A Travellerspoint blog

September 2019

Istambul, Turkey

73 °F

Not my favorite experience. I was here last year and was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed it, so it seemed like a good idea to stop here on the way to Greece. Well, I was wrong. The crowds were overwhelming and the sales people were unbearable (buy this, eat here, I have the best carpet deals, on and on). I mean, I did enjoy Istambul last year but I properly prepared for it, meaning, last year when preparing myself for the visit, I created a scenario that was so bad that when I got here it was nothing compared to the nightmare I had envisioned. Hence, I actually enjoyed Istambul. Unfortunately, this time around, I forgot the bad stuff and didn’t prepare myself for the crowds and the aggressive sales people. Oh, and the three earthquakes didn’t help either. You read that correctly, three earthquakes in two days. Really, if I wanted to experience earthquakes, I would have stayed in California. Also, during one of the earthquakes, we were having lunch and the owner decided to enlighten us on the BIG one that would destroy the city (Expected Istanbul earthquake could kill up to 30,000 people, expert warns). Yes, I’ll have the lamb with a side of shaking.

I purposely haven’t read my last review of this city because I wanted to write something from the perspective of someone who has traveled here before. I am including the link to my past review if you want a different perspective.

https://joannereyes.travellerspoint.com/29/

Blue Mosque
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Hagia Sophia
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Grand Bazaar
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Spice Bazaar
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Out and about
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German Fountain - The fountain was built in 1898 to remember the visit of the German Emperor Wilhelm II in the same year.
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Galata Tower
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Posted by joannereyes 07:52 Archived in Turkey Comments (0)

Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina

60 °F

Another destination that I wanted to visit but didn’t expect to visit a year later. What I remember from my first visit was how much I wanted to come back so I could walk the ruins of the ‘84 Olympic bobsled, so that's what I did and yes, before you ask, I was very sore the next day. I’m in decent shape but you really don’t use the muscles that are required when trenching downhill. The old town is beautiful in a way that is a bit different than a typical old city. Yes, there are gorgeous buildings but they’re not abundant like other old towns. What sets Sarajevo off from other old towns are the surrounding mountains. Of course, those same mountains are where the invading soldiers tried to conquer the city during the war, but for now, the peace and serenity is breathtaking.

The first day was a beautiful 80° with sunny skies. The next day the temperature dropped 20° with cloudy skies. The rest of the week was too cool for me but the rain stayed away so that was a plus.

I purposely haven’t read my last review of this city because I wanted to write something from the perspective of someone who has traveled here before. I am including the link to my past review if you would like a get a different perspective.

https://joannereyes.travellerspoint.com/41/

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White Fortress
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This is what war is :(
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Pigeon Square
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Old Town
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Animated chess game - they take this game to an all new level of anger and frustration - very fun to watch even if you can’t understand what they are saying - the gestures speak for themselves. :)
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When you don’t know the directions, look for these helpful markings
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Olympic Venues
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Tunnel of Hope
From July 1993 until the end of the Siege in late February 1996, the tunnel was the only way in and out of the city of Sarajevo. Built under the Sarajevo Airport Runway, it was the only means of supplies for the citizens of the city. The entrances to the tunnel are below buildings. On the Dobrinja side, under an apartment building, and on the Butmir side underneath a private family home. It took more than six months to dig the tunnel and was done using pickaxes and shovels. The only source of light the workers had was provided by “war candles”, containers filled with cooking oil and fitted with a wick made from string.

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Posted by joannereyes 07:03 Archived in Bosnia And Herzegovina Comments (0)

Ljubljana, Slovenia

70 °F

Ljubljana

I visited this beautiful city last year and made sure it was on my list of cities to revisit. I didn’t plan on the revisit happening one year later, but I was in the neighborhood, so why not. To be honest, as I was walking to my Airbnb (30 minutes) I was wondering why I added it to my adventure when I had just been here. Maybe it was the walk that had me second guessing my return visit or the location of my Airbnb but as it turned out, both thoughts were premature. My Airbnb was actually only a 10 minute walk to the city center meandering along the river. During that gorgeous walk, it didn’t take long to remind me why I wanted to come back. This city is spectacular in its walkability and its beauty. The food scene is heavenly and the street entertainment is magical. This time I took a walking tour of the city to better understand the history of the city and it was the best tour I have ever taken. Our tour guide was knowledgeable, personable and funny. If you ever take these walking tours, please tip them well, they are giving you a gift of their knowledge and are sharing with you the love of their city. My photos won’t give this stunning city the justice it deserves so if you are in the location, make this a must visit. Give yourself at least 5 days to see everything, you have Lake Bled and Postojna Caves each is a day trip. You can easily get to these places using the local bus, but it will take at least an hour each way maybe more with traffic. Other options are to rent a car or find a local tour group - choose wisely because the city bus may be cheaper but you will be limited on the times that the bus returns to the city.

Slovenia is surrounded by lakes, rivers, caves and castles but it is mostly forest. There is such an incredible amount of history attached to this country so do yourself a favor and read up before you come. This is a great destination for enjoying the beauty of Europe without the prices of cities like Paris.

