The second official day of biking on this bike trip was from Karlovac to Plitvice. In some ways, this could be considered my first official day getting into the real country of Croatia, and it was a great day of biking indeed. I started out by leaving relatively early in the morning from the hotel in Karlovac, and was stocked up with some food and drink from the local supermarket.(The supermarket excursion was a super big trip in and of itself. It seemed to be filled with communist era grandmas working the cashier stands etc… but great fun to check out none the less. And there I was rolling around in my biking gear and saddle bags testing out what would fit inside)
Once on the saddle, my first task was to find the highway or road that was to take me all the way to my daily destination. This didn’t turn out all too hard. Actually, the road was a recently constructed new “highway” and that it was indeed. It was nicely paved, and a treat to ride on. But the best part of all was the bike lane was well marked most of the way, and that just made me feel great as I was still starting off this bike journey in Croatia, and all was still new.
I made a great pit stop on during the day’s bike ride at a side of the road restaurant. This restaurant was one with a huge spit fire grill going presumably all the time. The day I was there, they were in the middle of roasting a nice lamb, the entire lamb as well. This was quite a treat to sit at one of the tables outside, right next to my bike, and a few hundred feet off the road and to be able to watch the local Croatian guy cook up the lamb, that was going around and around. I actually went up to him and asked him a few questions, and took some video with my video camera since this was all new to me.
If you are not in any hurry during your Croatian bike trip, I highly suggest getting off the coastal routes for a few days, and make your way up into the mountain towns and see what you can see. A restaurant like this is always a super big treat, but especially after you have been bike riding for several hours during the morning, and you want to just kick back and relax for about an hour or so mid-day.
I ended up ordering fried trout and french fries, which was really tasty, and then got back onto my bike for the rest of the ride to the campground before the Plitvice Lakes. This part of the ride took me through the town of Slunj, which is right off the highway, actually you bike right through the town if you are headed in the direction I was. And, the best part is that there are all kinds of waterfalls in Slunj, some really big beautiful waterfalls that you can even see from the highway. I didn’t stop in this town, as it was about 3:00pm when I was travelling through and there was actually quite a bit of hustle and bustle going on. School kids were walking home from school, and some large trucks were making all types of noise, so I just kept on bike riding right through.
Eventually, towards the end of the afternoon, I did make it to the campground I was searching for. I rode on in, and found the reception/administration part, and purchased one night’s stay by tent, and then off to the showers I roamed. The campground itself was really really big, I guess it could accomodate a few thousand campers if it was in the middle of the summer during peak seasons. One thing though, this campground was not filled with private campsites like I was used to being from the United States. It was more like open fields where you picked a spot on the grass to setup your tent. Either way, it was just fine, I set my bike up next to a tree, pitched the tent, and then off to the showers.