July 13, 2023
A final hello from Slovenia!!! Wow. What an absolutely unbelievable time we have had! We wrapped up our last few full days on the beautiful Croatian coast. After destroying our four course meal during our traditional cooking class, we all fell fast asleep in the vans as we continued on to Croatia. We arrived in Premantura, Croatia with the perfect amount of time for an evening swim! We settled into our tents at our campsite and threw on our bathing suits, racing each other to the water. Ellie went running in and started swimming as fast as she could to a point a bit away. Woods, trying to keep up with Ellie’s swimming, raced behind her. Ellie always finds a way to make a fun competition out of our activities and we sure love trying to compete with her (even though she always wins!). Cooper and Reid, our two daredevils, started to throw each other in the water and do flips. The whole group got on board and we were all like cheerleaders trying to stunt in the water. It was quite the sight to see! Once we got out all of our energy in the water, we showered and got ready for dinner! After an amazing dinner, we settled in for Moonup on the shore. It was so beautiful, as we were surrounded by water glistening in the moonlight.
We woke up the next morning ready to explore the Adriatic Sea! We headed over to the kayaking site and to our surprise, they had an aqua park right next to it! Just to our luck, the kayaking guides said we had to wait 30 minutes to start because of the wind. So, what better way to pass time than to play on the aqua park! It is a giant water park on top of the water with slides, ladders, rope swings, obstacle courses, etc. We slipped and slid all around the course laughing hysterically. Phoebe had us all laughing so hard, as she could barely stand up without slipping again. She would slip and then stand up and slip again from laughing so hard. Parker and Phoebe were a dangerous duo out on the aqua park. After having so much fun playing around, we headed back in to gear up for kayaking. Splitting up into teams of two, we began our journey. Corbitt and Sheldon were a fierce duo out there. They were so in synch with one another that they glided through the waves with ease. We paddled and paddled our way through the sea to eventually reach a hidden cave! We threw on snorkel goggles and headed inside the dark and mysterious cave to go explore! Our guides taught us about some Croatian history and the boys were excited to explore all the hidden cracks and crevices within the caves. Once the guides announced a secret passage way, a tunnel that goes from the cave back out to the open water, Ryder was super eager to try it out. He swam through the tunnel and popped out on the other side! We then got the chance to cliff jump off the rocks nearby. Mary-Louise nervously climbed up the rocks and got ready to jump. She loved it so much she bravely jumped several more times, and even struck a pose in mid air! After cliff jumping, we paddled back and drove to a farm-to-table restaurant for lunch! It was insane food, absolutely delicious, and we all were so excited to try authentic Croatian dishes! We grabbed gelato on our way home to cool off in the summer heat! We then hung out around the campsite before dinner playing games and swimming. Grant headed up a soccer game with some of the others and even invited a couple Slovenian and Croatian children to play along. After enjoying dinner together, we once again had Moonup on the beautiful rocky shore and headed to bed.
The next day, we made the trek back to Ljubljana to explore the famous capital city of Slovenia. We dropped our bags at the hostel and hit the town! We grabbed burgers and fries for lunch and a scoop of gelato afterwards. We wandered around the streets popping in and out of stores. Lilly and Caroline led the girls to a cute jewelry store where they all got matching bracelets in remembrance of the trip. It was so special and sweet! After exploring as much of the city as possible, we freshened up for our last banquet dinner. We feasted on different types of pasta, and reminisced about the wonderful two weeks we had together. After banquet, Julian was ecstatic to discover we were taking the group to the best dessert place of the century: baked dough stuffed with ice cream and toppings! He claimed he had it 5 years ago and hadn’t stopped thinking about it since. He sprinted to the store, and boy was he right, it was truly the best dessert ever!!! We then settled down into a park next to a fountain to share one last reflective Moonup together. Carly, terribly sad to leave, cried throughout our Moonup expressing how life changing the past two weeks had been. This of course brought tears to many others’ eyes. We love that these kids have made such special connections with one another that make it so hard to leave.
