What a beautiful part of Croatia. Crystal clear water, restaurants, places to stay and cheap. When you order a meal you certainly get a huge plate to deal with. It is not far from Rijeka and also not far from the southern border of Slovenia and overlooks a bay and offshore islands.
You can pamper yourself at spas, go on boat cruises, go to the casino, shop, swim, and sail or hire a car. It caters to everyone’s needs and there is no shortage of holiday makers here. Car plates from as far away as Denmark and being so close to Italy, it is hugely popular with them and everyone else in between.
Visiting Croatia on the back of a motorbike gives you a different perspective on things but I can say the driving is very good as are the roads. Nice places to visit are Porec and Pula. You can do these in a day trip. Croatia also has some wicked buildings like much of Europe. Friendly people and delicious food, hot days and sea breezes. If you are lucky enough to witness an offshore lightening show its better than fireworks.
There are loads of offshore islands to visit and the notable thing on the mainland is the red soil, olive groves, grapes and orchards.
With fantastic day temperatures and just one lovely country you can see why people love to go back time and time again.
This is the only place I have been to in Croatia and you can read more about it and see more pics when I have written up ‘Where the Hell is Kodak’
Ingrids Travel Tips for Croatia
1) Eat yourself silly, it’s cheap and fresh.
2) Call in at a tourism office, they are great, friendly andyou will get a ton of brochures.
3) Sorry I can’t give advice on public transport but ask a local at the bus stop. Most speak English and are only too happy to help.
4) Use the suntan lotion. Summer is really hot!
5) Banks are the easier to find to exchange your money.
I have been to Spain in 2008 and 2009. Large and hot with desert like conditions and landscape south of Madrid to Tarifa. Travelling here is a breeze especially if you take the train from city to city. They get up to 305kmph. So comfortable you don’t realise you are going that speed and it’s a great way to see the interior of the country in comfort. And with 101 places to go and some beautiful beaches I can see why people are drawn there. But the not so nice thing about the beaches is that the sewage goes into the sea. I can’t quite understand why the people of Spain haven’t jumped up and down to get something done about this. I figure if countries in South and Central America have the money to deal with sewage then Spain definitely has the money. That’s my thoughts on it anyway. Having said that lets head off to Alicante.
Alicante. Wow these are the cleanest streets I have ever seen. Alicante is in the area commonly called the Costa Blanca and associated with Alicante is Benidorm and Denia. There are caves, the Mediterranean, sunsets, food, museums and galleries. It’s a case of so much, so little time. South of Alicante you have places like Torrevieja and its popularity extents to NZ. Yes, my lawyer has a holiday home here. The whole mediterrean coast is holiday resorts after resorts. The number of holiday- makers going to Spain each year just keeps rising.
I would be here for days putting in info on all of them so will put in only where I have been and keep it short.
Malaga, on the coast, hot and interesting. Climb to the ruins and overlook the port and bull-fighting ring. There are narrow streets, nightlife, restaurants, museums, gardens and shopping. Head to the train station and go to Torremolinas for more shopping or just for the beach. Loads of bars and restaurants here mean you won’t go thirsty and don’t forget the suntan lotion. LOVE IT !! Further south from here will see you in places like Fuengirola, Marbella and Gibraltar.
Tarifa is then at the very south tip of Spain and from here you can see Tangier in Morocco. (well the coast anyway) you can catch a boat and do a day in Tangier as it’s only a ½ hr ferry ride. Tarifa has a wide long beach. When I was there pretty much all the tourists had left but there were still lots of backpackers and the weather still warm. This was October 2008. Most people at this time of the year go there to take the ferry to Morocco as it is a cheap choice. Heaps cheaper than flying! Not alot to do here but enjoy the sun.
Cadiz is a lot bigger than I thought it would be and is the oldest continuously-inhabited city in Spain. It’s the principal port for the Spanish Navy and has a university. Many people come here to learn Spanish. The old city has some of its original wall still standing and within are winding narrow alleys that connect to Plazas, which are numerous, and monuments. Beaches and restaurants and the best climate all year round. Never cold- well not the way I know cold. I took the bus from here to Tarifa as there is no train to get there.
