summer trip part 3: croatia

This is the last of my posts about our latest trip!

After Lake Bled we drove down to Medulin, Croatia which is at the bottom of the Istria peninsula. We stayed there for a day and then worked our way up along the coast before returning back to Prague.

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If you know me, you know that I struggle with the sun. It’s not even a love-hate relationship. It’s a full on hate-hate relationship. This trip I was obsessively putting on sunscreen every hour or so and  managed to avoid a severe burn. Around halfway through the trip I really thought I had succeeded in keeping that mean old sun in check. But no, of course I couldn’t be that lucky. Around day 5 my body just decided that was enough sun for Chelsea and I broke out in a full body sun rash. At that point I was hiding from the sun as much as possible, seeking out shade wherever we were. It was over 100 degrees and I was hiding under a scarf, for goodness sake.

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Despite battling the sun, I really enjoyed being at the beach. I also learned something new about myself – I can’t swim. That’s right. I didn’t know that I can’t swim.

 Whenever I’m at a pool, lake, ocean, what have you, I’m the one who is content just sitting beside the water and never feel the need to get in. And if I do, it’s because someone has begged me to “join the fun.” I just didn’t see the appeal!

Well, one day I decided to go into the water after D begged me for like 30 minutes, and after being in the water for a couple minutes we had the following conversation:

d: what are you doing?
me: I’m swimming! (spastically doggie-paddling next to the dock)
d: that’s not swimming. Chelsea! you can’t swim?!
me: yes I can! watch! (I pushed off from the dock and went like 3 feet before grabbing onto a rock)

So, after that I re-examined my swimming skills it turns out I just thought I could swim when in fact I can just barely keep my head above water for a maximum of 30 seconds. D tried to teach me, but I wasn’t making any progress so we ended up buying an inflatable raft and that was a complete game changer. I basically used the raft as an adult version of arm floaties and finally saw the appeal in hanging out in the water for a while!

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I think I might invest in some adult swim lessons. That can’t be more embarrassing than needing floaties, right?

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summer trip part 2: slovenia

After a couple days at Lake Bohinj, our friends Adam and Gillian, who live in Berlin, met up with us and we headed to our next destination, Lake Bled. We took the scenic drive through the mountains. It ended up being more terrifying than scenic since it was storming and raining cats and dogs the whole time. I’m afraid of heights, so a drive through extremely narrow, twisty turny mountain roads is always a little nerve wracking for me, but this was drive was on a whole other level. Because of the storm, there was debris in the road. We’d go around a curve and suddenly see a huge tree branch in the middle of the road. Another turn and there would be rocks in the road, one or two were even the size of a basketball. I don’t have any pictures of this because I was too busy gripping the door handle expecting the worst.  Thankfully we arrived safely at Lake Bled and enjoyed a lovely day there. We rented rowboats and I realized that I missed my calling as a member of a crew team. Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but I really liked rowing, ok??

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{beautiful church on an island in the middle of the lake}

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{adam & gillian}
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Before heading down to Croatia, we went on another hike, this time with Adam and Gill. The views on this hike were seriously insane. So breathtaking! 

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summer trip part 1: slovenia

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A few weeks ago D and I went on a road trip to Slovenia and Croatia. We wanted fresh air, sunshine, and the sea. And that’s exactly what we got.

Our first stop of the trip was at Lake Bohinj in Slovenia.

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A storm was coming in when I snapped the last two pictures. We were just standing there watching the rain work its way to us and of course didn’t think to take shelter before it started pouring on us.

On the second day of the trip we went on a hike that I’m going to be bragging about for the rest of my life. Nine hours, my friends. 5-6 hours of which was uphill. That’s brag worthy, right?

Daniel likes to do this thing where he tells me that a hike or walk will be much shorter than he intends it to be just so I will agree to it. If he had told me this hike was going to be 9 hours, I would have said, “Have fun, buddy. I’m gonna be hanging out by the lake if you need me.” I think he told me it was going to be 5-6 hours, which still took a little convincing to get me to be into the idea, but I didn’t want to be a party pooper about something he really wanted to do, so I put my game face on and

went for it.

  Needless to say, these views made it all worth it.

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about halfway through our hike we ended up at a small dairy farm were you could buy fresh milk and cheese. The cows all had bells on them so we actually heard them before we saw the farm. hike2

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and just for fun, my first ever GIF!

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cat sitting

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Daniel and I contemplate the pros and cons of getting a second cat probably more than most couples do for deciding to have a second child. Isn’t Oliver lonely? I think he needs a friend. But what if the new cat is a meanie-butt and picks on sweet Ollie? Sure, we have room for two cats now, but what about when we moved back to the city and into a smaller place?

