I checked out of the hostel and sat in the hostel bar to try and figure where on earth I was headed. My original plans were to travel to Venice after Bled but I still had a lot of time to work with so I figured why not see some of this side of Europe. The initial thought was to get a train to Budapest after all the personal recommendations from the fellow travelers I had met. I did the research by looking up train times and what not but I did not really feel like going back to the city life just yet; I wanted something more worthwhile and memorable. In the back of my mind, I thought about the picture of Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia that I saw on Freddie’s Facebook (a friend from England that I met in Prague). The name may not sound familiar to you but you will instantly recognize these lakes and waterfalls that flow into one another. I made my plans to pick up a train to Zagreb and grab a bus for Plitvice and then finally, after all the last second planning, go swim in the lake (the ultimate relaxer and a perfect break from the hectic lifestyle of traveling on the go). I ran into the Swedish couple that I first met on the train and convinced them to swim to the island. The swim there is not one to be rushed when you have the heavily wooded hills and Alps surrounding you as you bath in this perfectly conditioned water. By pure luck, I saw the Belgian I met on my first trip to the island and thanked him for the advice and wished him well since I would be leaving this heavenly area that he calls home. After an exhausting swim from fighting the winding waves that I picked up rapidly, I baked on a deck on the lake and thought about nothing (how sweet it was). The three of us walked back and then said our goodbyes. I love meeting all these great people that I learn so much from and feel I have grown closely to but hate to have to move on with no promise that we will cross paths again. I grabbed some lunch before going to get a haircut. Luckily or unfortunately for my mess of a top, I talked with the my U.K. roommates/friends before catching the bus to the train stop. All of them are great people, very relaxed, easy going, and especially friendly. I will remember telling them how disgusted I was by the taste of marmamite (which a couple of them think is delicious??). We also discussed the differences in pudding. The American version is made of milk and flavored normally as chocolate or vanilla. The Brits on the other hand make theirs out of animal blood, among other things (like the one I had for my English breakfast in London). After sadly saying goodbye to them and the fun, crazy girls from Scotland, I headed for the bus and train to journey towards Zagreb. Being the great meeting place that traveling in Europe is, I met some cool people from England while waiting for the train and then, on the stuffed train, I talked with two from Ireland and a girl from Puerto Rico to pass the time. I arrived in Zagreb not knowing exactly where my hostel was but, after all the experiences I have had, I could not have been less worried. I calmly got a map and passed all the hyped locals prepping for their match against Mexico on my way to the hostel. The hostel hostess and I became practically best friends by the end of the night after all the questions I asked her. Sleep never sounded so grand. Tomorrow brings another memorable day and another unexpected adventure.
Day 28: A Last Minute Side Trip