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Monthly Archives: July 2017

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Krk Island has lots to do, in fact, I didn’t venture out to Zagreb city much at all. This golden island pebbled beaches are unique, I have never seen such clear blue waters and the beach interspersed with a few coloured pebbles of all shapes and sizes.

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Stara Baska beach has unspoilt nature, mesmerising view, I loved the drive uphill and down leading to the beach cove, and it was so secluded and serene. Locals pointed out to 5 such top beach spots mostly pebbled.

IMG_0274.JPGMalinska south-west of Krk, on the other hand, had golden sand, more tamed than the pebbled beaches of Baska.

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VoLSONI was a routine, I spent time having a wood fired Pizza at their seafront outdoor area just by the harbour. The wharf was crowded, school kids scrambled on a boat excursion and the promenade by the water is a splendid place to drink coffee with cake or ice cream in the many cafes around.

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The boat cruises were expensive, I opted to people watch by the waterfront and watch boats sail off. A sundial at a corner of the promenade is significant

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On the Square of Krk Island, the oldest part of town opposite the Cathedral is Frankopan Castle, an imposing stone building that can’t be given a miss.

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The Cathedral and Castle form the dominant line up of buildings to see and also the surrounding ancient narrow lanes and cobbled paths leading to many side alley restaurants amidst residential blocks.

The noble Frankopan family, as the last line of defence (it fell to the Venetians), built the Castle during the 12th to the 15th Century. The castle served as the city’s protection against attacks from the sea.

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The towers and courtyards within giving vantage points of rooms above and models of Knights and nobility offer deep insight into Croatia’s antiquity and warfare.

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The layered fortress built in different stages had influences of Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance style.

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The breathtaking view of the Adriatic and harbour from the topmost verandah of the castle must have been to sight enemy ships from afar. Canons and turrets were a common feature all around the castle.

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Open. 9:00 – 22:00. Sundays 09:00 – 14:00. Tickets price: Adults: 22,00 KN = 3 €. 

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If you want a bit of drive out and admire the landscape of Krk Island skirting around the Bay below then head out to Biserujka Cave.

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From the homestay, it was a comfortable 1-hour drive leading to a rocky terrain, wild flowers ( many types of herbs like sage, other medicinal plants have been recorded here) and tall grass grow in gay abundance.

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The presence of neatly piled rocks as boundary walls leading to the cave was indeed intriguing and the guide explained that it was offered free to anyone building a home.

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Huge lavic rocks were scattered wide around the barren grounds of the cave, it also served as seats for tourists to wait their turn. The reception area sold entry tickets to limited number of people, to control entry into the caves in small groups.

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The cave was discovered over 180 years ago. According to legends, smugglers hid a treasure trove of pearls here, and that’s why Biserurjka, Biser in Croatian is a pearl. A rare insect is endemic to this cave and nowhere else!

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The over centuries old Biserujka cave described as Aladdin’s cave was indeed glittering with stalagmites, stalactites and calcite pillars.

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The safe passageways with railings, muted lights, enhanced trickery to the caves glittering pillars and chandeliers. The simple cave is not too cavernous, the mouth of the cave, halls, shaft, and rooms within creates a great adventurous walk through.

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A replica skeleton of a huge bear in a corner marks the area where the original skeleton was found.

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Krk Island abounds in narrow lanes and alleys. Neatly laid out cobbled labyrinth, Vrbnik really refreshed my senses, it’s an indelible part of the ancient city that is lifted straight out from a fairy tale!

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One must simply get bewildered in the lanes as you admire old stone buildings, churches, residential houses, and all hobnobbing with quaint restaurants, bars and pubs. Simply idyllic!

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Located on the East coast of Krk, this ancient city is simply described as rising above the Kvarnar bay touching the sky.

Vrbnik rises above the blue Adriatic Sea, it has the worlds narrowest lanes. There are many art shops and galleries no wonder it’s called the city of artists and creative minds inspired by the charming lanes and beauty of the rugged hills.

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Vrbnik is undoubtedly one of the famous old Croatian villages perched on outcrops of limestone rocks. Spend your time walking through, every lane has a story,

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Restaurant Konoba Nada, Vrbnik has the best view of the sheer cliff hanging rocks and the bay below. The food was outstanding and I loved the gigantic beer barrels as tables.

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Vrbnik was one place I felt so with nature and wished I had lingered on the whole day. Do make this an entire day trip, soak in the view, there are so many exciting restaurants all facing the bay and wear comfortable walking shoes.

