Dubrovnik, Croatia (Game of Thrones Anyone?!)

I know that everyone is getting sick and tired of winter (especially our friends and readers in America! What a wild winter you have all had!), so summer 2014 holiday plans are hastily being made. 

While Regensburg, Germany has been experiencing a relatively mild winter (knock on wood. There's still time for a blizzard or an ice storm to hit.), Chris and I are already dreaming about lazy summer afternoons spent by the sea. We've been trying to get our travel plans straightened out, and sadly, we've realized that budget flights are not as accessible (or cheap) as they had been in Brussels, Belgium. We're having to get creative with our travel plans. In any case, in an effort to inspire myself, I started looking through photo albums from last summer. We've visited Croatia two summers in a row, and we think we may go back again this year! We just cannot get enough of the incredible beaches, warm locals, fresh seafood, and affordable accommodation. If you're considering a trip to Croatia, this is the year to go! They just received their European Union status, so prices have not had too much time to skyrocket! Croatia is a hidden gem that hopefully stays unspoiled and mysterious. 

Chris and I have documented our Croatia trips to Krk, Hvar, and Plitvica Lakes, and this post contains a few pictures from our time in the walled city of Dubrovnik. If there are any Game of Thrones fans reading this, then you already know that Dubrovnik is the set for King's Landing. We rented kayaks on the beach that Game of Thrones also films on. Chris was totally geeking out. I guess I was too. The city is ancient and perfectly preserved, and no visit is complete without an hour (plus) walk around the thick city walls which were constructed between the 12th and 17th centuries to protect the city. If you have time, a kayak adventure will allow you to explore some of the hidden coves surrounding the city. Or rent a little boat and explore that way!

Food Tip: We had an authentic Balkan meal (made us really miss Serbia) at a little place called Dalmatino Knoba. They found out that we could speak a little bit of their language, and they completed our meal with a shot of complementary cherry rakija.  

This is making me want to get back to Dubrovnik! 


When Change is Exciting and Terrifying all at the Same Time

July 2013 - Oh, you sneaky little month, you! I had no idea how drastically our lives would change when you rolled around! 

After a year in Belgium, Chris and I felt 'normal,' and settled, and maybe even a little bit 'local'. We had a great group of friends in Roeselare and in Bruges, we spoke enough Dutch to understand what was happening around us (and when people were talking about us), I had two jobs, and we were celebrating 4 blissful years of marriage by departing on a whirlwind tour through the Mediterranean. For the first time in a long time, I was ready to "be," (I know shocker, eh, Mom?!) and simply enjoy the life that we had worked so hard to establish.

Stay Still - Relax - Enjoy the Season - Rest - Dig Deeper - Invest More - Plant Roots . . .

Who am I kidding?! We signed up for an adventure, and we have gotten more than we could have ever anticipated! It's been a beautiful and terrifying journey that has stretched us and pushed us closer together as a couple. We have learned to rely on each other for just about everything (he is great with directions, and I am not afraid to make linguistic mistakes so I am the mouthpiece when we travel), and through the joy and the tears, we would never rewrite any part of our story. The journey has not been what we expected, but we have been blessed every step of the way. 

Two and a half years ago, we moved to Subotica, Serbia and expected to stay rooted there for three years. We dug in, we made life-long friends, we experienced the beautiful Serbian culture, and we simply fell in love with the country. A year later, Chris' company moved us to Roeselare, Belgium, and while we were excited, we mourned leaving our beautiful Serbian family. Ghhhaa! Moving can be such a wild mix of emotions! Luckily, we loved our new city; I was almost immediately befriended by Niekie, the owner of a darling cafe called the MokkaBar, and Chris met the man of the town, PJ. Niekie and PJ invited us into their lives and introduced us to their friends. We can never express what a difference they made in our experience. I believe that it takes about a year to truly feel comfortable in a new culture. By July 2013, we had lived in Belgium for a year, so naturally, we had gone too long without a major change.