My Balkan Adventure – Montenegro

 

My Balkan Adventure – Montenegro (Day 3)

 Day 1 – Dubrovnik Croatia

 Day 2 – Bosnia&Herzegovina 

 

By day 3 the early morning rises had taken its toll on us and as the alarm went off for the 2nd time at 5:45am we wondered who’s brilliant idea it was to visit Montenegro. Nevertheless we were up and ready by 7am for our tour with Viator.  We started off from Dubrovnik, Croatia along the coastline been guided by the same tour guide we had for Bosnia. The drive from Dubrovnik into Montenegro shows the beautiful coastline as it gradually and dramatically changes. Almost as a reward for the long trip the scenery opened up into a grand mountainous sight with the town Perast nestled in the middle.

 

 

Perast

Perast has only one main street, its a tiny town with 16 churches, and 17 grand palazzos a reflection of its Venetian past. Many of these buildings are now ruins and some are being renovated. Perast has an air of ‘posh’ waterfront town, yet with the friendliness and familiarity of a fishing village. There are a clutter of uniformed stone buildings stacked on the foothill of Mount St. Elijah with sea view cafes looking out onto piers with small fishing boats floating on crystal clear waters. However the main attraction in Perast is not even on land, they’re two picturesque slightly surreal islands in the middle of the bay. One of the island is a monastery with tall evergreens surrounding it and the other is man-made with a Catholic Church with a perculiar history. The story is that in 1452 an icon of the Virgin Mary was found by two fishermen on a reef that above water. Over the centuries, people visited that reef and dropped stones into the water where the icon had appeared. The popularity of this ritual grew to the point that ships were loaded with rocks and sunk into the sea on the very spot. All of those stones, rocks and ships created an the island. After about 45 minutes at Perast we drove about 30 minutes further and came to Kotor.

 

Kotor – City Walls

The city walls of Kotor dates back to medieval times. It was started in 9th century to protect Kotor from invaders, and was added to by whoever ran the city at the time. From the Byzantines to the Venetians, until the 15th century when they finally formed a full loop up into the hillside. The maze like medieval town is well preserved, in the daytime the churches, museums, the squares and Venetian palaces appear greyish – green colour of the mountains it can be hard to pick them out. Making it very easy to get lost as they sometimes appear the same. We started our walk from the Kotor’s North Gate and followed the cobbled steps up. The further up we went the path became narrower and very difficult to walk, however the views were spectacular. We were told there are 1400ish steps and the fortress at the top was 1200 metres and with the glare of the sun and 30 minutes to spare before we meet our tour guide we decided to stop where we were, take photographs and make our way down. If you’re going to do the city walls in Montenegro it’s essential that you have the correct footwear, preferably hiking shoes or trainers (sneakers) with a grip. The cobbled ground is very very slippery and dangerous to walk on.

 

Views of the bay of Kotor from half way from the city walls

 

Eat

Konoba Potun   Great seafood menu – locally sourced

Tanjga –  Grilled meat and vegetables (similar to Čevapčiči)

 

 

Thank you for stopping by, don’t leave without saying hello… Share some stories of your travels any similarities to mine? Look forward to hearing from you.

 

Rx

 

 

 

 

 

My Balkan Adventure – Bosnia & Herzegovina

My Balkan Adventure – Bosnia & Herzegovina (Day 2)

 Day 1: Dubrovnik, Croatia

 Day 3: Montenegro

You can never be too organised on a short break the key is to maximise the time, so it’s always best to book activities before getting on the plane to your destination. On this trip, we booked with Viator back in London so on the day of our tour of Bosnia & Herzegovina, all we had to do was to be ready at 7:00 am and wait for the tour bus to pick us from the hotel. The guide that Viator provided was very knowledgeable in the history of Croatia and Bosnia. The tour took us through the countryside and the beautiful coast line of Croatia and then onto Bosnia & Herzegovina. Our first stop was Mostar

 

 

Mostar

I’m not sure if it was the cobbled streets with little alley ways and tiny houses or peharps the mini Mostar bridge, and pines trees in the distance which created a lovely backdrop to the vendors lining the streets, but I felt like I was on the set of ‘Lord of the Rings’ or a ‘Hobbit’ movie. It was soO pretty and I could’ve stood around longer staring into a distance, imagining little fairies and hobbits if it wasn’t so hot. Mostar can get as hot as 50 degrees and it was 42 that day!! The sun felt like it was biting my skin.

