A Travellerspoint blog

September 2018

Makarska

74 °F

Our bus ride to Makarska was 3 hours of the most amazing vistas - at least that’s what I was told. Unfortunately, I get motion sickness so my eyes were shut most of the time, but every once in a while I cheated just long enough to see what everyone was oohing and aahing about.

I know, I know, I’ve said this before but I could definitely spend a long relaxing couple of months here. The Makarska Riviera is covered in both dirt trails and paved paths from the city center. The rugged, rocky coastline with pine trees on one side and the Adriatic Sea on the other is one of the most amazing sights to experience. The cliffs that hug the shoreline provide amazing vistas of the clearest blue/green water in addition to offshore islands. The city itself is small but there is plenty to do if you love nature. The people were wonderful, the food was delicious, the weather was great minus one day of incredible winds and our Airbnb host greeted us with a homemade meal which was totally unexpected but greatly appreciated. The city will get its share of tourist, but at least you can find solitude in nature.

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Statue of St. Peter
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Sunbather sculpture
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A couple of beautiful Churches
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Horseshoe shaped bay
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Beautiful harbor
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Nature at its best
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Another walking path
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Sunset
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Dining alfresco
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Posted by joannereyes 09:35 Archived in Croatia Comments (0)

Dubrovnik

80 °F

Wow, wow, wow! Dubrovnik is beautiful! The coast line is unbelievably picturesque and the old town is the prettiest I have ever seen. The locals are very friendly and everyone speaks English. Our Airbnb host was the best host we have ever had, she walked us around the neighborhood and pointed out which restaurants to eat at, where to catch the bus and what sights to see. What a great way to start our Croatia adventure.

The city is well maintained and one of the cleanest I’ve seen, which is amazing with all the tourist traipsing around. The roaring winds erupted on our beach day so we spent the day walking the beautiful coastal path which was an experience of engulfing nature at its finest.

Now for the bad part, Dubrovnik is definitely a tourist spot. The crowds at times can be unbearable and the cost of everything is high. The taxes on food and liquor at the restaurants is a whopping 28%, (that cost is included in the menu price so you know ahead of time what to expect). I don’t think this is a place I would want to stay for any great length of time, but it is a must visit city.

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Old Town Dubrovnik and its magnificent walls also provide the setting for King’s Landing in Game of Thrones.
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Walking the coast of Dubrovnik
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Posted by joannereyes 12:02 Archived in Croatia Comments (0)

Budva

80 °F

I’m happy to say we had a great bus ride to Budva. The mountain and coastal scenery were both spectacular and our bus was well equipped with seat belts and WiFi. The driver still smoked but now that we are seasoned bus riders we know enough to sit towards the back of the bus.

Our communication with our Airbnb host wasn’t the best so getting there was a challenge. Evidently, Montenegro (or at least Budva) doesn’t use addresses, they use coordinates or landmarks or well known places such as restaurants. Fortunately, our Airbnb was next to a restaurant so once we figured that out, all our problems were solved. We had the most spectacular view of the coastline and of the old town so a favorite pastime was just sitting on the balcony with a glass of wine or beer enjoying our leisure time in Budva. There aren’t many historic sights here other than the fortified city of the old town, but it is a beautiful city with friendly people and reasonably priced food. We took a day trip to Kotor and swam in the “blue” cave which was breathtaking. Montenegro is the start of our costal sightseeing adventure and it did not disappoint.

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Rosé
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Our balcony view
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Old town
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Coastal walk
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Beautiful, albeit painful pebble Beaches
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Sunset dinner view
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Kotor
Kotor is a fortified town on Montenegro’s Adriatic coast, in a bay near the limestone cliffs of Mt. Lovćen. Characterized by winding streets and squares, its medieval old town has several Romanesque churches.
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On our way to The Blue Cave - The way the sun reflects off the white sand bottom makes the entire cave's water glow blue neon.
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End of another great day
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Posted by joannereyes 11:15 Archived in Montenegro Comments (0)

Tirana

83 °F

Our bus ride from Skopje to Tirana was 9.5 hours. I’m not one to complain but I have set a 5 hour limit on bus rides. Of course I’m flexible, if the ride is 5.5 hours I’ll be reasonable and tolerate it, but there is no way I would have agreed to a 9.5 hour bus ride. Someone didn’t do their homework when it came to planning our trip to Tirana.

