July 5, 2022
Hello once more from Croatia! We’ve had another incredible past few days since we last checked in.
After a relaxing morning kayaking down the waterfalls of the Zrmanja river, we had a wonderful afternoon full of swimming in the river and eating ice cream. Before dinner, several students even decided to get super rustic by taking river baths using their natural soaps! The next morning, we ventured to the next stop of our adventure, Paklenica National Park. We spent the first half of our day rock climbing in the southern part of the Velebit Mountain Range. The kids were very impressive, scrambling up all the routes with pure grace. Sally was especially impressive with her speed, and Winn’s tenacity surely shined through as he climbed. After climbing, we enjoyed some picnic sandwiches by a creek, then filled up our water bottles for our hot trek up to Mario’s mountain hut. With the hot sun and steep hills, this was no easy hike, but the kids maintained a positive attitude the whole time. Wilkes and George were our speediest climbers, leading the group the whole way. Whitten and Pippa were also key players on our hike up the hill, keeping the group motivated with their positive attitudes. Finally, we reached our destination— a hut atop of the mountain. Once we set down our bags and grabbed some more water we walked down to a little natural pool for a much-needed swim. While the water was a bit chilly, Carson fearlessly hopped in first and inspired everyone else to follow behind. After cooling off in the water, the kids retreated to the hut for some snacks, specifically the delicious candied almonds made in the mountains. Connor especially was a fan of the sweet treat and even purchased some to bring back to the US! Finally, it was time for what we’d all been waiting for… our dinner for the night— Peka cooked ‘under the bell.’ This l traditional Croatian dish includes chicken, veal, potatoes, and vegetables all cooked slowly together under a hood (the ‘bell’) that is covered in burning coal. Lane was especially excited to try this traditional meal, as she’d read all about it before our trip even began, and Virginia lightened our moods throughout dinner with her contagious giggles.
Today, we leave the mountains and journey to the coast to explore Mljet island. It is so hard to believe that we are already moving into our last section of the trip. Thank you so much for allowing us to spend these incredible two weeks with your kids— they’re truly outstanding. And now, some thank you shoutouts from them!!
Until next time,
Cat + Miles
Whitten- Hey mom and dad!! Thank you so much for letting me have this opportunity to go on this trip!! I really had the best time and I will remember the memories I made!! Can’t wait to see y’all soon! Love you!
Pippa- Hey mom and dad! Thank you so much for sending me on this amazing trip I’ve had the best time and can’t wait to tell you guys all about it!!
Lane- Thank you so so much for sending me on this trip! It was absolutely amazing and I tried some really cool things. I will remember this trip forever and I’m so grateful! Excited to see you in two days and love y’all so much!!
Sally- Mom and dad, thank y’all so much for sending me in this awesome trip. I have had the best time and I’m going to be really sad to leave. I can’t wait to see y’all and I love y’all so much!
Virginia- Thank you so so much for this trip. This is an amazing opportunity that I could never imagine having so I’m so grateful. I had so much fun so thank you so so much!!
Carson- Thank you so much for sending me on this trip! This was a great experience and I’m super thankful for it! Love you can’t wait to see y’all!
Wilkes- Thank you Mom and Dad for sending me on this trip. Every year it’s great to get away for charlotte and technology and I just want to say thank you and love you both.
George- Thank you guys so much for letting me travel to Croatia so last minute. I’ve enjoyed every experience and having the ability to meet new friends and to get away from the real world. See you soon!
Winn- thanks for the second trip, I’ve had so much fun and can’t wait to see you. <3
Connor – had a wonderful time in Croatia! Made some new friends and saw some great views. All the kayaking and hiking has been good for me and right now I’m motivated to do more running when I get home. Hopefully y’all had a fun trip as well and can’t wait to see y’all in the airport when you pick me up.
July 1, 2022
Hello once again from the stunning land of Croatia! It’s been an exciting past few days here, and we can’t wait to share all about it.
Since we last checked in, we left Plitvice lakes and headed to the Mrežnica River for our first kayaking section. With the full summer heat kicking in, we were definitely ready to hit the cool waters. Connor was the first to jump in, inspiring others to follow suit. After our first day of kayaking, we enjoyed a delicious riverside lunch, then headed to camp for some more fun. Back at camp, Sally was the first to go off the rope swing, and Wilkes rallied everyone to play some games of frisbee. Finally, we winded down the day with a delicious Bolognese dinner, outstanding fruit tart, and Moonup.
The next day, we arose again for more kayaking on the upper Mrežnica river. During our adventures for the day, Winn pushed himself out of his comfort zone by jumping off a tall waterfall, and Pippa conquered her fear of white water. We are so proud of the way our group expanded their horizons and tried new things! Back at camp, we enjoyed dinner, then played a silly game named ‘Shmodus.’ With the game ending in a tie, the two finalists were challenged to a ‘Moo-off’, where the two contestants rivaled to see who could hold the longest
“Moo.” George was ultimately declared supreme champion of the evening—congrats George! After Moonup, we snuggled into our tents for a good night’s rest.
Eventually, it was time to leave the river and head to our next section of the trip in the Northern Velebit Mountains. After settling into our mountain hut, we ventured off for a short afternoon hike, which was followed by lots of card games and snacks. Post dinner, the kids were surprised with smores! With the leftover marshmallows, several kids engaged in a ‘Chubby-Bunny competition, with Whitten stuffing an impressive number of marshmallows in her mouth. The evening ended with Virginia, our Leader of the Day, bringing the group closer with a thought-provoking Moonup question.
