Fantastic news! I’m travelling to Sweden & Slovenia by bus. Now isn’t that just awesome. Eek!

Fantastic news! I’m travelling to Sweden & Slovenia by bus. Now isn’t that just awesome. Eek!

You guys!

Wow!

What a wonderful summer I’m going to have!

Now you might have seen me make hints as to where I’m going, and there’s more where that came from! Golly yes!

The suburban rivers of ye olde Manchester.

Update: The day I published this post, was the day that a bombing took place in my original home-town of Manchester. I am saddened and outraged as this act of terrorism was not only cowardly, but taken out in an area where teenagers and young children were watching (by all accounts) a fabulous concert of Ariana Grande. Everyone is most upset. And so am I.

My fellow Mancunians have rallied round to give each other comfort and support. They are brave, and so must we all be. This has not been the first time that Manchester has been bombed by terrorists in the last 20 years, and sadly, it won’t be the last.

It was only a few months ago that Berlin was targeted by a mad man at the German Christmas Market, then London was terrorised just last March, Stockholm in April, and now Manchester.

And this time it came very close to home, as the office of my brother – The Writer – is opposite the Manchester Arena! I rang home in the middle of the night with a shaking hand!

Manchester – And then we have to get up, brush down, wipe away the tears, keep calm, and Carry On with things!

But what should we do`?

We must cry, and we should.

And then we have to get up, brush down, wipe away the tears, keep calm, and Carry On with things!

Manchester people (of which I am one) are known for plain speaking, and being strong of mind.

We’re stoic, and have a stiff upper lip! #DontLookBackInAnger.

Whatever you think of Britain, the UK is open for business, and always will be.

My original home-town of Manchester!

Let’s make a re-cap on where I’ve been in 2017 so far:

How to visit Amsterdam: Introducing Zaandam – a Dutch traditional town with windmills!

HOLLAND:

THE CZECH REPUBLIC:

I went skiing but I didn’t actually write about it this year. Oops! Here’s what I wrote previously…

At the Vienna Opera Ball.
@ WienTourismus / Peter Rigaud/Couture Vivienne Westwood

AUSTRIA:

CROATIA:

Now that’s out of the way, let’s move forward.

OMG!

FANTASTIC NEWS! I’M TRAVELLING TO SWEDEN & SLOVENIA BY BUS. NOW ISN’T THAT AWESOME. EEK!

Fantastic news! I’m travelling to Sweden & Slovenia by bus. Now isn’t that just awesome. Eek!

I am ecstatic as Sweden & Slovenia are going to be completely and utterly new, making the countries that I’ve visited (not that I’m counting you understand!), to be 37 countries in Europe, 12 countries in Asia, 6 countries in Africa, 2 countries in North America, 1 country in South America, 1 country in the Middle East, and 5 dependent islands! 3 countries (so far), have been new in 2017.

That makes a grand total of 64 countries and 5 continents!

I’ll be travelling to Sweden & Slovenia. By bus. And here’s why!

SWEDEN

Fantastic news! I’m travelling to Sweden by bus. Now isn’t that just awesome. Eek! – Sweden

Sweden, otherwise known as the Kingdom of Sweden, really needs no introduction, and is a small Scandinavian country in Northern Europe.

It borders Norway to the west and Finland to the east, and is connected to Denmark in the southwest, by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund.

Sweden is the third-largest country in the European Union with a whopping mass area of 450,295 square kilometres or 173,860 square miles, and a population of just 10 million people!

The capital city is Stockholm.

WHERE WILL VICTORIA BE GOING TO EXACTLY?

Stockholm – Sweden.

Stockholm!

WHY STOCKHOLM?

The Nordic Nations are quite trendy and all the range right now!

Because I’ve never been to Sweden as the prices used to frighten me, but right now, the Nordic Nations are all the range right now, and I absolutely adooooore ABBA!

In fact, I was actually supposed to go to Sweden for the TBEX conference last year, but opted to go to the Philippines instead!

WHAT ELSE WILL I BE DOING?

Stockholm view with balloons – Sweden.
©Jeppe Wikström – mediabank.visitstockholm.com

Ha!

I’m excited to tell you that I’ll be doing a hell of a lot of stuff and thinking about it as I write, I don’t even think I have the time to do even half the things I’ve planned, as in actually fact, we only have three (3) days to work with!

Stockholm is a very tourist-friendly city so some of the things I’m planning would be:

