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Miramare Castle, Italy

Miramare Castle, Italy

Miramare Castle

My husband and I had a family obligation in Trieste so we used our limited free time for a quick visit to Miramare Castle with our baby boy. Miramare Castle is situated in the Gulf of Trieste just a short drive from Trieste’s city center along the coast. It was a hot day in June and all the beaches on the way to the castle were jam-packed. Luckily, we managed to find a free parking spot just outside the castle grounds gate.

Once you enter the castle grounds anchoring, swimming or any other beach activity is prohibited because you’re in the area of the Miramare Marine Nature Reserve. We put our baby in the stroller and walked slowly to the castle. We passed by the WWF-managed visitor center of the first Italian marine park housed in the Old Stables of the castle. Then we walked slightly uphill through the park to the castle. Our walk rewarded us with gorgeous views of Miramare Castle perched on the rocks above the Adriatic Sea.

Miramare Castle (Castello di Miramare) was built in 19th century for Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of the House of Hapsburg and his wife Charlotte of Belgium. Back then Trieste was a part of Austro-Hungarian Empire. Carl Junker designed Miramare Castle and its beautiful park following strict wishes of Archduke Ferdinand. Unfortunately, the Archduke didn’t get to enjoy his castle for too long because he was declared the Emperor of Mexico in 1864. Not long after, Ferdinand Maximilian (or Maximilian I as he was known in Mexico) was  assassinated and his wife Charlotte suffered a major nervous breakdown. However, Miramare Castle continued to be visited by many members of  Hapsburg family. For instance, Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife Elizabeth (Sissy) stayed in Miramare Castle during their official visit to Trieste.

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My 3 year of travel blogging

in San Marino this year

It’s been three years since I pressed publish on the very first post of The Red Phone Box travels. And here I am still blogging about my travels (and occasionally about my life & baby). THANK YOU for sticking around!:) Thank you for all your wonderful comments and likes and shares whether you’re following my blog via WordPress or as an email subscriber or if you’re following me on Bloglovin‘. Thank you also for following my blog on its social media channels Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+ . Cheers to you all!

What has happened in my third year of travel blogging? Well, a bit of travel and a whole lot of everything else!:) I was pregnant and then I gave birth and now I spend my days chasing after an adorable and already mischievous 9 and a half month old baby who crawls at the speed of light! But hey, I can’t complain!:) You can find a few baby posts on my blog but it is still very much a travel blog where I share stories from my past and current travels. Some of my posts are more personal while some are more informative but I enjoyed writing them all. Since we’ve become a family we went on several trips with our baby boy V. We visited a lot of places in Croatia but I haven’t blogged about that. I did blog about our first day trip abroad to Udine in Italy and I still need to finish all my posts about our amazing trip to wonderful but tiny San Marino.

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My babymoon last year

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in Mrkopalj

My baby boy V. is 9 months old. Whaaaat? Yes, I can’t believe it too. The pregnancy seemed to drag on forever but these past 9 months have gone by so fast. A blink of an eye and he has changed from a sleepy newborn to active and strong baby. This made me think of my babymoon last August. I didn’t travel internationally during my pregnancy apart from a day trip to Italy with my best friend. Instead my husband and I made lots of day trips locally and we also took several weekend trips.

I really wanted to go away somewhere by the end of my pregnancy so after some serious thinking and some luck I found a great deal for a lovely apartment in Gorski kotar region of Croatia. Now, Gorski kotar is fondly nicknamed little Switzerland because it’s an area full of forests and mountains and it’s rich in wildlife. Gorski kotar is totally off the beaten path destination in Croatia unlike its coast.

Gorski kotar

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My quirky London moments

Over the past 11 years and my numerous visits to London I’ve seen and done more or less all the major touristy things. I’m a creature of habits when it comes to London so no trip to London is complete without seeing some of my old favourites such as Big Ben and the Tower of London or having a drink in my favourite pub in Bayswater. However, London always surprises me with something new, be it a new free attraction or a starry encounter.

So, here’s a list of my quirky London moments

-almost bumping into actors Emma Thompson and Rowan Atkinson in the same day whilst wandering through Hampstead

-pretending to be in a Harry Potter movie at 9 3/4 platform at King’s Cross Station

-trying to find the London stone in the City Of London

-having my photo taken with Peter Pan in the Hyde Park

-searching for film locations from the Notting Hill film (the bookstore and Kenwood House among others)

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3 hours in Rimini, Italy

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Sismondo Castle in Rimini

After we left San Marino we drove to Rimini. That was a short drive because Rimini is only 24km away from San Marino. I knew that Rimini is a popular Italian seaside town full of beach bars. However, we didn’t go to Rimini to spend some time at its long sandy beach but to see its castle and other interesting landmarks.