I have more pictures from my previous trip here
https://joannereyes.travellerspoint.com/44/

Franciscan Church
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The Prešeren monument
Ljubljana is probably one of the few cities in the world whose central town square is adorned with a statue of a poet rather than some political or military hero. The statue that stands on a pedestal includes a sculpture of the poet, facing the window where his adored Julija Primic used to live, and a sculpture of a Muse above him sitting on a rock and holding a laurel branch in her hand. The Priest didn’t like the idea of the parishioner leaving the church and seeing the topless Muse so they would periodically put scarfs around her just to have some charlatans remove it as fast as it went up. The Priest then decided to plant trees in front of the church to block the view of the muse - which worked great until winter came when she was once again in full view of the parishioners.

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River scene
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Street scene
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Musicians everywhere
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Adam and Eve
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Ljubljana Castle
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Ljubljana University
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Town Hall
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Postojna Caves
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Posted by joannereyes 03:33 Archived in Slovenia Comments (0)

L’viv

sunny 80 °F

L’viv

A month in Lviv is not too long for a visit - unless you are young and looking for an exciting adventure, a few days here should be enough. Me however, I’m not so young and just wanted to enjoy a beautiful city center with inexpensive food and drink. I actually could have easily stayed another month because I have a son who lives here so it’s also a personal gift to spend time with him and his girlfriend. I have the privilege of time, so staying in one place for this long does not take away from the rest of my adventure.

A perfect day for me was strolling through one of their beautiful parks, enjoying a beer (for a buck) and people watching. Appreciating a fantastic meal and walking through the city center listening to music from people on every corner. Did I mention that you can enjoy a beer for a buck! :)

There are plenty of sights to see and the weather can be unpredictable at times, so if you have time, spend at least a week here. August 24th is Ukrainian Independence Day

so it was a bit more crowded and hectic but it’s a beautiful thing to see people proud to wear traditional clothing while dancing and singing traditional songs.

Most people would go to Kiev when visiting Ukraine and yes, Kiev is the capital so it is a must see, but if you had to choose between Kiev and Lviv, definitely choose Lviv.

The negatives of Lviv are few, but they are substantial.

1. The airport is not big, therefore flying in and out, you are limited and usually will have to make a couple of stopovers to accommodate your next destination.
2. The food is excellent but your choices are limited. Don’t even try the Mexican food here.
3. Things are cheaper than most other countries and you are tempted to buy, buy, buy, but your luggage has limited space, such a conundrum.
4. The Ukrainian International Airlines suck! If at all possible, fly on another carrier. They will cancel flights and it’s too bad for you. They are not held to the European standard therefore you are screwed. Sure, their website states they will be responsible for cancelled flights and will accommodate your inconvenience but don’t believe what you read. They are cheap in every possible way. They will nickel and dime you to death. Yes, I have stories but all you have to do is watch their customers go back and forth paying for every little misstep. I feel sorry for the employees who have to put up with the customers who have been ambushed.
5. So this is a little thing, but drove me bonkers. They are constantly stealing your napkins. Yes, I’m complaining about how the restaurant staff is overly attentive. It’s just such a waste, I can use the same napkin for more than 5 minutes. :)

Lviv 101
Jetsetalona

Rynok (Market) Square
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Lviv random photos
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Drinking in the rain
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Grandmas making a living
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Musicians, live bands and performers
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Independence Day Festival
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The Lviv Opera House is built in a Neo-Renaissance style, which combines the elements of Renaissance, Baroque and Classicism. The facade of the theatre is splendidly decorated with allegorical sculptures of muses, Corinthian columns, niches, balustrades.
On the top of the façade, you could see two allegoric bronze sculptural groups, which symbolize Drama, Comedy, and Music. In the center a sculpture of Glory with a palm branch is placed.
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Ivan Franko National University of Lviv
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Ivan Franko Park (My favorite people watching park)
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In 2005, the Lviv brewery - the oldest one in Ukraine - turned 290 years old; on this occasion a Brewery Museum was opened on its territory. Where every beer lover can approach the mystery of the birth of a beverage.
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Shevchenkivsky Hai (Shevchenko Valley), is probably the best place for relaxation, education and entertainment in Lviv. In a couple of hours you can learn more about lifestyle of Ukrainian villagers through exploring over a 100 of wooden village houses, churches and everyday household items.
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Lychakiv Cemetery
The famous Town of Dead was built in 1786 and is the last refuge for almost 300,000 people. Among them are renowned Ukrainian poets, artists and politicians.
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Janowska Concentration Camp

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Olesko Castle, an important architectural monument of the XIV-XVII centuries. Polish king John III Sobieski was born there, and often visited this fortress later and collected a great number of works of art.

Zolochiv Castle, built in XVII century.

Pidhirtsi Castle – a splendid example of the Renaissance architecture.

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Posted by joannereyes 04:05 Archived in Ukraine Comments (0)

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