Dr Gwen


I'm just an ecologist,, SFF fan and rainbow loving gal who wishes she had more time & money for travelling!

Born & bred in the UK I grew up with summer holidays to remote corners of this isle and my memories of these trips involve scrambling up mountains in the rain! Great times! I am fascinated by the natural world around us, by all the amazing creatures that share it with us & the ways they & their habitats fit together.

Having finished my PhD in Ecology in 2010 I set off to see Australia & New Zealand for several months to escape! This blog began then, I've missed several UK based holidays out between 2012 & 2016 but promise to try to be better at documenting my trips now.

Europe » Croatia » Dalmatia June 21st 2019

For our last day we visited Krka National Park, not far south of Zadar. It was getting hot as we headed out & it only got hotter over the day. We started off visiting Skradinski Bu, hiking 850m down to the river then around the boardwalks. LOTS of tour groups moving slowly & taking up all the space making it hard to weave our way through.. The waterfalls were very pretty though. We had a short swim at Skradinski buk which was very welcome as the temperature had climbed into the 30s. We got the bus back up to the car park instead of hiking the steep stony path, I'm not sure it was faster but at least it had air con! There was a bit of a bus jam getting out, but luckily our bus ... read more
Roof-top wine!
Boardwalk at Krka National Park

Europe » Croatia » Dalmatia June 20th 2019

Up early & walked over the seawards jetty to get our boat tour of Kornati National Park with Mikado tours. We were a group of 20 adults & a couple of young kids (baby & 3 year old) which was a good number for the size of the boat. We set off out to the islands with a 2h45 ride to the first stop, we were given coffee & offered Rakija but we decided it was too early for that! This was followed by breakfast of cheese or cheese & ham sandwiches. After a couple of hours we reached Kornati National Park & the boat went around several islands before our first stop was Our Lady of Tarac church a small 17th century church built on the ruins of an early Christian basilica from the 6th ... read more
Blue sea & sky
Our Lady of Tarac Church
Tureta Fort

Europe » Croatia » Central Croatia June 19th 2019

First stop today was the Bear Refugein Kuterevo! We had a short tour from one of their volunteers who showed us the three young bears there Marko Kralj (7 years), Mlada Gora and Mlad Dol (both 9 years) & also a new comer, a 7 month old cub who had just arrived from a zoo - literally, he was still in his crate when we arrived! Very cute, but sadly we are not allowed to share his photos. She had to go an help with the cub but pointed us towards further enclosures where the big bears are! We only say two of them - one of them very close! - but apparently there are five bears in there. We also heard a bit about the ethos of the place, very much a back to nature ... read more
Veliki Zavižan & chapel
Zavratnica bay
Young bears foraging

Vicky left for her flight home whilst we were still dozing on Monday morning, once up we cleared up the apartment & left to get the bus across the border to Zagreb in Croatia. It was only a 20min walk but my suitcase it not designed for being dragged along streets so my shoulders & back were very glad when we got to the bus stop! The bus was 15min late but plenty of space so we took over two rows so we both got a window seat. It was a rather boring drive with the highlights being a deer Chavaunne spotted & several hooded crows. It felt a bit like the hokey cokey at the border crossing getting in & out of the bus both to leave Slovenia & to enter Croatia, but they let ... read more
Lake Kaluđerovac... I think?
Another Lower Lakes waterfall

Europe » Slovenia » Inner Carniola » Postojna June 16th 2019

The beds were very uncomfortable so none of us slept well but we had a lazy start to the day as our first stop - 10am tour of Postojna caves - was just down the road. Again LOADS of people. The caves felt a lot more touristy - especially with the twee train ride to start it off! It was also a lot colder than the Škocjan Caves & I was glad I'd brought a jumper. The caves were beautiful & we saw olms!!! Such awesome animals! I love that people used to think they were baby dragons!!!! After the cold caves we were for once glad to get back into the sun. Vicky & I did a bit of shopping then joined Chavaunne for lunch - wraps with roasted veg & pine nuts with optional ... read more
Predjama castle
View from Predjama cave castle
Postojna Cave

Europe » Slovenia » Slovenian Littoral June 15th 2019

Left TOP rafting and the Alps behind us heading south on the 102/103, it was a beautiful drive. This was the longest drive of the holiday - 132km - down to see the Lipizzan horses in Lipica. We saw lots of lovely foals (who sadly didn't want to say hello), then had our own guided tour around the stud farm buildings by Boris. We failed to find the Carriage Museum or the older foals out in the other fields - bad directions for the former & they were the other side of the paddock for the latter. We spotted both on our way out though! We then drove over to visit the Škocjan Caves - a UNESCO site due to the amazing kast formations and unique ecosystems, it also contains the largest known underground canyon in ... read more

Europe » Slovenia » Slovenian Littoral » Bovec June 14th 2019

Today was our day of adrenaline-filled activities! We started the day with some white-water rafting with TOP rafting (conveniently where we were staying!).The three of us were joined by three lads, also travelling around on their holidays & we got two instructors as one was in training. After getting kitted out & being shown the basics on dry land we carried the boat down the stream by the TOP base and into the Soča river. I managed to bagsie one of the "tiger" spots at the front of the raft! After some practice in calm water and a bit of a swim in the river (to practice pulling mates back into the boat!) we tried our hands at the rapids (up to grade III)! With a couple of stops, once to paddle up a stream & ... read more
Zipline fun!
Evening drinks
It's a better way to get down than walking!

Europe » Slovenia » Inner Carniola June 13th 2019

Our first stop of the day was the Vintgar Gorge, & to set the theme for the day we took the scenic route to get there. The gorge is beautiful with a path & boardwalks along & over the river down to Slap Šum(waterfall). There were a few too many people for it to be brilliant there, but we managed to weave around most of them! Vicky then drove us up the Vršič Pass through the Triglav National Park - possibly the most beautiful roads in Slovenia. We parked at the top & headed for a walk up Slemenova Špica. The first part of the walk was hard going - steep, stony & no shade. Once we reached the saddle of Vratca we saw snow! Plus a pair of alpine choughs flying around us. We continued ... read more
Vintgar Gorge
Vintgar Gorge

Europe » Slovenia » Upper Carniola » Bohinj June 12th 2019

We got up to get the first cable car down just after 8:30am, first stop was the store to pick up food then headed west to the Julian Alps. Our planned first stop was the Goreljek Bog nature trail but unfortunately we encountered a road closure that meant a long detour that took us past Lake Bled and along the main road. This took us past the Vodnik Viewpoint so we stopped there for lunch first. There was a lovely view down the valley to Lake Bohinj & a beautiful cat that followed us up there! From here we headed over to Goreljek Bog, it took a little while to find where the nature trail started but then it was a lovely short walk around the peat bog, although Chavaunne was unimpressed & there were rather ... read more
Savica Slap
Lake Bled
Vodnik Viewpoint with bonus kitty!

Europe » Slovenia » Upper Carniola June 11th 2019

Up at 7am to allow an early start to our hiking - although it was already hot when we started at 8am! We followed the signs to Konjščina & Planina Dol, although had to take a slight detour when we got stuck behind a fence! Luckily we soon spotted a signpost that got us back on track. There were a couple of herdsmen around the huts at Konjščina & Dol with their cattle, some beautiful animals. From the road through Planina Dol we headed up the very steep mountainside in the heat of late morning! It was hard work but was worth it, the views from the top was stunning! There was also a box with a stamp - which was sadly very faint. Amusing quote of the day from Chavaunne when we saw some Primula ... read more
Raven from summit of Konj
Cows at Planina Dol

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