What to visit in Taichung

To start our taiwanese trip we will travel all around the city of Taichung, a taiwanese hidden gem chosen by locals as the best destination in Taiwan. The attractiveness of the city originates in its architectural mix, its lively streets, its mild climate and the kindness of its citizens.

Taichung is the second largest city of Taiwan with 2.7 million inhabitants and it is known to be the house of the famous, tasty bubble tea (still don´t know the taiwanese bubble tea? Just keep reading then 😉 ).

While endeavoring to achieve modernization with the construction of new, modern buildings as well as remember the past, Taichung strive to position as the second most important city of Taiwan (today this honor belongs to Kaoshiung).

What to visit

Let´s make a tour around the city to discover some amazing spots you should take into account when preparing your trip to Taiwan:

Central District

Konfunzious Temple

Built around 1976 Confucius Temple is a peaceful oasis in the middle of Taichung´s downtown.

This incredible temple follows the construction-style of the Song Dynasty by mixing sobriety and simplicity together with vivid colors and decorated roofs and beams. In the galleries located at the side of the main courtyard the visitor can find various classrooms and a library, where traditional arts are taught.

This temple is usually used by young couples as the perfect landscape for their pre-wedding photo album.

Yizhong Street Night Market

If you want to experience the real, ancient Taiwan lifestyle you CANNOT miss this unique night market.

Located closed to Taichung´s University, this area accommodate thousand of students willing to enjoy its young, trendy culture with many fashion stores and tasteful finger food such as stinky tofu (you can feel its smell since the moment you approach the market), baozi or fried chicken.

Among its specialities you will also find cold tea, watermelon juice and the famous bubble tea.

Haven´t you ever heard about it?

Bubble tea was invented in Taichung in the 80s. Although there are many varieties of this unique drink, the original recipe contains a tea based mixed with milk, tapioca balls (know as bubbles 😉 ) and fruit jelly such as lychee.

North District

Paochueh Temple

A nice walk from the city center will lead you to Paochueh Temple.


Beautiful isn´t it?. Wait to discover its dramatic (laughing) Buddha statue (the largest in Taiwan). I fell in love with it! 🙂

 

Feng Chia Night Market

Described as a «sensory feast for both eyes and palate», this is the most touristic and large (around 1 km) market in Tiachung.  Always full of people (during the weekend around 30.000 people usually visit it), this market boast about exotic and delicious food such as crepes, stinky tofu, cheese potatoes, low-calorie ice-cream, bread with fried noodles and many more. Furthermore, due to its proximity to Feng Chia University, visitors can also find a wide range of low-cost fashion and tech stores.

Shengang District

Balloon Museum

Taiwan Balloon Museum is in fact an over-50-years-old balloon factory located in the residential area of Shengang. Here visitors can take an informative journey to discover how does the manufacturing process of balloons work. In addition, the museum offers rubber balloon DIY workshops and guided tours.

An original plan for children and not so children 😉

Taiping District

Earthequake Museum

On September 21, 1999, Taiwan experienced one of its worst natural disasters ever, a 7.3-magnitude earthquake that destroyed the central part of this amazing island. The earthquake museum was built in order to honor the victims of this catastrophe, as well as to raise citizens awareness and show them how to act in case of earthquake.

West District

National Taichung Theater

Ready to walk on the roof of an opera house?

The National Taichung Theater is an opera house and multifunctional space which includes:

  • Grand Theater: A 2007 seats cozy, red-themed theater
  • Playhouse: An ocean blue space where musicals and concerts usually take place
  • Black Box:  A black interior space for experimental theater performances
  • Outdoor theater: Covering 1000 square meters, the theater is surrounded by transplanted trees that creates a beautiful natural space, which, by the way, is linked to the Black Box
  • Sky Garden: Visiting the Sky Garden is like entering a different world. The space, surrounded by skyscrapers, is a great area for outdoor concerts. This sixth floor venue is accessible via elevator

National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts

Great museum with exhibitions mostly focused on taiwanese art, although all the time there are temporary exhibitions. The building itself is splendid and it has been  rebuilt after the 921 earthquake.

Where to sleep

Love I

Located just a short 4-minute walk from Feng Chia Night Market, it is a pretty cozy place, nicely decorated and with own private bathroom.

Talmud Hotel

Located in the central district, 1-minute walk from Yizhong Street Night Market is an ideal european style hotel with private bathroom and taiwanese breakfast.