Because ABBA!
©Agnethannifrid.blogspot.de
  • Going to ABBA The Museum: OMG! I don’t even know where to start. I mean, ABBA was, and is, one of the world’s most popular and successful pop groups in THE world! And let me tell you, if you’re just starting out in the music profession and want a guaranteed hit, make sure it’s an ABBA re-mix, and you’ll be in clover!
  • Rambling: We’re absolutely going to do a Guided Old Town Walkabout, and then use the rest of the time to ramble and stroll through the city, and various nooks and crannies, ourselves.
We’ll probably doing some water-based activities in Stockholm – Sweden.
©Yanan Li – Stockholm Media Bank
  • We’ll probably be taking a variety of boat tours as I like water and river destinations, and perhaps, use the Hop-on-Hop-off bus to get our natural bearings.
  • I’m going to spend a few hours at Skansen – the world’s first open-air museum! You all know how much I like open-air museums. It just keeps getting better and better! Anyhoo, the Skansen was founded in 1891 and tells the story of five (5) centuries of Swedish history!
Guards at the Royal Palace. Don’t they look fancy in Stockholm – Sweden?
©Jeppe Wikström – mediabank.visitstockholm.com
  • I’ll be going to a few important places of interest such as the Vasa Museum and the Royal Palace. I was looking forward to squeezing in the Vikingaliv Museum which just opened last month, but sadly, we won’t have enough time to dedicate to it on this trip! Note: Many of the Stockholm museums are actually free of charge! Yipee!!
  • Money-saving: One of the most important things that I’ve noticed to do in cities, especially the more expensive ones, is to actually get a Stockholm City Pass. We used one in Croatia and Vienna, and they both proved enormously useful, not only making things more convenient so that you don’t have to fiddle with a million tickets at a time, but in many cases actually saved money! And if you’re in places like London & Paris, they’re a life-saver!
Having a great time in Stockholm – Sweden
©Icebar by IceHotel – http://www.icehotel.com
  • I’ll be topping the evening with cocktails at the ICEBAR by Ice Hotel. I mean, the ICEBAR – at the Stockholm branch of the original ICEHOTEL created in Jukkasjärvi, back in 1994!

We’re not going to Lapland at this time, but we will be having drinks at the world’s first permanent bar, made 100% out of ice. In Stockholm!

I’ll have yours!

Book your hotel here!

As for Swedish food. I don't dare think of the prices with a growing lad in tow. Here come the street markets in Stockholm - Sweden!©Mikael Sjoberg - mediabank.visitstockholm.com
As for Swedish food. I don’t dare think of the prices with a growing lad in tow! ©Mikael Sjoberg – mediabank.visitstockholm.com

As for food. I don’t dare think of the prices so we’ll be having sandwiches for lunch and a proper meal at dinner-time. Oh, and did I tell you that the ever-growling stomach of The Tall Gentleman is coming along too. Gulp!

ANYTHING ELSE?

Hobo is an original art design hotel & a creative outlet for urban farming and innovative tech installation in Stockholm - Sweden! ©Hobo Hotel
Hobo is an original art design hotel & a creative outlet for urban farming & innovative tech! ©Hobo

I met a few of the lovely Stockholm Visitors Board team while I was at the ITB Berlin, and they were very helpful when I told them that I was planning to Visit Stockholm. They not only offered me a complimentary Stockholm Pass, but also put me in contact with the Hobo award-winning design hotel that was just launched in March!

This original art design hotel is a creative outlet for urban farming and innovative tech installation and really is called Hobo!

Fancy meeting you at the Hobo Bar in Stockholm – Sweden!
©Hobo

Hobo is not a hostel, or a home for the homeless, but like the art design hipster-style boutique hotel that I went to in Taiwan, is an artistic hotel aimed at forming a holistic experience for the urban traveller, with a touch of hippy trend!

Book Hobo here or here!

SLOVENIA

Fantastic news! I’m travelling to Slovenia by bus. Now isn’t that just awesome. Eek!

Slovenia, otherwise known as Slovenija or the Republic of Slovenia, is another tiny nation-state in Eastern – Central Europe!

It is bordered by Italy to the west, Austria to the north, Hungary to the northeast, Croatia to the south and southeast, and the Adriatic Sea to the southwest. It has a mass of 20,273 square kilometers or 7,827 square miles and has a population of just 2.06 million people!

The capital and largest city, is Ljubljana.

WHERE WILL VICTORIA BE GOING TO EXACTLY?

Fantastic news! I’m travelling to Slovenia by bus. Now isn’t that just awesome. Eek! Ljubljana – Slovenia
©D.wedam – Ljubljana Tourism

Ljubljana!

You heard me. Lju-bl-jaaaaaaaaaana!

WHY LJUBLIJANA?

Because I’m weird and I like going to interesting exotic places!

Seriously though, the reason why I want to go to Slovenia is because I’ve heard such a lot of wonderful things from practically everyone! And remember, just two years ago, I hadn’t heard of any of the Baltic or Balkan States. In fact, I couldn’t even pronounce them!

However, I am a strong supporter of Europe, and I have a weakness for tiny countries in the middle of beyond! Besides, I had such a wonderful time in Croatia, why wouldn’t I want to go to it’s “sister country” – Slovenia – too!

WHAT ELSE WILL I BE DOING?

Look beneath your feet! It’s the beauty that is Slovenia!

We are going to be doing a lot of stuff as we’re going to be in Slovenia for a week!

  • I wanted to spend some quality time with The Tall Young Gentleman, and I think Slovenia is the perfect place to do it. We’ve got activities jam-packed!
  • Slovenia is a very green country and like Croatia, amazingly beautiful. I mean, just look at the photography, so we’re going to be spending quite a lot of time outdoors.
We’re going to be spending quite some time in Ljubljana as I like to get inside the soul of a city!
Robba fountain & Cathedral ©D.wedam – Ljubljana Tourism
  • Of course, we’re going to be spending quite some time in Ljubljana itself as I like to get inside the soul of a city. I also want to prove people who say that Ljubljana only deserves a few hours, wrong!
  • We’re going to go on a guided tour so that we can get inside knowledge from local experts.
Prekmurska Gibanica – A Slovenian layered pastry with poppy seeds, walnuts, apples, raisins and a cream filling!
  • We’re going to go on a most delicious food tour. Because food. Yum!
  • We’re going to go to the Slovenian countryside and spend a day among the shepherds on Velika Planina!