Seville. I had a great time in Seville and somehow didn’t get lost in its narrow winding streets.It has a tram going through the centre and a river. Great to stroll along and get some beautiful photos. Old building and architecture and more at every corner. I think the people I met here made it enjoyable as by this stage I had had enough of buildings, museums, restaurants, you know the usual stuff we all go to look at. So on I move and caught a flight to Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands. (More on Canary Islands later as well as Majorca)
Madrid I have now been there twice also. This year I think I spent more time in Madrid than anywhere else. Huge city and so hot being in the middle of Spain and there are tourists everywhere. Great shopping and not far from the centre is the Palace. Hop-on-hop bus tours, Plazas, museums, parks ……where do I stop. I even managed to find wholesale jewellers this year. I brought so much at so little cost!. Getting to and from the airport in Madrid is easy on the metro but when going there make sure you know what terminal you are flying out of. There is more than one. Last year and this year I did a week’s volunteering in Spain – helping business people with their English. Last year I was sent to a small place in the country called Gredos de Avilla. This year I was in Burgos.
Burgos is so lovely with a river going through the centre of the city. Again this city has so much history and backpackers do make their way here to. The cathedral is huge and the shopping is good. I love to do this English week and will be back to do another week next year. Great way to meet people and you learn so much more about the history of Spain and it is such a fun week.
Barcelona. Well within an hour of getting into Barcelona I was robbed on the metro. They got my camera, phone and some money. Coming into a station they pushed me and I had to take my hand off my shoulder bag and grab a rail above my head. By the time I had steadied myself, bang; they had unzipped it, got my things, and zipped it up. When at the police station to get a report for insurance it was full of people who had been robbed that afternoon. Yes not that day, just that afternoon and the stories on how they got other peoples things. BEWARE, THEY ARE SO QUICK. Other than that Barcelona is nice and I love the port area. Head to the end of the purple metro line to Pep Ventura (L2) if wanting to go to the beach. This beach has nude sunbathing on the right-hand side! Are you up for it?
Valencia. This city has a large gay community. Not that this should make any difference to anyone going there. It has a new ultra-modern look and the buildings are just as interesting as what’s in them especially the Arts and Science and Museum Complex. Not 1minute walk from here is also the Aquarium known as L’Oceanografic. It’s the largest in Europe. You can walk down where the old Turia River was to get to the Arts and Museum Complex and Aquarium. This is a beautiful walk with gardens along the way and lots of places to sit down. There are numerous other very modern buildings to see. Then there is still the older part of the city with its cathedrals and historic buildings of art galleries, museums and theatres. You can’t miss these and the many fountains that they have. There’s the usual beaches, restaurants, and the famous paella, Spanish omelette and whatever your taste buds desire. The America’s Cup saw the revamp of the port which is Spain’s largest, and is worth a look. Overall Valencia is quite the contrast with its old and new history.
I have now been to Gran Canaria and Tenerife. Love them both. As the islands are more of less just volcanic rocks of the biggest size they are barren and the climate has them looking like a mountain desert range in the middle of an ocean. Or the islands could be described as a luna landscape. The green areas are the golf courses. As these islands are down so far south (actually at the bottom of Morocco, but out to sea) it is hot here. Take suntan lotion with you. The beaches are nice, with white sand that has been barged over from Morocco, otherwise the sand is black fine volcanic pebbles. Playa de Ingles is the tourist place to be on Gran Canaria. In the restaurants along the beach you can get AFFCO NEW ZEALAND BEEF. Yes this is a big deal to me as there is nothing like NZ beef. I don’t know how many countless people I have told that. The shopping is cheap in the Canary Islands as there is no tax on anything, so go for it. Take a jeep tour into the middle of the island for a day. I remember the day I did this as Barrack Obama gets elected as President. I got some beaut photos to and eat the berry thats in the middle of a cactus. It’s nice. Head to a nice beach town called Puerto Mogan. There is less wind here as it’s on the west side of the island so is more sheltered and it’s a beautiful spot to spend the day on the beach.
