July 6, 2023
Hi everyone! It hasn’t been long since we last updated, but so much has happened. We took a ferry from Mljet to Dubrovnik to have our final day in the city. We had lunch at a Mexican restaurant, and it was super tasty. Thomas and Tanner got some really good food vlogs. Afterwards, we split up into groups to take on the shops. Katie, Kate, Hudson, Eli, Coco, Sarah, and Harper filled up bags of fun Croatian candies. All the boys got fitted up in Luca Modrić jerseys. All the guys immediately put their jerseys on, and the locals would chant “Luca” as we walked by. Griffin C. and Griffin M. chased the pigeons around old town Dubrovnik and gave everyone a laugh. After our shopping, we went to a cool restaurant on the side of the castle walls and did some more sunset cliff jumping. Walter did more silly poses as he soared through the air. We got some awesome pics and impressed all of the bystanders with our courage. After the cliff jumping, we changed back into our town clothes and headed to our dinner reservation. The food was delicious, and the conversation was flowing. We had a final moonup in old-town Dubrovnik after munching on some much-needed gelato. We rode the bus back to the hotel and settled in for an EARLY wake up the next day.
We left the hostel in the middle of the night and sluggishly loaded our things onto the bus, sad to be leaving. Despite the early morning, Scarlett, Bay, and Katie managed to scream Taylor Swift at the top of their lungs. We all know every word to “Stick Season” by Noah Kahan by now, and we finished off our last bus ride blasting it for all to hear. Half the group took naps on the airport floor while we waited for the check-in to open. The airport opened, we took care of business, grabbed some quick breakfast, and got on our flight. At the Zagreb airport, we came out into the baggage claim, and it felt like Groundhog Day. We wish that we could do it all over again. Everyone checked into their flights, and we said our goodbyes. It was tearful and heartfelt, but that’s how we know it was so good. It went by so quickly, but we savored every moment we could. So grateful for this group and for everything we shared these past few weeks!!
Lots of Love,
Samuel and Brooke
July 5, 2023
Hi again everyone! Boy, have we been busy!! Since we last updated, we’ve been rafting, and hanging out in the Mljet Islands. Rafting was a great time. When we arrived at the river, energy was a little bit low as the rain began to pour, but we ended up getting a beautiful sunny day and our spirits were lifted. We split up into two boats and cruised down the Cetina River. The weather was so good that we got to stop for some waterfall exploration. Samuel, Griffin C, Tanner, Sarah, and Eli got to swim through a secret tunnel behind a waterfall! We were such naturals on the river that Griffin M and Katie got an opportunity to captain their boat. They did great and paddled us to victory!
After our rafting was over, we hopped in the bus for a long afternoon of travel. Our drive was split up by a stop in a cool coastal mountain town. We ate a big lunch and stopped for gelato, obviously. Instead of taking the highway, we elected to take the scenic route to our campsite, and we’re delighted with beautiful views of the coast of Croatia. At our campsite, we were treated to a nice dinner, a Beachy Moonup, and a crazy thunderstorm unlike any we’d ever experienced. The rain hurried us to bed, and we were out like a light.
The next day, we hopped on the ferry to Mljet. Luckily for us, the ferry was a short ride and we got to spend the rest of the afternoon sun tanning, swimming and cliff jumping in our own little cove. Bay made sure to soak up all the rays. Hudson conquered his fear of sea urchins. Katie, Coco, and Kate conquered their fear of heights. Walter cracked everyone up with his poses during the cliff jumps. It was a great day for stepping out of our comfort zones. The water was crystal clear, and the prefect temperature for the hot weather. This was a perfect rest day. We got to cook our own dinner and made 3 giant pots of pasta. The kids were glad to have some comfort food. We took a walk to a cool sunset spot and parked it there for our Moonup. We saw Venus, watched the moon rise, and Tanner delighted everyone with a story.
