Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hong Kong and Eastern Europe Day 30

October 2009

Day 30

Our third and final day in Zagreb. We sought out the Archaeological museum and spent the morning looking through the displays and the special exhibit on the Myan Ruins (like I needed another location to add to my "to see" list). We then went to see the Botanical Gardens that had been closed the previous day and spotted these cute owl statues on top of one of the surrounding building.

We enjoyed a lunch of hamburger for DH and Cevapcici for me, before grabbing our bags from the hotel and making our way back to the bus station to get the bus to the airport.

Who knew that 30 days and 5 countries could go by so quick? And still 1 stop to go!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hong Kong and Eastern Europe Day 29

October 2009

Day 29

After breakfast we headed off for "upper" Zagreb. We took in the action at the markets, visited the local Cathedral, visited the "bloody" bridge, saw St George statue, visited the stone gate with the Virgin Mary picture and Dora Krupic, saw the Fisherman's Statue (in which there is an exact copy of in Belgrade), visited but did not ride on the Funicular, spent some time on the Strossmayer promenade and visited the Lotrsak Tower, where the cannon goes off with a boom every day at noon.

We enjoyed a lunch in the square and took a walk along to the old stock market (now a bank), followed by a trip to Ilica Street to British Square where they have more fresh produce on sale. We tired our luck at the Botanical Gardens only to find they were closed, so stopped in Railway Square for a refreshing afternoon beverage.

That nigh we met up with a girl from our GAP tour for dinner at Nokturno, a local backpackers hangout, where I had the mushroom risotto and DH enjoyed chicken with a cheese and tomato sauce.

It was definitely a day where we walked and saw allot, I think we definitely earned our ice cream that night!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Hong Kong and Eastern Europe Day 28

October 2009

Day 28

After a late breakfast we took the local bus to Zagreb, about a 3.5 hour trip. We walked from the bus station to the Best Western Astoria, before setting off for a self exploratory walk of "lower" Zagreb. We visited The well of life, Jelacica Square and Tomislavovi Square.

We finished the day with finner at Piccalo, which was ok, but a bit too touristy for us, before stopping at Millennium for ice cream on the way back to the hotel.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hong Kong and Eastern Europe Day 27

October 2009

Day 27

We enjoyed breakfast in the hotel, surrounded by chandeliers before walking into town to get our bus tickets for Zagreb, which we would need in a few days.

We then joined our group on the mini bus and drove into the tiny town of Hum. We then got back onto the bus and made our second stop at Motovun, which is Mario Andriette's hometown (at the time when her was born it was under Italian rule for those of you who are wondering). We got on the bus again and made our third and final stop at Rovinj. We had a Burek of cheese and meat in the park before grabbing an ice cream and walking along the promenade. We joined back up with our tour group and enjoyed a short walk through the old town.

We had our final group dinner that night back in Opijati at Roko, once again having my favourite of grilled squid, while DH had a Calzone.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hong Kong and Eastern Europe Day 26

October 2009

Day 26

We got on another mini bus and drove to Rijika. We stopped here for a guided walk, which included the markets, the concert halls, churches, roman arches and an old monastery. We broke from the group at the end of the tour for lunch and to find a restroom, it would have to be the hardest place ever to find a restroom, we spent around 30 minutes searching for one that was open or we were allowed access to.

We then met up with our group again to visit the upper part of the town, which included the Trasat Castle and yet another church with monastery (the church fatigue had definitely kicked in by this stage).

We drove to Opatija, and checked into the Hotel Bristol with it's gorgeous sea views. We took a walk around town and finished up having a delightful dinner of sausage minestrone and cheese ravioli at Gostiona Istranka.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Hong Kong and Eastern Europe Day 25

October 2009

Day 25

Our group boarded the mini bus for our 4 hour trip to the Plitvice Lakes National Park, one of those locations that had always been on top of our list and the main attraction for this trip.

We caught the "train" (really a bus) to a walking point and then spent time winding our way down through the beauty to the boat point. We then spent 10 minutes on the boat before continuing our walk to our dinner point, 4 hours in total.

We had dinner at Lika Kuca, where we enjoyed the mixed platter of lamb from the spit and veal and potatoes cooked in "the bell".

Now I know I may have overdone the pictures in this post, but can you really blame me? Neither DH nor I are great photographers, but these pictures all give you a glimpse into the beauty of the area.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hong Kong and Eastern Europe Day 24

September 2009

Day 24

In the morning we caught a cab to the bus rank, with a driver who kept on playing a catching song over and over (I thought it was titled Moski Voui, but could not find it on itunes or online when I returned, if you know what I might be talking about I would love to know what it is and where I can download it).

