beach in my hometown in Croatia
At the moment of publishing this post there are 1,343 corona virus cases and 19 deaths in Croatia. First case of corona virus in Croatia was confirmed on 25th February. I originally wrote this post for a fellow travel blogger (check here) but I have decided to add some more personal content and to post it here on my blog as well.
I live in a seaside town in Croatia with my husband and two small children. Our life has changed dramatically and we are now practically in a complete lockdown. As everyone else in the world we heard about corona virus in China but didn’t think too much about it. After all, China is far, far away from our small country. In the meantime our small country wasn’t that far away anymore from the virus because the virus came to Italy. Oh, that’s too close! And yet the government didn’t think about closing the borders with Italy and the first confirmed corona virus patient in Croatia was a guy who returned from a trip to Milan, Italy. And then there were other people who got back from holidays/ski trips/business trips and had corona virus.
So, things happened fast from then on. Everyone who got back from abroad had to be in self-isolation for 14 days and report to a doctor. If they had severe symptoms they got tested for corona virus. Then, the government decided to cancel/postpone all events that gathered more than 1000 people, than that got reduced to a 100 people. Schools, kindergartens and universities were ordered to close for 14 days. Then, all restaurants, cafes and shops and some other businesses got closed for 30 days which meant that all education facilities were also going to be closed for longer (this is valid until 19 April, further decisions are awaited). Read more
What to do in San Marino? This tiny country with its stunning capital San Marino City has plenty to offer, from medieval architecture to beautiful views and quirky museums. Read on to find out what you can do in San Marino City.
We decided to visit San Marino with our baby boy in May 2018. I was uncomfortable with the idea of flying with a six month old baby so a road trip was the best solution for us. On the way to San Marino we made a pit stop in Imola to see the castle and the F1 racecourse and on our way back we admired the Roman past of Rimini. We spent three nights and two full days in San Marino City. It was a wonderful weekend trip and a great experience as our first proper family trip.
we really loved our weekend break in San Marino
There are no border controls or passport checks between Italy and the independent micro-state of San Marino. One second you’re driving in Italy and another you’ve passed under a pedestrian bridge which marks the entrance to the Republic of San Marino. In the distance you can see the three towers high up on Monte Titano where San Marino City is situated. Luckily, it was a warm May evening and we got beautiful views of San Marino City as we were driving uphill. I booked a hotel right in the historical center of San Marino City which was perfect for sightseeing with the baby.
We managed to visit all the major sights in San Marino City and I also took the cable car down to Borgo Maggiore (one of the nine settlements or castelli which constitute the Republic of San Marino). It’s easy to visit all the listed tourist attractions below with the baby but you need to have a baby carrier with you to be able to explore the towers (can’t be done with a stroller). Remember, San Marino City is situated on the Mount Titano (739m) so there’s a lot of uphill/downhill walking throughout the historical city center.
Dubovac Castle, Karlovac, Croatia
It’s been a while since my last Discover Croatia post and it’s also been a long time since our last day trip as a family. But it’s completely different to travel with an active toddler than a baby. Needless to say, I found it easier to travel with a baby and now regret not travelling more with my son when he was younger. However, that doesn’t mean that we won’t travel with him anymore. At the moment with him running in all directions and me being pregnant again the most simplest of walks can be difficult. Nevertheless, this day trip was great and our boy was on his best behaviour and really enjoyed exploring Dubovac Castle.
So, let’s write about Dubovac Castle. This castle is situated on a hill overlooking the town of Karlovac which is halfway between the capital of Croatia Zagreb and its biggest seaport Rijeka. Dubovac Castle is a Renaissance castle with Gothic elements whose oldest parts date back to the 13th century. The name of the castle originates from the word for an oak tree in Croatian language since it was surrounded by a large oak trees forest. There’s still a lot of greenery around the castle but not a proper forest.
On the second day of our short weekend in Berlin the weather gods smiled upon us again and gave us a sunny, warm day perfect for city sightseeing. Our first stop was the Potsdamer platz, another modern square. The reason for our visit was the Berlin Wall. I’d seen photos of this square with remains of the Berlin Wall. There’s an information panel about the wall at the square but what surprised me were the chewing gums at the remains of the wall. On the other side of the square you can see a small Korean temple and another block of the Wall as a sort of reminder that Korea is still divided in half just like Germany used to be.
the remains of the Berlin Wall
Berlin, Berlin..it was nice to meet you, hope to see you again! In a nutshell, that’s what I could write about our short weekend in Berlin. However, I decided to tell you all about our Berlin trip at the beginning of April so read on 🙂.
We had our very cheap flight for Berlin on Friday afternoon and after a couple of initial hiccups (the late departure, the long queue at the passport control and the long wait for the overcrowded airport bus) we finally arrived to the city center. For some unknown reason our airport bus stopped near the Brandenburg Gate and we had to find a different way of getting to the Alexanderplatz square. While we were already near the Brandenburg Gate we decided to have a look at it and to see the nearby Reichstag building too (parliament) even though that was planned for Saturday morning.
Veliki Tabor Castle
Once upon a time…..that’s how all fairy-tales begin, don’t they? Croatia is full of fairy-tale castles and legends. You just need to go further inland to discover more of Croatia, not just its stunning coastline.
Veliki Tabor Castle is one of the most beautiful castles in Croatia. It’s been on my to-visit list for a while. When I discussed visiting it with my husband the original idea was to spend a weekend in Zagorje region of Croatia and to visit both the castle and the baroque town Varaždin as well as several other worthy tourist attractions in the area. But we had to let go of that idea this time and we settled on a day trip to Veliki Tabor Castle with our baby boy.
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.