I was lost metres from the main road. The midday heat of early May in Croatia’s countryside drenched the material of my heavy backpack, and I started to daydream about passing the afternoon with an icy beer instead.
Unfortunately, there was no bar in sight, only silent chalet houses and an abundance of nonchalant cats that made up a perfect little village. From every building swung a guesthouse sign, but none were mine. I decided to weave back to the main road where I crossed into an identical hamlet on the opposite side. Eventually, after a staggered conversation with a lady through her lounge window and much flapping of my Google maps printout, I realised I was there. I was stood in the driveway of my lodgings for the night.
The house was lovely, if not a little quiet. I was the only guest and Tomas, the friendly host, was keen to tell me everything about his home and its surrounding nature. I smiled and nodded politely until a lull in his proud monologue allowed me a question: “So Tomas, how do we get to the lakes from here?” He didn’t need asking twice and we jumped into his Volvo; “I’ll take you to the national park entrance, from there you can hike”. I was about to see what all the fuss was about: Plitvice’s world-famous waterfalls and bright turquoise pools.