Wowwow House

Located near by Taichung Park and surrounded by restaurants, Wowwow House is a taiwanese cozy hotel whose rooms own private bathrooms.

Where to eat

Street food

  • Fengchia Night Market
  • Yizhong Street Night Market

Hint: Try both stinky and spicy tofu. Tasty!!!

Hot Pot

  • Modern Toilet

European Food

Japanese Food

  • Chung You Department Store

Did you like the post? Motivated to include Taichung in your bucket list? If you want to share more information about this dramatic city feel free to leave a comment below 😉

To say goodbye I want to share more pictures with you (Remember: Next stop Sun Moon Lake 😉 ):

 

 

 

 

8 reasons why you should visit Taiwan

 

After 22 hours travel (including three flights with Cathay Pacific – first time with them and I fell in love with the company), a 3 hours sleep night and two films + 3 episodes of Sex and the City, I finally arrived to Taiwan 😊.

Let me confess that this wonderful country was not in my bucket list. In fact I had never thought about visiting it until a good friend of mine moved there. So, I basically took my decision based on a good friendship. What am I trying to say? Well, let’s be honest: I had no clue about what I could expect from Taiwan. I had no idea about the country, its people, its culture…

Now that I am back in occident I can strongly say that Taiwan should also be in your bucket list, in fact, you should consider Taiwan as your next holidays destination.

To understand why I am saying this I want to invite you to visit my blog within the next weeks, when I am going to tell you more about this amazing place and I am also going to give you a lot of tips to prepare your trip.

Today, to start this blog series about this idyllic asian island I would like to share with you the 8 main reasons why you should visit Taiwan.

Are you ready? Then… Let´s go!

1. The people

No words to describe the kindness of Taiwanese people. Even though most of them do not speak English, they are always willing to help you.

Yes! This trip allowed me to improve my chinese skills 😊

2. The wide amount of beautiful temples

Taiwanese are quite religious with many beautiful temples dotted all around the country.

Do not feel a little intrusive when visiting them, locals are extremely welcoming to tourist that do. However, do not forget that temples are sacred buildings where some rules should be followed.

In the coming weekends I will show you some of the most amazing temples in Taiwan.

3. Taipei is home of the 8th biggest building of the world

Taipei 101 (the figure denote the number of floors) was the tallest building in the world until 2010. This is not only a business building, but also a great place for tourists. From its observation deck on the 91st floor the view is dramatic (I will tell you more on a post dedicated to Taipei 😉 )

4. The dramatic landscapes

When Portuguese sailors first saw Taiwan in the 1500s they literally fell in love with the landscape of the island. In fact, the called it “Ilha Formosa” (beautiful island) and the name remained until the arrival of the Ming dynasty.

5. They have a balloon and an earthquake museum

Can you believe it? I was so amazed when I found out about the balloon museum… I couldn´t even imagine the existence of such a museum!

And the earthquake one? Thanks to it I learnt that Taiwan sits on the same earthquake “ring of fire” as Japan and California.

In 1999 Taiwan experienced a magnitude 7.3 earthquake, its worst in recent memory, which killed 2.400 people. Apparently, the museum was created to inform and raise awareness on how to act in case of an earthquake.

I have never heard about this kind of museums. What about you?

6. Taiwanese food is considered one of the best of the world

Ready to try it?

Within the next weeks I will give some hints about where to eat in the different cities that we will visit together 😉

7. The hiking trails

Taiwan offers tourists a wide hiking trails opportunities, from light treks to real climbs. One of the most known places to hike are Taroko National Park and the beautiful Kenting National Park.

8. Their night markets

While the country is pretty lively during the day (let´s say from 10.00 am onwards), it is when the sun goes down when the island of Taiwan really wakes up and becomes alive.

Taiwan is full of night markets where you will find delicious street food, clothes and tech products. If you really want to understand the Taiwanese way of life, you must definitely visit its night markets.

Taiwan Post Series

Ready to visit the country now?

Within the next weeks we will start a trip visiting many different places such as Taichung, Jiufen, Kenting or Taipei on the blog.

Together we will discover more about the taiwanese culture, its history, its food, its people and its traditions. (If we are connected via IG, I am sure that you have already seen some of my taiwanese pictures 😉 )

Our first stop will be the dramatic city of Taichung.

