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Amrita was at a wedding I shot almost exactly three years ago. So naturally when she reminded me of this, I had to check out the photos. She rocked the dance floor. It was at that moment I knew the wedding would be amazing. We started the wedding day fairly early at her parent’s home in Magnolia, TX. They did a traditional Sikh ceremony for Amit’s side and a traditional Hindu ceremony for Amrita’s side. Both with beautiful pink outfits that made Amrita look like a true Indian princess. Amit was introduced at the barratt via tractor, in true Texas style. There was a small break in between the ceremonies and the reception which was much needed for everyone as this would be a long party going until the wee hours of the morning. At the end of the first dance Amrita & Amit invited their close friends and family on to the dance floor which was a perfect start to what was going to be an amazing night. Then their friends surprised them with a flash mob style dance. My former clients at the wedding had informed me it would be happening so I was not surprised but that did not make the venture any less impressive to me. It was one of the coolest things I have ever seen at a wedding and Amrita & Amit were beyond stoked. There is something about Indian weddings that gives people an unending energy, especially me. Despite shooting from early in the morning until late into the night, I wasn’t ready to go to sleep immediately after, I only wanted to look at all the colorful photos that we had taken. The morning after was painful but it would never stop me from doing it all over again.
We did not have much time here but I am glad that we made the effort to visit this beautiful area. I can’t help but wonder if beautiful areas like this are popular for European destination weddings. We drove from Croatia to the less popular side of the mountains in Bovec. We thought it would be nice to see the mountains from the other side. At first, I understood why Bovec was not as popular. We stayed at a cute hotel – Hotel Dobra Vila – and had a nice local dinner at Martinov Hram but other than that, not much going on. The locals meals were great but very cheesy! I think I’ve gained 20lbs on this trip simply because I love to eat local but local food in general, is not healthy. The alpine area is known for their sheep cheese. I’ll go into more detail about the food below with photos. The drive from Bovec to Bohinj going through Tarvisio, Italy was amazing, albeit windy. We had pizza and gelato in Italy, of course!, on our way and tried to resist ‘pulling over’ at ever turn to take a photo. (note: there were very few places to actually pull over on the road) After getting lost, we found our way to the cable cars that took us up all the way to Vogel ski center. It just about gave me a heart attack though, it’s pretty freaky that these cable cars can take you all the way to the top of a mountain. We took a lot of photos in the snow to anyone it would have been impressive and even more so to us as Texans. We were surprised that it wasn’t as cold as we had expected, there is very little wind up there. We hiked up to Savica waterfall and called it a day back to Hotel Grand Toplice. The hotel had a great view of Bled island so we watched the sunset over drinks from there. We ate dinner at the Ostarija Peglez’n, which was delicious. Before heading out of Bled and on to Ljubljana and back to Budapest we had to grab a slice of cream cake from Slaščičarna Šmon, which Bled is apparently very known for. It did not disappoint. I also love that they are big tea drinkers in Europe and even better, Slovenia is very big on honey. Many people make it home. We ended up purchasing flavored honeys from a store in Ljubljana, the cinnamon vanilla is like crack. After lunch at Bistro Zvezda we made the long, very boring, rainy 4.5 hour drive to Budapest. By ‘we’ I really mean Ben, I do not know how to drive manual. (He tried to teach me in Iceland, fail) Now here we are… back to what feels like our temporary home.
Our meal from Ostarija Peglez’n, we only ended up here after the restaurant we wanted to go to was closed on a Saturday night (?). None the less, we are happy we did. I had a sole fish, a kind I’ve never had before but it is fairly local to the area so they knew what they were doing. They called the dessert a ‘cake’ but it was definitely more of a pie + cake combination with raspberries. Probably one of my favorite meals from the trip.
This was our complete meal from Martinov Hram. This was our first meal in Slovenia so we went all out and all local. Ben ordered a lamb stew with lamb roast, safe. I ordered a traditional Bovec soup and a Bovec ‘frika’. I had no idea what either of the two were when ordering. The soup was a sheep cheese soup, I love cheese, but that was too much for me. The frika is hard to describe but essentially imagine potatoes, more cheese, bacon, and egg to glue it together, mashed then grilled on both sides. The dessert was like a ravioli with pear and sugar inside.
If you go to Italy there are two things you must eat, pizza & gelato. Despite our to-go pizza not being cut for us, we managed. (Although I still think the gelato we had in Budapest was better).
We drove through Ljubljana to stop and have lunch at Bistro Zvezda. Two soups and what they called “crunchies” on the right, like pizza but on something more like a cracker, delicious ingredients and so nice to have something on the lighter side.
Apparently Bled is known for their cream cake, so we absolutely had to get some. This is from Slaščičarna Šmon, it lived up to the reputation.
