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.
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)
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.
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.
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. 🙂
Piazza della Libertà and castle above
I am baby V. I am a boy. At least that’s what they’ve told me. I don’t know yet what’s a boy but I’ll find out. I won’t disclose my full name because my daddy S. doesn’t want that. He’s concerned about my privacy so he doesn’t want to see my adorable photos plastered all over the Internet.
I was born on 4th November during a full moon. My mummy and daddy waited for me for so long so I just figured I could keep them waiting for a bit more and I passed my due date. But I had a very good reason for that. As it turned out I was the only baby that night on the maternity ward so I had the full attention of the entire staff. They were very kind and helpful to my mummy. Of course, I helped her too 🙂 She wanted to have a natural birth so it took a long, long time but she made it through. And there I was, finally in her arms. To be honest, those first minutes in the outside world weren’t as fun as those comfy 9 months in my mummy’s belly. Some people were measuring me while I was naked (how rude of them) so I was very happy when they put me in my mummy’s warm embrace. And then I ate. What a strange feeling! But a good one. Oh, I forgot to tell you how big I am. I weighed 3.72 kg when I was born and I am 54 cm long.
Korčula town on Korčula island
It was rather difficult to choose just 10 photos of different areas of Croatia to inspire you to visit my country. I’m fed up with too many blog posts with titles such as 5 cities you must visit in Croatia or 10 places to see in Croatia and such which only feature seaside towns and mainly those on the southern Croatian coast called Dalmatia, e.g. Dubrovnik and Split. There are many other gorgeous seaside towns and islands apart from the already mentioned Dubrovnik and Split. Besides, Croatia has many amazing places far away from the sea too. There are castles, mountains, plains, forests, wheat fields, forgotten villages and sleepy continental towns. I know, I haven’t exactly written much about those either but I’ll get around to it eventually 🙂 However, you can find posts about several Croatian islands on my blog that aren’t as heavily featured as Hvar island for instance.
Hopefully, this post will make you want to visit Croatia if you haven’t already been. I know, who hasn’t heard of Dubrovnik after watching the Game of Thrones? FYI, Dubrovnik was a powerful merchant republic in its past much like Venice and anyone visiting it should be aware of that. Also, I strongly suggest to visit Istria and Kvarner regions for a beach holiday+culture, not just the southern Croatian coast. 🙂 Furthermore, the next time you’re imagining a hot mug of mulled wine in your hand and Christmas lights why don’t you consider visiting Zagreb and its magical Christmas markets? Or see the biggest carnival parade in Croatia in Rijeka in February? Or go castle-hunting in Zagorje? What about tasting some delicious Croatian food in Slavonija region?
Anyway, let the photos do the talking and convince you to visit Croatia!
Zagreb (the capital of Croatia)
Osijek (the biggest town in Slavonija region)
Vukovar (Eltz castle)
Plitvice Lakes National Park