Wednesday, August 19, 2009

We're Home! Blog to be Finished Soon!


Hi Everyone, just wanted to officially let you all know that we are back home in Hollister safe and sound! We had a fantastic trip, and we have every intention of completely updating the blog so you everyone will know how it all ended up! Until then, check out the few posts we were able to get up so far from Croatia, and be sure to check back in a few days! :)



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Sutivan Post #1

Hi All,

On Thursday, my mom's first cousin Vlado and his wife Dusica swung by Postira to pick up Matt, Kristina and I up to spend a day with them in another village on Brac where they have a house, a place called Sutivan. Sutivan is another beautiful little Croatian island town, very similar to Postira in many ways. We had a great time with them, and here are the pics to prove it! Thanks again Dusica and Vlado!

The first thing we did, of course, was hit up the beach! We found a beautiful little cove in Sutivan without too many people, and posted up. The shore, as is typical on Brac, was small pebbles, but about 25 feet from the shore in the water, the ground changed to sand, which was awesome combination because you could enjoy the sand without getting too dirty when it was time to get out of the water. We spent about five or so hours here, which is not too bad for Professional Chillers like us, just lounging around, swimming, and enjoying the warm Mediterranean sun. Here, in my best attempt at "art," you can see Kristina relaxing in the foreground, and Matt halfway in the water in the background. Not too shabby, huh?

In the afternoon, Vlado picked us up from the beach and brought us back to their beautiful little home. He then set to work, grilling a masterpiece of a meal for us the old Croatian way. No charcoal briquettes here, he used real wood! You can't see it in the picture, but his apron said "Master of the Grill." Although, I guess it doesn't really matter, since most of you probably couldn't understand it even if you could see it since it was in Croatian!

The five of us after another extremely appetizing, stomach-stretching meal! Vlado said we couldn't leave the table until everything was gone, and I'm proud to say that I was the one who saved us and allowed us to leave! :) Also, happy belated birthday to Dusica, who was ironically born on the same day as Kristina, August 14!

After the meal, we tried to burn off some calories by walking through the town center of Sutivan at dusk, which proved to be quite a beautiful sight! A local dance studio was giving a performance, so needless to say Kristina was thrilled, and we all enjoyed watching them do Thriller. Here's Kristina and Matt doing one of their favorite things in Croatia, and Vlado joining in: Eating Sladoled! So much for burning off some calories!

We had a great time in Sutivan with such wonderful people, and we are so happy that we got to go there during our short time in Croatia. Just another great place we'll have to visit again sometime soon! :)

Hope all is well at home!


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Postira Post #3

Hi Everyone,

We had such a great time in Postira hanging out by the sea and with family that all the days started to blend together a little bit, in the best sort of way! We pretty much lost track of the days, and time really didn't mean anything either, which is just the kind of laid back, relaxed vacation we were looking for. Kristina, Matt, and I effectively became what we liked to call "Professional Chillers," often comiserating about how hard life was when you had to hang out by the sea all day and come home to delicious, overflowing home-cooked meals. Really, people just don't understand what a tough life it is. :) Check out some more pics from Postira below!

So, a bit of scenery to show you just where we were. This is the small town of Postira, on the island of Brac, in the Adriatic Sea, on the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia (Wow, a mouthful!). In the pic, you can see the main harbor, and the waterfront bars, cafes, and homes/pensions behind. It is a small town (The whole island of Brac only has a population of 12,000 people), but that just adds to the allure of the place. It is stunning!

Although there are quite a few cars on the island (and thankfully not all of them Yugos anymore, which we have a funny story to tell you about at some point...), a lot of people get around on mopeds or scooters like this one my cousin Nena and Kristina are riding. They call them "Motors." This one belonged to Nena's boyfriend Toni, and he was kind enough to let her nearly kill all of us on it on zippy trips to the town center every day! JK! :)

Here we are again at the beach in Postira, only this time during the day! Actually, it took 2 or 3 days for us to get to the beach in the day time, leading Matt to initially assume that Croatians only go to the beach at night. He said he was tired of working on his moon tan. Here, my cousin Mirela and Matt are washing some fruit in the showers everyone uses to rinse off with fresh water after chilling out in the salty sea.

