We flew from Dubrovnik to Zagreb. It was about an hour flight and both airports were pristine. They were clean, new, and mostly empty. It made flying feel special.
Zagreb is the university city of Croatia, from what I understand. It had an entirely different feel. First, it was the first city we visited that wasn’t on the coast. Second, it was older. The architecture was older and the people were younger. There were so many young people from so many different places. This was the first city where I saw (and appreciated) the bookstores. They were full of great books, stationery, etc. I was in heaven.
A few photos from our day there, including a tour of the botanic garden:
Oh, Croatia. I miss you. I can’t wait to return. Thank you.
This took a bit longer than expected; I’ve been distracted with other travel. But I don’t want to forget the details of this trip to Croatia! The sun was about an hour from setting when the yacht pulled into port. We jumped in a cab and headed to the Hilton near the walled old city, featured in Game of Thrones.
We spent two days in Dubrovnik. We toured the walled city, visited the oldest synagogue in Europe, ate at a fancy restaurant, and continued to enjoy each other’s company.
A few more photos to capture this beautiful place:
I can’t wait to travel with these goofballs again soon.
We finished our trip in Zagreb, flying from Dubrovnik an hour north. That’s next.
The night before we left Hvar, we were having dinner at a local pizzeria and in comes a table of loud Americans. They were from South Carolina and you could hear them across the room. Their tans were golden and one woman wore a glitter bra top. There was nothing subtle about their presence.
Soon enough, our tables began chatting. They were in Hvar only for the evening and for this dinner. They were participating in “Yacht Week” and staying on a boat.
We were polite and said hello and immediately got outside and held our sides at the idea of “yacht week.” I mean, really? The bigger reality was that we were all intrigued but no one wanted to be the first one to admit it.
Flying across the world to celebrate friendship, staying in former palaces, eating and drinking like royalty and yet we were shy about admitting that being on a fancy boat sounded like fun. Until John, our host, said he was interested. We already had tickets for the high-speed ferry the next morning, heading south to Dubrovnik. (For you Games of Thrones fans, you’ll know this town as Kings Crossing.)
John said he wanted to see if he could rent a yacht for a day. We’d meet for breakfast with our bags packed read to take the ferry in case his plans didn’t work out. Dear Reader, the plans worked and we spent the day on a yacht, which came with a captain and a skipper for the day. It was ridiculous, luxurious and fun. Here are a few of the photos from the day, including coming into Dubrovnik. (More on our time in the city later.)
For lunch, the captain took us to a small coastal village where the restaurant owner helped guide the boat into a slip. We were ushered upstairs on a patio, shaded by their olive trees. We had several courses of seafood and pasta with wine and gin and tonics. It was my favorite meal of the trip, namely because we had all day to be there and yet we knew we’d likely never have this chance again. It couldn’t have been more perfect.
Korčula is a 20-mile long island an hour away from Hvar by high-speed ferry. It is also newly one of my favorite places on earth. There are 6,000 residents year-round on the island, and nearly all families have their own wine grapes. I fell in love with the island and its people.
Korčula alone is worth visiting Croatia. As fas as logistics go, getting to the country from Arizona is not the easiest. However, beginning next month, there will be direct flights from the East Coast of the US to Dubrovnik, the major city to the south. This would take considerable time off of the trip considering my route involved three flights each way. (I’d do it again tomorrow given the chance! What an adventure!)
Next up: Dubrovnik and the Game of Thrones nerds I was traveling with’s delight.
Hvar is pronounced “War” and is a large island. We took a high-speed ferry from Split (where we landed) to Hvar. It took a little more than an hour to arrive. Hvar is one of the most charming places I’ve ever visited. A few photos, to remember the details:
Tomorrow: the island of Korčula, where I’m trying to convince Jason to move.
Last week, we visited the Grand Canyon on our annual pilgrimage. We have hiked in the canyon each year of our relationship, and my husband’s love affair runs deep. This year, we invited some friends from Indianapolis to join us, and my extended family came along—including my card shark 15-year-old niece.
The trip started in Antelope Canyon. If given the chance or if you are able to join one of those antelope canyon tours, you should see this. From the road, it looks like nothing other than a crowded parking lot and an odd array of tourists huddled together around guides. Within 100 yards of the parking lot is a set of steel stairs that descend into a deep slot crevice. One by one, we trickled into the canyon with our guide. The lighting was magical. The crowds were not.
Hi Dan and Lisa!
Hi crazy crowds! The selfie sticks alone were b-a-n-a-n-a-s. I had to focus on deep breathing in parts where the canyon was tight and there were streams of people in front and behind me.
But then, this happened. There were a group of monks visiting and I was able to snap this quick shot.
Antelope Canyon is worth the trip, especially if you can find a time when it isn’t busy!
I had the chance to spend some time in San Diego last week for work, including a quick visit with my dear Sue. It was so nice to spend time after work wandering barefoot on the beach, hanging out in the pool and day dreaming.
I love the desert, but the beach is my happy place.
When I wasn’t lounging poolside, I was attending the National Association of Rural Mental Health’s annual meeting for a series of heavy, fascinating discussions. One presentation included research from rural Scotland, paired with similar populations in rural Texas. Sadly, there are three leading reasons why rural Americans now have a lower life expectancy than those in cities: opioids, alcohol and suicide.
We have a lot of work to do to improve our access to care for 50% of America’s population who lives in our rural communities.
Jason is a national park nut, so the chance to spend another vacation wearing dirt-colored clothing, covered in bug spray, tromping around until the point of exhaustion made his heart happy.
Have I told you about my husband’s passion for “backpacking vacations?”
Visiting Adam and Ashley in Livingston was a good middle ground. We rented a cute basement apartment within walking distance of our friends. We did visit the park, and it was as breathtaking as I remembered.