Next week we will discover more about the third largest city of Taiwan and, at the same time, the most traditional one.

Have a nice week and see you soon! 🙂

 

* when I talk about «tourists» you must take into account that Taiwan is not known for being an international holidays destination, so most of the tourists visiting the island are local or chinese ones.

Visit Bilbao & Eat Pintxos

Last year Bilbao celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Guggenheim museum, a building that supposed an urban relaunch in which the industrial past of this city was overlaid with green areas and modern architecture.

Most of art lovers around the world started to look at this city as “the next place to visit”, almost all Spaniards got rid of their prejudices and the most relevant travel experts placed Bilbao (finally) on the map. Thankfully, the old Basque traditions still remain intact. Despite the constant growth in visitors’ number, Basque people still maintain their ancient soul. Eating pintxos and supporting Athletic de Bilbao are still part of their lifestyle.

Bilbao is a great city for people interested in food, architecture, history and even music (Bilbao yearly hosts different music festivals, the most popular one is the BBK Live, maybe you have already heard about it).

Although the vast majority of visitors come to Bilbao attracted by the Guggenheim Museum, most of them go back home having discovered an unique place full of charm. And that is what I would like to show you with this post, a living city opened to embrace visitors and to share their culture with them.

What to visit in Bilbao

Casco Viejo

A good way to start discovering Bilbao is to visit the core of the city, the place where it all started: “Siete Calles” (Seven Streets), the old town of Bilbao.

Bilbao, as we all know it, started as a seven streets village located in the middle of two mountain ranges which gained importance in Spain due to its port activity. Nowadays, the old town looks much different as before. Its ancient narrow streets are closed to traffic allowing the visitor to get lost among renamed places such as the 14th century Santiago Cathedral, the Unamuno square (which honors the Spanish writer with the same name), Plaza Nueva (the most important square of the old town reconverted, nowadays, into a “place to be” for all pintxo lovers), Mercado de la Ribiera (the ancient Bilbao´s market, nowadays reconverted into a modern one. Check it here: http://www.lariberabilbao.com/en/ ) and Teatro Arriaga (the historical theater of Bilbao)

The neighboring area of Bilbao La Vieja has a similar history and vibe but it has started to attract artists and gallery owners, after years of controversy. This renovated part of the city is becoming popular among young and middle age people who like to try new, modern restaurants.

Museums

Leaving the old town and walking along the river side we start our way to the two main museums of the city: the Museo de Bellas Artes (Bilbao Fine Arts Museum) and the Guggenheim.

Although the Guggenheim take most of the credit, Bilbao´s ancient museum always organizes a great program of temporary exhibitions. Both museums complement themselves.  On the one hand, the Museo de Bellas Artes, which is part of the city landscape since 1914, has one of the best collections of paintings made by many great Spanish masters like El Greco, Velazquez, Zurbarán or Goya. The Guggenheim museum, on the other hand, has one of the most renowned modern art collections of the world. Its temporary exhibitions as well as the permanent collection are in line with the groundbreaking architecture of the building. Two of the most popular outdoor artworks are the Puppy, a terrier carpeted in bedding plants created by Jeff Koons, and Maman, a tribute to  Louise Bourgeois´ mother created in form of a spider.

Downtown

After this cultural visit I would recommend you to enjoy some refreshment before exploring. A good street to recharge your energy  is Pozas, a traditional meeting point for locals.

Following I will show you three different ways to walk from the Guggenheim until Pozas (do not forget the name of this place 😉 )

River path

Leaving the Guggenheim and walking along the river side we start our river path. As you may already know, Bilbao experienced an architectural transformation the last 20 years which meant a radical change not only on its image to the outside world but also on its economy.

Walking along the Nervión (Bilbao´s river) is a good way to understand and to discover this transformation. Next to the Guggenheim we can find two modern university libraries (one belonging to the private and the other one to the public university) located just in front of one of the most ancient buildings of Bilbao: the renowned University of Deusto.

If we continue our way, we will find the highest building of the city: La torre Iberdrola, a modern office  building. Straight forward we reach Doña Casilda park (better known as the ducks´ park) from where we can observe the modern Palacio Euskalduna, a theater and conference hall.

Just walk a couple of steps more to reach Plaza Circular (Circular Square) in Gran Vía, the commercial and financial centre of the city, and the new San Mames football stadium.

