Sea Organ and Other Sights in Zadar, Croatia

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Zadar was the last of the Croatian coastal towns we visited. We chose to stay a night and day in Zadar due to the location being a perfect place to stop on the somewhat lengthy drive between Vis and Slovenia. We also wanted to experience a town in Northern Dalmatia as we had read it was quite different than the southern parts of Croatia. To be honest, as much as we love the sea, by the time we got to Zadar we were both ready for the mountains and rivers of Slovenia. Though our brief time in Zadar didn’t offer the change of scenery we were craving, we left with quit a few reasons to stop there and spend some time.

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A Surprisingly Good Time in Split, Croatia

The Riva from one direction.

Picking which cities to visit in Croatia was difficult. There are numerous quaint cities dotting the coast of Croatia and each one is proclaimed a “must-see” by at least someone on the internet. Split is the second-largest city in Croatia, and as such came up in many internet discussions. The opinions on the city varied – some say it is an unremarkable city and too industrialized compared to the rest of the small Croatian towns. Others say the history and architecture make it worth a visit. As the country’s largest port city, we had to leave from Split to catch a ferry to our island of choice. After some debate we decided to spend a full day checking out the city. Although Split is missing the small-town Mediterranean charm of other cities in Croatia, it was actually a refreshing break. The size and variety of the city enabled us to have some of the most fun of our entire trip.

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Kayaking on the Adriatic Sea in Croatia

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In the year leading up to our trip to Croatia and Slovenia, Joe and I were asked many times why we had chosen those particular countries to visit. Once we learned a bit about this region of the world,  it was an easy decision. The more interesting question is how did we ever find out about these countries in the first place.

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Above the Beautiful Town of Dubrovnik via the Cable Car

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After seeing what I thought would be the most breathtaking views of the entire trip at Plitvice, we hopped on a a plane from Zagreb to Dubrovnik. Luckily air travel in Croatia is extremely cheap; Croatia is a small country, but it is very long and Dubrovnik is at the bottom. It had been rainy and foggy during our brief time in Zagreb and Plitvice, so when I saw the sun as we flew into Dubrovnik I was instantly excited.

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Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia

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Imagine a place with sixteen interconnected lakes. Each lake glows with an intense greenish-blue tint from afar, but the water is clear enough that the bottom is easily visible from close up. Waterfalls of vastly differing formations can be found everywhere you look – each more impressive than the last. You can walk right up to and even under the waterfalls, or you can explore caves that have been formed via erosion. Here Alpine and Mediterranean vegetation mix together for uniquely lush greenery surrounding the water. Plenty of animals live here too: wolves, deer, boar, otters, and even brown bears. You might never have expected it, but Croatia has the most beautiful national park I have ever seen. Plitvice Lakes really is magical.

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Congress Trail in Sequoia National Park

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You shouldn’t go to Sequoia National Park without a quick visit to Congress Trail. This is probably the most popular trail, but contains a few points of interest that can’t be missed. Luckily, this trail is right off the main road through the park and accessible for everyone. Walking the whole loop can be done quickly and easily as it is only a few miles of fairly flat trail. Even though the path is paved, the forest around it remains virtually untouched and there are many strange arrangements of redwoods standing, fallen, or scarred by fire. Many of the trees are named for presidents and other important historical figures. Here are the highlights…

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Crescent Meadow in Sequoia National Park

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On our Sequoia National Park Trip, Joe and I tried to see as many different types of scenery as possible. We experienced the far-reaching views from Moro Rock, the impressively large waterfall views of Tokopeh Falls, and saw both the forests and the meadows on this short hike. The majority of the trail is flat, so this hike is great for those who want scenic variety but can’t get into some of the harder-to-reach areas of the park. Bonus: not many people on this trail compared to the more popular ones.

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College Graduation

 

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On May 9, I received my B.S. degree in Computer Science! Back when I was starting my senior year of high school I never expected to be out in San Diego for college, and I especially never thought I would pursue a degree in Computer Science of all things! College was a great time; I felt like every year was extremely different. Freshman year everything was new and exciting, but the highlight of my time in college was certainly studying abroad in London my sophomore year. Junior year was my time of  experiencing the biggest shift in growing up (a necessary evil), and senior year was busy but ultimately a blast since I lived across the street from the beach. For the most part I enjoyed all my classes, and I am a little bit sad to be done attending them (for now?).

I decided to stay in the San Diego area for the near future…working as a software engineer. I start my job in June, but Joe and I are heading off for a Europe trip first (my graduation present to myself). Here are a few pictures of my graduation. Thanks to all of my family and friends who made the weekend so much fun!

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Talking About Feelings

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Anyone who has read any type of advice about relationships knows there are essentially two skills one must learn to have a successful one.

  1. How to communicate your feelings
  2. How to listen to others communicate their feelings

Talk and listen…it seems simple enough. Most close and loving relationships are usually born from this simple exchange – you probably liked what the other person had to say because you were listening, and the feeling was presumably mutual. However, it is common knowledge to those working on relationships that mastering these abilities can take years of practice and be incredibly difficult.

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Company Party at the Grand Hyatt

This year, Joe and I headed back from my home in Flagstaff, Arizona to attend his company’s holiday party. It was held in the ritzy Grand Hyatt right in the Gaslamp section of downtown San Diego. A few years ago, Joe and I had a habit of grabbing dessert at nearby Extraordinary Desserts and walking to the Hyatt to see the view from the top of the tower. It is truly spectacular; forty-one floors up you can view the San Diego bay and Coronado bridge from one side while looking into the Padres stadium from the other. Suffice it to say, a better location could not have been chosen for this holiday party.

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