A Travellerspoint blog

Sun kissed and Happy

sunny 77 °F
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We slept in a little this morning, as it was raining again, so we took our time. We headed out around 11am, and the rain had finally stopped. By the time we made it down the hill, the sun came out and it turned into a beautiful day. During our happy hour yesterday, we decided to book a day trip with one of the local groups where you tour by boat to three different islands and enjoy a local fish lunch. As Old Town can really be done in one day, a lot of people take tours to the islands, Montenegro or Bosnia. The boat tour was in our budget and would allow us to see the Dalmatian coast from boat, which I have heard is a nice view. Our first stop this morning was to book the tour, which is a very casual thing. You tell them how much of a deposit you want to leave, and then you just show up for the pick-up in the morning.

Next, we paid 140 Croatian Kuna (local currency where approx. 4.5 kuna = $1.00) to walk the outside wall of Old Town. This gave us a great vantage point of the town, surrounding areas, and the Adriatic Sea. We spent about 2 hours and took at least a hundred photos along the way. After a stop at the Gelato stand, as I had never had it before – and loved it, we had a picnic next to the sea and watched the stray dogs and cats chase each other. There are tons of stray cats and dogs running everywhere, I guess that is just part of the town. Next we stopped by the WC and I got to experience my first hole-in-the-ground restroom. I am sure it won’t be the last on this trip, but it was a bit of a surprise as we hadn’t seen one yet.
Harbor

Harbor


Fort from Wall

Fort from Wall


Old cannon on the wall walk

Old cannon on the wall walk


Huge anchor

Huge anchor


View of Old Town

View of Old Town


View of the sea and town

View of the sea and town


Nate locked me in jail

Nate locked me in jail

After lunch we strolled down the road and stopped at the local beach to check the water. I only went in to my ankles, but it was quite chilly, although we later learned it was approx. 65 degrees. We needed to rest our tired feet, so headed to our patio for happy hour and a snack. As we got home and looked in the mirror, we realized that sunblock might have been a good thing today. We are both quite pink but I guess we needed to get color at some point while here – we just did it all at once.
Lemon and Orange trees are all over the island

Lemon and Orange trees are all over the island

It is quite perfect in Dubrovnik and we feel like this is a relaxing vacation after the go-go-go of London - it has the sun for me and plenty of history for Nate. For dinner, we headed to a place on the pier for a seafood sampler of mini octopus, squid, shrimp, mussels, sardines and mackerel. It was all very good, although next time I think I will pass on the sardines…too many bones to pick out for me. Everything was local, including the olive oil and bread, which was wonderful. Hopefully this is just the start of our seafood while on this trip.
Appetizer of oysters

Appetizer of oysters


Mussels, shrimp, mackerel, sardines, baby octopus and squid

Mussels, shrimp, mackerel, sardines, baby octopus and squid


Cheers from our porch in Dubrovnik!

Cheers from our porch in Dubrovnik!

Posted by sellnow 10:39 Archived in Croatia Comments (0)

Bugs for Dinner

overcast 65 °F
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Let me say that a Holiday Inn has never been so wonderful. After our not-so-clean hostel in London, the Holiday Inn with a full bathroom that was actually clean, as well as a bed that didn’t have springs poking into my back was heavenly. We had a short evening, as we had to get up at 3:45 am, but it was the best sleep I have had since we left home. We arrived to the airport with plenty of time, and apparently at Gatwick, terminals are not assigned until your airplane lands and you are ready to board. Everyone just chills in a common area with plenty of shops and restrooms and then about 30 minutes before your flight, your gate finally pops up on the screen and it is a mad dash there. Very interesting approach, but it makes sense. We had another uneventful flight to Dubrovnik, Croatia (let’s hope it stays this way) and upon arrival, took a bus to Old Town which our apartment was near. Old Town is situated just off the water and is very hilly, which means lots of steps to get anywhere.
Alps from Airplane