At this point we should remember that Bilbainos (people of Bilbao) are really pride of their football team. Why? Since more than 100 years ago, heritage and tradition are hugely important to Athletic de Bilbao Club. In a football world ruled by money and globalization, Athletic has a complete reliance on their cantera (youth basque players playing for Athletic Club in youth league). This non-written policy implies that every player who pulls on the famous red and white shirt is drawn from the Basque Country. This special non-written rule is the soul of Athletic Club that attracts fans not only from Bilbao but from all around the world. If you are one of those who think that this policy could create an inferiority between Athletic and other Spanish teams, let me surprise you by telling you that Athletic is one of the three clubs never relegated from “La Liga” (the others are Real Madrid and Barca).

Starting from this point, just a couple of meters away from San Mames,  perpendicular to Gran Vía, we arrive to Pozas.

City path

Leaving Puppy behind our backs we will start this path which will lead us to Pozas.

Streets such as Mazarredo, Elcano, Iparraguirre or Alameda Rekalde make up the modern “art district”. Among them it is easy to find art galleries, modern pintxos bars as well as gift and antique stores. At the end of this area we will reach Gran Vía, the financial centre of Bilbao, a 1.5 kilometers street long between Plaza Circular and Plaza del Sagrado Corazón. The halfway point is Plaza Moyua (Moyua square), home to the Carlton Hotel and to the shopping area of the city.

Although Moyua contains historical, dramatic buildings, one of the most interesting monuments of this square are the subway entrances.

Designed by Norman Foster, Bilbao´s subway stations are station-caverns made of stainless steel and glass. Inside, the stations are a large basilica-style gallery with two platforms. Outside, at the street level, the entrances are circular canyons made of glass. The renowned architect changed Bilbao´s landscape with this perfect example of engineering and architecture combination. You can find subway stations almost all around the city. It is well worth visiting them.

To reach our destination we just need to walk through Alameda Recalde until Pozas or to enjoy a ride in the subway 😉

Image found on Google Image from the blog Arquitectura en Red

 

Parque de los patos path

Although its real name is “Parque de Doña Casilda” this beautiful park located in the middle of Bilbao is popular known as ‘”Parque de los patos” (Ducks´ park) due to its lake usually crowded by lovely ducks and swans.

At the entrance of this city´s little green lung, appears the previously mentioned Museo de Bellas Artes, whose outdoor exhibition welcomes the visitors of the park. Walking through Doña Casilda Park we can discover a huge variety of trees and plants until we reach Indautxu, a centric area of Bilbao which offers a wide range of stores and businesses, although it is particularly noted for its many pintxos bars and ancient constructions.

Where to eat: The tradition of Pintxos

Pintxos are skewered and bite-sized foods, traditionally pierced with a cocktail stick to attach them to a piece of bread. They range from traditional pintxos to mini haute cuisine experiments such as grilled foie with a cream of blackberry and warm flavoured cheese. When going to have some pintxos, it is important to know that there is no need to order them, you can directly take them from the bar counter. Do not forget to don´t throw away the toothpick attached to it, you will need them to show the barman how many pintxos you ate, so that he can charge you accordingly.

Locals usually eat one or two pintxos with a glass Txakoli (traditional Basque white wine) or Zurito (a small glass of beer) before moving on to the next bar. Resist to sample every pintxo in a single bar, there is always another bar around the corner with more amazing pintxos waiting for you! 😉

But, where can I find Pintxos in Bilbao?

Let me show you the best streets to enjoy this tasty bite-sized foods.

Pozas

The famous Pozas Street is back on the post! Yes, if you remember we came walking from the Guggenheim until Pozas to have some refreshment after our cultural visit to the dramatic Frank Gehry´s building.

Here there are traditional bars such as Restaurante Sotera, Zaharra or Restaurante Serantes. From Pozas, you can follow your gastronomical route in Calle Maestro Garcia Rivero (best pintxo bar of the street: Gozatu) or in Plaza Campuzano (traditional Pintxo bar: Bar el Estoril, highly recommended).

Plaza Nueva

Years ago Plaza Nueva looked different, nowadays it is the new Bilbao´s pintxos area. Reconverted in «the place to be», many new bars are opening their doors in this part of the old town. The best ones? I would like to recommend you: Bar Sorginzulo, Bar Zuga and Bar Gure Toki. All of them have a great pintxos variety.

