Dreaming About San Giorgio Mykonos

san-giorgio-2My jaw hit the floor when I stumbled upon the San Giorgio first at TBEX in Greece, and I haven’t been able to wake up from this dream! I’m starting a savings account just for this place because if I don’t stay there at some point, I’ll have serious life regrets. What a stunning combination of modern and bohemian, filled with textures and simplicity. San Giorgio is a place where I feel like my mind could escape, and I could exhale – a paradise found in Mykonos. There some heavenly place on this earth, and this is one of them. Definitely take a minute to scroll through the rest of the photos. It’s absolutely divine! I hope to visit San Giorgio, my dream hotel soon. 🙂

Photos from San Giorgio Mykonos Facebook page.san-giorgio-1san-giorgio-3san-giorgio-4san-giorgio-5san-giorgio-6

10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Travel

 

Truly understanding and appreciating a new culture can take months or even years. When traveling, most of us don’t have that luxury. Those for whom a few days to a week is about the best that can be hoped for have to figure out how to get the most out of limited time. A checklist of museums and attractions is a common instinct, but it won’t give you the deep connection that makes travel rewarding. After years of planning events around the world I have learned that taking a few simple steps allows travelers to better connect to new places, make amazing memories, truly feel at home in a strange land, and always have the best travel stories to tell.


Beijing1. LEARN THE LANGUAGE
. I know that this is obvious, and the obvious response is that it’s difficult and time-consuming. But you don’t have to be fluent to get the benefits of putting in a little effort, and it will make you much more comfortable. Learn the most important phrases: “Hello,” “Where is the bathroom?” and the most important in any language: “Thank you.”  I also like to learn to ask for the check and how to say the equivalent of “Cheers!” every place I go. Ask a native speaker to check your pronunciation; with those basics you may even convince passerby you are a local. And on that note…

2. DRESS THE PART. The more different you look the more different and isolated you will feel. People in obvious Paying respects to Shakespeare in Budapesttourist garb always look so awkward, and are easy targets for scams. Do some quick research – Pinterest is a fabulous resource – on what the locals wear and pack your suitcase accordingly. Are they more casual or more dressy than you are used to? Are they having fun with colors and prints or are they in muted earth tones? Do they all have scarves or head coverings? Most importantly check out the shoes, because they will tell you what the most fashionable and practical choices are. Are most of the women wearing cute ballet flats? Low heeled boots? Wedges? They probably know that it’s the best way to be comfortable in the lifestyle and climate and look fashionable at the same time. Nobody in New York City is wearing white or super high heels; follow their lead because they know something you don’t. Dress like a local and you may even find other tourists asking you for directions.

Love In the Time of Cholera at the home of the author in Cartagena, Colombia3. READ LOCAL LITERATURE. You may not be able to pick up the language in a week, but pick up a translated novel that takes place in the city or region you will be exploring and start it before you leave, giving your mind a head start on adapting. In Paris read Émile Zola, J. M. Coetzee in South Africa,  Haruki Murakami in Tokyo, Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar in Istanbul, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez in Colombia. Walking the streets of Cartagena reading Love in the Time of Cholera imagining Florentino Ariza spying on his beloved Fermina Daza from his park bench gave me a stronger connection to the city, as if we shared a secret. And during the afternoons when it was too hot to do anything but lay by the hotel pool, my mind was still exploring as I turned the pages.

4. CATCH A LIVE PERFORMANCE or festival, outside of the tourist zone. While I’m sure the hotel’s dinner buffet hula dance extravaganza is lovely (and you should learn the history of the hula in Hawaii), find out where the locals go for a good show. One of my favorite traditions is finding a great jazz club no matter where we are, from Shanghai to Krakow. Sitting in a small club, surrounded by locals and visitors from around the world with a shared love for jazz, introducing ourselves to the band members (from Poland, playing New Orleans jazz, in Istanbul) after the set and drinking with them and their friends until 4am is still one of my favorite memories. In New York or London, skip the long-running big spectacle shows that everyone has seen, and pick instead an avante garde performance. Go downtown to see an Off-Off-Broadway play. You are much more likely to be surrounded by locals and to feel as if you are one.

