A Travellerspoint blog

Croatia - Second stop: Zadar

sunny 29 °C
View Croatia Summer 2013 on danics's travel map.

Once you start being near the cost of Croatia, the scenery changes and the landscapes appear to become more arid, less big trees and dense forests and more bushes, low trees.
Also coincidentally, the sun was shining and the temperatures were very high when we arrived to Zadar's main bus station. Our accommodation was a small room in the very historic center of Zadar, which itself is a labyrinth of narrow streets surrounded by stone buildings.
I immediately liked this city, the feeling of merge with the past, as everything looks old. As the day was really hot, our first wish was to spend the afternoon at the closest beach, which we did. The water was unsurprisingly clean and warm, like the most of the Mediterranean sea.

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Zadar is a very lovely city, with a picturesque old town. The streets, mostly pedestrian and closed to traffic, are full of restaurants and small shops, are a delight for the tourists.

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We went on a tour on a restored sail boat, which circled the old town (which is actually a peninsula), and took about an hour. We found out that Maraska produces a famous liquor Maraschino (which we later tasted) that was drunk by many noble and famous people, like Casanova. And that Hitchcock was a famous visitor to Zadar's Zagreb Hotel, and described Zadar's sunset as the most beautiful he had seen (we later confirmed this to be true to us, as well).

At night, the place one must definitely visit is the solar panel, which produces a beautiful light show. This feature along with the Sea Organ next to eat, give a unique feeling of peace.

Our stay in Zadar was short, but it was quite intense. I got the feeling that I will return one day and enjoy the city once again.

Posted by danics 02:54 Archived in Croatia Tagged sea sunset beach zadar croatia organ maraska hitchcock Comments (0)

Croatia - First stop: Zagreb

And a day tour to Plitvice

semi-overcast 28 °C
View Croatia Summer 2013 on danics's travel map.

We arrived at Zagreb Airport and as we had booked from transportation earlier, we had the driver waiting for us there. The weather was almost tropical, with a hot yet stormy clouds (and some rain too).
Our accommodation was not near the center, but near to the tram station, which we took next day to visit the old city. Zagreb in August is a nice destination, since everybody heads towards the coast, leaving the city a bit empty and easier to explore. The upper old city is a really nice neighborhood, with old paved streets and restored buildings. We reached it by taking the funicular up the hill. It has many museums, which one can visit to learn more about the city's and the country's history.
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Almost all attractions in Croatia have an entrance fee, so the best option is to study what you want to visit before hand. We decided to visit the museum of broken relationships, which left as a bit depressed (it must be cheerful if you just broke up with someone, though), since it is made up mostly of objects donated by people who ended their relationships (sometimes in an abrupt way).
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We walked towards the lower part of the city and discovered a different scenery down there. The large avenues, the big buildings remind me of other European cities, such as Milan or Wroclaw. We had a great walk in the Botanical Garden, a quiet and beautiful place.
Next day the plan was to go to Plitvice National Park, so we bought the tickets in advance and headed home for a good night of sleep.

Waking up early during summer holidays is less hard than during work days, but still a sacrifice. We were looking forward to this little big trip, as we've seen pictures of Plitvice Park's lakes on the internet. The trip from Zagreb took us around 2 hours by bus and I think that there was only one Croatian person on the packed bus (besides the driver). But it was just a small sample of what was expecting us at the park. Plitvicka Jezera Park is one of the main attractions and a top visiting place in Croatia and the queue was big, the entrance fee is absurd and there is a big hype on this place.
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But the nature there is simply amazing. The water in the lakes is crystal clear, the waterfalls are gorgeous and the air is really fresh. One can spend 1,2,3 days or even more in the park and always find something new to explore. After all, it is huge in area and has many tracks. We just had time to walk one of the shortest paths, but it was very pleasant (despite of the crowds).
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On the downside, the park seems to have little capacity for so many people, so there was quite a line for catching the boat that crosses the bigger lake and for the minibus (should be a big bus) that takes the people from the end of the trails to the entrance.
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After a big trip, we went back to Zagreb to sleep and recover. Next stop would be Zadar!

Posted by danics 02:02 Archived in Croatia Tagged lakes park bus croatia plitvice zagreb broken funicular relationship croacia plitvicka Comments (0)

"Big" holidays in Croatia

Almost there

It's been a while since I've posted anything into the blog, but it has been a sloooow month of July and the beginning of August alike. However, my two week holiday are approaching at a fast pace and next week I'll be flying into Croatia, to visit this (as most people describe it) lovely country.
No low cost flight this time as me and my girlfriend will be flying TAP (the portuguese airline) and the flight was far from cheap.
The plan is to visit the cities of Zagreb, Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik, so I hope I'll have some beautiful pictures for you when we get back.