 

I’m hoping our river cruise in Slovenia, is not going to look like this. Gulp!

 

But rather like this!
Boat cruise – Ljubljana – Slovenia ©D.wedam – Ljubljana Tourism
  • We’re going to go on a river cruise which is going to be awesome!
  • We’ll be exploring Ljubljana’s largest and most beautiful parkland area at the Tivoli Park.
Ramble on cobbled streets in Slovenia!
Town Square – ©D.wedam – Ljubljana Tourism
  • We’ll be spending some time rambling through the cobbled streets and running from one museum or local attraction to another, using the Ljubljana Card.
Isn’t Lake Bled in Slovenia, just bloody marvellous!
  • And to top it off we’ll spend a day at the stunning Lake Bled, not only surrounding ourselves with mountains, forests, and fresh air, but also the medieval Bled Castle.

I’m salivating with architectural delight!

ANYTHING ELSE?

We’re going to be staying at the aptly named Hotel Park Ljubljana. In Slovenia!

I’m going to be working in partnership with Ljubljana Tourism in order to experience all that is best in Ljubljana, and the surrounding area!

In order to keep to the theme of sustainability and environmental consciousness, we’re going to be staying at the aptly named Hotel Park Ljubljana, located in the heart of the Old Town of Ljubljana, and situated in a leafy park.

We’re going to have a great time!

Book your hotel here!

HOW AM I TRAVELLING?

Travel through Europe via FlixBus!

Well, I’m guessing the title says it all, but just in case you’re not convinced, we’re going to be travelling Berlin – Stockholm – Berlin and Berlin – Ljubljana – Berlin, entirely by coach-bus!

I’m sorry.

What did you say now?

You heard me.

By bus!

Gulp!

I know you’re crazy Victoria, ‘cos the last time you took a 26 hour bus from Estonia – Berlin, you said that you wouldn’t do that again, and yet, here you are!

Doing it again!!!

Yep!

Travel by FlixBus through the European Alps!

Now I’m not entirely crazy as I’m going to be working in partnership with a German company called FlixBus!

FlixBus, previously known as MeinFernbus is a young mobility provider that has been changing the way millions of people travel in Europe over the past 3 years. It’s a combination of a tech-startup, an e-commerce-platform and a transportation company, making FlixBus one of Europe’s largest intercity bus networks!

FlixBus from as little as €5.00!

One of the reasons that I’ve put all my trust in FlixBus is because we’ve travelled with them from time to time over the years, and just recently, we used their services while we were in Croatia from Zagreb to Split to Dubrovnik!

You might have noticed that there’s an image of a Flixbus on the side of the panel. I’m so convinced that it’s all going to work out, that I’ve joined their affiliate programme so that you can join in the fun too. As usual, if you book your journey via my link, there is no extra cost to you, and I get a little percentage for my trouble.

It’s definitely going to be an adventure!

Book your hotel here!

FANTASTIC NEWS! I’M TRAVELLING TO SWEDEN & SLOVENIA BY BUS. NOW ISN’T THAT AWESOME. EEK!

Are you with me through Sweden & Slovenia?

This article is part – sponsored, and even though I’m working in partnership with the above organisations, absolutely all opinions, and the thrilling time that I’m certain to have, are my very own!

In May & June, I’ll be visiting Sweden and Slovenia! Follow me on Twitter & Facebook to find out what I’m up to!

I’ll be there. Will you?

Fantastic news! I’m travelling to Sweden & Slovenia by bus. Now isn’t that just awesome. Eek!

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

Fantastic news! I’m travelling to Sweden & Slovenia by bus. Now isn’t that just awesome. Eek!

Have you ever been to Sweden? Have you ever been to Slovenia? Do you have any advice? Let me know in the comments below!

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

If you like this post, please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

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10 reasons why Zagreb is a family destination – A great place for teenagers!

The Tall Young Gentleman in Zagreb, Croatia

Isn’t it exciting?

I’m featured in the Metro Magazine – a lifestyle magazine in the Philippines: Metro Magazine Feature (Annual Body Issue) – Lifestyle – April 2017 Edition!

It’s a pdf for now but apparently, there’s a book coming out!

Don’t I look great!

Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Metro Magazine (Annual Body Issue) – April 2017 Edition – the Philippines!

I hope you’re enjoying the first post that I wrote about Croatia.

And I’ve got lots more where that came from!

Yes Sir!

However, this post is not only going to be about Zagreb, but about travelling with family.

I don’t often write about family travel as this blog is really all about me. And my travels!

Does it sound selfish?

It does!

Ah well!

10 reasons why Zagreb is a family destination – A great place for teenagers!

I purposely chose Croatia as a place to travel with my family for the reasons that I’ll soon be writing below, but first, let’s get the info!

Teenagers! You’ve got to love ’em!

