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Croatia 3 • June 12-June 25, 2018

Climbing in Paklenica and Kayaking the Zrmanj in Croatia!

July 26, 2018

Hello! We are here checking in from the BEAUTIFUL Zaton bay campsite right outside of the majestic Dubrovnik old city. Our past three days have been fun-filled and full of new and exciting experiences. We began with a walk to our past home, Paklenica National Park, to tackle those rock walls that have been calling our names for days. We geared up with harnesses and ropes, and in almost no time at all there were familiar faces all the way at the top of the routes smiling down. No matter the rock face, this crew mastered it with ease. Leah and Patrick were at the top almost as soon as they were tied in, with masterful photography from Diana and Kate to prove it. After we ate a delicious, well deserved meal of Pasta from the local spot for all of the rock climbers, Dinko’s, we showered and loaded up for our next destination: the Zrmanja River.

Our bus drops us at what seems to be the middle of nowhere, and no one would know that a short five minute walk would lead us to a riverside oasis. Whaddup river, we have arrived. First order of business was to set up our tent village, but as soon as that was finished, the even more important second order of business was to head straight to the waterfall for an afternoon swim. Trevor, Greg, and Will led the charge and straight in they went, right over the waterfall edge and straight into the beautiful blue waters below. We came to a big bonfire and a cookout that left us stuffed and ready for a goodnight sleep. Celeste convinced the whole crew to sleep outside under the stars, where we admired constellations and planets unlike any we have ever seen.

We awoke in the morning hungry and GOOD thing because we devoured a homemade breakfast of pancakes, fresh eggs, bread and jam all from the farm at which we were staying. Then stuffed to the brim, we loaded up for a day full of white water kayaking. Mac began the shenanigans pulling anyone and everyone around him into the water.  We ended the water section with the biggest rapid of all – a ten-foot waterfall only most audacious could handle. Heading back to camp exhausted, we all took a well-deserved nap in the sunshine before Peter led us in a game of Hackysack, where only the strongest survived. Georgia gave her best effort to catch a fish for dinner, but was unsuccessful, so we settled for homemade goulash. We finished the day with another swim, savoring our final night at the river camp. Everyone was sad to leave this beautiful place, but excited to once again return to the Adriatic and cherish our final days together.


Celeste: hey mom!! I’m having so much fun in Croatia and can’t wait for the rest of the trip. I hope everything is well in Chicago and Nashville, please tell everyone hello! Love and miss you!


Patrick: Hey Mom and Dad, we went to Bosnia and Herzegovina on our way to Dubrovnik today and it seemed pretty cool. Thanks for allowing me to be here!


Greg: hey mom and dad. Just drove through Bosnia it was pretty neat for the 2 minutes we were there. Croatia’s been cool I’ve enjoyed it and thanks for letting me be here. We are on a bus going to Dubrovnik right now. See you all Friday. Also, I’ll call you mom regarding the bracelet when I land in Paris and get my phone back.


Trevor- Hey mom and dad… I miss you guys and we are on our way to Dubrovnik. Croatia has really pretty water and I have not lost griffins gopro yet… See you guys soon!



Mac- Hi mom and dad! I miss you guys so much. So far we’ve hiked, rock climbed, and whitewater rafting. We are about to get to Dubrovnik and have fun there. Thank you so much for sending me to Croatia and I can’t wait to get back and tell you some stories.


Leah- Hey mom and dad! We’re almost to Dubrovnik and we just passed through Bosnia on our way. The hiking was really sick and everything else has been really fun. I’ll show you pictures when I get back!!


Georgia- Hey mom and dad. We are  almost to Dubrovnik after a very long drive. This trip has been so much fun and I have really loved everything we have done. I feel much better and I can’t wait to tell you more in a few days. I hope you had fun in Colorado!


Will- Hi Mom and Dad! We are driving to Dubrovnik right now after hiking and whitewater kayaking. Croatia has been really fun! Say hi to everyone and I can’t wait to see you guys soon!


Peter: Hola parents. This trip has been sweet and I have really enjoyed it. The Hermès bracelet will be flying back with me to Atlanta and when I land let’s go to Five Guys with Greg.



Hey Mom and Dad. Croatia is really pretty and definitely would be a cool place to row in. I’ll make sure to get gelato in Dubrovnik for you guys and get a snow globe for the collection. Miss you and the dogs! See you guys in a couple day.



Hey family,

Croatia is pretty and cool. I miss you guys a lot more than I did last year for sure. I got a lot to tell you when I get home about this trip. Abbey don’t worry your still my favorite.

Backpacking News!

