Venice, Croatia, and Other Musings

I read tonight that a writer is someone who can’t keep from writing to save her life. And I could strangely relate. I write for work, for school, for church, and then I come home, curl up on my couch with my laptop and the words continue to spill out of my soul. I’m like a leaky faucet. Maybe I need to see a plumber.
This has been a crazy week… I dropped my bags off in my bedroom (with clothes, souvenirs, books and random receipts spilling out all over my once clean bedroom floor) and went straight to work. All weekend I was too jetlagged to do much (except for about six hours of work in my garden… which looked wonderful Saturday afternoon, but one day later everything seems alarmingly wilted). As I think about the coming week, which is full of activities to count down to my sister’s wedding on Saturday, I’m not sure when I’ll find time to recap my trip. But I want to do it before my memories skip off, and the trip becomes just a blur of jumbled up pictures. Like my last trip to Europe, where I think… “I went to some cool small towns in Italy… but I have no clue what those towns were!”  
So on to the beginning…
Oh wait… first… Scott and Cassandra, this is for you…  (Scott, you’re not a true fan unless you read the books… do it for me.)
Okay, now time for the trip recap:
I’ll skip over the travel part, because that’s not very interesting. Well, except for the part where Sara and I passed out at the Brussels airport on chairs right next to the main shopping area. We had already been traveling for about 16 hours and taken two flights, and we hadn’t slept five minutes.  So on my suggestion, we found the only chairs in the airport that didn’t have armrests and sprawled out across a row. Since we were two American girls in a foreign country, we did the responsible thing and looped our bags through our arms to keep a thief from taking everything. Which means we would have slowed down a thief by about two seconds as he quickly ripped our bags out of our arms as we snoozed soudly. It probably didn’t help that I put my sweatshirt over my head to block out the sunlight. I bet we looked like homeless girls to those Belgium locals.  I remember thinking, “If my dad could see me now, he would have a fit.” But somehow we survived, bags intact, and eventually made our connection to Venice. 
We left Monday morning around 10:30 and arrived in Venice Tuesday evening around 6:00. I thought we were going to grab dinner and then go straight to bed. But crazy Sara and her parents somehow convinced me to go out that evening in Venice, and we stayed out until 1:00 in the morning! 
I was exhausted, but I’ll admit, that was a fun night. We watched dueling orchestras play in Saint Mark’s Square on a beautiful, warm summer evening. It was one of those nights where you have to pinch yourself to see if the magical moment is simply a dream. 
(Please note that I had been up more than 36 hours when this photo had been taken. I probably had 15 layers of makeup on. If you look closely, you can see your reflection in my greasy hair. Lovely, I know).
The next day we slept in (praise Jesus) and went back into Venice for a leisurely brunch and stroll through the back alleys. Both of us had been to Venice before, so it took away the pressure to see everything. It’s crazy that I have been to Venice more often than I have been to Austin lately. In fact, I’ve been to Europe three times in the past four years, and haven’t seen Houston in six. Those, my friend, are good priorities.

We had to be back on the boat by 3:00 so we could set sail on our cruise. But first, we got to do the dreaded lifeboat drill. Somehow we managed to make that fun.

That first night on the cruise was formal night, so we got all gussied up and went out to dinner. There’s something about eating steak and lobster while sitting on a cruise ship as it sails away from Venice that is just… cool. Plus, we enjoyed the chance to get dressed up and hang out with all the handsome men. Oh wait, all of the men on our trip were over 100. Except the one, and I’ll get to him later… (see, now you have to keep reading… I promise to tell you all about Jason).

The next day we went to Dubrovnik, Croatia. This was an adorable little medieval town, set on a cliff next to the Adriatic Sea. The town is surrounded by a giant defensive wall (these walls always make me think of rebuilding the wall at Jerusalem) and we were able to walk on top of the wall around the entire city. If this wall walk was a tae bo workout video, it would have been the super-advanced version. It took us about 90 minutes to walk the wall, including many steep, slippery steps up and down in 100-degree heat. There’s only one way up to the wall, and only one way off, so if you change your mind half-way through, you either have to jump about 30 feet and hope you don’t die as you hit the street below, or keep going.
The views from this wall were spectacular. I discovered on this trip that I love the combination of cliffs and the ocean, a landscape that was repeated throughout Greece as well. And the feeling of exhilaration when we made it to the highest point of the wall (after what seemed like 100 steps) was well worth the workout.
Do you see how clear the water is below? Love it.

I loved this bell tower because it reminds me of my two sisters… I’m a sucker for anything that comes in threes. I’m probably a little extra sappy since my baby sister is getting married in just a few days. 
After we conquered the wall, we went out for pizza to celebrate. And then gelato, which I got for free from a very friendly Croatian gelato worker. Little did I know that I would have pizza and gelato every single day for the rest of my trip. And yet somehow, I never grew tired of it! Maybe it reminded me of my college days (when I was a little heavier than I am now… wonder why?).
Stay tuned for my next post about the day our jeep died in a Greek village on the island of Corfu, Greece. Don’t you just love having a shirtless Greek man push your car through the countryside? Of course, if I could do it over again, I would have requested a Greek villager without the beer belly. But when you’re a damsel in distress, you can’t be too picky.


  1. Sounds amazing so far. And thank you for the info on the audio book. I cracked up when I saw that. We had fun chatting with you Saturday night.


  2. Wait a second, I thought you were going to record your own dramatic interpretation of New Moon for us!?!?! Complete with different voices and everything! I took the first step and priced the book at target last night…


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