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Posted by danics 07:14 Archived in Croatia Tagged holiday croatia tap girlfriend Comments (0)

Experimental Travel

Travel ideas for innovators

overcast 28 °C

One of the "bad" things about travel and tourism is that people tend to go always to the same places and do the same things. I speak for myself as I too find it difficult to innovate and escape the common tourist "must do things" or "must see attractions".
I recently bought a "random" travel book with the curious title of "The Lonely Planet Guide to Experimental Travel". I still haven't read it, but I dug some information about it and learned that it talks about "Experimental Travel", which may be a curious way to innovate the way one travels. Joël Henry, is a French journalist (and I imagine, traveler), who founded Latourex (Laboratory of Experimental Travel), and they developed this concept.

Check out some the tips Latourex suggests:

  • CHANCE-TRAVEL

Insert the name of your home town into the index of a world atlas (if it's not there already). Throw a dice then count that number of lines down from your town. The one your finger lands on is the destination of your trip.

  • BY-NIGHT-TRAVEL

Arrange to visit a place and arrive at night. Spend the night exploring the town and return home at dawn the next day.

  • LITERARY-TRAVEL

Take a literary tour of the world without leaving your sitting room. Start with an author from your country, and then read a book by someone from a neighbouring country. Continue until you make your route around the globe.

  • ERO-TRAVEL

Arrange to spend a weekend away with your partner. Travel to your chosen destination by different means and don't arrange a meeting time or place. Now look for each other...

and many other...
I found the list quite cool and I will definitely try some stuff on my next trip(s). What do you think about this?

Posted by danics 07:10 Archived in Portugal Tagged night travel literary chance experimental latourex ero Comments (0)

In the middle of the Atlantic... Again

Sanjoaninas weekend in Terceira

semi-overcast 22 °C
View Açores 2013 - Terceira on danics's travel map.

Yet another weekend away (June has been so far, a travel month), and Lisbon Airport is starting to feel like my second home. Friday I took a flight, but this time I wasn't flying abroad. Instead I went to Terceira, one of the Azores islands (see my previous post about Azores, which was highly recommended by two friends (both Azoreans from Terceira). And the timing couldn't be more perfect, as I arrived at the start of Sanjoaninas 2013, the biggest popular festivities in the island.

Arriving at Angra do Heroísmo, a city so beautiful it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage, I was immediately "embraced" by the crowds of people, all of them having a good time, chatting, eating and drinking or just walking up and down the illuminated and decorated streets.

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The inaugural parade was about to start, so I took my place and enjoyed it, taking some pictures.

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Next day I woke up early and decided to go visit the island. I drove through some very scenic roads as Terceira (and all Azorean islands, in fact) is mostly worth for it's natural beauty. Up from Serra do Cume and Serra de Santa Bárbara, one can see almost the whole island and it's breathtaking.
Midday was approaching and as it was really hot, I went to dive in the inviting ocean water, in natural sea pools in Biscoitos and afterwards, a nice lunch (did I mention that Azores has really good food?) giving me the strength needed to explore Algar do Carvão and Gruta do Natal, two natural monuments consisting in natural caves that resulted from volcanic eruptions.

All this exploring left me tired, so next day I took off from where I had interrupted and ventured myself in a lovely walk, which took me into the middle of deep forests and wilderness. Words cannot describe the magnificent landscapes, so I advise you to try this path when you go to Terceira.

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Monday, the weather was not so inviting, but it was nice enough to visit, so I went to the other side of the island. Serreta has some of the most beautiful landscape in the island, combining both woods and great sea views, and in the near Raminho village, one can have a nice picnic in the leisure park.
I got back to Angra, this time during daylight and without the crowds, and walked around the city's old center, admiring the colorful houses. Then, I went to the fortress, which lies in Monte Brasil, a group of hills that belong to a natural park and overlook the city. Half of the park belongs to the military as training facilities, but you can walk in the other parts.

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My time was finishing in Terceira, but I still had the chance to eat a nice (and big) icecream and visit Praia da Vitória, a lovely town in the east side of the island, with a nice beach and a promenade where on a sunny day you can see many people enjoying their free time. Everything nice lasts so little - back to the airport, it's time to go home.

Posted by danics 08:06 Archived in Portugal Tagged nature walking island portugal azores açores sanjoaninas terceira Comments (0)

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