zephyrbc

zephyrbc

zephyrbc

We both love exploring the world together and learning about other cultures, history and food. This blog started as a way to keep our families up to date whilst we were travelling, but has turned into a record of all the fabulous experiences we've shared together whilst travelling.

We live and work in Melbourne, Australia but try to travel as much as our jobs (and cats) will let us. Happy reading 😊



Europe » Albania » West » Berat October 13th 2019

We left Shkodër after breakfast on the balcony at our hotel. The drive from Shkodër to Berat wasn’t particularly scenic for most of the 3 hour journey, largely because of the haze but also because many Albanian cities and towns aren’t particularly beautiful (uninspiring buildings, litter, unfinished gardens). The roads were mostly pretty good though. We drove into Berat through the new part of town. Eventually we turned around a corner and caught our first glimpse of the beautiful old city Berat is famous for. Berat is the 9th largest city in Albania and is also home to a historic centre which, along with Gjirokastra’s, is UNESCO world heritage listed. Berat and Gjirokastra are recognised as rare examples of an architectural character typical of the Ottoman period. Berat’s historic centre consists of a castle (Kala) most ... read more
The new part of Berat
Kalaja district
Kalaja district

Europe » Albania » North » Shkodër October 11th 2019

The trip to Albania was slightly less straight forward than it was supposed to be thanks to the demise of Adria airlines. Instead of a direct flight from Ljubljana to Podgorica, Montenegro we first flew from Ljubljana airport (which was about a half hour drive from our hotel in Bled) to Belgrade in Serbia. After an approximately 3 hour long layover in the rather uninspiring Belgrade airport we caught the next flight to Podgorica. Podgorica airport must be one of the easiest airports for passengers; we hopped off the plane, queued for immigration as we entered the terminal building, clear immigration and headed to the baggage carousel which was about 10 meters away. After picking up our hire car for the next 3 weeks (a white VW golf), we set off for Shkodër in Albania. Along ... read more
Abandoned road construction equipment on the drive from Theth
View on the drive from Theth
Theth

Europe » Slovenia » Upper Carniola » Bled October 7th 2019

We awoke to a rather chilly morning in Kranjska Gora; our windscreen was covered in ice! After defrosting the windscreen / washing the ice away we set off towards Vintgar Gorge. The drive to Vintgar Gorge took about 40 minutes. After leaving the freeway and driving uphill for a while we ended up on a narrow road, which seems to be typical of the approach to tourist attractions in Slovenia! Eventually we reached the car park, paid our 5 euro parking fee and headed off to buy our 11 euro per person tickets for the Gorge. Vintgar Gorge is a 1.6km long gorge close to Bled. It’s one of the more popular tourist attractions in Slovenia, for good reason. We’d read that it gets really busy so to arrive early, but assumed that was only during ... read more
Vintgar Gorge
Vintgar Gorge
Vintgar Gorge

Europe » Slovenia » Upper Carniola » Kranjska Gora October 3rd 2019

We departed Kobarid in much better weather than the previous day. Our first stop on the way to Kranjska Gora was Slap (waterfall) Virje. We turned off the main road onto a small trail which drove through a golf course and then into a small town. We weren’t quite sure we were going in the right direction but eventually encountered a couple of people walking the same direction we were heading and then saw a sign pointing to a car park. From the car park it was about a five minute walk downhill before we reached the beautiful waterfall. The waterfall was quite strange as the flow splits in two just before it drops off the edge. This creates a dual waterfall with blue ponds, which are connected by shallower water, at the base of each. ... read more
The drive from Kobarid
Slap (waterfall) Virje
The Great Soča Gorge (and actors)

Europe » Slovenia » Slovenian Littoral » Kobarid October 2nd 2019

On our way from Ljubljana to Kobarid we planned a small detour to visit Predjama Castle. After about an hours drive (on the wrong side of the road) through beautiful scenery we arrived at the castle. Predjama Castle is a medieval castle built inside a large cave approximately 123m above the valley below. The first mention of the castle in historical records is from around 1274, but it has been rebuilt / extended multiple times since then. The castle has had numerous owners over the years, but the most famous / infamous was knight Erazem of Predjama who was described as a Robin Hood type figure who ultimately met his end following a year long siege after a servant informed the enemy that the weakest point of the castle was the toilet. The servant signalled to ... read more
Predjama Castle
Predjama Castle
The lavatory, Predjama Castle

