July 29, 2023
We can’t believe this is the last update of the trip. Our time together has flow by way too fast. Our last few days were fantastic and we could not have asked for a better end to our time together!
We enjoyed getting to sleep in later than normal since we were all pretty exhausted from the mountains. We spent our day next to Lake Bohinj doing a few different activities. In the morning, we went climbing on this awesome rock face overlooking the beautiful lake. It was fun getting to see everyone try out the variety of challenging routes. We were proud of Caroline for making it all the way to the top even though she is not the biggest fan of heights. Sky was also a rockstar climber and flew up the route so quickly. After everyone climbed a few different times, it was time for lunch. We went to an Italian restaurant for lunch that had both excellent pizza and pasta. The entire table was silent for a few minutes when we got our food which you know is always a good sign. Sienna’s truffle pasta might have been the group favorite! In the afternoon, we rented some paddle boards and kayaks on the lake. Cate and Margaret successfully flipped everyone’s paddle board and had the most fun on the lake despite the chilly temperatures. Reita impressively attempted a headstand on a her paddle board which is a lot harder than it looks! After some fun on the lake, the boys hung out for a bit in their new favorite spot: the hostel game room. Cannon taught Sam to play pool while Matthew worked on trying to fix an old juke box. Later in the afternoon, we hopped back into the van to head to Kranjska Gora which would be our final place we stayed in the mountains. During the drive we obviously had to stop for some fun snacks and drinks at the supermarket. Everyone was excited to head back into the mountains and the views on our drive were spectacular! The mountain hut we stayed in is nestled beneath a 360 view of the mountains. We settled in for the night and enjoyed a yummy dinner meal at the hut. We could not wait to see more of this part of the Julian Alps the next day!
In the morning, we went on an awesome day hike to a summit. Now a true mountaineer after our past few days of trekking, Lucy crushed the uphill section at the beginning that would have seemed impossible a week ago. This group is so strong and completed the hike to the summit in record time! It also helped that we had perfect weather where the sun was out, but there was also a nice breeze. Cate and Walker were eager to reach the summit, and were the first in the group to reach the top. You could see the border intersection of Slovenia, Italy, and Austria from this spot. How cool is that?! For lunch we headed down into Kranjska Gora for lunch by a pretty lake. Sam and Cannon once again blew us away with their ability to devour any food put in front of them. They both ordered the “King Burger” which had two patties, lots of toppings and was the biggest burger any of us had ever seen. Sam was proud to announce that he had been in the “Clean Plate Club” for the entirety of the trip and was going to keep it that way until the end. We then spent an hour or two relaxing by the lake. Cate was the only brave one in the group to jump in while the rest of us laid out on the dock for an epic nap. It was incredible and the perfect way to spend the afternoon after a tiring hike and a filling lunch. Our last stop of the afternoon was to a dessert food truck in the ski resort area. There were a variety of pancakes and waffles to choose from such as Nutella strawberry, banana Nutella, cookie, snickers, and more. It is hard to describe how delicious these were, and it is safe to say they were the best dessert of the whole trip! After we had some chill time, took some showers, and had dinner back at the hut. We then made the short walk to the most epic Moonup spot of all time. The scenery around us looked fake and it was especially fun to be surprised by a bunch of sheep being at the top too! We watched a colorful sunset as we reflected back on our great day together.
On our final day, we started our journey to the capital of Slovenia: Ljubljana! We stopped for lunch in Lake Bled where we ate delicious pizza one last time and stopped for some homemade ice cream. Once making it to Ljubljana, it was time to say goodbye to our awesome guides Luka and Miha. Some tears were shed and we could not have imagined our past two weeks without them. They truly felt like a part of the group! It is special to know we now have two friends here in Slovenia. We spent the afternoon shopping and exploring the charming streets and shops of the city. The boys checked out the castle while the girls went shopping for a cute new outfit. We had our final banquet dinner at a burger place right along the river. It was the best last meal and we spent most of it laughing about memories from the past two weeks together. The night would not have been complete without gelato and Moonup one last time. What a perfect last day together!
