No Dragons! This is probably the biggest disappointment after a week in Split. Of course that is a Game of Thrones reference. And we love GoT! Visiting and staying in Croatia you get to see many of the spots that the show was filmed in (scenes from Split). It's fantastic! Oh, you might catch us reenacting a scene or two as we walk through the city. It’s like waking someone sleepwalking – it's dangerous, be careful. ;-P
Split is so much more than GoT. It is the second largest city in Croatia behind Zagreb. It’s not only a tourist attraction with beautiful historical sights, but a city people actually live in. So you can find a genuine experience here.
After the first week, here are our top things to do.
It's not always perfect. Our apartment is beautiful and is built within the Diocletian Palace. The palace is more than 1700 years old, but living in a place like that has a few drawbacks. First, there are a lot of tourist/tour group that go by our door all day long. It’s busy and can sometimes be loud, but most of the time just festive. We are right next to the bell tower and the bells ring starting at 6am every morning and does so several times throughout the day. This hasn’t been a problem for me since I’ve been up before 5am every day, but I imagine once I get over jetlag it can be a problem. Finally, living in the old town, you can smell sulfur (or sewage) every so often. We’ve stayed in 3 apartments/hotels now in the old town and this has been a problem for all. You can even smell it on the Riva at times as well. Probably not a big problem for a short visit in town, but maybe something to think about if you are here for longer stay.
That is our impression after a week. It’s a great city to start our adventure. No dragons, but it’s been pretty amazing!
The next few weeks will be about working through more of the boat details. I know folks have been very curious on our social media accounts. We will be sharing some of that soon!
One day and 3 countries, we woke up the next morning with church bells and the sound of a choir from our apartment. We are in Split, Croatia! First, we wanted to say thanks to our friends who have generously hosted us and shared their daily lives with us over the last 3 weeks. We will miss you! You made our road up to our departure easy.
On the day we departed, we woke up at 7am and after clearing the grit from our eyes, we found ourselves at a local coffee shop. That’s what you do in Seattle. We were sipping coffee only a few feet from the Space Needle watching torrents of rain come down as a crazy low pressure blew through with 50+mph gusts. We cherished every minute of the place we called home for so long. It was unusual weather, but a common fall day. That was essentially what the rest of the day was like for us.
We boarded a Norwegian Air flight by early afternoon with a one-way ticket out of the country. This was the first time we’ve ever bought a one-way ticket. It was a weird feeling not to know when you will return. The overall first leg of the flight was uneventful other than boarding was all at once versus the anticipation (and annoyance) of getting your row called. We generally don’t get too anxious about boarding, but we were flying with all our possessions we will take for the next 3 years, which included a couple of carry-ons. Norwegian Air had amazing prices, but we didn’t know what was included in terms of luggage. We had spent most of the previous day packing down to 3 check-in duffle bags and trying to get the weight to meet the airline's requirements. It was more time consuming than we thought. We had one bag of clothes for each of us and one for gear like cameras equipment. We had anticipated to pay nearly $400 for the check-in bags and were very happy to find out that everything was included. We didn’t know what category ticket we bought as it’s not detailed anywhere on our tickets or receipts. The amenities on board were rather nice for a low price provider, including good seats and a multitude of old movies and a few new ones that I didn’t mind watching. It wasn’t the most amazing, but it was good. My expectations were low. There was some confusion around food as I got a meal, but for some reason, Isabella did not. We just purchased some food for her and made it work. Can’t get too wound up about these things when you are traveling.
We arrive in London bright and early with very little rest, but the plan was to spend the 11-hour layover mostly in London and not at the airport. What can you do in London in that time? For us it was just simple sightseeing, people watching, and eating. We walked around 10 miles through the city and pretty much saw most major attractions. What struck us is how new good old London was. When you look at the skyline, it was essentially a city of construction cranes. It made Shanghai's building boom in the early 2000s look pale in comparison. We were out early before the tourist and thought the season was over, but London by noon was teeming with so many people that it was hard to move around the major sites. That was also on a windy and rain day. Somehow the same weather we saw in Seattle was also in London, but no matter what, London was still as grand and pomp as ever. It was a great layover city.
We arrived late in Split with the weather still dry and warm. We finally escaped the weather that was notorious in the previous two cities. It was now well over 30 hours since we had any real rest. We would get waves of sleepiness that shut us down, but were only a few minutes from our apartment in the center of the old town. The place was right within the Diocletian Palace. The major tourist gate to the palace was closed and we had to walk around the walled city and down alleys to eventually find our apartment. A place we will call home for at least the next month.
