Was it a Dream?

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Jet lag is a bummer. I’ve not been able to put two sentences together the past two days. I’m finally feeling like myself again.

I slept for 11 hours Sunday night. When I woke up Monday morning (thank goodness I had taken the day off), I felt like I was waking up from a dream. Had I really been in Croatia? Was my much-anticipated trip already over? Unfortunately, yes.

So, where did I leave off? Oh yes… so our last day in Dubrovnik, we caught a ferry out to Lopud Island, where we were promised some beach time. The ferry ride was about 45 minutes and we came into a quaint little port with shops. There was a beach there, but evidently there was a better beach on the other side… so just a short hike!

We made it. This beach on Lopud is special because it is a sandy beach. Most beaches in Croatia are pebbles and rocks in small coves. They don’t have the huge expanse of sand beaches like we do. It was a relaxing site with boats mooring in the cove; umbrellas and lounge chairs waiting for us. There was a café and bar on the beach too. That was very nice! It felt so good to just relax in the beautiful waters of the Adriatic Sea. We even got some napping in on the beach. Much needed after nonstop activity through the week. More importantly, I got to rest and soak my feet. When it was time to leave, some of us rebelled and caught one of the trams back to the port. Who wants to mess up a relaxing afternoon with another hike? We had time for gelato!

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During our last group dinner, there was a frenzy of Facebook and email exchanges. It was a terrific group to be with in Croatia. Many have done extensive traveling. Several of our traveling companions were teachers and took anywhere from 2-6 weeks at a time to travel!  Obviously they aren’t from the U.S., especially North Carolina. They’d never be able to afford to do that!  They have greatly inspired me to stop talking and start doing. It is true that people are what make a place special. I look forward to seeing pictures from their future travels.  Zivjeli to you all!

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To top of our trip, Linda and I had a night layover in Munich.  Trying to make sure we had the right train, Linda asked a man at the platform.  He spoke little English, asked if we spoke German or French…. Nope.  (It seems everyone in Europe speaks at least two languages, which is awesome.)  Come to find out, he was actually from Morocco. Once on the train, we met a father and son traveling from Texas. The dad was ex military and had been stationed in Germany at one time. Amazing the things you find out if you take time to talk to each other.

We made it to Marienplatz, a central square in the city center which is home to the Neus Rathaus (New City Hall). The atmosphere was so different from Croatia. We exited the train to boisterous crowds in the square. We had just missed the Glockenspiel show (located in the tower of the New City Hall, it chimes at 12:00 and 5:00 when life-size figures re-enact two stores from the 16th century), but still seeing the magnificent architecture in the area was wonderful.

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It was a must to have a beer at the famous Hofbrauhaus, which was founded in 1589. It is one of Munich’s oldest beer halls. It’s huge! And we only made it to the first floor where the Oompah Band was playing. It was just one big festive atmosphere. There was a constant stream of people in and out. We met a German couple whom we had our first beer with and proceeded to meet more people as the night went on. Our Texas friends from the train wandered in and we all shared some beers as we watched waiters carry 15 HUGE mugs of beer at a time, a table full of young guys swing them down and some German men in traditional attire singing and enjoying. Yes, had to have a picture with them. We just stayed. It was a blast and a perfect ending to our adventuresome vacation!

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The last picture definitely sums up our night in Munich.  Prost!

I know there is so much I’ve left out. Several people have asked me what my favorite thing was on the trip. I can’t name just one. It was all wonderful. Would I take another “active” itinerary trip again?? Not sure. My hiking shoes would definitely come along!  I enjoyed the biking and kayaking and we would not have seen some of the magnificent scenery had we not done some hiking however, it would be nice to slow down and explore the city a little more and take in the scenery instead of it zipping by or having my eyes focused on my feet so I wouldn’t fall while hiking. The scenery was beautiful. There were olive trees, pomegranate trees, fig trees and of course, grapes every where.  The food was fresh and full of flavor. It is a place steeped in history and beauty.  I would definitely go back to Croatia.imageI will post more pictures in the gallery, but truly, pictures do not do justice to Dubrovnik or Munich for that matter.

So now I need something else to countdown too …

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