Thursday, 28 August 2014

Forty Winks Friday..Return to Shanghai

This week we are back to where my nappers all began...Shanghai... 
and one of my all time favourites, the recycling tricycle tray 'instabed'

I am not the only one with the 'napper snapper' hobby, 
check out this recent That's Shanghai article

Robyn's Shanghai Nappers

Robyn's Shanghai Nappers

Robyn's Shanghai Nappers

The Walls of Dubrovnik

I am not usually one for tour guides, preferring to research and do my own thing
but I really wanted to know more of the history of Dubrovnik so we went on the 
Dubrovnik Walks guided tour of the wall and am really glad we did.

Our tour guide, Marko was passionate about his city and gave us much information
that we would never have learnt any other way. Everyone on the tour was given an 
earpiece so it was easy to listen along but still have time to soak in the views and stop
to take photos along the way. It was fabulous to listen to a local describing life in Dubrovnik 
from the mediaeval days to recent times. The wall that we walked on was built to protect the 
city residents from bows and arrows had been a saviour during the Homeland War of the 1990's 
and protected the people of Dubrovnik from the ravages of modern warfare. 
It is hard to believe the horrific shelling the UNESCO world heritage site endured
only two decades ago. The resilience and character of Dubrovnik's people along
with restoration coordinated by UNESCO has revived the city to it's former glory.

Enjoy our walk on the wall!

Old Port,Dubrovnik

St John Fort Old Port, Dubrovnik

Bell Tower and beyond, Dubrovnik Old Town

The Stradun, Dubrovnik Old Town

Dubrovnik Old Town

Dubrovnik Old Town

Dubrovnik Old Town Wall

Dubrovnik Old Town Wall

Dubrovnik Old Town

Dubrovnik Old Town Wall

Port, Dubrovnik Old Town

Baro and Maro, The Bell Tower, Dubrovnik Old Town

Fort Lovrijenac, St Lawrence Fortress, Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik Old Town

Old Town Wall and Fort Lovrijenac, St Lawrence Fortress, Dubrovnik

The Stradun, Dubrovnik Old Town

Dubrovnik Old Town Wall

We did the 5.30pm walk to avoid the heat of the day and the cruise ship hoards. It was listed as a 1.5 hour walk but went for just over 2 hours and included not only history but anecdotes of everyday life in Dubrovnik Old Town. The fact that many locals have moved out of the old town due to tourist numbers and restrictions on development. A Sports field, built by the council to encourage local youngsters to stay in town was pointed out along with much more. All in all a very interesting and pleasant few hours. We stayed on the wall after the walk finished for another circuit as most of the crowds had left and to watch the sun set. Perfect!

Dubrovnik Walks

We paid for our own walk/wall entry, they had no idea I would review the walk...and at the time, neither did I!

Monday, 25 August 2014

Dubrovnik Old Town, The Pearl of the Adriatic

After a few days relaxing and unwinding by the sea in Lapad Bay, 
I was well and truly ready to go and explore Dubrovnik Old Town. 
We were greeted by the old wall, blue skies, a crystalline, clear azure sea and
the laughter of sea kayakers returning from a fun outing.

Old Wall, Dubrovnik, Croatia

We walked through the Pile Gate into the Stradun, the main street of Dubrovnik Old town and 
I was enthralled by the cute drains set in the walls.
 They are called Maskerons and were used to drain rainwater from the rooftops.
Legend says that if you can balance on the head, stand facing the wall and take your shirt off,
you will find true love. Having already found true love...I didn't try!

Maskeron, Stradun, Dubrovnik

The Stradun, long and wide, paved with gleaming marble, funnels tourists to
 the Bell tower and beyond.

Stradun, Dubrovnik, Croatia

The Church of St Blaise (Crkva Sv Vlaho), a stunning baroque building by Venetian architect
Marino Gropelli, completed in 1715 and dedicated
to Dubrovnik's patron Saint.

Church of St Blaise (Crkva Sv Vlaho), Dubrovnik

According to legend, in February 971, Venetian ships had dropped anchor near Dubrovnik, ostensibly 
to take on food and water before moving on, but were really there to spy on Dubrovnik's defences.
St Blaise revealed the plan in a dream to the rector of the cathedral, Stojko who informed the city council of the threat. The city closed it's gates and manned the walls. The Venetians, seeing the 
city had been closed, abandoned plans of attack, upped the anchors and left.
St Blaise was made the patron Saint of Dubrovnik.

Saint Blaise, Patron Saint of Dubrovnik

We walked the streets, soaking up the history and the atmosphere.
If only these walls could talk.

Old Town Dubrovnik, Croatia

The detail on the columns of City Hall so intricate and delicate.

City Hall, Dubrovnik, Croatia

The bold door knockers remind me of China.

City Hall, Dubrovnik, Croatia

The architecture of Dubrovnik encompasses you, 
something beautiful at every turn, through every doorway.

Cathedral of Dubrovnik

The frescoes above doorways with stories to tell.

City Hall,Old Town, Dubrovnik, Croatia

The beautiful Old Town harbour, once a major trading port,
St John Fort, protecting the port from pirates and war since 1346.