Diputación

Classics never die.

Diputación is a small square located in the downtown, nearby the council office (ES: Diputación), full of traditional Bilbao bars. I recommend you to try at least one pintxo in each bar:

  • Bar el Globo: Most popular pintxo – Pintxo de Txangurro
  • Café la Vina: Do not forget to eat jamón there. They have the best one in the entire city
  • Bar Zurekin: Try one Pintxo de Bacalao
  • Bar la Olla: Really tasty Tortilla de Patata

What else to visit in Bilbao

Before leaving this beautiful basque city I would like to recommend you a couple of places more to visit:

Artxanda

You can take a cable car in Plaza del Funicular, a couple of meters away from the city hall, up to the hill to see a fantastic view of Bilbao from above. It is worthy!

Basílica de Begoña

Built on the site where the Virgin appeared in the early sixteenth century, this Gothic Basilica is the sanctuary to venerate the Virgin of Begoña, patron saint of Bizkaia. Thousands of tourists and pilgrims (the Way of Saint James pass through its main arcade) visit this one of the greatest symbols of the city.

Getxo

Ready to drive to the coast? Just take the modern city subway and go to Las Arenas. Have a walk around, visit Puente Colgante and walk along the river side until you reach the beach. Fantastic views!

If you travel in summer you can also go to Larrabasterra or Plentzia to enjoy the beautiful, wild basque beaches.

Did you like the post? Do you want to recommend us another spot? Do you have any question regarding this city? Just leave your comments below or via social networks: FB, IG, Twitter

Have a nice trip!

 

3 amazing places to visit in Montenegro

Visiting Montenegro had always been on my bucket list. In fact, exploring all its bordering countries is an experience that I would like to make come true one day. Therefore, the minute we planned our trip to Croatia we knew that we were going to visit the neighbour country of Montenegro.

The initial ideal was to travel until Budva with the car and to explore different spots on our way to that city, however, the weather did not co-operated with us so we had to change our plans.

Finally, we decided to travel until Kotor and to stop spontaneously on the way when we saw any dramatic spot.

Our journey started in Dubrovnik early in the morning (by the way, I still have to write a post about the amazing city of Dubrovnik, in the meanwhile you can find more spectacular croatian spots by clicking here) under a grey sky who reminded us that autumn was around the corner.

Although the weather was not as good as expected we did not care that much about it because our appetite for adventure was enormous, so we had the chance  to stop in many different amazing places located beside the Bay of Kotor.

Perast

Located beneath the hill of St.Ilija, Perast is an historical old town of the Bay of Kotor. Although its cobblestone streets are full of history (thousands of tourists stop by during the year to admire this small town, which was the center of many historical empires battles throughout the centuries) they were really quiet that day. I supposed that its less than 300 inhabitants would rather stay at home than walking under the rain.

One of the main attractions of this charming place is the artificial island known as «Our lady on the rocks», where a Roman Catholic Church is located. According to the legend, the islet was made over the centuries by local seamen after finding an icon of the virgin Mary on the rock in the sea

To access to this unique place it is necessary to go by boat (you can buy tickets at Perast´s port for around 4€).

Since the weather conditions were not good enough to navigate to the islet we decided to stay in Perast and have a walk around the town.

As the weather was getting worse we decided to keep traveling to Kotor.

We thought it would be better to visit the city of Kotor where we could find some warm places to have a cup of coffee every time it rained intensely.

Kotor

An enormous port, full of immense ferries, welcomed us in our arrival to the city of Kotor. After the first impression (I think I had never seen such huge ferries before) we discovered an enormous wall with a stunning gate. Since Kotor was settled during the ancient Roman times, the almost 5km wall was the perfect construction to protect the city from possible attacks.

The ancient wall enclosed a beautiful city brimming with charm and history. One of the most renewed place is the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Saint Tryphon, built in honor of the patron and protector of the city around 1166.

The famous main square, Piazza of the Arms, offers the tourist restaurants and cafes from where to enjoy the well preserved facades of the city and its old buildings made of stone. (We ended up having lunch in a non touristic street surrounded by locals. I would like to recommend you the place where we went but actually I do not know how we ended up there… So, if you go to Kotor just give a chance to its touristic restaurants and let us know if you like them 🙂 )

However, what really got our attention was something I had never seen in other countries. Kotor is full of stray cats, in fact, these animals are part of the city.

