Saturday, December 28, 2013

Venezia

My first time here was a few hours in the summer of 2012... it was hot, humid, cloudy, crowded and slightly smelly. Truth be told, I did not like it very much... A few weeks ago, i returned on a winter trip and this time, i loved it! Without the crowds and with bright blue winter skies, Venice was beautiful... lovely surprises around every corner.








Thursday, October 3, 2013

Mostar

A short train/bus ride away from the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina is Mostar, a beautiful town with a famous bridge and lots of bullet holes. I stayed at Hostel Denino, where i got a single room for myself for only 15euro.. with aircond! :) There was an awesome terrase with good views over the old town but lazy old me didnt get around to take a picture of it. Plus, the lady that runs the place makes really good coffee, which is almost all the reason i needed to stay there, pictured below:





There are lots of fun day trips from Mostar, and quite a few tours offered by guesthouses around town that sounded really good, but i didn't feel like rushing around Herzegovina in the heat all day on a tour, so chose to go to one place, Blagaj, by myself. 20 minutes bus ride away and...


Blagaj - another sleepy little small town with pretty springs/waterfalls and a bunch of caves. Here is where i tried figs, which were pretty darn cheap at 1 euro a box and so, so good.. spot the horse!





Sunday, September 22, 2013

Life gets so mundane at times. These days all I do is spend my time in the hospital on weekdays, and the two days of weekend is just enough to rest and unwind before monday morning rolls along again.

A time when i had more excitement in my day:






Monday, August 12, 2013

Dream a little dream...

My backpack feels light today, suspiciously so. A quick check - no items missing. Could it be, just maybe, possibly, tentatively that my shoulders and back have gotten stronger from lugging the bulgy grey illpacked bag around? Woohoo :)

A week left before i return to my studio flat. Small, infested with giant spiders, rats, mice and most recently under siege from hordes of flies. But still, my own little space of relative comfort and privacy.

Kinda looking forward to it. Looking forward to cooking up a storm - nasi lemak, aubergine sambal, stir fried pakchoy, fluffy omellette and some fried anchovies to go with it all - and stuffing my face while curled up in bed with true blood playing on my laptop.

I've made myself hungry. Time for lunch!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

An update at last!

This trip was meant to be the one trip i blog regularly during but as i inch reluctantly into week 3, obviously it didnt happen.

But this is me, trying to catch up. Its important that i blog. When i think about earlier trips, what remains is a vague general impression of the town, incident or special meal but the details escape me..

So, after preikestolen, i took a flight from stavanger to oslo then a second flight from oslo to berlin. Those two norwegian airline flights cost me quite a lot but did save me lots of time.

Berlin was awesome and very, very hot. There i spent two nights in generator berlin hostel and two nights in jetpak ecolodge in grunewald forest..

From berlin a train ride of about 2.5 hours took me to the city of dresden in southern germany. Walked around the beautiful old town in the evening and the next day, i took a train to Prague - another 2 hours or so.

Had 3 nights in prague, which i thought to be crowded and overrated. I did however discover this super cheap and authentic indian restaurant "beas vegetarian dhaba" and in true blue asian style proceeded to eat there almost every day....

My destination after that was hallstatt. Due to problems with the railway track, it took me three trains, two busses and one ferry to get to my small but quaint single room in Gasthof Simony. I had my own balcony overlooking the lake so most of my time in hallstatt was spent being a vegetable on that balcony.

Today i left hallstatt and im in graz. Tomoro i get to sightsee graz during the day and in the evening make my way to zagreb airport to get my flight to sarajevo, a place ive been wanting to visit for a very long time.

Its a very busy trip and so far i feel that maybe if i hadnt squeezed in so much into three weeks, ill be more relaxed.. But now that ive planned and booked it all, might as well push myself, see loads and enjoy the ride.

I can always relax when im back home in leicester... Hopefully.

Pictures : berlin market in the park,
prague as seen from the castle,
dresden in the evening,
hallstatt lake on a gloomy day,
and a really good lunch.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Preikestolen

This trip has been quite busy so far. Im writing this from Berlin right after happily checking out of my horrible hostel.. After this, the plan is to check out the thai food market and then head off to my hostel for the next two nights, jetpak eco lodge. Super excited!! :D

Picking up where i left off, from Bergen i got a bus to stavanger. That in itself was quite an experience as the bus involved two 20 minute ferry crossings where the bus drove on to the lower deck and we the passengers had to move to the upper deck.

