Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Olmsted Ladies Trip 2016: Day One

I just woke up from a nap after sleeping for nine hours the night before.  To say I'm tired is an understatement. It's all worth it though because the 2016 Olmsted Ladies Trip was a total success.  Every hour of sleep sacrificed was filled with copious amounts of laughter, wine, and stories about our experiences. This trip was truly the light at the end of the evacuation tunnel.  All of the women on the trip wrapped me up and made me feel so at peace with everything that had happened and it was a great way to end the transition.  As I left the trip yesterday, I thought about how incredible each of the women on the trip were and how lucky I am to know all of them.

Let's back up though, to the first day of the trip.   I woke up at 3:30am after a rough night of sleep in the basement.  When I booked the hotel, I had reserved an airport shuttle for 4:00am, which I confirmed upon check in.  4:00am rolled around and no shuttle was present.  I waited about a half an hour (luckily my flight wasn't until 7:00am and the airport was 10 minutes away) before calling a taxi.  Thank goodness I had an international phone because there was no one at the front desk to help me and definitely no phone in the basement!  A rough start to the day, but I was so excited it didn't really matter.  I will say that I will not be staying at the Art of Comfort Hotel in Cologne again.  Between the basement living and the lack of shuttle service, it just wasn't worth it. 

After a smooth flight from what I know (I slept most of the way), I landed in Split, Croatia! Hooray! I couldn't pick up the rental car until noon, so I just hung around the airport reading and people watching. When it was time, I picked up the car and then met the next woman on the trip to arrive.  By the time we got all settled, it was time for the next two women to arrive, so we waited for them outside of baggage claim.  I dropped all three of these ladies off at the villa so they could get situated while I ran back to the airport for the other two.  Meanwhile, three other of the ladies were driving down from another Croatian town, so we spent the day coming in to the villa in shifts.  Every time someone new arrived, there was lots of hugs, smiles and excitement! From the beginning, I knew it was going to be a fun trip!

The pool at our villa!

By the time everyone arrived, it was 5:00 and we were all starving!! Our villa was outside of Split in a little village called Vinisce. There weren't a ton of restaurant options, but we found one that could accommodate all of us.  They put us upstairs by ourselves, which was fine because we were those obnoxious Americans. aka we were loud. Dinner was great and it was great to break the ice.  After dinner, we did a little grocery shopping and found these jugs of wine!  We bought two as a joke (as well as some nice bottles), but I feel like that was good foreshadowing for how much wine would be drunk over the course of the weekend.  Ten women can drink a lot of wine!

We ended the night hanging out by the villa and sharing stories of our time abroad.  It was absolutely perfect.  Some of these women I had met before, but others were complete strangers when we all arrived in Croatia.  It's amazing how quickly people can go from strangers to friends.  I woke up the next morning with a sore throat, not from illness, but from laughing and talking so much!  The lack of sleep and sore throat were definitely worth it though because it was a great first day of the 2016 Olmsted Ladies Trip!

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