Krakow, Poland5. HANG OUT IN A CENTRAL SQUARE. There are the classics like Washington Square Park in New York and Trafalgar Square in London, but try hanging out in Krakow’s Rynek Glowny and Prague’s Old Town Square too. Learn the history. See the commerce. Listen to the conversations and the protesters. Take pictures, but also eat the street food, tip the musicians, feed the birds and read your book on a park bench. Don’t rush on to the next attraction; just sit, rest your feet, take it all in and fall in love with your surroundings.

6. And while you’re at it? TALK TO PEOPLE. As always in a big city anywhere in the world be cautious and streetwise, but often the locals are as genuinely curious about you as you are about them. Ask them questions. If they’re interested, buy them a pint and get their life story. Some of my favorite travel stories are just repeating someone else’s. In a tiny restaurant in a hillside German town we ended up spending hours with a chef from Ibiza, his Russian winemaker friend, an American GI (who was initially just looking for an ATM), and a dog named Snob, all of whom remain seared into my memory years later. It all started because we asked questions.

7. JOIN A TOUR LED BY AN EXPERT DOCENT. There are plenty of big group options that teach you less than a common guidebook, but with a little research you can find engaging, unique, and highly intellectual tours. A 6am bicycle tour through Montmarte, while the shops are just opening up and the empty wine bottles still litter the streets of Paris, will give you a unique perspective of the city. An artist-led graffiti tour of Bogota will teach you more about the culture, politics, and history of Colombia than any other. A historian who has hiked the entire length of the Great Wall of China can point out things nobody else would notice.

Early morning bike tour through Paris
We were guided around London a few weeks ago by a docent from Context Travel, a network of scholars and specialist in disciplines including archaeology, art history, cuisine, urban planning, environmental science, and classics who lead in-depth walking seminars for small groups (6 or less). With her we not only got a personalized tour helping us to understand the city’s history and major landmarks, we discussed the upcoming election, the conflicted feelings on currency and immigration, and the true purpose of Her Majesty the Queen, and were surprised with a visit to what once was The Texas Legation in London. The company’s website makes it easy to pick a city (they currently operate in 25), pick an interest, and reserve a guide. It is well worth it.

8. FOLLOW CURRENT EVENTS. Watch or read their news (BBC World is a great resource when traveling). Even if you can’t IMG_7971take a tour, do a little online digging to understand the struggles of the people. What are they concerned about? What have they been through? No matter how pretty and peaceful a place can seem, there is always a group of people who are unhappy. Understand them and you come closer to understanding the whole culture. If you are in a place where your country’s policies are not appreciated, find out why and try to see yourself and your politicians from their perspective. People around the world want to be heard; offer them an ear.

9. MEET UP WITH A FRIEND. If you know someone who lives there, even if only casually or from years ago, reach out and ask them to meet up. If you don’t know somebody, chances are there’s a friend of a friend somewhere. Maybe a coworker once studied abroad and maintained some connections. In this global village, you can find people with similar interests via Twitter or Instagram in advance of your trip and meet up when you get there. You will let down your guard and forget you are in a strange land for an hour or two. Locals anywhere rarely get to experience their own tourist attractions, and usually love to show off their neighborhoods when someone visits. Give them that chance.

Off-Broadway Play in NYC10. Most importantly, BE YOURSELF. What do you like to do at home? If you’re into sports, arrange to see a game while traveling or find out where there’s a pub showing a match. Soccer isn’t my favorite sport, but watching a big match with a rowdy crowd in a European pub is an experience everyone should have at least once. Do you enjoy live music? Hiking? Theater? Exploring new restaurants? People do those things around the world. Find your passions and experience them in a new place, because it will make you feel at ease, it will ignite your spirit, and it will show you how alike we all really are on this planet. And that is the very purpose of travel, isn’t it? That and the stories.

Tea in Beijing

 

 

For more information about CONTEXT TRAVEL: https://www.contexttravel.com

 

Follow my travel adventures on Instagram at @SeeJayneGo

12 Places That Make Montenegro Dreamy

From the beach, bumming luxury-lover to the hiking history-buff, Montenegro is a country that’s vibrant, dynamic and filled with wild beauty that makes the country dreamy. Depending on your accommodations, choices of food and length of stay, a trip to Montenegro could be a history-filled outdoors adventure, quick and cheap holiday or a luxurious getaway – and that’s the best part about it: you can make it anything you want it to be.

