July 10, 2019
Greetings, sadly this is our final update. Let us begin by thanking each parent for allowing their child to join us in Croatia. By way of strong and powerful Moonups and hilarious conversations on the trails and kayaks, our group molded into a highly functioning unit faster than we could have possibly expected. Each individual brought and added something different to the group, and we could not be more thankful for that.
The morning after arriving on our little slice of heaven that is the island of Šipan, we hit the water in our sea kayaks. Daven and Ellison were an absolute power duo as they led the way showing just how the activity should be done. While we were kayaking our guide showed us a little cove with a beach that had no one else on it, needless to say we took advantage of this as our group splashed around and had the time of our lives. After the morning activity we had a delicious pizza lunch, Goodwyn ate an entire pizza! We then spent the afternoon resting and relaxing at the beach where Greta led a game of water polo. After a delectable dinner, we gathered for a fantastic Moonup in the harbor with a jaw-dropping sunset led by Martha and Tommy, who also happened to be kayaking partners during the day!
After a long night of sleep, we headed for the ferry to transfer to the island of Lopud. When we got there, we went on a quick hike to the ruins of a fort from years ago at the top of the island. The views were absolutely fantastic as we could see all 360° around us. Eleanor was particularly excited about the spectacle we had on our hands as she was quick to acknowledge the views. After descending from the fort, we were treated to lunch on the island at an organic farm where we dined on vegetables, chicken, and pudding for dessert! Tommy drank the lemonade so fast we didn’t know where it went while Henry ate piece after piece of chicken. Our group then headed to the beach on Lopud, what a day! After some beach time and some ice cream we ferried ourselves back to Šipan to head to our campsite for the night!
The next morning, we headed down to the harbor and caught a ferry, but this time we were headed to Old Town Dubrovnik for our town day. Once we made our way inside the walls of the ancient city, the group was quick to take in the sights and sounds of the magnificent place. The group then split up with different goals in mind. Some had local food in their sights while others had their eyes set on novelty gifts. Caroline and Annie took charge of their group visiting the cutest shops and boutiques. After experiencing all the old town had to offer, we made our way to a local pizza parlor for our last dinner together, BANQUET!!!!!!!!! Jackson, really diving into the local culture, ordered the “Dubrovnik” pizza which everyone had their eyes on as the night went on. To no-one’s surprise, the conversations were flowing, and laughter filled the air while the slices were devoured with haste. Our final moonup brought tears as the LOD’s asked us what our favorite moment of the trip was.
We rose before the sun this morning to make our way to the Dubrovnik airport for our flight to Zagreb. The flight was nothing more than a short takeoff as most of us caught up on sleep. After landing in Zagreb, we said our goodbyes to Lilly and boarded our plane to Paris. Watching the group leave and say goodbye has been no easy task as lifelong friendships and bonds have been formed in our two short weeks.
Much love – Garrett & Lilly
July 6, 2019
Hi again! We have been having the absolute best time on our trip. This group is so full of energy; every day is filled with endless fun and entertainment! We have spent the past two days on the Zrmanja River. When we arrived at our campsite on the afternoon of the Fourth of July we raced to get our swimsuits on. Our campsite was right off the river 30 feet away from a beautiful waterfall with many safe spots to jump off into the blue water. We spent the afternoon exploring the smooth river just off the banks of our campsite and swimming to the edge of the falls to jump. Eleanor and Daven were of course the first ones to jump in as they have pioneered most of the thrilling activities we have taken part in. After taking dozens of photos of everyone posing in the air above the water the sun began to sink below the surrounding mountains. We changed into dry clothes and found Marin cooking chicken, sausage, zucchini, and mushrooms on the grill. The meat was perfect to wrap up into slices of bread for some innovative hot dogs! This Fourth of July BBQ made us feel right at home. After dinner, we sat in the grass and listened to music. We quickly decided that we needed to choreograph a dance, so Caroline spearheaded this operation. The performance ended in a dance party at which Garrett and Goodwyn had a little dance off. Henry and Greta led our Moonup that night asking us about someone (dead, alive, famous, etc.) who we would like to share the day with.
