July 23, 2022
Fourteen days later, we sadly depart Croatia and head back to our homes across the US. We’ve had an incredible adventure exploring Croatia with one another and will surely carry back with us the friendships we have fostered during these two weeks.
After our scenic drive from the mountains of Paklenica National Park to the shore of Dubrovnik, we eagerly hopped on our ferry to the island of Mljet. For dinner this evening, we enjoyed freshly caught calamari, which Riley especially loved. The next morning, we arose ready to go sea kayaking. Margaret, who had never been sea kayaking before, was very excited to try the new activity. Elizabeth and Liam impressively led the way to our first stop of the day, a small island where we swam and snorkeled. While snorkeling, the group discovered an octopus, which Gavin bravely picked up and held in her hands! CR also had a fun time diving down deep into the sea waters with her snorkel goggles in order to see the wildlife below. Eventually, we loaded back into our kayaks to head to our next island. Here, we hiked up to the top of the island’s cliff, enjoyed some fresh fruit, then discovered a surprise— repelling! We were so proud of our group, as everyone repelled down the side of the cliff into the clear blue waters below. Hudson was our bravest soul, daring to repel down first, and Kate made sure to continually encourage everyone who was nervous about going down. After our adventures on the sea, we rewarded ourselves with a delicious lunch prepared by our guides’ family. Tuna pâté, prosciutto, cheese, and fresh anchovies were enjoyed by all, but the fan favorite dish of the meal seemed to be homemade bread. The rest of the day we spent swimming and relaxing by our campsite. Overall, it was the perfect first full day on the island!
The next day, we put back on our hiking shoes to explore the trails and lakes of Mljet National Park. Our group performed incredibly on the hike, making it to the lookout in record time. We then headed back down the hill to swim and splash in the lakes. While cooling off in the water, we played a fun game called ‘Picigin,’ where Mace showed off his impressive athletic skills. After our exploration of Mljet, we again returned to the beach for a biggest splash competition—congrats to our winner, Keith! Our night concluded with dinner, Moonup, and yet another surprise—sleeping on the beach! Jack was especially excited for this adventure and got the rest of the group feeling enthusiastic for a night under the stars.
Our last full day together we spent exploring the city of Dubrovnik. After our ferry ride back to the mainland, we set out for Dubrovnik Old Town. Here we walked atop the City Wall, enjoying the views and a surprise round of ice cream. Our day concluded with our final banquet dinner, where we reminisced on the past two weeks together and all the amazing memories we shared while enjoying an incredible view of the water. We held our final moonup in a beautiful city park, where we discussed what we’ve learned on the trip.
Thank you again for sharing your children with us (Cat & Miles) this summer. They’re an awesome bunch of individuals and were so much fun to lead. We’ve seen them foster amazing friendships over these past two weeks and are sure these connections will last a lifetime. Everyone will be home shortly, and we cannot wait for you to hear stories of our trip!
Have a great rest of the summer & stay in touch!
Cat & Miles
July 20, 2022
Hey Croatia 3B families and friends!!
It’s only been a few days since we last checked in, but we have oh-so-much to share!
After we departed from our mountain hut in the Northern Velebit Mountains, we had a relaxing day kayaking down the Zrmanja River. CR and Riley had especially impressive paddling skills, and Elizabeth and Margaret were titled the ‘Party Boat!’ After several hours of paddling, the group was surprised with an ice cream treat – Stracciatella flavor seems to be the group favorite! The kids later broke out into several games of volleyball, where Hudson showed off his athletic abilities. Eventually, we enjoyed a delicious cheeseburger dinner (requested multiple times by the group), which was followed by everyone’s favorite game, ‘Funny Bunny.’
The next morning, we set off for yet another adventure in the next national park of our trip, Paklenica National Park. We began our day here with several hours of rock climbing. Mace was our speediest climber, completing the most difficult climb of the day in only 2 minutes! Liam also loved the challenges of the wall and deemed rock climbing his favorite activity thus far. After lunch, we traded in our harnesses for hiking shoes and began our trek up to Mario’s mountain hut. This is no ordinary mountain hut. Instead, it is a special hut run by the friendliest man you will ever meet, Mario!
