Monday, July 25, 2011

Welcome to Croatia

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We crossed into Croatia in the early afternoon and drove down to Pula which is located on the tip of the Istrian Peninsula.  Pula is an industrial port town but home to an intact Roman amphitheater. 
The Amphitheater was by far the highlight of the city and we were able to walk around inside and sit in the seats.  As is our luck, there was a crew setting up a stage for a concert while we were there.  However it did not take away from the sense of awe you experience when you walk around.  It is hard to believe that this structure has been here since it’s completion in 68 AD.  (I promise the sky was that blue and I did not Photoshop it.  I usually only run a sharpen action on my photos.)
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There is an old Roman Theater just a couple of blocks away from the Amphitheater.  Unfortunately the area around the theater was covered in graffiti and there was a lot of broken glass on the ground.  It is sad to me that people don’t appreciate the history in their own town.
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We walked up behind the theater to Fort Kastel and noticed many little lizards along the way.  They are speedy little things but this one wasn’t camera shy.
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That is not a great photo of the girls but a good view of the fort.  I want to add that it was HOT in Croatia!  The girls were all red and flushed from the heat but we had plenty of water on hand and they were happy until I wanted to take a photo.  Sunscreen and hats are a must if you travel here, especially in the summer.
After we left Pula we drove about 15 minutes to a small town where our apartment was located.  JG picked a great place for sure and we were 400 meters from the beach!  The first night we just walked down and enjoyed the beautiful view.  The first thing you will notice is all the rocks!  Croatia does not have sandy beaches but there are still plenty of places to spread out your beach towel and relax.
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There were plenty of little crabs to be found and we even saw a small jelly fish floating in the water.  Since it is all rocky the water stays perfectly clear as you walk in and you can easily see anything that may be swimming in the water with you.  On our second night there Aubrey noticed a jelly fish floating into the cove we claimed and we safely avoided him. 
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Thanks for joining me again as I share our photos with you.  If you have any questions please leave a comment and I will answer them promptly. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Vintgar Gorge, Slovenia

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5 kilometers outside of Bled is Vintgar Gorge.  This 1600 meter long gorge is pretty awesome and we were able to walk through with the girls easily.  The trails are fairly flat but narrow and there were occasional stairs but Aubrey and Lolo were champs and walked with minimal complaining.  I know I have said this before but they are fantastic little travelers and I am so happy that they actually like to be on the go and see new things. 
There were so many chances to take photos and I was finally able to try my hand at shooting flowing water.  I read how to do this last year on the Clickin Moms forums and have been wanting to try it since.  The paths were too narrow and crowded to set up the tripod so I had to hand hold the camera but I was happy with the way they turned out. 
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You have to walk back the same way you came in but the views were just as amazing.  The girls were happy that we finished as it was a little warm but sharing a popsicle is a great way to make sure they are still smiling when we are at the end.
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After we had lunch at a tasty Italian restaurant we went to Slovenia’s largest lake, Lake Bohinj.  About a 30 minute drive from Lake Bled, Lake Bohinj is less touristy but just as beautiful.  We sat on the rocky beach for a bit taking in the views. 
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The next day we packed up our suitcases and headed south towards Croatia.  We stopped quickly at Predjama Castle.  There has been a castle at this location since the 9th century.  The draw for tourists at this rather plain castle is the system of caves located in the mountain behind it.  We didn’t tour as it was actually pretty expensive but it was worth the quick stop to see the exterior.
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We had a fabulous time in Slovenia!  At first I was a little skeptical about staying in there but it was really worth it.  The scenery is beautiful, the people are friendly and most speak a little English and it easy to get around in with a vehicle.  If you ever have the chance to visit, go for it!  You will not regret it!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lake Bled, Slovenia

In June we took a vacation to Slovenia and Croatia.  We have been planning this trip for several months and I was beyond excited to be on our way.  We knew that Lake Bled was a popular vacation spot for Slovenians and once we arrived it was apparent why they love it. 

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It is a small lake, only 1.5 miles long, but it has a small island with a beautiful church and a castle that sits high up on a cliff overlooking the lake and the town of Bled.  There are plenty of benches along the lake front so you can just sit and relax while enjoying the activity around the water.  Since boats with motors are not permitted on the lake it is quiet and slow.  You can row a boat out to the island or pay to have someone do all the work for you. 

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You can walk around the lake, over 3 miles around, or hike up to the castle.  If all those stairs seem daunting to you, there is a parking lot at the top of the hill and you can just drive up instead!  We made it and Aubrey climbed up the entire way but Lolo got some help from her daddy.  Can you see James carrying her in the photo?

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After we walked back down all those stairs we rewarded ourselves with a piece of cream cake, a Lake Bled specialty.  It was creamy, light and very yummy. 

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The next day we ventured outside Bled and then near the end of the day we went to Vila Bled for a cappuccino and different views of the castle and island.  While we were enjoying our coffee a nice British couple complimented us on our “well-behaved girls”.  Ha!  If they only knew how crazy our kids really are!  Anyways, we walked down to the lake front from the hotel and enjoyed the shade and views.

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Once back to Bled we walked back down to the lake from our hotel and enjoyed an easy stroll as we went to dinner.  The town is really cute and Lolo loved all the ducks and swans we saw.  She was not afraid of some curious swans who were looking for bread even though the birds were as tall as she was.

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Aubrey was happy to sit on the sidelines.

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These are my favorite photos from around the lake.  We also visited Vintgar Gorge which was pretty amazing, Slovenia’s largest lake and a castle built into a cave.  I will share those photos next time since this post is very photo heavy.  As always, thanks for stopping by today. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Enjoy Life

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I really liked the 7/14 Sketchy Thursdays sketch and actually had this layout completed on Friday.  It came together easily and I like the end result a lot.  I have been using sketches more often lately and I find myself preserving more memories than ever before.  It also helps that I joined the “Layout Lottery” thread over at Club CK and set a goal to complete 25 layouts in 3 months.  That was a pretty lofty goal for me but I have finished 5 so far despite of our recent trips and am sure I will achieve my goal.

So, back to the layout above.  The photo is not technically perfect as it is a little dark (not as dark as it appears on the screen though) but I loved the way the light is falling on my daughters face and how she has her head tossed back with a huge smile, too.  It takes me back to when I was younger and loved to swing.  The simple joy it brings is on Aubrey’s face and I am glad I captured this moment.  It makes my heart happy! 

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I used this cute stripe paper from Bella Blvd’s Palestino line along with the flowers that I fussy cut from another piece of paper from that line.  I busted out some green floss and hand stitched the stems before using foam squares to lift the flowers off the page.  I also used my sewing machine to add a zigzag stitch along the blue border and striped paper.

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The adorable smiling sun is from the Cricut Create A Critter cartridge.  American Crafts Thickers and Cosmo Crickets Tiny Type Stickers were used for the title.  I cannot get enough of these Tiny Type stickers!  I love, love, love them so much and have them in many colors.   They are such a great versatile product to have in my stash.  I find myself using them all the time. 

Thanks for stopping by today! 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Home for the Holidays

This is a quick layout I made while playing along with Frosted Designs  Sketch Along Tuesdays June 28 sketch challenge.  I used a sheet of Cosmo Cricket's Mitten Weather along with the coordinating Ready Set Chipboard embellishments.  The green twine is from Martha Stewart, the cute pom pom trim was from a friend on the Club CK board.  I busted out my sewing machine and stitched down the edges.

Easy.  Simple.  Quick!  Here is the sketch:


Thanks for stopping by to have a look!