They are present in each corner, in every souvenir store, even it exists a cat museum in the city!.

As we found this «cat-love» really fascinating, we decided to ask some locals about it. They explained us that cats were considered as good luck symbols, however, no one was sure about the origin of this belief.

After spending the whole day visiting historical places we decided to come back home no without stopping in another beautiful montenegrin town.

Bar Stari Grad

A small town famous due to its ancient ruins (I had no pictures of the ruins… Sorry…!! It rained cats and dogs!).

This was a great experience & we are sure that we will be back, but next time in summer when the sun shines and the temperatures are higher 🙂

I hope you enjoyed the post, it was a short trip but intense 🙂

Have you ever been in Montenegro? Which spot do you recommend? Feel free to share your thoughts 🙂

 

 

 

 

Best places in Germany

Unlike many people think, Germany is not a grey, serious and rainy country but an interesting place to discover something new every day.

After a couple of years living here I have had the opportunity to visit not only the well-known German metropolis such as Berlin or Hamburg, but also small ancient cities and the countryside. If you are willing to come to visit Germany in an unconventional way (by visiting some “non-so-touristic” places) keep reading this post because this week it is starting the “Best Places in Germany” post series. Are you ready to discover this remarkable country?

Best places in Germany (of the week):

Monschau

The first time I heard about Monschau was in December 2014, when I friend of mine advised me to visit its Christmas market. Since I could not do that (it is worthier to visit it during the week, instead of during the weekends) I decided to give this old town a chance during the summer time.

Located nearby the Belgium border, Monschau preserves an ancient style, which provides this small city with a special charm. The city center is divided in two by the Rur river, consequently, the two parts of the city are connected by ancient bridges.

What to visit in Monschau

  • Christmas market

Although I could not visit it (not yet 😉 ) I can imagine the importance and the magnitude of this market, since one of the most visited places in the city of Monschau it is its Christmas store (open all year)

  • Castle Monschau

Most part of the castle is in ruins nowadays. Reused as a hostel after the IWW it is the perfect location to host summer concerts.

  • Market square

The heart of the city. Here the visitor can find restaurants, ancient buildings with flowerbox adornments and remarkable spots to be amazed with the mountains surrounding the city.

Heidelberg

Heidelberg is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Germany, as well as one of the most important student cities.

Ancient castles, narrow alleys, hilly streets  and beautiful parks and gardens are part of the landscape. Its university is the oldest in Germany and famous for its medical faculty. In Heidelberg, everything is within easy reach either on foot or by bike.

What to visit in Heidelberg

  • Heidelberg Castle

The castle, one of the most important renaissance structures, was started to be constructed in 1210 A.D. and, although, it has been destroyed several times due to different wars it preserves its ancient splendour.

It is worth to visit the main attraction of Heidelberg and it can be seen from each corner of the city.

  • The Altstadt

Down in the Altstadt (the old town) there are plenty of narrow streets and squares full of restaurants, stores and cafes. The main square, Markplatz, is a cute place where to enjoy a good cup of coffee or a Rothhaus Pils, one of the most famous beers of Heidelberg.

  • River Neckar

Having a walk along the River Neckar is always a good idea to avoid the crowds and to re-discover Heidelberg. The view from this side of the river is really cute and, if the weather is good, this area of the city is the best place for a picnic.

  • Alte Brucke

The Alte Brucke (Old Bridge) can be discover after passing through a remarkable medieval gate. The bridge dates from the 18th century and it is the most visited bridge of the city.

Düsseldorf

And last but not least, the beautiful city of Düsseldorf.

The capital of the NRW (North Rhine-Westphalia) Region reflects the development that this area of Germany suffered some years ago.

The old industrial city of Düsseldorf led to a modern, cosmopolitan city, centre of fashion, glamour and international businesses. Known as the german city of fashion, Düsseldorf has the honor to have been ranked as the 6th world´s best city to live in beyond other important cities such as Frankfurt or Berlin.

What to visit in Düsseldorf?

  • Mediahafen

To understand the transformation suffered by this remarkable city it is important to have a walk around its «Mediahafen». The old port was rebuilt into a modern area full of international business, restaurants and hotels. Frank Gehry, in charge of this transformation, built the most emblematic buildings of this area.

