Summer Travel - Families Travel to Eastern Europe
A trip to Eastern Europe with the whole gang.
Have you thought about where you would like to be off to this summer? Maybe you dream of far off destinations. Maybe for you, it is more of an idea in your mind; the desire to go and travel.
I would say all of us have this travel bug. Whether or not we are always able to act on it is another thing. But travel, adventure, seeking a new destination is a desire that can be kindled in all of us.
Not too long ago, I had a wonderful summer trip to parts of Eastern Europe. It was an incredible destination and offered all the wonder found when discovering a place for the first time.
But I would go further that there was so much more that made that trip wonderful. When I think of that trip and dream about where this summer might take me, it does make me reflect on why it turned out so great. Even with an incredible destination, it was more about the adventure. It was more about going. It was more about the people I went with.
We always make a point of traveling with our children--no matter how young (more ‘how to’s’ on that in a minute). The memories that are built by doing so can never be replaced. Even if the children only remember bits and pieces as they grow, the pictures that later scroll the computer screen help solidify these family events and memories into something that can’t be replaced. Then to top off this specific adventure, we also ended up going with great friends. I hold the memories of this trip as some of my sweetest life treasures.
Our destination was Croatia. It was farther east than we had been in Europe and it seemed to offer what we all desired: beautiful beaches and water to play in and interesting cities to explore.
My travel plans usually start with “How are we going to get there?” questions. We love to travel Europe by car due to the flexibility it allows the family. When you need to stop or you see something you didn’t expect along the way, then it can be a quick detour by car.
Our second favorite way to travel is by staying in apartments or homes for hire. My favorite sites for lodging are: www.vrbo.com and www.homeaway.com These are usually priced very comparable to hotel rates. There is more space for the family and you will find yourself in a less “touristy” part of the town or village. There is always something this offers that one would not find otherwise. Whereas I do need to seek out the local market or grocery, this too is part of the adventure. The kids are given a little bit of what they are use to, we get a picnic or two out of it, and it even slows things down a bit for all of us.
From that point, coordination becomes more about “What do we want to see along the way?” I find there is not much better than a worn, tattered guide book to aid in answering these questions. Dubrovnik became the “must see” place, and as it is quite south on Croatia’s coast, it became the tail end of the trip. Since we were in car, we would also be able to stop and walk around Bled, Slovenia for a night and get to see the Dalmatian Coast including Bosnia and Herzegovina on the way.
We found a great house, owned by a wonderful couple from London, in Brela, Croatia. This didn’t quite get us down to Dubrovnik, but made it only a day trip away. Plus due to its central location, we were able to take a day trip to Split, Croatia, another city we wanted to see. Then to top it off the closest beach we learned was labeled “The Most Magical Beach in Europe.” Sounds perfect. This location also allowed us to seek other cities nearby -- Trogir, Croatia we found to be an incredible place to have a lovely summer meal on the water, and next to the luxury yachts into port from their cruising around the Mediterranean. Truly a picturesque place.
Some people build a “bucket list” of where they want to end up or places they must hit in their life. I would say for me it is in reverse. When I look back or think of life’s sweetest pleasures or places I’ve gone, it is more about the people I went with. The memories we built because we ventured out. The new things I was able to share and experience with those I love. That is greater than any list I could ever conjure up or force into life experiences.
Summer travel doesn’t have to be far or exotic. It can be heading off to see something near home that you have never visited. It can be a car ride away. But it is about trying, going, seeking. Make this summer one that you will remember. Grab the people in your life that are important and go make some lifetime memories.
For me this summer, as my kids are older, I am thinking about hiking some mountains in Colorado and taking them to see a pristine mountain lake or a road less traveled. I look forward to the memories we will build as we get there.
Seek that new destination, go, and build memories that can never be replaced. Summer is a perfect time for travel.
Be sure to share your adventures with us here at purplemaroon. We would love to hear how you ventured out, your destinations, and your memories as a result of it.