Picturesque Piran

Author: Kali

While staying in the forgotten old village of Truske, we visited the historical centre of a costal town called Piran. It is located on a peninsula, jutting out sharply into the Adriatic. We had to park our car in a parking garage, about a kilometre from the city. Many towns and villages in this area have this same system, as the streets are too small and narrow for cars to enter- only bikes and scooters can get in and out.

Today was once again one of those days you wish you were backpacking Antartica instead of facing a heatwave in Istria. The sun, in the cloudless sky, blazed down on us as we walked to the city

gates. Esto, having had a terrible tummy bug for the last three days, refused to walk even a single step. With no other choice, mum hoisted him onto her back. Dad and I also took turns carrying him through the streets.

 We wandered through cobble stone streets with old pastel coloured buildings on each side. Without being too touristy, or overcrowded, Piran had a charm to it that I immediately loved! The little street side cafes and restaurants were filled with people. Each little street and alleyway lead to a small square, with yet another café or two. We lost our selves! We simply couldn’t take enough pictures, even though they could not capture the charm of the place!




Now, once again starving of hunger, dying of thirst and melting away in the scorching midday sun, we aimed for shade, cold beer, ice cream and the cool waters of the azure Adriatic! We flopped onto the couches at the cafe and Dad ordered two ice cold beers, three ice creams and a large jug of water. Esto, feverish, nauseous and totally out of it plonked down next to me. I wet his hair a bit and fanned him with a brochure on the table. (Isn’t that what big sisters are for? I recon I need a big sister!)

It was such a relief and so refreshing to dive into the glorious water. It was crystal clear and the rocky bottom was visible beneath.  I couldn’t get enough of it! Even the salt tasted delicious on my lips.

We spent hours moving between the ocean and having cold treats in the shade. In my heart I wished this time would never end.

 Until next time,




Our First Day in Slovenia

Author: Kali

Mum and Dad rented a Skoda, Fabia station wagon, making us thankfully less dependant on public transport in Slovenia. There are a lot of these cars in these areas. The Skoda is a comfortable five seater, with a nice big boot, however, it is still a tight squeeze for six. By this time through the journey, we are however, used to squeezing into impossibly small spaces. In South America all four of us, along with mum, were shoved into a back row of a taxi. This time, we nearly had a whole seat to ourselves!

We drove along small dirt roads in between villages, some long forgotten. From the second I set my eyes on Slovenia, I loved it! Every home and garden is a flower pot. Flowers colour absolutely everything, everywhere. No matter how big or small the house, you will always find a vegetable garden, squeezed into the yard. These are well kept with vegetables like tomatoes and beans. There are fruit trees everywhere. Plums, peaches and apples hang over every fence ready for passers by to pick and enjoy. This is amazing! You never see this in Australia. Here I am walking through the forest, picking wild berries for a snack. This is like in fairy tales.

We visited many small villages, each with it’s own unique and special character. I have noticed that people in Slovenia are not like people in Croatia and Montenegro. Even after they’ve seen you’re a tourist, they greet friendly with a smile: ‘Dober dan!’ It was lovely visiting the neighbourhoods and seeing how the people actually lived – and the sheer beauty of everything that surrounded us.

Lunch on the first day consisted of cold meats, cheeses and bread. The lunch itself wasn’t so special. It’s the setting that has found a place in my heart. We sat in the middle of a secluded, flowery meadow. The many wild flowers brought colour to the brilliant green of the grass. It is quite hard to describe in a way that you, as a reader, can really even try to imagine what it was like. It was amazing!

We were hoping to find somewhere to stay for a few nights near Bled and Lake Bled. We asked at a few villages nearby, but there was no accommodation available. After what seemed like years of asking and moving on, we came to a little village called Ribno. Neat gardens surrounded the beautiful homes, everything covered with a bouquet of coloured flowers. Everything seemed alive, happy and exciting. Somehow, I felt that we would be staying here.

We ended up getting a neat little apartment for a great price from a lovely lady, Nency. She was very kind and told us the only reason why we got the apartment (the rest of the town is full) is because they have only recently finished it and they haven’t advertised it online yet. I was so grateful for this. If it wasn’t available, we would’ve been accommodation scouting through the night. At least we had a car, so if worst comes to worst.

