June 28, 2022
We’re feeling so full this morning reflecting on our 2 weeks with the kids. It was a bittersweet morning with some teary eyes but happy hearts. We finished off the trip strong with a couple final days by the water, the mountains and rounded it out with a day in Venice.
Once off the mountains we got our next activity rolling, hopping in kayaks for some river kayaking. Austin was a master of the rapids and had lots of power going down the dams. We enjoyed some cliff jumping and many laughs. The afternoon brough more fun as it was finally time to get harnessed up and rock climb! Ashley impressed us all as she got up the route with super speed! We traveled up a mountain to a nearby mountain hut, John was pumped about the views and set up his Eno to read, then the whole group enjoyed a crazy cool sunset. We settled into our cozy mountain beds and got some rest.
Our last day in Slovenia was jam-packed, starting strong with a mountain pass hike to a peak for us to take in some final long-lasting views. Melanie kept our silly crew giggling and took some amazing camera shots at the top. We hit town for some much-needed food, souvenir shopping and a dip in the lake. During shopping, Matt found a Slovenian flag to later have the group sign. Hayes led a chilly creek polar plunge before we all sat out by the lake basking in the sun and admiring the mountains. Brooks took some great group go-pro vids of everyone playing in the lake. We once again cozied up for our final mountain hut evening, excited to hit the big city of Venice in only hours!
Up and rolling early, we got to Venice in no time. After a quick lunch by the canal of some Italian sandwiches and fruit before hopping on the water taxi heading to San Marco Piazza. We admired the buildings, took gondola rides, and of course indulged in a final round of gelato. Mindy motivated the girls into finding trendy clothes to bring back to the states while Claude led the boys in buying Venetian sailor caps for our banquet dinner. Banquet dinner was filled with all types of pizza, seafood pasta, tortellini and more! We sat out on the canal sharing favorite memories from our weeks together while we feasted. Our final moonup was a memorable one led by Justin and Claire. It was another chance to see how close this group has become compared to 2-weeks ago. Mary Frances gave her most valiant effort to get the group to stay up all night but after a couple hours of chatting and delaying the inevitable we let our sleepy heads rest.
Kiddos – we love y’all and miss you so much already! Keep in touch and can’t wait to see what incredible things you do next.
Parents – thank you for sharing your kids with us this summer. They are all rockstars and you should be so proud of them!
Anna + James
June 27, 2022
We are back from our whirlwind adventure!
Our Julian Alps trek started strong with a big uphill push on day one, but Melanie kept the group positive and giggling the entire time. As we got above tree line and crossed over to open land, we all felt accomplished and excited for more. We said hey to cows, a donkey, and Cates even befriended and petted a pig we decided to call Peppa. After enjoyed a yummy traditional mountain feel of barley stew, we settled in for the night at our first mountain hut.
We woke up and quickly prepped for a full day in the Alps. Our second day on trial was full WOW views and story swapping. Ashley entertained us all with her amazing crow impersonation. We saw many ruins this day, got a history lesson from one of our Slovenian guides, Mike, and explored a WW1 bunker. Once in the bunker, to our surprise, a mountain goat ran out! Right through Austin’s legs! It wasn’t long before admitting it was a pretty funny event. It was another long day, but the group crushed it. Brooks continued to keep the group laughing with her stories every pass we made. We enjoyed “pancakes” (crepes with apple filling) for dessert. Justin ate 5! Our LOD’s led us in a Moonup overlooking the mountains before we hit the hay.
Our last full day of trekking starting with the group waking up Hayes for his BIRTHDAY!! We had a banner at his door and a birthday headband to get the party started! A friendly fox appeared during morning huddle, a seemingly good omen for a great day to come. We enjoyed rocky walks and Hayes cheered up the group by handing out some bday life savers. We even enjoyed a bit of a snowball fight. Claire was extra excited having not seen snow in years! We reached our last mountain hut on beautiful lake and enjoyed a feast. John indulged in some delicious looking veggie pasta that inspired many others to order the same for dinner. While soaking up the views by the lake, Claude “practiced” his fly-fishing cast. We watched the sun go down over the mountains before our final slumber in the Alps.