And when you’re travelling or going abroad, you’ve got to think of things differently, as teenagers are not children per se, but neither are they adults.

They’re gangly young people, looking to explore the world, find their feet, and live life to the full.

And if you’re like me. You’ll let them do it, and give them the  gift of travel!

“The Tall Young Gentleman” didn’t look too happy that for Switzerland, we took the Sparpreis Europa city night line train!

Children are versatile.

And they don’t really need much.

All they need is plenty of food, a safe and clean place to lay their head, wi-fi, a bit of space to lay out all their “stuff”and you!

Yes, you.

The parent!

My family & I in Thailand – All smiles and bunny ears at the end of a great day at Baanchang Elephant Park.

You don’t have to wait until “they’re old enough to know.”

Believe you me. They know!

You don’t have to wait until “they understand the benefits” of travel.

What are you talking about`?

Finding slugs!
Finding slugs!

Any place that is different from home and in which they can learn about other places, other cultures, and other people, is a marvellous thing.

The younger they are, the easier it is, and the better for all!

Our son as a baby - 20 months old!
Our son as a baby – 20 months old!

I started travelling with our son when he was just 5 months old. I put him in a baby carrier, dumped all his toys and baby stuff in the car, and breast-fed him all the way!

And by the time he was 5 years old, he had been to 32 countries, and at 12, he was already talking about spending his GAP year in Thailand, so there’s that!

There is plenty to do in Lucerne so
“The Tall Young Gentleman” in Switzerland. Give your teenagers the gift of travel!

I love travelling with our son, and even though he’s just turned 15. OMG! It won’t be long until he’ll want to be travelling with his friends. Gulp!

In Northern European countries that age tends to be between 16 and 17 years old as young people are more independent, and their parents liberal, tolerant, and open-minded which is why I decided to go to Amsterdam at the beginning of the year. With our teenager in tow!

How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager – “The Tall Young Gentleman”

Interestingly enough, our German friends didn’t blink an eye when I told them. Not so my Anglo-American friends who were visibly shocked and worried.

Not to worry. Everything turned out just fine!

Book your hotel here!

And now:

ZAGREB

Zagreb is the capital of Croatia.

Zagreb is the capital of Croatia.

Zag. What?

Zaaaaaaaagreb!

Zagreb is one of the oldest cities in Central Europe as far back as 1094!

It’s located in the northern part of Croatia, just north of the Sava River, and has a population of just under 793,000 people!

We didn't have time to go to the Plitvice Lake nearby, but we'll certainly do so, next time!
We didn’t have time to go to the Plitvice Lake nearby, but we’ll certainly do so, next time!

The local name for Croat is Hrvat. You will see this word everywhere. Hrvat was a powerful military chieftain in the early Middle Ages and also another word for “friend!”

The historical part of Zagreb to the north of the centre of the city is called Ban Jelačić Square. It is composed of the Gradec or Gornji Grad /the Old Town), and the diocese settlement of Kaptol, a medieval urban complex of churches, palaces, museums, galleries and government buildings that are popular with tourists and locals alike!

In fact, if truth be told, April is so early in the season that there weren’t really many tourists at all!

I didn’t hear British voices or German ones. The tourists that were about were either American, Korean, Italian or Croatian!

The tourists that were in Zagreb at this time were either American, Korean, Italian or Croatian!

These two parts of “town” used to be divided by a river and a bridge known as the Krvavi Most, otherwise known as, the Bloody Bridge!

Krvavi Most – the Bloody Bridge – is a street just 2 minutes away from our holiday apartment!

The rather unusual name is so-called after the original bridge which used to lie over the Medveščak creek,and which gained notoriety because of the many conflicts that happened between the citizens of the two parts of “town” – Gradec and Kaptol!

Directions to the Bloody Bridge in Zagreb – Croatia!

The bridge is long gone, as is the river, but the street kept it’s name – The Bloody Bridge!

Zagreb is a small city but a city rich with history, prestigious architecture, and great connections linking Croatia to Central Europe, South-East Europe, and the Mediterranean!

Book your hotel here!

10 REASONS WHY ZAGREB IS A FAMILY DESTINATION – A GREAT PLACE FOR TEENAGERS!

10 reasons why Zagreb is a family destination – A great place for teenagers!

There’s no denying that Zagreb is very much a family destination with plenty to offer, to satisfy both parents, and their accompanying teenager. And with the help of the 72 hour Zagreb Card, courtesy of the Zagreb Tourist Board, we did just that!

Thanks so much!

Here’s why:

The Lotrscak Tower & Grič Cannon
©Patrik Macek – Zagreb Tourist Board

1.  The Grič Cannon: Every day at noon, the Grič Cannon is  fired from the Lotrščak Tower and the people of Zagreb set their watches by it. In fact, you can gather under the tower and watch the cannon come out! And without fail, the huge “Boom” will make you jump out of your skin!  I’m guessing teenagers would be too cool to show you that they almost lost their iPhones, due to the shock!

We watched it twice, and we still jumped!

The guy manning the cannon is pretty jolly, as he always waves out of the window to whoever might be nearby!

