Plitvice Lakes - Croatia
We were lucky to get into the lakes at all - a recent heavy snowfall was just thawing.
a series of wooden walkways wind around the lakes and falls
some areas of the lakes teemed with fish
For a few hours Siobhan and I had Croatia's busiest tourist attraction almost entirely to ourselves!
Returning to Croatia, and such a tranquil and beautiful place, aroused mixed feelings.
I'd first come to Croatia to work with refugees in 1994, visiting some of the areas we now returned to.
This area had been the scene of intense fighting, and indeed the first military actions, during the war. I remember hearing stories about it, and seeing soldiers who'd probably just returned from fighting - from killing - here.
There are still areas full of landmines outside the main tourist areas, and some houses bear the scars of fighting. Others, now empty and derelict, hint at the extensive ethnic cleansing that has occurred here. Small cemeteries were filled with similar black tombstones and fresh flowers were often visible from the roadside.
It was good to see some of the wonderful things about this part of the world, and feel some of the language coming back. In other ways it was hard to see the scars - and sense less visible ones under the surface.