Tag Archives: lonely planet guide

Kastel Stari, Trogir & Split

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After a short journey from Zadar we arrived at our last destination of our Croatian trip, the very picturesque town of Kastel Stari, our apartment for the next seven day’s was very nice indeed, with a roof terrace with views over the mountains from one direction, and views of the stunning Adriatic coastline the other just perfect.
Kastel Stari translated is old castle, it has lots of small narrow streets, a very nice promenade and a small town square where fresh fruit and vegetable market is held every morning, there are also plenty of small café’s and bars to which to choose from, but not many restaurants I might add. The towns of Split and Trogir are about 10km away in opposite directions with a bus service to both towns.

Split
Is the second largest city in Croatia Zagreb the capital being the first, the old part of town near the ferry port is beautiful, it has much to see, museum’s churches and beautiful architecture. I would recommend taking the time to visit Cathedral of Saint Domnius and take the stairs to the top of the tower there are plenty of steps so beware but the effort will be worth it as you will see magnificent views over the city. Split also as you would expect like very many other Croatian towns has an abundance of restaurants and bar’s to while away the hours in. There is also a great market just on the outside of the city walls selling everything from souvenirs to fresh fruit & vegetables and much much more. Split harbour is also where you can get the various ferries serving the many Croatian islands, more on that later.

Togir
Is described in the guide books as a smaller Dubrovnik which is true to certain degree, but without the city wall,  and more importantly the mass crowds, but the architecture is as equally as stunning as Dubrovnik’s. We decided to explore the city and follow a walk in our Lonely Planet Guide and learn a little about the city’s history. After our walk we meandered down to the harbour front for a drink, (yes another), whilst we were sitting there people watching and taking in the atmosphere a very large motor yacht sailed into the harbour, I say large it was like a small cruise liner, just magnificent. We watched the throng of people taking photo’s and admiring the ship, the yacht was called “Told u So” so I decided to google it to see if it was owned by anyone famous only to discover that it was in fact a charter boat which you could rent for a mere €190,000 a week or €27.000 a day, bargain, perhaps next time.

Hvar

There are over a thousand island of the coast of Croatia many uninhabited but there are also many which are not and choosing which one to visit during our stay was difficult, we had already visited the island of Pag which is in fact accessible by bridge, but it was decided that we would visit the island of Hvar, this decision was mainly made by the girls as they had read that it is a favourite haunt of the rich and famous especially one Mr George Clooney, quite what he has got that I don’t have I’m not sure, well apart from looks, money, a huge house on the shores of Lake Como etc etc Oh well I give in. First some information on getting to Hvar the main government-run ferry company is Jadrolinija who serves most of the Croatians islands, tickets can only be bought on the day of travel so my advise is get your tickets early especially in busy times as the boats fill up pretty quick. Now there are two types of the ferries the fast catamaran or the car ferry. We decided to get the catamaran as it is supposed to only take approx 45 minutes but the one we booked and incidentally the only one available stopped at another island on the way to Hvar and in fact took as long as the car ferry, two hours, it was noisy, cramped and bumpy first hic-up. The catamaran docks at Hvar town but the car ferry which is larger docks at Stari Grad the old town, as we had planned to visit both towns whilst we were on the island this was not a problem so we booked the catamaran to Hvar town and the car ferry coming back from Stari Grad as the last catamaran left Hvar town quite early. Our lonely planet guide reliably informed us there was a frequent bus service between the two towns, but this was not the case as even though it was early september they had cut back the service as it was nearly the end of the season and as the next bus was not until 1910 hrs , (the first leaving just as we had arrived in Hvar) and as our return ferry was at eight it did not give us any time to have a look around Stari Grad so our only option was a taxi, second hic up as the cost of an approx 8km journey was £35.00 Ouch! and that was after bartering with the taxi driver So my advise do your homework carefully.

All this besides Hvar town is a beautiful place, with some amazing shops beautiful restaurants and a stunning harbour. Top Tip walk to the other side of the harbour from where the catamaran docks and visit the rooftop bar of the Hotel ? with stunning views over the town, I can see why it a favourite haunt of the rich and famous, and although Stari Grad is quite nice and we had a lovely meal there with hindsight we all agreed that we could have spent far more time at Hvar town.

