Decided to go on an organised trip down a remote part of the river through a gorge with a small party of people. The road to the start point was very narrow and winding. We were in a deep valley and uninhabited forest with no sign of life. Very peaceful and beautiful. We started with a swim in the river to get used to the idea that we were going to get wet, Very wet. Down each of the falls you had a choice of going over with the boat, jumping off the top of the falls or walking down, being a coward I walked or boated leaving Sarah to do the jumping. The water was warm at the top of the river and very clear, you could drink it with safety. Furthur downstream the temperature by almost 10 degrees to 15c because of underground springs. It was a great day out and very exciting.
Took the train into Old Zagreb for the day. The temperature was in the mid 30's and we had to walk very slowly. There are many beautiful old buildings and little streets. Tree lined avenues and thankfully lots of shade. Everywhere was very quiet with no crowds as most locals dissapear to the coast in summer away from the heat.
The market area and Cathedral are worth a visit. The ornate church roof in the picture is "something else" we have never seen anything like it.
Sadly the Funicular railway was not working
We have now moved up country and the landscape is totally different. Wooded hills, mountains and fertile valleys. Lovely Austrian type houses and quiet lanes, some of which are signed as roads but as you can see from the picture of Sarah on the scooter are really just gravel tracks. Also the "Danger mines" does nothing for your confidence, so stay on the marked tracks. Our camp site at Belavici had to acsessed via a Bailey floating bridge, very exciting. I think we will find another way out.
Moved up to Camping Krka near Skradin outside Sibenik. Set aside a full day starting at 8am to visit the National Park Krka. A water wonderland. The casades are made by calcium carbonate depositing on the moss that covers the rock. This is called trevertine. The fish life in the rivers and lakes that have been formed is amazing but you can't fish it! We visited all four parts of the park, firstly Skradinski But. This is the main attraction with casades and waterfalls together with a mill complex, boardwalks and the remains of a 1895 hydroelectric plant second oldest to Niagra falls USA. Second stop was a boat ride to Visovac a small island further upstream which was a home to a working monastery. Third stop was Roski Slap, another set of cascades called the necklace. Here we joined a boat excursion upstream to an Orthodox monastery where we visited the catacombs and then onto the two fortresses further upstream. Finally we drove to the top of the park to Burnum Roman ruins and museum and to a view point over the highest falls in the park. We arrived back at camp at 8pm shattered but satisfied - a brilliant day out.
Back up country with the van to camping Rio on the Neretva delta outside Ploce. Campsite situated between the river and the sea with more birdlife than we had seen to date. We had a little bittern nest with three babies directly opposite our van. Kingfishers and many wading birds. Passports out again for an excursion into Bosnia to visit the famous bridge at Mostar. Slight delay at the border to buy insurance for the scooter - at 10 euros a bargain. Mostar was very busy, full of tourists but the museum situated in one of the fortified towns told the whole story of the fall and rise of the bridge together with the history of Mostar - very interesting. The town is still littered with war damaged buildings. On route back we detoured to Medugorje - Roman Catholic pilgrimage shrine. Unfortunately the approach to it was like Blackpool on speed. Plaster figurines and plastic rosaries made in China dominated the scene. It was so off-putting we did not stop. It was all about money and the village lost.
Got our passports out for a visit to Kotor in Montenegro. Jumped the queue at passport control on the scooter - at least an hours wait if you were in a car. The scenery in this Fjord is quite spectactular. Driving around the bay with the sound of thunder from the mountains added to the atmosphere. First point of call was the roman ruins at Risan with an unusual mosaic of Hypnos, God of sleep which of course was in one of the bedrooms. Then we travelled onto Perast, a very old fishing port overlooking two islands with chapels. On reaching Kotor we were suddenly overrun with english voices, as the P&O Oriana had just docked. Even though the temperature was soaring into the high 30s Sarah decided we needed to climb the city walls for a better view of Kotor and its position within the bay. Our impressions of Montenegro were very promising, but we need to look into insurance cover for the van.
Another scooter tour of the beautiful fertile valley around Ljuta. First stop was the 15th Century fort at Dubravka which was in the process of being rebuilt. It is situated in a saddle of the mountains that border Montenegro. Below this is the mill complex of Ljuta. An extensive series of water mills along the Ljuta river. These have been mostly restored, with a couple of good restaurants. Further down the valley was the monastery of Pridvorje and an old chapel in the grounds dominated by a wonderful tree. On the way back to the campsite we stopped off at the Konavle cliffs. These were very impressive nearly as impressive as the steps to get down to them.