Tuesday, April 28, 2015


I want to start this post by giving a big 23rd birthday shout out to my favorite (only) brother, Ryan. This is the first time I haven't been able to celebrate your birthday with you. I hate so badly that I wasn't able to go to the Reds game on Sunday with you, Meghan, Mamaw, Papaw, Bob, Kiki, Dad and Rose. I know you all had a great time and Bob reassured me that it was only because I was there in spirit ;). No, but seriously, I love you and hope you had a great day and can't wait to celebrate with you at the Shania Twain concert in August. I love you, bubby. 

So, our next adventure began on Thursday evening. Debra, Tina and I took off to the train station to meet the Bus2Alps group for our trip to Croatia. Christine was supposed to join us but unfortunately, she had a last minute class scheduled and had to stay back to do work. And our other girls, Megan and Christine O'Keeffe headed to Munich, Germany for Springfest. So we had to go our separate ways for a couple of days and we all missed each other, but we all had a good time. 

Debra and Tina and I took our 12 hour overnight bus ride to Croatia and arrived at our hostel in Split at about 9am Friday morning. I walked into the bathroom in our hostel and the first thing I see sitting on the sink is a bottle of soap named Carli. HOW COOL THAT I'M NAMED AFTER CROATIAN SOAP?!

The weather was cloudy and chilly but we still enjoyed the day. We started with walking around the city, going through the markets and tried to figure out our way around the center. At 3pm we went on a walking tour of the city which is always a must when visiting new cities. She took us around the palace and shared some history about the town. Deb was mostly interested in the Game of Thrones connections that the city has (which I know nothing about). After our walking tour, the sun started to come out so we got some dinner at a local spot near the water. The currency in Croatia is Kunas and is a lot cheaper than using Euros. Our dinner cost us about 150 kunas combined, which is only 20 euros. We were pretty happy about this considering everything in Italy is so much more expensive. 

One of the tour guides from Bus2Alps had told us about a spot along the water where you could watch the sunset. We started walking and found the signs that led to the spot. We walked up a few stairs and came to this gorgeous view of the city of Split with the water and the mountains. Thinking we had found the place they were talking about, we ran into some Americans who kept running past the place where we were. We asked them how much further the view was and they weren't sure so we just kept walking. The sun was about 30 minutes from setting so we figured we had plenty of time. After we had walked up a ton of stairs, we started to wonder if we would make it in time. We asked someone how much longer it would take and he estimated about 6 minutes. Well, I don't know if he ran up those stairs or what, but we had over 300 more stairs to climb and it took us a little more than 6 minutes. Almost ready to turn around, we continued walking up since we had already come so far. And it was so worth every bit of it. We were all so glad that we didn't turn around because that place was incredible. At the top of the stairs stood a giant cross in front of the most gorgeous view of the mountains and the sun setting over the water. Just before getting there it had hit me that it had already been a week since we lost Jon and as soon as I saw that cross, he was the first person I thought of. I couldn't believe it had already been a week since that awful day, but I know he would be living every day to the fullest and would want me to do the same.

That night, we went out around the city center and had a good time with all of the other study abroad students. 

The next day we were scheduled to go kayaking. We met where everyone was supposed to meet and we found out that we were the only ones who still wanted to go. The weather was perfect. It was sunny and 70 the whole day. The bus driver took us to the shore where we met our guides and two other women who were vacationing in Croatia from Colorado. The guides took us on about a 3 hour ride where we stopped a couple times along the way on some small beaches to look around and get some pictures. The water was too cold so we didn't swim, but it was the most beautiful thing I have ever done in my life. Debra couldn't quite get the hang of paddling but she hung in there and still enjoyed the whole experience. Since we were an odd number, I rode with one of the guides. She was so so sweet. She spoke pretty good English but only spoke it better than she understood it so I didn't do most of the talking. But, riding with her was so enjoyable because as we rode along she was able to point out things to me and tell me more about the area. She also told me how she wakes up every morning and swims 2km and in her free time volunteers to help animals. Loved her. 

After we got back from Kayaking, we were in the center of the city and since it was a Saturday, a bunch of things were happening in the streets. Debra said she smelled funnel cakes and I immediately went on a hunt for them. As Bob and Kiki know, funnel cakes are my WEAKNESS. I LOVE THEM. So we walked over and find out that its not a funnel cake, they are funnel balls covered in sugar, cinnamon and Nutella. We all fell in love. As we sat and ate these funnel cake balls, looking at the Adriadtic Sea, after getting back from Kayaking in 70 degrees and sunny weather, we decided that that moment was easily top 3 best moments of our lives. 

That evening, we were scheduled to take a bus to another island to get some dinner and see the area. Unfortunately not enough people wanted to go so we just stayed around Split. Although we wanted to go see something different, we still had an amazing evening. We were craving good seafood so we walked around and tried to find a good seafood restaurant. We found the cutest empty restaurant and had the best food that we had had all weekend (minus the funnel cake balls). We all had steak with salmon and shrimp and it was to die for. That Saturday in Croatia was one of the best days of my life. 

Sunday morning, we got up early to head to see the waterfalls of Krka National Park. This park was on our way home so we drove about an hour to the waterfalls and then from there took the rest of the 11 hours home. The waterfalls were absolutely beautiful. We would've loved to have been able to swim in them, but unfortunately it was still too cold. But, it was still so worth visiting. 

Croatia was yet again, another trip that did not disappoint. We wish Christine could have been with us, but we had an amazing time. I am so lucky to have these amazing girls in my life and to share these experiences with.

 "Let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them that those who fear your name may rejoice in you." Psalm 5:11


  1. Loved reading about Croatia and once again, your pics are amazing and soooo professional! Thanks so much for taking the time to journal...so we can get a glimpse of the wonderful experiences you are having! Love you:)

  2. In studying about the Balkans I have read about the beauty of the Adriatic in the area in and around Split. Carli your wonder commentary and those marvelous photos confirm it!