We want to say a final thank you for sending your incredible sons and daughters on this trip with us. This is a group of smart, hilarious, caring, and bright individuals who have left a lasting impact on us as leaders. We feel so lucky to have gotten to spend the past 14 days with them! Thank you for giving them this opportunity. We hope it was the trip of a lifetime! We are so sad to say goodbye but are happy to have 10 new friends who we look forward to staying in touch with. Slovenia truly is a hidden gem, and we loved every second we got to spend exploring its beauty. Thank you again. We are wishing them all the best in this year to come. We love you, SLO 3B!
James and Walker
July 26, 2023
What a time we had in the mountains! We were able to explore the Julian alps of Slovenia, seeing breathtaking views, old war bunkers, dined on some delicious alpine food, and even celebrated a birthday.
Our first day trekking was an uphill day, and while we kept getting higher up, spirits kept going higher as well. It was four miles of singing, laughing, and the occasional “WHOOP WHOOP!” We reached our hut, Krnski hut, in record time, and guess who we ran into? The Slovenia A Moondance group! Or SLOA as we call them. Lucy immediately gave her old leader a hug and they began making introductions. We then ate some delicious spaghetti with even more delicious apple strudel for dessert. Pretty soon after, all the girls that weren’t taking advantage of the nap time were all hanging out like old friends while Matthew and Cannon got into some intense games of hacky sack with some of the boys from the other trip. After a little down time, we decided that we should go check out Krn Lake. What a lake it is! Up to thirty meters deep, and 3 times as long and twice as wide, sitting at the base of Mt. Krn left all of us speechless. Reita gave the group a well needed rock skipping lesson, while Margaret and Sienna were organizing pictures on top of a rock with a beautiful back drop of the lake. After a while hanging out by the lake, it was time to go back and grab some dinner. We were again treated to a delicious meal, and quickly headed off to another, closer lake for Moonup in order to beat the rain. We had a great Moonup led by Sky and Matthew, who delivered an amazing nug jug story to start us off with a great laugh. At the end of Moonup, Cate had the idea that we should howl like wolves to end the Moonup, and we howled like wolves we did. What a great first day in the mountains!
We awoke the next morning later than we had been, and we woke up refreshed and ready to hike! Caroline led the charge out of camp on the way to our first stop of the day: the cheese farm. She was also the first to try some of the cheese offered to us. There were so many animals at the farm. Sam was throwing the ball to the dog, Cannon and Caroline were playing with Peppa the pig, and Reita and Sky were trying to get close enough to the cows for a cool picture. The rest of the hike was beautiful, and full of history. We were right on the front lines of the First World War and were able to come across some old bunkers and base camps. Before one particular bunker, James seemed to disappear, and no one knew where he was. When the group was walking through the subterranean tunnels, he jumped out and was able to give everyone a good scare. The group was able to share another good laugh together and finish exploring the caverns before chilling in the sun and enjoying some good snacks. After some good relaxing it was time to finish up the hike and get to lunch. At our next hut, Dom na Komni, we were treated to some delicious stew that Matthew claimed was the best stew he’d ever had, and it would be a lie if I said I disagreed with him. After lunch we decided that we should go check out some more army barracks, and so that’s what we did. We arrived at the barracks and the boys quickly ran up to the officers’ quarters where they discovered a heart made of bricks. The group took some good pictures there and talked about what it must’ve been like when it was in action. After hanging out at the old barracks for a while it was time to head back for some more delicious alpine food. Sausage and French fries waited on us, with you guessed it, more strudel for dessert.
Happy Birthday Matthew!!!! July 24th was Matthew’s birthday! And what a day it was. We started off the morning with a hike to a cool ridge nearby. It was nice to have a day hike with lighter packs than the past two days and the group was pumped for another day in the mountains AND a birthday celebration. We soaked up our time outside by going on a hike up to the ridge before the afternoon rain rolled in. We were able to get a great view of the Triglav valley and take some cool jumping pictures. When the thunder showers rolled in, it became a little gloomy, but the group was able to hunker down in the hostel, watch the storm and play some card games. Tarock was obviously played by the boys, where Matthew, in his birthday luck was able to pull out an impressive victory over Cannon, while Margaret led the girls in a spit card game tournament. Cards were played and books were read while we waited out the storm, but eventually the storm came to an end, and it was time to stretch our legs. Walker led the group to grab some tea at a nearby hut. This hut actually used to be army barracks on the old Italian border where Earnest Hemingway was stationed during the First World War. Such a history rich area! While the rest of the group was away, Sky and James set up a birthday party for Matthew back at Dom na Komni. Upon their return, the group sang him happy birthday and watched him accept his presents of chips, chocolate, coke, a card, and a t-shirt from the hut! We then had some cake brought out with candles that read 16, and Matthew was able to blow them out and make his birthday wish. We capped off the night with the sharing of favorite card games such as James Bond, Capitalism, and Spite and Malice that kept the group at each other’s throats until they had to basically kick us out of the common room. What a birthday filled with card games and fun surprises!
