Saturday, 13 December 2014

KOTOR. Laundry, shutters & wires


Kotor, Montenegro is one of the most beautiful towns in the Balkans. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the old city was built between the 12th and 14th centuries and is filled with medieval architecture and historic monuments. Known for its beautiful bay, the maze of cobbled streets, lovely antique shops and plenty of cozy restaurants, within the city walls you discover beauty at every step. 

But I was very impressed by something else you come across at every pace: the colourful display of laundry hanging from the windows, nicely blended with electric lines also meandering between the buildings. Those views are not that uncommon I know, I´ve seen it often in medieval towns across Europe. Nevertheless, in Kotor all the streets are so narrow and space is so limited that it is the only possibility to dry your laundry. And the strange thing is that is not eye disturbing at all, it is beautifully harmonized with the facades and wooden shutters.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA. TOGETHER BUT DIVIDED

Mostar, Ready to jump
The division was the result rather than the cause of the war. 

I have to admit I was very ignorant of what happened in the territory of our Western neighbor back in the 90s. Maybe I still am, 3 months are clearly not enough to understand something so complicated…
Country of 3 ethnics, 3 religions and rivers of blood during the war. 
Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs who were school friends could no longer be friends. Mixed ethnicity families were confused and displaced; where were they to go? Should they separate for their own safety? Where ethnicity and religion meant nothing in the former Yugoslavia, it now means everything. 

Monday, 24 November 2014

Leaving America To Find Freedom

A guest post by Ken, an American living on the south coast of Turkey and blogging at www.southcoastofturkey.com

"I have had a vision. In this vision the white man is on a super highway to where he knows not. I have seen the end of that highway and it makes me shudder."  John Fire Lame Deer, Lakota Sioux - Seeker of Visions.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

SARAJEVO. LIFE AFTER WAR.


Bosanski caj. Bosnian tea (Black tea, cinnamon, clove)
When we are still new to travelling, we would find ourselves admiring an old church, strange architecture or a beautiful landscape…I still do it…but it doesn´t bring the same emotions that it did at the beginning . So many waterfalls and sunsets, so many jungle trips, tons of hikes and more than 80 countries visited…
We start to take all the beauty for granted and it´s not as exciting anymore. Then we try to go off the beaten track and search for the roads less travelled. But after a while even that starts to lose its charm and feels superficial. We want to experience something that would touch our hearts and make us feel something! That´s how I felt in Sarajevo. I felt drawn to hear more, to ask many questions, to speak to everyone who would want to speak to me! It hit me massively. I was swept away by all the emotions I was capturing, not only in Sarajevo but in whole Bosnia & Herzegovina.
 It´s not just the beauty of the Old town, the bullet holes all over the city or the whole” Sarajevo under siege” thing that has struck me that much.  It´s the people that make the city so special and their way of greeting everyone who comes to visit, their pain and hardiness. Sadness and pride, wrapped in warmth and mystery are distinctive features of its inhabitants. It´s difficult to describe it but all the visitors feel it. And that yearning they have to move on and leave the war in the past is so massive but the war is inescapable and constantly tied to the reputation of the city.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

SERBIA. MY LONG UNKNOWN NEIGHBOUR



BELGRADE
If you are really really looking for hidden gems in Europe, do not miss the capital of ex-Yugoslavia. It is not as popular as Florence or Munich but it is backpacker´s paradise. The city is almost 2 million people and it growing bigger and bigger on budget travellers. I got there when EXIT festival was happening next door in Novi Sad so the city wasn´t that crowded but still...I was very impressed by the amount of hostels that I saw around the train station, literally at every corner. Bars, clubs, city tours...cheap food and drinks are some of the attractions in the city. 

Saturday, 25 October 2014

SHARING THE LOVE FOR BULGARIA

                          
GUEST POST FROM MARIA
Maria is a travel blogger from Bulgaria. She blogs at Travelling Buzz where she is trying to prove it is possible to keep a full time job and to get short travel breaks to dream destinations. She also focuses on budget trips and experiences. Follow her journey!



You won’t believe how beautiful Bulgaria is... 
                                                                                                 …unless you see it with your eyes.    

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

THE BALKANS. EUROPE´S FORGOTTEN CORNER BUT IS IT REALLY?


One more classic in the Balkans....not the foot of course
The Balkan Peninsula has always been a crossroads of cultures. It is still so hard for some people to grasp, the unusual mix of ethnicity, nationality and religion in this part of the world.  Lots of people only relate the region to the Yugoslavian war in 90s or to Kosturica’s films and gypsy life. There is so much more than that! 

My route around the Balkans in less than 3 months
Born and raised in Bulgaria, I was too busy exploring much more remote and “exotic” countries to pay attention to what was happening in my homeland.  And somehow I´ve never been anywhere in the Balkans. 

