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    • Day34

      Vela Luka, Croatia

      July 3 in Croatia ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

      Travel was brutal! Let me start by saying this trip was thought out and planned around the idea of our primary mode of transportation being the train systems and our feet, so we knew we would face some challenges along the way.

      The day started with us running behind schedule and possibly being late to the train. Seth carried Mabel and our biggest bag. Addy led the way with all her spunk. Demi and I carried the other bags. We ended up arriving with seven minutes to spare. Then, the train ended up being 25 minutes late. At least we got our morning exercise in and built a little grit. With the extra time Seth ran and grabbed fresh croissants.

      We added a kid's sized bag for the girls to take turns carrying while in Erlangen. We are now a three bag family. They begged us for one. We now put their drawing supplies, tiny train toys and hiking water pouch in it. I hope we don't spoil them.

      The Eurorail system that we have used in Croatia has been found lacking compared to the rest of Europe. Come to find out the region called the Balkans, which includes Croatia and other southeastern countries, is known for unreliable trains with irregular quality. We were on a train for six hours with seats facing a wall, instead of seats facing each other with a table in the center. No private cabin this time, so we had to keep kiddos normal quiet- ish. Our girls have started to say they prefer first class (which sounds snooty but it is usually so much cleaner and more spacious), but here this was first class. The off duty train conductor had a little compartment to rest in near us and smoked several times over the six hours. Demi and I were desperate for fresh air, but I'm sensitive to smoke. No one else seemed to mind. On the bright side, all the smoking we have encountered in Europe has caused the kids to ask lots of questions about cigarettes. The packs here show damage to all types of body parts, so hopefully they will be detoured from smoking for life.

      The kids survived the trip on candy, cookies, bananas and pre-downloaded shows. This train had limited food, poor air conditioning, no wifi and no power outlets. Someone on the train mentioned the trains in Africa offer more amenities, which made me laugh. Now we know that quality and amenities vary drastically from country to country and we will be more prepared with extra snacks and such for the next time. Live and learn people. Live and learn. And as I say "nobody died," meaning we are all ok despite the challenge/issue.

      After the late train, we needed to ferry to the island. We scheduled an hour between and cut it close. It was nice, clean and comfy with air conditioning! It was nearly three hours long and lulled two out of three little girls to sleep. It also offered nice views for us along the way. We finally got to Vela Luka island in Croatia after 10 hours of travel. Phew!

      Now, for the half hour walk. Some luck, our host saw us walking and offered our bags, myself and the girls a ride. Thankful for that. Seth was left walking or jogging, but without a backpack and a Mabel. The girls were a little concerned about leaving him behind, but he caught up pretty soon. Enough about it crazy travel, for now.

      It was almost Texas hot when we arrived with some humidity and mosquitoes. I guess God wanted us to feel at home here. Haha! The apartment has air conditioning. I'll take it and it works well. However, we mainly use it for sleeping and the evenings on the balcony with the cool sea breeze are really nice.

      Everyone slept hard and late our first morning in Vela Luka, except me. I love the mornings and we had a nice large balcony that has an incredible view of the hills/mountains - not sure the correct term for them, but they would be intense to climb. I woke early to drink coffee, work out, read and get groceries before anyone woke up. The walk along the water to get groceries was quite peaceful! Quiet and efficient morning!

      After everyone woke up, we got ready for our first beach day and oh my goodness the water is legit crystal clear here! The beaches here have smooth pebbles and rocks with basically no sand, which means as you walk through the water it remains clean and clear. It is recommended you wear water shoes because sea urchins move around on the sea floor and hurt to step on. We saw lots of sea urchins and were thankful we had shoes and vigilant young eyes.

      This beach has just been perfect for our girls! Mabel can play safely with plenty of shallow water and minimal waves. Also, fun for the bigs since they can go out so far and still see to the Adriatic Sea floor (the Croatians really pride themselves in the fact that it's a sea). I have never seen water this beautiful in my life! No filters, it is just that beautiful all on its own.

      Doing mostly regular life here. You know... getting in some school, eating oatmeal for breakfast, playing restaurant in the kitchen, cleaning snail shells with squirt guns and beaching most days with Chef Blancks cooking up some fish for us for dinner. It's a "hard knock life." The front balcony that overlooks the mountains/ hills begs us to stay out as the sun sets and mosquitoes attack. The breeze and view are so enticing that it is worth the mosquitoes bites!

      When we pick places to stay we think about several things: budget goals to lengthen our travel, distance from train stations, and walking distance to the spots we stay in, as well as groceries, parks, site seeing and those six little legs that adventure with us. It takes quite some time to research and plan this out.

      We are here for the rest of the week. Seth needs to stop by the embassy back in Zagreb next week. Addy's birthday is coming up. We are struggling to plan more than a week in advance. It is time to find our next place, plan Addy's birthday and which direction to head next. We could head South or East with the heat and hectic train system or head North and West to cooler weather and trains that are more consistent.

      The adventure continues...
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      nice beach! (...especially with Demi on it 😊 )


      very cute swimming cozzy!


      What a romantic photo!

      Blanck Adventures

      no noise that morning, just still

      17 more comments
    • Day41

      Last Day in Vela Luka, Croatia

      July 10 in Croatia ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

      Last day on this gorgeous, quiet island! I wasn't sure about not staying in Split or another big name city in Croatia. I thought maybe we were missing out, but this island has been a real treasure. We safely walked everywhere and groceries were close by.