After sleeping through a pretty hard storm, the group had to hunker down again in the morning before heading down to Lake Bohinj. Good thing watching these crazy storms doesn’t get boring very easily. Caroline and Lucy were watching the storm out of the window like they were watching tv. It was very cool to see, but we were thankful we weren’t hiking in it. The cards were on the table again, and Sky was beating everyone in all their favorite games. Eventually the rain cleared up, and we headed down to our new home in Bohinj. Almost as soon as we arrived it was a race to the showers (much needed too). After the gang got all cleaned up, we checked out the game room, and found that there would be plenty for us to do after dinner. We went to dinner at a burger spot that Sam and Cannon said was the best they’ve ever had and actually ended up ordering another burger!
We are really going to miss the time we spent in the mountains, no matter how good the hot showers feel! The mountains are truly a special place: we all go in as friends, and come out with a bond that is stronger than any of us could have possibly thought. This group is so great, and I know that everyone will remain friends well after the summer.
From Slovenia with love,
James and Walker
July 22, 2023
Hello from Slovenia!
We are back and so excited to give you guys an update about our past few days. They have been SO awesome and we enjoying every second of seeing what the Soča Valley had to offer!
We started off with a travel day from Croatia to Slovenia (where we will now be for the rest of the trip!). We stopped along the way in this beautiful region of Slovenia for a cooking class. Surrounded by vineyards and pretty flowers, the setting of the class was spectacular! Once everyone had their aprons on, we split up into different food prepping tasks and it was time to get going in the kitchen. Sienna, Cate, Sam, and Matthew all helped chop fresh vegetables for the vegetable soup and main dish. Reita and Caroline made homemade pasta from scratch. Cannon was in charge of peeling the potatoes and cooking the turkey. Finally, Margaret, Lucy, and Sky made the delicious apple pie for dessert! The entire four course meal was fantastic. It was fun to eat all together overlooking the vineyards, drinking some fresh apple juice, and finally getting to be in Slovenia! We continued our drive and had to stop on the way to go swimming at a super cool spot. The water was a crystal-clear blue and there was an old stone arch bridge going across the river. It was nice to relax, jump off some rocks, and breathe in the fresh mountain air! We were definitely ready for some cooler temperatures after the heat in Croatia. We finally made it to our fancy glamping campsite in the Soča Valley and devoured our first meal cooked by the amazing chef George. We could not wait to settle into our tents for the night and get some much needed rest after a busy and fun day! Once again, we were so excited to all be together and off on our adventure.
The next day, it was time for rafting! Everyone was fired up and ready to go once we put on our snazzy wetsuits. As we got onto the river, Sienna’s mouth dropped at the scenery around us. Giant mountains, mossy rocks, trees lining the riverbank, and water that looked like blue Gatorade. We all agreed this was the best comparison we could make to describe the unique color. We had fun plotting sneak attack splashing fights with both of the rafts and no one was safe when it came to James pushing people into the water. We stopped along the way to penguin slide which is basically a raft flipped upside down against a rock. The possibilities are endless for how you could chose to go off of this slide and this group got super creative. Margaret blew us away with her perfect execution of a front flip and everyone slide down at least twice. After going down some technical rapids, we stopped at a big jumping rock. This group loves an adrenaline rush, so this was exciting. Cate and Sky quickly scrambled to the top and jumped off with the biggest smiles on their faces. We then headed back to camp for some lunch and time to relax. In the afternoon, we went to an awesome waterfall close by. Despite the freezing temperatures, we all jumped in and everyone’s faces were priceless. Caroline caught her whole entire reaction on the GoPro and that is going to be a fun video to watch. On the van ride back, Reita got everyone to sing at the top of their lungs to some Taylor Swift (a favorite artist of the group I’m learning). For dinner, our guides Luka and Miha organized a traditional Slovenian barbecue with different meats and a fresh salad. Everyone helped out and it was so fun to watch it all come together! Sam, Matthew, and Cannon were learning all the tips and tricks on the grill. Meanwhile, the rest of the group chopped up the salad ingredients and grilled vegetables. The food tasted great, but of course there was still room left for dessert. S’mores!!! The perfect way to finish off a fun night around a fire.