Screech, bam, crunch - that was our first sounds as we walked to dinner in Tirana. The crunch sound was the pedestrian getting hit by a car that ran a red light. The traffic is horrendous, the honking is constant and the crowds are everywhere. When crossing the street, at the signal, with the green light and the walk sign does not mean go, it means look, look again and then, keep looking. Cars making a right turn will continue to turn even if you are halfway through the intersection.

This was the last weekend before the kids went back to school so there were festivals everywhere, which would be fun if they sold food at the makeshift stands along with the alcohol. There are restaurants all around, but unless you hit the lunch/dinner time, all they serve are drinks. To us, it seemed like all people do here is drink and smoke. Everywhere! Oh, and eat ice cream, they have a lot of ice cream stands which I certainly enjoyed. ??

There isn’t a lot of history here and the city isn’t that big or pretty so we are rating this city as our least favorite so far.

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The Skanderbeg Monument is a monument in the Skanderbeg Square in Tirana, Albania. It commemorates Skanderbeg, the national hero in Albania for resisting the Ottomans.
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35m-tall clock tower was completed by Ottoman architects in 1822, and it was for years the tallest building in the capital, sounding a bell every hour on the hour
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- all,I’m saying is that people holding a U.S. passport should get in free. ?
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The Tanners' Bridge is an 18th-century Ottoman period stone footbridge located. The bridge was once part of the Saint George Road that linked Tirana with the eastern highlands. The road was the rout by which livestock and produce entered the city. In the 1990s the bridge was restored for use by pedestrians.
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Friendship Monument
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The 1,077-square-foot bunker with reinforced concrete walls up to 8 feet thick was built between 1981 and 1986 to shelter elite police and interior ministry staff in the event of a nuclear attack. The museum holds photographs and equipment that illustrate the political persecution of some 100,000 Albanians from 1945 until 1991.this is one of two bunkers that have been turned in museums
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New Mosque
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Park
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Skanderbeg Square
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Square at night
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Apparently W is popular in Albania
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Posted by joannereyes 02:59 Archived in Albania Comments (0)

Pristina

80 °F

Our shuttle van to Pristina was a bit better than our shuttle ride to Moldova but only because it was a shorter ride and the van had air conditioning. The driver was a lot more attentive to his cell phone and his cigarettes (that’s right, the drivers are allowed to smoke or maybe not but they do) than the road. The vans seat belts (ha-ha - what seat belts) and the tires that had seen better days were questionable, but the noise the van made had you questioning how you would get to Pristina after it broke down.

Pristina was an okay city, nothing much to see, but we did stay in a nice hotel and the people were very friendly. We were surprised to see and hear that there is still a heavy U.S. Air Force presence in Kosovo. Talking to some staff members at our hotel, they believe that Kosovo will become part of Albania. Their thinking is that 95% of the Kosovo people are Albanien so it would seem like the perfect fit. I’m sure this will be going on for some time, I just hope that it can be resolved peacefully.

Our lovely ride to Pristina - this is what we like to call sarcasm
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Who know there was another Statue of Liberty
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Missing persons from the last Kosova war
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Parking on the sidewalk
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This 85 foot high Clock Tower dates from the 19th century and was central to the bazaar area, as it dictated when stalls should close for prayers
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President museum
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Monument of Brotherhood and Unity is one of those monuments that has been erected in the city to show the times are moving on. It has three 49 feet high columns and is meant to represent unity between Albanians, Serbs and Montenegrins.
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Bill Clinton Monument -. After the Kosovo War of 1998 to 1999, the Albanians in Kosovo wanted to thank former U.S. President for his help in their struggle with the government of Yugoslavia. A 10-foot-high statue was unveiled on November 1, 2009, in a ceremony at which the former president spoke.
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Saint Teresa of Calcutta Statue
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The Cathedral of Saint Mother Teresa is a Roman Catholic cathedral being constructed in Pristina. The cathedral is dedicated to the Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun and missionary, Saint Teresa of Calcutta.
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Pedestrian walkway
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Mosque
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Sunset
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Posted by joannereyes 13:10 Archived in Kosovo Comments (0)

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