Tuesday, August 22, 2017

More Adventures

After's yesterday's adventure of finding out our boat registration in Czech had expired, Dave spent the day trying to figure out what to do.

Before I go on, I have to say that Dave is usually SO on top of these kinds of things! But with all the car troubles he'd been working hard to solve, plus a very full summer schedule, and no letter from the Czech boat registration agency to remind us (like they did last time), it was just one of those things that slipped through the crack.

But true to his nature, he persevered and figured out a way to do it all the way down here in Croatia. So this morning, bright and early we showed up here.

This is the largest marina in all of Croatia, located just a little south of the city of Zadar. There is a Slovak man here who is able to do boat inspections for Czech boats (who knows why?!), so we made our way here early this morning to meet up with him. After telling us that it would be at least an hour, we headed over to the marina restaurant for breakfast.

Oh wow! What a classy place to enjoy waiting for him to do his work! We ordered cappuccinos and omelettes, thoroughly enjoying the cool jazz music playing, not to mention the view!

When we got word that the boat inspection was finished, I wandered around for a bit while Dave met with him. If our boat wouldn't have passed, we could have picked up this sweet little used boat to spend vacation in.

It's "just" a little over a million dollars. 😂 As I walked around I definitely felt like I was in someone else's territory!

With news that the inspector would finish up the paperwork and have it to us by email later in the day, we happily got back in the car and headed for Trogir again, since that's where we still had to register the boat in Croatia.

We'd already explored the town yesterday, so decided to walk over to Čiovo, the little island connected to Trogir by a drawbridge. It was fun to see Trogir from the other side!

And the fortress that we'd been at yesterday! Felt a little like déjà vu, but nevertheless we were still enjoying ourselves as we waited for the paperwork to be finished.

Thinking that we'd be out on the water in our boat within a few hours was a happy, comforting thought.

We went back to the restaurant we'd been at yesterday to have lunch, talking about where we'd go tonight once we put the boat in.

But two things were still standing in the way at 3 PM. One was that the inspector stopped answering his phone. Dave had been calling every hour to check on the paperwork process, hoping that we'd be able to get to the Croatian office yet today to register the boat.

The second thing standing in our way was that we found out the boat registration office CLOSED at 3 PM! At that point I asked, "Do you want to just take the ferry over to Hvar?"

So, here we are on the ferry with our boat still being towed behind our car! Our original plan was to put in on the mainland, leaving our car and the trailer over there. But now, we're on to Plan D (since A, B and C are no longer possibilities!).

Honestly, I love being on the ferry to Hvar. It is oddly comforting and enjoyable.

And the best part? Another strong wind came up again this afternoon, which would have made it impossible for us to have gone out in our little boat! We'd still be sitting on land, spending the night in our boat hotel if we'd stayed in Trogir.

Instead, we're headed to our beloved Hvar where we'll be able to finish the registration process tomorrow (since there's offices there where we can complete it), providing that our inspector gets us the paperwork.

We'll still spend the night in our boat on land (for the third night in a row!), but at least we'll be closer to putting it in than before! And we'll be on Hvar, which feels a little bit like home.

Stay tuned for more adventures with Dave and Connie tomorrow!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Plan B and C

As we usually do on our first night of vacation because of the long drive, we slept in our boat at a rest stop last night. It's one of my favorite things to do!

An hour later we were in Trogir, a beautiful old city on the mainland of Croatia.

We headed here first in order to do our annual boat registration as everyone pays a small fee to use the Adriatic. It's not a complicated process; usually you're in and out within ten minutes.

However (you knew that was coming, didn't you?!) just as Dave neared the end of the short process, the clerk asked him for our Czech boat registration.

"This is expired," she said. "I can't give you the permit to put your boat in."

And with that, we were on to Plan B, starting with lunch.

Dave made a few phone calls to Czech over the next hour, working to see if it was possible to get our boat inspected here in Croatia.  Every five years you're required to have a simple inspection; they don't even make you turn the motor on! It's more to see if you have life jackets, working lights and a boat hook, among other things.

He finally found someone who was willing to come later in the day to Trogir from Zadar (about an hour and a half away) so we decided to enjoy the rest of our day here, poking around to find new things we hadn't seen before.

While we've been here before, we'd never seen the small fortress so decided to head over there and see what it was like.

For a small fee, you can go inside, go up the stairs, walk the walls, and climb the stairs to the tower.

The view from the top was spectacular!

Had a perfect view, even of the planes as they made their way down the flight pattern into Split airport, just a short distance away.

We had just taken this photo, when Dave got a phone call from the man in Zadar.

"They've closed the highway because of fires along the way. I won't be able to come today. Maybe tomorrow."

Oh boy. Now on to Plan C!

Dave decided that we should try to get closer to him, even if it meant driving on small back roads to get to Zadar. So off we went, heading back up north.

However, what we hadn't counted on was the traffic jam because of the detour.

Our plan was to get off before the highway closure and spend the night (in our boat again) in a town along the small highway to Zadar. So much for that plan!

It took us two hours to go 3 kilometers before we finally got off the highway. We could see the smoke from the fires burning in the distance.

As we headed to the small town where we planned the spend the night, the sky was quite eery because of all the smoke. Not to worry...we were far from the fires!

We finally arrived in the town of Skradin where we found a parking lot to stay for the night (yes, this means that we go off in search of bathrooms!).

We wandered the town for an hour, ending with some ice cream before heading back to our "on-land" boat hotel!

They say the highway should be open tomorrow, so our plan is to get to the marina where our boat inspector is located.

