It was a jello shot that caused me to book flights to N. Ireland in the summer of 2018. You don’t even have to ask Phil—it is not even a question. It is a given that he wants to travel anywhere at any time. I am the more reserved one, wanting to save, be a little more careful, and then wait for the perfect time to head overseas. Turns out I can be swayed though–rather easily….
Each summer we contemplate heading back to N. Ireland to spend time with Phil’s family (and so far, pretty much each summer we have been going), and it had been on my mind over the Christmas holidays. I had a nice gap in between my July weddings. Combine that with the new Norwegian Air DIRECT flight to London for rather cheap (game changer!!!), and it became something Phil and I were seriously considering. Most importantly, we keep heading back because we want our girls to know their family, and know them well. 🙂
Although 2018 was going to be the summer to save, it was a jello shot that broke me down. While my kids played inside her house, one of my neighbor mom friends came out with red and green jello shots (Christmas!), and basically told us we had to take one. Lol! I did, and then returned home to cook in peace while my kids were busy playing. It could’ve been the aroma of the delicious Blue Apron dish, or the warm fuzzies from the green jello shot, but I immediately gave in to what I had been contemplating and told Phil, “Let’s do it!!!”
So, seven months later, off we were! When we travel to N. Ireland, Phil basically looks for any flights that might be cheap and to a location we haven’t been. He noticed awesome deals to Croatia, so there ya go, we booked a trip (sans kids!!!!) to Croatia.
It was ahhhh-mazing. A total photographer’s dream. It would also be PERFECT for a honeymoon! We booked beautiful Airbnb’s (kinda bittersweet because we heard that due to Airbnb, it is impossible for people to rent homes) and stayed outside of Dubrovnik’s city center. We were in Lapad first and then in Cavtat. Both were easily accessible via bus, but Uber was easiest! The city of Dubrovnik is the best for eating and walking–our two favorite travel past-times. 🙂 Throw in some beach and boat time, and you have a happy King couple! I saw King’s Landing on Game of Thrones and thought it was too beautiful to be real! No way could it really exist. And then… to see it in person. Needless to say, I was speechless, just zoned into a super happy place behind my camera! Lol!
In the picture below on the left, you can see the checked Croatian football jersey. 🙂
Can you see Phil cracking up as I grabbed him to kiss him? He is amused by my photo-taking shenanigans.
We did a day trip to Lokram and then from where we stayed in Cavtat, we did the Elafiti boat tour that dropped us off at beautiful beaches all day.
We took a day trip to Mostar and stayed in a gorgeous and sweet Airbnb. Croatia had made it into the semi-finals for the World Cup, and we were bummed to be leaving the country. However, we were told that in Bosnia many Croats would be watching the game and cheering on Croatia. Those people were all wrong– so wrong. The date the game was on was July 11. July 11 happens to be the Day of Mourning for Bosnia, remembering the genocide of 8,000 Bosnian boys and men. The entire town of Mostar observed the day in silence, with no music or chatter in the air. The football match was eerily quiet. Even while Croatia scored, you could have heard a pen drop. It was astounding the commitment Bosnians had to honor the day in reverence.
Below is a picture of the famous Mostar bridge, rebuilt after the war, and a symbol of peace and reconciliation.
As it turned out, Croatia won the semi-final game and was headed to the World Cup! That Sunday afternoon, the entire country of Croatia was tuning in to watch the match, with thousands flocking to the Old Town to watch the game televised on a giant screen on its walls. Only thing was, our flight was due to head out that Sunday morning. After a glass of wine that evening, I leaned in to Phil and said, “Hey– let’s do it. Let’s stay to watch the game!” By the next morning, I came to my senses but it was too late! Phil already found $35 flights to Paris and then connecting flights to London and then Belfast. We’d get to see the game and have a day in Paris!
Was it worth it to stay and watch the game? YES, YES it was!!!
Unfortunately, Croatia did not win (and not without controversy!). However, they were the happiest losers I have ever seen!! The town celebrated as though they had indeed won, with cheers, smoke bombs, and victory jumps into the sea! I was so impressed by their sense of gratitude and their giddiness to have made it to the final!
And then we had our day in Paris…. Home of the team that actually had won the World Cup! Lol! We arrived on Monday which happened to be the day the winning football team was heading to Paris to celebrate. We made the journey to the Arc de Triomphe, but it proved to be too overwhelming for us. Instead of celebrating there, we journeyed to the Eiffel Tower and then walked along the Seine, stopping to admire the famous hot spots along the river. We’d both been to Paris before (but never together), and this time we approached it with no agenda whatsoever. It was perfect. 🙂
So, the jello shot and the football game. Some of the decisions we made for this trip were a bit spontaneous, but I think spontaneous spending on experience rather than things is almost always worth it for us. I do feel grateful that Phil being from N. Ireland allows us the opportunity–and our jobs allow us the flexibility–to go on some adventures. If you head to Croatia and want any travel advice, let me know. It is also the perfect place to plop yourself in the middle of and simply sort it out as you go. 🙂