For our final day in the Soča Valley, we went canyoneering! This was a blast and most people’s favorite part of the trip so far. Since it had rained the night before, the water was higher than normal which made it 10x more fun when you were walking, jumping, and sliding down all the rocks. The canyon itself is beautiful and the energy was high throughout the entirety of our canyoning adventure. Lucy led the pack by being the first person down every slide and the first to jump off our highest jump of the day! Her fearlessness was contagious and everyone was ready to go after her. By the end, we were full on ninjas who did not blink twice when asked to go Superman style down a rock slide. Once back at camp, the group was excited to relax after a fun, but tiring morning. Matthew and Cannon taught everyone a super competitive ping pong game called Around the World. Meanwhile, Margaret enjoyed a nap in the hammock where she somehow stayed asleep even while being upside down. In the afternoon, we went into the town of Bovec for some shopping and ice cream. After, we made one more stop at the supermarket for some candy and snacks. This was the perfect way to spend the afternoon as some more rain showers came through. We had our last Moonup a short walk away along the Soča River at a place called Narnia. It is breathtaking and named this because part of the movie was filmed there! It was cool to see this spot and had a great view of the mountains we would be starting our trek into in the morning. We went to sleep all packed up and ready to go!
This is such an awesome group who got so close to one another in less than a day. It seems like everyone is constantly laughing or coming up with a fun game that everyone can be a part of. The positive energy is contagious and we appreciate their excitement for the big and the little things each day. We are so excited to get into the mountains and are looking forward to the incredible views that will be waiting for us there. We know the Julian Alps are going to blow them away! Before we head into the mountains, here is a quick shoutout from each person:
Reita – Hey Mom & Dad! Thx so much for sending me to Slovenia. It is so fun and the views are gorgeous (mom u would love them). Rafting was super fun especially canyoning. We got to do these sick jumps and swim in these magical swimming holes that were freezing (real life ice box). Wish u were here!!! Luv u guys <3
Sky – Hi Mom and Dad, miss yall. Slovenia is so cool! Tell Soleil I missed her and can’t wait to see her. The views here are incredible. See you in a week.
Sienna – Hey family! Slovenia is incredible!!! The views are beautiful and the water is SO blue. I miss and love y’all ;))
Margaret – Hey y’all! Slovenia is so beautiful the views have been amazing and the water is super clear. It’s been super sick see y’all in like a week!
Caroline – Hey family!! I’m having the best time in Slovenia! It’s so beautiful, and I’ve had the best time so far!! I miss and can’t wait to see y’all! Love you!
Sam – Hi guys, I miss you very much and I can’t wait to see you guys. Thank you so much for sending me on this amazing trip, I’ve made so many new friends and had so many great experiences. Please just send grandpa or just only one of y’all to the airport, please. See you guys in a week, I love you!
Cate – Hey y’all! I have had the best time ever in Slovenia!! The views are amazing and everything has been soo fun! Thank you so much for this opportunity, I miss y’all and will see you soon!
Cannon – Hey mom and dad! I’ve been having so much fun here and it’s absolutely beautiful here! The things that we are doing on this trip are absolutely incredible and nothing I’ve ever done before. Can’t wait to tell you all about it when the next adventure comes! Love you
Lucy – Hey y’all!! I am having the best time and Slovenia is incredible! Thank you so much for sending me on this trip! Miss and love y’all tell Tuck and Henry I say hi:))
Matthew – I hope everyone at home is doing well, I am having a great time and I will have to make sure to get all the pictures from all the professional cameras. Can’t wait to see you in a week, hope you’re not having too much fun without me.
James and Walker
July 19, 2023
Greetings from Slovenia! We are finally all together and ready to explore this beautiful region of the world. First of all, a special shout-out to all the parents that had to deal with rebooking flights and getting your kid to us in one piece. Thank you for all y’all’s extra effort, we really appreciate it.
