One of a kind: Larnach Castle

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What a great weekend was that! Summer came pretty late this year to New Zealand so it was nice to finally feel those hot sun’s rays. From Invercargill, where we live at the moment, to Dunedin it takes around two and a half hours so it was a perfect spot for a weekend getaway. There are so many great things to do around this city, but first, in this post I will tell you a little bit about one unique place.

While traveling around Europe visiting castles is a part of every itinerary but here in New Zealand is a completely different story. There’s only one castle and it is located on Otago Peninsula. Larnach castle was built in 1871 and today it showcase the style of Victorian living.

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dsc05686Larnach Castle is privately owned by the Barker family who purchased it as their home in 1967. As it is open to the public conservation project is founded through admission fees. To visit the castle and garden the fee is 31NZD and for the walk around the garden only admission is 15NZD.

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For a coffee or something to eat there’s Ballroom Cafe set in the grounds of the Larnach Castle.

Castle is surrounded by 7 acres of gardens which are Margaret Barker’s personal green heaven. When she and her family moved in it was all overgrown and after a lot of effort this garden is now recognized as a Garden of International Significance.

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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. As you arrive you will see that those streets can tell you lots of stories. One of the cities that you shouldn’t miss is my hometown – Zadar.

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

Best time to come here is during the 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 – because than we can have it only for us. 🙂 Zadar has a very long history, it is more than 3000 years old and because of that it has so much to offer, especially to those people who are interested in the 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 on the 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 that 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 that 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. Very impressive!

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 view over 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 this year Best European Destination!

Happy travels!

You have to love Budapest!

As I already told you Budapest is one of my favorite cities in Europe and here is why I think that. If you still haven’t visit this special town on Danube river do that as soon as possible. Here are just five reasons why is Budapest so special to me.

Extraordinary historical sights

It doesn’t matter if you are in Buda or in Pest because on the both sides there’s so much to see and experience. Beautiful Chain bridge, Elizabeth bridge and Margaret bridge will be on your sightseeing list for sure. I don’t even have to mention Parliament, Buda castle or Fisherman’s Bastion from where you will have great view over the city. If you want to get even higher climb up to Citadela, from there you will see why I think that Budapest is one of the most beautiful cities that I have been to.

Summer in Budapest parks

Great place for the picnic during the sunny days is Margaret Island where you can easily get by foot or even better by bike – just cross the bridge and you are there. Spacious green areas are calling you to lay down for a while and to enjoy beautiful summer weather. Vehicles are prohibited there so this is perfect place to run away from the crowded and loud city center. If it is very hot here you can find pools in the water park Palatinus and refresh a little bit. Eleven outdoor pools are waiting for you and your friends.

Food

When I’m on the way my favorite thing to do is to eat. Eat all that food that I don’t usually or not so often eat at home. I have to try everything, from the main dishes to the tasteful desserts. Hungary is the right place to enjoy the food. Their specialties are a bit spicy because of the paprika that gives their dishes special taste. Stews, goulash and paprikas are just small part of what they are offering. Leave a bit of space in your stomach to try desserts. Dobos cake will be a great choice. Who doesn’t like chocolate and crunchy caramel!? Visit Central Market Hall, it is the largest and the oldest indoor market where you can eat good and at the same time you can buy some authentic Hungarian souvenirs.

Nightlife

If you like to party hard Budapest is the place for you. Clubs are all over the town and people are having lots of fun till the early in the morning. Have a beer in Szimpla Kert, its unique pub where you can sit inside or outside on the terrace and have a chat with your friends or meet new interesting people. If you are in the mood for the late night partying try one of the Morrison pubs, iSkola or go and party on the boat on the Danube in the club named A38.

Cheap, cheap and cheap!!!

Budapest

Of course, prices in the town that you are visiting are very important. Budapest is probably one of the best destinations for the budget traveling. Accommodation is very cheap so it is easy to find a great room in a hostel in the center for less than 10 euros. Food is also cheap, there’s a great place to eat on Szent Istvan Krt. where you can have goulash for only 2 euros. When it is about drinking you have to go to Kiraly utca which is full of bars and pubs. Budapest is famous for its Ruin pubs, how they called them. They are opened in the tenement houses or in the buildings which are going to be destructed that’s why every place here has unique style and atmosphere. Great thing is that in some of those places you can drink whatever you want for the price of one euro, visit Kuplung and 57. szamu italbolt (it is very messy pub but veeery cheap).

Visit Budapest, I promise you that you’ll love it!!