Ljubljana, Slovenia

who freaking cares about the ride to Ljubljana because Ljubljana is what you want to hear about. This city is like a little hole in the wall. You’d never know it was here and how beautiful it is. Ljubljana is not yet “popular” on the sites to see in Europe, but it really should be. It has beautiful churches, a river running through the middle of the city, bridges everywhere and unlike most other cities, it has a castle at the top of the mountain looking over Ljubljana.

As we were driving to Ljubljana, it was beautiful. The sun was shining and we were antsy to get off the bus to have a little rays hit our shoulders. But as the tires of the bus got us closer to the city, it also got us closer to rain clouds. Of course, it would be our luck that it would torrential down pour the minute it was time to grab our things and walk to our hostel. But we embraced it. There’s no rainbow without a little rain.
We grabbed out things, ran through the puddles and the next thing you know we were all laughing in the lobby of our hostel. This hostel was really unique because it use to be an old bank and they kept some of the decor on the inside. We knew the rain was going to pass, so we decided to get ready for the evening now instead of having to do it later.
So we got ready, put our faces on and let our legs do the walking for the next hour. We walked around the city and discovered the dragon bridge. The dragon bridge has dragon sitting on each end, with two of them facing the castle at the top of the hill almost like it’s “guarding” it. It was really neat since it wasn’t your typical bridge.
We then headed towards the most prominent site in Ljubljana; the castle. The castle was built in the mid 15th century, demolishing the Spanheim family’s fortress. The main purpose of this was to defend against Turkish invasions which happened most in the 15th and 16th century. The castle started with only walls, towers and wooden barracks but over the years it’s developed. I believe it’s only one of few castles that now has a funicular system, as well as footpaths, stairs etc.
We spent some time in the castle, walking through it, and making our way up to the looking tower. It has such an incredible view over Ljubljana.
 
After making our way down from the castle, we walked our way to The Triple Bridge. There’s a point in Ljubljana where there are three bridges right next to each other. The first bridge was built in 1842 and to prevent traffic or bottlenecking, an architect decided to add two more footbridges on either side. We crossed the Triple Bridge and made our way for a bite to eat. We had a kabob for dinner on the streets of Ljubljana.

Tomorrow we make our way to Austria!!!!

Split & Zadar!

Well we’ve left dubrovnik (which I think has been one of my favourite places so far) and we’re headed for Split for a day stop and then off to Zadar for the night.

When we arrived in Split, I knew it was going to be amazing. The view was spectacular. We had about an hour and a half to explore the little town. Candace and I grabbed a bite to along the main strip which had an ocean view. We enjoyed our peach margaritas and talked about the joys in life. After an amazing, wel deserved burger we headed towards the castle that Split is known for. On the walk there, you kind of go underground and go through all these tiny little markets that sell a bunch of different things. It was really neat and their jewelry was beautiful. When you reached the end, you went up really steep stairs and came out infront of the castle. It was gorgeous. And there was also a bride getting pictures taken.
If you kept walking, you hit the local farmers market. We eventually turned around and headed back towards the bus. We still had a little bit of time to kill, so we didn’t take it for granted. We found a bench that looked onto the ocean, both took a deep breath and just took it all in. It was a stunning view.

We then hopped back on the bus and headed or Zadar. Zadar is the capitol of Croatia and is also known for their killer sunsets and the organ under the sea.
This was definitely the most magnificent thing I’ve ever seen. We walked through the city to get to the edge of the ocean and all you could hear was an organ. The Sea Organ was created by arcitech musical chords are played. The waves create random harmonic sounds. It’s a very mesmermizing sound.

It was almost kind of disappointing to leave, but I was starving and so ready for dinner! We headed back to the “youth” hostel and when I say “youth” I mean elementary school kids took over the place! We thankfully got through dinner and our tour manager and bus driver had a surprise for us. They were taking us back into town to see the sunset from where we were toay (the organ) and there’s a part in the ground that lights up when the sun sets! Zadar is suppose to have one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world, and I’m so glad I got to experience it. I think the most beautiful thing about the sunset was experiencing and seeing a sunset from the other side of the world. It’s almost crazy to think about that, that same sun is waking people up in the morning, or my parents are experiencing that sun at 3:00 in the afternoon. It’s also crazy to think that just a sunset can make a day so beautiful.

I’m off to bed with a smile from ear to ear.

Croatia Pt. 2

We woke up this morning to sunshine and smiles! We got ready, had our breakfast and went on our way to head into town.
We had a guided tour that took us around the city and explained the history behind it all. Right at the end of the tour, dark clouds started rolling in and we knew we were in for a good storm. Candace and I headed to a little cafe to grab a coffee when the rain came down in BUCKETS. It wasn’t just a little rain. The storm got so bad, that lightning struck the church across the street and we lost power for a good 20 minutes. We decided we’d get comfy, enjoy a bite to eat before the rain calmed down.

