Family photos from September. Christmas cards did not get sent out this year, once again. But we still love everyone and hope you had a great year, MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Thursday, October 24, 2013….
After staying the night in a nice little apartment (for super cheap, love Croatia!) in Broderica, we explored Krka falls. It was not as expansive as Plitvice falls (which we went to with Taylor on his visit), but still gorgeous! There was a fun zipline to play on near where we caught the boat. Then we got on a boat and road up the river a little ways to where all the falls started. There were some big boats on the river, as it connects to the Adriatic sea.
After Krka falls, we made our way to Split. On our way, we became fascinated by the stone fences that appeared all over the hill sides in strange patterns. We came to one spot where there were lot’s of tiny squares formed by these stone fences. After looking at google maps, I discovered that it was a vineyard. I then googled the vineyard and found it is possibly one of the oldest vineyards in the world, dating back as far as the 11th century. So we stopped. And we discovered a cute little town next to it called Primosten, with a great beach for skipping rocks. The town was not too lively as everything touristy in Croatia shuts down at the end of September, but it was still fun to see as it is situated on a piece of land that juts out from the mainland. Apparently it used to have draw bridges and big walls. I just love the history behind all these towns.
For dinner we stopped in Trogir, a touristy little town outside Split. It was originally settled by Greeks, but then influenced by Romans, Venetians and many others. It has a high concentration of historic castles and churches and is a delight to stroll around. Although we spent our time looking for food…and getting hungrier by the minute (hence the lack of good photos..). There were not a lot of options (I think maybe things had closed due to the off season) and we sat down in one place and then discovered the prices and had to bail. (Which is Nick’s FAVORITE thing to do, lol, not really). We did eventually find something, right on the waterfront, with street “entertainment” if you can call it that…this guy was singing along to a recording, it was pretty bad.
My purse broke while we were there and we happened to stumble upon a shop where you could watch them working with leather and my Dad had the great idea to ask them to fix my purse, which they did, for a few bucks. I love all the local, hand crafted shops that you can find all over Europe.
Our next adventure was finding somewhere to scuba dive. We were successful in finding the worlds SLOWEST boat to take us out in the Kornati islands for a dip. I kind of feel bad making fun of their boat because the guys with the dive shop were super nice. They even let Jonah drive the boat (remember, it was super slow so this wasn’t really a problem…although it may have taken us some extra time swerving all over the place on the way back).
Look closely at this photo. This is the last time my Dad had his sense of taste on the trip. Poor guy! After the dive he lost all sense of smell and taste and it didn’t come back until he went to the Doc after getting home and took an antibiotic for the sinus infection he apparently had (not fun to be sick on vacation!). And if you know my Dad, tasting things is really important to him. I felt really bad for him…but we got to scuba dive!!! The guys saw an old shipwreck which is really cool. And then I did the second dive with Nick, which was super shallow and they made us come up after not very long because the waves were getting too big and we were close to shore, but we saw some sea horses. Diving is a different experience every time.
After our Tuscan trip with my parents, we took a day to get regrouped and geared up for a trip to Croatia. We were able to rent a big van so that we could all fit in one vehicle. With Nick driving we made our way down the Croatian coastline. First stop, Zadar.
Zadar has a really cool solar powered changing light display every evening called “Greeting to the Sun” and a hauntingly beautiful sea organ that is soothing enough to put my dear old Dad to sleep on a warm Croatian afternoon.
The waves push the air up through the holes of the organ creating sound.
Our accommodations. Not five star but it was beach front property. And a shot of our big trusty van!
My beautiful Mama at a beautiful pit stop along the coast.
Zadar was beautiful. White stone everywhere, beach front, boats, fruit market, medieval walls and a neat old church named after an Irish saint. What’s not to love?
Look at these two young folks “hangin” out with the cool kids. I think they are doing a pretty good job of blending in, just need to work on speaking some Croatian. Jonah made a friend at this park who yacked his ear off in Croatian and Jonah talked right back in English and somehow it just works. Play is the universal language. And I’m not just saying that because I am a recreational therapist…it’s just true people!
On our way to Perugia for the Europe’s biggest Chocolate festival we stopped in a random little town on lake Trasimeno that was really pretty. It had the world’s largest frying pan where they apparently cook some fish up every year for a festival.
And on to a HUGE festivale di Chocolate! It was a bit crowded and crazy, but we did get to eat lot’s of chocolate. Jonah got a balloon sword, and then popped it by swinging it at a stranger, he was very upset. Grandpa got him a new one and then he didn’t want it…the joys of children. (And of course the patience of Grandparents!)
Some of the booths were swarming with bees, which scared business away…I felt bad for them! I think it was the booths that had real fruit flavored chocolate.
We stayed the night at an agriturismo in Siena. Then woke in the morning and smashed our fingers in the door (I did it even after being warned by my Dad, lol) and walked about Siena. We did a few things I hadn’t done before such as climb the tower. And go inside the Duomo. Both of which were fabulous.
Tuscany has so much charm, it’s no wonder everybody falls in love with it. Every little town is just adorable, and there are tons of them. With my parents I decided I wanted to see some new villages that I hadn’t seen. So we stayed at a cute agriturismo in Montepulciano (for you Twilight fans, this is the town where it was filmed, not Volterra…they decided that this town was more like what she described in the book).
Montepulciano is on a hill. As indicated by the name (monte). It is a really steep hill and the main square is way up on the top of that hill.
We drove around taking in the beautiful views over Val D’Orcia and stopping in quaint villages. Such as Pienza, famous for their goat cheese, and Montecino, famous for their wine. I love how Italians towns all have their specialty thing that they are known for.
Photos below: Pienza
We stayed the night at an agriturismo in Siena. Then woke in the morning and smashed our fingers in the door (I did it even after being warned by my Dad, lol) and walked about Siena. We did a few things I hadn’t done before such as climb the tower. And go inside the Duomo. Both of which were fabulous. The duomo is unique looking inside, lot’s of stripes. And some really pretty art on the floor.
For snack time in Italy…gelato of course!
Jonah wanted the pigeons to eat out of his hand, he waited very patiently but they never did.
The tower was definitely the most claustrophobic tower I have climbed. There were parts were you had to stoop so low to fit and the walls seemed to get more and more narrow.
We headed south for a “Tuscan tour” and began with a stop in Florence. We saw the Ponte Vecchia (Old bridge) with all of the expensive jewelers. The beautiful duomo. And since we parked at the “free parking” up on the hill, we got to see my favorite view over the city. (It’s not exactly free, your legs pay the price walking, oh well.)
My parents made the long journey to Italy! We were so excited to have them. The first day they were here we did some local things like:
Cittadella: walled medeval city that we walked around the whole wall (it was recently restored to be able to do this)
Bassano: cute city with a famous wooden bridge designed by Vicenza’s homeboy, Palladio (see photo below, we forgot our cameras and this was the only photo I manages to snap with the Ipad)
Marostica: walled city with a castle and a life size chess board where the betrothed and the lover once played for the princess.
Nove: famous for it’s ceramics
And last but not least, soccer practice with Jonah and Coach Nick.
Sounds like a nice relaxing day for my poor jet lagged parents huh? haha. Oops. I have a tendency to cram too much in…