Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Summer Lovin'

We just rolled in from a week long family vacation. Mr. R was a champ! We saw some great friends in Amarillo, watched my baby cousin tie the knot, and hiked Rocky Mountain National Park. Phew! We're tired! Did I mention the full week of family time?!?!?

I just had to share the sweetest wedding of the summer. My baby cousin Ashley is only 8 years younger than me. I was there two minutes after she was born and she will always be my baby cousin. She is so smart, funny, and kind! I am so thrilled that she found a wonderful man at Baylor. AND that we were there when they said "I do" in Littleton, Colorado last weekend.

The Texas crew rolled into town just in time for the rehearsal dinner after party.  A perfect start to the wedding weekend. I love love love my all of my Colorado family. A huge thank you to everyone who opened their homes to the rowdy Texas cousins!

The little couple! 

My sweet cousin. So precious!

And then it was wedding day! 

The wedding was held at Raccoon Creek Golf Course and was a perfect setting for these two. The ceremony and reception were surrounded by beautiful trees and the mountains in the background. It was hot but the clouds came in just long enough for the ceremony. The colors were grey and yellow and were put together in the cutest ways.. 

Center pieces
Place cards
The sign-in table was one of my favorite little areas. The bride really made every detail special and unique. Instead of a traditional sign-in book they used a vintage accountants ledger filled with the couples engagement pictures. I did this at my wedding too and was happy to see they found an awesome ledger for their big day. The bride also made a chalk board with a list of the bridal party and important dates for the couple.

Vintage ledger as sign-in book.

Love all the little details!
 Mr. R and I had a good laugh when we started thinking about how our timeline would go. He liked her, she liked him, first date, and first kiss would all be on the same line:)
So stinkin' sweet!
Gorgeous cake!
Gift table
Groomsman....aka baby cousin #2!
Hello gorgeous weddings guests!
Favors were chapstick and playing cards with the couples name
Simple and sweet
Bride wore yellow roses instead of a veil

Just a beautiful moment
Mr. and Mrs.
Bridesmaids in grey with yellow sandals
Bride carried yellow roses as a tribute to her Texas roots
It was such a beautiful day. I was so happy to be apart of it. I want to wish Ashley and Michael Noyd all of the happiness in the world. They deserve it!

World's happiest wedding guests!
Happy Wedding!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Slice of Split!

Welcome to Split y'all!....and our first stop on the Dalmatian Coast. The bus trip from Plitvice to Split was the most beautiful highway on the planet! Peppered with little coastal towns and miles and miles of ocean and islands. Thank the Lord we got a seat in the front so I was very content looking out the window. 
Split Croatia
I love this pic! And I love my sweet husband for letting me drag him all over Croatia!
Split was only a one night stop which I was bummed about once we arrived. I really really loved this city. As soon as we arrived into town it felt manageable, was clean, and absolutely beautiful. Mr.R was really excited because this town held so much history....get to that in a bit.

I have to share our awesome room! After Plitvice we felt a little defeated with the no AC and dated decor. I found our Split accommodations through my traveling bible and had no problem contacting Kaleta Apartments through their really well done website. Located inside the palace walls you could not get any closer to all of the action. We actually had two little cafes right below our room. A little loud at night but the windows kept out the majority of the noise. And, I found it very easy to fall asleep after traveling all day.

 Exposed bricks and beams. The bed was so comfortable and the best part was the air conditioning! There was also a kitchenette and a sweet little table. This little apartment was so perfect and I wish we would have stayed an extra night here.
Bright bathroom with a crazy modern shower.

Map of the original palace. Loved these!
Split is literally built in and around Roman Emperor Diocletian's Palace. Walking through the narrow streets it was easy to get turned around. What was so amazing is that they had turned this ancient structure into and outdoor mall of sorts. Really upscale stores with your usual tourist souvenir shops. Up above were all of the homes. Loved this town!
Cathedral of St. Dominus
Palace walls
Bell Tower
Mr. R really wanted to go down into the palace cellars and since it was a million degrees outside I thought that might be a cool (as in temperature) thing to do. The cellars were pretty impressive. They were almost scary. There were not that many people down there and so at moments it was just us. Some rooms were totally dark with just the sound of dripping water. If you are picturing a torture chamber from The Thrones you are on the right track. We kept thinking we had walked into a restricted area or something.

This flowering vine hung everywhere!

