Thursday, July 31, 2014

Makarska is a Must

Golden hour shining on Makarska 

On my ferry ride back from Hvar Island a local Croatian gave me a few tips of places to go. One of them was Makarska. I'm so happy Sarah & I stopped in to Makarska for one night (May 14th-15th, 2013) - was better than nothing! One night would be enough if you're short on time, but do try to swing by to see a different side of Croatia.

Makarska is a really beautiful small city off the tourist path, which was a nice break. There is a very stunning 5km beach that is backed by stunning's really difficult to find a legit beach in Croatia, so this spot was quite the haven. As we came early in the season and during the week we pretty much had it to ourselves. Makarska even has cute little restaurants on the beach. I believe you can also hike up the mountain range if you'd like. There's also scuba diving here - Sarah & I went for on shore dive, it was freezing cold though so I wouldn't recommend diving in Croatia. At least not in this area.

Here are a couple addition tips for a visit in Makarska:
Konoba Karlalaga - Must try restaurant...local, fresh seafood. They don't have a menu only serve what is freshly caught that day. Best meal in my 2 weeks in Croatia.

Scenic View - Walk out to the land mass across from the town where the St Peter Statue is...gorgeous at sunset because of the golden light on the city. They also have Love Locks here that you can put on the fence. Really sweet!

This is dinner at Konobo Karlaga - so much fun. Learning to communicate through hand gestures and laughter!

The beach that we dove a few km South of Makarska.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Split & Hvar Island, Croatia

View of Split from Marjan Hill
Here goes my catch up on my trip from last year. I'm taking it way back to May 9th - 14th of 2013 when Adrienne, Kristi and I ditched the rental car & met up with more friends from the Scottie & Em's wedding to come in Dubrovnik in Split. 

Here were our highlights from Split:
Hotel/Hostel - Try to stay within the palace walls. It's pretty awesome, or stay very close to it. We stayed at a hostel called Diocletian's Palace as it was only 10 euro each a night and was in the heart of it all: 

Walking tour - Even if you don't stay at Diocletian's Hostel ask if you can join there walking tour. I learned a lot and actually really liked it. Our guide was a university student studying history and was really awesome. 

Restuaurant Jugo - If you are like me and enjoy going where the locals go then get out of the touristy area to try Restaurant Jugo. It was probably a 20 - 30 minute walk, but had a nice patio with view of the local harbor. 

Marjan Hill - great view of the city.

Solta Island - If you want peace and quite this is the place. We were the only tourists on this island...we took a bus to one of the beaches, posted up on a rock slab, had a picnic, read and took a dip in the water. Very chill.

Trogir - If you have lots of time you could check out Trogir for a 1/2 day. Is close to Split airport, I didn't have time to go.
By night you can listen to live music around Diocletian's Palace
All the locals sat on the pier drinking and socializing. Very relaxing. 
Within Diocletian's Palace
Pre-wedding reunion - Me, Sarah, Kat, Alex, Em, Scott, Steve & Jessie
Solta Island - we layed on these nice flat rocks all day!
Solta Island

Hvar Island
Hvar Town is where the party is at during the high season. Lots of bachelor parties and electronic music festivals go down during the summer time. Kristi, Adrienne and I were a bit early for all that in May, but still had a lovely time. 

Hvar actually doesn't really have any nice beaches, we took a boat to another island for the day which was nice. Only like 30 of us on the beach during low season but high season this small beach could get packed up to 400 people! crazy right?

Where to stay -  Apartments or hostels seem to be the way to go on this fancy pants gorgeous island. We stayed in an apartment on the Hvar Town side -
Rina is the one who was managing their family apartments and was really sweet. Her mom even met us at the bus when we got off at 11pm. The apartment was a great deal and in the heart of it all.

Restaurant Bepo - out of the tourist area, but a nice walk along the water to get here. They have an outdoor patio right on the water and the fish I had here was UHmazing (see photo below!). Much better prices than many other restaurants. Pizza looked awesome too.

The adorable alley super close to our apartment
View from the castle/ruin thing at the top of Hvar. Worth the climb!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Reunion Trip Plans in Full Force!

It's official, I've been slacking on keeping up with my blog. So I thought I'd start showing a bit more love here now that I'll be travelling once again. I actually never finished by posts from my last trip - look forward to more on Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia & Slovenia in the coming weeks! Once I catch up I'll start posting on my more current adventures.