Tenerife is just as enjoyable as the other islands. It can be cold at Tenerife North airport as it’s on a hill but once in the town you will be getting your jumper off again. Buses will connect you to the rest of the island if you can’t fly into the south but are staying down there. It has a great zoo built into a hillside and all the other attractions that people expect. An aquarium on the west side in Puerto de la Cruz and shopping is all its little towns. There are the Pyramids of Gumar to see which are built along the same principles as those in Mexico and Peru. This island is jam packed with things to see and I will visit again.
Mallorca. The more popular of the Balearic Islands is Ibiza but I went instead to Mallorca. There is the Caves of Drach with its huge underground lake, and aquarium, Arab baths, boat trips, historic ruins, rail trip, museums, pearl factory, amusement parks and nature reserves to see. I stayed in the area of El Arenal with its gorgeous beach and crystal clear water. Buses run on a regular basis to destinations all over the island so you can easily get to see everything. Low season sees most of the island go into hibernation and lots of hotels close. Nearing the end of the season is a good time to go as in the height of the season you have to fight for a spot on the beach. It gets packed with visitors from Europe. It’s a kid friendly island, unlike Ibiza which is where you head if you want to party 24/7. I think Formentera will have to be the next one I go to.
Ingrids Travel Tips for Spain
1) On the Metro in Barcelona don’t have anything in your pockets and watch your shoulder bag. It’s best to put everything in a smaller backpack and lock it. Girls put money in your bra. That should ensure it doesn’t go missing.
2) Walking down the street with a small bag you should have that locked as they do sneak up behind you and unzip them. Happened to a girl in my hostel.
3) Only take the very necessary things to the beach.
4) Pick-pocketing can be a problem in Valencia to so be aware of who is standing close to you.
5) Madrid doesn’t have too much of a pick-pocket problem. The 2 attempts I saw were unsuccessful and very amateur. Obviously, as I saw what they were trying to do. One of the big give a ways is people with jackets when it is so hot and an open bag with nothing in it.
6) If you forget to take water with you there are stalls for buying water and other refreshments everywhere.
7) You can only buy cigarettes at a tobacconist. Get them before 1pm as all shops close for siesta and you then have to get them out of machines at bars and the selection is limited.
8) The usual precautions apply at night. Go out in pairs and take a taxi home. I once saw the comment on a travel tip page; don’t look like a tourist. Love to know how you do that!
9) Volunteer or stay with a host family and learn Spanish.
10) Take the train between cities. It’s so fast and you don’t lose a whole day travelling on the bus. It’s a little more expensive but if you’re pushed for time….
11) Spain is a good place to shop and cheaper than most of the other European countries. Don’t think no I will wait until I get to Paris, or somewhere else, as I think you will regret it.
12) If you go to the Canary Islands even better because there is no tax on anything.
13) Take a jeep tour on the island of Gran Canaria. Lots of fun or head to Puerto Mogan for the day. The bus ride is interesting to say the least and there is a street market every weekend. Buses run at regular intervals no matter where you are staying on the island.
14) Tenerife has more hostels than Gran Canaria and as always its cheaper if you are travelling with a partner or friend. Off season rates are much lower in the Balearic Islands.
15) Make sure to get your booking right if going to either island group. You fly into Palma de Mallorca on the island of Mallorca. You fly to the Isla de la Palma (also known as La Palma) in the Canary Islands and you fly into the town of Las Palmas on Gran Canaria Island. Yep can be a little confusing so recheck before hitting the confirm button.
You might like to click on this link for more on Spain. http://www.hotcosta.com/linkinf.php?link=3162
This tiny country is so vibrant and has such contrast with beautiful green valley’s to mountains. When I was there I got some beaut photos of the mist around the mountains one morning. This is the place where you walk down the street and have tractors going past in amongst the cars. Because this country is mostly mountains this makes it a winter sport destination. They also have some very long forest walks which can take you from Vaduz to small villages in the mountains. The Principality of Liechtenstein is only 160kmsq. The capital is Vaduz with Schaan being the biggest city and Liechtenstein is not part of the EU. The biggest attraction which draws the tourist is the Castle of Liechtenstein which the current Prince lives in. You cannot go through the castle but can take a walk up there. Up near the castle are some wonderful views of the valley below with its vineyards and farming and directly across the valley to the mountains in Switzerland. The river Rhine is the border. There is a good tourist office in Schaan and they are most helpful answering every question I could come up with and souvenir shops. There are restaurants, cafes and shopping but I found them to be a little on the expensive side. The currency here is the Swiss Franc.
