It’s official!  We have booked our tickets for this year’s European Adventure!  Since I am not working this summer and Michal can work from anywhere, we have decided to spend 7 weeks in Europe.  We are kicking off our trip on June 26th by heading to Poland.  This year the UEFA EURO is being hosted in Poland.  For those of you who don’t know what UEFA EURO is, think World Cup European style (only countries in Europe compete).  Soccer in Europe is like football in America!  Needless to say, this is a huge event!  The fact that it is hosted in Poland is a pretty big deal for their country.  When we were traveling in 2008, we were there during the Euro 2008 and in every city we visited huge screens were set up all over the place surrounded by lots of beer tents.  The energy while watching these games was contagious.   It will be awesome to be in Poland for the semi-finals and final game! While we obviously won’t be at the game, I can guarantee you that will be watching it only hours from where the game is actually taking place.  Exciting!

Michal and I will spend about ten days in Poland before we head to Dubrovnik, Croatia.  Besides Euro 2012 another huge benefit of going to Poland first is that it will give us time to adjust to the time difference.  Some people aren’t effected by jet lag, but it kills me.  It takes me forever to adjust to the time.  By the time we leave for Dubrovnik, I should have conquered the jet lag.

My friend Adam will meet us in Dubrovnik.  We debated for awhile on how to best spend the week while Adam is with us.  Originally we thought about spending a few days in Durbovnik, then heading North to Zadar for a few days.  However, upon further research, we realized that Zadar is an eight hour bus ride away and due to time constraints doesn’t make the most sense.  When I booked a place to stay in Dubrovnik on, the reservation was originally for four nights.  The friendly owner of the property quickly e-mailed me a brief overview of Dubrovnik and strongly advised that four days was not enough time to fully experience all the beauty Dubrovnik and it’s surrounding area has to offer.  When I extended our reservation this morning, I quickly received an e-mail from the host with even more suggestions of things to see and do while we are there.

In the past when we’ve traveled, we have quickly moved from one place to the next.  The result has usually been that we regret moving forward so quickly because we end up rushing around and not really having adequate time to soak in everything.  Spending a week in Dubrovnik is actually exciting.  We will have time to explore the city, take a few day trips to various islands, enjoy the night life, relax on the beach and soak up all that we can without stressing ourselves out.

Adam will head back to the States on the 14th while Michal and I plan on heading North to Zadar.  Plitvice Lakes is a must on this trip and it is an easy day trip from Zadar.   I still do not know much about Croatia but one thing is for sure, there is an abundance of natural beauty.  From Zadar, things are still up in the air.  We will most likely head to the capital city, Zagreb to catch a train (yes, a train) to Budapest and spend a few days there.  From Budapest, we will probably take another train to Slovakia.  Then we’ll head into the South part of Poland and finally visit Zakopane, Poland and Auschwitz before heading back to Koszalin to spend our remaining time in Europe with Michal’s family.  Today, my brother-in-law gave us the best news yet; there are finally flights from Krakow to Szczecin!  Translation:  No 12 hour over night train ride on an outdated Polish train!!  Waiting 6 years to see this gorgeous mountainous place has finally paid off as I have done just about everything to avoid 12 hours on a Polish train to see this beautiful place.

From this point forward, Adam, Michal and I will begin narrowing down what we want to see and experience while in Dubrovnik.  Only 4 months and one week to go!