Krka National Park & Waterfalls
On our last day in Croatia, we got up bright and early and headed straight to Krka National Park, the home of the famous Skradinski Buk waterfalls which are one of the most famous attractions in Croatia.
Unfortunately, we got stuck with a rather gloomy day and it started to rain once we arrived at Krka, so my friends and I opted not to go swimming in the falls, but we still admired the beauty of the natural wonder around us.
The intense greenery and abundance of water all around made Krka remind me of the Everglades in Florida. I enjoyed the 20 minute hike through the forest and marshes that we had to take to reach the falls, but then once we had seen the falls, we all really wanted to leave immediately since it started pouring rain and many of us only had towels to cover our heads as we frantically ran towards the bus, trying not to get drenched to avoid a wet 10 hour bus ride back to Florence.
After leaving Krka, we drove for a few hours until we reached the border of Croatia and Slovenia. Croatia is not part of the Schengen area, the group of 26 European countries that agreed to abolish passport checks and border patrol at their shared borders. The Schengen area functions as a single country essentially, which is one of the reasons why travel in Europe is so simple without having to worry about various visas and constant delays for checking passports at borders.
With Croatia, a non-Schengen country, as the odd one out, we were required to go through border control before we could enter the Schengen area at the border of Slovenia. On our way into Croatia at around 3am on our overnight bus trip, a border control officer had simply come onto our bus and walked through the aisle stamping everyone’s passport. However, this time we all had to get off the bus, form a line, and physically walk over the border from Croatia to Slovenia by foot, stopping at a booth to get our passport stamped along the way. To be honest, it was an interesting and memorable experience – I never thought I’d be crossing country borders on foot, especially not from Croatia to Slovenia of all places, but there I was.
Once past the border, the trip home felt excruciatingly long, mostly because it wasn’t an overnight trip this time so it was hard to keep occupied for over ten hours. The only positive part was that we stopped at multiple rest stops and were able to treat ourselves to some Croatian and Slovenian and in general European snacks unlike those found in America — I really do think one of the best parts of travel is experiencing different types of food!
Arriving in Florence around 11pm, my friends and I all agreed that Croatia had exceeded our expectations and the weekend was a success; we all wanted to go back to Croatia sometime in the future!