Ingrids Travel Tips for Liechtenstein
1) Don’t forget to get your passport stamped from the tourist office. It’s not official of course but one of things us tourist like to do.
2) Visit the postage stamp museum.
3) Go to the Kunstmuseum.
4) Walk up to the castle.
5) If you are staying for some time there are several hiking tracks to hike.
6) Catch a bus and get off near the river Rhine for an afternoon stroll.
7) If you are staying here you can catch a bus to Feldkrich in Austria – it’s about a ½ hr on the bus.
8) Get up early and go up to the castle if you want to get photos of the mountain tops above the mist. You will be glad you made the effort.
9) If your next destination is to be in Switzerland then you can catch a train from Sargans just over the border from the very south of Liechtenstein.
10) No worries travelling in this small Principality and if you need the internet there is one at the Postal Office which you can also print from.
ITALY and Sicily
The island of Sicily is where I first flew into to start my visit to this country. Palermo is not what I expected. My first thought was that the rest of Italy had forgotten about this island. Palermo is rather dirty and smelly and even more so down at the port. There are the usual things to see here like palaces, castles and churches. Crazy drivers abound everywhere like there are no road rules and there is relentless noise and pollution. The noise goes on to the wee small hours. There are crumbling buildings and then there are nice fountains. Lots of shopping and markets for the tourists. I only spent the one day here and to be honest that’s all you need to see Palermo. There is no actual bus station to speak of, just a square where all the buses park up, and this is where you go to get to your next destination.
AGRIGENTO Built on a hill as lots of other Sicilian towns, it looks down on the Valley of the Temples. The temples are majestic and in some ways more impressive than the Acropolis of Athens. The town itself has modern shopping and lots of restaurants and bars. It also overlooks a fabulous beach and small harbour full of colourful sailing and motorised sea craft. There is a magnicent cathedral built in the year 1000 and Museum of Archaeology. All in all this is a great place to stay and just cruise at the pace of the locals. Relax on the beach and enjoy Italian food. I liked it here and it’s a very friendly enjoyable place to visit.
SIRACUSA This is another lovely town which has an old and new part to it with archaeological ruins. The old quarter is an island known as Ortegia. This is an interesting little place to wonder through the winding streets and see some impressive old buildings and an ancient Greek Temple. Then there is the archaeological site called Neapolis with a huge amphitheatre. This whole site is large and takes a lot of time to get around. Great photos from here of the site and town and a great view out to sea. Don’t forget to visit the Museum of Archaeology. There are also heaps of places to visit just outside of this town. This is not a place where you will be lost for things to see.
ROME Large city, crazy drivers and noise but with the added advantage of Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum, Vatican City, Roman Forum and something at every corner. Wow where to start! Bars, cafes and restaurants. Great metro system and buses to get where you want. A good excursion to do is the Vatican Museum Walking Tour. It takes in the Sistine Chapel, Raphael’s Rooms and St Peter’s Basilica. There are discount tickets to nearly everything you want to view. There are countless places to see but apart from the impressive Colosseum the Palatine Hill Archaeological site has to be second on the list of must see. It is still awesome today and must have been something to see when it was a bustling city of centuries ago. I love Rome and found it very riveting even though my stay was short. It’s on my list of ‘must go back’ places.
VENICE It’s so easy to get lost in the streets here but that’s half the fun of Venice. Wind down the narrow streets, cross a bridge, take photos, take a water taxi. Visit the many plazas and basilicas. Shop or just browse. Venice attracts tourist like it’s going out of fashion. If you are staying in Venice Mestre then there is a good bus system into Venice itself. It’s a hard place to describe. I think I will settle for my photos telling the story. Go, enjoy and reminisce, it truly is a remarkable and adorable city.