Up until a few weeks ago Oliver had only had visual friends. The neighborhood cats would come by the window and Oliver would make all kinds of weird pigeon noises that would just break your heart. I wanted him to be able to play with the other cats, but I was so afraid that he would end up chasing them out of the yard, down the street, and into unknown territory and he would have a Homeward Bound situation and what if he didn’t find a nice dog to help him get home?

When my friend from Czech class, Caycee, asked if we would be willing to cat-sit for her while she and her husband went to the US for a week I pretty much blurted out “yes please!” Caycee and I have similar cat parenting styles. That is, spoil, over protect, and spoil. We were both pretty nervous about how the cats would do together, so we set up a play date to test out the waters a couple weeks before their trip. The play date did not go well. There was no playing, and definitely no dating. Oliver pretty much followed Popelka (Cinderella in Czech. so cute, right?) around while she hissed at him and hide in corners.

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{popelka camped out on the stairs for hours, and wouldn’t let Ollie come any closer than this}

But, we decided to be optimistic and hope that they just needed to get use to each other. When Caycee dropped Popelka off a week later,  the hissing from Popelka and constant “hey, be my friend! please!!” behavior from Ollie went away after 24 hours and then they were best buds.

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These days, Daniel and I have kind of chilled out a bit and each evening Ollie romps around the yard catching bugs and hanging out with his pals from the neighborhood.

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PS. I debated whether or not to post this because I know I sound like a crazy cat lady. Turns out I just don’t care!

PPS. Video of Ollie playing fetch!

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animal overload

Growing up with a taxidermist for a dad, it was pretty normal for a new friend to come over to the house and be caught off guard at the number of stuffed animals in our house – and not the teddy bear kind. Obviously for me it was perfectly normal to have some deer heads and a couple bear and wolf rugs in the living room. But a couple weeks ago I think I got to experience what so many of my childhood friends had experienced during their first visit to our home.

Daniel and I went to Konopište castle, which was the last home of Franz Ferdinand, an avid hunter (to say the least). Franz’s hunting was on an extreme scale, and this castle holds about 100,000 of his trophies. This was quite shocking. Even for a girl literally raised around this stuff.

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In addition to being a place to house the remains of Franz Ferdinand’s hobby, Konopište is a beautiful castle with amazing gardens.

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After a tour of the castle we had lunch in a “hunter’s lodge” style restaurant. While picking out our meals, Daniel said he was going to have the Danek. Which is this animal:

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Which was standing about 30 feet away from us. I looked at D, we looked at the deer, and D changed his order.

On another note:

After the visiting the castle, we went back to Daniel’s family’s cottage with his parents. I noticed a painting that I hadn’t seen before, so I asked D about it. Turns out, this is a self-portrait by Daniel’s grandfather. Isn’t is so beautiful?

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Daniel’ grandfather, Vaclav Prokop, passed away in 1964, so I only know him through stories, but it’s safe to say that he was a very exceptional person. Other than being a talented artist, he was the captain of a mountain search and rescue team. Because he refused to hand his business over to the communist government, he spent about 4 years in a labor camp mining uranium. He later got leukemia from the exposure to the uranium. From the stories I’ve heard, it’s clear that he was a very talented, adventurous, and brave person who was very loved. I think this painting captures that, and that’s why I think it’s particularly beautiful.

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hello? anyone out there?

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I know what you’ve all been thinking. Oh, Chelsea gets engaged and now is so boring that she has nothing to write about. Well, I’m back here to say that’s not true!! But, I’ll be honest in that there wasn’t a lot going on around Prague from March to June apart from cold and rain. Lots of rain. A whole darn month of it.

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{this one time we were at a friend’s cottage and had to evacuate before the river flooded the only road out of the little village. at 7am}

I could list my excuses for non-blogging for days, but let’s skip that and just jump right into it! Now that summer has finally decided to come to the Czech Republic, I’ve been making up for lost time – weekend adventures, trips to new cities, driving a car with a manual transmission, you name it! I’ve got lots to blog about and I’m going to try to do several posts covering some of my adventures, big and small, from the past few months.

I’ll start with the biggest news of all: I got my visa! A real, honest-to-goodness visa that isn’t going to expire after a few weeks. This one is good for 5 years. FIVE! I applied for the Family Member visa in March and I could hardly believe it when I read online that it was accepted just 5 weeks later. Even while we were sitting in the foreign police office and they were putting the little book together, adding my picture and stamping it, I was holding my breath and just waiting for the woman to say “hold up. you don’t have some stupid paper that we never told you you would need and it’s gonna take you months to get it.” but she didn’t! She handed over a cute little blue book that looks like a passport and gone are the days of the evil foreign police! woohoo!

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 So with this, I am officially ending my unofficial hiatus. Thank you to everyone who told me that you missed my posts. You guys sure know how to make a girl feel special!

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yesi bet you can guess what the question was!

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