We woke up the next morning ready for our long 9-mile trek, full of amazing views of the surrounding mountains and the Adriatic Sea. We occupied ourselves on the trails by telling stories and sharing riddles, which Lane had an especially fun time trying to solve. Hungry after a long day of hiking, our cook crew prepared us a delicious traditional Croatian dish, goulash. Carson was especially excited about the new skills she learned while cooking the meal. We concluded our time in the mountains with a stunning sunset hike, followed by dessert pancakes prepared by our guide, Una!
It’s hard to believe it’s officially July, and it’s even harder to believe we’re already a week into our trip! With one week left, we’re so excited for the rest of the adventures we have ahead of us.
Miles + Cat
Now, shoutout time!
Wilkes – Hey Mom and Dad love and miss you both. See you soon and tell Ruby I said hi!
Connor – Doing a lot of kayaking in Croatia. ATM I still have about a week left and it’s great so far. Miss y’all and can’t wait to see y’all soon.
Whitten – “Hey mom and dad! I miss y’all so much! I’m finally feeling better and having a good time! Can’t wait to see y’all soon! Tell Ben I said hi!”
Pippa – hey mom and dad miss you both so much! I’m having a great time and can’t wait to see you guys!
George- hey mom and dad! I’m having so much fun and even jumped off a cliff. Have a fun 4th of July and see you soon.
Lane- Hi! I’m having so much fun and loved the kayaking! I’m super excited for the rest of the trip and love the group. Mama would go crazy for these sunsets! Hope y’all have a great 4th at the lake and I’m excited to see you soon. Miss and love y’all!!
Virginia- hi mom and dad!! I am having so much fun, can’t wait to tell y’all all about it. I hope y’all are having fun too! I miss y’all and I’ll see y’all so soon.
Sally- hey mom and dad, I miss y’all so much! I’m having a ton of fun and I hope cate will have fun in Alaska. We went hiking and the views were amazing!! I can’t wait to talk about it at yoi yoi when I get back. Love y’all!!
Carson- hey y’all! I miss y’all a lot, I’m having a lot of fun and learning new things. Please tell mom I miss her too and I can’t wait to see everyone soon! Love y’all!
Winn- hey guys, I’m doing great and having so much fun over here is Croatia. I hope you guys are having as much fun as I am. I have started facing my fears and going out of my bubble and have had a lot of fun doing so.
June 27, 2022
Hello from Croatia!! We’ve had an amazing start to our trip together and cannot wait for the rest of our two weeks together. With 10 students, we’ve already formed a close-knit group and are sure to see some life-long friendships form during our Croatian adventures!
After a long day of travel, we arrived in Zagreb full of excitement. We exchanged some US dollars for Croatian Kuna, then loaded onto the bus to head to our campsite. The drive was beautiful, full of waterfalls, lakes, and mountains along the way. The bus ride started full of chatter as we continued to get to know one another, but everyone quickly drifted into peaceful naps.
Once we arrived at the campsite, we got settled into our cozy ‘bungalows’, showered, then headed to our first official meal together. For dinner we enjoyed bread, cheese, ham, salad, and a delicious chicken and vegetable stew. Our dessert consisted of apple strudel, a classic Croatian dish. It was the first time Carson had ever had strudel, and she was excited to try the new food! After dinner, we enjoyed our first Moonup as a group. During Moonup we first discussed our desired type-B superpowers (defined as lesser-than-great, but still cool, superpowers). Virginia said she wished for indestructible shins, and Sally wished that she always knew the best place to eat wherever she was.
We woke up the next day feeling fully recovered from our travels and ready to take on the day. After a delicious breakfast full of eggs and croissants (which Pippa especially loved!), we headed out for our first adventure together, a hike around the lakes of Plitvice National Park. We were all amazed by the clear blue lakes and stunning waterfalls. Winn was especially enthusiastic about how picturesque the views were and shared how he would love to come back here one day to take more photos. We finished off our hike with some delicious chicken sandwiches, then returned to our campsite for an afternoon of group bonding.
Back at camp, the group played multiple card games and a round of hide-and-go-seek. Things really got intense when the kids started playing hacky-sack, which Connor and Wilkes especially got into! We then played a game of trivia about the Plitvice lakes, led by our Croatian guide Una. The two competing teams were tied throughout the entire game until Whitten led her team to victory by answering the winning question! After games, we enjoyed a healthy dinner of grilled chicken and vegetables, where Lane shared about her recent travels to Paris! We then settled into our nightly Moonup. One of our Leaders of the Day (LOD), George, perfectly opened our Moonup with an inspiration quote about the importance of getting out of your comfort zone to expand your mind.
It’s been an incredible first few days together, and we are so excited for the adventures our group has ahead of us. Now, we’re escaping the heat by heading off to river kayaking!
Miles + Cat
June 25, 2022
Hello Croatia Families!
The whole group arrived safely in Zagreb today and is on their way to their first lodging site. We have heard from our leaders that the trip is off to a great start, and we cannot wait to hear more stories from their adventure.
Please remember our leaders and students will be unplugged during their trips but we will be posting up to three trip updates throughout the next couple of weeks! This will allow you to follow along with the trip and the students will also give a special shout out mid-way through! You can also follow us on Instagram, @moondanceadventures, to see more of what we are up to this summer!
– Moondance HQ