Alps from Airplane

View from Patio

View from Patio

Tiny Bathroom

Tiny Bathroom

After a long hike and tons of steps, we found our apartment and were greeted by the sweetest old lady who didn’t speak English, but was very nice. We managed to figure everything out through pointing and nods, and were in love with our little one bedroom apartment. It is cute, quaint, and has a great view of Old Town and the water from our private patio. After we changed, we headed to Old Town to wonder among the cobblestone paths. There are no cars allowed within the town walls, so it is fun to just wander in and out of shops and past all of the restaurants. We decided to try and find a grocery store, since we had a kitchen. We got wine and pasta for dinner and upon leaving, it started raining. So we headed back to our cute little home and spent the afternoon planning and reading up on what to do tomorrow, of course while enjoying plenty of Croatian wine. We boiled water, poured in the pasta and along with the pasta came a bunch of little bugs…guess that pasta had been on the shelf a while. After a clean up effort to re-wash everything, we walked back into town to buy a new batch of pasta at another store we passed later in the day. As the rain brought wind and cold, we spent the rest of evening in – relaxing, sipping on more Croatian wine and watching a movie on our tiny netbook.
Old Town

Old Town

Family Photo in Harbor

Family Photo in Harbor

Edge of Old Town

Edge of Old Town

Fun Facts about our entire Europe Trip – we had plenty of time to think about this while we hid out from the rain:

  • 7 countries (counting Canada & Germany which we have layovers in)
  • 10 airports (including Indy)
  • 5 languages – French, Croatian, Italian, Greek & Turkish…or 6 if you count British as a different language as you won’t understand the locals, unless they want you to.
  • 11 hostels/hotels/guest houses
  • 1 train
  • 3 ferries
  • 8 airplanes
  • 3 busses
  • 1 car rental (in Crete, Greece)
  • Miles and miles and miles of walking

Posted by sellnow 08:52 Archived in Croatia Comments (0)

A Leisurely London Day

overcast 52 °F
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Today was our last day in London and as we had already covered pretty much all of the major sites, we had a little more leisurely day. We slept in a little, and packed up as we are moving to a hotel near the Gatwick airport as we fly to Dubrovnik, Croatia at 6 am tomorrow. After breakfast, we walked down Cromwell with no real plan to see where it took us. After a stop for coffee and to check email on a faster connection, we made our way to Harrods. I was surprised Nate was willing to stop in, until I found out the wide selection of food products they had. We checked out pate, various cheeses and of course the sausage and meat section, but in the end didn’t purchase anything.
Harrods

Harrods

On our walk, we passed the Victoria & Albert History Museum, which had free admission, so stopped in to see what it was about. It was quite an impressive museum with a lot of sculptures and figurines from various countries and eras.
Victoria-A.._Museum.jpg

Next we hit up the Natural Museum, again because of the free admission. We learned about the Earth, volcanoes, minerals & gems and finally dinosaurs. We were both surprised that both museums, as well as the British Museum we visited yesterday, were all free and very well done. In the U.S., admission to these types of places is typically $7+ per person, if not more. After the museums, we made a quick stop at the store for a salty snack. We tried Prawn Chips, which were light, fluffy, fried puff things. They were quite delicious, and what we needed to have enough energy for the mile hike to our airport bus for the new hotel. All of this walking it starting to catch up with us, and I am realizing how little I moved when I was working. I am looking forward to a night in, so we can rest up for Croatia tomorrow.
Natural_Museum.jpg

Posted by sellnow 08:46 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

I'll Speak Slowly for the Americans

overcast 53 °F
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Today we got up early to get a head start on the shower situation. We were up before all of the young kids (yes, we are the old ones at this hostel - seriously) who all partied downstairs until late last night. After a quick breakfast, we headed for the Tower of London. It took a little extra effort to get there; as there is weekend construction on much of the underground, so we had our first experience with the double decker bus system which was fun. For those that don’t know (as I didn’t) the Tower of London now holds the Royal Jewels as well as exhibits showing the armor, canons, weapons, etc. from the past. The greens within the tower ground are where Anne Boleyn, among 9 others, were beheaded long, long ago. We spent a solid 4 hours wondering the area and visiting all of the different buildings, and had a tour from a Beefeater who offered to speak slowly for all of the Americans in the group. The Tower was well worth the money and time. It was the perfect mix of history stuff for Nate and shiny things for me.
Tower_Bridge.jpg
Armor.jpg