Until then, good night to us in our cozy little boat cabin!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Dropping Claire Off

After having a few special days with Claire at home, we were all up bright and early this morning to get ready to leave.

On this dark, rainy, "oh so very wet" day, Dave and I are headed to vacation while Claire is headed to JV Kid's camp in Croatia.

The skies were literally dumping buckets of rain as I dropped Claire off at the JV office in Frydlant to meet up with other JV staff she'll be driving down with.

With a van load of passengers and supplies, they'll drive 8 hours today, down to a camp on the border of Slovenia and Croatia where the kids will arrive tomorrow, Monday, to begin a week of kid's camp.

Dave and I are also headed to Croatia, but further down south to our beloved Hvar region. Let's hope there are some sunny skies down there, in contrast to these rainy ones here!

We won't see Claire again here as we'll still be on vacation when she gets back to Frydlant. She'll have just a couple of days at home before returning to Chicago to continue her support raising process.

So glad she gets this touchpoint with the JV Kids that she'll be coming to serve soon! Her hope and prayer is to be back by the end of the year. We're all hoping for that!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Just in Time

After waiting eight weeks, my car was finally fixed JUST IN TIME! We picked it up yesterday, at the very last minute before we were due to leave on vacation this week-end.

As I mentioned in THIS POST, my car has been at the mechanic as he looked far and wide across Europe these past two months, searching for the parts to fix it.

In the end, he sent one of the guys who works at his shop on an EIGHT HOUR DRIVE to northern Poland to pick up a used transmission!

From that, he refurbished all the necessary parts, put it back together and finally took it down off the lift in his garage. It'd been up there for a month (when he put it up there to take out my old transmission, he couldn't take it back down until he had the new one to put in it).

It's nice to have this "friend" back, ready to roll tomorrow, down to my favorite vacation place: Croatia. 😊

My next pictures ought to have a little more sunshine in them than what we've got in Frydlant today!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Day Out with Claire

When we moved here almost 24 years ago, I never would have guessed that Frýdek-Místek would be one of my favorite places to go! It's a town of 57,000 people, thirty minutes from where we lived in Havířov for the first eight years, and fifteen minutes from where we now live in Frýdlant nad Ostravicí.

Back in the day I'd go there because of an outdoor market where I could find things that I couldn't find otherwise.

But today, it's full of charm, cute restaurants, and places we've discovered that we go back to time and time again.

Today we tracked down a new cafe that opened six months ago - Kontakt Cafe. It definitely lived up to its reputation of being a very special place with great atmosphere, coffee, dessert, food and even a gift shop with Yankee Candles! If you're in the area, it's definitely worth visiting!

Frýdek-Místek is actually two towns that were combined into one back in 1943. But its beginnings go back 750 years. They're actually celebrating that anniversary this year!

Separated by the Ostravice river, Claire and I like both sides of town as each has its own charm and places that we like to visit. After being on the Místek side for coffee, we headed to the Frýdek side.

Back in January, just after Claire had graduated from Moody and had been accepted by JV for her ministry to JV Kids, we came to the Frýdek side of town in search of a place to take photos for her prayer card.

It was so fun to be back here seven months later, on a warm summer day (it was freezing the day we took her pictures, though you'd never know looking at it!), knowing that she is at 75% of her needed monthly support! She'll be back here to live before we know it!

Our actual destination today was here.

While we've been inside this church, and have walked past it countless times, we've never been up in the tower, Svatojánské Věž (Holy John's tower).

We headed up all 211 stairs, taking in an exhibition along the way telling about its history, built in the 15th century (I think! Didn't hold that piece of info in my head...only know that it was a very   L--O--N--G time ago!).

The trip to the top is sure worth it for this view!

While there is a little walkaway around the top of the tower, the public is not allowed on it, so you have to satisfy yourself with the view through little windows. Not a bad view though!

On our way back down all those stairs, a woman stopped Claire to ask a question...which turned out to be an interview for Česky Rozhlas, the national radio station in Czech!

Claire did the interview speaking Czech, never tipping her hand that she's an American girl, born in Germany, raised in Czech, college graduate from the States, and on her way back here to do ministry!

So proud of my girl for who she is, all parts of her!

And loved sharing a day together in one of our favorite places.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Birthday at Bouzov

A few weeks ago when Dave asked me what I wanted for my birthday this year I told him, "A trip to somewhere in Czech that I haven't been before!"

He immediately had an idea, which turned into a reality today!

On my 56th birthday today, we headed to Hrad Bouzov, an early 14th century castle built northwest of Olomouc, a city about an hour away from where we live.

It is truly fairy-tale like! Never conquered, it is in beautiful condition and has passed through the hands of many owners over the past 700 years.

We got there just in time for the last tour of the day!

It's almost impossible to photograph something so spectacular (especially on my phone!), but the tour was wonderful as we walked through getting all the historical details about it.

While spectacular, it's also easy to picture how people lived here - it definitely has a livable charm about it. Imagine coming in here for a meal or a meeting.

The most spectacular room was the banquet hall, with its lavish furnishings and frescos on the walls.

I might have been a little bit giddy over this treasure of these sights!

If it all looks like it should be in a movie, you're thinking like all the directors who have come here with their ideas through the years! At least thirty films have been made here.

This sure was THE perfect place to come for my birthday celebration with Dave and Claire!

I'd definitely like to go back and explore the castle and its surroundings another time!

"Thank you Dave and Claire for making my birthday so special and memorable! And thank you Claire for bringing your camera to take some photos for us! That was a lot of fun!!!"

I'm excited about this coming year and the new, good, joy-filled things the Lord has in store for me!