After about two hours of hiking, we finally reached our home for the night. Here we refueled with pretzels and peanuts, then ventured a few minutes back down the mountain for a refreshing dip in some fresh spring water. Although the water was quite chilly, Kate was our bravest soul who jumped in first and encouraged everyone to follow. The highlight of our time at Mario’s mountain hut was no doubt our dinner — Peka cooked ‘under the bell.’ This traditional Croatian dish includes chicken, veal, potatoes, and vegetables all cooked slowly together under a hood (the ‘bell’) that is covered in burning coal. With our Peka, we enjoyed some fresh salad and bread, specially prepared by Gavin and Jack. Everyone agreed that the meal was incredible, and Keith even decided that it was one of his favorite meals of the trip!
Now, we leave the mountains and head to the coast to sea kayak and explore Mljet Island. It is hard to believe that we are already moving into the final section of our trip. Thank you so much for sharing your kids with us for two weeks— they’re truly incredible. And now, some thank you shoutouts from them!!
<3 Cat & Miles
Elizabeth: Thanks Mom and Dad for the trip!!!! Love y’all!!!
Gavin: Hey Mom and Dad! Thanks for the trip!!! I love Croatia. Love y’all!
Liam: Hey Mom and Dad, love Croatia it’s really fun. Thanks
Riley: Hey Mom and Dad! Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to go on this trip, Croatia is amazing! I can’t wait to tell you guys about it when I get back!! Love you guys
Hudson: Hey Mom and Dad, Croatia super fun I’m so grateful you gave me the opportunity to come here. I just wanted to thank you guys for the great trip. Love you, Hudson.
Keith: hey mom and dad, Croatia is awesome and thanks for giving me the opportunity to go. Miss you and love you, Keith.
Mace: Hi Mom and Dad, I’ve had so much fun in Croatia so far! It is an awesome trip. Thank you so much for the trip! love you, Mace
Jack: Hi Mom and Dad, Croatia has been so much fun! It is so cool here. Thank you so much for the trip! Love you, Jack
Kate: Hey Mom and Dad! I have been having an amazing time here in Croatia! It’s been so so fun and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. Thank you so much for the awesome trip. Love you guys!
Margaret: Hi mom and dad! Croatia has been super cool and beautiful, thank you so much for this amazing experience, I can’t wait to tell y’all about it. Love you!
CR: Hi mommy and daddy! I’m having so much fun in Croatia! Thank you so much for making this trip possible and I hope one day we can come back as a family! Miss and love you, CR.
July 17, 2022
Checking in from Croatia 3B!!
We’re officially half-way through our trip, and we cannot believe it! It’s been a busy past few days since we last checked in, full of excitement and adventure.
After we departed from our bungalows near the Plitvice lakes, we headed to our next destination—the Mreznica river. Here, we enjoyed a fun-filled day of river kayaking! The kids embraced the challenges of the water fearlessly, ready to go down every waterfall and jump from any cliff deemed safe. Hudson especially inspired everyone to embrace their bravest selves, as he was the first to jump off a (very safe!) 8-meter cliff into the cold waters below! Throughout the day, we continued playing in the water. Riley and Kate were especially ready to jump into the water at every opportunity possible! Overall, the day was full of laughs and shouts of excitement, especially when CR came upon a friendly turtle near the river shore!
We arose the next morning ready for another day of adventure. After a delicious breakfast of fresh eggs and croissants, we loaded into the van to drive to the Northern Velebit Mountain Range. Once settled into our mountain hut, we set out for our first hike of the trip. With three incredible peaks, this hike was definitely a group favorite. Margaret, one of our speediest hikers, did a wonderful job leading the group, and Liam made sure to make conversation with anyone around him on the trails. Finally, we enjoyed a well-deserved mac-n-cheese dinner, had our nightly Moonup, and snuggled into bed.
We continued exploring the mountains during our second day in Northern Velebit with a scenic 9-mile hike. While enduring this long hike was no easy task, our group maintained a positive attitude throughout the entire day and was continuously in awe of the views. We returned from our hike with large appetites; therefore, we were very thankful for our wonderful dinner cook crew. In preparation for our chicken and vegetable spread, Jack showed off his potato-chopping skills, while Elizabeth impressively peeled and cut carrots. The dinner truly hit the spot after a long day on the trails.
