Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Get to know Polish travel bloggers: Agnieszka from Zależna w podróży

Time for the second interview with a Polish blogger. This time let me present you Agnieszka who runs Zależna w podróży, a blog about green and responsible tourism as well as solo female travels. She has recently came back from Israel, before she has traveled extensively around Middle East, Asia or Sicily. We met in June in Berlin and well, now we have plans to conquer the world together but more about that later. So without a furter ado meet Agnieszka!

Agnieszka somewhere in Georgia

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sunday with Pictures: Berat, the highlight of Albania

I still keep wondering what took me so long to travel to Albania. I've been hearing for past few years how amazing, untouched and off the beaten path it is and how now is the time to go there yet only this past November I managed to visit this mysterious Balkan country. After a long and adventurous journey I got to Berat, probably the biggest highlight of Albania, and it was love at first sight. Even if I was deadly tired I just couldn't stop pinching myself as this place was too beautiful to be true!

Berat is one of the oldest towns in the region, founded back in the ancient ages. After some troublesome history and changes of the name the city was finally called "Beligrad" - "The White City" (the current name is just the derivative of it). It's pretty obvious where it comes from as the Old Town of Berat is full of white houses, all of them facing the river (hence another name - "the city of thousands windows"). The number of monuments and interesting places is outstanding in such a small area - there're mosques, narrow cobbled streets and the fortress dating back to the Middle Ages. No wonder Berat made it to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2008!

I totally can see why everyone goes crazy about Berat as I fell under its charm from the very first moment too. It was very early in the morning, the weather was perfect and the sun gave some magic light to the white buildings occupying the hillside and standing almost on top of each other. As it turned out the place I stayed in was in the last row of houses - getting there was a little bit tiring but the view was the best reward. I could have stared at it for countless minutes and it didn't get boring!

Since the old part of Berat is so small it was very easy to see everything in one day. Getting lost in the maze of narrow, slippery and cobbled streets was a pure pleasure and even if couple of times I was sure I'm in a totally different place it was still a great way to get to know this part of the city. An easy walk across the river Osum offered the spectacular view of the Old Town, the one that is probably the most known of Albania and appears on half of the postcards. Again, I could have sat there for hours and just stare at what's in front of me, it was so beautiful... But I couldn't as there was still one more place I needed to see - the fortress!

Climbing the steep and slippery road was quiet a challenge - not only I had to focus really hard not to topple but also at some point catching a breath wasn't so easy (yes, I'm that badly out of shape...). But as soon as I climbed the wall of the fortress and saw the view over the town and surroundings I knew it was worth all the effort. It was just breathtaking! The rays of sun put the light over the nearby mountains, the wait houses with red rooftops were way below me and at that time I was extremely happy and grateful for my unconventional lifestyle. Only travelling can give me this kind of joy!

In the evening I went for one last walk around. The town and especially the main pedestrian street were full of people, mostly men. The houses were beautifully lit up, the numerous cafes were bustling with guests, the game of chess was in the course on nearby square. It was probably just a typical Sunday evening in Berat. After having a breakfast, outside with the stunning view it was time for me to leave Berat and continue the journey. As much as I loved it I know I will most likely never make it back there. But that's ok as one day is enough to fall in love with the place and have fond memories of it! And there's still so much of Albania that needs to be discovered!

But now just let me show you Berat. Can you blame me for loving it so much?

Berat, Albania

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The best cities for street art - chosen by travel bloggers, part 2

You can see pretty much posts about street art in here but can you blame me? I'm a huge enthusiast of this form of creativity outburst and I try to look for it everywhere I go to. As it turned out I'm not the only one who loves exploring the local street art scene! A while ago I asked couple of travel bloggers what are their favourite street art cities and they came up with some really great answers that you can find here. Today let me show you some more amazing destinations that every street art lover should visit!

street art in Toronto

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Bohemian Buenos Aires - San Telmo

It's no surprise I like bohemian neighborhoods. I must have been some kind of artist or hippie in the previous life as that's where I feel the best. Wherever I go I try to find this kind of areas. Sometimes I end up in them unconsciously, like something is pushing me there. That was the story with Buenos Aires. Before arriving to Argentina I knew next to nothing about the city and I randomly picked a place where I stayed. As it turned out I booked myself the accommodation in the most perfect place! For few days I could be a part of San Telmo - the bohemian heart of Buenos Aires!

bohemian San Telmo

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sunday with Pictures: monuments of Skopje, Macedonia

Skopje was probably the weirdest city I've ever been to. I loved it and had a wonderful time there but during my whole visit I just couldn't believe how crazy it is, how hard it tries to be something it is not, how nothing fits there. I was walking around speechless, with eyes wide open and kept thinking that Skopje must be every architect's nightmare. However, what impressed me the most was not the kitsch modern architecture colliding with buildings from the '80s but the overwhelming number of odd-looking monuments...

Skopje was badly destroyed during the earthquake in 1963, 80% of the city was damaged back then. Now colourful yet broken tiles spread all over the place remind of this tragic events that have changed the city forever. In 2010 the new project, supported and financed by the Macedonian Government, was launched. The aim of it is to give Skopje a new, more classical look by the end of 2014. You can find out more about the project when googling "Skopje 2014". When I visited the Macedonian capital in November 2014 a lot of works were still under construction and the main square of the city was partly closed to the pedestrians... 