 

 

Naturally, we stopped at Mostar bridge, the iconic arch bridge which has been standing strong since it was built in 1556. (447 years) It was unfortunately destroyed in 1993 during the war.  Even though this bridge is a reconstruction of the original, UNESCO explains well: “The reconstructed Old Bridge and Old City of Mostar are symbols of reconciliation, international cooperation and the coexistence of diverse cultural, ethnic and religious communities”

Nowadays the Mostar bridge is known for the famous diving competition the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series and if you hang around long enough you can watch the locals dive into the Neretva river below. It is common for the young men in the town to gather It is common for the young men in the town to gather donations from the tourists crowding around to watch, and then will jump once they feel they have raised enough money.  Since the water below is so cold, they will come down to the shore first to take a dip in the water and get their body used to it before jumping. Those who jump are skilled in diving (the water is only 3 meters deep and it is certainly not a feat for anyone to attempt!

 

Eat

Europa –

When it comes to food in Mostar, most of the restaurants have the same or similar traditional food since the locals cook and eat at home and not in restaurants. We chose a place that had a huge tree growing inside the restaurant. Let me rephrase that, the restaurant was built around a massive tree. Lol. We ordered a classic local dish called Ćevapčići recommended by the tour guide. It was minced meat made into small sausages with sa kajmakom (with cheese) I was very tasty however I couldn’t finish it as the portions could feed 3 people, it was huge!!

 

Kravice Waterfalls

After leaving Mostar which felt like an oven we headed towards the Kravica Waterfalls to cool off. We had seen pictures of the waterfall on the Viator website, but, nothing prepared us for the beauty of this place. When we arrived the first thing we did was get our phones and cameras out to film, take pictures of what we were seeing. After a couple of tries, we agreed that there were some things you cannot capture but rather you just had to experience it. This is no exaggeration it was that amazing!! I expect to see this kind of tropical beauty in an Amazon rainforest somewhere not Europe, truly stunning!! Kravica looks like a mini Niagara falls surrounded by a large lake. The waterfalls through a series of about 20 falls and 25m and it’s shallow enough to swim in. The water is a little cold at first but once you dive in it is sweet and refreshing.  Lol..

 

 

Thank you for stopping by, don’t leave without saying hello…. look out for my final post on Montenegro.

 

Rx

P.S – Day 1 – Dubrovnik, Croatia

 

 

My Balkan Adventure – Croatia

My Balkan Adventure – Croatia (Day 1)

 Day 2 – Bosnia & Herzegovina 

Currency – Kuna

Hey guys, I’m back from my Balkan adventure. 3 days and 4 nights visiting Croatia, Bosnia, and Montenegro. If I’m honest I need another holiday to get over this one. Lol. I had no plans to travel this year so I had made peace with the idea as this year was solely for building my label, however, I secretly was hoping something would present it self and it did. #Hallelujaaaah. Right so how do you visit 3 countries with activities in between in the space of 3 days? A lot of organising and precise planning. If you’re looking for an adventure or simply want to discover different parts of Europe than the usual popular destinations then I would encourage you to visit these 3 countries earlier rather than later as it’s becoming more popular and a little-crowded every year. Here is my outline of Dubrovnik, Croatia.

 

Croatia – Dubrovnik

Our first stop was Dubrovnik,  known as the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’, Dubrovnik is the most popular tourist destination in Croatia. It’s hard to resist the orange rooftops reflected in the crystal clear blue waters of the Adriatic Sea. It’s a good location to take advantage of the different day trip options to neighboring countries and the 1100 islands that surround Croatia. Hence why we made it our first stop and our base. The currency in Croatia is Kuna, even in its peak season, it’s still quite an affordable city and also very easy to get around. There’s easy access to transportation buses, taxi, Uber or good old fashion ‘foot’. Lol. The most popular place to visit in Dubrovnik is walking the city walls in the Old Town which is absolutely worth while, it has the best views of the city from the top of the walls. To avoid the crowds and the scorching sun during the summer months, it’s best to arrive early ideally before it opens. I would suggest allowing at least 3 hours to walk the 1.2 miles around the Old Town and take your time to enjoy the stunning views. You would need plenty of water, although they do have a few small shops that sell water along the walk, it can be quiet expensive. To get an even more of a panoramic view of the city there’s also the choice of a  cable car, the best time for this would be just before sunset, so you can watch nature at its best whilst on top of the hills over seeing the whole city. The views of the city and the sun setting is simply breathtaking.

