The Roman Theater at Pula, Croatia

I have been fortunate enough to see the Coliseum in Rome. Coming from a country where all the architecture is brand new in comparison to Europe, I am always awed to walk in something built so long ago.  The trip to Rome was on our honeymoon. My husband and I were walking along the streets when suddenly, there it was. This huge ancient structure rising up out of the city. It seems so out-of-place with traffic lights blinking and delivery vans zooming by. But there it was, none the less. Giant and majestic and so old it boggles my mind.

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Colosseum  Rome, Italy

The Roman Theater at Pula, Croatia is small in comparison to the Roman one. It is still well worth a visit though and has some very interesting things to offer.

Doing some research on the Theater at Pula, I learned it is thought to be the most intact of Roman theaters. Another fascinating thing, about the one in Pula, is that it is still being used as a Theater today. Concerts and film festivals are held there routinely.  It is still fulfilling its original purpose of entertaining the people. Thankfully, we no longer watch Gladiators destroy one another, but people still flock through the entrance anticipating a great show.

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Roman Theater – Pula, Croatia

When we traveled to Croatia, there was one main purpose. This is the country that my husband’s family originated from on his Father’s side and our purpose in visiting was connected to that. We brought my stepson along, thinking what an excellent opportunity for him to see and experience his roots. I was reading a guidebook, my mother-in-law had loaned us for the trip. When I happened across the mention of this Roman Theater.  We adjusted our plans and added several hours of driving, in order to make the track to this part of Croatia, to see something history left behind for us.

It was well worth that drive. The setting sun painted the theater again and again, changing its appearance.

We sat where crowds of people sat and were entertained by events of days gone by.

IMG_6272We Walked where Gladiators had walked, pumped up for the battles they were about to fight.

We were surrounded by shadows of the past and hope for a bright future.

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Even having seen the Colosseum in Rome, which is bigger and more famous, the Roman Theater at Pula was well worth the drive. It was a visit that I will relive in my memories. and I am glad that my 14-year-old stepson was also able to experience something so old. Hopefully it will live on in him, inspiring creativity, dreams, and the promise of future adventures to come.

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Thank you for reading my blog today! May you find yourself on adventures and experience snapshots of history, as if by magic.

** Thank you to SydneysByDesign for doing photo editing to a couple of these photos. Your work is breathtaking!

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The Most Beautiful Place I Have Ever Been; Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

When we were planning our trip to Croatia, I was very excited to be able to visit this park full of waterfalls. I was sure it was nice but I had no idea how breathtakingly beautiful this visit would be. I have loved waterfalls since I saw my first one in Ireland. I now try an see them every chance I can get. I have heard that there is healing energy that is released by the cascading water. If you have ever stood near a large waterfall, I’m sure you have felt the energy it releases.

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I feel my words cannot adequately share with you the beauty of this park. Please enjoy my pictures with the hope that they might give you at least a little glimpse of the amazing glory of this place on earth. If you get the chance to visit, go! I suggest trying an early morning visit as this park is very popular and very large.

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The color of the water is breathtaking. From some quick internet research it seems limestone deposits are to credit for the stunning color of the water.

The water is also crystal clear too. My stepson’s quick eyes noticed this boat sunk under the clear water, pushed up against edge by the flow of the water, trapping it there for us to discover.

Of course, the beauty of this natural world is not without it’s dangers. This park is full of cliffs with drops-offs and some caves that offer fun climbs for the brave.

This park is dazzling because nature made it so. The park is also full of thoughtful walkways made to blend in gracefully with the lovely natural surroundings.

Veliki Slap or Big Waterfall brought me to tears when I saw it and I am not a person easily moved to tears. The magnificence of this fall did, what few things have done before.

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I have traveled a lot and I have been to many amazing places both natural and manmade. It will take a lot for this place to be dethroned as the most beautiful place I have been.

Thank you for reading my blog today! May your life offer you adventures to beautiful places, that take your breath away, as if by magic.

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Regrets; Looking Back on the Life You Have Left Behind

I have always tried to live my life in such a way that I have no regrets. Recently, someone told me that I will regret living my life the way I currently am. They feel that I will regret traveling so much and not spending more time with family. It gave me pause to reflect on my life and choices. Will I have regrets in the future?

As I reflected on my life so far, there are 3 things that came to mind that perhaps I wish I had made different choices. One was a high school friendship that fell apart related to my ego. I have since found this person and apologized. I no longer regret this, as I believe all things happen for a reason and they help us learn and be better people. The second thing is a stepdaughter, who I wish I would have fought to raise when I heard she was in foster care. I was divorced from her father at that time and although I considered fighting for her, I was really not in a place in my life where I could have taken her on and provided her with the life she deserved. I also have since found her and apologized. She easily forgave me and told me her life was going well. Once again, everything happens for a reason and perhaps the journey she walked help form her into the wonderful person she is today.