I feel so content as we are sitting outside enjoying the scenery, company and delicious salad. Our first day in Slovenia was no doubt the perfect way to start the next chapter of our adventure. My heart is overflowing with joy and excitement. I cannot wait to explore this amazing place further with my family. I know I will dream of these days once we get shoved back into fast paced reality. We must make the most of these priceless times! ❤️

Until next time,



Serbia and to Slovenia

Author: Kali

Our stop in Belgrade, Serbia was not planned. We just happened to find a train going there, decided to stay a night, then take another train to Slovenia. We were all extremely keen to explore and make the most of our short Serbian adventure.

We had barely left the train station, walking the 3km to our apartment when it started bucketing down.  Totally drenched, we at last came to an old apartment block. The foyer door was open and even though it was dark and dirty inside, we went in and sat on the stairs. A minute later, Nikola, our very friendly host came down to welcome us to a warm, clean, neat and perfectly equipped little apartment. We were very apologetic for being so late, but he answered casually that he saw that the train was late on the internet, and that this is Serbia! I didn’t quite know whether that meant the trains in Serbia are always late or if it meant something else.

It was too late for dinner and the only priority was to get to bed. It was such a relief to crawl into a clean, soft, comfortable and big bed.

The next morning, we woke up to the rain’s soft tapping on the roof. Despite this we made our way towards the Independence Square where we would start our customary “free walking tour”.

The tour turned out to be excellent. Although the few sights of Belgrade are not very interesting, Bonja, our amazing tour guide made them come alive with meaning and colour.

Belgrade has gone through a number of very severe wars. At some apartment blocks, the obvious damage of recent bombings is clearly visible. Unlike many other cities and towns we have visited, Belgrade does not have a specific or unique style. It is a mish-mash of old, new and in between.

There was one particular area that was really special. It was kind of a preserved area and had old bars, pubs and traditional kafanas (coffee bar).  Every morning, locals come here to have their strong cup of ‘kafa’, a traditional Turkish style coffee to start the day. It is a colourful, unique and interesting strip that attempts to brighten up the grey and mostly miserable war remains of the city. Being the photographer that day, I could simply not take enough photos!

Halfway through the tour, the gentle drops turned into full scale rain. We were all soaked to the bone. Everyone else in our group was equipped and prepared with umbrellas and rain jackets, however, our family was totally exposed to the elements. Well, not everyone. In my little “survival day pack” (that was now drenched) I had everything I needed for any situation or disaster. For this wet scenario, I had my trusty poncho with me. Mum had only her singlet and shorts on, and it looked like she was freezing. I offered the poncho to her. She very gratefully accepted it from me, and quickly slipped it on.

The last five minutes of the two hour tour was simply unpleasant. All of us were cold, hungry and tired. We would run to measly little sheltered spots each time Bonja would stop to explain or talk about something. I craved (and could almost taste in my mouth) a delicious warm bowl of spaghetti bolognese.  When the tour ended, we quickly set off, running in the rain to our apartment. Not long after, we were sitting at our little kitchen, wolfing down the warm toasted ham and cheese sandwiches which mum had made for us.

We had the option to stay longer in Belgrade, or take the day or night train today to Slovenia. Nobody volunteered for the overnight train as we have had sleepless nights on trains before. However, after some research we saw that the night train was the more practical option.

Packed and ready to go.

At around 3pm, we decided to pack up our belongings, then headed towards the train station. We were also looking for a nice place to have a late afternoon dinner on the way. It seemed like hours before we found the perfect place, after nearly breaking our backs with our heavy backpacks. The food was great, but what really made it a memorable and special experience was the conversations we had. I will never forget our one and only dinner in Belgrade, Serbia.

At one stage, Ruzow casually asked Mum the time. She looked at her watch, then in shock she said: ‘It’s half past eight!’ The next ten minutes was a flurry of flinging the bags onto our shoulders, then racing to the train station while still trying to inhale the last of our meal and Belgrade. We got to the train station with only a few minutes to spare.

We were all surprised when clean bedding arrived in plastic bags and stunned when we received the ice cold water bottles. We just laughed when the chocolate croissant were delivered. Five star!

Within minutes, we felt the jolt and slowly the sights of Belgrade started disappearing in the distance. Mum and I looked at each other with a sigh of relief. If we had arrived at the train station five minutes later than we did, we would’ve missed our train. Thank you Ruzow for saving the day!