We arrived in Trogir and spent some time walking through the old town, viewing the cathedral, the walks and the promenade. We had Cevapcici and hamburger for lunch ( it had been a while since I'd enjoyed Cevapcici), before catching the bus to Siberik.

In Siberik, we settled into our hotel on the harbour before going on a guided tour with our group, where we saw St Michael's Cathedral with it's beautiful stained glass, the old town and the cat & dog bowl built into the wall! DH and I decided to walk up to the fortress and enjoyed watching the sun set.

We had dinner of scampi in crepes and local mussels at Vijecnica in the old city hall, which while enjoyable was a bit over rated for the price, before enjoying ice cream for our walk back to the hotel.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hong Kong and Eastern Europe Day 23

September 2009

Day 23

Up early for a 4.5 hour bus ride to split. We dropped our things off at the Art Hotel, before grabbing lunch at a local bakery and walking through the markets.

We joined our tour group and were given a guided walking tour of the old town. We wondered into one section, to find four men singing and selling their CDs, it was a wonderful atmosphere.

We had dinner at U Fife, in which I tired the Black Risotto (way too salty for me) and the Veal in wine sauce.

While not as well known or visited as Dubrovnik I actually preferred Split and in the summer months it is a great spot to base yourself to explore the Islands of Hvar and Brac.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Hong Kong and Eastern Europe Day 22

September 2009

Day 22

We caught the local bus with our new tour group to the old town, to re-do the walking tour we did with our first group, it was great seeing it all again and there was a lot less people making it easier to stop and just look. Going through our pictures at home I can't believe how many we took from the city walls!

We grabbed a quick lunch of sandwiches from a local bakery and enjoyed lunch down by the harbour with all the cats! We enjoyed a nice drink at Pizzareia Dommanica, just enjoying the view and the wonderful weather, before heading back to the hotel.

We enjoyed our final dinner in Dubrovnik at Kampas, where I strayed from my usual of squid to enjoy the salmon pasta, while DH enjoyed the seafood pasta.

I have to say Dubrovnik definitely lived up to the hype and I was glad we got to enjoy some downtime here. But it is expensive, and we found this out more so as we headed up the coast of Croatia and the prices just seemed to drop, I guess the downside of being such a big tourist and cruise destination.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Hong Kong and Eastern Europe Day 21

September 2009

Day 21

We had a later start than usual to our day and spent some time walking around the harbour and by the hotel pool. After a baguette lunch at the beach, followed by a dip in the sea (in which we seemed to be surrounded by Aussies discussing the upcoming AFL finals).

We met our new tour group this time with GAP Adventures http://www.gapadventures.com/. While I have never travelled with GAP, I have known a few people who have and compared them favourably with Intrepid, and GAPs itinerary included the Plitvice Lakes, so we went with it. Our group was 15 people, mainly consisting of Canadians, across a broad range of age groups and we had a great time across our trip, learning allot about North America in the meantime!

We had dinner just the two of us at Taraca, another local restaurant, of grilled squid and mixed grilled meat, before grabbing ice cream and heading back to the hotel.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hong Kong and Eastern Europe Day 20

September 2009

Day 20

Another beautiful day in Dubrovnik! In between tours, DH and I enjoyed a pastry breakfast in the old town and looked around the fresh produce market. We then caught the bus to our new hotel, the Komodor, which is in a great spot in the "new" Dubrovnik. We grabbed lunch from a market near the ocean park and enjoyed a swim by the sea. Now being a "larger" lady, I am always conscious to wear suitable swim and beach attire, but the locals, now worries, just let it all hang out no mater what your size and shape, it was refreshing and a little bit distracting at times!

We enjoyed dinner at a local place, Restaurant Konavoka, where I (again) had the grilled fish and DH had the shrimp pasta. Before heading back to our room with a view.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Long Weekends

Another break from our 2009 trip to Hong Kong and Eastern Europe, with my list of of potential long weekend break ideas. As usual, with so many possibilities it's hard to narrow it down:

1. The Great Ocean Road Victoria

With some stunning scenery, it's clear why The Great Ocean Road is on so many peoples list of things to do when they visit Australia. The most iconic site on the Great Ocean Road however, would have to be The Twelve Apostles (below). Did you know there's actually less than 12 and that over time with the wear and tear of the ocean they will become less in number again.