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Danube River Trip, Margaret Island and (Budapest info and Tips)

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Our last day in Budapest, the weather was warm we had clear blue skies, perfect day for our river boat trip on the Danube, so after a nice breakfast off we set. We walked a different direction today and headed along the main shopping street in the city to the Szabadság híd or Liberty Bridge, as it’s along the river edge here you will find most of the tour boats for trips along the Danube. There are various companies to choose from ranging from 1900 HUF about £5.50 to 3000 HUF £8.50 but all appear to do the same route. Now we chose the cheaper boat not because of the price but the fact at set times of the day it you could stop off at Margaret island have a look around and board a later boat, which is what we did. Now Margaret Island is basically a large park and although its called an Island you can get on and off by road but it’s much nicer to arrive by boat. so we duly alighted and walked from one end to the other and back again a long but pleasant stroll indeed. You can hire cycles conventual types, tandems, even a four person affair to get you around, there are various food and ice cream stalls to keep you refreshed, there is even a large Lido for anyone who wants a swim but this was closed when we walked by, I presume it’s only open in the summer months. Well it was time to head back to the jetty to catch our boat for the return trip, passing the magnificent Parliament building, Royal Palace and passing under the chain bridge one last time. It was then back to the apartment pick up our cases and wait for our taxi for the journey to the airport.

Finally here are some various websites and general tips I have found to help anyone planning a trip to the wonderful city of Budapest, firstly a list of must do’s and see’s

Top Sights

There is much more to see and do, I recommend getting a good guide-book, I always use Lonely Planet guides. You could also have a look at another website I found with some useful info on the city Top Budapest Attractions

Accommodation

We always seem to use Booking.com as we have always had excellent service from them and this is where we found Trendy Apartments highly recommended

Getting Around

Now we walked everywhere to all the main sights which is very easy indeed, and I am less abled than most so it would be a breeze for someone who is fit and healthy. The only time we used the transport system is when we visited Hero’s square which is at the end of Andrassey Ave as it’s quite a long walk. The transport system is very easy to use and cheap, here is another useful website that I have found Budapest Travel

Finally I have posted a few photo’s on my blog but the bulk of the photo’s I took and which are in much higher quality are on my Flickr page so please have a look and leave some comments as I would appreciate it.

Well that’s it for this trip but please keep following as I am sure there will be many more, our next big trip is Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam in march of next year, but I’m sure we will fit the odd one or two night trip in before then

So signing off for now stay safe, keep well, and keep following, and any questions please do not hestiate to contact me.

Erzsébetváros the Jewish Quarter

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Today was going to be a pretty chilled day after the busy previous two days, so we decided to follow a walk around the Jewish quarter, so after some breakfast off we set on our walk. We decided to do the walk in reverse as the end point was near where we staying, so the first stop on our walk was the magnificent  Jewish Synagogue which incidentally is the largest in europe. When we approached I could not help thinking that in some ways the building resembled a mosque, it was not until went on the guided tour that it was in fact built between 1854 and 1859 in the Moorish revival and was based on Islamic models in North Africa so initial thought was in fact right. Once inside we were greeted by a magnificently decorated building absolutely breathtaking. As we went in, me being the male in our party was handed a skull-cap which all men had to wear, now anyone that knows me knows I have quite spiky hair so the skull-cap did not sit well upon my head to the great amusement of my wife and our friend Jackie. After the tour of the inside it was outside to the memorial garden and the Jewish cemetery, now the cemetery is not a large affair as one would expect but a relatively small courtyard where the two thousand of those who died in the ghetto from hunger and cold during the winter 1944-1945 are buried in a mass grave, a very sobering experience but in my opinion one we need to be reminded of as the atrocities that went on during the war years should never be forgotten and hope that it never happens again.

After our visit we continued to follow the guided walk from our lonely planet guide-book, which took us through the once war-time ghettos, obviously they are not ghettos now but you can see from the obviously densely populated tenement building what it must have been like.

After our tour of the synagogue and our walk it was time for some refueling and one street I would recommend for this is Liszt Fernec Square well it is not quite a square but a long street with gardens down the middle, but with lots of bars and restaurants to choose from, in fact we came here a couple of times during our stay and I would throughly recommend it. Top tip try the chicken or catfish paprikash with gnocchi absolutely delicious. Tomorrow Margaret island and our Danube river trip