July 22nd, 2013
I see a lot of gorgeous places when I travel, heaps and heaps in fact. About three months into traveling I decided I had to slow down because I was passing everything so quickly that waterfalls, monuments, temples? They all turned to mush in my brain. I couldn’t quite place some of the photos I was taking and that perturbed me…so I slowed down, paid more attention and stopped living through the lens of my camera ever single moment of my trip.
Okay, a bit of lie, I still photographed everything but I made sure to take moments to just sit and stare and take in the natural beauty encountered along the way–take in absorb…
be there in the moment enjoying. Below is a photo essay with mini anecdotes and explanations for ten of the more memorable lakes and waterfalls I’ve found in the past three years! Krka National Park in Croatia was spectacularly pretty; the park is well developed for tourism with numerous footpaths and wooden board walks leading visitors through the various waterfalls and Roman-era ruins situated along the Krka River. A very good friend from back home was traveling with me for this leg of the trip so we packed cheese and bread for lunch and spent the day taking in the pretty waterfalls! . Lake McKenzie is a truly beautiful perched lake (meaning the lake waters sit atop an impermeable layer of twigs/ vegetation) on Australia’s Fraser Island (the largest sand island in the world and a UNESCO spot). I dug the nearly pure white silica sand and clear mineral waters; although I love salty ocean waves as much as the next person, there’s just something altogether more inviting about turquoise clear fresh water with no possible jelly fish! . Wentworth Falls is one of the larger waterfalls in Australia’s Blue Mountains, located just north of Sydney. I was terribly lost on this hike (take a good map!) because there are a lot of waterfalls in these mountains and each time we approached one I was certain it was Wentworth Falls, at least until we reached this big one! Even though our 4 hour hike turned into seven plus, I managed to relax enough to enjoy the sunshine and misting waters, briefly. :) . Bled Island, though tiny, is the only natural island in Slovenia and Lake Bled’s pretty shores are a tourist magnet. This towns sits in Eastern Europe’s Julian Alps and the church steeple on the island, the medieval castle on a nearby hill…the entire setting screams picturesque. It rained throughout my visit but was pretty nonetheless! . Rain in Australia’s outback is quite rare, just a few days out of every year in fact, and for this reason seeing Uluru (Ayers Rock) with dozens waterfalls cascading down the red rock is supposedly lucky. At least that was the assurance from our tour guide…rain poured from the sky while I was there and though I didn’t manage any upclose time with the huge iconic rock gleaming burnt red in the sunlight, it was pretty and unique. And, I haven’t yet met another traveler who has seen the waterfalls, so maybe my tour guide was right! :-) . After winding through the dirt roads into the Guatemalan Highlands, Lake Atitlán is a superb reward, it’s perhaps the prettiest lake I’ve ever seen and from the shores three visible volcanoes help form the lake’s borders. Besides the volcanoes, sprinkle the shores of the lake with tiny Mayan villages (and a few super-touristy towns too) and you have the waters of the prettiest lake in all of the Americas (in my oh-so-humble opinion). . Sticking to Guatemala (one of my favorite countries), Semuc Champey is a series of shallow turquoise pools of water with tiny little waterfalls between each stepped pool. The closest town, Lanquin, is still off the fast-growing tourism trail and our group had a grand time frolicking in the pools and (carefully) jumping from waterfalls. . From the shores of Loch Ness, Scotland I searched and searched for Nessie the Loch Ness Monster to no avail, she didn’t reveal herself to me so I instead spent quiet days reading on the pebble beaches and hiking through the densely green forests and towns surrounding the lake, taking advantage of the surprisingly sunny Scottish days! . Oh, how I adore Ireland. Really! I do so love it, and all of the pretty, pretty land is reason enough, but the people were super friendly and welcoming too. Dingle is a small peninsula in the south and this is Conor Pass, the highest mountain pass in all of Ireland, with views of the corrie lakes, low slung clouds and the nearby Atlantic. . Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia was one of the handful of pre-planned stops on my RTW trip; the Park’s series of cascading lakes are formed from a series of underground karst rivers, with 16 visible lakes on the surface, all connected by boardwalks and boats. It’s a UNESCO site (I collect these) and on the beauty-scale, it rates high! It takes an entire day to wander through the miles of carefully constructed paths at Plitvice Lakes, so pack lunch!
This is just the tip of the ice berg as far as waterfalls are concerned–I have yet to see any of the major ones like Niagra, Victoria or Iguazu Falls, but each of these lakes and waterfalls were unique in some way and stand out for that very reason.
Sharesy time! Where is your favorite lake or waterfall in the world and why? :)