Ingrids Travel Tips for Italy
1) If you can avoid it don’t take a train in Italy. Sadly they are dirty, slow, crowded and uncomfortable. It took me 12hrs to get from Siracusa in Sicily to Rome. All the time I was sitting in the corridor. You don’t have to buy a ticket, you can just get on and pay when the ticket man comes along.
2) Take a bus for sure on the island of Sicily as they are much quicker than the trains.
3) Be careful crossing the streets as pedestrians don’t have right of way. There seems to be no road rules at all. They’re worse than Brazilians and I thought they were bad!
4) You pay for your bus tickets on the bus and have to load your own backpack. Buses are comfortable. Look on the front window for where the bus is going and just hop on. They tend to pull out before departure time so get there earlier than the leaving time stated. (This is on the island of Sicily)
5) If you go to a cafe for a coffee and wonder why they all stand to have it? It’s half the price if you stand up to drink it. Oh yes! and it’s not hot. I assume that’s so they can have it quick and get on. Don’t actually like Italian coffee.
6) In Agrigento you have to buy your tickets before hopping on the bus to go to the Valley of the Temples or the beach. When in the town ask at the tourist information centre and buy several as the other office is at the north end of the beach in a cafe that’s got no sign telling you you can purchase them there.
7) In Siracusa go walking and go to the south side of Ortegia to get great sunset photos.
8) Do Trevi Fountain and the Colessum at night as well as day. Again your photos will be so different. It’s very safe in Rome. Pack in as much as you can as there is lots.
9) The number one thing destroying the Colosseum is acid rain. They did start to clean off the black from the huge blocks but this was halted when scientists realized that acid rain was making them break down at a quicker rate than the uncleaned ones. See if you can get photos of both the cleaned and uncleaned, there’s quite a difference.
10) From Catania on the island of Sicily you can go climb Mt Etna.
Going to Malta? Check this website! www.sgp.com.mt
Cheap Hotels in Milan
Know about the city of Milan that is the largest Metropolitan area in Italy and is an iconic symbol of culture and history in Europe and world over. Here you will get information about Milan with perspective and view of a traveller.
The Emerald Isle. Well Ireland is certainly that with the grass being a brighter green colour than New Zealand. Lovely country as are the Irish people though they do seem to be the only people in the world that can come up with dumb questions. The best one asked of me by an Irish girl is; What is it like to stand up all day and not have a head rush? She was of course referring to the fact that I was now in the northern hemisphere and supposedly not standing upside down all day. How dumb is that!! It’s called gravity darling. The Irish Dancing, nature, festivals, landscape and unique places to visit make up for some of the oddest questions. And Ireland is the only country I know of where you can go to prison for doing graffiti. Good idea I say.
DUBLIN is very nice but expensive and cold. This is definitely a place I could not live as I hate the cold. I did a tour around Ireland and every second day it was raining. Damn shame as there are some lovely places to see which would have been more enjoyable without the wind and rain. The home of Guinness is here and no one leaves Dublin without a visit to the brewery and the Jameson Distillery.
My visit to the Jameson Distillery saw me have 7 nips of whiskey in a ½ hr trying to get rid of the flu. Got very happy but still had the flu the next day. There are places of interest just out of Dublin which you can be reached by train from Connolly Station.
Places like Bray and from here you can walk around the sea cliffs to Greystones. There’s the Malahide Castle, National Museum, Art Gallery, Library, Merrion Square and St. Stephens Green. Dublin also has National Transport Museum and the Hill of Howth along with many scenic walks. There is a tram system which goes right through the centre of Dublin with the main bus station within walking distance of the city centre. Lots of shopping on offer to. I wanted to see a rugby game at Lansdowne Road while I was there but it is being refurbished so Croke Park is now being used.
You can also do the hop-on-hop-off bus tour. These are only a few things on offer in Dublin. Best hostel in Dublin is the ‘Bunkhouse’. You can go to the very top of the page and book through Hostelworld.