  • Altstadt

The old town is the core of the city. Full of narrow, car-free streets is the best place to discover the ancient Düsseldorf.

  • Königsalle

Ready to have a walk surrounded by the best fashion firms of the world? Just visit the Königsalle.

Special tips:

  1. From the Rheinturm the visitor can enjoy a strinkingly view of the city
  2. Benrath Schloss (the palace of Benrath), located 15 minutes away from the oldtown by subway, has beautiful gardens and tasty home made cakes
  3. Bilk is the best area to enjoy a good meal under the sun
  4. Stadttmite is the place-to-be for sushi and japanese-culture lovers (more than 10.000 Japanese live in Düsseldorf, the largest community in Europe)
  5. An «altbier» tour should be compulsory ;). Do not forget to try the traditional Düsseldorf Beer!

Have you ever been to Germany? Which are your favourite places? Share your thoughts!! 🙂 

Five things to do in Šibenik

 

five things to do in sibenik

If you plan to visit Croatia you should add the town of Šibenik to your bucket list.

Its increasing popularity among tourists is understandable since this small coastal city has endure the test of time remaining as special as ever. But what makes this city so different? For one, the fact that Šibenik is the only dalmatian city built by Croats (cities such as Split or Dubrovnik were founded by different cultures). Second, its ancient monuments, fortress and cathedrals, all of them made of stone.

Still curious about Šibenik? Let´s find out then what to visit in Šibenik:

1. Cathedral of St. James

This UNESCO Heritage cathedral is the number on attraction in Šibenik. This magnificent monument was built  in the 15th and 16th centuries and can be said to be the only cathedral in Europe constructed only with stone.

Although the original dome was damaged by Serbian forces when the city was shelled in 1991, it was quickly repaired providing the cathedral with its original magnificent aspect.

The Cathedral of St. James (listed on the UNESCO World Heritage since 2000) is considered the most important Renaissance building in Croatia.

The ticket to visit this splendid building costs around 15kn (2€)

things to do in Sibenik

2. Šibenik City Hall

A strikingly building situated on the medieval Square of the city.

The City Hall of Šibenik was built between 1533 and 1546. Although it was destroyed in December 1943 during the attack of the allied forces, it was rebuilt to look exactly like it did before the war.

On the ground floor is located a nice restaurant with a wonderful terrace where to taste some croatian food.

untitled-design-8

3. Old Town

The Old Town of Šibenik is a medieval car-free city made up of narrow streets.

The beauty of this city lies in its ancient buildings and churches, some of which are still marked by the signs of the balkan war, and the hidden hideouts the visitor can find while walking around the old town.

The cobbled streets connect all these historical buildings. Sometimes the narrow streets pass underneath an arch, other times, the visitor have to pass through a tunnel which leads to a narrower street where stands, for example, a small sanctuary. But that is the magic of a place which was built on a rocky coastal area.

five things to do in Sibenik

4. Fortress of Šibenik

Šibenik  had such a strategic position in the Adriatic Sea that the city has been always desired by all the Mediterranean powers. However, croatians anticipated that and erected a couple of fortresses which have been an underused tourist attraction. An ambitious program of restoration is already beginning to return the four fortresses of Šibenik its ancient splendor.

The four for Šibenik are:

1. St. Michel´s Fortress: The first fortress of the city was built on the 11th century under the reign of King Petar Krešimir IV, considered the founding father of the city. 

2. Barone Fortress: Built in the 17th century to protect the city from the Candia Wars.

3. St. John Fortress: Also built in the 17th century but more popular than the previous fortress since it was used as set of Game of Thrones in 2014.

4. St.Nicholas´ Fortress: The most beautiful fortress due to its privilege location. This fortress stands at the entrance of the St. Anthony Channel.

things to do in sibenik

 

5. The port of Šibenik

To have a walk outside the old town allows the visitor to enjoy different parts of the city such as the medieval mediterranean garden or Šibenik harbour.

From the ancient port of Šibenik not only the view of the city is remarkable, but it is easy to travel to other dalmatian cities such as Primosten (read more about this city here) or to navigate to the impressive Krka National Park (more information about this spectacular place here).

five things to do in sibenik

Now it is your turn; have you ever been to Šibenik? Did you like it? Which monument did you like the most? What would you recommend to visit in Šibenik? Feel free to share your experience! 

