Friday, September 2, 2016

Lastovo Memories

A dear Romanian friend wrote to me recently asking for two pieces of advice on raising her daughter.

I'm still contemplating what to say (I promise, I'll write soon!) but I'm thinking that today's adventure ties into one of my potential pieces of advice to her: Make memories, especially on vacation.

Before Dave and I had children (was there life before children?!) we took two vacations, cementing this important element into the culture and value of our family.

It turned out to be SUCH a good decision, one that we held right up until the last of our children were at home with us. Being intentional about vacations, purposeful and yet playful, we built in a family culture of enjoying being together, especially during those wonderful days where that was purely the focus.

Now that I think about it, we're still making vacation memories with them! Tyler, Lara and Judah arrive here in Croatia in just a few days and we'll make some more memories together. I can't wait!

But today, it was about making a vacation memory for just the two of us. Or three, if you count our sweet little dog.

We rented a scooter and set out to see some more of the sights on Lastovo island where we've been vacationing this past week.

When we first contemplated this possibility the question was, "What do we do with Kaylee?" She doesn't take well to being left alone on the boat. Nor is there anyone around to leave her with. Since I wanted to go as much as Dave, the only solution was to take her along with us.

We put her in my straw bag, settled her onto the scooter, and off we went! I'm happy to say that she did absolutely great. Barely squirmy at all, she stayed in my bag, squished between Dave and I for the duration of the ride.

And what a ride it was! A true feast for the eyes that had me just a tiny bit giddy.

Traveling at what we call "golden hour", it could not have been more beautiful as we looked out over vistas like this and soaked in the beauty.

We headed back to the town of Lastovo, to see it from a different vantage point, before scootering on.

Seven kilometers down the road, it was as if we'd jumped across the sea and onto a new island. The micro climate here is completely different than any other part of the island we've been on.

With low shrubs and completely different smells and contours of the land, it felt a little like being at the ends of the earth, despite the fact that there was a marina over there, along with a few houses.

Obviously there are people who know about it, as evidenced by the amount of boats in the harbor. But really, it feels like it's a long ways away from the rest of the world.

Jumping back onto our scooter, we continued on.

While it might look like Kaylee's not having much fun on our adventure, I'd have to say, knowing her as I do, that she was exactly where she loves to be, close to her people! We laugh and say her purpose is this: Love my people and enjoy life.

If that's true, it was a good afternoon for her.

While riding on a scooter looks very romantic and potentially "dreamy", I also have to add, it's a bit like riding a horse when you haven't ridden in a long time, if you know what I mean. About this time we were both saying, "Ouch".

But we motored on!

There really is only one road across the island, unless you consider dirt roads as a possibility for travel. We tried one of those.

It didn't take too long to realize that neither our bodies, nor our dog, were very happy on said road! Thus we got back on the real road and continued.

Our initial reason for renting the scooter was actually to go to Hom, one of the highest points on the island.

Counting from the left, Hom is the third peak in this range

Although there is no observatory from which to view, this spot is known to have the darkest night sky in all of Europe.

We knew we wouldn't stay up there until nighttime, but we thought it must have an incredible view during the day so wanted to go. However, somehow we missed the turn, which turned out to have been just ten minutes into our two hour journey! Thus when we saw it on our way back we decided to save this location for another visit. 

And anyway, we've been enjoying the night sky, with all of its brilliant stars and absolutely no light pollution, from the privacy of our own little boat.

We came back around to the side where we started, just in time to see the sun set over the end of the island. So absolutely stunning!

Back to where I started in the beginning, to my piece of advice on child raising.

There are a lot of books out there on how to raise children. Those books give wonderful advice on how to discipline, wisdom on how to instill good virtues, and expert instruction on how to teach our children character and values.

Not to mention, how to lead our children to know Jesus.

I would only add that there is virtue and goodness in creating a family culture that likes being together, making memories and enjoying all the beauty God created around us. I think it's one of things you'll do that your kids will thank you for!

Want to know a few more reasons why you should visit Lastovo? Read HERE. While it's a long ways from anywhere, it is surely a very special place.

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