Ruzow and Dad shared the compartment next to us with a lovely young Irish couple. We could hear their faint laughter and chatting. Our carriage, with Eulain and Esto on the top bunks, quickly fell silent in sleep. I must admit, I have never slept well on a train before, but this time, I had a restful night. I only woke up when Dad came into the compartment and told us that this was our stop. I was still half asleep when rushed off the train, grabbing all our things hastily. We aimed for a bathroom to freshen up, then found a nice place to have muesli and yoghurt for breakfast.

Snug on the top bunks.

Our adventure in stunning Slovenia has started.

Until next time,



Introduction to Serbia

Author: Kali

At around 6:30am, we were lined up along the Bar train station bench, in Montenegro, with the pile of luggage at our feet. We had woken up at 4:30am to pack the last of our things and get to the train station in time. Once again, an early start.

As the 7am train came screeching into the station, the first thing I noticed on the outside of the train, expressed in large red signs was NO Smoking! I was so relieved, as we have practically been living in smoke for the last while, as so many people here in Croatia and Montenegro smoke. They smoke uncontrollably, a whole box of cigarettes at a time. Anyway, grabbing our backpacks, we all hurried to get onto the train we would be on for the next 12 hours.

It was so nice to finally, after a morning of rushing, sit down on our surprisingly comfortable train seats in our private compartment, and watch the landscape roll past. Our bags were neatly packed away on the shelves above us and the two food bags were set beneath the seats. It was all very cosy. I was looking forward to the whole day on the train.

The mountains, so lush, green and woolly around the sides, and bald, shiny and smooth at the top made me chuckle as I imagined the mountain as an old man peering down at me. The green river glistened beside the rail. Every now and again we would enter a dark tunnel, then emerge and see the mountain we have moved through. It really was beautiful!

Within fifteen minutes everyone was working away, knowing that this was a rare chance to get a lot of school work done. Lately school hasn’t been the first priority.

It was a very productive morning and we got a surprising amount of work and blog posts done. All the time while Esto was reading loudly to Mum, she was snapping away, yelling out enthusiastically every now and then: ‘Oh my! That is absolutely amazing!’ (Snap! Snap! Snap!) ‘My goodness, you guys! Come look here… Oh, sorry Esto. Yes keep reading, well done.’ It was quite funny and disruptive sometimes, and gave you an excuse to look up from your work and stare out the window. It is rather peculiar though, that every time you look outside, your eyes were glued to the landscape. You simply cannot get them unstuck. Only when dad calls out sharply and asks what you’ve done so far is when you rapidly look down at your math problem again. What a view from the classroom.

By 11:30am everyone was becoming restless. The first thing Esto said after reading the last word of his book was: ‘I am so hungry, I’m about to die!’ I don’t blame him, 5am is way too early to have a decent breakfast. We were all hungry. So out came the muesli and yoghurt in our red plastic travel cups. They really come in handy.

After our brunch, Ruzow started teaching everyone how to solve a part of his beloved Rubik’s cube. He loves that thing, and at first, I found it a bit boring. But after figuring it out the first time, I started thinking, well, I’ll only do it once more, faster than before. And on it went. Ruzow made us all hold our tummies in laughter as he imitated some Rubik’s cube YouTube videos that he had watched before. He should definitely get a part time job as a comedian!


There were three border posts we had to go through, and each time we had to show our tickets, passports and faces. Before getting to Belgrade in Serbia, we would exit Montenegro, enter Bosnia and Hercegovina for only eight minutes, then enter Serbia again. Enough for a headache.


To our great annoyance, the air conditioning in our compartment was not very effective. We had to rely on an open compartment door to get fresh air. Smoke bellowed into our tiny compartment from the corridor, suffocating us all. The whole passage was a smoke cloud.

Doubly annoyed, I went over to a man smoking in the isle and showed him the signs that were on each compartment door and wall. He, however, just gestured that he was standing at the window, and he motioned that the smoke would go outside. I was astounded. Could the man not see that the clouds of smoke only got trapped in the rest of the train? It just irritates me how people who smoke here in Croatia and Montenegro are so inconsiderate.

The hours slowly ticked by and at last we came to the last hour of the 12 hour train journey. We packed all the food and school things away hastily, expecting to arrive in Belgrade in a few minutes. However, our train was terribly delayed. We ended up having to sit, in our now very uncomfortable seats, for another 3 hours and try to entertain ourselves. An audio-book on dad’s phone came to the rescue until we finally arrived 15 hours after our departure.

The train slowly rolled into Belgrade station and came to a long screeching stop. We slung our bags onto our shoulders and continued our long journey on foot, through scruffy alleys and dark streets. This was our introduction to Serbia.


Until next time,



Author: Kali

We were walking on the beach promenade in Budva when I entered a little kiosk to have a look at the souvenirs. I took extra care to not touch much and I walked slowly to the key chains and fridge magnets. Behind the little counter was a plump, middle aged lady with a miserable expression on her face.

Slowly, I started turning the rack where the magnets were displayed. Suddenly, one of the magnets fell and broke in two. I picked it up and inspected the damage. It was in the shape of a snail and the head had broken clean off its body. I was starting to walk across to the counter, when the lady ran over to me, snatched the thing from my hand, and started waving it in my face, yelling in Croatian.

I was very apologetic from the time the magnet broke, but also totally and utterly astounded and taken by surprise at the woman’s furious rage. I tried to say sorry numerous times and tried to ask how much I should pay for the magnet, but she just kept on yelling in Croatian (of which I could not understand a single word) and flashing the thing in my face. I tried to say  and gesture that I could not understand her, yet she did not cease screaming, as a matter of fact, she just started yelling out louder.

I could take no more, so I asked another local to translate for me, asking the angry lady how much I should pay for the magnet, and what she has been yelling at me all this time. Finally I found out that the cost of the broken magnet would be €1.50 and I headed over to Dad to come settle the debt. At this stage I was feeling very bad about the whole thing.

As Dad handed her the money, she rudely snatched it out of his hand, not even saying thank you or changing the furious expression on her face. She was down right rude!

The magnet would never have been my choice, and at first I left it on the wall in front of the kiosk as I did not like it at all. But after a swim and dinner, it was still sitting on the wall, exactly where I had left it. I decided to keep it, as a reminder not only of Budva, Montenegro, but also of my experience at the kiosk.

We have found that children, especially tourist children, are not trusted in stores in Montenegro. We have had a few scenarios where we were either chased out of a shop or followed around suspiciously for doing absolutely nothing while helping Mum and Dad with the shopping, or just looking around.

Mum always says rude and miserable people are often hurting. You can only feel sorry for them and be kind. ❤️

Until next time,



The Beautiful Walled City…

Author: Kali

We arrived in Dubrovnik in the middle of the day, in the full sun and terrible heat from Korčula Town, by ferry. Our friendly host, Daniela, came to pick us up at the terminal. Before us, we saw a large town built around the old town and harbour, where big cruise liners moor in the dazzling blue water. We were eager to explore.

Daniela led us up several long, stone flights of stairs and narrow alleyways to get to our apartment. Cats laze around under the odd tree or bramble and vehicles park wherever they can. What a different life to what we are used to.

Only now do I understand why cars and other vehicles do not have side mirrors, or have big dents and smashed windows. The narrow little laneways are barely big enough to squeeze a motor cycle through, yet with other vehicles parked along the sides clogging the road, somehow the cars manage to get through the haze. I see the logic in all the many smart cars zooming around the city. They are super easy to park and fit through the tiniest places. This comes in handy in Dubrovnik.

Dubrovnik is made up of many old homes and buildings, all rock or concrete wit red roof tiles. Colourful wooden doors on some of these make a beautiful contrast.

Near the back entrance of our little apartment, there’s a concrete wall. Earlier that day when we headed to the beach, I found a ping pong ball floating in the harbour. I am desperate to play hockey or tennis. Traveling the world (backpacking especially) you must be resourceful.  So with a small wooden cutting board from the kitchen and the ping pong ball against the uneven wall, I got my tennis fix.

One evening we went to the old town to have a nice dinner, a look around and most importantly an ice cream. The old town itself is absolutely stunning! Festive little tables and chairs sit out in the alleyways. Each restaurant, café or pub has candles or lamps to light their part of the narrow path. The old churches are the only quiet and still places you can find within the city walls. These consist of amazing architectural designs, and are adorned with colourful paintings. Bands of traditional singers and musicians move through the city. Their music can be heard from outside the large stone walls.