Over the past two weeks, we have had the incredible opportunity to explore Slovenia together and develop a tight knit bond throughout. This trip is something we will never forget and we wish we could do it all over again. Thank you to all of the Slovenia families for giving your kids the chance to have this once in a lifetime experience with us! We are so grateful!
Parker and Woods
July 10, 2023
Hello again from the gorgeous Soca Valley region of Slovenia! After settling into our super exciting and fancy campsite, the group played games all evening before falling fast asleep. (Clearly exhausted after accomplishing 4 amazing days of trekking!) The next morning we woke up eager to finally explore the Soca River we had been dreaming of. We hopped into rafts to raft the crystal clear white waters of the Soca River. Splitting up into 3 boats, we raced each other down the rapids playing games and splashing each other along the way. Lilly was eager to try the funny games the raft guides had planned for us, and even swam the last rapid for fun (screaming and laughing the whole way down)! Half way down the river, we had an opportunity to cliff jump into the river. Most of the group opted out, but Ellie, being her daredevil, adventurous self, soared high above us waiting in the rafts below as she was first to take on the jump! After rafting, we headed back to the campsite to find warm barbecue sandwiches waiting for us! After feasting, we headed out to explore a hidden treasure of the Soca River, a place where parts of Narnia were filmed! We swam and hung out all afternoon surrounded by beautiful mountains in the background. Reid searched for small rocks to skip the entire time, and kept those watching entertained by his efforts. He even helped others pick out the perfect skipping rocks (clearly a gold medalists in rock skipping). After soaking up every last drop of sun, we hung out at the campsite before dinner. Phoebe eager to interact with fellow travelers made fast friends with a little German girl. She even taught her how to say hello in English and had a blast playing with her. Next up- we all began to barbecue and cook our own dinner! Cooper took over the barbecue station, helping Jaka and Alesh maintain the fire and grill the meats. We were all amazed by his work and thoroughly enjoyed the dinner! Afterwards, we obviously had to roast s’mores on the fire. The group devoured the s’mores and we all shared a good laugh together.
The next day, we woke up excited to explore the canyons deep within the valley during canyoneering! After a quick 30 minute hike up to the start, we geared up in our wetsuits, helmets, and harnesses before descending our way down the canyon. We repelled, slid, jumped, and climbed our way through the cold waters of the canyon. Mary Louise, as L.O.D., took up the back checking in on everyone and keeping up the group morale! Meanwhile, Caroline was soaking up every second, exclaiming this was her favorite activity she had ever done! After canyoneering, we all were giddy and happy the rest of the day reminiscing about the ridiculously fun activity. After pasta lunch, we ventured back down to the river to cool off in the hot sun. Julian led some of the group to an island in the middle of the river passing through small rapids. The group was rewarded with killer views and examined pretty cool rock formations. We got back to camp excited to play ping pong, volleyball, archery, badminton, etc. For dinner, we happily ate a vegetable and dumping soup with of course some amazing bread to pair it with. For dessert, Jaka and Alesh surprised the group with our very own crepe making station. The kids went crazy with the endless options. Grant crafted a beautiful crepe base but then things took a turn when he combined Nutella and multiple types of jam. It was the most bizarre, but spectacular creation we had ever seen and he ate every last bite. When it came time for Moonup, we were all absolutely shocked by the presence of a special guest by the name of Clarence (AKA Ryder’s alter echo). This absurdly funny version of Ryder gave us all a good laugh, as he passed out rocks to everyone that matched their personalities. It was a wild but unforgettable start to Moonup.
