Is it April?
Why does time move so swiftly at times? I wanted to "document" our Christmas (2016) travels so we can look back and enjoy the memories but I'm afraid those memories are already fading. I will try my best to remember what we did and where we went but I'm afraid I do not know the names of some of these places, pictured. Italy is full of history and beautiful architecture.
Once upon a time, a long time ago, we were planning our Christmas trip in Europe. We wanted to visit a place we had never been and decided to go to Spain and Portugal. I began researching all the places we wanted to see. My research was frustrating. Of course Spain and Portugal are full of adventure and history and are lovely places to vacation but I could not settle on where to go. It so happened that around the same time, my husband was scanning the internet for a new dog. We knew we wanted to adopt but didn't know from where. Over the weeks, he came across a pet rescuer in Croatia who introduced us to a pup named Lenny. Lenny was only a few months old at the time and we could not stop watching the videos of him that she sent to us. So, we made the decision to travel to Croatia to meet him and see if he'd like to come home with us. In the spirit of adventure, we decided to swing by Italy on our way. That is how we chose our vacation, because of a dog (as it turns out we snatched up a cat from the same shelter-a surprise gift from my husband to our oldest daughter). They are wonderful additions to our family and we thoroughly enjoyed our trek across Italy and Croatia to get them. Sometimes what seems to be a frustration can turn into something lovely and unexpected.
Here is our trip in photos: enjoy!
Monument of Vittorio Emanuele II (early 20th century)
Colosseum in Rome Christmas morning
Our tour guide, Mary Grace, from the "Joy of Rome" company was fantastic.
If you ever find yourself in Rome, I highly recommend hiring a guide for a private tour. Here, she was telling us about the ancient bathrooms. Riveting.
Inside the Colosseum
Right in front of the arch is an ancient Roman road. It seems more like stepping stones now.
It is said that Italians are the ones who started the "slow food" movement (Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser). They protested the opening of a McDonalds-in vain it turns out, they are everywhere. But Italians, and frankly most of Europe, really know how to enjoy food, from picking it out, all the way to the table. Oh if we could enjoy our food instead of rushing from one task to another. Each meal we shared on this trip we sat, ate, and enjoyed the experience and each other's company-you know what they say: when in Rome...
(Had to get that pun in at least once!)
We took a walk after dark.
Rome, is such a lively place, even at night on Christmas day.
Interesting to note, the Italians acknowledge there was a Jewish man in their history who "rocked the boat" for the Romans (the then world's superpower). He and his followers forever changed history. So, whether or not one believes He was/is the Son of God, a couple of things are certain: He did walk this earth and He did make a permanent mark on the world. They have yet to find His body, but it is all written in history, we only have to research it and find it for ourselves. Sometimes it's hard to believe but the whole of His message was and still is one of grace and love. A just Judge made a way for us to be set free. The older I get and the more I read about it the more I want to share it because it is good news not discouraging news.
Chioggia Veneto Italy:
(Most of these photos were taken by Rob, my husband, with our DSLR.)
We stayed outside of Zagreb and also in a town outside of Pula a couple blocks from the sea.
One of the perks to visiting the Pula arena is that, unlike the Colosseum, very little is off limits for visitors.
A quick history lesson...don't they look captivated!
We spent our mornings in this town walking to the local bakery for fresh pastries, bread, and cappuccino. During our afternoons we walked by the sea collecting various odd items such as bottle caps and strange rocks. And in the evenings we ate sea food in cafes while watching the sun sink into the Sea. Afterwards we headed for our rental house where we played rounds of storytelling using "Story Cube" dice. I do not regret our slow paced vacation in Croatia-not a bit.
The weather was pleasant. While there we only needed jackets and jeans to be comfortable.
The reason(s) we went to Croatia:
Here they are resting on my bed. Not allowed. It's almost like having 2 extra kids. They have brought so much joy into our lives. We are blessed to call them ours.
The matching colors weren't planned-just a coincidence.
Lenny is at least part Croatian Mountain Dog. He currently weighs 65 pounds and is 7 months old. He could weigh over 100 pounds before he stops growing. He has a shepherding instinct and constantly protects his "pack" i.e. family.
For all of you readers, thank you for following along on our adventures, however late I may end up posting them. May you have a blessed Easter holiday... or as we like to call it, Resurrection Sunday. Wink.