August 30, 2012

Croatia || Paradise on Mljet

Just when we thought our Croatian adventure couldn’t get any better after swimming in the beautiful waters of Hvar and boating around Korcula, we arrived in Mljet. The tiny harbor was so quiet and peaceful and was a perfect retreat from the more touristy spots we had been so far.

The next morning, we were up bright and early to grab some bike rentals and cycle around the island. Mljet is covered with salt-water lakes, inlets and has a national park right in the center of it. Once we arrived at the national park, this part of the trip quickly became our favorite. The national park’s saltwater lake was surrounded with a bike path just a stone’s throw from the water’s edge. The water was a rainbow of turquoise colors and the bike ride was so damn peaceful! Every so often, we pulled our bikes off the path and jumped in the water. The four of us were in absolute heaven on Earth!!

Somewhere in between those swimming spots and bike paths, Mljet became our favorite place. We were awestruck from the sheer beauty of it. 

Mljet certainly confirmed one thing: Croatia was the most beautiful country we’d ever been!


August 22, 2012

Surprise…I’m in Cali! But only for 30 hours…

 Hooray! I'm in my beloved California :). I decided to fly out, surprise my best friends and join them on a two-day road-trip up to Oregon. It's things like this that just cannot be missed, precious moments on the road that will be filled with laughs, beautiful scenery and the best type of company--you just can't put a price on this! So I bought a ticket a few weeks back (I blame YOU Smitty for planting this idea in my head!) and decided to just go for it. I landed in Orange County on Saturday night in time to swoop on my friends to surprise them, spent Sunday morning at breakfast with my dad, fitting my wedding dress with my twin sis, BBQing with all of my brothers and sisters then having dinner with my parents. Monday morning, Smithers, Julia, Traci and I hit the open road headed north! Yesterday we spent the entire day in and around Portland with Julia's dad. And now, well I'm already on a plane headed back to Amsterdam because I've got work in the morning :(. Oy vey...

These last few days have been the longest ever...but I would re-do it all over again and again.  My friends and I thrive on doing crazy things...and this is one of the craziest, best I've done!

Around this time last year though, I was also in Cali for my twin sister's bachelorette party in Vegas and her wedding! In and around all of the wedding stuff, we hit Mutt Lynch's in Newport Beach for happy hour and my older sis and I showed Christian the annual Orange County Fair...he was impressed with how many deep-fried things there were...and slightly disgusted too ;). Then he saw the RV demolition derby and forgot about the deep-fried things...oh boys...

August 17, 2012

Croatia || Cruising around Korcula

After what seemed like a picture perfect 36 hours in Hvar we boarded the 2 hour ferry bound for Korcula, the next stop on our Croatian island-hopping adventure. Arriving just in time for sunset, it was only a short stroll to our apartment--and we were in for a treat, our place overlooked the waterfront so for dinner we grabbed dinner at a pizzeria downstairs right next to the water. And ofcourse our small travel posse is never opposed to a cocktail nightcap underneath a full moon. :)

Korcula was a bit quieter, a bit smaller and a bit less touristy. But just as beautiful. We loved renting a boat in Hvar so much that we did the same in Korcula. Once again packing our little boat with beer and goodies from the local market, we went on a mission to find the best swimming spot around the island. We must have stopped in 10 different places! The warm and crystal blue water felt like heaven on our skin. As if that wasn't enough, the tiny islands and old stone houses right on secluded beaches were a real treat for the eyes.

It should be illegal how many times I floated in the water and thought to myself "this is the liiiiiife".

August 14, 2012

Croatia || Hello Hvar!'s been a month since we were floating around the Croatian islands and it still seems like we just got back! Croatia is so incredibly beautiful...and I hate myself for not visiting it sooner!

Our first stop on our Croatian adventure was Hvar. After leaving Lisbon, we sacked up in Milan airport overnight to catch a super early flight to Split. We made a beeline straight to the harbor to buy our ferry tickets but were bummed when we found out that the 11AM ferry was sold out! So while waiting for the 3PM ferry, we camped out at a terrace and got drunk...I mean what else would we do? It was HOT outside! I loved it, nearly felt like home! Christian on the other hand was still getting used to this heat. I gladly ordered him another beer before he was halfway finished with his current beer ;).

Before we knew it though we were on the ferry and then 1-2 hours later we were walking off the boat and into the arms of our friends and travel buddies Denis and Emma. After studying abroad in Finland with Denis, then meeting up with the two of them in Paris, and then going island-hopping in Greece, we just keep planning annual trips with Denis and Emma. The four of us travel so well together. Croatia was an easy plan...kind of like 'hey let's go to Croatia!' 'Ok thinking of going these dates' 'ok we will too!' 'ok we got tickets' 'we did too!' 'So we're going to Croatia!' Too easy :).

As soon as we left the ferry, Denis and Emma showed us to our pension so we could drop our backpacks and put on bathing suits--they arrived a day earlier and arranged a small boat full of booze and picnic supplies--remember how I said we travel well together? This is one of many reasons why. The beer was cold too by the way.

Christian and I were amazed at how fast we got from Milan airport to Split airport to Split harbor to bar to boat to a small booze boat and we were so excited. We spent the remainder of the afternoon boating around small inlets and bays around Hvar, jumping in and out of the water whenever we felt like it. We LOVED scootin' around on the boat! The four of us couldn't get enough of our boozy picnics so once we got back to the harbor and got ready for a night on the town...we instead headed to the store and picked up some local sausage, bread, ajvar (smoked paprika spread recommended by our Croatian friend), a few bottles of wine and grabbed a seat next to the harbor. It was the perfect end to a perfect first day in Croatia...well until the next day...

The next morning we hopped out of bed and followed the path around the island...we found the most amazing swimming spot on Earth. I've never seen such blue, clear water. It was so clear that it looked like we weren't even in water, but that we were standing on some weird Earthy planet! Any of our plans to explore the rest of the island were thrown out the window...this was THE spot and we weren't moving

Abiding by true island-hopping spirit, we had to leave later in the afternoon for our next island spot. But it's ok, we grabbed a seat at a bar on the harbor and in the hours before our ferry arrived, we got a sweet view at The Yacht Week party crew arriving by pirate ship...yes by pirate ship...this is when Croatia started becoming my favorite place in's Hvar!