The following day, we packed up our things in Slovenia to head to the beautiful Croatian coast. Throughout the entire morning drive, Carly and Parker entertained the van with their karaoke. They were belting Taylor Swift at their top of their lungs and even harmonized on some notes (or at least they like to think so). We stopped half way for a Slovenian cooking class, where we cooked ourselves a four course lunch of vegetable soup, pasta, turkey and vegetables, and apple pie. Sheldon was queen of the vegetable cutting station and couldn’t help but make her partners laugh. She kept saying “I’m dicing and sautéing zucchini in Slovenia” and for whatever reason everyone thought it was hilarious. On the other hand, Corbitt was baking an apple pie from scratch and even creating a dough design on top! She proved her skills when every last pie crumb was gone approximately 3 minutes after being served. After lunch, we continued our drive before finally making it to our long awaited destination of Croatia! We immediately jumped into the water at our campsite (yes our campsite is on the water) before dining on burgers, salads, soups, and crepes for dinner! We are so excited to see what the Croatian coast is all about and look forward to sharing it with y’all in a few days. Bye for now!
Parker and Woods
July 7, 2023
Hello again from the gorgeous Julian Alps of Slovenia!! We just finished our four wonderful and fabulous days of trekking. Triglav National Park could not have been more beautiful throughout our 4 days! We departed from the Lake Bohinj region on Tuesday morning and headed to the trail head. We began our journey up into the mountains with an ascent. Hiking uphill all day, the group excitedly played rounds and rounds of trail games, consisting of many different rules and genres. These always get everyone laughing on the trail, distracted from the challenge of going uphill. Woods taught Grant and the girls, who were taking up the front of the pack, a movie guessing game. Grant loved it so much he switched to the back to teach the rest of the boys and challenge their movie knowledge. It was a group wide hit! Once we finally arrived at our hostel, an adorable mountain hut with incredible views, the group was excited to lay down in the grass in anticipation for lunch. On the other hand, Ellie, who apparently never gets tired, challenged our guide Jaka to keep up with her workout routine. While the rest of were still catching our breaths from all that uphill, Ellie was doing a full body HIIT workout. After lunch, we ventured down a trail to explore WW1 ruins and sip on hot cocoa to reward ourselves after a long day’s hike. Later after feasting on barley stew, Lilly entertained the group by playing the card game “Spoons,” but instead of using spoons, they creatively and resourcefully used the hostel’s slippers. As we finished Moonup, a storm began to roll in. Reid had the wonderful idea to stay and watch, as lightening lit up the mountains in the distance making for a great light show! It almost reminded us of fireworks back home, and it was our very own, unique Slovenian style Fourth of July firework show.
The next morning, we dined on bread, cereal, and eggs, before beginning our trek up to the ridge. Carly and Cooper, our impeccable L.O.D.s, guided our group up the rocky ridge to a 360 view of the Slovenian and Italian alps. This hike became a group favorite because of their communication with one another, checking in on the group and facilitating water breaks and rests. When we finally made it to the top, we were astonished at the unbeatable views. We enjoyed our lunch admits the cool breeze and grassy hills. Mary Louise, excited to photograph everyone after such an accomplishment, had her camera out all of lunch to take photos of the group so that this moment could last forever. When we finally made it back down to the hut, we rested and enjoyed ice cream on the porch. Next, a couple of the girls joined us for what we like to call “Riddle Fun with Woods and Parker,” where Woods tells his world-famous albatross soup riddle. Sheldon was particularly invested in solving the answer and asked all the right questions, leading the group to victory! After dinner, we met some fellow hikers from France. Corbitt was quick to jump into conversation with them, practicing her French skills she learned back home. Our French friends were just as impressed as we were! That night after a long day, the group begged Phoebe to read them a chapter of her juicy sounding book. Before we knew it, the group fell fast asleep listening to Phoebe read Chapter 1 of her romance drama. The group, especially the boys, have since then begged her to read more as they are hooked!
The next day, we said bye to our hut that had been home for the past 2 nights, and began our third day of trekking. We got to explore bunkers built between WW1 and WW2. Ryder was eager to explore these bunkers and asked questions to our guides about their origin, use, and history. We were taken aback by his immense knowledge and love of history! After making it to our second hut, nestled on farmlands, we relaxed by a protected lake in Slovenia, Lake Krn. Julian, hearing about a special underground bunker, asked our guide, Alesh, to take him down. After climbing back up, he came running over to us showing us the videos on his GoPro of the amazing treasures beneath the surface. After dinner and Moonup, We fell fast asleep in our humble abode thinking of our fourth and final day of trekking to come.