Here are 12 places around Montenegro that I feel fortunate that I am surrounded by and they need to be placed on your next travel itinerary.

1. Tara Canyontara-canyon
2. Stari BarStariBar
3. Sveti Stefansvetistefan
4. Kotorkotor
5. Jaz and Bečići Beaches, Budvabudvabeach
6. Lake Skadarlakeskadar
7. Biogradska Gorabiogradskagora
8. Velika Plaža, Ulcinjvelikaplaza
9. Porto Montenegro, TivatPortoMontenegro
10. Our Lady of the Rocksladyoftherocks
11. Ostrog Monasteryostrogmonastery
12. LovćenLovcen

You’re almost completely guaranteed good weather in Montenegro in the Spring. Later on in the summer, you can expect about 12 hours of sunshine a day and temperatures in the 30s (80s – 90s Fahrenheit). You’ll also hardly see a drop of rain in July and August. Since moving to Montenegro, I am a big fan of this country in this month (April), May, September and October, when the weather is a cooler and the crowds are much smaller. You’ll still see plenty of sun, but the temperature will be more comfortable, around the mid 20s (70s Fahrenheit).

Do you have any suggestions on where to go or what to see in Montenegro? Leave them in the comments below!

City Wonders Ancient Rome

CityWondersDark Rome Tours, a City Wonders brand, offers small group tours in Italy with expert, English-speaking guides and Skip the Line Access to help you get the best from your vacation. After being suggested to try Dark Rome Tours from our friends at Blogger Bridge, I reached out to them telling them that a girlfriend and I would be visiting Rome for the day, and they graciously booked us for the “Skip the Line: Colosseum Tour with Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.” We were pleased beyond our expectation!

Our Italian guide’s name was Davide, and he was entertaining from the start. His English vocabulary was better than some Americans that I know. 😉 We walked around historic Rome (Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill) for three hours and Davide shared stories – some that I knew and others that I hadn’t. We use headsets, which was helpful because we could wander away from our guide but still hear him.AncientRomeThe Colosseum is one of the iconic tourist attractions in the world with thousands of visitors each year. The crowds are huge and the waiting time can be long. Fortunately, we walked by quickly after getting our bags checked through security. The hill is the centermost of the Seven Hills of Rome and is one of the most ancient parts of the city. It stands 40 meters above the Forum Romanum, looking down upon it on one side and upon the Circus Maximus on the other.

The Colosseum was built between 70 – 80 AD by Emperors Vespasian and Titus and could hold between 50,000 and 80,000 people. It was used primarily for gladiator contests and special events, such as mock sea battles and wild animal hunts. A gladiator school was built adjacent to the structures and wild animals were housed in the underground portion of the Colosseum. The structure is considered an architectural achievement of the Roman Empire.ColosseumFloorWe learned that the Roman Forum was the town center of Rome. It was the political, religious and shopping center. It contained the Senate, speakers platform, temples and shops. Unfortunately, marble and metals from the structures in Rome were removed from the Roman Forum and the Colosseum to build churches and other structures during medieval times. Davide asked us every step of the way, “Why do you think that this ancient structure is still here?” The answer was because it had been redeemed as a church or the words on the arches honored God. If they did not, but they exhausted the Roman gods, Constantine and rulers that followed destroyed the temples.SenateThe 15th century Church of St Lawrence was built with Roman Forum marble. The Temple of Saturn, built in 490 BC, is believed to be the oldest temple in the Roman Forum. The Roman Forum area was originally swampy and formerly used burial ground. The Roman engineers found a way to build proper drainage, which made the construction of the Colosseum possible. They build the first basilica here, which original was a meeting place for the Romans not a church as modern people now them to be.SaturnFollowing our tour of the Roman Forum, we made our way uphill to the famous Palatine Hill, the home of the Roman Emperors, which overlooks the Roman Forum and the Colosseum. It is a popular tourist destination and provides a great view of the surrounding area.PalatineHillDavide was extremely knowledgeable and interesting. I was very pleased with the quality of the tour and guide. It was nice to have a guide to point out interesting things at all three sites. I can’t imagine visiting the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill without a guide like Davide, who really enriched the experience. Our tour ended in Palatine Hill which afforded us the opportunity to linger longer after the tour was done.