Don’t look if you’re squeamish – The Zagreb Mummy!
©Archaeological Museum Zagreb

2.  Nesi-Hensu – An Egyptian Mummy: This famous Egyptian “mummy” was a woman called Nesi-Hensu, the wife of a tailor from Thebes. The mummy was wrapped in sliced bands of a linen book which was inscribed and preserved, in the Etruscan language. The mummy was accompanied by a papyrus with a text of several chapters from the Book of the Dead, making it the longest surviving manuscript of the language, in the world!

She can be found at the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb.

Rent a bike in Zagreb. Any type of bike!

3.  Hire a local bike: The beauty of most European countries is how easy and normal it is, to use your bike. Most of the Old Town is car-free so it’s perfectly save for teenagers to ride along by themselves in and around the many parks in Zagreb, or to the surrounding suburbs and countryside.

Museum of Broken Relationships
©Mare Milin

4.  Visit a Museum: Zagreb is home to a wealth of museums including the Croatian Natural History Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb, the Museum of Illusion, and the Archaeological Museum Zagreb. In addition, Zagreb is also the permanent home of the Museum of Broken Relationships!

We had planned to go to the Zagreb City Museum otherwise known as, the Museum of the City of Zagreb, but we were too late to reach it on Sunday, and it was utterly closed on Monday! However, we managed to visit the Museum of Broken Relationships.

My husband – The Music Producer – was sceptical at first wondering how a roomful of broken hearts could cause such an attraction however, it wasn’t like that at all! It’s a quirky museum that exhibits mementos and love tokens donated from broken-hearted lovers, all over the world.

Even The Tall Young Gentleman found it interesting. I’m sure your teenager would too!

Museum of Broken Relationships
©MoBR

In some places, the stories were quite funny and in some, extremely idiotic!

All I can say is Berlin, furniture, and an axe!

Red Srebrnog Zmaja – The Order of the Silver Dragon
@Maja Homen

5.  The Order of the Silver Dragon: Each Saturday, (April – September), tourists can meet members of the Red Srebrnog Zmaja, otherwise known as the Order of The Silver Dragon at St. Mark’s Square in the Upper Town! This Order re-enacts famous historical conflicts between Gradec and Kaptol, and is a great opportunity to see authentic, fully functional, historical replicas of medieval armour!

If all else fails, take the funicular up and down, in Zagreb!

6.  Zagreb is safe: Croatia is an up-and-coming Central-East-European destination with many things to recommend it. It’s small, cheap, fresh and interesting. It’s also easy to move around by bus, tram, bicycle or simply walking around, with plenty of people-watching activity to satisfy any discerning teenager!

And if all else fails, take the funicular up and down!

Officers of the honorary company of the Cravat Regiment, Zagreb – Croatia!

7.  The changing of the Cravat Regiment Guard: Sadly, we didn’t see the Order of the Silver Dragon above, but we did manage to bump into the Cravat Regiment Guards instead!

The Cravat Regiment is part of the Croatian light cavalry from the 17th century. Apart from great valour, its biggest claim to fame was its uniform, especially the distinctive scarves its soldiers wore around their necks, which is where the cravat got its name from! The knotted scarf quickly became a popular fashion accessory, and was already known as cravat (English), Krobatten (German), and Cravates (French)!

A Regency-style Cravat tied in a bow on a Grafton collar.
©Charlie Huang

The Cravat Regiment can be found every weekend at noon, at St. Mark’s Square in the Upper Town, in which you’ll see the two-hour ceremony of the changing of the Cravat Regiment Guard, stemming right back from the 17th century, by the very same regiment soldiers who gave the tie it’s name!

I think we saw them at the end stage of the ceremony as they seemed to be recruiting for new guards, and getting certificates and medals.

At the Berlin Music Video Awards with Roc Roc It – 2015
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

You know how I always seem to have a nose for these things so when  I spied a couple of local hacks, they took me in, and gave me some titbits. Not only was this ceremony an important part of the recruitment process, but for the first time in Croatian history, a single woman was being added to the team!

How thrilling!

Look at the magnificent view that you can only get from the tallest building in Zagreb – Zagreb 360°!
Zagreb Tourist Board – ©Davor Rostuhar

8.  Zagreb 360°: Go up to the tallest building in Zagreb, otherwise known as the Zagreb 360° – Observation Deck and Event venue!

Zagreb 360° is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Zagreb and can be found on the Ban Jelačić (main) square. In fact, you can’t miss it. Just look up!

On a clear day you can even see as far out into Slovenia!

It’s  on the 16th floor at the very top of the Zagreb Skyscraper and offers a spectacular view of the Ban Jelačić (main) square, the Manduševac fountain, Kaptol, Gradec, the Upper and Lower Town, and the most important cultural and historic structures in Zagreb.

On a clear day you can even see as far out into Slovenia!

We went up there and very much enjoyed the view. In fact, it was so sunny in some parts that it was difficult to take photographs with our iPhones!

We liked Zagreb 360° and enjoyed reading the historical posters and gallery photography, although some of the translated content was a little disturbing…!

“The Tall Young Gentleman” and I played a game of Ludo at the Zagreb 360° which he won!

Sometimes, it takes a holiday to remind you that even though your teenagers might be strapping lads and thoughtful girls, they’re still very much children. The Zagreb 360° had a number of larger-than-sized board games and so The Tall Young Gentleman and I played a game of Ludo.