Belfast ….now I do know that Belfast is not part of the Irish Republic so don’t get upset at me for including it in Ireland. I am including it as most people will do a tour of Ireland and Belfast is a destination which is naturally included. I only had the one night stay here and arrived late afternoon and had time to walk up the main street. From what I heard Belfast has many students as they have a big university. Nice city which has had a face lift in the centre of the city including Victoria Square.
City Hall is an impressive building and so is the International Rose Gardens. The River Lagan runs through Belfast and let us not forget that the ill-fated Titanic was built here and the Harland and Wolff ship building yard was the largest in the world back then. There is a load of history in Northern Ireland to discover. There are bus connections to everywhere and local trains.
In the very north of Northern Ireland is the Giants Causeway. This is a remarkable formation of rocks all in a hexagon (I think) shape. There is many an explanation as to how they came to be that shape and they now have the title of Eight Wonder of the World. Truly fascinating especially when you see the shapes and how big the rocks are, how they are standing up and the black colour which comes from them being lava rocks. And they all are pretty much all the same size. They attract tourist from all over the world and I can see why.
Also not forgetting way up here in Northern Ireland and a little distance from the Giants Causeway is Carrick-a-rede and Larrybane. This has a rope bridge walk and the areas name comes from the limestone white cliffs. Again there are many tourist buses calling in here. It’s nice but as you are right on the coast the wind coming up and over the top of the cliffs makes it very cold. It has tearooms, toilets, viewing platform and seating to sit and enjoy the view. On a good clear day the coast of Scotland can be seen.
DERRY ( also known as Londonderry). You can get a great New Zealand Lamb Burger in this city. Derry still has a wall remaining around the original city and on the west bank of the Foyle River. It is the only complete walled city in Ireland and one of the best examples in Europe. Today though the whole of Derry is of course on both sides of the river. I walked the wall on a tour and from up there you get a good view and great photos. There are many Cathedrals and historic buildings, museums, theatres, galleries, walking tours, boat tours and bus sightseeing tours.
GALWAY. Galway is on the west coast of Ireland. To me it is like all other Irish cities in the sense that it has Universities, cathedrals, churches, galleries, theatres, museum, parks, music and culture. It is very much the sport city of Ireland with car rallies, rugby, league, basketball, racketball, rowing, handball and martial arts being very popular. Galway is well known worldwide for the Galway Races and it is the city most people will stay in if they are visiting the Cliffs of Moher. I don’t have to say much on these cliffs as they are high and make for great photos but its cold standing at the top of course. I change the desktop background on my laptop regularly, using the different shots I have of the Cliffs of Moher, when I want to remind myself of just how great they look. This may seem weird to some people that just think they are cliffs but they are actual quite unique as I haven’t come across another place like this anywhere else in the world yet. Visit them please as you will like it.
KILLARNEY This is a lovely city also. You can participate in walking mountains and hills, go fishing, cycling, golf, surfing and so much more. It’s a good area to go birdwatching and then relax in the evening in one of its very nice pubs, bars or award winning restaurants. Take a ride in a horse drawn carriage, go to see eagles soaring over lakes and rivers. This is quite a stunning place in terms of scenery. Waterfalls, castles, buildings………….. you name it Killarney has it. Beautiful, just beautiful!! Killarney and the surrounding area have to be a photographers dream.
CORK AND BLARNEY CASTLE Ok so we know that everyone goes to Cork and then visits Blarney Castle to kiss the Blarney stone. This castle was built 600yrs ago and is the biggest attraction in the south of Ireland. Kissing the stone is supposed to leave you never short of words. Hmmmm – maybe! It is open all year round. Whatever your reason for coming here make sure to take a stroll around the castle and see the Rock Close Garden and experience the Witches kitchen and stone, the Druids circle and sacrificial altar, the head Druids cave, the wishing steps, Fairy glade and the Dolmen Stone. Famous people have visited here, even the guys from American Chopper have been and Senior has kissed the stone – maybe that’s why he aint short of words.
Cork was once a walled city and today some of the wall and gates remain. It has great market place simply called the English Market and has its fair share of grand buildings, castles, theatre’s, galleries, restaurants and shops. Like all Irish cities it too has it monuments and statues, abbeys and churches, opera house and brewery. You won’t have time to put your feet on the ground if you want to see them all.