Monday, 6 October 2014

SAILING IN FRENCH POLYNESIA. SOCIETY GROUP. PART 2

Hiking to Mt Aorai
Bourayne bay in Huahine island (Society group)

SOCIETY ISLANDS

TAHITI  is the largest and highest island of the Society island group and the whole French Polynesia. 
The mountainous interior is adorned with deep valleys, clear streams, and high waterfalls. The coastal lands, edged with a rugged coastline, are home to fields of tropical flowers and most of the island's population. I thought it was a combination of Marquesas and Tuamotus but no one else agreed L.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Greece on my birthday. Thessaloniki, Meteora, Halkidiki


Meteora
Mermaid carved on the rocks. Kavourotripes, Halkidiki
Kavourotripes, Halkidiki, second leg

I have always hated my birthdays!

Saturday, 13 September 2014

JERUSALEM AND RAMALLAH. Arabs and Jews. Opposing but similar. Together but divided

It may be called the City of Peace, but no other city has been more bitterly fought over than Jerusalem.
The Wailing Wall: Like everything else in Israel it is divided in two: men on the left, women on the right
Jerusalem is a divided city in a divided land. And at its heart, is the Old City, itself divided into Muslim, Christian, Jewish and Armenian quarters.
It is home to Judaism's holiest site, Islam's third holiest (after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia) and the spot where many Christians believe Jesus was crucified. Control of the area is one of the toughest issues facing anyone trying to make peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
I have seen young men, one Jewish, other Muslim talking in the friendliest possible way and saying a goodbye with a hug but .. relations are not often so cordial.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Chasing my ride through Israel to retrieve my camera


Tiverias and Sea of Galilee
When I was in Cartagena, Colombia, a year ago, I went with a group of backpackers to Playa Blanca, where we stayed for a couple of days! One of people was Uria, an Israeli guy, a bit different from the regular Israeli crowds, interesting and easy to talk to. The second night on the beach while having dinner, just by chance, Uria was sitting next to two brother from Palestine! And all three of them were drinking beers together and there was no sign of hostility. It was pretty interesting to follow their conversation and see how despite the conflict and nationalities, we are all human after all.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

ISRAEL. TEL AVIV, DEAD SEA AND EIN GEDI. SO DIFFERENT FROM THE MEDIA IMAGE

Floating in Dead Sea
December 2013

Israelis are if not the most, one of top 3 most hated nationalites for travellers. I remember in South America even seeing signs in front of hostels "NO ISRAELIS"! They are usually pretty young, travelling in big groups and knowing nothing about life, sharing and respect to others. It is understandable considering that the majority do their gap year after the army, so they never shared flats, studied and travelled before. And 3 years in the Israeli army (2 for girls) could be quite exhausting (in any possible sense). That´s why I didn´t have big expectations from the country or at least the people. And that was my biggest surprise! Everyone is so nice, despite the religion and colour, also very generous and helpful!

Monday, 30 June 2014

NARA. In the shadow of Kyoto.



Nara, Japan’s ancient capital, has long been in the shadow of Kyoto. Yet, it deserves the attention of tourists who are visiting Kyoto or Osaka. It predated all other cities in Japan. It’s a more intimate peep into the old Japan. From Kyoto or Osaka, Nara is a quick 40-minute train ride. It can be explored on a day and better seen on foot.

Monday, 23 June 2014

STOP SIGNS AROUND THE WORLD



I have always found stop signs fascinating! Even when I was a little girl in my hometown in Bulgaria! I still remember first time I saw it...I was in the car in front of my grandparent’s house and the sign was only a few meters away. I asked my parents what GTOR means. That’s how STOP would sound (well, kind of) when you only know how to read Cyrillic alphabet and you are 6 . We use Cyrillic alphabet in Bulgaria (comes from Bulgaria by the way!) but we have the regular STOP signs so no wonder a little girl who just learnt how to read found it difficult to understand. I remember my parents laughed a lot!

Saturday, 7 June 2014

KYOTO IN COLOUR


Autumn in Kyoto
Kinkaku-Ji or Golden Pavilion
Kyoto is the Japan you may have imagined - magical temples and Zen gardens, colourful Shinto shrines and elegantly dressed geisha flitting between wooden tea houses. I read it somewhere: Kyoto is the Japan of the past and Japan of the imagination. And it is so true, I found here everything I had imagined I would see in Japan. It wasn´t Tokyo or Osaka that impressed me in Japan, it is Kyoto!

Thursday, 29 May 2014

PERUVIAN JUNGLE. Going to Iquitos

On a cargo ship to Iquitos
Goal: Iquitos - the largest city on earth that can only be reached by boat or plane. Coming from Trujillo, I was planning to spend 2 days in Tarapoto, another jungle town which has lots of waterfalls, rivers, lagoons, rafting, hikes...so lots to do here.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

LIEBSTER AWARD


I have just been nominated for the Liebster award.
This is a virtual award given by other bloggers, but it also comes with 10 questions from those that nominate you or award you with the Liebster.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