In the morning, we woke up, Tanner and Scarlett helped make breakfast, and we hopped in the van for a day of kayaking on the Adriatic. We paddled all-round the islands on the coast, and got to see the beautiful sea life. Everyone was very impressed by Bay’s strength paddling, and her big back muscles. Hudson would not get out of the water, so much so that we now call him “fish”. Our guide brought us FRESH fruit that was perfect for the hot weather as we lounged around on the islands. Once we finished our paddling, we had the best meal we have had yet. Our guide prepared a lunch of locally caught fish, charcuterie, homemade bread, and delicious cheese. We ate it all!! Once we arrived back at camp, we had down time where Coco and Katie took a much-needed nap, while others played cards. Sarah and Harper, as always, volunteered to help make dinner and we had a delicious meal of quesadillas. The quesadillas turned into grilled cheeses, and we ate as much as we could. Once our bellies were full, we had another Moonup with a sunset view of the Adriatic. We socialized with some local Croatian kids and kicked around the soccer ball. The campsite was getting crowded, and we couldn’t be too rowdy so we had to shut things down for quiet hours.
For the 4th of July, you know we had to go all out. Before breakfast, we got all temporary tatted up to represent America. Eli, Griffin M, and Griffin C were so bold that they put them on their faces. Along with our tattoos we had star spangled sunglasses, red, white, and blue necklaces, and a big watermelon. Originally the plan was to go on a long hike in the national park on the island, but due to the intense heat, Samuel and Brooke surprised the kids with a beach day. We totally pranked them, and they were really glad. We lounged, tanned, swam, and paddle boarded. All the boys tried to fit on one paddle board, and nearly sank it. There were several photos, lots of splashing and vlogging. We finished the day with a great Moonup at the sunset and some very late night talking as we watched the stars.
The past few days on the Island have been great and we cannot wait to see Dubrovnik! Our city day will be a great conclusion to our time here in Croatia, and as our LOD’S Kate and Thomas said at Moonup, “Don’t count the days, make the days count.” You can bet we’re going to have a great time and soak it all in. We’ll tell you about it soon!
Hudson- Thanks to my family for giving me the opportunity to travel and experience Croatia.
Tanner – Thank you so much for sending me on this trip! I have had a blast. Thank you to Dino for driving us around and tolerating our fantastic music. I would’ve given you a present, but I won’t see you after today.
Walter – Thank you so much for sending me on this amazing trip to Croatia! Thank you, Brooke and Samuel, for being great leaders and making this trip so much more fun than I could have ever imagined.
Katie – Thank you mom and dad for letting me go on this trip it was amazing. And thank you to Brooke and Samuel for being the best leaders!
Sarah – Thank you to my parents and Brooke and Samuel for giving me this experience, but most of all thank you to Mario for making the trip!
Harper- Thank you Brooke and Samuel for being great leaders and thank you mom and dad for letting me come on this trip and make new friendships and experiences.
Bay- Thank you mom and dad for letting me make great memories also thank you so much to the best leaders ever Brooke and Samuel. Y’all really made this trip better! Also, thanks Mario!
Griffin- Thank you mom and dad for giving me the opportunity to go on this amazing trip.
Eli- Thank you to all the people who have allowed me to go on this trip and to all the people who have made it so much fun!
Griffin C- Thank you to my parents and everyone who helped to make this trip so great!
Coco – Thank you for sending me on this trip and thanks to Brooke and Samuel for making this trip so special! It was so much fun I am so grateful for this.
Thomas – Thank you to my family who gave me this opportunity, I really enjoyed it. Thank you to Samuel and Brooke for making this trip what it is.
Kate – Huge thank you to my parents who made this amazing trip possible for me and thank you to Samuel, Brooke, and everyone else who made this the best experience it could have been!
Scarlett- Thank you so much to my family for giving me this wonderful experience!! Thank you also to Brooke and Samuel they were the best leaders ever and so nice and supportive!!
Samuel and Brooke
July 1, 2023
Hey Croatia friends and family!
We’re back from trekking! Yippee!! Everyone, we’re so pleased to announce that our trekking section was a success. Not only did we complete our treks as planned, but we had a blast the whole time. On day one, we packed up all our gear and food into our backpacks, and headed up the mountain to our hut. It was tough and our packs were heavy, but we were rewarded at the end with a refreshing swim in a natural pool, and a place to put down all of our stuff for a few days. That evening, some of the kids helped make Peka, a traditional Croatian dish, while others hung out, enjoyed the views, and rested. Eli put his cooking skills to the test, and was rewarded with a pat on the back from our head chef.
