Monday, October 28, 2013

Croatia & Slovenia - Part 1

I've been sorting through all the pictures we took on our trip and it is mind boggling!!!  We took SO MANY pictures!!!!  And we had such a great time, saw so many amazing things, and made many fantastic memories, that it is so hard to pick my favorites for this blog!! 

Since the boys and Ken all have a week off in October for EID (a Muslim holiday), we made plans to head to Croatia and Slovenia.  I've wanted to go to Croatia for years ... ever since I saw a show on the travel channel!  :-)  It did not disappoint!!  And the best part was that my parents joined us for the trip.

We flew into Zagreb (the capital) and our first laugh was trying to fit 4 adults, 2 children (both still in car seats), and an insane amount of luggage into the European "mini van" we rented.  It was not a mini van by American standards!!  Clearly we had to upgrade ... to what would be a tour bus by European standards!  :-)

We only spent one night in Zagreb and the apartment we rented was right smack in the heart of the old town.  It was cool to see the city markets come to life on a Saturday morning ... one section for flowers, another for honey and a huge one for fruits and vegetables.  It made me miss the farmer's markets in Wisconsin!
Our apartment was just off this main square in old town Zagreb
brotherly love
honey market
flower market ... Get ready for LOTS of silly faces from Nicholas!!!
 He's in that phase where he prefers silly faces over anything. 
Some of them are absolutely HILARIOUS!!!!
Fruits and vegetable market
Beautiful cathedral under some renovations
 Then we took off for Lake Bled, Slovenia.  We stopped in Ljubljana (Slovenia's capital) along the way.  It would have been a great little town to explore, but we just grabbed a bite to eat and took the "funicular" up the hill to check out the castle.  It was a beautiful view, even in the rain.  And the boys LOVED getting to use their umbrellas for the day!

It was drizzling when we arrived in Ljubjlana.
Boys loved using umbrellas!
In the background you can see the "funicular" (cable car)
ride up to the castle on top of the hill.
On the funicular

Beautiful calligraphy in the chapel

Within the castle
Stair case up to the castle tower
Mom and dad on top of the tower

Ljubjlana Castle tower

Looking into the castle
Even in the drizzle, Ljubljana is a pretty little town

Colors are starting to look like fall

I think there was a view through the floor, but you can't see it.  Still a cute picture!  :-)
Dragon bridge

Lake Bled was like a fairy tale.  The lake surrounded by golden fall colored hills with the snow capped Julean alps peaking up in the background.  There's a cliff with an amazing castle perched on top and the cutest little island in the middle of the lake--just big enough for a little church.  The only way to the island church is by row boat. 

We loved our little guest house in Bled

Having breakfast before heading out for adventure

Beautiful flowers filled windows all over Croatia and Slovenia
Lake Bled Castle

Can you see the snow capped alps peaking behind the mountains on the left?
How about those beautiful fall colors?

Row boats ready to take us to the island church
Mom and Dad ready to ride row boat to the island church

Headed to the island church

More of Nicholas' silly faces

The island church with the sun setting behind

Inside the church

Legend holds, if you ring the bell tower 3 times, all your dreams come true

More silly faces from Nicholas

Jaden and I were the only ones who hiked up to the castle. 
Ken drove everyone else in the van.
Looking down on all the stairs we climbed
We made it to the top!  Jaden was very proud of himself for making it up so fast!

The views were stunning!

Island church seen from the castle in Lake Bled
Perfect backdrop for family photo

With mom and dad
Love you Ken!
Island church seen through a window of the castle
Views in the other direction include small valley town with Alps peaking through in the far background.
Boys with the dragon

Guarding the entry way

Along the castle wall

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