Today we woke up for our final trek, all a bit sad it came and went so fast. Our LOD’s Matt and Mindy kept the group going. Matt led the pack as our first to-do was a summit push to our highest point yet. Mindy got everyone thrilled about jamming to T-Swift as soon as we hit the vans. Mary Frances stepped way out of her comfort zone but kept a strong smile every step as we ascended through the clouds. It was inspiring to watch the entire group accomplish this tough push motivating each other along the way. When we made it to the top, we passed out ring pops and took in the best view many of us had ever seen. Due to a road work detour our final day of trekking ended up being a much longer walk than initially accounted for, but everyone handled it like a champ. We celebrated by jumping in the lake by our hostel and completed the evening with a much-deserved Taylor Swift jam session in the van and double scoops of gelato. Thank you so much for sharing your awesome kids with us, we are so proud of them and can’t wait to finish the trip strong with a couple more extra fun days ahead!!
Anna + James
June 20, 2022
Greetings from Slovenia 1B!!!
After a restful night in our new comfy eco-lodge tents, the group woke up to an awesome Slovenian breakfast courtesy of our amazing hosts. We were served fresh breads, prosciutto, salami, ham, and a variety of cheeses and tomatoes. We were also served sunny side eggs on toast. Yum! We loaded up in the vans pumped to dominate the Soča River. Claude enjoyed floating downstream, although the water was quite chilly. When we finished rafting, the crew headed to a local pizza place where we had our best pizza yet! After lunch, we had some free time, so the LODs decided we should head back to the campsite where Ashley and Claire dominated on the beach volleyball court while Justin attempted to master the slack line nearby. Cates led the group in working on their headstands so we can get an epic group picture on top of the alps.
It was then time for canyoneering. We were all a bit curious about what exactly the next few hours would hold, but excited to find out! With our wet suits on our backs, we hiked up a mountain to get in position. It was a challenging hike, but Hayes showed off his crazy athleticism and made light work of it by running up the last part of the hill. Our guide explained that we would be going down the mountain, pool by pool, by either going down natural rockslides or jumping in. We had about a dozen slides and half a dozen jumps that made for some awesome pictures and videos. John led the charge on the scariest run, a 20-foot straight down into a dark cave that turned out to be one of the highlights! Afterward, the group decided that this was the coolest activity we have done so far. Well deserving, we enjoyed dinner at camp before a much-needed rest.
Our last day in Soča Valley was a big one! First up – waterfall hike! We enjoyed a chilly but refreshing swim when we reached the beautiful falls. Mary Frances took the lead by diving right into some yet again, chilly water. Next up – ziplining! Everyone agreed the views were UNBELIEVABLE. Mindy crushed it after initial fear while Brooks made everyone laugh from run to run. Austin showed off his creative skills with visionary picture ideas. Once that fun was wrapped up, we headed back to our newly loved camp to prep for trekking. After getting excited while going over gear and routes, Melanie mastered our LNT (leave no trace) principles. All ready for some good grub, we cheffed up our own feast with Matt proving to be a master on the grill. We finished the day off with marshmallows over an open fire and minds racing with anticipation for the Julian alps!
We could not be more amped and can’t wait to see what all these kids accomplish on this trek. See y’all on the flip side!
Anna & James
In the meantime, here are some shoutouts from your kiddos…
John- Hey Mom and Dad! I’m still alive and kicking – try not to have too much fun without me!
Matt -I’m having a great time! Get rid of the bats for me!
Austin – Hey Mom and Dad! Having a great time in Slovenia! Miss you guys!
Claude – Dear my beloved family, Slovenia is amazing. Mother, I am trying to get in as many pictures as I can!
Justin – Hey mom and dad, I’m enjoying my time in Slovenia! The food is good and everything we’ve done is super cool. Can’t wait to see you guys!
