Winter Vacation- Balkans Style (Part 2)

As April springs forward, aren’t you missing Christmas?  Just a little?  Then, please feel free to thank me for giving you a little Christmas spirit with this next blog post.  Because it is absolutely, 100% intentional that you are just now reading Part 2 of our Christmas vacation.  In April.  It definitely has nothing to do with me being a poor manager of my own time.  It certainly has nothing to do with three kids and a mommy brain that matches.  I just had a sneaking suspicion that you needed a little taste of the Holidays to brighten your dreary, cloudy, most likely bluebonnet filled, flip flop wearing day.  You’re welcome.

When I last left you, we had just hopped in the car and left Zagreb, Croatia for Lake Bled, Slovenia.  I am often amazed that I get to see such spectacular places that until recently, I never knew existed.  But you know what?  There is a whole world out there.  A big one.  One beyond not just the great state of Texas (and it is great!).  Beyond the freedom loving USA.  Even beyond the usual international vacations of Cancun, Rome, Paris and London.  Lake Bled is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to.

Lake Bled

Lake Bled

The day we walked around the lake was our one really tough day with the kids.  As parents who like to travel often do, we completely overestimated our kids ability to walk the perimeter of the lake and completely underestimated our patience in handling them.  But, despite the writhing and gnashing of teeth (and a unreal amount of annoying whining), it was worth it to see this amazing landscape.

H and W

H and W

W and T

W and T

Our favorite traveling buddies!

Our favorite traveling buddies!

You can't tell, but shortly after this picture was taken, these poor souls walked so much that they were sure that their legs would fall off and they would die.  And then we bribed them with dessert.  'Cause that's how we roll.

You can’t tell, but shortly after this picture was taken, these poor souls walked so much that they were sure that their legs would fall off and they would die. And then we bribed them with dessert and they somehow survived.  ‘Cause that’s how we roll.

Yep.  It's like that.

Yep. It’s like that.

By the time we made it around the lake, more than a few nerves were shot.  There was talk of mutiny among the children, and the parents weren’t totally against the idea of allowing it to happen.  We were spent.  And then, there it was… could it be?  No.  It can’t.  It’s not possible.  Yes, it is.  It’s…. wait for it… MEXICAN FOOD!  We have learned to not expect much from Mexican food outside of North America.  But, it seemed like this was all we needed to find the will to power through and let our children remain in the family.  I’d be lying if I said the food was “real Mexican.”  But, it was the closest thing any of us had had to it since we left the Motherland.

Mexican food inspires love in the heart of every Texan, no matter how small.

Mexican food inspires love in the heart of every Texan, no matter how small.

On the edge of the lake, built into a cliff is a castle like I’ve never seen before (and I’ve seen, like, two castles in my life, so I am a total expert).  Here’s what Bled Castle looked like lit up at night.

Amazing.

Amazing.

In the background is the same castle from another angle.

In the background is the same castle from another angle.

Since we like to torture our children, we had to check the castle out.  Thankfully, it isn’t too hard to talk a few elementary aged boys into seeing a medieval castle for themselves.

Tristan looking down on the lake.

Tristan looking down on the lake.

See those handsome, smiling faces?  Those are the faces of boys that didn't have to walk up to the castle, but were pleasantly surprised to be driven!  That battle was won by the parents.

See those handsome, smiling faces? Those are the faces of boys that didn’t have to walk up to the castle, but were pleasantly surprised to be driven! That battle was won by the parents.

Behind Karen and me is the same little island that we saw the day before.  As a photographer, it is so fulfilling to see so many exquisite things from various angles.

Behind Karen and me is the same little island that we saw the day before. As a photographer, it is so fulfilling to see so many exquisite things from various angles.

Lake Bled

Lake Bled

*sigh

*sigh

The highlight for Wyatt was the gold coin that was hammer-embossed (I have no idea if that is a real term, but it sounds better than a dude who whacked a coin that had a stamp on it) just for him.

:-)

🙂

I love those dirty little fingers!

I love those dirty little fingers!

The following day we went to see the Postojna Caves and Predjama Castle.  We all enjoyed the caves, the kids especially.  The train ride was the highlight for all except Lyla, who was absolutely done riding in the Ergobaby on my back!  She was ready to explore on her own!

Stalagmites grow mighty from the ground.

Stalagmites grow mighty from the ground.

Stalagtites hold tight to the ceiling.  *See, I did listen in middle school science!

Stalagtites hold tight to the ceiling. *See, I did listen in middle school science!

Since we arrived a few days after Christmas, we got to see the very cool miniature nativity in the caves.  We missed the live nativity by one day.  :-(

Since we arrived a few days after Christmas, we got to see the very cool miniature nativity in the caves. We missed the live nativity by one day. 😦

As interesting as the caves were, the Predjama Castle took the cake for me.  Truly built into the side of a cliff, we were all wowed at this architectural marvel.

I mean, really.

I mean, really.

A rare shot of all five of us together.

A rare shot of all five of us together.

Another castle?  I guess we can muster up the strength, Mom!

Another castle? I guess we can muster up the strength, Mom!

 

Inside the castle looking out.

Inside the castle looking out.

.

.

.

.

There was a small chapel at the base of the road from the castle that was perfect in every way.

There was a small chapel at the base of the road from the castle that was perfect in every way.

.

Another view of the chapel.

All of our little people.  You say kids are hard to travel with?  I say, you've never met these kids.  Expect good travelers and you might be surprised what you get!

All of our little people. You say kids are hard to travel with? I say, you’ve never met these kids. Expect good travelers and you might be surprised what you get!

Freedom!!!!!!

Freedom!!!!!!

One day, she'll look back on this picture and wish she could remember the amazing things she experienced at 16 months old.

One day, she’ll look back on this picture and wish she could remember the amazing things she experienced at 16 months old.

And just because you should always end with a smile!

And just because you should always end with a smile!

I have less to write about this trip than some others.  Maybe waiting four months to do a post wasn’t the wisest.  Or maybe sometimes, the pictures can do the talking for me.

2 thoughts on “Winter Vacation- Balkans Style (Part 2)

  1. Whenever life feels too hectic, I will look at the “Inside the Castle” photo. That photo immediately brings a sense of peacefulness to every inch of my body. Many of your photos so quickly take us to another place and time where life is a little slower and a lot simpler.

    Your wit is appreciated as much as your outstanding photography. I feel fortunate to have these photos (places) now in MY memory banks! Thanks for sharing.

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