Europe » Slovenia » Upper Carniola » Ljubljana October 1st 2019

The first stop of our five week trip through the Balkans was supposed to be Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. However, due to the financial challenges of Adria airlines we found ourselves stranded in Munich after two flights. We had booked the three flights directly through Etihad, and on the phone before we left they assured us that if anything went wrong they'd be responsible for sorting it out. Their tune changed when the flight was ultimately cancelled and Etihad were useless. Fortunately a very friendly and helpful man at the Lufthansa desk in Munich helped us out, first by trying to get Etihad / Adria to assist, but then by recommending alternative ways of traveling to Ljubljana. Flights were far too expensive / booked out, car hire was too expensive and hotels in Munich were ... read more
Austria from the train
Tivoli City Park
Tivoli City Park

Asia » Hong Kong September 29th 2018

The journey to Hong Kong unfortunately began at about midnight for me; I woke up with violent case of food poisoning. I spent a about four hours feeling incredibly sorry for myself before I managed to get a couple of hours sleep prior to our alarm going off. Fortunately we'd decided to get a taxi to the Yangshuo train station rather than take the bus. I collapsed into the back seat feeling sorry for myself while we settled in for the one hour drive to the station. Despite the name the Yangshuo train station is no where near the town of Yangshuo. We waited at the station for about 40 minutes before boarding the fast train to Hong Kong. I napped for most of the three hour trip to Shenzhen. At Shenzhen North train station we ... read more
Sham Shui Po
Sham Shui Po
Sham Shui Po

Asia » China » Guangxi » Yangshuo September 24th 2018

To avoid the shuttle bus - bus - taxi - bus - taxi - shuttle bus combination required to get from Ping'an to Yangshuo (required due to a national park being declared on the direct route between the two places apparently), we splurged on a taxi which would cut the commute down from about 6 hours to 3. We were picked up from our hotel in Ping'an just before 2pm. Our driver was quite friendly and spoke reasonably good English. We made our way down through the mountains and then onto a highway. Midway through the trip he pulled over at a service station to have a power nap and get some coffee before continuing on towards Yangshuo. As we got closer to Yangshuo we were surrounded by the beautiful but strange karst scenery the region ... read more
Yangshuo
Yangshuo
Fuli Bridge

Asia » China » Guangxi » Longji Rice Terraces September 22nd 2018

We arrived in Guilin after a 1.5 hour flight from Lijiang. After collecting our bags we met a very giggly Chinese lady who was our driver for the 2.5 hour trip to Ping'an. The trip was beautiful but very slow (and included a stop to refuel and get the car washed); our driver didn't do much for certain stereotypes which exist about her gender or race... On arrival at the gate to enter Ping'an we said farewell to our driver and avoided the women offering to carry our bags in baskets on their backs (Scott's bag has wheels and mine is a backpack so we're not sure why we needed someone to put our bags into a basket and then carry them...nor would we have felt comfortable watching a grandma lug our bags up the hill..). ... read more
View from our balcony
Sunrise from our balcony
The trail

Asia » China » Yunnan » Lijiang September 19th 2018

We arrived in Shuhe, which is one of the three old towns which make up the Old Town of Lijiang, about 2 hours after leaving Tiger Leaping Gorge. The Old Town of Lijian is located at an elevation of 2400m. The Old Town of Lijiang was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 1997 in recognition of the towns role as the intersection between the Silk Road and the Tea Horse Road; the architecture (including housing influenced by Han, Bai, Tibetan and Naxi) which is well preserved and urban planning and landscaping (including impressive water distribution system which conveys water throughout the town in a series of engineered channels among other things. The Old Town of Lijiang is one of the most popular tourist attractions in China. Apparently 80 million tourists visited last year. At times the ... read more
Danyan Old Town
Danyan Old Town
Central Square, Danyan Old Town




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