We found free parking in Rimini because I discovered a useful parking website which I bookmarked for future use but somehow I lost all my bookmarks the other day so I can’t share that website with you. From the free car park we walked for less than 15 minutes to the Malatesta Castle (Castel Sismondo). On our way to the castle we went through the Roman arch, Porta Montanara. That was our first glimpse of Roman Rimini. We were also close to the ruins of the Roman Amphitheater during our walk around Rimini but we decided to skip it because we’d seen roman amphitheaters in better conditions elsewhere.

The Sismondo Castle was built in 15th century by Sigismondo Pandolfo, the most famous lord of Rimini. Unfortunately, like the castle in Imola this one was also closed (because it was Monday) so we only took some photos and headed towards the city center. There’s a big building site next to the castle and from what we read it’s the site of the new museum dedicated to Federico Fellini, probably the most famous Italian film director of all times.

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Snapshots from San Marino (May 2018)

City of San Marino, the capital of tiny San Marino country; this is the view of the first tower and the city center from the second tower

San Marino proved to be a great destination for our first proper trip as a family. We arrived to San Marino on Friday evening and left on Monday morning which meant that we had two full days to explore the City of San Marino, the capital of the Republic of San Marino.

San Marino is a tiny independent country in northern Italy close to the Adriatic Sea. It’s the third smallest country in Europe (after Vatican and Monaco) and the oldest republic in the world. There are no borders between Italy and San Marino. The official language is Italian and the currency is euro.

San Marino town is perched atop Monte Titano which is the highest peak in the country at 739 m above sea level. There are several settlements in San Marino country called castelli (castles) and they are: City of San Marino, officially Città di San Marino, Acquaviva, Borgo  Maggiore, Domagnano, Faetano, Fiorentino, Montegiardino, Serravalle and Chiesanuova. Actually we drove through several of these on our way up to San Marino town and I’ve also visited Borgo Maggiore.

Enjoy the photos of beautiful San Marino town, the capital of Republic of San Marino.

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Sunday in Udine (April 2018)

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Udine, Italy

For our first day trip abroad as a family I chose a town in Italy which I haven’t visited before. As it turned out my frivolous method of choosing Udine for a day trip was an excellent choice because we spent a wonderful Sunday in a surprisingly pretty town. Udine is the second largest city in Friuli-Venezia-Giulia region in the northeastern Italy between the Adriatic Sea and the Alps. The capital of this autonomous region is Trieste, a city I know quite well.

I googled the major sights of Udine and made a loose plan of what to do/see on our day trip. However, I didn’t think much about the actual drive to Udine (only two and a half hours from our home) or the parking in the city. So, when we saw the exit for Udine my husband smartly decided to pull over and actually check on GPS which exit we have to take to get in the city center. All I wanted was to park somewhere near the train station because I thought that the train station (or McDonald’s) would be a good option for having baby changing facilities. No, the train station doesn’t have it (it has free toilets, usually you have to pay for them in Italy) but McDonald’s which is just across the train station has a toilet with the baby changing pad so we sorted baby V. out before we commenced our sightseeing of Udine. The plan was actually to use the service station along the motorway before we entered Udine but since there was none my idea of parking near the train station was a good one. Parking was free and it seems that parking in Italy on a Sunday is always free (at least in this part of Italy).

It was a rather warm and sunny Sunday in a city seemingly devoid of residents. But that’s Italy on a Sunday 🙂 Yes, there were a lot of people around the train station but on our short walk from the train station to the main square (15mins on foot ) we didn’t come across many locals. Nevertheless, we weren’t the only tourists in the town and we later saw where the locals hid: at the street food trucks’ festival in the park below the castle.

Before we reached the main square we walked under the pretty porticoes and my heart skipped a beat with joy. I first encountered porticoes in Bologna and I just love this rather clever architecture which provides you with cover from the sun and the rain when you walk around the town. We glimpsed the cathedral just before the main square and decided to see it on our walk back to the car.

Piazza della Libertà is Udine’s magnificent main square with the beautiful clock tower at Loggia di San Giovanni, several marble statues and a fountain. Just across this oldest square in Udine is Loggia del Lionello built in Venetian Gothic style. Baby V. looked around from his stroller and was pleased to see that he attracted a lot of admiring looks even here at this beautiful square. 🙂

Udine, Italy

Piazza della Libertà and castle above

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