A beautiful day trip in Dublin and a breathtaking road trip to Ring of Kerry

A day trip in Dublin and places you should visit

There are certainly several places you can visit and enjoy while you are in Dublin, but what if, you have just a day or like say 6-8 hours. Well, it isn’t much time, but it’s possible to see various places. What you can do is, plan your walk effectively.


O’Connell Monument


The Spire


O’Connell bridge

The best starting point, in my opinion, is O’Connell Monument, because you can see the Spire, the beautiful O’Connell street as well as O’Connell bridge at once. From this point, you can walk towards Westmoreland Street to the famous Old Library and Book of Kells, located inside Trinity College. This is a must to visit, once in your life. The huge space of the Long Room chamber, at nearly 65 m., filled with 200,00 books will make your jaw drop.


The Long Room at The Old Library and Book of Kells

Tips :

  • The entrance fee is 13 Euro per person.
  • There are many people who want to visit The Long Room. It means, you have to wait in a queue outside the building. My suggestion is, bringing an umbrella with you, just in case (raining).
  • The waiting time can be varied from 15 – 30 minutes.


The Long Room at The Old Library and Book of Kells


The Long Room at The Old Library and Book of Kells

From Trinity College, you can walk towards Dame Street and here you have 2 alternative routes:

  • Turn right to Fownes Street Upper and walk towards the famous Temple Bar. It’s also a must to see, because every bar is decorated with beautiful flowers. It’s really colorful.

  • The other alternative is turning left at South Great Georges Street and again left at Exchequer Street. and stop at Fallon & Byrne for various delicious snacks and coffee. Here is where the local Irish go and it isn’t kind of tourist trap.

After that you can walk towards Grafton Street, where all tourist go shopping, and further down south to Fusilier’s Arch. Here you can do a little walk inside the beautiful St. Stephen’s Green Park.


View from Grafton Street to St Teresa’s Church Discalced Carmelites

From this point, you are very close to The National Museum at Kildare Street and also the other museum, Nation Gallery of Ireland, and The Oscar Wilde House. You could also choose one of them otherwise just walk back to the O’Connell bridge.

From the O’Connell bridge, you can simply walk towards east and along City Quay where you can enjoy a beautiful skyline by the river, and don’t forget to visit the Samuel Beckett Bridge, designed by Santiago Calatrava.


The Custom House


View to the beautiful Samuel Beckett Bridge

Dublin is a nice city where it conforms to an idea of peaceful and picturesque. It’s a really worth visiting. There is one catch though, its weather is somewhat unpredictable, so you just need to be prepared. That’s all.

 

 

My second day
A day trip to Ring of Kerry

First of all, I would like to thank to my two lovely friends, Robert and Ted who kindly took me on this beautiful road trip.


Sneem

Ring of Kerry is a beautiful and picturesque looping route in County Kerry on the southwest coast of Ireland. I must say that it was one of the most breathtaking roads I’ve ever driven on in my life. It starts from Killarney, Kenmare, Iveragh Peninsula, Sneem, Waterville, Cahersiveen and Glenbeigh. You can get there from Cork or Kerry Airport.

It really a must visit!!! If you don’t believe what I just wrote, you will probably change your mind after seeing these images.


A beautiful view point at the top of Torc Waterfall to Muckross Lake


Torc Waterfall

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Zagreb and Plitvice : my trip to two totally different places in Hrvatska – Croatia

I love to combine a trip like this one from time to time. It does make my trip more interesting. This time, I visited Zagreb and Plitvice National Park – Nacionalni park Plitvicka jezera. Zagreb is where socialism meets capitalism, and Plitvice is where nature embraces your soul. Now let’s start our journey together, shall we ?

By the way, I use 1 Euro = 7.30 Kuna for the entire blog (Summer 2017). And first thing first, you need to exchange your money to Kuna. My advice is to change only 5-10 Euro at the airport. You just need to buy a ticket to the city, that’s all. As you well know, the exchange rate at the airport isn’t always good.

How to get to Zagreb from The Franjo Tudman Airport :

As usual, you have 3 choices: with a normal bus, a shuttle bus service, or a taxi. As for me, I chose to take a normal blue bus (ZET) Nr. 290, because this bus took me directly to the perimeter of the inner city. The bus stop is called Kvaternikov Trg – Kvaternik Square. From this stop, you can walk along theses streets: Ul. kralja Zvonimira or Marticeva ul. or Vlaška ul. to the inner city and the old town at no time. The ticket price is in the range between 4 – 8 Kuna for a one-way trip. It depends on the mood of the bus driver…Wait…Seriously ? yes, seriously!, because there is no system, some drivers charge you and your luggage, which means they charge you for the price of 2 seats. I was charged only 4 Kuna on the way to Zagreb, my luggage took up another seat though, but on the way to the airport, I was charged 8 Kuna . Anyhow, it’s just 1 Euro at the end, nothing serious…It’s just a little weirdness.

