May 25, 2015

Walking the Walls of Dubrovnik, Croatia

I can't tell you how many times I said "Oooo" and "Wow!" and "Can you believe we're here?" while on our Adriatic cruise. Port after port captivated us…but none more blog-worthy, frame-worthy, and brag-worthy than Dubrovnik, Croatia. Dubrovnik was THE sole reason we booked this particular cruise itinerary. It was a city on our bucket list throughout our entire stent abroad, so finally visiting on our last grand "hoorah" around Europe seemed like a victorious accomplishment. Granted, we would have loved to spend longer than 9 hours there, but beggars can't be choosers, now can they? 

The second we stepped foot inside Dubrovnik's historic city walls, I was hooked. So was D ("How'd ya like to get stationed here?!", he yes, please!). Dubrovnik is a combination of everything we adore about Europe...sweeping views & vistas, charming details, a location by the sea, and some seriously amazing architecture. Oh, and gobs of history. Can't forget its long, rich history! You know that feeling of wonder you get when you visit a place that totally catapults you back into time? Every square inch of Old Town Dubrovnik had us vibing with what life must have been like in the 9th century. The city is totally enclosed by thick stone walls...dotted with turrets, towers, and more vibrant red "kupe" tile roofs than my eyes knew what to do with. I was basically chomping at the bit to get atop the 2 kilometers of city walls and start snapping my camera shutter, so that's the very first thing we did. 

(And for all you future Adriatic cruisers out there, some logistics for you: we took a taxi from where our ship docked to the entrance of Pile gate. Short ride, maybe 10 minutes max and it was fairly cheap…although we did split the ride with another couple. No need to purchase a transfer from the ship, taxi will do just fine.) 

If I remember correctly, just as you enter through Pile Gate (one of the main gates into Old Town), there is a shop where you purchase tickets to walk the walls. That's where we started our 2 kilometer trek and eventually ended it as well. Tickets were roughly 100 Croatian Kuna (13 euro) for adults, a bit cheaper for kiddos…but were worth every single penny. The views, guys. I still die over those views! Some of the most incredible we experienced during our travels around Europe, no joke. I could not get over how the stone just bled from the streets straight onto the buildings, everything covered in white limestone/marble (no one could tell us which!) and topped with vibrant red tile. Slap a shimmering blue sea and a forest of lush palm trees all around and BOOM…paradise along the Dalmatian coastline. "Pearl of the Adriatic", indeed!

We took our time walking every square inch of wall around Dubrovnik. It was a nice walk, too. Some stairs and tourists to battle, yes, but because we got there first thing in the morning when the walls opened, we got to enjoy them (and the views) without much annoyance. Thankfully, the sun wasn't blaring on us either, because our walk took roughly 2 hours. We did stop for photos quite often, but we also wanted to make sure we didn't miss a thing. I looked down every alleyway, tried to capture every vantage point I could in those 2 hours. I knew it could possibly be the only time we'd ever spend there, so I savored every moment as if it were my last (dear Lord, don't let it be our last!).

The photos in this post are just a small fraction of what I took on our walk (we were almost at the halfway point of our walk at the end of these snapshots), so expect another post full of gorgeous views to come. So much to see, so little blog space (or attention span, I should say)! ;)

Here's a quick map for you to reference, so you can get a sort of aerial visual of the walls and just how far we walked. The walls are outlined in gray and the entrance we used to get into the city was on left, at the PILE gate. You can view the larger map here:

More from Dubrovnik to come...

May 14, 2015

Baking with GlobeIn Artisan Box

[The following is a sponsored post featuring products c/o GlobeIn, however, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the companies that support this blog!]

I was fortunate enough to have the kind folks a GlobeIn message me and ask if I would review another Artisan Box for them. Of course, because I LOVED the last one so much, I jumped at the chance to be able to get another beautifully curated box on my doorstep! Just like my previous box, this month's package was chock full of valuable goodies from all over the world. And not just samples, full size product! Not many subscription boxes can provide that. I was already wowed and I hadn't even tried any of the items yet!

Just to get you quickly up to speed, each month GlobeIn delivers “the globe in a box” - a themed collection of artisan-made products from around the world (usually 5 or 6 little items) to it's monthly subscribers. GlobeIn introduces you to products that you can feel good about purchasing -- they are often organic, fair trade, and they support artisans and farmers from over around the world. Each box also includes short stories on the country of origin for each product as well as the heartfelt stories of the artisans and farmers themselves, so you know exactly how a product is sourced and/or made and can put a face to who you're supporting. Not to mention, these boxes are insanely ADORABLE. All of the items are packaged neatly into a colorful palm leaf basket that is a whole other gift in itself.

Here's how the Artisan Box subscription works: you can score your monthly Artisan Box for as low as $30 a month for a six-month subscription. It’s $35 dollars for a month-by-month subscription and shipping is FREE in the United States! Don't live in the USA? No problem...they ship to Canada for $12 and $15 internationally. Thanks to GlobeIn and the Artisan box, now everyone can try new products & support artisans from all over the world!

The theme of May's Artisan Box was "BAKE"...more goodies to use in the kitchen! Inside the colorful basket was:

-Big Dipper Wax Works 100% Beeswax Birthday Candles from Canada-
-Kelapo Extra Virgin Coconut Oil Samples from Sri Lanka-
-2 Organic Cotton/Jute Toockie's Scrub Cloths from India-
-Alter Eco Mascobado Cane Sugar from the Philippines-
-Just Good Chocolate Organic/Fair Trade "Better World" Dark Chocolate Brownies from Peru-

I was a little skeptical about how good the brownies would actually taste. I baked up a batch and used some of the Lafaza Madagascar Bourbon vanilla bean paste from my February Artisan Box (and added in a few dark chocolate chips, because I'm a chocoholic). When I tell you that these are some of the richest, most decadent brownies I've ever tasted…I'm not kidding! D has already eaten half the pan and immediately asked how we could get more mix (all Artisan Box products are for sale on their website, FYI). I'd say those brownies are a total winner and reason enough to snag your own "Bake" themed Artisan Box ASAP! I also really loved coconut oil (who doesn't love good coconut oil?) and the beeswax candles...cute colors AND they're compostable! GlobeIn, once again, provided me with a box filled with items I'll actually use. I seriously love that.

For those who love to travel, live well, and support small farmers and budding artisans in other countries, the Artisan Box is the perfect answer to your monthly box subscription desires. Be sure to visit the GlobeIn website to learn more about this amazing company!

Want to a piece of the globe straight to your mailbox?
Use code WTRLT to get 25% OFF 3 month subscriptions or gifts for the GlobeIn Artisan Box!
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