Principle #1 – Have fun with people who inspire you.

I’m excited to tell you about our second week in Croatia. If you missed the last email, I wrote about our visit to Kraków, Poland, and the adventures of the first week in Croatia. Check it out on my website here. We visited the Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia’s oldest and largest national park. It was named the first national park of the Republic of Croatia in 1949. It covers 73,000 acres and has 16 lakes and 4 hiking trails. It was beautiful, and the waterfalls were glorious. See the pictures below.

Next, we visited the Sea Organ in Zadar. The organ pipes are under the walkway, and the sound is louder when the waves are high. Check out the video here. There’s a longer video in the Sea Organ above.

Our next stop was Dubrovnik Old City. The city was founded about 614 by Roman refugees. The town is surrounded by 6,365 feet of walls that were built in the 16th century. There are several towers, fortresses, and historic monuments. Below are pictures of Dubrovnik Old City at night and an overlook of the city. See the walls surrounding the city? The arrow is where our hotel was.

We went on a sunset cruise and had dinner on a little island in the Adriatic Sea. It was absolutely stunning!

Sunset cruise on the Adriatic Sea.

Our last stop in Croatia was a quick hour’s drive into Montenegro, a country in the Balkans. Montenegro declared its independence from Serbia in June 2006. It is one of the newest internationally recognized countries in the world. Montenegro has mountains that reach down to the lakes. We took a cable car up the mountain and had dinner. The views were majestic.

Montenegro, a Balkan country

We had a blast in Croatia. There was so much to see and learn about their history. The next country on our adventure is Istanbul, Turkey. There are over 3,000 mosques in Istanbul. The more well-known mosques are Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque. We arrived in the evening and enjoyed seeing the Blue Mosque lit up. Check out the picture below.

“Hi” from Istanbul – Blue Mosque behind us.

We spent our first day in the historical region of Cappadocia. The climate is dry, and after millions of years of volcanic eruptions and erosion, it has resulted in unique rock formations. Some call it mystical with its distinctive “fairy chimneys,” tall, cone-shaped rock formations in Monk Valley. We walked through the cave dwellings and visited with monk artisans at an outdoor air museum. It was fascinating. We went to the other side of Monk Valley in time to hear the call to prayer. It happens 4-5 times per day. Listen to the video here.

Monks Valley in Cappadocia

Dana and I met Matt and Ethan from our URI team, Olga, Łucja, and her daughter, Kija, from the KDU team in Istanbul. We’re kindred spirits and enjoy each other’s company, so we met in Istanbul. Of course, we had the opportunity to discuss our vision of how to help Ukraine after the war ends. We have faith that it will end…hope for peace. Meanwhile, we’ll enjoy visiting Istanbul.

L to R: URI team – Ethan, Matt, and Cindy

L to R: URI and KDU teams – Cindy, Ethan, Matt, Lucy, and Olga

We’re not the only ones learning about different cultures. Our Ukrainian friends at the Świetlica Dębniki Community Center in Kraków, Poland, also learned a new culture. The Museum of Japanese Manggha Art and Technology and the Department of Education organized a Japanese workshop and picnic at the community center. They taught Japanese culture, and Japanese games and art activities were offered to the little ones. It was a huge success! Please see the pictures below.

In August, the Świetlica Dębniki Community Center served 511 families. See the detailed numbers below. Please see the bottom of the email to donate if you would like to help support programs like the Japanese workshop and language classes or fill the pantry. No donation is too small; we welcome however much you can give. Thank you for your continued support of our efforts to relieve the Ukrainian crisis.

We have one more week in Istanbul. I’ll update you on our adventures in the next email. Thank you so much for your interest in our travel adventures and support for our mission of helping Ukrainians in Kraków. I value your kindness and friendship. Thank you for being part of my circle of light. Be positive and stay safe. Hope for peace. #lovewins #peaceforukraine

In friendship and solidarity,



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