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(Conclusion part-3) next island hopping in Croatia.

 

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ZAGREB-1- KRK ISLAND

The Traditional Blends with the Contemporary. IMG_9955.JPG

Travelling the length and breadth of Croatia, I have recognised that this Adriatic star is waiting to be discovered by South Asians. One of the friendliest people this side of East Europe, tourists are greeted with great bonhomie.  What is notable about Croatia is the Roman conquest that began way back in 168 BC and was fully established after series of wars, by 11 BC. It is this heritage and legacy that Croatia is very proud of

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Croatia has always held sway as the Roman bastion for 5 or more centuries. Charting rich history, culture, tradition and trade that is still reflected in modern day Croatia. I was lucky enough to retrace much of the Roman carriageway, apart from Solin (not too far from Split), the other important Roman towns were Zadar, Porec, Pula and later Split.

IMG_9887.JPGFor Solo travellers this is a safe haven, I deeply regret travelling with a group that just posed for pics!

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ZAGREB – I was pleasantly surprised that charting an itinerary which features a varied topography would require a lot of rerouting, adding on cities that matter and link en route for a road trip. Zagreb situated in the central region of Northwest Croatia was the starting point. Arriving in Franjo Tudman or the new Zagreb Airport, the Swiss Airport I was transiting, paled in comparison as also the Swiss Airline!

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Zagreb turned out to be a big tourist destination, picturesque landscapes, mountain backdrop that interweaves with the forest giving it that evergreen cover panorama.

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The homestay had local police checking in diligently of all the guests who make the first entry spot into Zagreb. Considering Croatia is fast acquiring a foothold as the most tourist-friendly destinations, getting a Croatian visa is a bit of a dampener, as it has to necessarily conform to the precise days of stay there. It’s advisable to hold Schengen visa to Croatia, neighbouring Montenegro, Slovenia, Bosnia, Romania are all an easy motorable distance away.

IMG_9903.JPGI spent 4 glorious days in  Krk Island

 KRK ISLAND- Few hours from Zagreb, KRK is the largest island in Croatia facing the Kvarner Bay, 30 km from the city of Rijeka. During summer the island’s golden beaches are completely swamped by tourists. Beautiful promenades surround the Bay speckled with gelato ice-cream parlours, restaurants and bars.

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Krk was one of the highlights really, this island commands the best viewpoints, pebbled beaches and has a history that connects it to the cradle of Croatian culture. There are references to Krk by the Romans as the golden island.

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Croatia is widely known as a country with thousands of stunning islands, the Croatian coast is amazingly attractive. The island of Krk exemplifies that, and it is here that I learnt, about all those red tiled houses that one can spot from below and admire, so quintessentially Europe, is actually a steep climb to reach. Be warned if you are taking up a homestay high up in the hills, the view is breathtaking, walking downhill to the town square is fun, but it’s the climbing up that knocks you down!

IMG_9991.JPGHead towards Krk Island square, which is where all the action is. Gastronomy is part of the culture, heritage and tradition, Krk Island has enough and more of everyday life to offer any discerning tourists.

IMG_9987.JPGThe traditional Burek made of baked filled pastries or puffs made of thin flaky dough is available at all Patisseries. The most popular of the fillings and my favourite were goat’s cheese and poppy seeds, Yum! Neighboring Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Slovenia also make similar versions.

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One of my favourite, most intriguing restaurant/bar at the KRK Square was Volsonis. I was so fascinated that I forgot my drink, I didn’t even bother to order food, instead, I got hold of the handsome waiter to explain the history and prime location of Volsonis as the biggest bar lounge of Krk.

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It’s a genuine archaeological site and walking through transports you to the Roman era. Situated in an enormous 2000-year-old Roman archaeological site underground, the original place had to be dug out all manually so deep, that some parts of Volsonis are under the sea!

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The bar lounge is split into many sections, some going as low as the rock extrusions dripping sea water into a channel. There are secret passages, rooms with well laid out tables, very exquisite romantic settings, a huge tv was a bit jarring to the ancient underground towers and corridors.

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The romantic garden was also referred to as the secret garden. The two Venus’s altars were fit to be in a museum, each section of Volsonis exuded astonishment and wonder.

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I didn’t stop at just one visit here, every visit was a new discovery and the food was simply divine.

 

(cont)- pg 2

 

 

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