      The beauty of this place will stay forever etched in our minds. Pebbly beaches are now our preference to sandy. It is so much easier with kiddos.

      The home we stayed in was spacious, so quiet and with a great view. Although not my style, it served us well and the owner even brought us fresh baked cookies on the last day. The girls favorite snack here was these pickles. They were a cross between traditional dill and sweet, just barely sweetened. So funny that this was their choice of snack, hands down everytime.

      We beached one more time at our favorite spot. It had cooled down considerably, because of some rain that had come through. Only Addy was bold enough to dip all the way in the chilly water.

      The weather made us walk a little slower and take in the sites around us more. Seth and Demi found fresh fig trees and enjoyed a few. We stumbled upon old stone work on the mountain side, which we seemed to notice everywhere after that.

      We also took a new path home and braved the cooler temps in the water to catch sea urchins. We actually were caught off guard by a big wave and thankfully nobody stepped on one as they escaped the water. After we caught and held them, my dad sent me a picture of what a puncture wound from them looks like. Ouch!!! Glad I didn't see that beforehand.

      What a memorable time we had here on Vela Luka Island! Next we make a day trip to Split, then train back inland. It's gonna be a long stint of travel, which being real just makes everyone cranky. Trying to sike myself up with the words of my little Mabel, "I got this."
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      are they urchins?


      I can't believe she has it in her hand

      3 more comments
    • Day29

      🐠🐙🐛Zurück im Wasser 🐡🐬🐙

      June 4, 2021 in Croatia ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

      Das kleine Tauchbötchen tuckert aus dem Hafen mit Kurs auf die See.
      Türkises Wasser platscht an weiss-beige Felsen, die wie Platten ins Meer ragen. Nach kurzer Fahrt ankern wir auf einem kleinen Plateau. Der Tauchgang führt an einer Steilwand hinab in eine Höhle die von bunten Schwämmen und Korallen dicht bewachsen ist. Funkelnder Lichteinfall erhellt das Wasser, als ob ein Scheinwerfer eine Fisch-Show beleuchtet.

      Torsten beobachtet das Geschehen schnorchelnderweise von oben und winkt mir genüsslich zu😍
      Das kühle Wasser lässt es nicht zu noch länger zu bleiben, so beenden wir den Unterwasserbesuch und kehren in die "normale" Welt zurück.

      Mittags fahren wir los nach Vela Luka auf der Suche nach einer Gasflasche, oder Gasfüllung. Leider vergebens, denn deutsche Flaschen haben andere Anschlüsse... Willkommen in Europa... 🤦🏻‍♀️

      Die Nacht verbringen wir in der Nähe alleine auf einem Campingplatz unter Pinienbäumen. Wir hören Nachtigallen zwitschern und geniessen die Ruhe rund um uns herum.
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      Morgen fabienne du könntest auch ein Buch schreiben -Tage Buch von 2 verliebte [Ulrich]


      so ist es Ulrich ;-)))

    • Day4

      Fähre Vela Luka nach Split

      September 19, 2021 in Croatia ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

      Wenn Vogels reisen, gibt es immer etwas Besonderes zu berichten. Nach unserem etwas hektischen Mittagessen waren wir just-in-time am Wohnmobil, um auf die Fähre zu fahren. Wir laufen super pünktlich aus, gefolgt von einer weiteren Fähre. Plötzlich knarzt es ganz schrecklich im Maschinenraum, der Kapitän stoppt die Maschinen, setzt den Anker und dreht die Fähre einmal um sich selbst. Anker lichten, Anker setzen, Maschinen an, Maschinen stop. Hubsignale (mehrmals kurz nacheinander), die wir nicht zuordnen können. Eine halbe Drehung und wir rechnen schon ganz feste damit, wieder in den Hafen zurück gebracht zu werden. Heute soll keine Fähre mehr gehen.

      Doch dann setzt der Kapitän unsere Fahrt fort als sei nichts gewesen, wir haben Glück, das ganze Manöver dauert nur etwas mehr als eine halbe Stunde,. Vertrauenserweckend ist das nicht.
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    • Day28

      Wir haben einen neuen Taucher ☺️🐙

      June 3, 2021 in Croatia ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

      Zeitig kommen wir los zur Bucht von Triporte.
      Diesen Tipp haben wir bekommen auf der Suche nach einer Tauchschule. Das kristallkare Wasser zieht uns dermassen an, dass die Idee entstand, Torsten die Unterwasserwelt näher zu bringen und das in Form eines Schnuppertauchgangs.
      Gesagt, getan!
      Zeljan, der gemütliche Tauchlehrer erklärt Torsten die wichtigsten Punkte und schon geht’s los! Ich begleite die beiden und mache meinen ersten Tauchgang seit ca. 10 Jahren!
      Kaum geht mein Kopf Unterwasser fühle ich mich sofort wieder in meinem Element... ☺️🐳🐌

      Er blubbert die ersten paar Meter und macht es hervorragend. Vielleicht können wir in Teneriffa den Open Water Diver machen...
      Diese kleine Bucht mit 5 Häuser ist zugleich der Übernachtungsort, denn am nächsten Morgen möchten wir mit dem Tauchboot rausfahren, ich zum Tauchen, Torsten zum Schnorcheln.
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