This was an amazing tour experience for us – priceless memories that will last a lifetime. We fell in love with ancient Rome. I would not hesitate to use them again. I find that a good guide always enhances my experience, no matter how much I know about a site. A guide also helps me focus on what specifically interests me. I like the idea of someone else taking care of the details. 😉 Because Davide packed this tour with some much history and interesting facts, I could not imagine writing and sharing all the stories. That being said, it is worth booking this Dark Rome tour the next time you are in Rome.

When in Rome, explore as the Romans did! 😉

10 Things to Do in Naples, Italy

NaplesBuon Giorno, Naples, Italy! The legend tells that the origin of Naples is due to the mermaid Parthenope who killed herself in the Gulf of Naples because Ulysses refused her love. Maybe that’s why Naples is characterized by the cohabitation of opposites: good and evil, joy and sadness, beauty and decay. Personally I can’t get enough of this city – you can’t explain the love a girl has for the Mediterranean coast! We all know that we must eat pizza here, but did you also think about these 10 things?

1. Eat Pizza Perfection
Naples is the home of pizza. They take it so seriously that in 2004, the ministry for agriculture issued regulations outlining how a real Neapolitan pizza, Pizza Verace Napoletana, should be made. Look for the sign outside pizzerie to sample one of the three authentic types: pizza napoletana marinara (San Marzano tomatoes from Vesuvius’ slopes, garlic, oregano and olive oil), pizza napoletana margherita (mozzarella) and pizza napoletana margherita DOC (buffalo mozzarella). Try Sorbillo for truly excellent dough and the finest topping ingredients. We discovered Pizza Fritta con il Segreto (fried calzone).FriedPizza2. Visit Pompeii & Mount Vesuvius
For history lovers, no trip to Naples would be complete without a trip to Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius. The archaeological sites have remained firmly embedded in most people’s memories since history class at school.

3. Drink up the Coffee Culture
Any coffee aficionado with even a passing knowledge of Italy’s food culture will know that Naples is famous for coffee, too. Neapolitan coffee is short and very, very strong. I mean, it would be sinful not to sip cappuccino while hanging out with girlfriends or people watching. 😉Cappuccino4. Walk on the Lungomore
The long seafront stroll from Santa Lucia to Mergellina is a classic weekend promenade.

5. Grab a Gelato
Neapolitans are passionate about ice cream, so you can expect the best. When it comes to flavors, most gelaterie offer a bewildering array, broken down into crema (creamy) and frutta (fruit) varieties. Our favorite gelaterie in town is Casa Infante Artigiani Del Gelato. Gelato here achieves the perfect balance between creamy and light, with the best Amalfi lemon in town. Ask for “fontana di cioccolato” for a delicious treat at the end of your gelato. 😉 Thanks, April, for the tip!Gelato6. Stroll through Naples Royalty
Three stops are critical for any visitor interested in the history of the Napeolitan royalty: Castel Nuovo was built in 1279 by Charles of Angiono, and today houses Naples’ museo civico, with Neopolitan artworks spanning the 15th-20th century – don’t miss the views from the fortress towers. The numerous apartments at Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace) today house a collection of paintings, frescoes, tapestries, chandeliers and furniture from the 17th to the 19th centuries. Designed by Luigi Vanvitelli, Villa Comunale was inaugurated in 1781 as the garedini reali (royal park). There is a magnificent bandstand, built in 1887, and the small-is-beautiful Stazione Zoologica.

7. Wander Aimlessly Along Spaccanapoli
The best way to enjoy the historic center of Naples is to wander without a plan. The storico antico is at once ancient and modern – the street plan is older than the hills and the buildings have contained shops and apartments for centuries. But unlike some kind of preserved museum piece, the old center is very much alive. It’s a densely populated area and the locals don’t slow down for tourists.