The next morning, we fueled up on cereals, eggs, and bread, a clearly traditional breakfast in the Slovenian mountains, before beginning our descent down. We happily danced and sang our way down to all sorts of songs, before finally arriving at the trail head, the marker of the end of our trek. We rewarded ourselves with much needed chocolate crepes before saying goodbye to the mountains and heading to the Soca River Valley. We settled into our campsite here, excited for our glamorous camping experience, or what we like to call “glamping.” This is where you have fancy tents with beds! We then ventured into the town of Bovec where we grabbed ice cream and explored a local market. Of course everyone was eager to try Slovenian snacks and treats! After dinner, the group played all sorts of campsite games consisting of volleyball, archery, soccer, slack line, etc. Meanwhile, Caroline took over the ping pong table, challenging anyone who came near her! It was the perfect afternoon of relaxing fun after completing an accomplishing and amazing four day trek! We are so excited to explore the Soca Valley region these next few days. We will talk to y’all soon!!!!
Parker and Woods
Grant – hey parents, having fun hiking and having a good time eating the Slovenian food, and the people. The people on our trip are very cool, love ya’ll, tell Molly I miss her.
Mary Louise – hey family(and yurt)! having the best time ever in the most beautiful place. can’t wait to see you and tell you all about it.
Phoebe – hi mom and dad!! having such an outstanding time trekking and trying lots of Slovenian food, it’s so pretty here. Miss you and love you so much and can’t wait to see you both
Sheldon – hey guys im having such a great time in slovenia!! It is so pretty here and the trekking was amazing. I love and miss y’all so much!
Caroline – Hey guys!! I’m having so much fun in Slovenia! We just finished trekking and it’s so gorgeous here! Love y’all and miss y’all!!
Lilly – hi mom and dad! Slovenia is so much fun and we just finished the four day trekking. It was tiring but so much more fun than I thought, and I’m so excited for the rest. Love and miss you!
Reid – Hello Mom and Dad, we have made it to a fancy campsite where we’ll be for the next few days. We finished 4 days trekking today and I got lots of pictures along the way, love and miss y’all and Raleigh.
Ellie- Hi Mom and Dad! I am loving Slovenia so far; the hiking and views have been unbelievable and I have decided I want to move here. Also the coffee is amazing and we are definitely taking a family vacation here in the future!! Love, Ellie
Corbitt- hey fam! Just finished trekking. Also don’t worry, I’ve been having amazing coffee. Wish I could stay longer, Corb.
Julian- hey I’m having a lot of fun the mountains are the best I’ve ever seen and all of the ww1 places have been so cool to walk through, Julian.
Cooper – the trip has been something I will never forget. Not a single day has been boring or slow. We are constantly socializing and getting to know one another. Missing you guys lots.
Ryder – Hello. The trip so far has been great. We have finished our trek and saw lots of ruins and bunkers. I am being fed a diet of soup and bread. I am right at home. Tell everyone I love them, Ryder
Carly – Hey everyone!! Slovenia has been absolutely incredible and I have loved every minute. There have been so many great experiences and other memories that I can’t wait to share with all y’all! I miss you guys so so much and can’t wait to see you soon (but not too soon ahaha) Love y’all!
July 3, 2023
Hello from Slovenia!!!!! What a time we are having over here!! The group arrived at the Venice airport Saturday morning eager and excited for the two weeks that lay ahead. We hopped into the vans with our two INCREDIBLE guides, Alesh and Jaka, who will accompany us throughout our trip and headed to Slovenia! Despite being tired from the overnight flight, the group talked and talked throughout the drive. The whole time, Corbitt was reading all the road signs in both Italian and Slovenian trying to guess what they meant. Since then, she has continued to learn some Slovenian and practice with locals! After driving for a bit, we arrived in Kranjska Gora, a famous ski town in Slovenia. We had a delicious lunch of burgers, chicken sandwiches, and soups before continuing on to our mountain hostel. After settling into our hut, Julian immediately grabbed his hacky sack, a mini bean bag type toy, and headed outside. The other boys joined him for endless rounds of hacky sack where they perfected their skills underneath the gorgeous mountains. We then dined on pasta, soups, Slovenian sausage, and bread for dinner. Afterwards, we ventured down to a grassy spot to share our first Moonup. Moonup is a nightly ritual where we reflect about the day and connect with one another. It’s a combination of silly fun and deeper, serious conversations. Here, we presented the question to the group “why are you here on Moondance?” and were excited to learn that everyone is eager to make new friends and have once in a lifetime experiences!