The final regret I have in my life still haunts me to this day. I wish I had stuck up more for my children. Don’t get me wrong; I fought the school systems, volunteered as a Girl Scout leader, scrimped so that they could be involved in more things and have experiences. I worked hard to be a really good mother and advocate for them out in life. But at home, when their step-father had a very different parenting style than I did, I didn’t have enough self-confidence that my way was the right way and to speak up. I allowed him to set the tone for our house. I do regret that I did not stand up better for my daughters at home. I think they are wonderful mothers and women and hope that these earlier life experiences are what helped form that “will” to overcome barriers in their lives. My hope is that, my not having enough self-confidence to stand up and speak up for what I believed in, made them stronger. This is the one part of my history that still haunts me when I look back on my life thus far. I have healed from the experiences and now have the confidence to stand up and tell others what I believe and why.

Being told that I will regret living my life and traveling, instead of staying home to spend all of my free time with family, gives me pause. Because I intentionally try to live a life free from regrets, I cannot simply let this comment pass without reflecting on it. I have worked most of my career as a nurse caring for the elderly and those on hospice. I saw countless people and couples who waited to take the trip until they were retired or until they had “enough money” (however much that is). Then one of them would get sick and those dreams would die with them. The trips were left untaken and those dreams never reached. Their money went to pay for medical care. I don’t want that to be my story.

I want to find balance in my life. I love my family and enjoy spending time with them. I enjoy doing things with them. We try having a family meal once a week. There are times when I am not home, because of my job or a trip I am taking, and I am unable to make the weekly family meal. But when I am home it is a wonderful get together. Holidays are spent with family as well. My Family has grown and spread out, so it is not always possible for me to spend holidays with “all” of my family. I have daughters, grandchildren, parents, a brother, a niece and nephew, and a whole other set of family with my in-laws. Decisions and compromises must be made. I do love my family in a very big way!

I feel that traveling also makes me a better person. I get to see and experience the ways that other people live. I see that our way is not always the right way to do it. There are other ways to accomplish the same things. I learn through my travels. I have fun and feel fully alive when I travel. I know that I need to travel to be fully me. It feeds my soul. Perhaps there will come a time in my life when traveling is no longer the right choice for me. Right now though, I feel I must travel.

I appreciate that this person felt brave and comfortable enough with me to share their opinion on my life choices and how it may affect me in the future. It was not something easily dismissed. I caused me to reflect on what they had said. It caused me to think about my family. I reflected to things my parents and grandparents did before me. Those wise ancestors who I came and learned from, made choices about their lives too. Did they regret the choices they made? I don’t know. I do know that I am responsible for my life and my choices. I will continue to work to find a healthy balance between time with family and living my life the way my soul is calling me to live.

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you find perfect balance in your life, as if by magic.

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Croatia; A Visual Journey Through a Country of Splendor

My husband, stepson, and I recently journeyed to Croatia. This country was such a surprise to me. I found a country full of rich heritage, natural beauty, and kindness. I had first heard of it a few years ago when another friend traveled there to learn his family’s heritage. I had no idea what to expect. Through this blog, I would like to share some photos of this beautiful land. 

I must tell you, I thought writing an “photo” blog would be an easy shortcut to getting a blog done. That turned out to not be the case at all. There are just so many lovely photos to chose from and so much I want to share with you about Croatia, I decided I will have to do a short series to share even a handful of the photos and the experiences with you.

Let’s start by talking about the people of Croatia and their hospitality. Complete strangers opened their homes, restaurants and kitchens to us.

Recently meet, long lost relatives, brought us (three types of) grapes they had grown, their freshly ripened plums, fresh bread they had recently baked, and salami they had made from animals they raised.

 

 

Their generosity was overwhelming to me. Such a blessing to share with us.

Early one morning, as we were traveling along the coast, we stopped for breakfast. We did not really grasp that Croatia does not do breakfast in the way America does. A restaurant owner, who was setting up for their daily lunch rush of 200 factory workers, welcomed us in. He happily brought us a smorgasbord of food, cooked us eggs and visited with us. Another blessing on our trip.

 

 

 

Next I want to share with you the landscape. Croatia is a relatively small area geographically. The State of Minnesota (where I live) is 4 times larger than Croatia. The landscape of Croatia is very diverse. As we drove across the country we would see the landscape change and change again. It is such a beautiful country.

 

There were coastlines, forests (of different types depending on region), mountains and valleys. We saw farmland and we saw arid land that would never be farmable. All of it was breathtaking in it’s own way.

Growing along the roadways we saw grapes, pears, apples, plums and sugarcane. There was a valley we drove through were you could see many diverse crops all growing in close proximity to one another. Honey and Med was often offered for sale in roadside stands.

 

The homes changed from area to area also. In the North we noticed a lot of cute balconies adorned with flowers. There were brightly colored flowers everywhere we went.

 

There was such charm in their homes, it was easy to believe that this is a very happy place to live.

 

Business and churches also had a lot of charm. Often, as we were driving down the road, I would squeal in glee seeing a church that was so cute. We would have never have made it around the country if we had stopped to take a picture of everything that caught my eye.

This country is truly a country of splendor. It starts with the people and their big, kind, generous, giving hearts. It moves on to a beautiful landscape that covers all of the country as it morphs from area to area and is covered in charming homes, business, and places of worship.

I will be writing future photo blogs about our trip to Croatia. There is just too much to share for one blog cover all of it.

Thank you for reading my blog today. May your life be filled with journey to places of splendor, as if by magic.

** Thank you to SydneysByDesign for doing photo editing to featured image on the blog. Your work is breathtaking!

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