2. Hobart, Tasmania

The issue with Tasmania, is choosing the right time of year to go, as it can get quite cool in the winter months. But it's a beautiful harbour location with many things to do and see. There are a host of festivals if you go at the right time of the year, or you can spend your time wondering the streets and local area.

3. Broome, Western Australia

The problem with this location is the distance, from Sydney you need to take two flights. But it seems like such a beautiful location, especially for water sports, that it has to make my list. It's know as the place where the sky meets the land, and the desert meets the sea, and from the pictures I've seen you can see.

4. Noosa, Queensland

I would put Port Douglas in Queensland on the list instead of Noosa, but fortunately, I've been there, done that (and HIGHLY recommend it). But I've heard many great things about this coastal town just north of Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast. The sunny local, the boutique shopping and water view restaurants make it a great location for a recharge of those batteries, particularly after those cooler months.

5. Fremantle, Western Australia

Located just south of Perth, Freemantle is a well known vibrant port city. Freemantle has world heritage buildings, as well as a great pub scene. A great place just to lay back and chill.

6. Launceston, Tasmania

The second largest city in Tasmania, it's compact enough to easily explore, but is also a gateway to other spots, such as Cradle Mountain and wineries. While it's only a two hour drive from Hobart, you can also catch direct flights from Melbourne, making it easier to access without the need to drive.

7. Norfolk Island, New South Wales

A small Island off the coast of New South Wales, it's a location that seems so laid back, and looking online you get the feeling of relaxation from just looking at the photographs, let alone actually being there yourself. It truly seems like unspoilt beauty, and I hope it remains that way for a long time.

8. Gold Coast Theme Parks, Queensland

The reason this one keeps on being pushed back, is being child free, a Gold Coast Theme Park long weekend is NOT for those who don't have children of their own. But I'm young at heart and I have fond memories of my trips to Disneyland in California (as a child, teenager and adult) and therefore the trill of the theme parks is never far from my mind. There are four main parks, depending on your time, budget and interests. 1. Wet n Wild, 2. Dreamworld, 3. Sea World and 4. Movie world.

So which not an inclusive list, they are my high priorities when it comes up to deciding on where to go for our next long weekend.

Do you have a favourite long weekend destination? What's on your list?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Hong Kong and Eastern Europe Day 19

September 2009

Day 19

In the morning we said goodbye to Montenegro and headed towards Croatia and the popular port city of Dubrovnik. After checking into our hotel and the lady who owns the pension stating she knew my husbands family well (his father is from Croatia), we headed off on the city wall tour. It was crowded, it was hot, but wow, what an experience. The view was amazing, no mater what angle you looked or took a picture from (which we took many), you got a great sight and talk about people visiting from all corners of the globe!

After lunch of Mussels and Spaghetti Marinara at Orhan, we went to visit the War Photography gallery, which displays photos of current conflicts around the globe and a room dedicated to the fall of Yugoslavia, it is definitely worth the visit and was a great way to spend the afternoon http://www.warphotoltd.com/

We spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying ice cream, while walking through the old city and finished up our day with another seafood meal of Grilled squid and fish at Marco Polo, our last with this tour group.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hong Kong and Eastern Europe Day 18

September 2009

Day 18

We caught the bus in the morning to the city of Kotor, and stayed in a great room at Maria 2, which was a 20 minute walk from the old town, but located right on the water. We spent some time just sitting and lounging in the sun by the water, before talking a walk into the Old town.

DH decided to brave the afternoon sun and heat to walk the 1,355 steps around the fort, before having dinner at a local restaurant at Cesarica, of grilled squid (which for me would soon become almost my dish of choice) and the grilled fish.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Hong Kong and Eastern Europe Day 17

September 2009

Day 17

We grabbed a quick pastry before breakfast before heading off to our meeting point for our Montenegro Coast tour. We got on the bus to Tivat to catch the boat to Herceg Novi, in which we took a walking tour, including through the fortress and old town.

We got on the boat again, before docking and splitting into a smaller boat to take us to the Blue Cave, the cave had a brilliant blue colour, but the water was quite crisp!

Back onto the main boat we headed to an artificial Island, known as "Our lady of the Rock', which had an Orthodox church on it. We didn't take the additional tour of the inside of the church, but it was a pretty place to have a look around.

We then took the boat to our final stop, Kotor, with a tour and walk around the town. By now we have definitely had our fix of Old Town's and Church's for the day and we were happy to take the boat back to Tivat, and the bus back to Budva.