FOUR COUNTRIES IN 4 DAYS. One thing in common: RAIN

 BELGIUM, GERMANY AND FRANCE

Brussels
What would be the common thing if you got to Belgium, Germany and France in May? I’m telling you it’s the rain and the grey sky.
I left sunny Barcelona on Friday morning, hoping to spend a nice weekend with my friend Velina who lives in Brussels but alas! Wasn’t meant to be! It rained almost all the time. For someone who hates umbrellas I spent a pretty good amount of time holding one! The sun was popping up every now and again but never for too long.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

VOLUNTEERING IN MADAGASCAR



VOLUNTEERING IN MADAGASCAR

PLACE: Antalaha, Madagascar

POSITION: Goalball coach (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goalball) for blind kids and kids with impaired vision

DURATION: 1 year

VOLUNTEER´S SALARY: 150€/month (3 times the local pay). Accommodation and food are provided. Flight ticket

START DATE: July 2014

GOAL: To train and prepare the kids for the Paralympic games 2016 and prove that these children deserve to reach their full potential and the chance to integrate into the society.

DESIRED SKILLS: Someone RELIABLE and dedicated to the program; Must not be afraid of challenges; Able to live in tropical climates. Knowledge of French would be ideal, English could work too. Knowledge of Bulgarian is highly valued too.

No previous experience as a coach is required, neither work with blind or visually impaired children in the past.

No more applications accepted! Thanks

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

COLOMBIA PART 2. My vicissitudes of fortune

COLOMBIA, Part 2
Parque Tayrona
03.02.2013 I came back to Colombia from Venezuela, went to Julian´s house in Bucaramanga (Colombia first time. Volunteering) to pick up my laptop charger and have lunch with the family. Managed to get a few hours sleep and then another night bus to Medellin to meet Dwayne coming from New Zealand.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

ONE MORE MONTH IN ECUADOR. BEACHES, QUITO AND WATER (-falls, natural spas and lakes)


Quito and the laundry
I've been already a month in Ecuador (First month in Ecuador) and still haven't been to the beach. That is ridiculous, the second smallest country in South America, pretty easy and fast to get around and I am still far away from any beach. In fact I am freezing my ass off at Lacatunga, doing the Quilotoa loop.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

In the LAND OF THE RISING SUN. Tokyo and Osaka


Mt Fuji
26th of November, 2013. Tokyo, Japan

The flight from New Zealand wasn´t that bad, only 10 hours. Had a nice Japanese lady next to me on the plane who taught me a few words of Japanese and recommended how I should spent my 10 -12 days in Japan. She talked me out of going to Nagano, I really didn´t have enough time to do it. 

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Sailing from Tonga to New Zealand via Minerva reef



On November 4th 2013, I left Tonga on board a 42-foot PATANJALI to New Zealand. Although I had promised myself to stay away from Americans and American boats, I didn’t keep my promise. Regretted it so much later!

Sunday, 6 April 2014

HOLI COLOUR FESTIVAL BARCELONA 2014


I haven't been to Holi Barcelona before and I´ve never been to India so didn't have to think twice whether or not to go this year. We got just the perfect weather - sunny and clear blue sky!

In India the spring is welcomed every year in a very special way: “Holi” is a festival of colors and one of the country’s most important holidays. They don’t just celebrate the change from winter to spring, but also, according to Hinduism, the victory of good over evil – and this is being done in a very colorful way!

Saturday, 29 March 2014

BARGAIN SKI BREAK IN ANDORRA

Pas de la Casa
Spain or more specifically Barcelona is not known for its great skiing conditions, people usually come here for the sun. But you can be surprised what the next-door Pyrenees mountain range can offer. Based in Barcelona, you have 3 options for skiing – the Catalan, French or Andorran Pyrenees. I would personally vote for the third one, having skied in all three of them. Why Andorra? The quality of snow and the facilities are better in my opinion and less queuing up since there is such a great choice of slopes you can go to. 

Friday, 14 March 2014

AROUND THE WORLD IN CHILDREN PHOTOS


Going through my photos from last 2,5 years travelling, I decided to put some of the children photos together and see how they are in different countries...Unfortunately I´m not gonna see most of them ever again, so this is all I have.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

TONGA. The last kingdom in South Pacific


The kingdom of Tonga, situated in the heart of the South Pacific, is the oldest and remaining Polynesian monarchy and the only Pacific nation never brought under foreign rule. It occupies 691 sq km of land, spread over 700 000 sq km of ocean. New Zealand lays 1300 nm to the southwest.
From all 171 coral and volcanic islands only 36 are inhabited. We sailed to the main Tongan sail hub Neiafu, also second largest town in Tonga (population of 6000) but with the biggest port in the county. Nested between several low hills, Neiafu is the only town in Vava`u islands groups with any kind of bustle, especially around the market on Saturday. Nuku ‘alofa, in Tongatapu group is the capital.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

SAILING IN FRENCH POLYNESIA - BLACK PEARLS AND SHARKS. IS THAT EVERYTHING? PART 1

July 2013. 
MARQUESAS & TUAMOTU ISLANDS GROUP
Little monkeys in Ua Pou, Marquesas

The cheapest flights in Europe