Plitvice to Zagreb, Croatia

Sorry for the delay – We have been at Ben’s for a few days with a quick trip to Berlin in the middle and have been very time poor. Hope you are all well.

Wednesday 9th November 2022
Today we are on our way to Zagreb. We had a lovely stay at Plitvice and an amazing walk yesterday. As we leave the area we enjoy the beautiful country views and the country style homes. As we drive along the temperature drops down as low as 7°C, eek, winter is on its way. On the way to Zagreb we stop at the beautiful little town of Rastoke. It was a town of waterfalls and both David and I were a little weary and saturated with waterfalls from yesterday that we almost didn’t walk through this little village. That would have been very disappointing, as it was the most beautiful little village with waterfalls weaving their way through, under and around the houses. It was extraordinary and most enchanting. I loved it and it was a lovely hour spent meandering our way through the houses and waterfalls.

We then continued on our way to Zagreb, arriving at about 2.30pm to check in to our great little apartment near the bus station for our early departure tomorrow. We then returned our car to the other end of town. From here we went on a App guided walk through the town and saw many of the old buildings, museums, the cathedral and the restaurant strip. Here we enjoyed a traditional Croatian meal of štrukli at the little cafe called “La Struk”, David had a cheese one and I had a roasted red pepper one. It was very nice, a little like a lasagne with very thin pasta sheets filled with cheese, topped with pouring cream and cheese, then baked. We finished the day off with a gelato on the walk back to our apartment. A little 5km walk around town and a great time sightseeing on our last night in Croatia.

Rastoke is a village, located in the Town of Slunj, known for the Slunjčica River, which flows into the Korana River at Rastoke. At Rastoke, similar natural phenomena are occurring as at the Plitvice Lakes.

You’ve heard the expression “short but sweet.” Well, it can certainly be used to describe the little river Slunjčica. Although only 6.5 kilometres long, this river has created some of the most spectacular landscapes in Croatia. The spot where it merges with the river Korana, Rastoke, is characterised by a natural symphony of 23 waterfalls and numerous rapids, where water roars, ripples, and celebrates life. Even the name of this small village near the town of Slunj suggests that water here flows in great quantity, as it comes from the word rastakati, which means “to pour out”. Many call this area “mini-Plitvice”, partly because Rastoke is only about 30 km away from the world-famous national park, and partly because the geological makeup of the two water systems is identical, much like the vegetation and typical karst formations, such as tufa deposits or underground water flows. The enchanting landscape is complemented by the spoon-like water mills typical of the area, whose wheels giggle happily as Slunjčica tickles them. Numerous legends were created in the quiet, green-blue oasis, the most well-known one relating to Rastoke fairies.
The Town of Fairies and Spectacular Scenery
These timid forest creatures have lived in the Rastoke area since ancient times, and are mostly active at night, as they usually avoid people. According to folk tales, while the mills were grinding corn and wheat, and the millers were telling stories around the pale light of the oil lamp, the fairies would take their horses, which were resting for their return home. In the early morning hours, when the stars were ending their night swim and the first sunrays caressing the blades of grass and the crystal-clear water, these forest imps would return the animals to the stables with braided manes and all out of breath and sweaty from the night out on the green hills. Although there are no more horses at Rastoke, the fairies are still here. Their favourite gathering spot is a waterfall by the name of Fairy’s Hair (Vilina kosa), whose silver water fits perfectly with the silver hair of the Rastoke fairies.”

Štrukli is a Croatian continental local dish made of pastry and fresh cottage cheese and cream. It is prepared baked but also boiled. The dough is kneaded and stretched across the table until it is quite thin, like a sheet. It is then filled with fresh cheese and shaped with a thin porcelain plate. It is then steamed and baked with a fine cream in the oven until the štrukli turns golden. They are consumed as an appetiser, main course or as a dessert with sugar, while for me, the finest is the salty ones, and it is during the winter when they are most comforting. It can be purchased at many Croatian pastry shops, ice cream shops and also in restaurants.”