Every night, we were treated to fabulous home-cooked meals by my two amazing Great Aunts, Teta Ksenija and Teta Marija. The food was spectacular, every single night! Here, Kristina and I are sitting enjoying the evening with my Teta Ksenija and her husband, Barba Tonsi (Barba = Uncle), after a particularly scrumptuous meal of home-made gnocchi and pot roast! Gnocchi is a favorite of mine, and after having been dissapointed by the gnocchi I had at a restaurant in Italy, after this night I rememberd why I love it so much!Kristina and Matt had never tried it before, but it quickly became one of their favorites too, and they were definitely talking about it the rest of the week thereafter! Thank you so much Teta Ksenija, and Teta Marija too, for all the wonderful meals prepared with so much love!

The pics never seem to do it all justice, but more to come anyway! :)


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Postira Post $2

Hi Everyone,

Sorry for the delay in these posts! Part of what makes Croatia so awesome is that it is a little bit behind, like a step back to simpler times, and as such internet access was a lot harder to come by in the small village of Postira on the island of Brac. I'll also admit too that we were having such a wonderful time that we hardly touched the computer at all! We managed to pic a few of our favorite pics from Postira though, and we'll be putting them up over the next few posts. Enjoy!

If you can believe me, this was the view at sunset from our balcony in our little apartment in my great aunts' house in Postira. Not just one night, but every night! Look at the colors! You can easily see the beautiful Adriatic Sea, which we spent probably half of our trip swimming in! At one point, I remember Matt standing on the balcony, muttering sarcastically, "I can't believe I took a 20 hour train ride to come see this!"

The first night we arrived in Postira, the town where my Great Aunts (or Tetas in Croatian) live, we met up with Matt and my cousins Mirela, Ati, and Nena, and headed straight to the sea! I had never been in the water at night time before, and although it was a bit disconcerting at first, I ended up almost liking it better than during the day! We literally had the beach to ourselves! Unfortunately, Matt and I quickly realized that the only way we were going to fit with all the Speedos over here was to take matters into our own hands, as the picture shows. You may want to shield your eyes, that skin is pretty white, it may blind you if you look directly at it!

Kristina and Matt, chilling on the cement dock at the beach in Postira, with the Split Futbol team HAJDUK tagged behind them. It is hard to describe the experience of being at the beach on Brac, because it doesn't even compare to what we're used to in California. The water is CRYSTAL clear, as in you can see all the way to the bottom in deep water, even at night time if the moon is out! And it is just the right temperature to be refreshing, yet comfortable. Truly amazing!

We learned the hard way that if we were going to hang out with my Croatian cousins, we were going to have to step up our game! The first night we were there, after hitting the beach, we headed out to check out the night life of Postira. We ended up at one of the few bars along the harbor, "La Luna," and didn't make it home until 3 AM! Guess this isn't so crazy, but for us, it was definitely a change of pace! We had a great time though, and here you can see Kristina and I partying with all my Croatian cousins and some of their friends (Matt is taking the picture). Kristina ordered a Long Island, and the thing literally came in a vase, like for puttting flowers in! It was HUGE! And by her smile, you can tell she definitely enjoyed the whole thing! (Alright, I helped her out a bit too. ;) )

And so we had a great start to a great week in Postira! More pics to come!



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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Postira Post #1

Hello everyone!

We are now in Postira, Croatia, with some of my cousins and my Great Aunts, Teta Marija and Teta Ksenija (Teta means Aunt). Sorry we haven't really been able to update the blog, but there isn't really any internet here, and we haven't had time to write anything! So just a quick note to let you all know that we are okay!

Also, Kristina's brother Matt has joined us, safe and sound, after over 20 hours of train travel to get here! It's great to see him, and have his company, we are so happy!

Less than one week until we return home, and although we are having a wonderful time here, we are pretty much ready!

Hope all is well with all of you, and take care!


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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Bol Post #2

Hi Everyone!

Today we spent the whole day walking around, laying on the beach and swimming in the sea! All the relatives are so loving and fun to be around! Believe it or not one of the older men made fun of my eyes being squinty. Think he thought I was Asian and was very suprised when I said I was Portuguese and Italian! It made me laugh because he was talking in Croatian but Ry and I could tell what he was saying.

This is Ry at breakfast. We slept in past the breakfast with everyone else, but that didn't stop them from bringing us out a donut-like thingy, fresh rolls, cheese, salami, juice and some other lunch meat. It really is great and we are totally enjoying our time in Bol.