Ingrids Travel Tips for Ireland
1) Don’t in any way take it personal if you get asked the most basic question. They aren’t taking the ‘mickey’ out of you, they just don’t know!.
2) Take a day trip out of Dublin on the train. You won’t get lost.
3) Take a Paddywagon tour. It’s not only for the under 30yr olds and they are fun.
4) If you fly into Dublin airport take the bus into the centre as it is quite a distance and a taxi will cost heaps. The same applies if you arrive on the ferry from Holyhead in Wales.
5) You will not have any troubles finding an ATM.
6) The buses and trains are comfortable and go direct to all major cities.
7) Want to know anything just ask anyone, the Irish are friendly and helpful.
8) Take a rainproof jacket or your umbrella every day. The weather can come in quick and the so the temperature drops fast. (this is unless its brilliantly hot and clear)
9) Remember when you go to Northern Ireland they use the £ (pound) as their currency as they are part of the United Kingdom.
10) Sadly for me on my second visit to Ireland I got food poisoning. There is no way to avoid this so remember to have some Imodium in your suitcase all the time.
I found the Greeks very rude and on asking others what they thought they also found them rude and not very willing to help let alone give you the time of day. All I could think was people must have got a real shock when the Olympics where on. Even walking down the street old men in their cars will stop and stare and suggest that you might like to hop in and you know what. Bloody awful. I only spent the 1 day in Athens and that’s honestly all you need. The Acropolis and other monuments up on the hill majestically looking down on the city have scaffolding all around them and have for years now, only being taken down for the Olympics and promptly erected again when they finished. It was disappointing as I didn’t know this and consequently my photos of the Acropolis are not good. Still it is an awesome site to visit and so is the surrounding archaeological site below. Athens is one of Europe’s oldest cities. It is despite the stares and rude gestures a safe city but like all cities do keep out of certain areas after dark. They have an array of restaurants and I love trying the different cheeses. Piraeus is the port you hit in order to get a ferry to the islands. It’s busy and not very clean. I only passed through on my walk down to the port to catch the boat to Santorini.
What a gorgeous island. The white washed buildings just look so stunning when the sun is going down and you can see why the tourists visit, if for nothing else but the sunsets. The village of Oia in the north of the island is where you will get the sunset photos you have always wanted. Every night this little village becomes crowded with people and whatever means of transport they have used to get there. Head in the opposite direction and go to the site of Ancient Thira. It’s windy up here and you have to zig zag your way up but then you are rewarded with marvellous views north and south. There is also Ancient Acrotiri and Museum of Prehistoric Thera. After visiting these take a day boat tour to some neighbouring islands.
Crete is the largest of the Greek Islands with Heraklion the largest city and the capital. You can visit the Minoans sites of Knossos, which is large, and Phaistos. There’s the Venetian old city and port of Chania, Rothymno the Venetian Castle and the Samaria Gorge. There is one ton of history here, from the Neolithic Age to the Byezantine Empire. This lovely island has many rivers, plains and mountains. In winter its snows which is quite a contrast to the summer where tempartures can be in the high 30s. (Celsius) Beautiful clear waters surround the island and tourist flock by the thousands. Known for its dates, wines, dances and hikes to ancient sites, it is an island where hiring a car is a great idea. But probably what comes to mind for lots of people when you say Crete is The Battle of Crete which began 20th May 1941. My late father-in-law was to fight in this battle. Today there are still the caves which soldiers lived in during this battle and on my next visit there I will endeavour to find the one my father-in-law was in. These caves also draw many visitors to the island.
Ingrids Travel Tips for Greece
1) Take a walking tour to the Acropolis and surrounding ancient sites.
2) Be aware of people getting close to you when at the Acropolis, they are after your stuff. (cameras, money etc..)
3) A visit to the museum is interesting even before you get inside. I will leave it for you to find out what that is. The museum is closed on Mondays.
4) Be prepared for rude people. It is a pity that the Greeks are not very friendly. Maybe they just see so many tourists that they don’t care anymore.
