A few days in Croatia

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I haven’t been around for a while and you know why? We went home for the holidays! After year and a half we went to Croatia to check out what’s going on around there. It was really nice to see everyone, have a beer and talk about all the novelties. Year and a half is a long time and a lot of things happened. Everyone was interested in how’s life here in New Zealand and we were curious in what has changed back home since we left…

img_20170116_101134img_20170110_133828img_20170110_133517img_20170110_133507It was a great month overseas, a bit cold though! We forgot how cold it can get so this trip reminded us that ten degrees under zero and snow is a part of every winter in Croatia. In New Zealand winter is so mild and, you know what, I like that a lot!

Now we are back. After more than 30 hours in the air we landed in Queenstown, ready for the summer season all the way down on the south!

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Check out here, in my previous posts, why you should visit my hometown and how beautiful Zagreb can be under the snow!

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Dance moves on the streets of Manchester

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During our trip around England in 2012, just before the Summer Olympics in London, we got the chance to see the Olympic flame which was traveling around the world. Great dancing moves, in the honor of this sport event, we saw on the streets of Manchester. Everyone around was so happy, excited, jubilant

 

Always sunny in Zadar – best place to travel in 2016!

Even though I’m on the other side of the globe I was more than happy when I heard that my hometown was proclaimed as European Best Destination in 2016. How great is that?? I must emphasize that in this competition were participating cities like Athens, Milan and Paris and that is what makes this success even bigger. When you visit Croatia, this small town with a population of only 80 000 people, has to be on your route. It is not just my advice it is advice from the pople from all over the world who voted during this competition.

Dalmatia is one of the regions where you can find very nice small towns with a great and long history. Town you shouldn’t miss is my hometown – Zadar. As you arrive you will see that those streets can tell you lot of stories.

Here is a quick reminder why Zadar has to be part of your travel plans in the near future…

Best time to come here is during summer – if you like big crowd. As you can see on my photos there’s nobody on the streets in the winter time but we love that. Zadar has a very long history, it is more than 3000 years old and has so much to offer, especially to those people who are interested in great historical stories. Narrow streets, old buildings and wonderful sights are something that will leave you speechless. St. Donatus church, Roman forum, long walls all around the peninsula and old harbor are just a small part of what you have to see. Today, most of the visitors come here to enjoy first Sea organs in the world – as the sea is hitting the coast Sea organs are playing the music and it is a melody that you can hear only in Zadar. I’m sure you will be amazed.

Let’s take a walk!

This is our small harbour called Jazine. Place where lots of ships find their peace.

This is our small harbour called Jazine.

Our Church of St. Krševan (St. Chrysogonus') is also a monastery church and Benedictine monastery. It is named after patron saint of Zadar and it was built in 1175.

Church of St. Krševan (St. Chrysogonus’) is also a monastery church and Benedictine monastery. It is named after patron saint of Zadar and it was built in 1175.

Most popular street in town, and our symbol, is Kalelarga. It is the main street since the ancient times.

Most popular street in town, and our symbol, is Kalelarga. It is the main street since the ancient times.

This is the old city port surrounded by walls. It is a perfect place for a night walk. I took this photo from the boat on the way back from the islands.

This is Foša – the old city port surrounded by walls. It is a perfect place for a night walk. I took this photo when I was on the way back from the islands.

Zadar seafront is the place where you will experience the most beautiful sunset in the world. Even Alfred Hitchcock ones said that it is the most beautiful sunset that he had ever seen!

Zadar seafront is the place where you will experience the most beautiful sunset in the world. Even Alfred Hitchcock ones said it is the most beautiful sunset that he had ever seen!

Our Sea organs are unique music instrument played by the sea. You have to see this, right??

Our Sea organs are unique music instrument played by the sea. You have to hear and see this, right??

Other popular spot in Zadar is installation Greetings to the sun which is located next to the Sea organs.It uses solar power to create a light show that displays at nigh. Very impressive!

Other popular spot in Zadar is the installation called Greetings to the Sun which is located next to the Sea organs. It uses solar power to create a light show that displays at night. Cool place!

While you are near the sea you will have great view over islands on the one side and the view over the snowy peaks of mountain Velebit on the other side. You have to love this city! :)

While you are near the sea you will have a great view over the islands on the one side and the snowy peaks of mountain Velebit on the other side. You just have to love this city!

St. Mary Church is very old. It was founded in 1066 and it belongs to a closed order of Benedictine nuns. While you are there visit Exhibition of Religious Art - The silver and gold of the city of Zadar.

St. Mary Church is very old. It was founded in 1066 and it belongs to a closed order of Benedictine nuns. While you are there visit Exhibition of Religious Art – The silver and gold of the city of Zadar.

