A Travellerspoint blog

Croatia

10 days travel from Zadar to Dubrovnik and back

sunny 38 °C

Hi all,
This year Croatia was selected for our summer holidays. As usual, we rented a car and drive around. To us this way of travelling in a new country is very convenient as this allow us to design our daily plan as we move on and to stop and relax or to spend more time on a specific place at our own will.
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We've landed in Zadar, which was used also as our base for visiting the beautiful Plitvice lakes and to make a small cruise to the Telašćica protected area and the Kornati archipelago. In Zadar I loved the Sea Organ which I thought it was a great idea and that could probably be replicated and improved in other coastal areas around the globe.
What new can I say about the Plitvice lakes? Nothing, really. It's a unique place, certainly a place that everybody will enjoy to visit at least once. Unfortunately the national park was overcrowded with thousands of visitors walking in the narrow trails around the lakes which reduces somehow the obvious attractiveness of the natural scenery. But I knew this in advance from reading other visitor comments and we had to live with it and enjoy the moment as much as possible.
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The small cruise to the islands was ok, the nice M/B Elizabet provided us with a good service on board and since the boat was only half full everybody felt good with plenty of room to sit down on deck and enjoy the Baltic sea and the islands passing by. We stopped at Dugi Otok and went for a swing in the Salt Lake, an interesting lake which is connected to the sea by underground natural channels. Again, we had to walk a little bit around the lake shore to move away from the crowd and at the other end we found a nice beach next to the tall cliffs facing the sea.
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Next: Sibenik and the Krka national park. We stayed in a lovely apartment 5 or 6 km away from Sibenik, which I recommend (Apartments Palma); in fact it's the perfect base to visit the Krka park since you are only 30 min away by car. We did not explore the park too much because it was too hot and the natural pool at the bottom of the waterfall was more than enough to convince everyone to stop and swim to refresh. Before moving south to Split we had to check Sibenik, a nice city with an interesting old town section as well.
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In Split we had a bad experience with the apartment which was way below our expectations and descriptions on the site we've used for booking. In fact I've learned that Croatia coastal line it's almost a continuous line of hotels, apartments and rooms to rent and I'm sure that it's very easy to find unexpected bad surprises, so some careful selection is recommended.

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The city was again overcrowded, although the roman buildings and the city evolution throughout the centuries is very interesting to be seen.
From Split we've took another small cruise to the island of Solta and the village of Maslinica. The boat stoped for awhile in the blue lagoon area nearby and my son which is 9 years old had a blast jumping from the boat into the sea time and time again.
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Farewell Split, Hello Dubrovnik. Driving to Dubrovnik demands an additional effort, since the motorway ends just 50 or 60 km after Split. However, this effort is rewarded with some impressive views of the huge fertile valley near Vina and later on in the Neretva delta near Rogotin.
Dubrovnik is a lovely place and as you can read in every tourist guide, a must view at world scale. I tried to remember the news on TV about the bombing to Dubrovnik back in 1991-1992 when Croatia was fighting the former Yugoslavia army. Seeing the old town now it's difficult to imagine that this place was almost destroyed 20 years ago.
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The views from the top of the hill are breathtaking; take the cable car to the top, explore the area and enjoy the views. Then give yourself a treat and eat something on the restaurant of the cable car enjoying 180 degrees views of the horizon.
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Croatia is a nice place to visit, the sea water is warm and very clear although if you like sandy beaches you will be somehow disappointed with it; most of the beaches are really wonderful but made of pebbles, not sand.
I do suggest that you choose a different month from August to visit Croatia; June or July or even September will be the best moments to enjoy the coast; it will be warm and nice and with must less people around.
Cheers

Posted by ACoelho 08:20 Archived in Croatia Comments (1)

What a beautiful bird

For those that did not had yet the chance to fly in the A380, please check this cool feature: three cameras installed outside gives you an amazing birds eye view. What a great idea!

