Traveling is one of the most rewarding experiences in life. Not only does it allow you to discover new places, but also to get to know different idiosyncrasies and cultures.
It is so rewarding that, during my travels, I don't play TS!!!!.
And to inaugurate my blog, I will start by telling you about my latest adventure, in July 2019, which started in Croatia and ended in Italy.
To make the most, I start my preparations 6-8 months before I travel, making detailed itineraries that I try to stick to so I don't waste time, and renting in advance the apartments/hotels where I'm going to stay.
Within Europe, and whenever possible, I choose to travel by train, as flying is very time-consuming: arriving 4 hours early at the airport for check-in, immigration and customs. Nothing better than a train, which also gives me the experience of being able to enjoy the beauty of the journey through the window.
Then, come on! Join me on my journey. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
FROM CROATIA to ITALY
We arrived at Dubrovnik on July 12nd, after many hours of travelling.
Dubrovnik is situated in the south of Croatia, on the coast of the Adriatic Sea.
We stayed in a flat which we chose for only one reason: THE VIEW THROUGH THIS WINDOW:
From there we had a magnificent view of the location where many scenes from GAME OF TRHONES were filmed, and it was only a few minutes away from the "old town" of Dubrovnik.
It was already getting dark but, despite our tiredness, nothing stopped us from going out to explore the city.
Jesuit staircase/“Walk of shame” GoT
The next day, we got up early, as we had a trip to BOSNIA. Bosnia borders Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro; its capital is Sarajevo. Unlike Croatia, it is not part of the European Union.
There we visited two beautiful places: Kravice Waterfall and Mostar Bridge.
The historic town of Mostar, spanning a deep valley of the Neretva River, developed in the 15th and 16th centuries as an Ottoman frontier town and during the Austro-Hungarian period in the 19th and 20th centuries. Mostar has long been known for its old Turkish houses and Old Bridge, Stari Most, after which it is named. In the 1990s conflict, however, most of the historic town and the Old Bridge, were destroyed. The Old Bridge was recently rebuilt and many of the edifices in the Old Town have been restored or rebuilt with the contribution of an international scientific committee established by UNESCO. The Old Bridge area, with its pre-Ottoman, eastern Ottoman, Mediterranean and western European architectural features, is an outstanding example of a multicultural urban settlement. The reconstructed Old Bridge and Old City of Mostar is a symbol of reconciliation, international co-operation and of the coexistence of diverse cultural, ethnic and religious communities.
Kravice Waterfall are 25 meters high and are so spectacular that they are also called “mini-Niagara falls”. The water becomes steamy as it dramatically falls into the shallow pools.
It is the most beautiful waterfall in the Balkans.
On Sunday 14th, we decided to tour the OLD TOWN of DUBROVNIK.
To tour OLD TOWN, we start by entering the city walls (A).
The city walls are the symbol of Dubrovnik. They were built from the 13th to the 16th century and are considered one of the most beautiful fortification systems in the world. Dubrovnik's 1,940-metre-long fortification system consists of several elements: the main city wall surrounding the city, more than fifteen towers and fortresses, and three city gates: Pile Gate in the west, Ploče Gate in the east and Buža Gate in the north. At their highest point, the walls reach a height of 25 metres.
There are several fortresses that stand out for their size or their beauty. One of the most beautiful fortresses in Croatia is called Minčeta. Standing 80 metres high, Minčeta dominates the city walls on the land side. Other very important fortresses are those by the sea, Bokar and St. John (Sv. Ivan), which house a museum. There are two additional fortresses that are not connected to the city walls: Lovrijenac Fortress and Revelin Fortress.
Dubrovnik city walls, from Lovrijenac Fortress
St. John Fortress
And as we walked along the city walls, l was able to discover small “windows” that allowed me to take magnificent pics.
Leaving the city walls, we went to LOVRIJENAC FORTRESS (B), an11th century fortress on a cliff, which we reach by climbing a VERY LONG STAIRWAY (very very long and under a scorching sun).
But all that effort was rewarded by the spectacular views from the top.
Finally, we left the city walls, and went to walk along Stradun Street, the most famous street in Dubrovnik.
Stradun (or officially ‘Placa’) is the main street in Dubrovnik Old Town. It divides the Old town (part of Dubrovnik built within medieval walls) on two, more or less, equal parts - northern and southern. Stradun is stretched from Pile Gate (western entrance to the old town) to the Old Town’s port. It used to be a channel that divided small island on which Dubrovnik was built from the mainland. Later on, the channel was filled to create the main town’s street.
Most of Dubrovnik's historical and monumental buildings are located on Placa. Along its 300-metre length, there are plenty of sights to see along the way.
Stradun Street has countless shops, cafés and good restaurants. It is ideal for shopping, enjoying a delicious coffee or tasting a typical Croatian dish.
This is why this street is considered the heart of Dubrovnik.
Some of the must-see spots for any visitor to Stradun Street are as follows.
The Pile Gate, crowned by a statue of San Blas, patron saint of the city, is the monument that welcomes you to the historic centre of Dubrovnik. It is an imposing stone structure in the style of medieval architecture.
The gate was built in 1537 to secure the main entrance to the western side of the city.
St. Blas Church
The church of San Blas, in honour of the city's patron saint
Another key stop. The Onofrio fountain has a circular shape. It was built in the 15th century as a symbol of the new aqueduct. Even today you can still see how the water comes out much cooler than you would expect.
This is the famous staircase from GOT's "Walk of Shame". It is a baroque style staircase, built in 1738, leading to the Jesuit church of St. Ignatius of Loyola.
Dominican Monastery (view from the top of the city walls)
The Dominican monastery, in the centre of the old city, has a beautiful Gothic-inspired southern portico signed by Bonino de Milano in the 15th century with a beautiful exterior staircase which, evidently, Game of Thrones did not fail to take advantage of.
After this long walk, and being our last day, we decided to have dinner in a restaurant located on the mountains, where we had a delicious grilled octopus.
We went to sleep ready to visit the next city, SPLIT.
To be continued...