Old Town Harbour, Dubrovnik

Now used by local fishermen and boats taking tourists
on adventures to local islands. 
The atmosphere filled with happy anticipation of fun days ahead.

Old Town Harbour, Dubrovnik

We walked through the narrow stone alleys of the old town.

Old Alley, Dubrovnik

The Jesuit church of Saint Ignatius, decorated with elaborate frescoes
depicting scenes from the life of Saint Ignatius was discovered.

Church of Saint Ignatius, Dubrovnik

 Homes line the alleyways, hidden from the hustle and bustle.
Locals going about their everyday life in one of the 
World's greatest preserved medieval cities.

Old Alley, Dubrovnik

With so much beauty, history, atmosphere and culture, it is no wonder 
that tourists flock to Dubrovnik to soak it all up.
I didn't need to balance on a Maskeron to fall in love with this
wonderful place and it's people, Dubrovnik charmed me from the start.

Stradun, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Friday, 22 August 2014

Forty Winks Friday. Another Croatian Napper

All that salt water and fresh air can make you sleepy
and what a view to wake up to!

Robyn's Nappers

Beautiful Mali Ston, Croatia

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Lapad Bay, leisurely, lovely, Lapad Bay

 After a very hectic few weeks and two days of nine hour drives, our
two week Croatian holiday started with the family pact of:
'No driving and leisurely days unwinding in Lapad Bay for the first four days'

Lapad Bay is a peninsula located about 3 km Northwest from the Old Town
and is where we stayed for our Dubrovnik adventure.
A perfect place to relax and let the stresses of everyday life fall away.
We filled our four days walking along the seaside paths by the Adriatic, looking out to the 
Elaphite Islands. The sea such a beautiful azure blue, enticing us to head down one
of the many paths to the sea, and dive into the clear, warm water.

Lapad Bay, Dubrovnik

We hired pedal boats and made some fabulous memories,
swimming, snorkelling and having fun in the sea.

Lapad Bay, Dubrovnik

Little, private seaside platforms were discovered, nestled in between
cliffs covered in greenery, places to soak up the sun, refresh in the clear, blue water.

Lapad Bay, Dubrovnik

The promenade has lots of seaside restaurants and bars to stop and recharge,
a place to enjoy the scenery, taste the spectacular, fresh and delicious
local seafood... sample the local wine! 

Casa Restaurant, Lapad Bay, Dubrovnik

Walks around the area uncovered, the port. Boats languidly waiting to take tourists
island hopping, fishing boats back with the catch of the day. 

Lapad Bay, Dubrovnik

The salt in the air revitalizing, the scenery so beautiful.

Lapad Bay, Dubrovnik

Watching the sun set from our apartment after four days of
relaxing bliss, a calmness enveloped us, worries overthrown.
It is amazing how you can feel like a local in just a few days. 
We were settled in, ready to look further afield, ready for adventure!

Sunset, Lapad Bay, Dubrovnik

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

12 Things that made me fall in love with Croatia

I have been fortunate to have travelled to many different countries, soaked up cultures,
even the opportunity to live in China, England and now Germany.
There isn't a place that I have visited that I would not want to go back to,
but there are a few that have stolen a piece of my heart forever.

Turkey was the first, my backpacking trip there in my twenties was amazing.
Friendly people, beautiful landscape, the experience of standing on the shores at Gallipoli.
 I have been hankering to get back to Turkey ever since.

Then China, ahhh China. So beautiful, so diverse. From the bright lights 
of Shanghai to the minority groups in Guizhou, the cultures, the food!
I could go back to live in China tomorrow.

Now I have finally discovered Croatia!
A place I have always wanted to visit.
Another piece of my heart goes to this wonderful country.

1. Dubrovnik Old Town, a joy to walk around, soak up the history, culture,
and sample local food.

2. The Walk on the Ancient City Walls of Dubrovnik, the history learned....

City Wall, Old Town, Dubrovnik

...and the views!

City Wall, Old Town, Dubrovnik

3. The Cable Car and the views over Dubrovnik from The Mount of Srdj

Cable Car Dubrovnik Old Town

4. The stunning Croatian countryside and fresh produce.

Farmland Croatia

5. The history of Croatia, including 'The European Great Wall'

Mali Ston, Old Wall, Croatia

6. The gorgeous fishing villages.

Mali Ston, Old Wall, Croatia

7. The warm, clear, azure blue sea, spectacular to look at, delightful to swim in.

Lapad Bay, Dubrovnik

8. The beautiful port, the smell of salt water and wooden boats bobbing in the breeze.

Port, Dubrovnik

9. The people, laid back and friendly!

Musician, Old Town, Dubrovnik

Embroidery, Cavtat, Croatia

10. The food...oh the freshest and sweetest of oysters!

Mali Ston, Oysters

11. The Croatian wine. Superb!

Croatian White Wine, Lapad Bay, Dubrovnik

12. The sunsets!

Sunset, Lapad Bay, Dubrovnik

Sunset, Mount Srdj, Dubrovnik

Sunset, Cavtat, Croatia

Stay tuned for more of the delights of Croatia.