Joel McDonald

joelmac

Joel McDonald

This blog is about my 5th & 6th trip to the beautiful country of Croatia. My wife, Carrie, and my two children (Abbey and Ayden), my dad Bob, and my mother-in-law Debbie Jensen were all on the trip in 2009. For my dad, it is his 15th trip. It is trip #2 for Carrie and the first time to Croatia for Abbey, Ayden, & Debbie.

The latest series of entries is from our trip in 2013. On this trip is my father (trip #19 now), me, Carrie, Abbey, Ayden, Judy, Sue, (my 2 sisters), and first timers Brock, Conner and Maty.

We have been blessed to be heading for another trip. The biggest group yet will be taking off for the country of Croatia. In 2014, you can follow my Hrvatska '14 blog. Hope you enjoy!



Europe » Croatia » Central Croatia » Zagreb August 11th 2014

Today was our last day in Croatia. We met for breakfast in our hotel at 9. From there we headed to the shortest funicular railway in the world as we made our way to Gornji Grad. We visited St. Mark' Church and the area where Matej Gubec was executed in 1573. We then made our way through the Old Stone Gate and eventually to the Dolac Market. It is like no other market I have seen. Although the Split market is quite large, i don't think there was anything this larger market didn't have. We loaded up on jabuke, maline, jagode, i kupine. Some also bought some decorative jewelry boxes. From there we made our way to the Cathedral. Shockingly, it is still under construction. I don't think I have been here when it was not ... read more
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Europe » Croatia » Central Croatia » Zagreb August 10th 2014

We left the coast for good today. We had to stop early into our trip to take a picture of the photogenic town of Primošten. Then it was off to Letinac. Although Lika was not on out list of destinations originally, I was not going to drive by Letinac and Brinje and be the person to decide NOT to let dad see family. It was really worth it as we spent a good hour at Letinac. Nevenka looked good even though she has not been feeling well lately. A little cheese, crackers, and rakija later, we bid Nevenka farewell and we were off to Brinje. We thought Mike had gotten lost on the way. We had to turn around to go to try to find him. Little did we know that he had left his iPad ... read more
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Europe » Croatia » Dalmatia » Rogoznica August 9th 2014

During our last day at sea, we crammed in as much as we could. The weather was great again. Other than our arrival in Dubrovnik, the weather has been incredible on this trip. After some morning coffee, Abbeye, Ayden, Kyle, Adam and I headed down to a basketball/soccer court in the middle of town. It was quite the Best of 5 series between the team of Abbey and I against the guys. It must have been a good 5 minutes before the first basket was made. I think everyone blamed the wind for poor shooting, but I'm not sure there was any. It must have been in the mid 80s during our games and we were glad to get it over with. Upon returning it the Perla, Carrie and I took a load of kids down ... read more
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Europe » Croatia » Dalmatia » Rogoznica August 8th 2014

Today began with a cup of coffee and then 7 of us headed up the coast to Sibenik. As we got to the city that was home to a young Dražen Petrović, we headed inland towards the medieval fortress town of Knin. Dad, Mike, Tom, Tomi, Mariah, Kailee and I traveled through a part of Croatia we had never been to before. With the looks of many of the buildings along the way, the war does not seem to be 20 years in the past. Mike also spotted the usual sign that warned of travel off of the road due to the possibility of land mines left behind. When we arrived in Knin, we climbed the hill in the van to the parking spot at the base of the fortress. We visited the gift shop, (which ... read more
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Europe » Croatia » Dalmatia » Rogoznica August 7th 2014

We left Hvar yesterday morning and made it on the ferry we were hoping to get on. We left the Stari Grad terminal for our two hour journey to Split. Upon arriving in Split, we made a quick stop at the Joker Mall and ate at McDonalds. I felt sorry for the people in line behind us. I don't think they were too happy to wait for a 14-person order! After eating, we hit up the Hervis sporting goods store and just about bought one of everything "Croatian" in the store. We then made our 1 hour long journey to the small town of Rogoznica. We are staying in a year old facility as it opened one year ago this month. Having a supermarket, a pool, and it's own private beach can hardly be beat. The ... read more
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Europe » Croatia » Dalmatia » Hvar August 5th 2014

Today was our last full day in Hvar. I really like this town. Everything is quite compact here - even more so than Dubrovnik - it seems. There are always pepoke that seem to be on their way someplace. To begin the day, everyone but Carrie and Dad made the hike up the hillside above Hvar. We went early enough to avoid most the heat of the early day sun. The views from the 13 century fort (that's when construction started) were incredible. It reminded me of the scenes that were shot here from the one season TV series MISSING. It was also the location of a small museum that had amphora from 3 different shipwrecks from Antiquity. One of the ships was originally from Asia Minor, another from Italy and the third was from Spain. ... read more
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Europe » Croatia » Dalmatia » Hvar August 4th 2014

Since we were on the road for most of yesterday, I'm playing a little "catch-up" today. Mike and I picked up the two vans at Čilipi yesterday at 10 am. After a very efficient pick-up in the Old Town, we were on our way to Bosnia. Our first stop was at Medugorje. it was more crowded than I had ever seen. We had time to wait for about an hour for the Statue of the Risen Christ then we had to head to catch the ferry to Hvar. We were about 5 cars from being on the ferry that departed right after we got there. Due to the fact we hadn't eaten, we made our way to a pizza place in Drvenik. We got our pizza as the ferry showed up from the open sea. Mike ... read more
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Europe » Croatia » Dalmatia » Dubrovnik August 2nd 2014

Today was our last day in the city if Dubrovnik. The day started with dad visiting with Tom's Tripadvisor friend Carol. After breakfast, we were off to our 2nd day at Banje. The weather was really nice. It was the hottest day of the trip so far. Aside from all of the swimming and jumping into the water, 5 of the grand kids went parasailing. Abbey teamed up with Adam, Tomi and Kailee went together, amd Mariah went solo to finish up the group. Our trip seemed a little worrisome as the workers on the boat struggled to get the chute prepared for about 15 minutes. Fortunately, they finally got things set and Abbey and Ayden were off! After a bit more swimming, we headed back to the apartment where 9 (Mike, Dayla, Kailee, Kyle, Tom, ... read more
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Europe » Croatia » Dalmatia » Dubrovnik August 1st 2014

Today was one filled with fitness tests from the beginning. The group of 10 left Dad, Carrie, Dayla and Kathy behind and started the trek up Mt. Srd. From our apartment door, it was 3.14 miles to the door of the observation center on top of the mountain. The kids got a workout running for a good part of the way and Ayden (yes....AYDEN!!) earned the name INSANE BOLT for all of the running he was doing. I think he wanted to prove all the doubters wrong that he was not going to make the journey. After passing the stations of the cross at each switchback, we finally made it 1:27:10 later. Due to our breakfast reservations at 10, we "reluctantly" took the cable car back down the mountain. After eating breakfast, it was time to ... read more
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Europe » Croatia » Dalmatia » Dubrovnik July 31st 2014

Although we were promised another miserable weather day by our driver to our apartment, today ended up being a great weather day from the start. It began with Abbey and I making the 484 stair trek up to the Adriatic highway to find the entry point to the path up Mt. Srd. From there we made it back to the Old Town and checked out Gundelič Square and made our way up to Buža 2. We were actually looking for a basketball court we have seen from the walls on past trips, but we were not successful. Our journey ended up being our morning workout today regardless. Upon returning to our apartment, it was off to the Dubravka for breakfast. The area around the Pile Gate was quite busy shortly after 10 am. Following breakfast, we ... read more
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