He won!

My family on our walking tour in Zagreb – Croatia!

9.  Take a city walking tour: I’m a great lover of walking tours, and one of the best ways for your teenager to get to know their way around Zagreb, is to take a walking tour.

We went with a local company called the Free Spirit Waking Tour Zagreb. I believe it’s the only free walking tour of it’s kind in Zagreb!

These are just some of the people that I happened to meet in Zagreb – Actor Musicians!

Generally, the local guide is usually an expert in the area, and shows you around the city that they have either grown up in, or have come to love. It usually last about 2 hours, it’s everyday, and it’s completely free of charge, save for tips!

Our guide – Luka – was great. He really knows his stuff and is fun. And with a child in tow that counts for something. We gave him a very nice tip at the end!

10.   And lastly, the Grič Tunnel – A secret tip: Zagreb has underground tunnels!

I’ve been everywhere. Let’s go out and play cricket with the penguins!

My husband – The Music Producer – was looking for something to surprise me with! As a well-seasoned lifestyle travel blogger, it’s not easy to knock me over with a feather as I’ve either already been there, or done that! And so, he wanted to show me somewhere, and that I wasn’t to check my VoiceGuide Zagreb App, or Google!

Hard stuff!

The Music Producer & The Tall Young Gentleman at the Grič Tunnel – A secret tip in Zagreb – Croatia!

We followed him down a pedestrian tunnel in the historic neighbourhood of Grič, otherwise known as Gradec or Gornji Grad!

And we found a very huge, and very long underground tunnel!

The Grič Tunnel consists of a central hall connected by two passageways to Mesnička Street in the west and Stjepan Radić Street in the east, and four passageways extending to the south.

It was built during World War II to serve both as a bomb shelter and a promenade. However, after the war it quickly fell into disrepair and disuse, until it was used as a shelter during the Croatian War of Independence, and for dance raves in the 90’s!

We found a very huge, and very long underground tunnel – The Grič Tunnel in Zagreb – Croatia!

In 2016, the tunnel was remodeled and opened to the public as a quirky new tourist attraction. And it really does the job.

It was so hot outdoors that the coolness of the tunnel was a welcome relief. I even thought of having a picnic there!

And strangely, there are even public utilities if you’re desperate, too!

Your teenagers will love it, just like we did!

Mmm! Fritule – Croatian doughnuts – are quite yum!

That’s if for now. See you next week!

Where we stayed: Apartment Place4you – Just under €60.00 per night for the whole apartment. Wonderful!

Book your hotel here!

10 REASONS WHY ZAGREB IS A FAMILY DESTINATION – A GREAT PLACE FOR TEENAGERS!

10 reasons why Zagreb is a family destination – A great place for teenagers!

This article is not sponsored and even though we received complimentary 72 hour Zagreb Card, courtesy of the Zagreb Tourist Board,  all opinions and the enticing pork sandwiches that we happily munched through, are my very own!

In May, I’ll be writing more about Croatia, and visiting Sweden & Finland!

I’ll be there. Will you?

If you’re not in Berlin in May, you’ll miss the sunshine!

May is going to be exciting!

10 reasons why Zagreb is a family destination – A great place for teenagers!

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

10 reasons why Zagreb is a family destination – A great place for teenagers!

Have you ever been to Zagreb? Do you travel with your family? Let me know in the comments below!

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

If you like this post, please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

We’ve just returned from Croatia.

And OMG!

Even though I’ve travelled to 61 other countries!

Croatia is the first time that I’ve ever been to the Balkan States, my 62nd country, and the first (1st) new country for 2017!

It was better than I ever hoped.

Me in Dubrovnik – Croatia!

My plans for 2017 (in alphabetical order) were:

  1. Austria
  2. Croatia
  3. Czech Republic
  4. England
  5. France
  6. Germany (of course. Ho! Ho!)
  7. Holland
  8. Ireland for TBEX (the Travel Bloggers Exchange Conference)
  9. Poland
  10. Romania
  11. Russia
  12. Slovenia
  13. Sweden

Let’s see how we’ve done so far.

Mozart & Vienna are adorable!

AUSTRIA:

CZECH REPUBLIC:

I went skiing!

I haven’t quite got around to writing about skiing in the Czech Republic this year yet, but this is what I previously wrote!

HOLLAND:

Dutch children in traditional costume.

CROATIA:

  • Yay!
Because Game of Thrones!
Because Game of Thrones!

Now, to be frank, most people have never heard of Croatia.

Game of Thrones?

Yep!

I love that show by the way…!

But Croatia?

Isn’t it somewhere in Eastern Europe?

Yes.

And No!

It can’t be both surely?

The Music Producer in Zagreb. Geographically, Croatia is one of the previous communist states!

Well, geographically, it’s one of the previous communist states.

Don’t worry.

Breath!

However, in recent years, Croatia has managed to re-invent itself, so that even though it is actually in Eastern Europe, it’s marketed as Central Europe too!

Croatia has such a Mediterranean vibe, that you could be in Italy or Austria!

In truth, it has the vibe of the Mediterranean, and you’d be hard pressed not to think that in certain parts of Croatia, you could actually be in Italy, or dare I say it. Austria!