We found the K Market! I have no idea if they sell anything good, but saw the K and had to take a picture. The bus we took to Bol had K's on their hubcaps! I got totally jealous and almost stole them for my car! JK! Get it? J...K!

This is the town of Bol! It is so BEAUTIFUL and the water is amazingly clear! Ry and I were on a walk this morning and decided to both get in this shot, so we set up the camera with 10 seconds and suprisingly the picture turned out great!

Ry and I after our last swim in the sea of the day. And yes I think Ry's eyes just might be a tad squintier than mine, or at least one of them! We have been trying to get some color since we are two of the whitest people on the beach! Today we walked down to the nude side of the beach and turned around and walked right back! Oh my my my...things I didn't need to see!! Although I must say there is something freeing about being naked and not caring! I love it over here! There is no judgements! People of all shapes and sizes are either in a two piece, have no top on, completly naked or in a speedo! No one cares! It makes me wish that our society wasn't so focused on weight and what you look like! Makes me realize how shollow we are! Everyone is happy in Bol, and so excited for company and to eat! Whereas in the US, people are angry and counting calories; it's not like that over here. It is a breath of fresh air, so to say! I could definitely see Ry and I coming back here sometime soon and spending more time in Bol!

Tomorrow we are off to the other side of the island to a town called Postira, where we will meet up with more family and my brother Matt! I guess there will be no more naked tanning for me! haha! JK!!

It's hard not to LOVE it here! There are moments that Ry and I look at each other and just say sarcastically, "man this sucks!" . It really is sooo neat and the best trip and we are just loving life!!

Nighty night!


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Saturday, August 8, 2009

Bol Post #1

Hello Fam and Friends!

So I'm in Croatia with Ry and all his Croatian relatives. It's great too see where Ry's family roots are and it's fun when Ry remembers something from when he was here like 11 years ago.

Yup we are in Bol and the beach is AMAZING!! While walking towards the beach I saw this sign! Nudist Beach! So I had to take a picture by it! We didn't go to the nudist beach, but it was interesting on the beach we did go to seeing all the guys in speedos and the women topless. Wish our beaches were like that, a lot less tan lines! Let us just say that we tried our best to fit in! :)

So the entire beach is all covered in these little pebbles. It's way different than sand, but kind of nice. You don't get sand in places that you don't want sand! :) And believe it or not it doesn't really hurt to walk on or lay on.

This is Ry in front of the sea after a nice swim. The water is clear and we think it's just as nice as Hawaii! There are wind surfers and kite boarders! Looks so fun but you'd have to be so stong! It's sweet, they are going along and then they hit a wave and the kite catches air and they go so high! Fun to watch!!

Enjoying our Vacation together!! All done with the traveling portion of our trip and just ready to chill and hangout with relatives and as I'm realizing, "Yedi, Yedi!!!" Which means, "EAT, EAT!!" Only took one meal for us to learn to pace ourselves at the table! :) The Beach in Bol is sooo Beautiful! Hard not to fall in love with it!!

Hope all is well with all of you back at home! Mom, just wanted to let you know I'm still alive and doing great! Think I'm going to see Matt on Monday and so we will be together for my Birthday! Thanks for being the best mom and for having me! Sorry I was two weeks late, I was just marinating a little longer!

Love you!



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Croatia Post #1 - Super Travel Day Continued!

We are in Croatia! After two relatively hectic days of travelling via various buses, ferries, trains, and of course sidewalks, we arrived at or destination of Bol on the Croatian island of Brac at about 1:00 PM our time. Here's a few more pics from our journey!

This is Kristina and I just as our ferry was arriving at the port in Split, Croatia. We got a decent night sleep in our little cabin, and were ready to take on a new day in a new country!

Our ferry got in a bit earlier than we expected, but we were greeted very quickly by two of my mom's cousins here in Croatia, our saviours! This is Kristina sitting down briefly with one of them, my cousin Silvana, trying to figure out just how to get us from here to Bol on the island. Easier said than done! Many thanks to them, as we probably couldn't have done it ourselves!

We took another ferry from Split to the port town of Supetar on Brac, and then hopped on a bus to cross the island to our destination on the other side, Bol. This is our bus, and the ad on the back clearly shows why Bol was our destination: The most famous beach in Croatia, Zlatni Rat, which translates to something like, "The Golden Cape." It is an absolutely stunning peninsula of little pebbles that extends into the crystal clear Adriatic Sea! Just about a twenty minute walk from where we'd be staying!

