Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Six weeks down...

We are almost six weeks through our trip. We've left Eastern Europe behind (well, until later in the year!), and are about to head to France.

Here's a map of where we've gone so far - not quite as detailed as I'd like, need to plug in some of the day trips that are missing in Croatia and Italy.

Posts on where we've been are slowly coming - the internet access in Italy has been pretty disappointing, with no free public wifi, and very few internet cafes. Hostel/Hotel access has been pretty patchy too.

View Europe 2009 - to mid Aug in a larger map

Tomorrow we leave Italy, taking a train from Milano to Marseilles, France (via Genoa and Nice - a train trip we've done before going the other way). We have 2 nights in Marseilles, then another train to Perpigan, where we meet K's parents for a week in a villa up in a tiny village in the French mountains (it has a pool!). Feels funny to be taking a holiday from holidaying... :)


Croatia (part 1)

After Slovenia, we jumped on yet another train, this time during the day to Zagreb. While it's a big city, we found ourselves pretty bored there, as we're totally over museums (how many broken pots are there in the world?!) and the hostel was rather boring too. So lots of mooching around cafes and sitting in parks.

Next stop was Split. We took a night train, and decided to save some € by getting seats rather than couchettes or beds, and after a late start ended up with four young Americans in our compartment, which was a little too cosy for me! Arrived at about 7am, and wandered about like zombies for the day. Sadly, the fast train from Zagreb that day derailed, killing 6 people.

Split, Croatia

Split is a lovely UNESCO protected city, which we were staying within the protected zone. The old town is actually a palace built for a roman emporer to retire in, that over time has been cannabilised into homes and shops.

Split, Croatia

We spent four days here, taking a bit of a break - beaches, swimming, a day trip to Hvar Island, and some quiet sightseeing ;).

Hvar, Croatia

Our last evening we met up with K's parents, who are touring Europe at the moment, and ended up joining their tour group for dinner.

Next stop, Bosnia!


Took a night train from Belgrade to Ljubjana, Slovenia on 19th July. We booked couchettes, and managed to get away with only one other person in our 6-berth compartment. Crossed two Borders (Serbia - Croatia, and Croatia -Slovenia), so lots of waking up for passport checks.

Ljubjana is so clean and tidy compared to the rest of the Balkan countries, everyone has a new car and there seems to be a lot more money around.

Ljubana, Slovenia

Spent the morning looking around the castle, where K walked up the hill and I took the funicular up - K was up there 5 mins before me :) The river area is lovely with cafes lining the sides.

Discovered the best 'Burek' we've had yet - a pastry with either cheese, meat or spinach in it, that can be found throughout the Balkan states. These weighed 1KG each!

Ljubana, Slovenia

Found a tea shop where we stocked up on loose jasmine green tea, and also found some replacement sandals for R, nice new North Face ones. The trusty old Merrells went in the bin, wrapped in a layer of smell-proof (I hope!) plastic.

Next day was a train to Lake Bled, a 55min train to Lesec-Bled station, then some confusion to find a bus for the 4km drive to the town of Bled. We took a walk around the lake, 6km around. Stunning emerald water, a picturesque church on an island in the lake, with the castle looming. Exactly as it looks in postcards.

Bled, Slovenia

Hiked out to a Gorge (which I'll dig the name out of), and walked through the 1.6km alongside a river. Stunning scenery, and the entire length of the gorge is in shade, so the coolness is a welcome relief. The river is freezing!

Bled, Slovenia

The next morning, we went up the steep climb to the castle for more stunning views. Purchased our first souvenir, a bottle of Merlot that R bottled with the help of a monk called Anton. Need to find an occasion to drink it, need the space in my pack back ;)

Next stop, Zagreb in Croatia.