Page 4 of Mediterranean Dreams Travel Blog Posts

Europe » Macedonia September 17th 2016

We have parted ways with Intrepid. Our Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia expedition has finished. Officially today on paper, but really yesterday was the last day with a farewell dinner. Me and Bill have made our way through 3 countries and its not even midday – Albania, Slovenia and Germany. Early morning flight from Tirana saw us leaving in the wee hours of the morning, connecting a flight in Ljubljana to Frankfurt. We currently are on the ICE train to Nuremberg. So I need to recap the last country of our intrepid adventure – Macedonia!! We left Pristina early in the morning to catch a ‘rustic’ train over the border to Skopje, the capital of Macedonia. Apparently the train, which takes longer, is much more scenic and beautiful. Honestly, it was a rust bucket of a thing ... read more
Colour revolution, Skopje
Mustapha Pasha mosque, Skopje
Earthquake danger is real!

Europe » Kosovo September 14th 2016

We are currently on a bus from Skopje, Macedonia to Lake Ohrid. Let’s recap our 4 days in Kosovo. We took a mini bus from Vila Dini to Peja, Kosovo. Our first stop was Visoki Dečani monastery. A Serbian Orthodox monastery since 1327, as with other Serbian monasteries and communities in the country, it is heavily under guard by the KFOR (NATO-led Kosovo Force) another legacy of decades of tension and violence between the Serbs and ethnic Albanian community of Kosovo. This white-washed monastery is set amidst a large lush green lawn, and Orthodox frescoes decorated the walls of the church which was surprisingly in good condition after all these years. 25 monks live here in isolation and produce wine, cheese and honey. Some of us bought some for our trip! After the Monastery it was ... read more
Patriarchate of Peć monestary
Rugova valley, Peja
Rugova valley, Intrepid style!

Europe » Albania September 7th 2016

We have just arrived in Kosovo from Albania, and well into our Intrepid trip so it’s high time I update this blog! We arrived in Tirana, Albania from Brussels really tired. After waiting ages at the airport to get our passports checked (no stamps) and baggage, we hopped into a cab to our hotel. When we hit the city centre it was hello Tirana!! Really hectic traffic particularly around roundabouts! After a cat nap we went to a local café and a general walk around. We seemed to be in the ‘downtown’ area or so we thought. It reminded us of a mini-Cairo, or any other city in the Middle East due to the chaotic traffic. Later we had decided to go for a free walking tour of the city at 6pm. We really didn’t know ... read more
Albania National History Museum
Skanderberg square
Views from Shkoder castle

Europe » Belgium » Brussels-Capital Region » Brussels September 4th 2016

We have well and truly left Belgium and are in Tirana, Albania travelling now north of the country to Shkoder. But before I go in depth about our Albanian adventure lets go back to our last 2 days in Belgium – Brussels! We arrived in the predominantly French-speaking capital in the afternoon. Our very lovely hotel was very close to the central station and a stone’s throw from the Grand-Place, a big square with lovely Baroque style building surrounding it (I believe they may date from the 19th century). We just for a walk around they day and popped into the Smurfs (des Stroumphes in Dutch) store at the figurine museum to buy a papa Smurfs toy for Shaabi (our Maltese-Shihtsu dog and yes we spoilt him). For dinner we walked around and got hassled in ... read more
Parlamentarium! Hello from the EU
Mannekan Pis chocolate statues
Smurf store and figurine museum

Europe » Belgium » West Flanders » Bruges August 31st 2016

We just spent 3 wonderful days in Bruges and are now on the train to Brussels. I had previously been to Bruges when I was 20 when I was spending 3 months in Amsterdam with my cousin Biab and her husband Douwe. Bruges really helped us settle our homesickness for Spain! Cobblestoned streets, large historical buildings and our hotel room was HUGE and modern, smack bam in the middle of town just behind the Belfort (bell tower). After an orientation walk, we freshen up and went to dinner at this funky place with huge red cocks (roosters!) and thongs (flip flops) on the wall. I tried Flemish stew which was nice. We then met up with yet another free walking tour, this one Bruges by night. Which actually is a bit of a fallacy in summer ... read more
Beer wall
Swans just swanning around
Belgian waffles