The next day we walked up to a farm for breakfast and were overjoyed to find pancakes, homemade cheese, sausage, eggs, and Nutella on the table. You would have thought that Ellison was going to cry when she saw the full table of food she was so excited. With full tummies we headed to the river! We pushed our inflatable two-person kayaks into the chilly water and hopped in. Annie looked so natural when she was geared up in her kayak that she could have been mistaken for a raft guide. We paddled down the river for about an hour until we turned to pull our rafts onto the shore. We walked a little ways to find a waterfall where Tommy threw himself into the water and we quickly followed him to swim in the pool beside the falls. We laid on the rafts to dry ourselves off and eat a lunch. We munched on salami and cheese roll ups and bananas. It always seems that lunch is better on the water. The rest of the day consisted of small rapids and easy paddling. Jackson got some great footage on his GoPro holding it in his mouth so that he could simultaneously paddle. We splashed around, laughed, and sabotaged each other’s rafts to hurl each other into the water. Upon our arrival back at camp we tried to nap a little. This activity didn’t last long with the waterfall calling our name. We spent the evening swimming and jumping off rocks until dinner time. We walked back up to the farm and had Goulash of course! As we were finishing up, Martha and Lilly were talking about desert and as if Nana, the woman who lives at the farm, heard us she brought out warm cake. We walked back to our campsite very content and laid around in the little Eno village we made until Moonup.
This morning, we woke up and enjoyed our last meal at Nana’s. Now, we are headed to the coast to spend our last few days together on the Adriatic Sea! We have been thinking of all of you at home so we wanted to give a little shout out to everyone.
Garrett and Lilly
Jackson- whattup fam, love you and miss you
Martha-Hi Mom and Dad! I’m having a great time in Croatia! The trip is going by so fast! I love you and can’t wait to see y’all soon! Say hi to the doggos for me!
Goodwyn-Hello family, I miss all of y’all so much and can’t wait to see y’all again. Croatia is Amazing and dope. We just finished river kayaking and backpacking it was friggin dope. Kemba to the Celtics tho
Henry- wazup fam I am having so much fun and getting very excited for sea kayaking and to see y’all in a couple of days! Love you guys and see you soon.
Ellison- Hey fam! Croatia is so beautiful and cool. Love and miss y’all 😉
Tommy- Hi mom and dad. Croatia is cool and pretty and I’m having a lot of fun. I hope bea hasn’t grown that much since I’ve been gone. Can’t wait to see you guys soon.
Eleanor- Hey Guys!! We just finished river kayaking and now onto sea kayaking. The hiking part was hard but the views were so worth it!! Having so much fun and the trip is flying by but I can’t wait to see you guys!! All my love.
Annie- Hi Mom and Dad I am having so much fun and Croatia is so cool. Love y’all and see y’all soon!
Greta- hello family! Croatia is amazing!! I love and miss y’all a lot and I can’t wait to see y’all (special shoutout to my dear sister Liza I hope your surviving without me)
Daven- Hey guys, Croatia is really cool. We have been seeing some coolio views and blue water. I can’t wait to see y’all and the rest of our family at OIB. Love you guys!
Caroline– Hi guys! Miss yall but having the best time in Croatia. I hope there is some progress when I get back with the house! It’s so awesome here. see you soon!!! Love u guys
July 4, 2019
Bok! It’s your favorite group of explorers here again for an update! Let us start by saying just how proud we are of the group already. They are coming together and creating friendships so quickly. It has been a joy for us to see! When we last left you, we were about to embark on our adventure into the mountains of Paklenica National Park. We packed our big backpacks full of our sleeping bags, clothes, and food and headed into the valley. Annie and Jackson were our LODs this day and while Annie set the pace for the hike Jackson offered encouragement to those when it was needed. They were such a great pair! The hike was mostly uphill but the trail was wide so we could walk next to one another and chat to take our minds off of our hard working legs. Stopping often to drink water or munch on apples, we began to come together as a group and become more comfortable with each other. We arrived at the mountain hut set against a huge cliff face in the afternoon and raced back down the hill to a natural pool for a swim. The pool was absolutely freezing but we didn’t mind because we needed to cool off anyways.