So before Split we hadn't been to a town that had any real a club. And NO we did not go to a European club. But we did walk the Riva along with everyone else in the city. It had a very Miami, in a good way, feel. I could have sat out there all night. So many beautiful people of all ages just strolling along. What was so great about Split is that it wasn't just tourist. Locals were intermixed everywhere.

Front of the palace at night on the Riva.
So after an awesome evening and cozy night sleep we booked a late afternoon ferry to our next stop and spent the rest of the day eating and walking around the city. We fell into the National Art Museum and were really blown away by the collection. I was expecting something small but was very impressed with their mostly Croatian collection. The gallery is located in the towns old and now renovated hospital.
Sculpture in the courtyard.
Saying goodbye the Split.
Split was my favorite city! And we definitley fell in love with the Dalmation Coast. If you are headed to Croatia this needs to be on your to do list. Ok, two more cities to go...phew! 


Monday, July 16, 2012

Puh-lease! Plitvice!

Ok, this vacation blogging is taking a little longer than I had planned. I am super excited to share our photos of Plitvice Lakes National Park. Rick Steves said this was a must do while in Croatia so I squeezed it into our already packed itinerary. I absolutely loved it. Mr. R felt like he was stuck in the hotel because there really is no town but the scenery made up for the lack of night life.

Let me paint a quick picture for you. We caught a bus from Rovinj to Karlovac...I know this means nothing to you but it was about a three hour trek.....have I mentioned my motion sickness on buses? Once in Karlovac we changed buses at the jankiest bus station I have ever been in. We could not get out fast enough. Up until this point our buses/drivers/bus stations have been very tolerable and it was only down hill from here. Ok, a few more hours in the back of a hot bus and we were dropped off at the entrance of this massive national park. The equivalent would be getting dropped off at Yellowstone on the side of a two lane highway. At this point we haven't really eaten anything substantial, we are hot, and I am green from sitting in the back of a bus!

Ok, so we buy our ticket to the park and roll on through the main gate to check out the map of this place. It's peek tourist time and the place is crawling with day hikers. Looking, looking, really just want to get to the hotel and cool off, looking, looking, we are at entrance one.....looking, looking, hotel at entrance two...huh?

Our hotel was at Entrance 2. Surely there is a shuttle right?!?!? I went to ask a park guide and he told me if we walked about 15 minutes we would hit the shuttle station and that would take us to Entrance 2. 15 minutes? We can do that! We are in fantastic shape! We have rolled our suitcases all over Eastern Europe we can walk a measly 15 minutes.

So what the guide didn't tell us was that the walk was actually on the park trail! Up hill! With our luggage! Mr. R refused to roll his suitcase and carried it but I couldn't carry mine that far. I rolled my suitcase up a dirt and rock path while international tourists looked at us confused. And a big BS! to the park guide. It took us about thirty minutes just to reach the station where we crammed onto a crowded tram....still with the luggage....where we were dropped off about another half mile from our hotel. At this point we are soaked in our own sweat, and a little from the people next to us on the tram, and we are exhausted.

Our hotel was retro and it was not intentional. No AC! Pretty sure all of the carpet, curtains, and linens were the originals from 1971. This would be a perfect hotel to film a period piece. All the way down to the staff uniforms. Thank goodness there was a TV though. Doesn't that all sound horrible? It really gets so much better but I wanted every to visualize us rolling our suitcases through a nature trail.

Once we got checked in we realized it was too hot, and we were too exhausted, to get any big hiking in so we settled for lunch and a nap. We decided the best way to tackle this park was to start early before it got too hot and too crowded. From all of our excursions I took the most pictures here in Plitvice. It was so unbelievably beautiful. The water was so clear. Blues seemed bluer, greens greener! Just amazing!

7am start

Plitvice is a series of 16 terrace lakes that is literally plunked down in the middle of a forest. There are trails that run around, above, over and even under all of these amazing lakes and waterfalls.

We started at the upper lakes and worked our way down. The upper lakes were so serene. In this giant space there were moments when it was just us. Very cool!

Still feeling strong!

Looking way down at the trails.

View from our room.
Ok, and I know no one really cares what we ate for every meal but I had to share this monster dinner we shared after our hike. We made a pretty big dent in it too. 
Croatian beer....awesome!

Dinner for two!

Plitvice is a place that is not hard to say goodbye to. Mr.R was ready for some civilization and a grocery store and I was finally ready to get back onto a bus and head to the coast.

Saying goodbye to Plitvice.
Happy Hiking