Our final day in Northern Velebit was just as special as the rest. After treating ourselves to sleeping in a little bit, we went out for a short but steep hike. We arrived back at our hut from our hike ready to snack and relax. During this down time, the group chatted and played games. Mace even learned a new card game, ‘Spoons!’ Dinner once again was by all, thanks to Keith’s grilled-cheese making abilities! Our evening concluded with a sentimental Moonup, where Gavin, our Leader of the Day (LOD), challenged us to share a big risk we have taken in our lives.
Now, we head to the Zrmanja River to give our legs a rest and kayak once more. We’re having an amazing time, and here are some shoutouts from the kids to prove it!
<3 Cat & Miles
Here are some shoutouts from everyone!
Kate: Hey Mom, Dad, and Claire! I miss you all so so much, I am having so much fun here in Croatia! The water and the views are amazing here!
Riley: Hi Mom and Dad! I am having so much fun here, we have done many fun activities here! Croatia is very pretty. I miss you guys so much!
CR: Hi mommy and daddy! I love Croatia, it is so pretty, especially the water, and I loved the hiking and kayaking that we’ve done so far! I miss and love y’all so much!
Gavin: Hi mom and dad! I love Croatia, Dad would really love it here. It is so pretty. River kayaking has been my favorite. Love y’all so much!!!
Margaret: Hi mom and dad, Croatia is insane, it’s so fun and I love what we’ve been doing. The water is so blue and the views are amazing. Love y’all!
Elizabeth: Hey guys!!!!! I’m slaying in Croatia! It is so pretty here!!!! Love y’all !!!!
Jack: Hey mom and dad Croatia is sick the mountains and water is cool. River kayaking has been the coolest part.
Keith: Hey mom and Dad. Croatia is really cool and I’m having a lot of fun. Miss y’all and I hope y’all are having fun in Montreal.
Hudson: Hey mom and dad Croatia super fun I scuffed up my ankle a little but it’ll be fine in like a day. I miss you guys I can’t wait to come back home!
Mace: Hey Mom and Dad, I’m having lots of fun in Croatia! It’s really pretty and the hikes are really fun. I’ll show you lots of pictures when I get back!
Liam: Hey mom and dad, it’s pretty cool in Croatia lots of hikes great fun. love Liam
July 12, 2022
Hello from Croatia Group 3B! Although our trip only just began, we are already having an incredible time exploring this magnificent country together. Upon meeting the kids at the airport, we could already tell this was going to be an amazing two weeks with an outstanding group—and we’ve only been proven correct so far!
After arriving in Zagreb and turning in all phones and watches to officially unplug, we loaded into the van and headed to our first campsite. Once settled into our cozy bungalows, the group spent some time getting to know one another and playing games. One such game is called ‘Look Up, Look Down,’ where participants must see who can hold a “Moooo” sound the longest. Our two finalists then challenged one another to a ‘Veggie Off,’ where participants must act out a specific vegetable and adjective. Our ultimate winner was Liam, who had a wonderful ‘excited zucchini’ performance. Eventually, we headed to dinner, where we enjoyed a delicious chicken stew, salad, and ice cream. As we ate, we continued to learn more about one another, including how Keith works at an ice cream shop and how Mace loves soccer and lacrosse.
We then headed to our first Moonup of the session and shared with one another why we came on this trip. Gavin said she’d always wanted to explore the Adriatic Sea and couldn’t wait to do so while in Croatia! Finally, we all retreated to bed, eager to get some rest after a long day of travel. Special shoutout to Hudson for being extra adventurous and sleeping in his Eno hammock!
This morning, we woke up excited about our first day of activity. After a delicious breakfast, we loaded into our van and headed to the lakes of Plitvice of National Park. Before entering the park, our two Leaders of the Day, Jack and Elizabeth, offered us some inspiring motivation and led us through various stretches. Once we entered the park, we were all immediately amazed by the beautiful clear waters and gorgeous waterfalls. On the trails, we learned about Kate’s love for burritos, Margaret’s favorite Charlottesville restaurants, Riley’s passion for playing sports, and how excited CR is to sea kayak on our trip!
After an amazing day of hiking along the waters of Plitvice, we headed back to our bungalows to relax and play some card games. It’s been a spectacular first few days together, and we are ecstatic about the adventures our group has ahead of us.
Cat and Miles