Ellie's Journal: 'See You'

Hello, my name is Ellie! Some of you may remember me from three years ago... That's when I blogged last, when I was on Star Flyer in Costa Rica. I'm fifteen years old now, and I'm back again, just on a different ship, Royal Clipper, and having more fun than ever. I'm from Oregon (in the USA) and my favorite sport is sailing, so this is a really fun experience for me.

Hey, so culpa mea!, I apologize for how long it has taken me to write this final entry... but you have to understand, I was always doing stuff and running around having fun, and I never really got the time to sit down and write one last time, but now I can!

A couple days ago, my parents, my friend Ryan, and I climbed on the tender together to begin our adventures in Capri. My mom had done a little bit of research about Capri, and told us that we needed to get on the funicular (cable car), which would take us to the saddle; the docks are on one side of the mountains, and the swimming beaches (a lot of them) are on the other side, so you have to take the bus or the funicular to the top, then ride or walk down the other side to the beach. Anyway, we looked for the “Biglieteria” sign, which pretty much translates into English as “ticket booth”. We soon found it, bought our tickets (biglietti) and climbed to the upper town in the cable car. The view was simply amazing. The higher we got, the more we could see. The happy blue ocean spread-out in front of our eyes.

[caption id="attachment_12713" align="aligncenter" width="345"] Ellie and Ryan shopping in the Ferrari store on Capri.

We reached the top, and so began our journey down the other side. It was a medium-length walk, and we were on a road, but it wasn’t busy. We saw a bus or moped every 5 minutes. At one point, there were two buses, coming from different directions, and it was so narrow a road that they had to stop, back up a little bit, and reposition the buses so that they could both squeak by... The bus nearest the wall of rock scraped up against it and the side of the other bus; we saw this happen multiple times, it even happened when we were riding back up the mountain at the end of the day.

After 30 minutes of walking and drinking lots of water, we finally saw the beautiful beach. It would’ve been more beautiful if there weren’t hundreds of people there, but it was still super nice. We climbed down countless stairs to the rock beach, and found a little space of ground that wasn’t covered by another person’s towel. We set our stuff down, and Ryan and I jumped in the water. It was the coolest place ever... There was a tunnel made by this huge mass of rock, and it got deep a little farther out, so people could jump off of the taller rocks into the water. I didn’t jump, though, because I’m too chicken.

[caption id="attachment_12714" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Making friends everywhere we go....Ellie and our friendly waiter at the Marina Piccolo on Capri.

We headed back to the ship after a couple hours at the beach, knowing that soon our holiday would be over, and that we would all have to say goodbye. I’ve found that the saying “goodbye” part of every cruise is the hardest. Everything seems perfect until you have to say that one word... “Goodbye.” So I’ve made a rule for myself (feel free to apply to your own self, too): don’t say “goodbye”, say “see you”, because who knows? There’s a good chance that you’ll see again all of the people you’ve met. This world really isn’t that big, but sometimes it seems like it is because we haven’t gone out and seen what’s in it.

Having the privilege to cruise on Star Flyer and Royal Clipper has opened up new doors for me. I now have a better understanding of what the world is: beautiful. These cruises are special because, unlike those huge ships, you get to know everyone, including all the wonderful people on the staff who make the voyage so special. I've also learned that a ten day cruise can form friendships that last a lifetime. And furthermore, on every one of these cruises that I’ve been on, I’ve learned one thing, and each time I board the ship again, it seems even more true: the world is one, and no matter what country you come from, what social standing you have, who you are... We all stand as one, because We Are the World. And when we sing that song at the end of each cruise, in the dining room, it always gets me. Because it's true!

I hope that everyone who has read this blog (and, of course, everyone who hasn’t) gets the opportunity to go on Star Flyer, Star Clipper, or Royal Clipper... They're amazing, and something you don’t want to miss. Have a great rest of your summer.


Ellie VanDevelder
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Ellie's Journal: Lunch in the Hills of Croatia

Hello, my name is Ellie! Some of you may remember me from three years ago... That's when I blogged last, when I was on Star Flyer in Costa Rica. I'm fifteen years old now, and I'm back again, just on a different ship, Royal Clipper, and having more fun than ever. I'm from Oregon (in the USA) and my favorite sport is sailing, so this is a really fun experience for me.

[caption id="attachment_12660" align="alignnone" width="550"]Lunch in the hills of Croatia.

After writing last, I went swimming in the pool with my buddies, and then went straight to bed... I was exhausted, and I knew that I had to get up early in the morning for a big hike! Well, I'm glad to say that waking up early was well worth it, though my mom had to drag me out of bed.

I woke up at nine o'clock (which is early for me when I'm on the ship) and ran up and had breakfast. Then, pretty much right when I finished, we boarded the tender, and headed ashore to meet our tour guides in the port of Hvar, Croatia. When we got to shore, just like what I experienced in Venice, there was some major culture shock going on inside all of us... Because even though every place we go is in the same general vicinity, every place is very, very different from every other place. We met our tour guides, and then went in a small bus, up into the abandoned city of Malo Grabje, and other cities that surrounded it, outside of Hvar. What I saw was indescribable, but I will try to paint a picture for you:

I looked out the window on my left, and saw little rosemary bushes, and very short olive trees, all very green... And on my right I saw that same thing. But the greenery was not what stunned me. It was the walls. Everywhere you looked, for miles and miles and miles, there were these four-foot tall walls, perfectly spaced, and connecting in some places. The stones used were about the size of a loaf of bread and appeared to weigh quite a bit more than one. And then in the distance, sat the ocean: gentle, swelling, and full-of-life.

The bus kept on for twenty more minutes and then stopped on the top of a huge hill (it could probably be classified as a mountain) for us to get out.

We walked for an hour or two, and then my dad, a photojournalist, and I got very lost from the group... It wasn't too bad; actually it was pretty fun. It really felt like an actual adventure, and we both love adventures, especially when we're in an abandoned village, in a foreign country. We enjoyed ourselves, and my dad continued to shoot photos, and he loved it. Finally, after getting directions from a very nice Croatian lady who spoke perfect English, we began walking in the right direction. After about two minutes, one of the tour guides came back to find us. Please don't let that story make you not want to go on this hike... Just be sure to stick with the group!

Just when we all thought we were going to drop on the ground from the heat, we spotted a little "oasis" called Malo Grabje (pronounced Mah-lo Grawb-yay). The guide said, "And here we are! Lunchtime, ladies and gents." I will just put it out there right now that I probably will never have such an incredible lunch. And it wasn't just the food... It was everything: the enchanting olive trees, the fact that I WAS IN CROATIA, the smells, the people, the wonderful feeling of a gentle trickle of sparkling water going down my throat, the tall mountains of white rock. Everything was just so perfect.

And the perfection continued as we walked down the mountain.

As we neared the ocean, we all began to speed up, because I will tell you, it was really hot. The tour guide said that there were forty-five minutes to hang out on the beach and in the water, and then the bus would come. Wow, did that water feel good!

I've said it once and I'll say it again... I really hope every one of you reading my blog gets to come on this cruise. You'll never forget it. Goodbye for today!
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