Sunday, September 20, 2009

Plitvicka National Park

Our plan was to drive to this national park and spend the first night - about halfway from Zagreb to Rab, and the pictures we saw [of the park] were really beautiful. We knew we'd be very tired, and jetlagged, so we planned an easy first day. The drive was pretty easy, though we made one mistake that took us about half an hour out of our way. My impressions of the countryside: houses with huge baskets of flowers hanging off every balcony; lots of balloons festooning fences and gates, and passing cars; little produce stands that seem to feature potatoes exclusively; slow lives.

When we got to the hotel, at the park, it looked exactly as we expected based on the photos we'd seen. No better, no worse.

The room had a huge window with a really nice view of the mountains, but it was institutional gross - again, no better or worse than we expected.

oy, the carpet job:
Check the hallway........redrum, redrum, redrum.....
Looks like a prison bathroom to me:
And is it just me, or is this super creepy?
So we saw our room, and decided we'd better take a walk because we were so exhausted, if we lay down for a minute we might crash for hours. It was kind of cool and hazy, and really beautiful.

oh, wait. This wasn't the beautiful part. Pull those thong straps down, honey.
THIS was beautiful, and the water was just this color. Minerals, maybe:
And this, a late summer feeling in the air, waterfall sounds in the background,
ducks floating around.
And this, a bit of a tree that looked like a bull head to me. To you too?
And this, it looks like this at twilight:
We could've rented a rowboat if we'd wanted - they had a few:
So we walked around, rested a little, and decided to go to this nearby restaurant that was the only one recommended. "Just good local food," we read. "There aren't any good places to eat, but this one is probably the best." The restaurant was called Licka kuca, and listen to me now: never ever eat there. Ever. Really. The restaurant is underground, kind of in a cellar. When we walked in, it was very much like that scene in the movie Everything Is Illuminated, where the main character Jonathan, the translator, and the grandfather are ordering food and Jonathan wants vegetarian, and the waitress doesn't get it. It was that aesthetic, that kind of food, that kind of feeling, that whole thing. Let's just cut to the food:

Bread on the table, and butter. Bread: white, totally uninteresting, and luckily without any flavor. Butter: two greasy, oily blobby mounds of something that was white - but don't think of the nice white French butter, something delicate like that. This was creamy sourness.

Marc ordered meat stuffed with cheese, stewed vegetables, and salad. I got sausages, stewed vegetables, and salad. These were the best looking items on the menu, so you can guess about the rest of the menu. There was an unrefrigerated "refrigerated" case containing all the mounds of meat, and a big grilltop that surely hadn't been cleaned in decades. The 'cook' reached into the meat case, grabbed a hunk/pile/handful of meat, and it just kind of hung over the sides of his hand, formless and disgusting, like a thin slab of warm wet clay. Then he just kind of plopped it on the grill. Oh, and once he dropped the spatula he was using to flip the meat, dropped it on the floor. He leaned over and picked it up, gave it a little wipe, and just kept going. There was also a dead fish on the grill -- and I know all fish that you cook are dead, but this just looked like a dead fish lying on the grill.

So the waitress brought our food to the table, and it looked absolutely disgusting. Marc stuck his fork in his entree and cheese came pouring out of it. The top of the thing rose up as the cheese started pouring out, and the cheese just kept coming. It was white and oily, and puddled into globs of greasy grossness. I'm not exaggerating; in fact, I'm kind of traumatized by it so I'm not describing it with its full measure of grossness. We barely ate, though we tried to choke down a few bites. The salad was no help - thin dried-out cucumbers, tomatoes that had gone bad, a piece of lettuce, and some little piles of coleslaw. The coleslaw was the best part of the meal.

We staggered out of the restaurant, dazed with tiredness and sick from being near that food. It was the worst of Croatia. We passed a bad night, asleep immediately, around 9pm, and up at 1am for a few hours.

We ate the free breakfast that came with our room, and the price was too high for what they served. First, take a look at the dining room!

Breakfast was a buffet, and coffee came from a little make-it-yourself machine. The coffee was hot water with a little squirt of instant coffee. The bread was the same nondescript grossness.

We choked down a little food and took a walk before we left. Check it out - beautiful misty morning:

After that, we hit the road for the drive to Rab. The day got MUCH MUCH BETTER! Just wait for the next post.......

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave us a comment - we love to hear from you!