There are hotels within the park, but prices were out of my budget. So I stayed in a family-run guesthouse in a village 800 metres from the entrance of the park. As I lumbered into the tiny village of Rastovaca, I counted like a total of 11 house, all sitting pretty with Zimmer(Rooms)/Coffee/CableTV signs outside. But as I went knocking, I found most were not in operations (yet)! Apparently, official visiting season starts 1 April, and many prefer to enjoy their own leisure time before they get busy with the tourists! In fact, the park fees double from 55 kunas to 110 kunas on 1 Apr and I'm 3 days short of paying twice the amount.
I did find a family who accepted my business. But found out that they don't prepare meals (outside of season). Neither did the whole village. And not a supermarket or restaurant in sight.
The family did sent me 3 pieces of freshly baked bread and homemade jam though. And happily enlightened me that the park entrance has a cafe and a mart. Great!
The mart was tiny. They stocked bread, and some canned food. The cafe's food variety consists all of apple strudel and cheese/ham sandwich. It was already 4pm and I did some simple hike outside the park. At 6pm, the ticketing guys called it a day and I wandered into the park for an hour of photography.
So dinner was that wonderful 3 pieces of bread. Luckily, I had bought a big loaf of pumpkin bread and a big slab of smoked cheese in Zagreb for breakfast and there were quite abit left. So my breakfast next day consisted of pumpkin bread with smoked cheese.
Plitvice Lakes National Park was an absolute pleasure. The only unfortunate thing was, it's too early spring and the trees were still brown and bare. Nothing like the lush green or winter white in the postcards. Still the turquoise lakes were just mersmerising! The trails and boardwalks and signs were simple to follow. I took my time and the whole excursion was a whole 9 hours in the park. There were 2 cafes in the circuit I took, and well, they served only apple strudels and cheese sandwiches. I just ate my muesli bars which I brought from Singapore.
It was almost 7pm when I exited the park. The closest restaurant was in the hotel in the park that was in another entrance several kilometers away. I was too tired and went back to my room for a sumptuous meal of pumpkin bread with smoked cheese.
Next day I woke up to a breakfast of good old pumpkin bread and smoked cheese. The very last of it. I thought I had ample time to catch my bus to Split, until I noticed my mobile phone's time and my watch was different. Damn Daylight Savings (again)! Luckily my phone's time auto adjusted! And that I realized it in time!
The bus took 6 hours to Split, and the lunch stop places doesn't look particularly appetising. When I reached Split, it was 4pm. It was not too long when I found myself sitting in a restaurant. There was a look of absolute glee when my order of grilled sea-bass came in two mouth-watering pieces. The grilled vegetables was just sweet, and washed down with simple white wine, it was pure pleasure!