I know!

Book your hotel here!

LET’S GET A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY!

Ceremonial Officers in Zagreb – Croatia

Croatia, otherwise known locally as Hrvatska, or officially – the Republic of Croatia – is a sovereign state between Central Europe, Southeast Europe, and the Mediterranean!

Croatia covers 56,594 square kilometres (21,851 square miles) and is on the Adriatic Sea coast, which contains more than a thousand islands!

Croatia’s population is just 4.28 million, and the capital city is Zagreb.

A traditional Busker in Zagreb – Croatia!

The Croats arrived in the area of present-day Croatia way back in the early part of the 7th century, before becoming two Duchies in the 9th century.

Croatia became a kingdom in 925 and remained so, for almost 200 years!

After World War I in 1918, Croatia was included in the unrecognized State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs which seceded from Austria-Hungary, and merged into the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. In 1991, Croatia declared it’s independence which sadly, between 1991-1995, became a bloody war with Serbia, then known as part of the ex – Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia!

However, Croatia won it’s independence and since 2013, has also been a fully fledged member of the European Union!

WHY GO TO CROATIA?

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

Why not?!

Well, Croatia is in Europe!

It’s on the map where East meets West.

It’s entwined with civilizations, history and culture, that goes back centuries!

It boasts numerous architectural jewels and a world heritage that make parts of Croatia enviable. And UNESCO locations filled with buildings, marked by world history of thousands of years, that made me practically salivate when I saw them!

It’s modern, but also traditional with folk customs, rural traditions that are still adhered to.

In fact, we were all given traditional Easter eggs and Easter cake, handed out as gifts. And I can’t even tell you how many random people (many of them old), waved and smiled at me, on passing by!

The Tall Young Gentleman at the sea in Split – Croatia!

Croatia is near the sea.

It’s pretty cheap by West European standards.

Fairly developed in services and infrastructure.

And I’ve never been to the Balkans before!

Because Game of Thrones!

Because Game of Thrones!
Because Game of Thrones!

Now when I pitched Croatia to my husband – The Music Producer – he wasn’t initially convinced.

He thought that Croatia would be too far into Eastern Europe, leading into the throngs of Albania, Romania, and Bulgaria.

He wasn’t excited at all!

The Tall Young Gentleman & The Music Producer were pretty excited once they got to Zagreb – Croatia!

However, one of the things that changed his mind, was the personal contact that I made with the Zagreb Tourist Board at the ITB travel trade fair in Berlin!

I was so excited to be visiting their country, and they were wonderfully helpful.

Thanks so much!

Is it any wonder that The Music Producer was caught up with my enthusiasm too!

I have a lot of things to write about, and you’ll see them all.

I promise!

No worries!

TAKE ME THERE?

Take me to Croatia by ship!

As you all pretty much know by now, I’m a great believer in train travel. However, Croatia is quite far from Germany, so we flew!

We had planned just ten (10) days in Croatia – three (3) days in Zagreb, three (3) days in Split, and four (4) days in Dubrovnik.

We wanted to spend at least 14 days (yes, please!) but school commitments meant that the German Easter School Holidays this year, only catered for ten (10) days! But as I always advocate, be smart, use all the weekends, and make it work!

It’s not possible to fly non-stop from Berlin, so we flew with Lufthansa, via Munich on the way in, and Austrian Airlines, via Vienna, on the return leg.

Our outward journey from Berlin Tegel (TXL) to Zagreb (ZAG) with a stop-over, took 6 hours and 20 minutes. Our return journey from Dubrovnik with a stop-over, took just 4 hours.

However, you don’t even need to fly, as you can either take a cruise ship in from the Mediterranean States, a ferry from Italy, take a bus-coach from anywhere you like, or simply rent a car and drive from Austria or Slovenia!

Note: There aren’t a lot of inter-city trains. In fact, there’s no train station in Dubrovnik at all!

There actually aren’t a lot of trains in Croatia at all!

If you’re on a tight budget then many bus-coach companies such as MeinFernbus FlixBus also go to Croatia. But do be aware that the fastest routes are usually only sold in Croatia itself.

We decided to use the coach-bus between Zagreb – Split and Split-Dubrovnik.

Zagreb – Split was a straight-forward ride, and took 6 hours and 20 mins. Cost: €24.00 per person.

Split – Dubrovnik proved problematic, as the coach-bus actually went backwards in the direction of Zagreb, then dropped us in the backwater town of Benkovac, at the Benkovac Busbahnhof!

I didn’t like Benkovac in Croatia, at all!

Benkovac was yucky!

As soon as I saw the “bus station,” I wanted to get the hell out of there!

It was practically deserted and every “room” was boarded up.

We had a 1 hour stop-over at 10:30, and the next decent place was a bar. So we ran to it and ordered a few (non-alcoholic) drinks there!

It’s 10:30 in the morning remember.

An early morning shot of vodka in many East European countries, is believed to be quite healthy!

Not that it stopped any of the local punters. Ho! Ho!….!

Our journey took 8 hours and 30 minutes, but the bus was 45 minutes late, so make that 9 hours and 15 minutes instead!

We probably should have rented a car, and be done with it!