During our stay in Budpest the 8 of us decided to take a detour… We spent a solid 24 hours in the country of the Czech Republic, maybe 30 if you include the driving time. It was an impactful 24 hours none-the-less as very little sleep was to be had in this country. We drove through Cseky Krumlov before arriving in Prague, aka Praha. It is a quant little college town with an enormous amount of charm. We walked through the square and grabbed teas & coffees to continue what ended up being a 12 hour journey to our final destination. Upon arriving in our 2 bedroom apartment that would sleep 8 people in Prague we dropped our bags and immediately set off to find food. Some friends of friends introduced us to La Boca, a deceptively large restaurant tucked away on a side street that had just enough room to accomodate our group. Our table of 4 ordered enough tapas to feed us for an entire day; from steak tartar, tomato soup, duck, gnocchi etc. An amazing meal full of drinks and deliciousness all for a very reasonable cost. The Koruna is about 20 to 1 USD. Side note : I’ve become quite obsessed with our collection of foreign currency and hope to make a post entirely about it. After dinner we set out to the do the main thing we came there to do, party with our friends. Friends of friends showed us around, starting with a bar called Lokal where the beer never stops being brought to your table unless you tell them and where it literally never stops being poured from the tap (no seriously, I never saw the bartender stop). I have heard that Lokal is one of the best places to go to get traditional Czech food and also where many of the locals go (hence the name?). It is a huge restaurant/bar and there is an understanding that no photos or technology in general is allowed to be used at the tables. I think it’s a good rule to have. We continued drinking at 2 other bars that I am unsure of the names. However, I did learn a few things about Czech bars… Holy crap Europeans like to smoke. A local liqueur that someone ordered for us was less than appealing. They like 90’s music, a lot. You have to arm wrestle for a table (true story). And bartenders will pay more attention to you if you’re dancing on a bar stool. We left the bar around 3am which seemed early in comparison to the rest of people in the bar but we are Americans and used to ending the party at 2. We found a spot for what, at the time, tasted like the best burritos and quesadillas of all time. In retrospect, as a Texan, I feel like I traitor just for typing that. We got lost on the way home but some how stumbled our way back to our 4th (they say 3rd but there were definitely 4 flights of stairs) floor apartment by 4:30am.
By 10am we were up and ready to see the city. After grabbing some tea and yogurt we set off wandering the streets. We found a place to rent electric bikes but quickly learned that Prague is not the most bike friendly city. While nearing the Charles bridge I got caught in the trolly line in the road and fell off the bike in front many cars and many people. I was fine except for two rather large bruises. We found some side roads and made it to the restaurant to meet Jonah & Jerry’s former wedding clients that live in Germany. Limonada was a cute french inspired restaurant with amazing pastries. So many delicious pastries in this country. We drove the electric bikes out in to the neighborhoods and through parks not meant for bikes until we finally figured out how to get back. Then before we knew it, we were on the rode back home again. By the time the sunset I was fell asleep and continued to do so for at least 4 of the 6 hour journey only to be woken up once by our tire blowing out due to an air bubble.
Part 3 of our 4 part eastern Europe trip : What an interesting country. This was our first country to visit that was once a part of Yugoslavia. We made the 5 hour drive from Budapest (after making a pit stop in Bokod, Hungary). The sunset on the drive there was amazing, we could not stop taking photos, little did we know it would be the best sunset of our entire 2 week trip. We stayed at the Turist Grabovac, it isn’t anything fancy but then again nothing in this area is. Despite the Plitvice lakes (Plitvička jezera in Croatian, pronounced “plit-vich-ka”) being a huge tourist destination for people from all around the world, the area still seems to still be recovering from the war that ended just 15 years ago. The restaurants have mediocre food and a lot of common areas are full of smoke, even the souvenir shop. With that said, the lakes are amazing. We started at entrance 1 and followed the lakes (course C I believe) all the way to the top. We took a boat across the largest lake in the middle then you take a tram most of the way back down from the top lake. The best view is at the very beginning I think, or at the very end if you start from entrance 2. It’s where you get the best view of the bottom lake and waterfall. The water is clear and the paths are winding. We took as much time as we felt like we needed soaking up the sun or taking photos. The weather was a little chilly but still wonderful. I imagine in winter it is beautiful with the snow but too cold and summer would feel great but sounds like it would be way too packed. We spent 2 nights in Rakovica before heading out to Slovenia. The drive was windy as we headed out of the area and we could not help but notice the massive amounts of abandoned homes along the way. It was quite sad. If we come back to Croatia I would love to visit Split, I hear it’s the new Ibiza, Spain. A must see nature spot if you’re at all in the area, you really only need about a day here though.
On Valentine’s Day there was a beautiful Camp Lucy wedding, Athena and Trey spent the day celebrating in style with many of their close friends and family. The day could not have been prettier nor the emotion stronger. Through the many smiles, tears of joy, whoops and hollers of celebration, Trey and Athena were present soaking it all in with their own ear to ear smiles. Great times were had with sharp objects; Trey and Athena cutting their cut by Katana as well as Athena and her father sharing some fun swordplay to round out their Father/ Daughter dance. In the end they left by the light of prayer candles buoyed by the prayers and well wishes of their dear guests.
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