8. Shop Until You Drop
Naples is one of the cheaper cities of Italy. Stroll the streets of Naples, as in all the port cities, you’ll see improvised markets and choreographic negotiations. Pay attention! They want to cheat you. Welcome in the full neapolitan tradition, you just received a pacco (pack or to trick someone). Therefore, I recommend visiting little shops that specialize in Italian leather goods and culinary delights. The aroma as you enter the shops is mesmerizing. I may have come home with some of these souvenirs. 😉ItalianShops9. Grab a Granita
While you are walking around town, grab a granita di limone, a rough-cut sorbet found at stalls around Naples. An even rougher sorbet is la grattata, with ice scraped on demand off a large chunk and doused with flavored syrup or lemon juice.

10. Sail to Capri or Around the Coast of NaplesSailing

24 Hours in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

SarajevoWith its extraordinary cultural and religious mix and rich Ottoman heritage, Sarajevo is a city that merits a visit at any time. Surrounded by green hills and bisected by a river, it is a place of spectacular beauty, and though the scars of the siege of the 1990s are still evident, Bosnians display heartening resilience and vitality.

THURSDAY
4PM McDonalds

Oh, the things you do for your kids and the places you stop after driving over five hours to get to Sarajevo. Yes, this American establishment was the first place we visited when we arrived in Sarajevo. The kids were sooo excited because we don’t have a McDonald’s in Montenegro. They ordered their Happy Meals with the “Cut the Rope” toy and enjoyed every bite. Note: you pay for everything when you are at McDonald’s in Bosnia, even the dipping sauce, so use them sparingly. The interesting thing about visiting McDonald’s outside of the US is studying its various menus and facilities. This one had a McCafe that included coffee, desserts and alcoholic beverages.

6PM Window Shopping
Along Sarajevo’s main pedestrian promenade called Ferhadija, we enjoyed a walk under the Christmas lights and brisk air. We found clothing stores, toy stores and many more, along with street vendors selling freshly-pressed pomegranate juice.Ferhadija7PM Dining in Old Town
We headed for Baščaršija – the heart of Ottoman Sarajevo – and enjoy cevapcici (che-VAHP-chee-chee), minced beef sausage-style kebabs served with pita-style bread, raw onions and kajmak – a Bosnian national dish. We stopped at Ćevabdžinica Željo 1, where you order in increments of five. Be prepared to sit close together, as this place is always packed.Zeljo8PM Coffee Talk
For Bosnians, drinking coffee is a ritual for relaxing, not quickening the pulse. Inside the rustic, wood-planked Miris Dunja, we unwounded and drank thick, frothy, slow-brewed Bosnian coffee served in copper pots.BosnianCoffee9PM Rest & Relaxation
We stayed at Marriott’s brand new Residence Inn Sarajevo. Read more about it here and why you should stay here when you visit Sarajevo.ResidenceInn

FRIDAY
9AM Hospitable Breakfast

We love continental breakfasts in Europe. It is not just cereal, processed scrambled eggs and pre-made “Belgium waffles” mix that you make in the waffle maker in the lobby. The breakfast includes cold meats and cheese, freshly cut fruit, muffins and breads, freshly scrambled eggs or hardboiled, if you like, and hot meats. The Residence Inn Sarajevo also had an espresso maker where you could make up to 8 varieties of coffee from freshly grounded beans.RIBreakfast12PM Street Lunch
No one is ambivalent about Sarajevo’s rich street food. One of my family’s favorite is burek, pastry dough filled with beef and potato, cheese or spinach. We headed back to the Baščaršija, Sarajevo’s old bazaar and the historical and cultural center of the city. We ate at Buregdžinica Sač, where we paired these savory pie portions with a glass of yogurt. We walked off our lunch and picked up a bag of freshly grounded coffee, by a man who was pounding it in a large mortar. Who needs an electric grinder when you can do it by hand?! 😉 We completed our lunch at the Cream Shop, a sweet shop with baklava, kadaif and more.BurekIgda1PM Street Shopping
One of the oldest streets of the Baščaršija is Kazandžilu, or the Coppersmith Street. We found an ornately decorated Bosnian coffee set and platter. It was a unique piece because it was hand hammered and decorated.CopperShop

Marriott Comes to the Balkans – Rewards Card is Worth it!

RISarajevoBefore leaving the Unites States, some wise friends of ours recommended us to apply for the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card. We were already Marriott Rewards members, but the credit card takes it to the next level. Initially, we experienced a bit of sticker shock, but trust us: The $0 Intro Annual Fee for the first year, then $85 annual fee is well worth it.