Hayes – Hi Mom and Dad I’m having such a great time in Slovenia and I’m working on my Slovenian accent!
Mindy – Hey Mom,Dad,Bentley,Ashton, and Connor. I’m having the best time in Slovenia, I miss and love y’all so much!
Mary Frances – This trip is super hype. Having a blast! Tell Coco I say hi. Happy Father’s Day ily goosedawg!
Brooks – hey family I’m about halfway through my trip and I’m having SO much fun. Happy late Father’s Day to dad and I miss you guys! Love you all
Melanie – hi family I’m having so much fun in Slovenia! happy Father’s Day give dusty hugs for me miss u all
Cates – hey family! Having so much fun in Slovenia! Love y’all! Happy late Father’s Day!
Claire – Hey M&D!! I’m having the BEST time in Slovenia!!! Happy late Father’s Day… love y’all!!
Ashley- Hi family! I miss you all and hope you’re having fun on your trips! The trip so far has been super fun and I can’t wait to tell you about it!
June 19, 2022
Ciao! Zdravo! Hello! We’ve had an EPIC few days and it’s only the beginning! As soon as we touched down in Venice we met up with James and our Slovenian guides who will be with us for our 2 fun-filled weeks. We hit the ground running going from the United States to Croatia in less than 24 hours. Cates, who had never been out the country smashed that stat hitting 3 in our first day!
After crossing into Slovenia we visited a small costal town, Koper, where we got our first taste of European culture and exploration while enjoying some delicious pizza and pasta. John indulged in an authentic calzone as big as a football! We continued down the coast until we reached Premantura, Croatia where we would spend the next two days. After a long day of travel and sharing stories with new friends, we finished the evening with dinner at the campsite and our first Moonup. Everyone shared why they chose Moondance and this specific trip as well as what they are most excited about. Jet-lagged and full of excitement for the trip, we headed to the tents to get our first good night of rest in a few days.
Our first LOD’s (Leaders of the Day) Ashley and Austin helped get us moving and motivated in the morning by running our morning huddle before a day of sea-kayaking. As we explored the Adriatic Sea, Brooks proved to be a pro in the kayak while Mindy kept the group entertained with her convo’s. Stunned by the beautiful blue water, we unloaded and our guides geared us up in snorkel goggles to explore the water and take us through the caves carved into the cliffs. The group enjoyed a snack and some sunshine, many conquering fears of cliff jumping! Melanie was eager to jump and inspired others to do the same. Before jumping back in the kayaks, the guides passed out some bread to feed the fish. Justin attempted catching one with his hands and although unsuccessful, there was no lack of effort. We enjoyed lunch by the water at a “safari bar”, and Claude entertained everyone with his card tricks. We topped off our first full day with a cookout of traditional Croatian cevapcici spearheaded by group grill master Hayes. Tummy’s happy and full, Matt led us in a competitive game of Mafia with some amazing narrator stories before piling into our tents.
This morning, we enjoyed a leisurely last meal at our seaside campsite, a bit sad to say goodbye, as we have grown from strangers into close friends here. One of our LOD’s Mary Frances used her alum skills to help clean up and get us ready to hit the road. We piled into the vans, excited to explore a new place, singing and chatting our way back into Slovenia after stopping in Piran. Claire impressed all in the van with her music knowledge and kept spirits high as she encouraged everyone to dance and sing along with her. The group headed on to an area known as the Tuscany of Slovenia where they learned how to cook a traditional Slovenian dish. Some in the group were not confident in their cooking skills at first, but everyone left our cooking class full and proud of themselves for cooking an awesome meal! We then meandered through the Alps on winding roads in awe as we headed into Soca Valley.
We’re loving this new area, our 10/10 campsite and are all very excited for the activities it’ll bring!
Anna and James
June 16, 2022
Hello Slovenia Families!
We heard from our leaders late last night that the group has landed safely in Venice. The trip is off to a great start and the way to Slovenia, 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!