Soon after, the rain calmed down and we figured we had towels on us so we’d go out and explore Croatia while we were there. We got a little wet, and it was FREEZING cold. We were both wearing flip flops, and the ground was super slippery.
We had to meet our group at 12:00 or so to head for our cruise adventure. Turns out, the cruise got cancelled because of the bad weather. It was too rough of water :(. This was probably the adventure i was excited about most on this trip, so I was pretty bummed at this point.

Because the weather wasn’t great, and we got a little bit wet, we headed back to the hostel to have a warm shower, and change into nicer clothes since we were wearing our bathing suits for the cruise.

We then headed back into town to go to a bar that had the most amazing views! This bar was literally on the edge of a cliff and you sat ON the water. literally. you’re over looking it. I have a video that I’ll upload in the next post! We spent a good 2 hours just chatting, drinking beer and enjoying a view that we most likely won’t ever see again.

By this point, we were starving. Our stomachs guided us to this wonderful restaurant where we treated ourselves to an amazing dinner. We sat European style… meaning we sat looking outwards to the street infront of us to “people watch”. We ordered a bottle of white wine for the both us, a delicious cheese spread appetizer and enjoyed a carb full dinner of pasta. It couldn’t have been any better. After being totally loaded from beers and wine, we thought it was a great idea to grab some icecream, walk around and then head back to our hostel.

The day definitely started on a bad note, but the ending made up for it. If Dubrovnik is this beautiful, I can’t wait to see what Split and Zadar have to offer.

Montenegro/Bosnia & Herzegovina/Croatia

After a crazy night in Albania, we continued our journey to Croatia along the adriatic sea as we drove through Montenegro. We unfortunately didn’t get the chance to stop there and explore, but from the views it looked absolutely amazing. It was definitely one of the best driving bits we’ve had so far on this trip. Montenegro is becoming more and more popular for vacation spots as well… and I can see why! It’s breath taking.
After crossing the border out of Montenegro, we found ourselves in Bosnia & Herzegovina. It wasn’t really a stop on our route, but we did at least stop to put our feet on the soil and breathe the fresh air. Bosnia had amazing views as well.

After a long day of nothing but driving we could finally say we made it to Croatia! And we’re in Dubrovnik!
It’s stunning. It was pretty late when we arrived, so we just dropped off our things at the hostel, had a bite to eat and headed into the walls of Croatia to explore. We went for a little walk and then headed to a couple bars… of course!

The first bar we went to, we drank our alcohol from buckets! Like little sand buckets! Haha it was pretty neat and it got us pretty drunk! After a couple buckets in, we headed to a night club. I was pretty drunk by this time, but from what I do remember, this night club felt like it was inside a castle or something like that. When we first got there, it was pretty dead; only because European nightlife doesn’t start until about 2am.
A couple more beers down, some dancing moves on the dance floor, and more and more laughs it was time for this girl to head back to the hostel.

Usually I’d be the first to complain about having to walk 20-25 minutes back to the hostel drunk but the walk in Croatia is amazing. Heck, everywhere in Europe has had amazing drunk walks home.

Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!

Albania.


Before this trip, when I was reading my itinerary, I thought Albania…. okay cool. Interesting. But didn’t really think much of it!
Well let me tell you. Dirty. Eastern. Sketchy. That’s all I think now as I drive through this country.

It first started with the border patrol.. or if that’s what you even call them. When we first reached the border, there was some type of family sweeping the road, picking up trash along the fences because it was so dirty but it seemed as if they worked at the border. None of them had uniforms or anything like that. If they saw a car coming they would just walk out to the tiny booth. It was weird.
As we drove across the country, and were off the beaten path you see first hand how people live. It’s a lot different than Paris, or Italy. There was garbage everywhere, and houses we’re half built.
We stopped in Tirana, the capital of Albania. It wasn’t the prettiest but it has some colour and some green to it.

After having (surprisingly delicious) crepes to eat in Tirana, we headed to our hotel for the night. When we first got there, we thought wow this hotel is nice! Two nights in a row of having a nice place to stay instead of hostels. Little did we know, we weren’t staying in the hotel, we were staying in buildings that were located behind the hotel. When we first walked in we thought it isn’t bad. It was almost like mini apartments but they also look like they haven’t been used in a year… perhaps when the last contiki group stopped through. When we settled in a bit, I was laying in my bed and of course, lucky me, saw a freaking rat or mouse or whatever the big thing was, run across the wall behind the air conditioning unit. There was absolutely no way Candace and I were sleeping in that room.
Our Canadian friends Courtney and Laryn ended up having an extra single bed in their room so Candace and I got to snuggle all night in a single bed. I’ll take snuggling Candace over snuggling a rat anyday.
We figured the sooner we went to bed, the sooner we’d be able to get out of the dang place.