Primosten

Primosten is ranked as one of the most picturesque small town in the Adriatic due to its remarkable beaches and its old town, which is located on a small island connected to the mainland by a mound.

This ancient place is located only 36 km from Krka National Park (if you want to find out more about this remarkable park click here) and 26 km from Sibenik (new post coming soon! ;)), and it is easily accessible by car.

See the best of Primosten in one day

Although the overcast sky threatened storm, we remained firm in our one day excursion and we visited some historical sites such as St. Juraj church (located on the highest point of the island and built in 1485) and St. Roko chapel (a valuable cultural monument built in 1680).

From my point of view the most amazing spot was the graveyard which encloses the St.Juraj church, from where the visitor can enjoy a striking view of the open sea.

During summer months many festivities take place in Primosten such as folk music evenings and fishing nights, although the most know is the traditional donkey race. The race of these charming animals is an annual tradition which attract thousand of visitors every year. Furthermore, the port of Primosten also hosts many sport and recreation activities such as jet-ski, water sports and beach volley during summer days.

Despite the cloudy sky and the shower that welcomed us at the beginning of our trip, the sun started to shine the moment we descended the narrow slopes of the old town.

The moment we reached the sandy beach of Primosten we could contemplate the calm Adriatic sea, enjoy a nice walk around the town wall and choose a nice restaurant to try some local dishes.

If you also want to enjoy a good meal and become acquainted with the local gastronomy I recommend you to visit the «Marina» restaurant (more information here). The place is located in front of a small beach and they serve home made regional food (Tip: The mussels were really tasty).

Before leaving Primosten we could not resist to stop at the top of a mountain nearby the national road to capture this beautiful moment

 

Have you ever been to Primosten? What did you like the most? Share your comments! 

 

 

Monaco

Monaco

The tour started early in the morning (around 8.30 am) the moment we got off the train at Montecarlo main station.

Once we went out we were welcomed by the sizzling Monegasque weather; the sun was bright and ready to accompany us during our half-day trip to Monaco.

Following the traces

Walking around the steep streets we saw old buildings merged into new neigbourhood, luxury cars, and international renowned stores nearby local ones, until we reached the celebrated Casino of Montecarlo. It was too early to go inside but we took a couple of photos (To be sincere, we were expecting a bigger building)
At that point we were starving (we desperately needed a breakfast) and we were also really excited about having just found the traces that the Formula 1 cars left on the road. We decided to follow them (actually the streets are more perpendicular than it seems on TV) until we arrived to the famous Nikki Beach behind which we saw… A cafeteria in the rooftop of a building! We ran to get a breakfast and what was our surprise when we discovered the magnificent views from the place. We really enjoyed our cookies and coffee.
Then we visited the port of Monaco taking a great delight in watching the impressive yachts docked there.
Monaco

 

A love story

One important fact of Monaco´s history is its royal family and the love story between Rainier and Grace Kelly. Walking uphills we arrived to the royal palace in front of which appear the colourful quarter of Monaco-Ville. This area of the city is surrounded by a viewpoint-promenade from where the visitor can enjoy the best views of Montecarlo.
Not far from the palace it is located the cathedral. A huge part of the history of this city is placed among its huge stained glasses because all the monegasque princes are entombed under it. Also Grace Kelly and Rainier, who are buried together.
The moment we started considering coming downhill the police appear facing the royal palace, we approached to see what was going on (call me curious 😉 ) when we found out that it was changing of the guard time!

You can also fall in love with it

Before leaving Montecarlo we had a walk all around; its football stadium, its industrial part, its malls (all of them dedicated to the monegasque princesses)… It was really warm, therefore we started to look for a beach and suddenly we were in France!! Only a small road separated France from Monaco so, unintentionally, we sunbathed under the French sun.
Falling in love with Monaco is really easy. Its people are really nice, the city of Montecarlo is beautiful and the mediterranean weather helps to provide the place with a special feeling.
Ready to also fall in love with it?

What to visit in Monaco

  • The port: To enjoy the impressive yachts docked there
  • The Prince´s Palace of Monaco: At 12.00 o´clock is the changing of guard time
  • The cathedral: Beautiful, full of stained glasses and works of art. All the princes of Monaco are entombed at the cathedral, including Grace Kelly and Rainier III
  • The oceanographic museum of Monaco
  • Monaco train station 

What about you, have you ever been there? Did you like it? What is your favourite area of the city?