July 22, 2018

Wow has it been an eventful four days on the mountain! Our group is fully recharged after immersing themselves in the Croatian wilderness and learning from everything around them. We awoke on Tuesday morning, ready for adventure. After packing up tents, packs and eating a nutritious, filling breakfast we hit the trail. No one would have known Georgia had never backpacked before, since she was a natural pro. As an LOD (leader of the day), she conquered the mountain, impressing the whole group! Astounded by the view at the top, we laid low in the afternoon, sitting on the deck playing cards, bananagrams, and even getting some summer reading done (that’s right parents!!!). Celeste entertained us all with her dance moves and Will taught everyone Chinese poker, a new crowd favorite. After a delicious dinner of Gaulish we had Moonup and hit the hay, exhausted and ready for the days to come.

Our first summit seemed daunting, but with our bodies fueled up and ready to go we hit the mountain. We were entertained the whole time by Greg who made everyone think with about different worldly theories. Before we knew it we had reached the top with Leah (our hiking pro) in the front of the pack. The view was inspiring and we could see for miles and miles. A gummy sweet treat at the top had everyone in good spirits for the hike down. Kate’s positive attitude kept everyone’s feet moving down the hill and excited for another well-deserved restful afternoon.

Half of the crew headed down from Mario’s, our humble abode for four nights, to the pool to relax their muscles. Trevor was the first one in and was not expecting the water to be that cold! His only coping mechanism was barking to help keep his mind off the chilling water. The other half stayed at Marios and once again broke out the cards. Immediately, an intense poker game ensued. Patrick has collect the most rocks thus far, but the game is ongoing and the true champion will be named at the end of the trip.

Coming back together, Diana found the new hang out spot-a lookout on the roof where we could enjoy the view, the stars, as well as each other’s company. Peter taught everyone the game “signs” which became an instant favorite and at which he is the master. Our final dinner was a traditional pekka and after stuffing ourselves full, especially Mac who loved the veal, we headed off the bed sad to being leaving the beautiful Paklenica National Park, but ecstatic for what lays ahead.

World Cup Final in Croatia!

July 17, 2018

Dobordan! We are beyond excited for the third group to have arrived in Zagreb. Not only did they arrive in Zagreb, but they arrived the very day Croatia played in the World Cup FINAL. We cruised through the Paris airport, getting the most out of our 6 hour layover using Diana’s fluent French a such as possible. After touching down in Zagreb, we hustled over to the downtown square to watch the game on a big screen in the park! Trevor and Peter were getting super into the game with some Croatian locals and we cheered our hearts out through the bitter end. 2-4 was a tough loss, but we held onto the immense pride held for this nation full of heart that fought hard for a strong second place finish. One last stop for a pizza dinner that was beyond satisfying for this hungry crew that held Greg’s attention for almost 5 minutes before the long travel day put him on snooze patrol at the table. Alas, he woke up in time to share a jumbo pizza with Mac and Will that could have fed an army. Finally, it was time to put our long day to rest and get ready for tomorrow’s adventures in Plitvice National Park.


Led by our fearless LOD’s Patrick and Leah, we checked out the beautiful waterfalls and blue-green lakes of the park. The sights were truly a sight to be seen, but we couldn’t stay too long. The show must go on and it was time for us to continue on to Starigrad for the night. Most Likely to Sleep Anywhere at Anytime goes out to Celeste Maddux for her record-holding sleep time on the bus. We made it to camp and finished dinner with just enough time for a quick trip down to the Adriatic Sea! The biggest, baddest, and boldest of them all, Leah, Diana, Georgia, and Patrick stormed the waters for a gorgeous sunset swim before bed. It was a hot day no doubt, but lucky for us Croatia decided to bless this campground with a lovely rain storm before bed that cooled us right off. Well done to Kate and Laney for getting their tents staked down in brilliant form, ensuring a sound and dry night of sleeping for them. As I type now, this motley crew is gearing up for “Ze Mountain.” We’ll be deep in the Croatian wilderness to visit our dear friend Marijo and explore the incredible views that Paklenica National Park has to offer us. Don’t fret, we’ll be back before you know it to share tales of outdoor adventure, peanut butter tortillas, and frigid creek swimming. Until then, Dobro Jutra!

Safe Arrival!

July 15, 2018

Hi Croatia Families!

All students have arrived safely in Zagreb. The group was greeted with Croatia soccer jerseys for each of them to sport as they experienced watching the game in Zagreb. They weren’t able to witness a victory, but were able to experience this huge game in the home country!  Their trip is underway!  Be on the lookout for more updates to come.

-Moondance HQ


  • Patrick
  • Leah
  • Diana
  • Laney
  • Greg
  • Trevor
  • Georgia
  • Will
  • Kate
  • Celeste
  • Mac
  • Peter