One of the main purposes of the project, besides brand new neoclassical buildings, were monumental monuments showing some of the most important people for Macedonia. There's Alexander the Great, Mother Theresa (did you know she was born in Skopje?) or Justinian I just to name few. But besides the well known figures there are also monuments that confused me a lot and even if I tried really hard to understand their meaning I failed big time. I'm talking about shopaholic girls, dog with the crown or swimmers jumping into the Vardar River...

I really wish to know how many monuments exactly are in Skopje but it's not so easy to count them. There were places where, from the point I was standing in, I could count some 20 monuments around me. The Art Bridge itself has 29 sculptures of well known Macedonian artists and musicians! I felt so overwhelmed by most of these monuments and I really am wondering what the architect and people approving this project were really thinking. But on the other hand - the crazy architecture of Skopje makes the city so unique and well worth a visit! Just take a look!

Skopje monuments

Friday, December 5, 2014

alternative Ljubljana

I really believe that Ljubljana is probably the most underrated capital city in Europe. The main city of Slovenia is not only extremely beautiful and charming but it has so much more than the picturesque Old Town! The alternative vibe is well present in the city, some cool spots can be found just about everywhere and the number of these is pretty decent. During my 4th visit in Ljubljana I was planning to explore more off the beaten path and quirky places and I wasn't disappointed! Here is my mini guide to alternative Ljubljana!

alternative Ljubljana

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Get to know Polish travel bloggers: Ewa from Rusz w Podróż

Polish travel blogging world is a great community, full of incredible people who do amazing things. Too bad they are known only in our country, as they deserve so much more attention! Therefore I've decided to start a little project - from now on every 2-3 weeks I will introduce you to one of the Polish bloggers. They might write in our native language only but surely they are a really interesting bunch and I'm really proud to feature them in here! The first one is Ewa from the blog called "Rusz w Podróż" (try to read that out loud!). We've met on several occasions and were together in Berlin, those were fun times! Anyway, meet Ewa! 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Książki oddam w dobre ręce: "Miasto Kłamstw. Cała prawda o Teheranie"

Today the post is only in Polish but if you happen to find "City of Lies" by Ramita Navai it is highly recommended you read that book!


Jeśli śledzicie mnie również na Facebooku wiecie, że już niedługo, zaraz po świętach, wybieram się w końcu do Iranu! Kraj ten, przez wielu odradzany, marzył mi się od lat, tym bardziej że co chwilę kolejny znajomy wracał stamtąd zachwycony architekturą, kulturą i niesamowitą gościnnością mieszkańców. Jak tylko udało mi się upolować bilety w przyzwoitej cenie zaczęłam zagłębiać się w lektury o Iranie - taki mój mały rytuał przed każdym wyjazdem. Tym bardziej byłam przeszczęśliwa, kiedy w ręce wpadła mi książka "Miasto Kłamstw. Cała prawda o Teheranie" autorstwa Ramity Navai!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday with Pictures: bohemian Kazimierz Dolny, Poland

I can't be objectiv when talking about Kazimierz Dolny. This charming little town with bohemian vibe is one of the most visited attractions in Poland but since it's located only 12kms from my hometown I've been going there frequently since I remember. I've spent there so much time, drunk there enormous quantity of beer and attended some of the best parties of my high school life. I consider it one of "my" places, the one I know inside out and where I play a guide for friends coming to this part of the country.

I totally can see why people are so crazy about Kazimierz Dolny. It's lovely, it's cozy, it's beautiful! Very often it is called "the town of artists" and that is so very true as the number of the small galleries there is outstanding! I can't blame all the creative types falling for Kazimierz Dolny - cobbled streets, rolling hills, old houses, Vistula river... the scenery is just perfect! 

But the bohemian, artistic feel aren't the only reason why so many people visit the town every year. Kazimierz Dolny is also one of the most historic places in Poland. That's where the king used to have one of his numerous castles and where few more smaller castles (like for the king's secret mistress) were located. Kazimierz was also an important trade center back when goods were transported down the Vistula from Kraków to Gdańsk - now along the river some beautiful garners remind of the old golden times.

Unfortunately over the years the town has changed a lot, slowly losing its authentic charm and becoming a more commercial touristy destination. It's crazy especially over the weekends when the town is literally flooded with people (the majority comes from nearby Lublin or Warsaw as it's just the easy trip to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city). My suggestion is - go there in the weekday, no matter which season and you will love it for sure!

These pictures were taken in the beautiful autumn Saturday, when the big running competition took place in Kazimierz Dolny. Still it was beautiful, just look!

Kazimierz Dolny

Friday, November 28, 2014

Subotica - the art nouveau pearl of Europe

I bet many of you haven't heard about Subotica before. I have no idea how I learnt about this city, as I know maybe one person who have been there. Just somehow deep down in my mind I knew I have to go this Serbian city as some wonders might be hidden in there. When the opportunity came and I was planning my latest Balkans trip I managed to include Subotica in my itinerary. And that was the best decision ever as the city turned out to be just stunning and the art nouveau architecture there looks like from the fairy tale!

Subotica art nouveau

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