Europe » Belgium » East Flanders » Gent August 29th 2016

We are currently on the train from Ghent, Belgium to Brugges which will be a short half hour trip. The last 2 days in Ghent have been alright – a big adjustment from the laid back Mediterranean lifestyle we had become accustomed to! After about 7 hours of travel (train, train, bus, plane) we arrived in Brussels. It was pleasant to see small dogs in the airport! Then we discovered there is a dog show in Brussels this weekend! We took a train to Ghent which was our home for the next 2 nights. It certainly is……different. The buildings and old city itself is certainly Northern European – dark brick buildings and tall imposing dark cathedrals/churches. The biggest difference you can see are the people around you. Northern Europeans can be……larger than their Mediterranean counterparts. However, ... read more
Ghent by night
Graffiti street
Ghent harbour by night

Europe » Spain » Andalusia August 26th 2016

After a series of trains and automobiles we are finally on a plane to Belgium! We checked out of Hotel Maimonides in Córdoba 7am to catch our 7.50 train to Madrid. I name the hotel be because although the great proximity to the Mezquita (directly opposite) it was not comparable to the other hotels we have stayed at (for starters the air conditioning didn’t work properly and with 45 degree days we needed it!) The girl at the desk, whom also checked us in spoke English however insisted in giving us directions to the non-existent taxi in Spanish. I hate to be one of those tourists who complain, and we do try to converse in our limited Spanish, but we thought it was a bit ridiculous since we knew she spoke English. Anyways after walking out ... read more
Happy birthday Bill xoxo
The streets of Córdoba
The Roman bridge

Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Granada August 23rd 2016

We’re on the bus after a marathon of a walk to get to Granada train station (lots of construction going on so we had to walk miles out of the way and around to get to the train station). So be because of that we are busing it to Antequerra to hop on a AVE train to Cordoba. Let’s recap the last 3 days in Granada. Ah, Granada. The jewel in the crown that is Andalucía or Al-Andalus. We arrived to a really nice new hotel and immediately went to get our Granada card from the tourist office. The Alhambra, palace of the Moors, is notoriously known for selling out well in advance (only 6600 tickets a day) and as we knew from our last trip, the only way to avoid lining up at 6am to ... read more
The Generalife, Alhambra

Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Málaga August 20th 2016

Our last 2 days in Málaga was marked by the Feria de Málaga – a weeklong festival held every August to celebrate the city’s Reconquista from the Moors in 1487. Our accommodation was in the thick of it and we had to maneuver our way around the partying crowd who had gathered to watch bands play on the balconies. Actually it was a very good location with an inner Arab inspired courtyard which shut off the noisy crowds outside. We spent much if the day walking around getting a feel for the place and the locals partying on the streets with impromptu Sevillianas style Flamenco dancing. We tried the local Cartojal wine which everyone was drinking. We later found out it was sherry hence the sweetness. However it was nice to sit in our courtyard away ... read more
Views from the Alcazbar
Celebrating la Feria Málagan style!
Even the buildings are decked out

Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Seville August 18th 2016

Today we say Adios to Sevilla and in a short while will say ‘Hola’ to Malaga! Our last 2 days in Seville were amazing!! The evening we arrived was pretty much a write off as jet lag caught up to us and we had a short snooze which took us into the Spanish dinner hour (usually around 10pm). A short distance from our hotel is Espacio Metropol Parasol – a giant sculpture encasing the square full of shops and restaurants where we had our first tapas dinner. The next day after we had some breakfast we decided to take one of the free city tours. An excellent way to get to know the city, the free tour in Sevilla took 3 hours and as part of being a free tour the company upsells on their other ... read more
The Golden Tower
Real Alcázar
View of Sevilla

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