Korčula , Croatia

10 photos to inspire you to visit Croatia

Korčula , Croatia
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)

Zagreb, Croatia

Osijek (the biggest town in Slavonija region)

Osijek, Croatia

Vukovar (Eltz castle)

Vukovar

Plitvice Lakes National Park 

Plitvice Lakes

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Home (June #Travellinkup)

my cat Munchkin

Home is where the cat is

Very true, right? At least all the cat owners know this very well. I got a cat named Timmy when I was 15. Then my home was my parents’ home in my hometown. Briefly I considered England my home too but when I got back my cat was furious and ignored me for days. Then, when I moved in with my future husband I decided to convince him to get a cat to make our home a real home. Even though he never had a pet previously, apart from a turtle, he agreed and now our cat Munchkin loves him to death. Not me, him. Injustice! But ginger cats have a mind of their own, as really all cats do.

London
London

As every traveller I quickly feel at home in most of the places I visit. As soon as I unpack my suitcase in a hostel/hotel room I feel at home. At least for the duration of the trip that place is my temporary home even though my cat isn’t there. Although my real home is in Croatia I consider England and London my soul home. A place where I feel at ease, a place where I feel I belong, a place where rules are obeyed and where everything stops when you have a cup of tea. Of course, my family and friends make a place truly my home. But  you can feel at home at another place too, can’t you?

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Travel as a menu #travellinkup

a dessert in Paris

Quite an interesting topic for this month’s travel linkup: comparing travel to a menu. Now, usually the dessert part of a lunch or dinner is my favourite part of the entire meal and I often choose what I want to eat for dessert before I even choose the main. But I guess most people don’t do that  🙂 So, let’s start at the beginning. What place is your starter? Tough question. Since I mostly just travelled around Europe almost all of those places could be classified as short-haul. I didn’t really do any long-haul flights e.g. going across the Atlantic to the USA or flying to Dubai or visiting China or New Zealand like some other travel bloggers. So, I’d need to divide my destinations into short-haul (starters) and long-haul (main) even when they aren’t that far away from each other. Regarding the dessert part of my meal, oh boy, there are several amazing places that have left a lasting impression on me.

I’d choose Italy as my starter. I’ve travelled extensively around Italy but there are still many places that I haven’t visited such as Sicily or Cinque Terre. If I have to pick a favourite place then it’d be Bologna. I already blogged about it so you can read why I like it so much if you want to. I’ve been to Florence  and Rome and Venice several times but I’d rather spend a relaxing day in Bologna hanging out with the locals than brave the crowds in one of the above places.

Bologna

The main. Well, there’s only one possible main for me. And that’s London. I could always go back to London (and I have, 11 times so far!). It’s like my favourite meal. I could never get enough of it and it always tastes great. You might wonder now what’s my favourite meal…but I won’t tell you 🙂 What would be the furthest I have ever travelled? If I look at the map and the distance from my hometown to a place, then the furthest place I’ve ever travelled would be Lisbon , Portugal  which is over 2 000 km from my hometown and which was definitely the longest flight I’ve ever took. I absolutely loved Lisbon and I’d love to go back.

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Did you open your chocolate Advent calendar today?

I woke up this morning with only one thought on my mind. It is 1 December which means that I can finally open my new Lindt chocolate Advent calendar. I bought it in mid-October when I was going back from a business trip to Italy. My new colleagues asked me if I bought it for a kid, but no, I blushingly explained, I bought it for myself. Yep! That’s me, carrying a big chocolate Advent calendar back home from a business trip. And I’ll be 33 in 17 days!:) But what can I say, I just love chocolate Advent calendars. The waiting part, the excitement part, the part when you get to open a new window each day which hides a new sweet treat and the tasty chocolate itself. It’s the best thing ever!:)

chocolate Advent calendar

I didn’t really have a chocolate Advent calendar when I was growing up. First of all, I grew up in 80’s and early 90’s in a country that no longer exists, deprived of shopping malls, McDonald’s and a mobile phone until the age of 16. I got my first PC when I was finishing high school. But you know, I had better childhood than most kids today. I spent my days playing outside with real friends. And reading lots of books, of course. Anyway, I’m digressing too much, the point is, there just weren’t Advent calendars and most other things until I was a teenager. So now, I’m making up for some things, like the absence of a chocolate Advent calendar by buying it for myself. And I enjoy it shamelessly. I probably enjoy it more now than I would have when I was a kid!

I used to buy ordinary, plain, chocolate Advent calendars but last year I splurged a bit and got myself a Ritter sport chocolate advent calendar. You can read the story about my last year’s Advent calendar here. I loved it! It was just great!

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I dream of…..travelling!

Ireland
Dunluce Castle in Ireland  source of photo

I dream of…travelling. I am a dreamer. There, I said it. My head is often in the clouds but I have noticed lately that my feet are actually firmly planted on the ground. I guess I have become an adult. I still travel and I still plan new trips but maybe it’s my 33rd birthday fast approaching or my husband’s rational voice in my ear saying ..wait, maybe I should save some money, not to go on a trip but to actually save it for the rainy days. However, there are still lots of places I dream of visiting. And I’m sure I will continue to travel but perhaps I won’t fulfill all my travelling dreams. Shocking?! Perhaps, but very true. After all, if you do accomplish all your dreams, what’s left to do?

