After a very successful daytrip to Kotor, we were keen to check out another Yugoslavian country: Bosnia and Herzegovina. We left early to try to avoid long lines at the border, and we definitely succeeded, though maybe because the car navigator sent us through some mountain roads where the border wasn’t even manned. The drive was quite scenic, so we didn’t complain, and we made it to Mostar in less than 2 and a half hours.Continue reading “Mostar and Kravica waterfalls as a daytrip from Dubrovnik”
Looking for things to do around Dubrovnik, I realized we could easily pop over to nearby Montenegro, and even better, to what might be its most famous site, Kotor. We ended up leaving pretty late, because we realized we might need a COVID tests not to cross into Montenegro, but to get back into Croatia. Then we go stuck for well over an hour at the border crossing, so even though it was supposed to be a 2-hour drive, we didn’t make it to Kotor until around 2pm.Continue reading “Kotor as a daytrip from Dubrovnik”
The popularity of Dubrovnik has exploded in recent years, “thanks” to Game of Thrones. But before and beyond that craze, Dubrovnik must be one of the most magical cities in the world. It is a very manageable place, easily visited on foot in a day, though we thought the four nights we spent there were perfect to enjoy it at leisurely pace, plus take some daytrips to neighboring Montenegro and Bosnia.Continue reading “Dubrovnik, a fairytale town”
Despite the tough competition, Hvar might very well be the best island to visit in Croatia. Admittedly, our own choice might not have been based on extensive research, but rather based on the fact that we had a rental car, and therefore our ferry options were more limited. But we loved the couple of days we spent on this island, it packs such an incredible range of experiences.Continue reading “Top things to do in Hvar”
After an epic day in Plitvice Lakes, we drove to Split, our first stop on the Dalmatian coast. Split is a strange city. On the one hand side, it’s the second largest of Croatia, a transportation hub, and the first thing you see when driving in are shabby high-rises. On the other hand side, it’s a historical jewel, a much-deserved UNESCO World Heritage Site. The heart of the old town is the Diocletian Palace, and incredibly well-preserved complex from 305 AD. The whole area is pedestrian-only, and packed with charming cafes and shops, directly on top of 2000-year old marble streets and plazas.Continue reading “The best place to stay in Split”
Right outside of the walled city, the neighborhood of Getsemani is more authentic and edgier than the old town. If inside the walls it’s all about colonial architecture and colorful flowers, here it’s about street art, street life and Afro-Caribbean heritage. There are still plenty of tourists and charming hotels and restaurants, but it does feel much more real.
Cartagena de Indias is a UNESCO Heritage Site, and regularly tops the list of most beautiful colonial cities around the world. This reputation is well deserved. Cartagena can easily be visited on foot in a couple of days, but it’s also the kind of place where you won’t regret having extra time.
Last week, I had a chance to visit Tokyo on the back of a business trip… and it was an incredible experience! Despite it being such a large city, it is very easy to move around on foot and using the metro (once I figured out how to get a Suica or Pasmo card), and I was able to check out all these top spots in about two days. Here they are, in a very non-scientific order of preference:
- The pyramids of Giza
- The temples and tombs around Luxor
- Diving in the Red Sea, especially the Thistlegorm wreck
Cairo was the first stop in our Egypt + Jordan trip. Before hitting the pyramids, we had a day to explore the hectic capital, daunting with its 22 million people and crazy traffic.
We started the day at the famous Egyptian museum, where we tried to arrive around 8am (opening time) to avoid as much of the tourist crowds as possible. The ticket was 350 Egyptian pounds (~$20), including the mummies and camera (and I wished I had brought my student ID, because it gets you 50% off pretty much everywhere). The museum is not as massive as e.g., the Hermitage, but there is a ton of stuff and it’s not particularly well organized nor digestible. It took us over 3 hours to see just the highlights and wander around a bit. My favorites were the large sarcophagus in the old kingdom rooms, the intricate pieces in the Amarna room, all the Tutankhamun treasures, the cute dioramas of regular life in rooms 27 and 32, the creepy mummies, the matryoshka-like sarcophagus of Yuya and Tuya, and the papyrus in the eastern galleries.