Tag Archives: travels

Summer by the Sea

big-blue-fazana

Today, I wanted to share a non-bookish glimpse into my life with you. If you’re following me on Instagram, you may have seen some of these already – but they are all nicely collected here.

We spent a week in Fažana, which is a small coastal town in Istria, a Croatian peninsula not far from Slovenian border. We visited other places up and down Istrian coast in previous years and we decided to book a place in this auto camp because it had nice, new mobile homes (they’re like tiny apartment houses with a verandah out front). My husband and I are very fond of camping (in a tent) but since I’m seven months pregnant, I really had no desire to sleep on the floor and to have to walk to communal bathrooms twice a night with a headlamp.

jellyfish-pula

The week began with some poor weather, so we took a trip to Pula, which is the largest town of the region (very pretty in its own right, we’ve often visited). But we needed a good entertainment option for Kiddo, so we picked the aquarium. I had no idea it was this large and well-appointed! It also has a sea turtle rescue center where they keep injured sea turtles (the big ones!) until they’re well enough to be released back into the sea.

Kiddo was very, very happy with this choice – especially since we’d just watched Finding Nemo yet again and we found a special tropical tank with Dory, Nemo, and several other fish from the movie. We also saw sharks, which were fascinating to him. For me, the best display was a lit-up tank of jellyfish, which I would be terrified of meeting out in the open sea, but they look so beautiful like this.

seagull-fazana

We had a very nice lunch at the Fažana marina, where we could watch boats coming and going and some gulls looking for fish. The weather was so hot it was actually a bit tiring for me – pregnancy and heatwaves don’t mix well. But I spent the afternoon in the shade, which was nice. My husband is the best, he takes really good care of me and our kid.

sunset-fazana

The last evening, I took some time to walk along the beach, listening to an audiobook while A. put Kiddo to bed (we alternate nights). It was still hot but not unbearably so and the sky was cloudless, so it was easy to take a series of slightly clichéd photos of the sunset. :)

Kiddo then stayed on for another week of the holidays with his grandparents (my mom and dad) while we returned home to get some free time. As I’m writing this, he’s still there and I miss him so much already but I’m also looking forward to sleeping in and having some time to really dig into my work.

srcek

Are you planning on visiting the beach this year? Does this mean the sea or a lake for you?

What are your favourite ways to relax during the summer?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

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Unplugging

strunjan-seasideWe spent two days at our seaside, in Strunjan, last week. We don’t often go to the Slovenian coast, opting instead for Croatian beaches, which are, admittedly, prettier than ours. The weather was great, 31°C (88°F) and slightly windy so it was actually rather cool in the shade. The water was cold-ish but refreshing and clean and we strolled to the top of the cliffs to enjoy the afternoon sun (HOT, especially when pushing the stoller uphill) and the view over the Gulf of Trieste.

strunjan-cliffsIt was our first time staying at a hotel with the kiddo and we liked it very much (especially since it was also a break from all the cooking and cleaning we have to do each day!). The food was good, the nights colder than in the city, and the mosquitos managed to avoid the kid and only feasted on A. and me.

strunjan-sunsetBut best of all, I think, was the fact that I unplugged from the web a bit, only checking my Instagram account (I’m an addict, what can I say?). I read a lot, but also just enjoyed hanging out with my two favourite people. As much as I love my computer(s) and internet, it’s sometimes great to put it all away and just be.

srcek

Do you like to unplug from time to time?

Or are you fused to your smartphone and computer?

What are your plans for this summer?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

Venice in a Day

piazza san marco

Last weekend, A. and I left the kiddo at my parents’ weekend house and left for a day trip to Venice. It’s a two-hour drive only, so we had plenty of time. We’d been to Venice several times before (I believe I’m nearing double digits myself) but it’s one of the prettiest cities I’ve ever been to.

venice1

The gondolas off Piazza San Marco / Canal Grande (taken from Rialto bridge) / Even the doorbells are pretty! / A street market full of yummy food

We spent several hours following the stream of tourists around the narrow streets, looking into the shop windows full of Venetian masks and slightly tacky glass ornaments.

beautiful garden

The usual fishy stink of the canals (often mixed with the distinct odor of the sewers) was somewhat tempered this time by the scent of jasmine. There are many little secret gardens in venice, either on the rooftops or in cool courtyards, and jasmine is everywhere – the little star-shaped blossoms really smell nice.

One of the side streets, so narrow! / One of the smaller (!) churches / A house between houses / Boats are the only sensible means of transport here.

One of the side streets, so narrow! / One of the churches (I think) / A house between houses / Boats are the only sensible means of transport here.

