Steve and I just returned from a road trip with our friends, Faith and John. It involved driving, singing (badly, by me), quick border crossings into and back out of Bosnia and Herzegovina, junk food,* sightseeing, thousands of steps and strikingly beautiful scenery.

(*There is a brand of crackers here called Tuc, and they are buttery, salty golden rectangles of manna from heaven.)

We first drove from Dubrovnik up to Krka National Park. The park was incredibly picturesque, with clear lakes, huge waterfalls, cascades, rapids and a wooden boardwalk that allowed us to walk all over the place. We then spent the night in Zadar, which is about halfway up the Dalmatian coastline. The area was inhabited as early as the Stone Age, and Zadar was founded in the 9th century B.C. It has been ruled by, among others, the Romans, Byzantines, Goths, Franks, Venetians, Austrians and Italians. We saw artifacts from the ancient Roman forum, old city walls, parks and the pride of modern Zadar: the Sea Organ. The sea organ is an “experimental musical instrument,” located on the waterfront, and made of underwater tubes beneath a set of marble steps. The sea water flows in and out of the tubes (the organ’s pipes), and creates harmonic sounds, which come up through a series of holes on the top steps. We also saw the Monument to the Sun, a huge disc (22 meters in diameter) made of glass panels set into the walkway on the waterfront. There are photovoltaic panels below the glass that absorb sunlight during the day and light up at night.

The next day, we drove to the Plitvice Lakes National Park, which was, incredibly, even more grand than Krka. The park is surrounded by mountains, and includes a series of 16 crystal-clear lakes, arranged in cascades and separated by natural dams made of travertine. They are all connected, and the water flows everywhere. Huge waterfalls and trees, bushes, reeds, grasses, water plants and mosses are abundant. Like Krka, Plitvice has wooden boardwalks that take you right down to and over the water in places, and along the ridges high above the lakes. Swimming is not allowed, but Faith and I joined a gaggle of people with toddlers playing at the water’s edge and cooled our heels. (By the way, you may be wondering who takes their toddler to walk for miles up and down rugged mountain trails in the heat. It’s millennials who have a lot of tattoos, facial hair and poor judgment.) The park is very near the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, and about 130 km to the south and a bit west of Zagreb, the nation’s capital.

We spent the night in Zagreb. It looked like a typical middle- or eastern-European big city, and I wish we had been able to see more of it. Unfortunately, we arrived in the evening, so we only had time for a quick dinner before bed. It was pouring down rain the next morning, so we didn’t get to do any sightseeing before our flight back to Cavtat. I hope we will get another chance one day.