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Posted by ACoelho 06:26 Comments (0)

Two days in S.Francisco

sunny

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Ater a meeting in Sacramento, I took the car and drove west in direction of S.Francisco.
My plan was to spend the day of Saturday knowing the city and fly back to Europe on Sunday morning.
On my way I had to stop in a huge mall and do some shoping. Yes, the dólar is no longer allowing 30 or 40 percent savings as in the begining of this year, but to take an additional 20% off is allways a nice thing.
S.Francisco was covered by fog and I had to wait in very long traffic lines to go across the bridge.
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The Radison hotel near the AirPort was ok and I was fresh and ready to go the next morning.
Considering the traffic of the day before I checked with the hotel staff which would be the best way to get to the city center.
And the recommendation is, if you happen to be in the neighbourhood of the AirPort, is to take the hotel shuttle or a taxi to the AirPort and there to get the subway in the internacional terminal. 45 minutes is all it takes to reach Powell street. From there the best way is to get the cable car which will take you around the scenic routes of the city.
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I enjoyed pier 39 of course, because you'll see nice views of the bay, Alcatraz, the Golden Gate in the background.
Do not forget Chinatown, the oldest chinese town in the US. And do go to Twin Peaks for a great panorama of the city and surroundings.
And do stop at any food spot and enjoy the local crab - its veeery good.
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Overall S.Francisco met my expectations, as many great cities in the US have met before.
Not being a "cities lover", two days is a good duration to get the flavor of this nice californian city.
See you soon, next stop: Zadar, Croatia!!!!!!

Posted by ACoelho 14:39 Archived in USA Comments (0)

The world is like a book...(2/3)

Snapshots from Australia, USA, Germany, Spain, Gibraltar and Austria

Time to continue sharing some pictures of my experience as traveller.
All in all, these memories represent some more pages of the Book...

“Not all those who wander are lost.” — J. R. R. Tolkien
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Australia, Melbourne, Beautiful riverside

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” – Susan Sontag
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USA, Chicago, Riverside, Famous Blues place
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Does any one need directions??

“A ship is safe in the harbor, but that’s not what ships are built for.” – Gael Attal
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Germany, Berlin, Reichstag building - the weight of past History , Bradenburg Gate, Melancolic 5.30 AM scene

“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.” — Oscar Wilde
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Spain, Huelva, Rocio, Bucolic scenario in Rocio

“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” — Aldous Huxley
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UK, Gibraltar, the Rock, pain-in-the-ass monkeys!, Africa on the horizont

“He who is outside his door already has the hardest part of his journey behind him.” — Dutch proverb
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Spain, Seville, city views, Don Quixote is alive!

“One of the great things about travel is that you find out how many good, kind people there are.” — Edith Wharton
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Austria, Eisenstadt, lake view, old buildings in city centre, curious room and furniture...

Cheers!!!!

Posted by ACoelho 16:08 Comments (0)

In the mist - Niagara Falls, USA

Perfect shower in the Horseshoe Falls

sunny 24 °C

Coming to Buffalo area recently and having one free afternoon, I thought that this was the opportunity to view this world wonder this time for real.
This was during the week time and maybe that's because we did not found too much people in the park, US side.
The views of the falls are great and the walking through the park in the warm afternoon sun was interesting and pleasant.
The 45 minutes boat trip in the Maid of the Mist is a good choice if you visit Niagara Falls as it is only 15 dollars. It gives you good views of that huge amount of water falling into the river - something like 1,5 million liter/sec!!! - and the Horseshoe falls is an amazing experience because all the mist will rain on you literally for five or ten minutes. I am a fan of waterfalls and I was curious to see the Niagara Falls and to compare it with the great waterfalls in Iceland, for example. Niagara is really impressive because of the dimension but it's really a petty that the landscape, mainly in the canadian side, is ruined by those tall hugly buildings - it would be much better for everyone if we could have trees and rocks in the background like the time when indians lived in the region.

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Now, a short sequence of the late afternoon shower in the Horseshoe Falls :)
Cheers,

Posted by ACoelho 09:18 Archived in USA Comments (0)

The world is like a book...(1/3)

Snapshots from Scotland, England, Spain, Tunisia, Malta, Sicily, Hawai and France

===The World is like a book: Those who do not travel only read one page...===

My daughter published this sentence in her facebook's page.
This is from Saint Augustin of Hipona, which must have loved travelling in is lifetime.
I thought that it's a very strong and very true citation, and I decided to share it with you all.
Here's another set of lost old pics I've shot from around the world...blended with some other great words.