So, some of my dream destinations are within easy reach. It’s not that expensive to visit them and they aren’t that far away. However, other places are actually the stuff dreams are made of…visiting those places would mean years and years of saving up and missing out on other fun things perhaps. Are they worth it? Maybe yes, maybe not; I’m not sure. Yet.

What are the places I want to visit? I have several lists. One is very doable and I’ll probably travel to those places sooner or later. Another list is a real dream list.

My realistic list

Germany: yes, not that far away but I still haven’t made it to big old Deutschland. I’m not particularly interested in Berlin. Bavaria is my favourite German region! I’d love to travel to Munchen and admire the Neuschwanstein castle!

Ireland: specifically Dublin, but I’d love to do a road trip across the whole country too!

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My favourite desserts around Europe (#Travellinkup)

Austrian apple strudel
in Vienna, Dec 2015

First of all, I’d like to say how happy I am to be this month’s co-host of travel link up with Emma, Angie and Jessi!

I love food but I’m no foodie or a gourmand. I prefer simple but delicious meals. Not being very adventurous when it comes to trying out local delicacies means that I probably have missed out on a few great experiences but as I grew old(er) I began to taste more different foods. Living & working in England eight years ago has actually helped me to be more open towards new & unusual foods. I became a big fan of afternoon tea tradition and English breakfast while I was in England. I also tried curry for the first time and many other traditional English dishes such as Yorkshire pudding (and my favourite revelation of them all: salt &vinegar crisps). However, I have a sweet tooth and I do try out all possible desserts wherever I go! After all, I am a big chocoholic!

So, what would be my most interesting/meaningful food experience?

 I have tried a few meals that are not to everyone’s taste (even if it was just a mouthful). For example, I ate a snail in Brussels and I had haggis in Scotland 🙂 But I’ve pretty much tried all the national desserts wherever I travelled. So my most interesting food experiences have to be dessert related.

So, let’s just name my favourite desserts around Europe (in no particular order):

Sacher cake (or any cake as a matter of fact ) in Austria

I do love French desserts but if you want a delicious cake that will satisfy your hunger go to Austria!  I love all sorts of Austrian cakes from apfel strudel to Esterházytorte to original Sacher cake. Last December I finally had the one and only Sacher cake at Hotel Sacher in Vienna. It was a wonderful experience worth the wait of around half an hour in the cold!

Sacher cake in Vienna
Sacher Cake and Sacher tea

Afternoon tea in England

I love everything about this old tradition: the food, the atmosphere of tea rooms, the exquisite porcelain mugs. Tasty finger sandwiches, delectable scones, a delicious cake and of course tea make up this wonderful afternoon affair! I had proper afternoon tea in London just once but it was such a gorgeous experience! I also had a very lovely but unpretentious afternoon tea in Jane Austen’s center in Bath and in Harriet’s in Bury St Edmunds.

afternoon tea in London
at Sofitel St James hotel, London 2013

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What has travel taught me?(#TravelLinkup)

Paris, France-one of my best trips ever!

Whether I join the monthly travel linkup or not I always like to read what other bloggers wrote about each month’s theme. My  last contribution was in June when I wrote about my unexpected places but I didn’t feel inspired to write about my home last month. I don’t know about you but I can only write when the writing muse smiles upon me. I cannot force my writing. Luckily, I don’t need to rely on my writing to eat! Also, it’s too hot to think properly and I’ll be offline next week anyway so I didn’t think that I would be writing about what travel has taught me but somehow I started to think about this theme last night and here I am pounding it out.

My first trip abroad happened when I was only a couple of months old but I don’t really remember that and besides it wasn’t really abroad then since Croatia was a part of Yugoslavia. My next real travel abroad adventure was a trip to Venice when I was about 4 but again I have no recollection of that trip either. So I guess my first abroad trip (that I remember) was a shopping trip to Trieste, Italy! Go figure!:) My proper travelling career started when I was at university. Then I started to travel with my friends around Europe. So what has travel taught me? A lot. Too much to put in this post but I’ll try to identify the most valuable lessons.

Dreams do come true

For years I have dreamt about travelling. I’d also been in love with London even before I’ve visited it for the first time in 2006. Ten years later and 11 trips to London I’m still crazy about that vibrant melting pot called London. And I have travelled a lot. So my dreams did come true! Maybe I haven’t travelled extensively as some bloggers did but my circumstances are also not the same as theirs. It’s not the same whether you travel somewhere if your currency is strong and your buying power quite substantial or if your exchange rate is 1£=8.9 HRK. So, yes Croatia is cheap for the British tourists but Britain is majorly expensive for Croatian tourists. Furthermore, if I wanted to travel to London before Ryan Air came to Croatia that flight would have cost me around 500€ with the national airline and my first trip to London with Ryan Air cost me only 50€ return ticket! So I’m happy with the amount of travelling I have done so far but there are still some destinations that are out of my reach at the moment. But I’ll keep on dreaming (and saving!)

in London this May

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