After Budapest, I took a one hour flight to Zagreb, Croatia, the capital of the country. From Zagreb it is a mere two hour bus to Plitvice Lakes National Park, which Lonely Planet describes as the number one thing to do in Croatia. With such lofty praise, I had to go see it.
You may notice the beautiful blue water. It was just as beautiful in person. I so wanted to go in it, but it had a steep fine if you tried to do so, and also would damage the ecosystem. This is because the way the waterfalls, etc. are formed is very reliant on the fact that the pH of the water is just above 8.0. With this slightly alkaline water, the algae calcifies over time resulting in tufa deposits which are the barriers between one lake to another. If too many humans go in the water, the oil from our skin — in particular the sunscreen — would alter the pH of the water. So rather than allow the 1.2 million Plitvice visitors each year swim in the water, it is strictly forbidden.
Okay, no more explanations. Just pictures: