Thursday, July 30, 2009
She's been playing catcher, but she has versatility to play most positions.
We're proud of her for the progress she's made in softball!
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
At first I was irritated that there was writing in the book...then I looked closer....she made her own fake laptop, and she did a pretty good rendition. (Clearly, she doesn't know what a QWERTY keyboard is, but that's not a big surprise.)
She even drew the side of the laptop! Ingenious!
I don't know why she did this, but I'm guessing that one day she was either dreaming of having a laptop or was playing a game where she needed a laptop.
One thing that dismays me about the kiddos is that they don't like to read. It is a constant fight. I found it completely ironic that the laptop drawing was done in a book. I wish I could inspire them to READ books...and not just use them as props. It's a constant battle.
I try to tell them that it is a blessing and gift to be able to read. I try to explain that they get to do pretty much whatever they want, and all I ask is 30 minutes of reading a day. You'd think I'd asked them to eat a salad-only diet or something...they are that opposed to the idea.
*Sigh* I'll keep trying. I am a voracious reader. I can't imagine my life without it. Interestingly enough, I can't imagine my life without my laptop, either. I'm guessing that they learned that last part from me, too. I'm only hoping to have more influence on the first part.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
I spent all of my time as a missionary in Zagreb, and I know it better than any other city in Croatia. Many people "skip" Zagreb, and that is a shame. Don't get me wrong, the Dalmatian coast is unbelievable, but to skip Zagreb is skipping the heart and soul of the country.
Hotel Dubrovnik because it is right smack dab in the center of absolutely everything you would want to do in Zagreb. You are literally in the city center if you stay at this hotel. You are walking distance to all of the major sites that I mentioned in the previous slide notes. It’s also a place filled with wonderful cafes, ice cream shops, restaurants, shopping and of course, it’s in the historic city center of Zagreb. It’s an absolutely fabulous location. http://www.hotel-dubrovnik.hr/
I think you should know that I have never stayed at Hotel Dubrovnik, but I have passed it a thousand times.
I typically stay at the Sheraton because I stay for free on points. It’s about 15 years old a just a bit run down; this assessment is based on my last stay. The staff is very professional and the service top notch. Sheraton Zagreb Hotel. Kneža Borne 2 · Zagreb 10000 · Croatia Phone: (385) (1) 4553535 http://www.starwoodhotels.com/sheraton/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=316
If you absolutely must "rough it," a hostel may be for you. http://www.hostel-zagreb.com/index.jsp?langid=2 I found out about this one on a blog. I have never stayed here, but, I can tell you that the location is good. It is not far from the center of town and is accessible by public transportation. The price is definitely right at 19 Euros per person. Peruse the website linked above for more information.
If you happen to find a property that you are interested in, let me know, and I can ask a local about the property, the reputation and the location.
A Self Guided Walking Tour of the Gornji Grad: Click here to read of the historical significance of the oldest part of Zagreb http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gradec,_Zagreb. I love this area of town. To me, this is the heart of Zagreb. I have spent much of my time here, and I never tire of it. If you have only one day in Zagreb, make sure you spend it in this part of town. This suggested walking tour begins at the main Square.
Trg Bana Jelačića (the main square: above ). This is a GREAT place to people watch. Everyone passes through the city center.
In general, it is inappropriate to take photos inside of the Cathedral. If you enjoyed your time, a nominal donation is appropriate in the box at the door of the Cathedral.
A few words that will help you:
- Koliko cošta?=How much does it cost.
(To be truthful, you probably won't understand what they say, but use your fingers to display price and how much you will pay. Don't pull out your money and show what you have. Many of them will know enough English to explain how much it costs.)
- Hvala=Thank you.
- Dobar Dan=Have a good day.
Make sure to wander and explore!
In summary. Start at the X (on the picture above), make your way to the Cathedral. Make your way to the Market. Explore, explore, explore. Before you leave the Market area, if you want an authentic Croatian experience, go to the area I have circled on the map. As you are "leaving" the market, you will find a number of local eateries and cafes. These are truly local places, and it's a bit crazy up there. There is a shop that sells only Burek. Burek is a Croatia pastry pie that is prepared with either cheese or meat. Make sure you go and get one!
You'll walk in, probably be verbally abused by an angry Croatian man, order your Burek then proceed outside. Seriously, this guy is like the soup Nazi from Seinfeld. It's a great experience! Must do! I prefer meat Burek, but either is good.
How to order:
- Ja želim burek s mesom. (for meat)
- Ja želim burek s sirom. (for cheese)
Click here to read about the historical significance of this street (which was once a bridge). http://www.fivestars.hr/did_you_know/MTAw/ The literal meaning of the street name is "Bloody Bridge." This history (in the link provided) gives you just a slight insight to the rich and dynamic history of this city. From Krvavci Most, turn right onto Radićeva. It is a rather steep walk up Radićeva, so be prepared. This is the steepest part of this walking tour. Near the top of the hill, there is a stairway with a statue near the steps. Take the steps up. You are approaching the ancient city wall and the only gate that survived a fire in 1731. The place is called the Kamenita Vrata (Stone Gate). As you pass through the gate, note that you are in a sacred area to Croatian Catholics. Reverence is expected. There is a painting of Virgin and Child that survived the fire, and since that time, this place has been sacred and turned into a shrine.
You may see women selling candles or prayer beads outside of the shrine. The plaques on the wall are tributes to the Virgin Mary.
There used to be a pizza place right in front of the gate (on the right). The last time I was in Zagreb, the pizza place was closed. Check. If it is open, make sure you go get some pizza there. A note about Croatian pizza. Pizzas are personal servings; pizzas are not typically shared. They are served uncut and are to be eaten with a knife and a fork (just take a look at how the locals are doing it.) They don't have pepperoni in Croatia, and fefferoni are peppers...so unless you want jalapenos on your pizza, choose a different topping. Another Croatian classic is to have a fried egg on the pizza. I'm not a big fan of egg on the pizza, but it's a true Croatian experience.
As you pass through the Kamenita Vrata, you will find a VERY old Pharmacy. (Apoteka)
Pass the street named Opatička. Continue to the next street. On your right, it will be very obvious that you are at the Presidential Palace; it is on your right. There is a changing of the guard ceremony at noon on weekends during the summer months. It's free, and if you can plan your walking tour around it, it is worth seeing.
The X on the map (above) signifies the St. Mark's Square and the famous St. Mark's Church. It is a must photo op. Below is a picture of St. Mark's. The Church was constructed in the 17th Century. The picturesque tiles represent the coat of arms for Croatia, Zagreb, Slavonia and Dalmatia.
From St. Mark's Square, turn around and go down the street called: Cirilometodska. The street is named after monks Cyril and Method who invented the Cyrillic alphabet in the 9th century and used it as a tool to convert the Slavs to Christianity.
At the end of the street, you'll find remnants of the city wall and a tower. You can pay to go to the top of the tower. Each day at noon, they still shoot a cannon from the tower. (Be aware of this daily occurrence. During the war years, the cannon freaked me out a bit when I was in the center of town.)
To the east of the tower is a white, baroque church called St. Catherine's. I have been in it only once and it was for a concert. It is quite beautiful inside if you happen to be able to catch a performance there, it would be worth it.
If you go on the south side of St. Katherine's, you'll find a way to "get behind" the church. There is a wide open space (oddly placed in an old city) that provides a phenomenal photo opportunity of the Kathedral from a distance. Here is where my memory gets just a bit fuzzy. I "think" that there is a set of stairs from that open space that will lead you down the hill and back to Radićeva. If you don't find a set of stairs there, go back out to the tower and to the south of the tower and to the left is a footpath that will lead you back to Radićeva and back to the main square. Alternately, you can take the funicular (uspinjača) down for a nominal fee. If you take the funicular, you turn left on Ilica Ulica and it will lead you back to the square.
If you do not get pizza near the Kamenita Vrata, there are some nice cafes on Ivana Tkalčićeva. To get there from the Square (if you have walked down), it is the street parallel to Radićeva. (Remember Kravaci Most connected those two streets). Instead of turning to go on Kravaci Most, keep straight). This street is not nearly as steep.
Some final thoughts. Make sure to explore. There is a lot to see, and the best things about the main square and the Gornji Grad are making it your own. If it looks interesting, it probably is.
If you are wandering, exploring and enjoying yourself, the Gornji Grad should take about 4 hours if you take my recommendations. You can do it all in about an hour if you don't spend extra time at the market, shopping and having lunch.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Dom "fake crying" because she's in jail.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
This was when they went to the zoo. Dylan (our neighbor) with Dom and Elle. They had a really good time! (Elle won't show her teeth when she smiles...if she only could see how beautiful we all think her smile is! She's our smiling Elle. We're hoping she moves past the no smile phase soon!)
This pic of Dylan and Dom at the zoo makes me smile.
Just last week they went to the Oquirrih Temple Open house.
It's been great to have someone we can rely upon to make sure the girls have organized days and weeks. It's making the summer fly by! They don't have to rely on Dad or Wendy to get home to do things, and they seem to be having a great time! We're glad we have Jana! We know she's getting ready for school in the Fall, and we wish her all the best. Hopefully, more Jana pictures are to come since we have her for about 6 more weeks!