What you have to know about Venice is that it’s CROWDED. Even in the colder months, I suppose, though if you’re ever planning a trip there, I’d recommend waiting for spring because Venice is notorious for floods during the winter (the sea rises) and I would bet that it’s not really cool if you have to balance on the narrow, slippery wooden walkways they put up. At any other time of the year, however, this relatively small island is PACKED with tourists of all possible nationalities. We saw at least four gigantic cruise ships docked in the marina and I can only imagine how many more people arrived by car or train. So be prepared for waiting in lines for the churches or museums. We didn’t visit any of those this time but chose to have a more relaxed day instead.

venice2

The view across the sea / The clock tower on Piazza San Marco / San Marco’s basilica / The campanille (the church tower) on Piazza San Marco

This is where most of the people end up, I think. Piazza San Marco is huge and beautiful and it’s supposedly the most expensive place to have a cappuccino. We didn’t test that theory! I remember when I was little and it was still allowed to feed the pigeons – they would flock in HUNDREDS and peck at the corn people threw at them. Luckily, the city authorities came to their senses (seriously, EW) and forbade people to feed the pigeons (they had to find alternative employment for several people who lived off selling corn to tourists!) because they pooped everywhere and were destroying the monuments.

bridge of sighs

One of the most famous spots in the city, the Bridge of Sighs, reportedly named thus because it was common for prisoners to sigh as they saw the light of day through its windows for the last time as they were being transported from the Doge’s Palace (the court; on the left) to the prison on the right. Some people also say it’s because lovers come to Venice and sigh at the sight of it. Who knows?

Libreria Acqua Alta / Ditto / Great homemade pasta / A saint eating ice-cream or singing karaoke?

Libreria Acqua Alta / Ditto / Great homemade pasta / A saint eating ice-cream or singing karaoke?

We did have two things on our itinerary: We wanted to find the “best known” bookshop in the city, Libreria Acqua Alta, and Dal Moro’s noodle shop. We found both, to vastly differing results. I didn’t particularly like the bookstore. It’s crowded and looks like a madman’s attic. There’s a gondola smack in the middle of it, it’s filled with ancient (in an uncool way) Italian books in a totally haphazard manner (my OCD tendencies sprang to life) and one of the shopkeepers was smoking inside. In a tiny space filled with (very flammable) paper. There is also some sort of staircase made of books outside, which I disliked because I don’t think any books, even dictionaries, should be treated like that. But the pasta was wonderful, totally fresh, and both sauces – amatriciana and pesto – were jummy. We sat in the shade by a canal, dangling our feet over the water and watching the gondolas pass by slowly. It was a very nice lunch and a much-needed getaway for us.

srcek

Have you ever been to Venice? Did you like it?

Do you prefer very touristy, crowded destinations or are you more of an off-the-beaten-track person? 

I’d love to hear from you! :)

 

Ten Places Books Have Made Me Want To Visit

top-10Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that I sometimes participate in. It’s hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and seems to be one of the most popular memes, if you go and check out the links to other blogs on their site (which you should totally do).

This week’s topic is: ten places books have made me want to visit and they can be either real or fictional. I decided to have the best of both worlds so I picked five dream destinations from each of the categories!

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Real places

real

  1. Japan – I’ve read quite some books by Haruki Murakami (in translation, obviously), and I’ve wanted to visit Japan forever. It’ll take some time before I get there, though – airplane tickets are crazy expensive.
  2. Prague – this is due to Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. I’ve been to Prague once when I was a kid, but I want to go again and see all the things Karou did. :) This is a more manageable destination for me!
  3. New Orleans – Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series is responsible for this one (and also the series Originals, but I stopped watching it, so it doesn’t count). I want to tour the cemeteries and sip cocktails in the French Quarter (I know, I know, I have a hopelessly idealistic notion of New Orleans, can’t help it).
  4. The Scottish Highlands – historical romances. That’s all I’m saying.
  5. Bath – Jane Austen and historical romances. I will not apologize for my choice of reading material! :)

Photo credits: 12345

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Fictional places

fictional

  1. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry – I would lie if I’d say I didn’t wish to attend this school, but I’d be glad just to visit it once, as well.
  2. London, cca 1810 – again, historical romances are the reason for this one. It’s not fictional as much as impossible to get to from our current time. I’d love to see the balls and the parties and the pretty dresses (and skip the squalor and dirt and coal smoke, please).
  3. Camorr – from Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamora – this town is all I imagine a fantasy town should be, down to intrigue, murder and thieves. Quite perfect, but I’d carry a dagger in my sleeve at all times, just in case.
  4. Edoras, Rohan – from The Lord of the Rings. Horses and pretty horsemen. Just sayin’.
  5. The Wall – from The Song of Ice and Fire. I probably wouldn’t actually want to go there, what with the Night Watch being full of rapists and murderers, but it’s epic and I’d like to… umm… fly over it on a dragon? (Wrapped in several layers of soft fur, of course.)

Photo credits: 12345

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This is my choice of real and fictional places I’d love to visit.

Do books spark your wanderlust as well? I’d love to hear about it! :)