June 15 Split

June 15.  Split:  A large trendy harbor city  with palm trees, significant Roman ruins, and crowds of tourists.

It was the night of important European Soccer play-offs and the Croatian team tied with Italy and remained in the play offs as a result.  There was much cheering, and many soccer fans sported shirts and hats with Croatian red and white check pattern.  Croatian flags flew on cars.  We sat in an outdoors sports bar near the Diocletian Palace

Diocletian Palace

and helped cheer on the team.

Everyone enjoyed the Luxe Boutique Hotel, which is small and very new and contemporary.  Airy and light with modernistic furniture, and purple orchid flowers tucked into tall-stemmed clear glass goblets on each white table.  Lavender light effects in the bar and reception area, and a color scheme through out of purple and aqua.   It had everything there including a hot tub and sauna.  Although we hated to leave such artistic luxury, we went on to a day of unparalleled scenic beauty in Plitvic National Park.  The park is set in a lush green country side, with grass pastures, agricultural crops, wild flowers, and forests.  Amid a forest we alighted from the van and followed our guide, Lydia, down about 100 stone steps and along a path through the woods until we came upon a lake of clear aqua blue.  As we waited on the dock to board a small ferry, we could see trout in the crystalline water.  By ferry we cruised down this blue lake about 3/4 mile to the other end, where we started along a trail and saw the first of many waterfalls, as the water from this upper lake poured over low cliffs into a smaller lake below.  Walking along this next lake, and making way for many park visitors, we were amazed by the clear aqua water and the many little falls as it spilled into the next lake below, and the terraced  lakes and falls repeated a few more time.  We were now in a narrow deep canyon, sometimes walking on rough hewn plank board walks, until we reached the lowest lake.  Then it was a climb on a path with switch-backs until we were back in another parking area where our van was waiting for us.  We hiked and cruised about two and a half miles in all today.  The weather was about 80 degrees and the blue sky enhanced the blue lakes.  We will never forget the beauty of the Plitvic Lakes.  It is one of the most scenic places in the world.  Merry Lee Eilers

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