The next day, we had a slow and peaceful morning. The group got to have a nice sleep in, and woke up to eggs and bacon. Because it was raining, we decided to postpone our hike to the afternoon. Hudson, Eli and Griffin M got a lesson on how to play rummy. Others played uno, spoons, and some other card games as well. Coco and Katie spurred a movement to make some Croatian pancakes. Bay, Harper and Sarah joined in the kitchen to make the batter and chef them up! They topped them off with some powdered sugar, and within seconds of placing them in front of the group, the pancakes were gone. We have a copy of the recipe, so maybe some of your families will get a taste when the kids return home! After a relaxing morning, the sky cleared up, and we were on our way to hike for the day. The cool breeze from the morning showers gave us the perfect hiking weather, as we trekked up to the top. We even took a pause in this beautiful grassy patch to have 5 minutes of solo time. Thomas and Eli really enjoyed their contemplations. Shortly after we continued on, we reached the peak and ate lunch at a nice view point at the top. Walter helped Brooke shoot an ad campaign for her protein shake, and Tanner climbed a tree. We headed on to the next, more spectacular, viewpoint. It was wonderful and windy! The rest of the hike was a breeze downhill. Tanner, Scarlett, and Griffin M. bided their time with great conversation and some games in the back of the pack with the leaders. We got back just in time for Gulaš dinner, YUM! We mooned up, and then spent some time getting to know one another a little more. Our group is getting closer by the minute.
As we woke up on the second morning at Mario’s hut, we were up early, made breakfast, and elected today to be a day to challenge ourselves, and do a hard hike. We packed up our things, made sandwiches and set out for the trail. As we expected, the hike was indeed hard but it was well worth it! We walked through gorgeous forests with grassy beds, and scrambled on rocks high up in the mountains. The view from our turn around point was so among the most beautiful views any of us had ever seen. Kate took tons of silly pictures at the top while we all sat down and ate our lunches. We basked in the sunlight for a while, and decided to descend the mountain. On the hike down we made much faster time and we continued to chat as we walked. Arriving at Mario’s hut was like arriving home. We quickly sat down and took our shoes off to let our tired feet rest. Tanner, Walter and Scarlett went foraging for some mint and lemongrass to brew a fresh tea. That evening, we got a private concert from Mario, and all danced around as he serenaded us.
Today, we had a super early start. We hiked all the way back down to the entrance to the park, and then went rock climbing! We had some competitive climbers up there on the wall. After several timed contests, Griffin M. clocked the fastest ascent of the hard route. He banked 10 cool points for this accomplishment!! During their down time at rock climbing, Griffin C and Coco purchased some awesome sunglasses. We finished up climbing and headed to lunch, and then to our hotel. Our free afternoon started with some lounging by the sea, and then of course, a nice cold cone of gelato! The kids got some time to enjoy their first shower in 5 days, and afterwards spent a little more time hanging out and playing games. At dinner, we must have eaten at least 10 pizzas. We mooned up out by the water, and were joined by some curious locals.
These past few days have been absolutely amazing, and we can’t wait to see what is in store! Tomorrow, we’ll be rafting, and then making our way toward the Mljet Islands. We’re stoked for the second half of our trip!
& Croatia 2A
Hudson- Croatia is so cool. We’ve done so many fun things and still have so much fun left to be had. I miss you guys so much say hi to birdie for me
Coco- Hi mom and dad!!! I’m having so much fun in Croatia! I’ve taken a lot of pretty pictures that I will show you guys later. All the views are so pretty. I miss you guys!!
Scarlett- Hey y’all!! I miss you guys so much but I am having the best time! I can’t wait to tell you all about it! Croatia is so beautiful and better than I could have ever imagined!! 💕
Kate – Hi Mom, Dad and Collin! I’m having so much fun here and I’ve met lots of great people. The views are amazing and I can’t wait to show you later. I love and miss you guys so much!
Sarah- Hey y’all! I am having so much fun it is so beautiful here! I got such a good group and the activities have been so fun! I miss y’all and love y’all! Can’t wait to see y’all.
Katie- Hey guys! I’m having so much fun here and my group is really fun! The views here are amazing and I can’t wait to show you all the cute pics later! Miss y’all and love you guys!
Tanner- Hi mom, dad, Harper, and Salam. Croatia 🇭🇷 is so awesome! We have done so many cool things. Croatia is better so I #CancelledMyFlightAndImNotComimgHome . Pet the dogs a couple times for me. See you guys soon. 👁👁🐒
Griffin C- Hi Mom and Dad. It’s so fun here and everything we are doing is amazing. Super cool place. Happy birthday Dad. I miss you guys a lot and see you soon.