5) There are a lot of areas that are a bit dangerous after dark so I just made it my own rule to have company if out after dark.
6) Use the metro system, it’s easy, cheap and quick. This is the best way to get to the port for catching that all important boat to the islands of Greece. No need to book.
7) On Santorini Island hire a scooter or ATV. They are reasonably priced and this is the best way to see the island. You can hire jeeps or scooters to.
8) Take a day trip on a boat to see other islands just off the coast of Santironi and hop off early and take a donkey ride up the hill.
9) The best way I think to see Crete is to hire a car and take at least 8 days. It’s a big island and I had to cut my visit short because of a good dose of the flu but next time this is the way I will see it.
10) Finding an internet cafe is near impossible but most hostels and hotels have wifi. I was lucky to find an internet cafe in Heraklion but that was after asking a waiter at a restaurant. They tend to be the best people to ask and most waiters speak English.
Visiting Hungary next then check out this website;
4 lurko apartement
Our accomodation is placed in Hajduszoboszlo, Hungary. Hajduszoboszlo is offering a biggest and healthy bath in Hungary. Our apartements have kitchen, bathroom and free car parking place only a few minutes from bath entry by walk.
Austria is beautiful and another country that reminds me of New Zealand with the fields of green grass but it does have lots more trees than we have and the Austrian Alps. Going on the train from Vienna to Lichtenstein was just so amazing. I only went to Vienna but so enjoyed myself.
Vienna I arrived in the morning after a uncomfortable long train ride from Venice and this cemented in my mind that there is no way is shall ever take a train in or out of Italy again. Anyway on arriving the one thing that I have always wanted to see in Vienna is the Spanish Dancing Horses and so made my way there for an absolutely wonderful show which went for 1 ½ hrs. It was so worth the money, I loved it!
Next on the list was the Danube. This can be reached by underground train and Vienna has an easy system to work out. Maybe because I have travelled lots and use the underground in nearly every city I visit that I find them easy as I seem to help tourists all the time as they find them hard to work out. It does get easier the more you use them. When you hop off the underground for the Danube you are actually on a bridge. Walking around this area is nice and on the banks there were lots of people just lazing in the sun. You can then head over another walk bridge and go to the island in the middle. This is not a very well kept island but there are seats and lots of open areas to sit and view either both sides of Vienna and the hills up behind this city. There is an interesting group of sculptures in the middle of this island. (Rather graphic). By my standards now, this is a small city that is beautiful and unrushed. It also is safe and my wondering and window shopping at night made for a nice stroll without a second look by anyone.
Day trips can be taken to all sorts of small villages that are within an hour of Vienna, including one that looks down on the city. The day I went to the Palace there was a farmers market and fair on. It would seem from the mass of vegetables and flowers that there is some great and dedicated farmers in Austria as the size and variety where amazing. I struck it on the right day as over the road in the grounds in front of the museum was a ‘Thailand’ day. Here you could try Thai food and buy traditional Thai produce and pick up pamphlets and check out deals for travelling to Thailand. And not to leave New Zealand out I was to spot a flyer in a shop window promoting a N.Z. Maori Cultural group which was in Vienna for a week doing concerts. I don’t have time to miss home with Kiwi’s being everywhere I go.
Ingrids Travel Tips for Austria
1) You can take hop-on-hop tours in Vienna. I do these wherever I go as they are always good value.
2) Hofburg Museum is a must for museum enthusiasts.
3) Go to Musuemi Quartier. It’s within easy walking distance of the centre of Vienna and is an interesting walk.
4) See ‘Stephansform’ the Gothic Cathedral.
5) Go to the Palace and stroll the Gardens. Beautiful!
6) Cityrama tours. They go from one hour to a day taking in trips to Salzburg, Budapest and Prague.
7) This is a safe city and you can walk the main street of the city at night. Actually this is a good time to sit outside at a cafe having a coffee and talking with some locals as I did.
8) Get the usual tourist map and things to do and go. I love this city for easy of getting about, its quiet, and relaxing.
9) Go to see the Spanish dancing horses, you wont regret it.