Eat

Mimosa

Great traditional Croatian food and hospitality. From the moment you’re greeted outside the door, to the ambiance and the dining experience was excellent. The best octopus salad!! It was delicious, I’m hungry thinking about it. Lol. We even got a complimentary drink on the house.

Panorama Restaurant and Bar

If you love sea food this would be the best place to experience all that Dubrovnik has to offer in sea food and panorama views of the city, so romantic. To make the most of the experience, set your reservations for dinner to watch the sun’s setting into the evening.

Buffet Škola

Buffet Škola is a fast food Dubrovnik style, think burger and chips but with quality beef and freshly baked sesame seed bun. I especially loved the locally caught sardines marinated cheese. Hmmmmmm yummy!!!There’s also a vegetarian plate available for 80kn.

 

Stay

Valamar Argosy

Valamar Argosy is a family friendly 4-star hotel with a 10-star customer service. Lol. The staff genuinely seemed to really like their jobs. The hotel is set in the lovely picturesque and peaceful town of Babin Kuk peninsula. It has beautifully landscaped gardens. The building’s a newly refurbished and upgraded 4* hotel with stylish rooms, infinity pool, and well-being area. It all set the scene for an ideal relaxing and romantic getaway. It’s also about 15 minutes away from Dubrovnik (Old Town) and has a selection of beaches nearby, you can pick and mix the activities you want to create a bespoke unforgettable Croatian holiday.

Next stop Bosnia and Herzegovina, look out for my post on the beautiful historical city of Mostar (my favourite of all the places we visited ) and Kravica Waterfalls

 

 

Thank you for stopping by, don’t leave without saying hello… Share some stories of your travels any similarities to mine? Look forward to hearing from you.

 

Rx

 

Roma ti amo

Roma ti amo

 

Hello! Buongiorno! I’m back from from my 3 nights 4 days trip to Rome and it’s all I talk about. I enjoyed it so much that at times having to stop to capture the moment got in the way. I can’t believe it’s just 2 hours away from London. Being in Rome gave me the chance to reflect on how I use my time. I thought of countless times I had wasted 2 whole hours, lazing about, on the phone, trying new hairstyles just doing mindless things. All that time i could’ve been on my way to Rome. Lol.

Sounds like a bit of an exaggeration but I thought about taking the steps towards making the right choices in my life so I can use my time well. (will be doing a post on that) Nonetheless you would be right in saying I’ve become a little obsessed with Rome. Everything from the cobbled narrow streets, the people, the weather, and yes, the food. The food was so good that each time I planned on taking photographs of it I would remember when my plate was finished. I looked through all my photos and to my amazement I did not have any photo evidence of the food. I always thought Paris was my favourite city in Europe, but Rome, Roma has opened up a whole new world a new fantastic point of view, no one to tell us no…errm oops yes I can’t wait to go back to Italy to explore some more. Please find my recommendations below on where to stay, eat and shop.

 

Eat

Tiberino (neo – traditional Roman food),

Ginger (vegetarian), Pinsere,

Ciao Checca (slow fast food)

Ai Tre Scalini (tapas/wine bar)

La Quercia (neo – traditional Roman food)

Bir N Fud – (Bar/ restaurant) (the name of this place had me in stitches)

These are the few places we ate at; my best advice is to ask locals and avoid the tourist areas with deals.

 

Drink (Coffee)

I’m not a coffee drinker however I have now developed a habit..oops

La Cassa Del Tazza,

Antico Caffe Greco,

San ‘Eustachio

It’s hard to get a bad coffee in Rome, I recommend the iced espresso, hmmmm delicious.

 

Do

Rome is full of incredible historical monuments (several of which are included in this post ) but beyond those, wandering was my favourite thing to do; the Jewish quarter is was very pretty.

 

Stay

Airbnb – Giulia’s Nest situated in the heart of Rome (Trastevere) walking distance to most of the historical monuments. A cute 2 bed flat, the perfect little flat for a long weekend.

 

Thanks for stopping by, as always please leave a comment and subscribe

Rx