St. Donatus Church, situated on the Roman forum, was built in 9th century. It is also one of the symbols of Zadar and one of the most famous Croatian monuments.

St. Donatus Church, situated on the Roman forum, was built in 9th century. It is also one of the symbols of Zadar and one of the most famous Croatian monuments.

For a little bit of the summer atmosphere check out the video and DISCOVER ZADAR!

Looking forward to read about your impressions after you visit Best European Destination 2016!

Happy travels!

Bavarian Castles: Ludwig II. and his crazy ideas

Not so long ago I went with my friends to Austria and Germany. We were so happy because we could go on this trip by car and we didn’t need to change the buses or trains to come to our destinations. You would agree that this way of traveling definitely has its advantages, right?

First stop on the rout was Eisriesenwelt, world’s largest ice cave situated in Werfen at an altitude of 1656 m. It’s something that you have to see! Cave tour takes around one hour and it costs 22 euros – cable car to the top and the cave. Remember that the warm clothing is must because temperatures are really low even during the summer. You will take a walk through the cave with the guides so they will tell you all the stories and show you the best spots while you are crossing 700 steps. The cave is 42 km long but only the first kilometer is the area which tourists can visit. It is really spectacular. Check out the gallery!

 

The main reason why we went to this trip was to visit Bavarian castles. Castles aren’t something that really impresses me but this time I wanted to see what was going on in the head of Ludwig II. First we took the ferry and went to the Herrenchiemsee, royal building that was built on the island Herreninselin on Chiemsee, Bavaria’s largest lake. This palace stands as a monument to Ludwig’s admiration of king Louis XIV. because he always wanted it to be the same as the Palace of Versailles but he died and never finished it.

 

As the place for the night we chose Fussen, small town in Bavaria, just five kilometers north of Austrian border. I think it’s the best place to stay if you are going to visit other Bavarian castles. We spent the night in the great hostel in the city center, very close to our next stop. In the morning it was time for Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein, most popular castle because everybody seen it, at least on the television.

Hohenschwangau was built by Ludwig’s father in 19th century. It is really beautiful from the outside, I didn’t enter in this one, I rather walked through the forest to the lake. Ludwig liked this castle very much, especially because he was able to observe the construction of  Neuschwanstein, which is located just nearby.

 

Rain was falling, wind was blowing and the fog covered everything. The weather gave a special touch to the castles but it also didn’t let us see the Neuschwanstein in all its glory. This castle was built on the altitude of 965 m and the fog there was so thick that we couldn’t see anything as you can see on the photos.  We took a guided tour through this very dark and murky place. It should have 228 rooms but Ludwig finished only 15 before he died. You may find this castle very familiar because you can see it in the opening sequence of Disney’s movies. I photographed the postcard just to be sure how does it look like when the weather is how it should be  🙂

 

Last stop was Linderhof castle, the smallest of the three palaces built by King Ludwig II. In this palace only four rooms have a real function. Ludwig liked to be alone so it was really stupid to build all these huge castles. He just wanted to show off 🙂 I liked this one, the surrounding is very beautiful, with the huge green meadows and great view from the top.

 

In the end, I just need to show you how crazy this man was. In the park of the Linderhof castle you can see the Moorish kiosk which Ludwig bought on the exhibition in Paris, Moroccan house from the exhibition in Vienna and Music pavilion. But the best part is Venusgrotte, artificial cave with a pond and lightning where Ludwig II. listened the Wagner’s music while driving the boat in the shape of swan. What a crazy man…

Venusgrotte

Venusgrotte

Illuminated sky over Antwerpen

During the trip through Belgium, one of our stops was Antwerpen. Here is located one of the biggest European ports and I have to say that I’m not really a big fan of the cities were the port and all the rotten ships are among the most popular attractions. It gives to the city a bit gloomy note and if there’s not so much of the sun and the sky is more grey than blue it is hard to be impressed.  That’s why we have found this great courtyard a bit away from the city center. People who live here don’t want to miss the stars because of the grey sky so they made an illuminated starry sky over Antwerpen. What a perfect idea, isn’t it?

Cycle path to the Lake Bohinj

Where do you go when you want to spend an active weekend? A few months ago we really wanted to go somewhere to enjoy outdoors. As we love to ride a bike and to spend time out in the nature we decided to sit on a train and just cross the border to the neighboring Slovenia. We went there from Zagreb, stopped in Ljubljana and spent three days in Bohinjska Bistrica. It’s a small village where I booked a place on a farm and the whole weekend was just about cycling all aroundBike trail 16 kilometers long took us through the woods, along the river to the Lake Bohinj all the way to the waterfall Savica. Weather was perfect, surroundings so beautiful and the fresh air was just what we needed…It was a real treat