The Marriott Rewards Premier card has quite a few perks to recommend it. First off, the signup bonus. Earn 50,000 Points after spending $1,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. It has a great rewards rate of 5 points per $1 spent at the Marriott; 2 per $1 spent on airlines, car rentals and restaurants; and 1 per $1 spent elsewhere. And then come the perks. Oh, the perks. Yes, there’s an $85 annual fee (waived the first year).

Since we received a free nights stay in a Category 1-4, we of course wanted to stay the at the best, but the only problems is that we lived in Southeast Europe, AND Marriott had all its hotels in Western Europe. Wait…did I just see a “coming soon.” Yes, Marriott was opening its first hotel in the Balkans in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. WooHoo! That’s not too far from us, and we have never been to Bosnia…yet. 🙂RISarajevoBedResidence Inn Sarajevo is amazing as soon as you walk in from the brisk, cold winter day. The staff, speaking both English and Bosnia, great you with a smile and a wealth of information about the area. As soon as you turn the door knob to come into your suite, you see the fully-equipped kitchen and separate areas for eating, working and relaxing. The well-designed rooms promote productivity with large, well-lit work desks, ergonomic chairs and complimentary high-speed Internet. A welcoming and restorative feel is created throughout with warm, earthy colours and light wood fixtures and fittings. Natural light floods the rooms through floor to ceiling windows and each suite has its own private terrace.RISarajevoLobbySince the Real Geek Dad is in graduate school, the public spaces on the ground floor were inviting, feature flexible seating for working or relaxing and a 24-hour Market selling drinks, snacks and meals. He also squeeze in some time to release some the tension in the fitness center. The Residence InnSarajevo also provided a delicious continental breakfast.RIColdFood RIHotFoodIdeally located near Old Town, the Residence Inn Sarajevo provided convenient access to the city’s historical and cultural attractions as well as restaurants, cafes and shops.

Here some other benefits that offset the fee, you’ll get:

  • One free night’s stay after your account approval, plus one night a year on your account anniversary
  • 15-night credit towards Elite status
  • No foreign transaction fees (key for international travelers – these usually set you back 3% of everything you spend abroad)

The anniversary free night’s stay, by itself, wipes out the annual fee with room to spare. The Marriott Premier gives you quite a bit in terms of rewards and bonuses – the signup bonus alone is better than the industry standard of $200-$300. I cannot wait to use this reward in a year!

24 Hours in Dubrovnik, Croatia

DubrovnikAt midday, church bells echo through Dubrovnik old town. Chic women click-clack down cobbled alleyways. The city’s charisma is intoxicating, full of rich history and tragedy. But much has changed over the last decade or so. The creative spirit that people of Dubrovnik fought to preserve is very much in evidence these days. Cafes, boutiques and restaurants have sprouted among buildings in myriad styles.

SATURDAY
10:30AM Dubrovnik Old Town Tour
During the winter season, the Dubrovnik Tourist Board organizes a FREE Saturday guided sightseeing tour around Dubrovnik old town in English, beginning at Pile Tourist Information Centre and lasted for an hour and a half, ending on Luža Square. Sign up by 6PM Friday by email here.DubrovnikTour

11AM Gundulićeva Poljana
A great way to take a break while on the tour in Dubrovnik old town is at Gundulic Square’s vibrant market. Fruits, vegetables, flowers and crafts are all sold here in this traditional and friendly setting. Also worth visiting here is the statue of the square’s namesake, the acclaimed 17th century poet, Ivan Gundulić. Make sure to pick up Dubrovnik’s traditional delicacy called arancini (candied orange peels.)Arancini

12PM Linđo Folklore Ensemble
Enjoyed a dazzling folklore dance performance of the Linđo ensemble in the heart of Dubrovnik old town in the Sloboda Cinema. The Folklore ensemble Linđo was founded in 1964 to promote traditional dances and songs of the Republic of Croatia. Linđo first started performing a year later, in 1965 and by today became a brand name when speaking of tourism in the city of Dubrovnik. Linđo itself is the most popular dance of the Dubrovnik coastal region and has been danced in the same manner for over 200 years. The dance is accompanied by the lijerica, an old South Dalmatian instrument with three strings, which came from the Eastern Mediterranean and Greece in late 18th century.Lindo