With all the flight cancellations, the group came together in waves. The first wave that we had the pleasure of meeting was Cate, Caroline, Matthew, and Sam. They headed to Croatia with Walker as soon as they landed to swim and goof around until they could meet the rest. The second wave: Margaret, Lucy, and Sienna, left Venice with James and stopped for a beautiful sunset seafood dinner in Koper. The food was so fresh and delicious, and sitting on a pier created the best atmosphere for it.
The next morning, we awoke with high spirits and anticipation to meet the final wave. The crowd in Croatia said goodbye to Walker, who traveled back to Venice to pick up Sky, Cannon, and Reita. Then we headed off to our first adventure of the trip: sea kayaking! With such high temperatures it was nice to be on the water; we jumped out of the kayaks multiple times to cool off. After paddling for a cool 2 miles, we arrived to the end of the peninsula and the cave that we were going to check out. When our guide briefed us that we would have to swim under a rock for a little bit, the faces were those of concern, but that didn’t stop Cate from being the first one to swim under said rock into the cave. When she popped up on the other side, I swear her jaw hit the bottom of the Adriatic. The crew all got into the cave, and with the addition of the water being, “the clearest water I’ve ever seen,” according to Caroline, it was one of the coolest things we’ve ever seen.
After we left the cave, our time at the end of peninsula was not over: it was time to feed the fish. Our guide brought out some bread and the fish were all around us almost immediately. We were all feeding them out of our hands with our faces underwater watching them wrestle for the bread we were holding, but while underwater we saw Sienna underwater with some bread hanging out of her mouth. When we asked her what she was doing, she matter of factly replied, “I’m feeding them out of my mouth, duh,” which sparked some good laughter from everyone there. There was also a big rock here that we were able to jump off of. There were two options on this rock: the short jump and the big jump. The presentation of the short jump caused Sam to laugh and say, “we’re not doing that,” as he began climbing up to the tall one. The group was short to follow and everyone jumped off a couple times. And while we were hanging out here, Margaret was able to pet a bird that had swam up next to us. The guide, who grew up there was shocked: he had never seen that kind of bird so close to people. You know it’s a rare occurrence when the local pulls out his phone to video the feat. On our way back to get to lunch, our competitive spirits broke out and we had a little race during the second half. Cate and Lucy ended up taking home the gold with a good push towards the end.
It was then time to grab some lunch from a delicious farm to table restaurant. The popular dishes that we ordered were the homemade pasta with skampi, and the homemade pasta with goulash. Both were a hit as everyone joined the clean plate club, as well as finishing out both baskets of freshly baked bread by dipping it in the homemade olive oil. What a meal! Then we figured that we should probably do some more cliff jumping. This new jumping spot was remarkably higher, and had more of the group second guessing themselves. However, after Cate jumped and we all heard her yells of excitement from the bottom, we were all short to go thereafter. Matthew was a little more nervous, but after some responsible and well-supervised peer pressure, he jumped not once, but twice. After we wrapped up our final jumps, it was time to head to camp and wait for the rest of the group.
Walker picked up the rest of the group, and they had a great ride down. The final three were singing and dancing the entire way to Croatia, with only a break to eat in Koper. There, they were able to enjoy some delicious pizza, and gelato that Sky described as “the best ice cream she’d ever had.” However, the gelato was not enough to cool off in the heat, but thank goodness there was a mist tunnel that, even though you’re supposed to just walk through it, we basked in for just long enough to let the people behind us tell us to move along. After such a fun ride down, they were finally united with the rest of the crew! And it didn’t take but five minutes for them to change into their bathing suits and join the rest of group in the water. Matthew and Sam easily welcomed Cannon into their ranks completing the three boys of the group, or the “3 Musketeers,” as Cannon quickly referred to themselves as. Sky and Reita were also welcomed with warm embraces and warmer smiles. The group instantly got along so well, and we could see the friendships already being made, especially through the 237 hit ping pong rally between Cannon and Reita.
We are so glad to finally have the group all together!! This is a special group, and we are so excited to share this unbelievable experience with each and every one of them. We will touch base again from the Soča Valley!
From Slovenia with love,
James and Walker
July 18, 2023
Hello Slovenia Families!
We heard from our leaders overnight and the group has landed safely in Venice with all of their luggage and are headed to Slovenia! 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!