On Saturday, we woke up at 7:00 am to go to National Park Paklenica. We made a short stop at a place called the graveyard of souls. The village elders believed that souls deserved more respect and remembrance than physical bodies after death. They would measure the height of the deceased then line up rocks in the same measurement. Lastly, a headstone and footstone were placed on opposite ends.
Our hike was originally supposed to last about 4 hours but the bus decided to break down halfway to the starting point. We had to walk uphill on asphalt with the sun beating down on us. All of us were exhausted and sweaty before the long hike even started.
The actual hike was long and difficult but actually pretty fun. I had to climb over huge rocks both uphill and downhill while trying not to fall down the mountain – there was no defined trail. The mountain we hiked up is called Mt. St. Jure which is 1,728 m above sea level. Dense forests contrasted with the barren rocky landscape as we hiked up the 10 kilometers.
When we arrived at the top, lunch was being prepared for us at a small family’s house tucked away from civilization. They cooked veal and lamb under two metal bells with charcoal over the top. The whole meal tasted amazing.
After eating, we were given time to digest before the trek down the mountain. Chris and I spotted two kittens hiding in a hole on the side of the house. While we were trying to coax them out, a little girl who lived there named Lily straight up grabbed and dragged one out of the hole. She was 4 years old so she didn’t really understand the concept that the kittens were not toys. The picture below shows her manhandling the poor thing. Lily was really cute; she only spoke German so we had no idea what she was saying. She would only let the girls hold the kitten which was hilarious.
The hike back down was definitely easier even though it was longer: about 12 kilometers. There were defined trails for the first half then slippery steep rocks for the second half. In total, the hike lasted about 7 hours. Needless to say, when we got back to the hotel we were exhausted. We ate dinner by the water then went to bed.