Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Croatia (May/June 2015) - Part 1

Finally the trip to the country I've been planning to visit for a long time happened, and I must add only Australia has been in my hit list longer than Croatia, and surprisingly 3 friends tagged along this time around.

Everyone knows how difficult is to plan a trip for more than one person, luckily I kind of planned the entire trip and my friends decided to come after I had almost done putting all the peaces together.  14 days in Croatia and 4 days in Istanbul was my schedule.

As usual I used TripAdvisor, Lonely Planet, Reddit and other online publications to do my search, just keeping in mind what is good for someone might not be so exciting for you.  Camera equipment included my point and shoot Sony DSC-WX80, Samsung NX300M and GoPro Hero 3, and I also brought a cheap Android smartphone Blue Studio 5.0HD LTE, which I had decided to used also as my GPS for the driving part of the trip.

The trip would include Zagreb, Plitvice Lakes National park, Zadar, Split, Hvar, Korcula, Dubrovink and Istanbul in Turkey, and together with my friends we looked like the colours united of Benetton, how Canadian eh?

May 21, 2015 - thanks for Swiss (narrow seats by the way) and Croatian Airlines I finally arrived in rainy Zagreb a bit after 1pm and two of my friends had arrived 15 minutes earlier than me so they were my warm welcoming committee in this country where almost everyone is tall and beautiful.  Can someone please tell me what do they feed these people to make their DNA so attractive?

Initially I had planned to rent a car just for a day to visit to Plitvice Lakes National park on our way to Split, and after some research I figured it was cheaper to rent a car for 4 days than just 1, thus I could add the city of Zadar since I actually wanted to see their famous sea organ. I used the broker "Cheap Car Rental" to book my car and they assigned the company HM rent-a-car.  I had never heard of them so I was a bit nervous but not too much since I have a wonderful credit card (AMEX) that covers even alien abduction (read my Iceland Rental Adventures for more information).

Bought a €11 SIM card from T-Hrvatski Telekom at the Postal Office in the airport, which gave me unlimited mobile internet for 7 days plus HRK 5.00 credit to make short phone calls.  The rental was packed with our stuff, pictures of the Mitsubishi were taken (precaution when returning the car), couldn't figure out how to make the internet work on my cell phone, and good thing I had downloaded the Google Map of Zagreb on my phone, and we were ready to head to our hotel (Westin Zagreb).

In less than 30 minutes we arrived to the hotel, and we had to do it in the old fashion way, looking at the old map.  First impression: the hotel is beautiful and love the view but is it going to stop raining?

Last year I spent 10 days in Iceland (Read Entire Review) and I had acquired some good waterproof hiking boats, rain coat and comfortable waterproof pants.  I had warned my friends it was supposed to rain for the first 2 days in Croatia, but did they listen to me?  Instead they brought this fabulous yellow plastic poncho that in no time looked like they had just been part of the war to free the fish from my aquarium.  Their shoes were soaking wet and I can only imagine how smooth their feet were at the end of the day.  They looked miserable walking around the city, but this was just a façade because we did find some "equipment" for the rain and I know they were feeling excited to be in this country where ......shit everyone is beautiful!

Zagreb is an easy to walk around city, and I'm pretty sure all the buildings and places look amazing if it is sunny outside.  We got some break from the here and there and we took advantage to go out and find a pretty good place to have our first Croatian meal with some local wine.  It didn't matter if we got rain on because we were very happy to be in Zagreb ready to have a good time.  The night ended in a cute basement restaurant with a nice skylight that let the sound of the rain thru.  We talked about life and tried to fix the problems of the planet as we had done countless time before.  Beautiful start of the vacation 2015.

May 22, 2015 - where to have breakfast was the big question of this morning, and lets just go cause the rain might just start pouring again.

*** review: work in progress******

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Reviews will be posted soon

Boys and girls, I had a lot of fun traveling to Croatia and Istanbul, and I'll try to post my review as soon as I can. I do have some work related travel coming up in the next couple of days, but I'm hoping to be able to post at least the first part before I leave.

Until them I will leave you with some pics from both places, and check my Instagram account for more pictures.  The sunset is in Dubrovnik, the church in Zagreb and mosque in Istanbul.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Croatia and Istanbul 2015

The schedule is set and now I just have to wit a couple of more days to leave in my annual vacation.  Last year I got to visit the incredible country of Iceland, the year before Vietnam/Cambodia, and this year I've chosen Croatia and Turkey.

Unfortunately as you might know, in North America we don't have too many vacation days, so this is going to be around 18 days long trip mostly in Croatia and ending in the fabulous city of Istanbul. I will try to post pictures via Instagram and facebook, and when I return I shall post a report and more pictures.

  • Zagreb
  • Plitvice Lakes National Park
  • Zadar
  • Split
  • Hvar
  • Korcula
  • Dubrovnik
  • Istanbul, Turkey

and let me share one of the best videos of landing in Istanbul I've seen, I just hope I get to have similar view.