After a much-needed night of sleep, we woke up the next morning to enjoy a delicious breakfast of meat, cheese, bread, and chocolate croissants. We then headed out for our first hike in the Spik Mountain Range, with the goal of reaching a lookout point where you can see Slovenia, Italy, and Austria all at once. Our Leaders of the Day, or L.O.D.s, Ryder and Ellie, helped guide us throughout our hike. Constantly checking in with one another and the group, they set the example as great first LODs. The hike was surrounded by some breathtaking views, which Reid was sure to capture on his camera. We’re all super impressed with his photography skills! After making it to the lookout, we were amazed at just how pretty it was. Next, we descended back down, where we then feasted on soups, pastas, and stews. Afterwards, we ventured on to Kranjska Gora to explore a local lakeside park. We took a polar plunge in the freezing snowmelt water and other tourists were impressed with our adventurous nature. Caroline spotted an ice cream stand nearby and others quickly followed her to snag some gelato. What a great idea she had as the gelato was amazing! After relaxing in the park, we continued on to tour the famous ski jump arena, where world records have been made. The group split up to explore the grounds and see what ski jumping was all about. Sheldon was amazed and intrigued by the whole concept of ski jumping! We laughed imagining our group trying to successfully land the jumps and Sheldon pointed out the crazy length of the skis they use. After finishing our exploration, we headed back for dinner to once again enjoy delicious food. We surprised the group with chocolate crepes for dessert, which was obviously needed after our long day. We then settled down for Moonup, where Grant told us about his plans to build a house made from diamonds. Intrigued by this concept, we got a good laugh at his creativity.
We woke up bright and early the next day to visit a waterfall that our AMAZING guides, Jaka and Alesh, recommended to us. The eight story falls were absolutely beautiful and breathtaking! Cooper, being his usual curious self, was especially interested in learning about how the waterfall formed, and learned from Jaka that the snowmelt from the tall mountains made its way down thousands of feet to form the raging waterfall.
Next, we drove to the incredible and famous Lake Bled! The water was bluer and clearer than anything we had ever seen. After stopping for a break, we made the most of the rainy weather and decided to swim in the lake! Lilly and Carly were eager to jump right in, sprinting off the dock and into the warm water! We felt so refreshed and rejuvenated, which was a much-needed surprise after a hard hike the day before.
The fun didn’t stop there! Afterwards, we made our way to an absolutely delicious pizza lunch in town. Mary Louise sat right next to the awe-inspiring chef preparing our Margherita and Caprese pizzas, and exclaimed just how impressed she was by his abilities to manage orders for our 15-person group! The food was second to none! After lunch, we surprised the kids with a quick stop at a market, where they could pick out snacks of their choosing. Phoebe was especially eager to try something new and got a local granola mix of strawberries and white chocolate that the whole group wanted to try!
Finally, we reached our destination: the lake town of Bohinj, where we will depart for our first day of trekking tomorrow. We settled into our lakeside hostel and explored a nearby park, getting some delicious gelato in the process. After a quick and spontaneous boat ride back home, we settled in for the night, getting some much-needed rest before embarking on our four day trek through the Julian Alps. Wish us luck and we will see you on the other side! Talk to y’all later!!
Parker and Woods
July 1, 2023
Hello Slovenia Families!
We heard from our leaders overnight and the group has landed safely in Slovenia with all of their luggage! 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!