At the moment I'm in the middle of this escapade:

SF to PDX Roadtrip - July 4th - July 7th
Visited family in Eugene & Portland with Dave as co-pilot. Summers are the best in the PNW.
Mt. St Helens Camping - July 7th – July 10th
Hiking, campfire singing, kayaking, star gazing and relaxing at Swift Lake with my Mom, Stepfather, Grandma & Aunt!
Seattle, WA - July 10th - 11th
Ami’s first trip to Seattle, Xavier Rudd show & reunion/hosted by the lovely Auzeen.
Glacier, Yellowstone & Tetons National Park Roadtrip - July 11th - 19th
Roadtrip of a lifetime with Ami, Adrian & Ham. We covered a lot of amazing sights in one short week. More photos, lessons learned and our itinerary to come!
NYC - July 22nd
Quick 8 hour layover to meet up with Erica and explore the city.

It was wonderful to have the time to appreciate my own incredible country. I feel like I naturally always want to get outside of the US borders and forget how many badass places there are to explore here on my own turf!

FINLAND & ESTONIA – July 23rd – July 28th
Visiting a sweet friend that I met in India, Paavo. I’m stoked to see Helsinki & jump on over to Estonia for the day.
SWEDEN – July 28th – August 1st
I’ll be staying with one of my favorites, Meredith, and seeing her new life in Stockholm!
GERMANY – August 1st – August 5th  
So excited to see Berlin once again, but this time around being hosted by one of my besties Marie. We had a lot of incredible memories in SF this past year and already miss seeing her all the time! I’m also reuniting with another rad travelling chick, Alicia. We met when I stayed with her for a week in S. Korea.
FRANCE & SWITZERLAND – August 5th – August 13th  
I’m excited to see the Alsace region of France where Thierry is from. I hear he’ll be the best tour guide around. We met in Guatemala studying Spanish. Will be a fun reunion! Also, possibly bopping over to Switzerland or Germany.
HUNGARY – August 13th August 21st
The first part of this trip will be with a whopping 10 of us!!! It was spurred by Marie & I scheming to go to Sziget music festival. We will be checking out that for a couple days and exploring Budapest. Dave and I have a few days to explore more of Hungary – anybody have any tips?

Although this trip is technically a solo undertaking, it's sparked visits with friends I've met from previous travels. It truly is a reunion with all sorts of friends and I'm really excited to reconnect with so many amazing people.

Signing off from a cafe in NYC. Off to Finland tonight!
Backpacking in Glacier National Park in Montana. Stunning!!!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Waterfalls Galore!

View from the above Plitvice National Park. WHOA, right?
The next part of our roadtrip through Croatia brought us in land to the gorgeous countryside, forests & mountain landscapes. I knew it was supposed to be beautiful, but some of these sites were unreal!

Plitvice National Park
Plitvice (pronounced Plit - vitz - ka) was our first stop. This national park is quite touristy, but stunning and a must see if you are in Croatia. Definitely dedicate a full day to this park and make sure to see both the upper and lower part. I've never seen anything like it #UNREAL.

A few tips: If you are into trekking feel free to explore off of the wooden paths. It was really nice!
Take note that ou can't swim in the falls here, but if you do have time stop by Krka National park (below) - it's another beaut! Also if you want to stay near the Park there were actually tons of apartment/room signs as we drove close so it'd be really easy to do.

Here are a few of the hundreds of photos (Adrienne can attest to this) that I took. I'm pretty sure I could have spent days in this park.

Necessary "couples" photo by the waterfall :-)

After our glorious day of wandering through gazillions of waterfalls, Adrienne and I headed to Zadar to re-unite with another travel buddy/ex-roomie of mine Kristi!! The 3 of us stayed at a hostel for the night, grabbed some dinner and checked out Zadar by night.

Zadar was pretty great, similar to pula and split. They have this natural musical organ that is supposed to make sweet music when the tide is up. Unfortuanately we went when the tide was out so didn't hear antyhing, but had fun playing on the colorful interactive art installation (photos below).

Our new buddy!

Wild poppies along the roadside. I loved them!

Krka National Park
Kristi, Adrienne and I hit the road early to have some solid time exploring Krka National Park. If you can go to both then definitely do, but I would skip Krka over Plitvice. Krka is gorgeous too and it's nice because there is a swimming area here! We spent a few hours meandering through the falls and taking a dip at the beach area. Krka is definitely a gem and only an hour or so from Split by car.

Blue dragonflys!