What, however, spoilt all this magic for m,e was the masses of tourists. On top of the little alleyways being so small and narrow, it was extremely hard to move around. Everyone was everywhere, on top of everything, all wanting to get the same photos, wanting to do the same things. It drove me nuts! Every time one of those massive cruise liners would appear in the harbour, hordes of tourists would all head to the old town city gates and swarm the place.

We decided to eat dessert first. So as soon as we entered the gates to the old town, our first (and only) mission in life was to hunt for ice cream. I say hunt because firstly (and most importantly) we wanted to scout out the best ice cream in all of the old town and then secondly (this one mattered mostly to Dad and not the the rest of us) at a reasonable price. At last after our crazy search, we each had a large chocolate ice cream in our hands whilst exploring the old town.

We now started to notice how seats at the restaurants were filling up fast. At some places people were even standing in line, desperate to sit down and have a meal. We started casually looking for a nice place to eat. Of course, our tight budget had us walk past many places more in my class. 😉

At last, the perfect place came. In the budget, good food, and in a particularly beautiful little alleyway… and most importantly: a table for six! 😃 This doesn’t sound like such an amazing thing, but if you had only known how all six of us have been squished into places so unimaginably small, you would be rejoicing too. After South America, everything feels like luxury! 😂

One of the things I will never forget is when Dad suddenly emerged with a brown paper bag and a big grin. ‘I have something for you all!’ he announced excitedly. He took six candy tennis balls from the bag. They were massive gum balls! Dad specifically got the tennis balls because every spare moment we would be quickly checking the Wimbledon results. We are big tennis fans. Well, some more that others. And all the way home that night, Mum and Dad taught us four children how to blow bubble gum bubbles, something you would never expect your parents to teach you. It was loads of fun and a night I will never forget.

Tomorrow we will bus off to Kotor in Montenegro. Our time in beautiful Croatia has been way too short so far. Luckily we will return soon to this magical place. 😁❤️

Until next time,




Kayaking in Prižba

Author: Kali

Wanting to make the most of the amazing ocean water and sun here in the little town of Prižba, we rented three kayaks to explore the Adriatic Ocean and surrounding islands. Mum and I; Eulain and Ruzow; Dad and Esto.

On advice of one of the locals, mum and I ended up choosing the best kayak for the choppy water.

As I slid it into the crystal clear water, we arranged that I was to sit in the front and mum to direct from the back. From the start our team worked together perfectly.

Normal… Okay, one left then two rights.’ Mum would command from the back seat and immediately we would change over to steer ourselves around the many little islands and coves. We had the same rhythm so mum and I were able to glide swiftly through the azure waters. We were way ahead of the others (I think the kayak might’ve been to our advantage) and had the time to stop and swim in the middle of nowhere. We anchored our kayak on a lonely beach, and drifted with the breeze. This was a special connecting time between mum and I on a kayak, in the middle of the Adriatic Sea.

Our aim was to row to a costal town called Brna to have ice cream. We were about a kilometre from it, when we realised that we would not have enough time to stop for ice cream and be back in time  to return the kayaks.

Our time in Prizba consisted mostly of swimming in the glorious water and admiring the view from our balcony. We managed quite a bit of school work too.

We made up for our loss, having ice cream on the balcony of our lovely apartment, overlooking the ocean. How blessed we are to experience the world, together as a family. I look forward to more adventure together! 😁

Until next time,

– Kali-





Beautiful Račišće

Author: Kali

After our bundu-bashing, we were all exhausted and just wanted to throw our bags down and go for a swim. A friendly couple, Martin and Danke, warmly welcomed us with sweet pastries, traditional homemade wine, grappa and a special homemade juice to our accommodation. Having entered Račišće in such a horrible way, I was so thankful the town and our apartment was so wonderful and beautiful.


Finally arriving after over 4 hours of struggles…


Our apartment was on the top level of an old 17th century stone block building. It was literally 10m from the ocean. Račišće is one of the smallest and oldest villages on the island of Korčula, and only has around 30 homes, 2 restaurants/cafés and a lovely old church. It is surrounded by a beautiful little cove and small harbour with clear, calm ocean water. From our balcony, you could even see the rocky harbour bottom.