It was nice to wake up to people singing, but I will admit that I could have used a bit more sleep. However, we were excited to start the first day of our adventure abroad!
P.S. Over the next few days we will be visiting our boat and enjoying the city and the surrounding sites. Look forward to sharing some details about our boat and how we made this happen.
If you ever wonder if the sketch comedy Portlandia is a good representation of Portland, well you will have to discover it for yourself. Although it is not rare to find free range organic chickens in people’s backyard or bearded hipster tech worker on a fixie bike or a tattooed gluten-free master beer brewer in the city. Reality is probably much more interesting than fiction.
Portland is a place where academics (one of highest per capita with college education), nude cyclists (well established tradition), alt musician (The Dandy Warhols, Everclear, Pink Martini, Sleater-Kinney, The Shins, Blitzen Trapper, The Decemberists), environmentalist (top 5 greenest cities), craft brewers (more than 60 breweries), and food cart (over 700) purveyors can live together in harmony. Blend that with the beauty of the Northwest and intimacy of a small friendly city, Portland is a hard place to beat. It is one of our favorite places in the world.
We are spending most of our 3 weeks off before we head to Europe in the Portland area. We both essentially spent most of our formative years in Oregon and we both lived in Portland after college. Portland is a special place for us not because it amazing, but also that so many of our family and friends live in the area.
So what do we like to do while we are in Portland? It’s hard, as the city is constantly growing and evolving, to make absolute recommendations, but there’s a lot of great things. Here are our top things to explore when we are in Portland:
We hope that helps. The links we provided represent some of the quintessential things to check out while in Portland. Come visit Portland and don’t forget to be weird!
Grocery Beer Price Index: $1.85 for 12oz (355ml) Deschutes Mirror Pond
What's our route? Well, above are the possible areas we may sail. The 4 main legs are light green (Med + Caribbean), purple (South Pacific + Asia), yellow (Indian Ocean + Africa), and forest green (Africa + South America). The gray and dark purple are optional legs we can also explore.
Right now, we are just thinking about the first part of the light green leg. We will spend the next 14 months (2017/2018) on land and at sea in potentially the following places:
If you look at our rough pen strokes above and are concerned because of pirates or difficulty to navigate, then let us know (unless you are a pirate). ;-) We are always looking for recommendations in terms of places to see and routes. We would love to hear from you! Comment below or e-mail us.
If you are in an area we will be and want to meet up, shoot us an e-mail.
Being children of a refugee family, we always found ourselves moving constantly as our parents travelled to find the best opportunity for the family. Sometimes it was just a few months in places like Little Rock (AR) to longer stints in Brooklyn (NY) or Easton (PA) or just enough to have another kid in Fillmore (UT) and finally growing up in Salem (OR). We saw many places and crisscrossed the nation many times in what seemed like an endless road trip.
As kids, each pause in that journey was filled with discovery -- from amazing cities where the buildings seem to hold-up the sky to sleepy rural sign-less town -- and from vast fields of gold to lush emerald forests. America was beautiful. And the people were as diverse and incredible as the landscape. It was a nomadic lifestyle for the first part of my life and it made an impression on me. It was a “refugee saga” and it was when I caught my wanderlust.
Isabella and I met after college. She was working at a Portland (OR) start-up with my childhood friends from Salem. Although I was already living in Seattle, we made it work. We both were happy to trade weekends to travel to see each other. And after our first trip abroad together (Italy), it was clear that we can weather any challenge together. We’ve travelled to something like 20+ countries since we’ve met. We even paused to get married in Barcelona. Although we traveled as much as we could, this part of our lives were all about our careers. The high-tech industry was exploding, creating wealth and affluence in the “tech saga” for many people. We worked hard and sometimes work was our lives, but it was rewarding and often a lot of fun. We’ve worked with many incredibly smart and talented people and have a lot of good memories. The time just flew by. It’s was hard to leave, but the work enabled us to do what we wanted to next.
Next is a new adventure with probably the most uncertainty we’ve ever had. There is not an established progression like we had earlier in our lives. It will be unscripted. We are sure that some things will be hard, sometime things will be exciting, and no doubt sometimes scary, but what is an adventure without those things. We will write each chapter as we go and share it with you. It’s going to be the “blue saga”.
Next few post will be more details about the future and less about the past. ;-)