1PM Croatian Lunch
No one is ambivalent about Croatia’s rich food. For many, ćevapi (che-VAHP-ee) — beef sausages served with onions and french fries — reigns supreme. At Konoba Rhea Silvia I, prepare to order in increments of five. Complete your lunch at Razonoda, part of Pucić Palace, with Chemex coffee from the world-renowned Eli’s Caffe in Zagreb.Cevapi

8PM Coffee Talk
Cafe Festival is located on one of the most beautiful streets in the whole world, Stradun. This sidewalk cafe is perfect for two of Croatia’s favorite pastimes: drinking coffee and people watching. There’s no better place than Cafe Festival near the Franciscan monastery.

SUNDAY
10:30AM Brunch
Chihuahua Cantina Mexicana serves up “Mexican” food. For the price (enchiladas, tacos, fajitas and burritos in the 50kn range), it’s an easy option for families. The staff was friendly, and you must remember that you aren’t near Mexico, so keep you expectation low and you’ll leave here fulfilled. 🙂Taquitos

There are even more things to do in Dubrovnik, so I have begun planning my trip back in 2015. I didn’t check out the Rector’s Palace or any of the monasteries. I didn’t go to a classical concert, and I missed the cable car. You should consider making a stop to visit the “Pearl of the Adriatic.” You won’t regret it.

Photo Journal: A Festival of Olives

IMG_6225I’ve been lucky enough to attend a few different food festivals in my day and I must say the festival of olives (Maslinijada) in Montenegro is one of my faves! This year, I was excited to experience the Montenegrin festival with some of my blogging friends and family.

At one point this weekend, I took a break and found the perfect spot on a stonewall to eat some local cheese with polenta (kačamak) and fried fish (ukljeve) with my family and friends. I had been on the move all day; listening to the traditional music, shooting photos, tasting olives and olive oil. I was ready to chill out for a sec. I could hear the bass coming from a stage off in the distance. It was calming and rhythmic. I looked around and noticed the undeniable energy. Everywhere around me I saw people laughing, smiling, eating and moving. Some were walking with linked arms, determined to make it through Old Town (Stari Grad). Others were casually lounging on chairs in nearby restaurants, sharing stories. It was beautiful and quite romantic. I couldn’t help but smile — my heart felt full. But that’s just the thing about festivals, isn’t it? People from all over the world join together in a shared experience, brought together by olives. At that point I realized, I had fallen in love with Montenegro.IMG_6213BloggersIMG_6222IMG_6223IMG_6227IMG_6229IMG_6251IMG_6260IMG_6267IMG_6297IMG_6304For more about Maslinijada, check out Stari Bar: Montenegrin Old Urban Settlement!

Germany Celebrates 25 Years of German Reunification

ReaganBerlinWallOn June 12, 1987, US President Ronald Reagan cried, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Today 25 years ago, the world heard the wall fall in Berlin, and finally East and West Germany could experience unity and freedom. Since 1989, Germany has resumed its place at the heart of Europe, politically, economically and even geographically—reunification and the expansion of the European Union eastwards has seen Germany move from the eastern edge of Europe to its center.BerlinerMauerThe Wall, which was established by East Germany in 1961 and was roughly 96 miles long, split the already-divided country’s capital into West Berlin and East Berlin. After weeks of civil protests, the government of Eastern Germany opened up the partition on November 9, 1989, allowing residents to travel to the west side. The chipping away of the wall followed, but its actual demolition didn’t truly begin until the following year, just a few months before Germany would officially reunite.GermanChristmasMarketReunified Germany is still young, but traditions such as the famous Munich Oktoberfest and Christmas Markets are known the world over. Now is a perfect time to rediscover Germany or explore it for the first time – and statistics show that 70% of all first time visitors return. I know my family cannot not wait to return in 2015. Germany is rich in art and culture with the 500th anniversary of the birth of Lucas Cranach the Younger and when religious reformer Martin Luther nailed his 95 thesis to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. It is time to discover Germany barrier-free!MartinLuther