The next day, i took a ferry to tau and from there transfered to a ferry to the preikestolen parking lot, the start of the hike. And what a hike it was! For a place that touristy, the trail was remarkably well preserved. The landscape along the 2 hr walk up was interesting and varied, from lakes to meadows to stony boulders to stone steps up along a stream.

No entrance fees to the park, just like the rest of norway. Transport from stavanger cost me 250nok return and took about an hour each way.

Overall, it wasnt a particularly difficult hike but if some of the less fit people (myself included!) might huff and puff and moan and whine on the way up... But i got up there in the end to be rewarded with a view so beautiful it looked downright fake.

Around 615, got the bus back with great reluctance... It would have been beyond amazing to set up camp up there overnight. But i had to return to my comfy room and be content with the awesome day i just had.

Places like this remind me why i travel.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Mount Floyen, Bergen

Initially the plan for today was to get to Mt Ulriken, one of the 7 mountains surrounding Bergen, and from there walk along the Vidden trail to Mt Floyen, another one of the 7. But unfortunately, a quick enquiry at the tourist office revealed that 'due to strong winds, mt Ulriken is closed'.

It felt more like a gentle breeze to me, but closed is closed, so a change of plans. I ended up just walking up and around Mt Floyen. Nice, beautiful walk through parks and the forest brought me to the viewing platform.

Now, i was alone most of the time during my walk up, and so i was feeling quite prematurely pleased with the non-touristyness of my timing. My delusion didnt last long though. Reached the viewpoint, and i had stepped out of a quiet trail into a massive crowd, all gawking at the truly awesome view.

I must have somehow walked up the unpopular route then, the longer or more tedious route. But it certainly didnt feel that way. The fact that a lazy ass couch potato like me managed to get up there without too much huffing and puffing makes me question the appropriateness of calling Floyen a 'mount'.

After taking a million different photos of the same view and wandering around a bit, i walked back down to the city center by a different route, not quite sure where i was so just picked the path going downhill. Amazing views at every corner once again. Such a wonderful way to spend a Monday afternoon.

Quite dissappointed that i couldnt get to do the longer hike i wanted to do, but there will always be another time.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Norway.. Finally!

I've been wanting to visit Norway for quite some time now and after countless hours of drooling over google images of fjords and mountains... I'm finally here! :)

This time on a three week break from the chronic torment that is medical school, the plan is to start off in Norway and fly back from Split in Croatia, hopefully after checking out Bosnia, which is another country that has been on the to-do list for far too long now.

So i arrived in Oslo yesterday, promptly got lost on the way to the hostel and ended up unintentionally, thoroughly sightseeing the city along the way. Anker hostel was pretty decent actually. It's in an area thats more colourful and culturally vibrant than usual (meaning vaguely dodgy) but at least it was clean and spacious.

Today i took the 7 hour train from Oslo to Bergen. Absolutely stunning scenery, completely worth the numb butt and sore knees. Got lost again from the train station to my hostel, which is a remarkable feat because the hostel is very close to the station. It is so close that i can get coverage for the hostel wifi in the train station!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Zagreb

Zagreb was a surprise.. partly because i booked my flights there at the last minute during exam period, i had not much time to do any research or build up expectations. But i think even with expectations, it's still a lovely city to spend a few days in.







the main square:



open air market:


Monday, April 15, 2013

Allure of distance.. intimations of proximity

One of the places i was really looking forward to visiting in Zagreb was the Museum of Broken Relationships, which features stuff people have submitted from around the world that are related to their own broken relationships...

Some of the exhibits:

1. This one hit quite close to home and had me reeling for a few seconds.. but only a few.


2. this one's worth a giggle :)

description is the pic below

3. Garterbelts: (Sarajevo) I never put them on. The relationship might have lasted longer if I did.


4. "Fake breasts: (Belgrade) So, after three years together, my husband bought fake, sculpted female breasts which were, of course, larger than mine and thus that was the time of our biggest relationship crisis. He made me wear them during sex because they turned him on. I was disappointed and because of these sculpted, fake breasts I left him for good."


5. On religion.



6. Closer to home - the Malay bear from Singapore



7. Anddd the slightly crazy - an ex with an axe.


Definitely an interesting and poignant experience.. I'm usually not a fan of museums myself, but this is one i would revisit if i ever find myself in zagreb again.