Ib'n Battuta: He who does not travel does not know the value of men

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Scotland, Isle of Skye, Quiraing the place where fairy tales are true, the Inthinkable Coral beach in Claigan
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UK, London, Melancolic view of the Thames in the winter time, Organic structure inside British Museum

Wojciech Dabroswki: You can loose everything, but nobody will take away what did you see and what did you experience...

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Spain, Barcelona, Glory to the human genius in Guell park
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Tunis, Tunis harbour 6AM..., Sidi bou Said, Door collection
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Hey stranger, I'm watching YOU...

Charles Baudelaire: Free man, you will always love the sea.

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Malta, La Valletta, Local village and the sea, The main harbour, Preparation for local religious celebration
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Italy, Sicilia, Messina harbour entrance, Stromboli volcano
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Sailing against the volcano background

Daniel Serralta: What's the sense of this life??
Ever looking for an answer ... travelling a lot, everywhere, experiences, adventures, people, cultures... Cause there's something in us, deep inside us, the passion for life, the excitement of the discover, go higher, go further, go deeper, do the impossible, see what others just can dream ...

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US, Honolulu, Hawai, Art and flours, Perfect Sunset, The moment when time stops, Looks like...Hawai!!!
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Italy, Sicily, Taormina, Roman theater, Local crafts

Samuel Johnson "As the Spanish proverb says,
'He who would bring home the wealth of the Indies, must carry the wealth of the Indies with him.' So it is in travelling; a man must carry knowledge with him, if he would bring home knowledge."

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France, Villefranche-sur-mer, Harbour view, Window detail
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The beautiful colors of the Mediterrean sea...

Cheers!

Posted by ACoelho 15:08 Comments (0)

A piece of Paradise - The peninsula of Troia, Portugal

Heaven, 20 km south of Lisbon

sunny 20 °C

Imagine that you have landed in Lisbon.
Next you already have your rental car and the navigation system is ready to go to Troia.
Buckle your seat belt and start driving following the directions.
You will drive around the ring road of Lisbon, across the Tejo river and the beautiful iron bridge and then continue in the motorway another 20 km or so heading the direction of Setubal.

large_1Panor_mica_1.jpgThe ferry crossing from Setubal to Troia

The ferry crossing from Setubal to Troia

Setubal is a interesting old city that used to be an important industrial and fishing harbour.
These days, the harbour of Sines has stolen most of the industrial business away from the city and fishing is limited to a very small amount of boats and fisherman.
But the city still carries a unique romantic felling, maybe because of the light that is reflected in the old colonial style buildings.
On top of that, a good meal of fresh fish is easy to find in Setubal.
In June and July everyone must try the grilled sardines, portuguese style: fat sardines, grilled in charcoal melting away in portions of rustic bread... and good red wine from the region!
Sounds good?

Well it can be even better.

You just have to trust your GPS, and you will find yourself in the ferry heading to Troia.

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Troia is a narrow strip of land which almost closes the mouth of Sado river. On the river side, lose yourself in the beautiful dunes and pine trees, smelling lavender and many other kinds of aromatic flowers or herbs.

Lavender fields in Troia

Lavender fields in Troia

Beautiful landscape in Troia

Beautiful landscape in Troia

Troia peninsula

Troia peninsula


The laguna near Comporta, Sado river

The laguna near Comporta, Sado river

Or maybe you want to try your luck getting a fish dinner by yourself. Then walk across the small road and head to the long white beaches facing the ocean. The color of the sea is very intense, sometimes it even looks like the Indian sea - unfortunatly the water is a little bit colder over here...
OK, no so cold... dolphins live in the area and in the summer time you can see them often during the crossing in the ferry.

Walkaway to the beach

Walkaway to the beach

The sea almost looks like the Carabean...

The sea almost looks like the Carabean...