Tomorrow we get to drive through Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina and end up in Croatia! Too excited for Dubrovnik.. or maybe just TOO excited to get out of this place.

ps. that was our amazing breakfast…………… i love european breakfasts!

antío Mykonos! Off to Preveza

A big farewell to Mykonos. I highly recommend this island to anyone travelling to Greece. It was definitely beautiful and worth seeing. As we leave Mykonos, we head back to the ferry for another 5 hour ride to the mainland… which of course I slept the whole way. It’s what’s to be expected after partying all day and all night for the past couple of days.
After the ferry, we journeyed through the Peloponnese, through the mountains to the coastal town of Perveza. Perveza isn’t known for much other than it’s fishing and it’s kind locals. Perveza was mostly just a stop over for us to sleep.
We had a beautiful hotel (one of more luxurious ones) and enjoyed a delicious dinner.

Since it was more of a quiet night for us and there wasn’t much to see in Perveza (and Candace passed out on me) I took this chance to start the book “The Promise of a Pencil”. I read a couple chapters and I’m already hooked. Adam Braun’s story is not just another story to read. His story is very inspiring (from what I’ve read to far) and makes you feel like you need to do something for someone else. You get that feeling of giving. Like it’s a necessity.
I’ll continue to update you on this book throughout my trip as well.

The next couple of days will be a lot of driving as we make way to our destination of Croatia! Off to Albania tomorrow!

Mykonos Pt 3.  

To start my morning, I woke up at 6:30am to grab my sweater because I was cold since we slept with our patio door open all night. Well when I went to grab my sweater, it was dripping wet. Not just damp, I had to actually ring it out. Turns out my whole suitcase was sopping wet :(. My suitcase was sitting underneath the air conditioning unit all night. So firstly, I cried because my iPad was soaked and all my clothes and twels and everything was useless. I then went to the front desk to ask what they’re going to do for me and the guy responded with “hopefully we can do something but I can’t guarantee anything until management comes in”. So I just went back to bed and figured I’d deal with it later. A decent hour came and housekeepng took all my clothes and dried them. Thank goodness. And my iPad still worked…Thank goodness x2.

Candace and I then enjoyed a nice breakfast at the hotel and hit the pool for the morning.

We then went for lunch before hitting up Paradise Beach. We enjoyed some daquries, deep friend goat cheese topped with honey and sesame (mouth watering) as well as authentic Greek donuts. HOLY were they ever amazing.
So anywho, Paradise Beach is THE party beach for Mykonos. It’s literally all bars on the beach all next to each other full of people around my age. I think this was by far one of my favourite days this trip so far. We had these drinks called “devils tongue” which had 12 shots in each drink. I was drunk off of one and it was only 11 Euros. During the afternoon we got to dance on tables and as long as you danced on the tables, you got free shots! That means one happy Michelle.

By the time 7:30 came, Candace and I were having a blast and didn’t want to go back to the hotel. So instead of getting on the bus with the rest of our group, we went home with the other Contiki group since they came to Paradise Beach too but were leaving at a later time. It helped they were only a group of 25 so there was plenty of space on their bus. We ended up partying with the girls on the other tour and enjoying the rset of our night.

By the time we got home, it was 9:00 so by this time we were starving… if you’re thinking we went for dinner at the restaurant on the pier then you’re thinking right! We had a really nice dinner with a girl from South Africa named Leoni. She was a sweetheart. We exchanged stories from our trip, and talked about where we came from. We exchanged email addresses too so we can keep in contact.

So our already adventurous day, turned into even more of an adventure. We headed back to the hotel to find out friends drinking at the bar and having a good time! We heard lots of stories from the bus ride home and the rest of their night. One story included Cam having to go to the hospital fo stitches. He was drunk (obviously) and fell into his night table. And THEN later on our other friend Rahn went to the hospital because he either tripped and fell into a mirror or punched the mirror. He was too drunk to remember what happened.

This is when we called it a night and headed to bed before anything happened to us! HA!

Mykonos Part 2!

Candace and I woke up early and headed straight for the beach! The weather was beautiful so we got our tan on. A little later all of our friends came to join us and pretty much we spent the rest of the morning in the water. After a morning on the beach we headed for lunch on a pier where we enjoyed not only the view, but our daquiries as well. After lunch we headed back to our hotel and lounged by the pool all afternoon. Another Contiki group came to the hotel so I met some new people from Oakville, Toronto and Boston! Later that night we went into the city of Mykonos and walked around on a guided tour. Did you know that the buildings in Mykonos are white because it helped the buildings beldn into the clouds. This helped the city hide from pirates. Also, all the buildings had flat roofs because it helped the people collect rain because it barely ever rained.

After dinner, which the only thing I really hate so far on this trip is how the Europeans eat so late at night! Our dinner started at 8:00 and we didn’t end up eating until 9:30 by the time we got our food. We then headed to a club! Or several I should say. But instead of heading to the first one, me and some of the other girls went shopping around in the markets. I bought myself a new evil eye ring :) 

We then met back up with our group to party the rest of the night. We bar hopped through Mykonos and ended our night at “The Scandanavian Bar”. It was such a great night but I know I’ll be feeling it in the morning.