Cost: Split – Benkovac €12.00. Benkovac – Metkovic €7.35. Benkovac – Dubrovnik €5.65 per person.

IS IT GOING TO BE CROWDED?

Croatia isn’t crowded in the Spring – Locals in Zagreb – Croatia!

Not in the Spring it isn’t!

In fact, there were very few tourists around as it wasn’t yet “the season,” and many a restaurant were luring customers in with 10% discounts.

But in the summer, prepare to gird your loins, and fight your way through!

Plan well.

Book your hotel here!

Zagreb is the capital of Croatia, and it’s very small!

Zagreb is the capital city in Croatia, and it’s very small!

Split and Dubrovnik are even smaller, and receive up to 3,000 guests per cruise ship, in the summer!

I haven’t a clue how many cruise ships sail by, but it won’t be pretty.

Having said that, if that’s the only time that you can travel, don’t let anything get in your way, as most cruise visitors are only in town for half a day, so that evenings will all be yours!

Book your hotel here!

WHAT IS CROATIA LIKE?

Croatian food is most delicious!

We were only there for 10 days, but Croatia definitely made an impression on me.

It’s of historical and architectural interest, the food and wine is impressive, the waters are clean, green-blue, and crystal clear.

And it’s very, very pretty!

I DON’T SPEAK CROATIAN.

Our guide speaks at least four (4) languages. Possibly, even more!

Not. A. Problem.

It’s amazing how many languages a typical European speaks.

Most speak a minimum of three (3)!

If you speak English, German, Italian or Korean, you’re good to go.

Besides, everyone pretty much speaks English too!

AM I GOING TO LIVE IN A HUT?

A stone house in Croatia!

Ha! Ha! Not unless you want to!

I’M ON A BUDGET. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

This plate of Cevapcici was certainly pretty cheap. Ho! Ho!

Croatia isn’t cheap-cheap.

If you’re from the UK or the US, it’s as cheap as chips.

If you’re from Germany, prices are the same as in Berlin, and you can eat at gourmet restaurants, at far cheaper prices!

We pretty much spent a large amount of time drinking a few glasses of wine, whilst people watching. And a few more!

And on this trip, we decided to book apartments instead of hotels or hostels.

Book your apartment here!

Booking an apartment in Croatia is by far better, than booking a hotel!

We had great difficulty with personal space in Madrid last year, as The Tall Young Gentleman has recently turned 15 (OMG!), and is very tall. We decided to either book two (2) hotel rooms, or a large apartment instead.

Prices are low, and the quality and standards of apartments available, are exceedingly high. I’ll write more about it in the next few weeks!

Frankly, if you’re paying between €45.00 – €60.00 per night, for huge apartments with terraces, working kitchens, and a piano, you simply can’t go wrong!

Book ahead to get good prices.

Book your apartment or hotel here!

I’M LOOKING FOR SOMETHING A BIT DIFFERENT. ANY IDEAS?

The Adventure Begins – More next week!

Absolutely!

Too many to write at the moment.

More next week!

WHAT ABOUT TRANSPORT POSSIBILITIES?

A vintage car, ‘cos modern cars aren’t allowed in the Old Towns, in Croatia!

All of Croatia is pretty small, so every city we visited was quite walkable.

In most cases, cars are not allowed into the Old Towns!

However, you could take the bus, the tram, or simply walk!

ANYTHING ELSE?

A Bosnian waitress - Don't forget if you're travelling to Dubrovnik, you'll have to go through Bosnia!<br /> ©Photo Adam Jones - adamjones.freeservers
A Bosnian waitress – Don’t forget if you’re travelling to Dubrovnik, you’ll have to go through Bosnia!
©Photo Adam Jones – adamjones.freeservers

If you’re travelling to Dubrovnik, note that there’s a tiny strip of road that’s actually in Bosnia! It only takes about five (5) minutes, but make sure that you have your passport with you.

The motto in Croatia is to relaaaaaax & not rush things.

I think we did that rather well!

MY VERDICT:

You know nothing Jon Snow except that Croatia is pretty brilliant!
You know nothing Jon Snow except that Croatia is pretty brilliant!

We all loved it!

Croatia has got art and culture, and has a vibrant history.

Because, Game of Thrones!

Just kidding!

Or am I?!

You know nothing Jon Snow…..!!!!

But seriously.

For many international visitors, Croatia isn’t a destination that immediately comes to mind, but if you’re in the Balkan area, make it a point of duty to spend a few weeks days, in as many cities as you can manage.

If you’re looking for a new destination that isn’t really on the beaten path, say hello – CROATIA!

WOULD I COME AGAIN?

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

Totally!

Croatia is a sunny dream, and I can’t wait to visit again.

Let’s do it!

HOW TO VISIT THE BALKANS: INTRODUCING CROATIA – THE DREAM OF GAME OF THRONES!

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

This article is not sponsored, and all opinions and the delightful cobbled walks that we happily rambled through, are my very own!

In April & May, I’ll be writing more about Croatia, and visiting  Sweden & Finland!

I’ll be there. Will you?

If you’re not in Berlin in April, you’re quite mad!

April is going to be superb!

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!
How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

Have you ever been to Croatia? Are you a fan of Game of Thrones? Let me know in the comments below!

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

If you like this post, please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!