All the beaches and shores are filled with smooth, round pebbles and rocks. No sand to get into everything. It was heaven on earth! (Hey Kate, you would love these beaches.) The sea water was very salty, but absolutely gorgeous! There is no sand in the water, so it is crystal clear and a delight to swim in. It is so refreshing and inviting, you can’t stop yourself from plunging in.

We spent our time swimming and floating around the three small beaches, or jumping off the harbour wall. Jumping off the harbour wall was so much fun. It is about 3m high and drops down sharply into the clear, cool, blue water, and we would do all kinds of tricks whilst jumping off. The local children would appear every afternoon to swim and jump off the wall, showing the few tourists how its done. It was very funny to watch them.

Every hour the big old church bell would chime. Chiming for the day would start with a full minute of constant and loud ringing (at 6am!), and would end the day the same (10pm). A few times I couldn’t help but chuckle, imagining someone swinging on the bell cord. 😁

There is a small boule court where the old men go to play boule (bocce, pentanque) with a few beers, every evening. Later, they would head to the bar and start singing loudly, with the whole town hearing their traditional clappa singing.

The one morning, we decided to run to a little beach. After about 2km, we came to a desolate little cove that had a rock house with a garden built on its shore. We were only planning a quick swim, but having fallen in love with the pristine water and white pebbly beach, we spent more than 2 hours in the water. We simply couldn’t tear ourselves away. Also, lucky for us, someone had left two pairs of goggles on the beach. Us four children took turns gazing around, amazed at the beauty that were beneath us.

I have lived near some of the best and most beautiful surfing beaches in the world and I’ve snorkelled on the Great Barrier Reef, but this little town of Račišće with its glorious water, has stolen my heart. It is most definitely my favourite costal place in all the world.

We spent beautiful sunsets on our balcony, looking out over our stunning surroundings, and having precious conversations over a bottle of Martin’s homemade wine and freshly baked bread. I will never forget these special times!


Lovely times with some very dear friends…


I am so grateful for the three days we had here. It would always be too short in this amazing place. What a privilege to have stayed here! ❤️😄

Until next time,
– Kali –





Bundu Bashing in Korčula

Author: Kali & Jarik

Kali: We were moving from a small town called Omiš, just out of Split, to one of the islands, Korčula. We took a ferry ride from Split to a tiny town on the island. From there we took a public bus. The driver was very unfriendly, and said he didn’t even know of the little town we were heading to, called Račišće. [Ra-chi-che]

Jarik: Thus far on our adventure, we have had a number of truly memorable travel experiences. This turned out to be one of them. We were supposed to get an Uber from our apartment in Omiš to Makarska, a town 20km further south along the coast. From there we were to catch a ferry to the island of Korčula. From Korčula Town, a regular local bus service could take us to our destination. It was all very straight forward. However, Uber dried up in Omiš; we eventually took a bus north to Split;  got a much longer ferry ride to Vela Luka (on the other side of Korčula island) and boarded a bus not really going to where we wanted to go…

Kali: MapsMe showed a walking trail from Pupnat, a town that the bus passes through, to Račišće. It was around 4km, all downhill, and it would take us about 50 minutes to reach our destination. This was absolutely nothing compared to hikes that we have done before, even with all our luggage. So we ended up getting off the bus at Pupnat. (The Afrikaans readers will enjoy the name!)

Jarik: Four kilometres – a breeze, although it was now about 1pm. There was even a sign indicating the walking trail close to the bus stop where we got off.

Kali: I started off walking in my flip flops (thongs) as I imagined this to be a comfortable walk. However, we had to get over massive boulders and rocks, and my flip flops didn’t even last a full hour. They had completely disintegrated and were totally useless. Disheartened, I dug out my runners from deep in my bag, and put them on my black, bleeding feet. Then we came to a really bushy and scrubby part of the trek. Also notice how I said my other shoes didn’t even last an hour, that is because by now we have been walking for more than two hours and the GPS showed that we still had 2.3kms to go!


Jarik: About 500m outside the village, the walking track gave way to a very rugged and rocky trail that was heavily overgrown. It was also by now apparent the “downhill walk” was actually quite a steep descent towards the glistening blue ocean that was very far off in the distance!