Untouched beach with white sands -Arrabida in the background

Untouched beach with white sands -Arrabida in the background

Troia is also a high end resort.
On the tip of the land facing Setubal a very expensive resort was built some years ago. From golf courts to a casino or design hotels you can find it all over here.
But let's get back to the good portuguese food.
Take you car again and drive south. Pay attention to your left: less than half hour later you will pass the Dona Bia restaurant.
By all means, stop. Forget about diet and ask for the local specialities: I promise you that you will come back sooner than later!!!

Posted by ACoelho 14:32 Archived in Portugal Comments (0)

Climbing up to the sky, Germany

Short trip to the south of Germany: Ulm and Lindau (1/2)

semi-overcast 9 °C

Ulm and the river Danube

Ulm and the river Danube


This trip was a return to this nice German city by the Danube.
The square by the Cathedral was crowded with the weekly market in that day and we spend some time walking around checking all the fragances and nice colors of flowers, fruits and vegetables on sale. Strawberries were so delicious that we bought a pack.

Weekly street market in Ulm by the Cathedral

Weekly street market in Ulm by the Cathedral


Fresh vegetables in the market

Fresh vegetables in the market


The splendid Cathedral Ulmer Münster, built from 1377 to1891 carries the medal of the world's highest church steeple. So the main goal for that morning was to climbing all the 768 steps up to the top of the tower. The challenge itself is a little bit claustrophobic because it takes a good half hour to reach the top. The stairway is very narrow, not more than 60 cm width, always going around and there's a lot of people doing the same climb up.

161.53 m high and 768 steps

161.53 m high and 768 steps

Inside the Cathedral tower, last stretch...

Inside the Cathedral tower, last stretch...


Looking down to the square

Looking down to the square


Going down in the narrow stairway of the Cathedral tower

Going down in the narrow stairway of the Cathedral tower

But the views are really great and once you get to the final platform you will sense that feeling of task completed.
The church is awesome as many other German cathedrals. It is a good opportunity to sit down a little bit, enjoy the silence and wonders how Man was able to make such great buildings many centuries ago.
The old Fischerviertel (fishermen's quarter) on the River Blau is really a "must see" with half-timbered houses, cobblestone streets, and picturesque footbridges. I liked very much the walk along the remaining section of the city walls, with the 14th-century 36 m high Metzgerturm (butchers' tower) and all the old buildings facing the river.

Houses in Ulm

Houses in Ulm

Schiefes Haus(crooked house), a 16th-century house today used as a hotel

Schiefes Haus(crooked house), a 16th-century house today used as a hotel


City Panoramic by the Danube

City Panoramic by the Danube


Ulm is a nice city and like many cities in Germany a good stop for a day of two.
And did you know that Einstein was born in Ulm?

Posted by ACoelho 08:59 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Great Idea!

Guy travels the world and shoots one second of footage in each location

I saw this video in Stumbleupon and I thought that you would like to see it as well.
Maybe this will inpire some of us travellers to do something alike.
Cheers!

Posted by ACoelho 04:14 Comments (0)

Legoland Germany, near Ulm

Easter break in the south of Germany

rain 9 °C

The Easter's weekend was promising rain in the south of Germany and so it happened.
We left from Oporto on thursday on a very, very full Ryanair flight, leaving our sunny country and knowing that the weekend's was going to be wet.
This was not a very exciting perspective, since we had planned the first day in Legoland Park (half hour away from Ulm) and the last thing we all wanted was to get a cold.
Luckly it turned out that the rain moved away around mid-day and we had a cloudy but dry afternoon.
Legoland is an amazing park and my personal favorite is for sure the center area where we can find cities and many different landscapes made with those famous plastic bricks.

I, like many other generations of kids, made my own buildings, airplanes, ships and all sort of crazy constructions. So I think that I can make an educated statement saying that somebody did a great engineering work to build all that with that small lego bricks.
I just hope that my pictures are able to illustrate just a little bit how fantastic that work is. Thank you Lego people!

Legoland Germany

Legoland Germany

Legoland Germany

Legoland Germany

Legoland Germany

Legoland Germany

Legoland Germany

Legoland Germany

Legoland Germany

Legoland Germany

Legoland Germany

Legoland Germany

Legoland Germany

Legoland Germany

Legoland Germany

Legoland Germany

Legoland Germany

Legoland Germany

Posted by ACoelho 12:07 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

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