The next day we woke up early for our first big hike on the mountain! We hiked up a trail to the ever-beautiful Golić Peak. Goodwyn eagerly led the pack while making all of us laugh with his fantastic sense of humor. When we made it to the peak we all basked in the glory of the view, which was jaw-dropping from all 360°.Since we had a bit of downtime before dinner, Eleanor was quick to start a card game and involved everyone in the fun.
Then we got to hike a trail called Black Peak which was mostly in the shade. Greta and Lilly helped to set a slow pace so that we could take less breaks and increase our endurance. Upon arrival at the peak, we pulled out the lunch supplies and Martha selflessly made the group sandwiches. Enjoying lunch, we scattered among the rocks to take in the view. After taking solo portraits of each student we decided it was time to descend. The walk down was more than pleasant as we strolled through the Beech forest with Tommy in the lead. Ellison kept us laughing with constant conversation throughout the hike as she slipped down the trail. We enjoyed some well deserved Coca-colas and Mac and cheese for dinner and slept hard.
Everyone woke up for rock climbing with excitement and we walked down the valley. Daven was the first one on the route and scrambled up the rock face with ease. Everyone really showed their athleticism on the rocks and we were so impressed by their tenacity! We hung out beneath the trees while we laughed and lost track of time. On this hot afternoon, ice cream was a sweet surprise for everyone and Garrett treated us to miniature cups of Ben and Jerry’s. We decided to make our way back up to the mountain hut dunking our heads under springs and into streams to stay cool along the way. That night we got to indulge in a tradition Croatian meal called Pekka. We decided that it was the best meal we had on the mountain!
We played patriotic music to wake everyone up this morning as we tried to have a special start to our country’s Independence Day. Like every day, Henry helped to clean up after breakfast and we made our way back down the mountain. We have loved our time in the mountains as we played cards, splashed around in the pool, and were endlessly entertained from Caroline’s dance moves. We are now headed to the river to kayak and we are thrilled to have some time on the water!
Until next time,Garrett and Lilly
June 29, 2019
We are so thrilled to have begun this amazing adventure together in Croatia. Our group is full of energizers and we can already tell that they are going to create nonstop entertainment for each other. Most of the group had already found each other on the plane to Paris and began hitting it off long before they met us in Paris.
After a layover in the Paris airport and a quick hop, skip, and a jump over to Croatia we loaded up in the van and hit the road. In the van, Goodwyn and Eleanor kept everyone awake with new and fun conversation topics and everyone continued getting to know each other. Once we reached our destination, we were treated to dinner options such as Cevapcici (a traditional Croatian meat dish) or in the case of Tommy, some trout that was caught locally! After dinner, we gathered the group for our first Moonup. When posed with the question “what is your B+ super power”, we heard a great answer from Ellison with “being able to wake up with her makeup on and ready for the day”.
We rose early and had a scrumptious breakfast of eggs, bacon, croissants, and many other delectable options. We then jumped in the van to head to Croatia’s most visited national park, Plitvice Lakes! These lakes are filled with water that is the purest blue any of us had laid our eyes on. After a quote from Daven and Martha, our LOD’s (Leaders of the Day), we hit the trail to see some of this beauty we had heard so much about. Annie and Eleanor were quick to marvel at the magnificent colors while Tommy, Jackson, and Goodwyn took in the monstrous waterfalls, including one that was 240 feet tall! After lunch in the park we jumped back in the van to head towards the hiking section, which we start tomorrow. Once we arrived at our campsite for tonight, we unpacked and settled in. Immediately, Henry suggested we threw on our swimwear and head to the beach! Everyone swam around and enjoyed the views. Greta and Caroline loved the refreshing water after a long travel day. After a great dinner at a local restaurant we headed back down to the beach for the sunset and Moonup!
Talk to y’all soon, we’ll be spending the next lil bit of the trip on the trail!
Much love – Garrett and Lilly
June 28, 2019
Hello Croatia families!
The group has arrived safe and sound in Zagreb, and they are already off to Plitvice Lakes National Park to begin their Croatian adventure! We can’t wait to hear about these next few days.