Kali: Our slow progress was not because we are slow hikers, but because we had wandered through various fingers splitting off from the track, all with our heavy backpacks. MapsMe couldn’t detect our location precise enough to be able to follow the track. Four hours passed and by now we were not only fighting our way over the boulders and rocks, but had a run-in with some aggressive bees as well – I got stung twice! We ended up just making our own trail through thick thorn bushes. Our legs, arms, faces, hands, feet and backs got badly scratched and our shirts and backpacks were also torn. It was horrendous! What made it even worse was that, after the 1st hour and in the middle of the day, all our water had completely run out and there was no house or farm in sight.

Jarik: After the second hour of very slow progress, following what seems to be the overgrown ruins of a winding rock boundary wall of some sorts, Mariza and I both realised that we still had a couple of hours of hard going ahead of us. It would be too difficult to go back the way we came. The only alternative was to continue pushing through the thorny shrubs and vines to slowly find a way to the bottom. We were totally ill prepared and just hoping that we would make it down before dark. Everyone was tired and hungry but we had to make sure that our troop’s attitude remained positive or we would never get there.

Kali: We all celebrated, some even cried, as soon as we stepped onto the dirt road that meant civilisation was within reach. This was definitely one of the most challenging treks that we have ever done. It took us more than five hours! I was feeling very sick at this stage. (We only had oatmeal in the morning and dry bread earlier in the day with very little water through the heat.) We climbed through a fence to fill our water bottles at an abandoned house and continued down the single lane road towards Račišće. Our apartment was delightful. It was such a relief to find a clean, neat and beautiful little apartment close to the cool blue ocean! We had an amazing welcome from our incredible hosts. From the picture to follow, you’ll see why the first thing we did was swim!!!


Jarik: I am so proud of my family! Not a single part of the day’s journey worked out as planned. We had to just adjust and find a way, even if it meant doing one of the toughest “hikes” we had ever done. The rewards were spectacular. Račišće is a forgotten  little piece of paradise in a beautiful corner of the crystal ocean. The conversations during and after the day’s ordeal were absolutely priceless. How fortunate we are to share this with our children.

Until next time,

– Kali –

– Jarik –




Author: Kali

Arriving in Helsinki, Finland early in the morning, we were excited to explore the city for the next four days. I liked it, but it is definitely not my favourite place so far.

As soon as we dropped our bags at our little cottage, having had no sleep on our flight from New York, we all decided to have a nap. Still very tired, we forced ourselves to be awake and explore the forest close to the cottage before we went to bed again.

It was however, a very peculiar night. At around 12:30am I woke up very suddenly to a big, bright, blue sky- it could’ve been midday! I checked the clock, and sure enough, at 12:30am the sun was still shining bright! It was so crazy, I couldn’t sleep any further that night. Soon all four of us children were wide awake, curiously watching the strange night sky. Here in Finland, in the summer, the sun only sets for around two hours. And in the winter, it almost never rises! I am glad we were here in summer!

The next morning, a mere ten minute tram ride took us to the city centre, where we headed to one of the oldest and biggest cathedrals in Helsinki. This is where we started our walking tour of the highlights of the city. The tour was not good at all; even our questions to draw out more information was met with an ‘I don’t know’ from the guide.

Jet lag hit us like a city tram as soon as we got back to the cottage, and we all had a ‘short nap’. Five hours later, Dad came to wake us all up. We were glad that we only had to hop across the road to the small supermarket to get something for dinner, as it was already 6pm. It wasn’t even really worth getting up.

Every home, no matter how big or small has a sauna. Even in the public parks and areas, you will find a little wooden cottage, a communal sauna.

Most families have a small cottage along the coastline for the few days of summer. (These really are few!) The little cottages have no running water or electricity, but the people can get these necessities from nearby public facilities.

Helsinki itself is a very practical, safe, clean and liveable city. However, as a tourist, I did not find this a very interesting or visually stimulating place. It was all mostly so pale and grey. Some places along the coastline are quite beautiful, but cannot compare to some of the beautiful beaches and shorelines I’ve been to.

In addition, the city is also very expensive! I saw a simple ham and cheese sandwich, in a deli window, for around €20, and another €4 for a regular cup of coffee. This was nearly $8 AUD for the cup of coffee. Crazy!

I am, however, glad we came to Finland, although four days might’ve been a tad too long. Never the less, I will forever be able to say, ‘Yes! I’ve been to Finland!’😀

Until next time,





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