Thomas – Hey Mom and Dad, I’m having the best time here. Everything that we have done so far has completely blown me away 🙉. I have the best group of people to share the memories with too 🐒. Have fun at the lake I can’t wait to see you guys. Love y’all! 🎎🎎🎎🎎👼🏿👼🏿
Eli – Family, I hope all is well at home, my group is amazing and I having so much fun.
Love you all ❤️❤️❤️
Bay- Hey y’all I’m having so much fun and making so many good memories I miss y’all tons and can’t wait to tell y’all everything. Hope jds college orientation was so good. I love y’all💟💟💟
Harper- hey mom and dad, I miss you guys so much. I love my group so much, thank you guys for letting me come on this trip and happy Fourth of July. 💗💗💗
Walter- I am having so much fun and making so many friends and good memories. I hope Eleanor is having a good time at camp and I can’t wait to see all of you. Give the dogs treat for me. Think about y’all every day.
Griffin- Hey Mom and Dad, all of the activities we have done so far were really, and my group is great. I’m having a lot of fun, and I’ll see you guys soon. Tell papa I said happy birthday. ✌️
June 27, 2023
Dobar dan (Good day)!
The past few days have been jam packed with laughs, fun activities, and sunshine. We began our adventure by meeting up in the Zagreb airport and getting to know each other as we waited for everyone to arrive. We learned about each other’s fun facts, go-to gas station snacks, and eventually we started to play hacky sack in the airport. Eventually we loaded up on the minibus and departed for our first campsite. We set up camp, ate dinner, had Moonup, and went to bed so early. We were all tired from our day of travel.
Eli and Griffin C, still feeling jet lagged, woke up at the crack of dawn and got to see the sun rise from our campground, the rest of us woke up at a normal hour to head to breakfast. After a hearty breakfast, we loaded up into the minibus and headed to the Mreznica river for our day of kayaking. Our first LODs, Scarlett and Walter, led us in a great morning huddle to get the day started. We all paired up, listened to a safety briefing, grabbed our kayaks, and got out there. We started with a hefty waterfall to kick things off. Everything went smoothly and we were on our way. When we arrived at the jumping spot, every single person jumped. Tanner, Thomas, and Griffin M. were racing to jump first. Coco, Kate, and Katie were a little more timid, but they faced their fears and we were all so proud! The rest of our morning was filled with waterfalls, laughs, pictures, and good times. The afternoon, we had free time to go swimming in the river back at camp. There was a cool rope swing that provided lots of fun. Instead of walking back to the campsite, Hudson and Brooke floated back in the natural lazy river. It was a chill afternoon and the group took lots of the time to get to know each other better. We had a hammock Moonup, and then headed off to bed. There was lots of chatter coming from the tents, so we know the kids are getting to be good friends already.
This morning, we packed up and left our first campsite to head to the Plitvice Lakes National Park. The hike starts out with a view of the tallest waterfall in Croatia. Harper remarked that she had never seen a waterfall like that before. We all joked about going down it on our river kayaks. Despite the park being the most popular National Park in Croatia, it was not too crowded today, so we all walked along on the path, relatively unbothered, taking in the beauty. Since there weren’t too many people, we got a chance to go up close to the big falls and take some pictures. Perhaps the best picture was a prom pic featuring all the guys. It was a nice stroll, and the weather was perfect. We had a picnic lunch and then got to take a ride on the ferry. Sarah and Katie convinced Thomas to put on a show for the entire ferry. He did… and it was awesome. The water was crystal clear, allowing us to see all the fish and wildlife under the water. After the long day of hiking, we stopped on the way out for some much-needed sodas and ice cream.
At our new place, we settled in and ate a ton of snacks. At dinner, Bay was the recipient of a friendly prank that had the whole group belly laughing. After dinner, we had a demonstration about how to pack a backpack, in preparation for our trekking section starting tomorrow. Everyone has all the essentials and we’re ready to trek up into the mountains. We know it’s going to be a challenge and a blast! Wish us luck 🙂
Samuel and Brooke
June 24, 2023
Hello Croatia Families!
We heard from our leaders and the group has landed safely in Croatia! 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!