From there, we hopped on the bus again, thanks to a very nice driver who noticed we were trying to catch her bus and pulled over for us, and from the window we spotted Top Shop. My good friend Jen has raved about Top Shop, so I wanted to experience the store for myself (while Nate chilled on a bench as he wanted nothing to do with women’s clothes shopping.) From there, we had a quick picnic lunch at St. Paul’s Cathedral and then headed to the British Museum. The museum is currently home to the wide array of historical relics from the Parthenon and other historic places, which we will see later in Greece. It was neat to see these massive statues and friezes up close, all from thousands of years ago.
British_Museum.jpg

After a short late afternoon nap, we then wondered out in search of a British dinner. We came across Gloucester Arms, a local pub, where I enjoyed fish & chips and Nate had the English Roast of the Day – both of which were quite nice. On the way to our next destination, we stopped at the grocery store and picked up a John Smith’s lager for Nate and a Pimms and Lemonade for me. We had seen signs everywhere for Pimms and thought we ought to try it – it is a very sweet beverage, but worth a try. Finally, we wondered back downtown for a few snapshots of Big Ben and Westminster Abbey at night, it was a chilly evening but worth the stroll. Tomorrow is our last day in London, so we will see what the day brings us.

Big_Ben_at_Night.jpg
[Telephone.jpg

Posted by sellnow 15:39 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (2)

Everyone Sounds Like Harry Potter

sunny 62 °F
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Nate and I finished packing yesterday morning and weighed our bags. We both came in right about 35 pounds, just under our 40 pound limit. When I first put on the bag, I almost fell backward as it takes a little getting used to in order to feel balanced. So for the next month, we will be stuck with everything we need on our backs and I am sure by the end I will want to just toss half of it to make it lighter.
Packed_Up.jpg

We made it to the Indianapolis airport, and while passing time saw the Blue Angles jets take to the sky, which was a neat send off. From there, we flew the short distance to Toronto where we then had 5 hours to spend pacing the airport. Our flight didn’t leave until 11:30 pm, and we wanted to stay awake so we would be tired for the flight, so we checked out all of the duty free shops, read, and played games online to try and pass the time.
Blue_Angels.jpg

We arrived in London late morning and overall had a pretty uneventful flight, which was good. Neither of us slept well on the overnight flight, so while we wanted to stay awake all day to adjust to the time difference, we weren’t sure how well we would do. We made it to our hostel around noon but we couldn’t check in until 2pm, so left our bags and walked to Kensington Gardens & Kensington palace. We wondered through the Kensington-Chelsea area and explored the neighborhood, just to see what was happening. After sitting for a day of travelling, it felt nice just to walk around. Once it was finally check-in time, we cleaned up (finally!) but as my first hostel experience, I wasn’t overly impressed with the facilities. I prefer showers that drain and offer water temperature options besides scalding and off, but we were clean and at the moment that is what mattered.

From there, we took my first tube trip which was quick and painless. A very kind 7-year old student on a field trip offered me his seat, and Nate noted that the kid was a young Harry Potter in his school uniform. We set out to Big Ben, walked past the London Eye and then over to Wesminster Abbey. By the time we got there, the abbey was closed for the day so we didn’t get to go in, but snapped a few photos from outside. From there we made our way to Buckingham Palace and eventually Piccadilly Circus. As we wondered through the Friday evening chaos of Piccadilly, we came across the Asian district with large window signs advertising Chinese buffets everywhere. As much as Nate wanted to compare the London Chinese buffets to Bloomington buffets, he admitted that it didn't make much sense to travel this far and then eat something he could get at home, so we kept on moving through the crowds.
Big_Ben.jpg
Nate_Waiting.jpg
Buckingham_Guard.jpg

After we had our fill of sights, we hopped on the tube again and made our way to Hyde Park. We had a nice casual stroll through the park where I found a natural “tree fort” of sorts among the beautiful gardens and ponds. After the tree fort, we came across the statue of Achilles which was made from the canons that Duke of Wellington captured during his many battles, including Waterloo. From there we continued a leisurely evening stroll through Hyde Park on our way home. It was a very relaxed day with plenty of walking. With sore feet and legs, we decided it was best to head back and get some rest as we have another full day of London sights tomorrow.
Tree_Fort.jpg
Tree_Fort_2.jpg]
Achilles.jpg

Posted by sellnow 21:29 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged london park palace buckingham hyde piccadilly indianapolis Comments (0)

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