Monthly Archives: July 2013

Ljubljana

Dragon on one of the bridges in Ljubljana

Dragon on one of the bridges in Ljubjana

Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia with a population of 280 000 people. It is a small, friendly city on the Ljubljana River. Slovenia was formally a part of the old Yugoslavia. It has borders with Austria, Italy, Croatia and Hungary. It was the first country to declare its independence in 1991.
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Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik

I had wanted to go to Dubrovnik for a very long time. However I was concerned that it would disappoint as did Carcassonne and Sorrento. When I visited both these cities I felt that I had come 30 years too late. Too crowded, too many in your face tourist shops. Where was the real community?

Dubrovnik town wall

Dubrovnik town wall

Dubrovnik was certainly crowded but somehow it was different. I stayed outside the old town, 10 minutes away by bus in a resort hotel on the sea. This was chosen as I thought after 4 weeks of train travel I would need a rest. I was able to swim and just gaze at the sea.

But I visited the old town on 5 occasions and of course walked around the wall and attended a concert as part of the Summer Festival. Continue reading

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People Along the Way

One of the joys of this trip has been the people I have met along the way.

Tour group dressed to enter the Holy Shrine in Mushad, Iran

Tour group dressed to enter the Holy Shrine in Mushad, Iran

First of course there were those on the tour from Beijing to Istanbul, 6 women and one man from Australia, all of a certain age but from variety of backgrounds and a very wide range of social and political views. Our guide was a young Russian woman who had grown up in Kyrgyzstan because her grandparents had been sent there as part of Stalin’s gulag. Continue reading

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Mostar

Bridge at Mostar

Bridge at Mostar

Rebuilt Old Bridge Mostar

Rebuilt Old Bridge Mostar

Stari Most (English: Old Bridge) is the enduring image of Mostar in Bosnia Herzegovina. The 16th-century Ottoman bridge crossed the river Neretva and connected two parts of the city until it was destroyed in the war in November 1993. This is the reconstructed bridge opened in 2004.
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A Day in Sarajevo

What did I know about Sarajevo? I knew about that event in 1914 which set in motion the First World War. I knew about the Winter Olympics in the 1980s and I knew a bit about the siege of Sarajevo 1992-1995. But only a bit.

Mosque

Mosque

I had no idea that Sarajevo was a cross roads between East and West for centuries. The Ghazi Husrev-Bey’s Mosque was built in 1531 at the same time the Orthodox Church was being built and the Catholic Cathedral renovated. Things seem to have gone badly wrong since. Continue reading

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Budapest

Giant wheel newly put in a park in the middle of Budapest

Giant wheel newly put in a park in the middle of Budapest

I visited Budapest for 1 day in 2012 and wanted to spend more time in this lovely city.
I met up with Gery an exchange student who lived with us in 1997 and his parents, who took me on this wheel so I could see their city.

I spent a delightful morning  with Madgi experiencing the famous Szechenyi Medicinal Bath. I tried 4 indoor pools, the sauna and 2 outdoor pools as well as the coffee and cake. Continue reading

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Brasov

Bran Castle known as Dracula's Castle

Bran Castle known as Dracula’s Castle

I had no inclination to visit Romania. But I was to end my tour in Istanbul and I wanted to go to Budapest by train so why not stop in Romania.
I am so glad I did. I had very positive experiences.
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