Here's Kristina sitting at the bus stop in Bol, waiting patiently for another cousin to come find us and bring us to where we'd be staying for the next two days. All of my family over here has already been so wonderful, they truly are such generous and kind people, and we are so lucky to have them. Many thanks in advance to all my cousins in Croatia, and thanks to my mom for helping set up our trip here!

More to come on our first night in Bol! Hope everyone is well at home!



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Ancona Post #1 - Super Travel Day!

Hi All,

Well, we're finally just about caught up with the blog, although by the time we get this posted we probably won't be any more! :) As I write this, I'm laying in my "berth" in our three person cabin on our overnight ferry from Ancona, Italy to Split, Croatia. Luckily, there are only two people in this cabin: Kristina and I! Having just gotten over the whole hostel thing, we weren't exactly dying for another new roomate! Anyway, today has been the most involved day of travelling so far, but we've managed to snap a few photos of the experience, so enjoy below!

So when we say travel day, we really mean TRAVEL DAY! We've used almost every form of transportation (except air) today: foot, train, bus, wait in line, bus, then finally boat! In the pic, you can see me on the bus from where we checked into Blue Line Ferries at the Port of Ancona to where the ferry was docked, holding our tickets, and wearing my pack. Kristina and I spent pretty much all day in our packs today, definitely earning our trip and getting our moneys worth out of them now!

This is our boat, named, incidentally, the Ancona. It was quite an escapade to get onto the thing, but now that we're here, it's pretty cool! Definitely not as convenient travelling by boat as by plane, but kind of a neat experience, like a "mini cruise," as Kristina put it, only "without all the perks," as she made sure to add...

So Kristina and I JOINTLY decided tonight that we weren't going to have dinner at the overpriced restaurant on board, but instead would have our own little meal in our nice roomy cabin. Here you can see us sitting on Kristina's bed with our several-course meal: Peanut butter on Ritz crackers, off-brand Cheerios, a few Walnuts, and a bottle of Rome public water! I told Kristina that we were so lucky to be having our third romantic dinner in a row, and she just scoffed at me and said, "Uh huh, sure."

When the boat launched, we ventured outside to watch. The dusk had just fallen, the weather was perfect, and there was a large full moon over the water. This is us on the deck of the boat. Pretty cute huh, for a travel day at least!

Our ferry will arrive in Split at 10:30 AM local time tomorrow morning, at which point we'll be meeting up with my Croatian relatives. Our vacation in Croatia will have officially begun! :) A nice way to finish off our travels in Europe. We'll probably be a bit more out of touch in Croatia, but we'll try to keep you guys updated when we can here and there on the blog, assuming we can get us some internet! We'll do our best! Thanks for all the wonderful comments, and keep them coming, we love reading them!

Hope all is well at home, and looking forward to seeing you all soon! Take Care!


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Rome Post #7

Ancient Rome is super old. You might say it's super duper old! Rome was very neat and was such a fabulous learning experience. Oh wait! The one tour I was supposed go on, I nearly had a panic attack and had to leave! Good thing I listened in my Art History class at Gav. And better yet that I took it twice to better soak up all the info!

Ry took this picture and I didn't even know! I totally just found it when looking through all of our pictures and it made me laugh! So I thought I'd share it with you! Because we all know...When in Rome!

This is where Caesar was killed. Brutus was an honorable man... et tu Brute!?! Those are the only two things I remember learning about Casear in high school, from Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar. And now there are just a lot of cats here! I have no idea why... but I counted 15 cats and was so thrilled! :)

This is Ry in front of the Colosseum... Alright I hope you are all ready because I'm going to teach you something. that I remember from Art History the second time I took it! Ok, look at the the different levels. They actually all have different columns. All the tops are different: square, curly, and fancy. I know there are more educational names, and I forget what it symbolized, but I thought it was neat to see in real life and not just in a book! (Side note from Ry: Now you all know pretty much nothing more than you knew before! Way to go Kristina! ;) )

The inside was not like I had imagined it would be! Not sure what I had pictured in my head but it was different. Our methods to have someone take a picture has developed quite a bit over our trip. First, we find someone who is taking a picture of their friend and offer, "Would you like me to take a picture of you two...?" Then they say, "YES!" really happily, and then they offer back! We found it works out great. Another way we do it is by trying to take a bunch of pictures of ourselves reaching out with the camera in one of our arms until someone notices and offers to do it for us. And suprisingly, sometimes people do!

