David and I wanted to make a “last hurrah” trip before our new addition to the family arrived. We knew, at least for a while, travel would look a little different for us with a baby boy in tow. We couldn’t swing Iceland, a place top on my list, so after some research, we headed to Slovenia and Croatia (and a long layover in Madrid). Both before and after our journey, the predominant question from friends, family and strangers was, “Why the hee-haw did y’all go there?” (That is the Rebekah version of the question.)
1. I saw a Rick Steves show on Lake Bled in Slovenia and thought it looked enchanting.
2. A friend had visited Plitvice Lakes, and immediately I added it on my bucket list.
3. I wanted to experience something new that I had little or no prior context.
4. David had really enjoyed delving into Central Europe during our previous trip to Prague, and we wanted to explore more of this delightful region.
Really David planned 95% of this trip. I was deep in the trenches of exhaustion and nausea from pregnancy during the planning process. I would give opinions when David needed help. A major thing we had to consider on our proposed trip to Slovenia and Croatia was transportation. We still are not brave enough to rent a car in a foreign country, so we had to make a plan using only public transportation. It was a little tricky. Sometimes, maybe not so convenient, but because we were not tucked away in our own car, we met the most interesting people on our trip, which became my highlight of the entire trip.
David found once we made it to Europe, we could purchase cheap airfare. So the first step was finding good flights to Europe using our frequent flyer miles. Now to define good flights…When I was younger, I would sleep in an airport and have 5 layovers just to redeem a free ticket. Not so much anymore and especially not 6 months pregnant. Now, good meant not waking up at 2:00 AM to make it to the airport in time for a 6:00 AM flight and only 0-1 layovers.
After many hours of searching, we found a great flight itinerary. We used frequent flyer miles through Delta to get form DFW to Zurich with one layover in Atlanta and a non-stop American Airlines flight from Madrid back to DFW that left Madrid at 10:30 AM and arrived at 2:30 PM. A perfect flight! Once we had tickets to Europe, David made a plan to get us where we really wanted to go, Slovenia and Croatia. Along the way, we met lots of people making a similar trip (or the reverse). Here is the itinerary we landed on:
DFW to Zurich
Layover in Zurich – Super easy to take the train to town. Explored for 4 hours.
Lake Bled, Slovenia – 3 nights.
Ljubljana, Slovenia – 2 nights.
Lake Plitvice, Croatia – 2 nights.
Split, Croatia – 2 nights.
Island of Korčula, Croatia – 2 nights.
Dubrovnik, Croatia – 3 nights.
Madrid, Spain – 2 nights.
Eight locations and 7 hotels…a little ambitious considering part of my relaxing is settling in. Moving that much would be challenging, but we were going to try it out and see how it went. Something that was helpful and key for me to make the transitions was as soon as we got to a new location, we figured out how and when we were moving to the next location, so I did not have to worry about logistics and could fully enjoy the time in the current place.
The trip was amazing. We were able to experience so many unique sights and meet so many amazing and resilient people.
Join us over the next few months as we take an in-depth look at each of these wonderful destinations! We would love for y’all to consider going to one or all of these locations. If you need help, we would love to assist you plan your own trip to Slovenia and Croatia!