A Really Long Way: Planning To Visit A National Park and Looking For Stove Fuel - Lookin For John Fairweather - CycleBlaze

November 29, 2013

A Really Long Way: Planning To Visit A National Park and Looking For Stove Fuel

I asked today's hostel receptionist Kreso, about PLITVICE national park. I've seen the poster on the wall with the stunning pictures of waterfalls, lakes and wooded hills. I wanted to know where its located, as I couldn't find it on the map. Kreso explains, its two hours drive from Zagreb. You follow the road to Karlovac to the south west and turn left, where you'll see the signs for the park. This was the old road before they build the highway.

Along this old road, he continues, takes you to a part of Croatia which we lost, then regained in the war. There are a lot of damaged people in this area. And empty houses of displaced people who never returned. I ask Kreso, do you remember much about the war. You must've been very young at the time. I was born in 1988, he replies. I just remember one day. I was only five, when we were rushed into a basement to take cover when there was a rocket attack on the city. There was a huge bang. We heard later, a bomb just missed parliament killing many people. I think it was meant for the president. But I was just a child and it was fun to be in that basement with lots of other children.

I also needed to know where there's an outdoor shop. Kreso marked on the city-plan an "Iglu Sport" and writes on the side, tram 6 to Sopot. Can I not walk, I ask. You could but its a really long way, he replies.

On the way to the tram-stop, I call in a bookshop to buy a bigger scale map of Croatia than the one I've got. I find a map for all of Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia with a scale of three kilometres to the centimetre, upon which, I see Plitvice and its no wonder I couldn't find it on the map I already have, as its off that map.

Kreso said it was five stops. A female tannoy voice announces the stop each time. The tram ran along a park lined with domed roofed nineteen century grandeur, with trees either bare or with the last of Autumn's red and brown leaves. A cycle-messenger outside the window, cruises alongside for a bit. I'm standing, leaning against the side in the flexible rubber swivel part joining two carriages and when the tram turns corners, as it does in front of the railway station, the floor I'm standing on moves out from under me.

I alight two stops on from the station and during the walk to Iglu Sport, which I'm visiting, to either see if they've ethanol (alcohol), or they can point me to where I can buy stove alcohol, I realise if I fail to find it, I'll have to make do with cold food from now on when camping. There is only gas when I arrive. The young woman in the shop who speaks English, suggests I try the gas station. I do. The man in the shop, I've difficulty explaining what I want. I say "ethanol". Then he rushes round to a rack of various engine oils and picks up a plastic bottle with the word Hypernol on the label. It perhaps sounds like ethanol, but I wouldn't like to try it in my stove.

I realise from the tram ride here, that its only a short walk back to the centre. Not the really long way that Kreso said. The walk back was nice but I'd forgotten to take the camera, so I came back later.

Red tree.
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Rowan/Mountain Ash.
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Christmas preparations.
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There's a big tent in the main square wherein food and beverages are served.
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