak their language enough to get by… none of that in Croatia, or for the next two legs of our trip (China and Vietnam) I’m afraid.

But there were plenty of other things to look forward to in Croatia. After returning our rental car to Alghero we via Rome to Split where we picked up another rental car, spent the night, and then drove up to Zagreb the following morning to meet up with Adam’s parents, with whom we are sharing this Croatian leg of our trip.

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We were pleased to find ourselves in a nice apartment within walking distance of Zagreb’s old town - though our first afternoon in the city was spent walking through heavy rain to the Mimara museum. 

The weather was decidedly better on our second day in the city so we were able to meander up to the older part of the city, stopping for an obligatory coffee along the way (Croatians rival the Italians for their coffee culture).

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I think we were all pleasantly surprised by how nice Zagreb was - many of the older buildings and churches remain intact and there are charming pedestrian-only streets that make strolling a pleasure. 

Adam and I - as always - were keen to check out the local market, which consists of many small farm stalls packed side-by-side under their bright red umbrellas in a large square adjacent to the city cathedral.

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Cala Gonone

Since we cut our stay in Bosa short by a couple of days we found ourselves with extra time to play with so picked up a rental car in Alghero (a stunning 90-minute view-filled bus ride from Bosa) and drove towards the Golfo di Orosei on the other side of the island.

Sardinia’s inland landscape is dotted with over 7000 of these nuraghi - great conical stone structures that predate Christ by hundreds of years, but yet no-one can definitively explain their purpose. We stopped to have a nosy around one located conveniently beside a church (of Santa Sabina) just outside Macomer.

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The nuraghe is more than just a pile of rocks. Inside the entrance (which Adam models so gracefully, don’t you think?) is a tall room with three small alcoves around the sides, almost like shrines. Then to one side is a staircase that winds around the outside of the room and climbs to the roof. 

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Academics can’t seem to agree on whether these structures were religious, military, or just fancy dwellings… but for now they make for interesting additions to the already stunning scenery.

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Speaking of scenery… the further west we drove the more rugged and mountainous the landscape became, until we finally turned a corner in Nuoro and were struck by this view of the distant (soon to be not-so-distant) Supramonte mountain range. 

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Filed under Cala Gonone Orgosolo Canyon Goroppu Sardinia Cala Luna Golfo di Orosei Cala Fuili

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Bosa, Sardinia

We are taking a break from our regularly scheduled programming of Instagram reposts* to bring you this blog post with actual written content! And photos taken on a real camera! A pretty nice one at that. We take so many of them that we may as well share with, well, our grandparents who are probably the only ones that still check this blog semi-regularly. 

So the deal is we are way behind on blogging (surprise, surprise) - there is still Iran to finish, plus a lovely trip to Devon and Cornwall that we should write about - but in the last few weeks we have left our life in London, shipped the majority of our stuff back to New Zealand, and embarked on another four months of traveling as we wind our way back home via Sardinia, Croatia, Slovenia, China and Vietnam. We’ve decided to try to write about this trip as we’re doing it, and can hopefully catch up on all the other stuff when we have time along the way. 

And with that we bring you our first port of call: the beautiful village of Bosa on the western coast of Sardinia.

*We’ve actually had a team meeting and decided to stop the Instagram reposts all together and take this space back to proper written content. Hopefully this should make it easier to find written posts without having to scroll through reams of photos (though, pro-tip: click ‘archive’ on the right-hand side there and it will allow you to find written posts pretty easily. And look through our extensive archive. Funny that). 

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Friends of ours had done a workaway stint in Bosa this time last year and it sounded so great that we decided to follow in their footsteps and start our trip the same (somewhat-culturally-immersive, budget-friendly) way.

We arrived to find a gorgeous array of pastel and terracotta buildings tumbling down a hillside beneath a medieval castle, and ourselves housed for the first few night in a house nestled in an olive grove on the opposite hill. Needless to say, the evening walks up the hill were rather mesmerising.

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That beach down there? It’s where we spent our last day in Sardinia, trying to catch up with the Italians and their tans. Never going to win that one.

That beach down there? It’s where we spent our last day in Sardinia, trying to catch up with the Italians and their tans. Never going to win that one.

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Antipasto last night: a kind of patè  made from blood, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and mint. So much better than I expected!

Antipasto last night: a kind of patè made from blood, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and mint. So much better than I expected!

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Today we walked (for six hours!!!) to the biggest canyon in Europe and even climbed the yellow part because we’re super adventurers but then this was the only way to get back down and it was awesome.