Well bye bye Rome and hello Croatia! Off another another travel day traveliest yet!


K :)

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Rome Post #6

After having checked out the Vatican yesterday, there was one more major stop in our Roman adventure: The ruins of Ancient Rome! Check out some of the pics below!

Considering the fact that Roman civilization existed TWO MILLENIA ago, it is amazing how much still remains intact. The Roman Forum, Colosseum, and ruins on Palatine Hill are some of the best examples of this. This picture shows me in front of a particularly well-preserved trio of Roman Columns in the Forurm. (Side note from K: Ry fell in love with these 3 columns because they were "well-perserved specimens" in his words! haha!! Although he won't admit to it!)

Palatine Hill is a site adjacent to the Colosseum and the Forum where a lot of Roman Palaces, etc. once existed, which are now left as ruins. Here's Kristina, with a little Captain in her (reference to the now infamous Captain Morgan Rum stance in case you're confused), only with the top of a marble column rather than a keg of Rum! (Side note from K: I'm soo cool!!)

Here's me with some more of the aforementioned ruins on Palatine Hill. The hill also overlooks the original Circus Maximus (Side note from K: do do dooodle do do do do do do..haha like a circus) , which apparently was a chariot race track! Who knew? Maybe everyone but me... Also, some great advice that was given to us: If you want to get into the Colosseum, buy your tickets at Palatine Hill! They're good for both places, as well as the Forum, and there are literally NO LINES! Nice way to beat the hour+ lines circling the Colosseum.

This pic, again on Palatine Hill, overlooks an ancient Stadium. When I got ready to take this picture of Kristina, she stood by the railing, asked me, "Do people fight here?" and immediately assumed this stance! Even if they didn't fight here, she's now telling everyone that they did! (Side note from K: People fight here!)

More to come from Ancient Rome in Kristina's post, hope you're enjoying the pics!


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Rome Post #5

We are leaving Rome today on a train to a port city where we will take a Tinkerbell Fairy to Croatia! We had two Rome-antic dinners two nights in a row!

As you can tell we totally splurged! We both got a soda, sprite for me and a Fanta for Ry. The first thing other than water that we've drank in a week and a half! Probably the only reason we got a soda was because you pay the same for water!

Our first Rome-antic dinner was at a restaurant called Rotonda. It was really good, and close to our hotel! I had Spaghetti and Ry had Gnocchi. We also got to have dippie bread so I was happy! The outside of the restaurant was under construction, so actually had dinner under decorated scaffolding! We both agree, as ghetto as that seems, we thought they did a great job keeping a good ambiance. After we finished our dinner, just enjoying each others' company, a woman about 15 ft. away threw up in the middle of the road. She was a smart puker and threw up in a gutter luckily, after she was done some people acidently walked threw it! I was dying and Ry had his back to it all so just knew what was going on by my sound effects and facial expressions!

Last night we had dinner at a place called Don Chisci...blah blah blah something, I forgot the name. It was located in the Piazza Navona, where we had the view a very famous fountian by Bernini, and many street performers. Our dinner was good, but we realized that night that when you are young sometimes you get treated like less of a person. It's really sad actually, I believe it's along the lines of ageism! Not that they were super mean to us they just aren't as nice. IDK! Anyways....

Yes I know you all are thinking we actually packed a few nice things to wear in those big packs of ours! We very much enjoyed ourselves, and realized that until we order wine/vino we aren't going to fit in with the crowd in Italy! Oh yeah and start smoking! Nothing more Romantic than having dinner with someone a ruler away blowing smoke at you! Awesome!

The first night at dinner I actually thought Ry was going to propose! He started saying a long list of REALLY NICE things about me, and it was so nice, making me get all teary eyed feeling so loved...and then he ended that with, "I just love you, you make me laugh!" Yup that was that! He is just a nice guy and was just giving me compliments without having to say that before proposing! Made my heart happy! I love that guy!!

In case you're keeping count, there are seven more days until my birthday, and 11 days until we head back home (If you don't take into consideration the time delay between us writing and posting this...) :)


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