Plitvice National Park. While I was walking...

Day 1 /2

After Krka, we were prepared to be disappointed. But bloody hell, Plitvice blew us away. It was a cold, misty day. We had planned to buy rain covers from the gift shop at the entrance but they don’t open until 8 and we were there just after 7am. It was only a light shower. We’ll be right, we thought. We were wrong. We got drenched. It wasn’t just a light shower. It wasn’t even a heavy storm that passes over. It was constant, steady rain. It did ease now and then but for most of the morning we were trying to keep rain drops off of our lenses.

There’s no contest between Krka and Plitvice. Do yourself a favour and skip Krka and spend an extra day at Plitvice. But go early to dodge the crowds. Even in the pouring rain, by the time we were leaving there were bus loads of people turning up.

The park itself is stunning. The staff and the signage and information provided isn’t very helpful though. (I’ve reassessed my view on the people of Croatia as being friendly. They are polite but you do get the sense that you are a nuisance). It wasn’t over commercialised like Krka. And the soul of the place is still strong despite the swarms of tourists. The infrastrutcure in the park worked well. There were boats and buses to get people to and from different walks. The pathways blended well with the environment. For our first morning at Plitvice and despite the constant rain, we were in love with Plitvice.

To Krka on the wrong side of the road.

3 hours kayaking in Dubrovnik (highly recommend it) followed by 4 hours driving to Skradin, still salty and damp, into the sunset, on the wrong side of the road, in a manual car (with 6 gears) and the indicator lever on the left. [Stay on the right. Indicators are on the left. Remember to change gears. Clutch, clutch, clutch. Stay on the right. Indicators on the left]. In and out of Bosnia. A stop at a Bosnian supermarket. Can’t figure out how to get the car into reverse. Can’t figure out how to turn the rear wiper off. Can’t figure out how the handbrake works. Fun, fun, fun. Through a hundred tunnels. 130km/ph. Stay on the right. Whoops, that’s the wipers, not the indicators. Toll roads we weren’t expecting. Beeped at the border crossing person when I leaned over to show my passport. Lookout for boars and bears (didn’t see either). Road signs that from a distance look like a grand piano and a whale, or maybe I should’ve gotten those new glasses before I left.

Holiday - Travel? Travelling is hard but rewarding. Holidaying is relaxing. I usually need a holiday to recover from travelling. You learn so much when you travel. About yourself - your strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, capabilities and fears, what you miss, what you appreciate. Your view of the world deepens. Different cultures. The history. The politics. The maths trying to work the money out. The language.

We were a little underwhelmed by Krka. It felt a little soulless. Beautiful but lacking in spirit. It felt over commercialised, over crowded and we didn’t connect with it at all. Maybe we’re just a bit spoilt by our Aussie National Parks. Happy to head to Plitivice and hope it doesn’t disappoint.

Dubrovnik. While I was walking.

Dubrovnik. Croatia. First impressions and Travel tips.

(First tip is for bloggers. Save your post as you go or you might make one last adjustment before you post it and choose to discard that change only to discover you’ve discarded the whole fucking blog post with no way to recover it).

The people are friendly.

The place is beautiful.

Everyone speaks English.

They don’t use Euro so bring plenty of cash (Kuna)

It is peaceful. Nobody hassles you. There are no spruikers or hagglers or hustlers. Apart from the thousands of tourists, it is a pleasure to walk the streets. It feels safe and peaceful.

It’s costs 200 Kuna (close to $50 depending on the exchange rate) to walk the Walls of the Old Town. The steps aren’t as bad as they say. If you’re staying in the Old Town it would be a hassle to lug your luggage to your accomm. We stayed 4km away at Lapad and caught the bus in. It was worthwhile for us to buy a 3day Dubrovnik Card as it included entry to the Walls (and a stack of other places) as well as bus passes.

The beaches are pebbly so bring shoes you can swim in as they’re impossible to walk on as you sink into the pebbles and it’s very ouchy.

Best tip I received before I left home - Bring a powerboard.

While I was walking...

A new neighbourhood, on the other side of town, in the middle of winter.
Late one sunny winter afternoon, after being holed up inside working all day at my mates house while cat sitting, I set off with the camera to see what I could find.

My week at an artists retreat

Ok, so it wasn’t an artists retreat. I was staying at a friends house, keeping his cat company while he was off holidaying in a sunny and exotic location. Just so happens he has a spacious studio I could play in. I had grand ambitions of doing a photoshoot every day I was there. It didn’t quite work out that way but I did manage to do a bit of experimenting. Mostly with flowers. And I’m sure my dear friend will be finding lilly pilly berries hiding all around his studios for weeks to come.

Whilst I didn’t create any masterpieces this time, it did make me value making time to just create. It’s the best way to learn and explore. I did have work and other commitments during this week but having space to ‘play’ has inspired me to look for an actual artists retreat for next year. If you know of any or know anything about Artists Retreats, please let me know. I have so many ideas and projects…

PS. Still life is a lot harder than it looks.

While I was walking...

Late one afternoon on a cold and gloomy day, I was at home feeling tired and snappy. I donned a coat and grabbed the camera and walked around the block. I moved to Fairfield earlier in the year and walk these streets often, but always on my way to a destination. This time, I had no goal other than to clear my thoughts. The first thing I noticed was the house number on the dilapidated fence a couple of doors down. 41. I don’t know if I’d call it a lucky number but it’s a significant number for me, and whilst I’d always been aware of the fence (in an otherwise orderly street its precarious state and the ramshackle yard it fronts is intriguing), I’d never noticed the number before. It was somehow reassuring.
I kept walking and looking around. Front yards, letter boxes, rusty gates, fences, trees, flowers, leaves, bark, porticos, arbours and architectural features.

The light was fading. I made it home just before the rain came down.
I can’t do mindfulness, but I can do this. I think it works just as good.

Have you been for a walk around your neighbourhood with a camera lately?