FYI : if you want to take a ZET Bus Nr. 290, you will need to cross the street in front of the airport’s parking space. It is scheduled to run to Zagreb every 30 min. approximately, and it takes around 20-30 minutes from the airport to the city (the end station is Kvaternikov Trg – Kvaternik Square).

As for a shuttle bus service, the bus parks in front of the arrival terminal. The ticket price is around 35 Kuna. It takes you to the Zagreb Bus Terminal, which located close to the central train station. Unfortunately, the central train station is situated approximately 2 km. from the main square (Ban Jelacic Square) by walking, or 10 – 15 minutes by tram.

Where to go in Zagreb :

As for me, my first plan was visiting Zagrebacka Katedrala or in english The Zagreb Cathedral on Kaptol. It is a beautiful Roman Catholic cathedral, and also the tallest building in Croatia. It was built in the mid13th century with Neo-Gothic style. This cathedral stands tall in the middle of the city and you can’t miss it.

Additionally, in front of the cathedral has a beautiful plaza decorated with….a sophisticated Holy Mary column.

Next to The Zagreb Cathedral is the famous Zagreb’s open market where you can buy many kinds of food, fruits, drinks, dried lavender…….oh I love its scent….., souvenirs and etc. It’s very interesting to visit though. If you aren’t a fan of market, you will just walk towards west to the other side of the market and turn left to steps which lead you to Trg bana Jelacica – Ban Jelacic Square.

From this point, you have 3 alternative routes:

A. Going somewhere that’s historic :

You just walk towards west to the end of Ban Jelacic Square and turn right to Radiceva ul. and approximately 70 m. turn left to a little alley called Zakmardijeve stube and then up to steps. Et voilà, you are by now in an old part of Zagreb called Gradec or Gornji grad (Upper Town) where you can get a nice panoramic view of the City. Here is where people stop and take selfies. This part of the city consists of various historical buildings such as; Lotršcak Tower, Muzej prekinutih veza – Museum of Broken Relationships, Hrvatski muzej naivne umjetnosti – Croatian Museum of Naïve Art, and of course the famous Crkva sv. Marka – St. Mark Church, located in Trg svetog Marka- St.Mark’s square. This church was built as early as the 13th century with late Gothic and some Romanesque features. Across the St.Mark’s square is Kamenita ul. which leads you to Kamenita vrata – The Stone Gate. It was once considered the eastern gate to medieval Gradec Town, now a shrine of Our Lady with a gold crown…and you can simply sneak a peek.

B. Going somewhere that’s green and calms your mind by visiting Park Zrinjevac, Hrvatsko narodno kazalište – The Croatian National Theater, and Muzej Mimara – Mimara-Museum respectively :

You just walk towards south to Praška ul., and at the end of the street awaits you Park Zrinjevac where you can enjoy a well decorated park, an open air coffee kiosk (seasonal) . From here, you can walk towards west to Hrvatsko narodno kazalište- The Croatian National Theater, and Muzej Mimara- Mimara-Museum.

C. Can’t decide ? Let’s go shopping!

You just walk towards west to the famous Ilica Street. It’s very easy to recognize, because you can see many people carrying shopping bags. This street could be like a little heaven for those who love shopping. Don’t expect to see very high-end brands though.

By the way, If you are a museum fan, you will probably fall in love with Zagreb, because Zagreb has numerous museums such as; Archaeological Museum, Arts and Crafts Museum, Croatian Museum of Naïve Art, Croatian Natural History Museum, Ethnographic Museum, Mimara Museum, Moderna galerija- Modern Gallery, Museum of the City of Zagreb , Museum of Contemporary Art, Technical Museum. I guess, one could spend up to 7 days in order to see them all. As for me, I had only 3 days in Zagreb, so I chose to roam around and enjoy outdoor activities.

Speaking about outdoor activities, to me…. it was like travel back in time sometime when I was walking along the streets in Zagreb. As mentioned before, Zagreb is where socialism meets capitalism. It means, you can still see some broken buildings from the socialist era stand tall in the middle of the city, or the whole street is filled up with unmaintained buildings, or in some streets have several unmaintained buildings stand next to a very modern one. Zagreb has been undergoing a huge change. The century has also brought new construction to the old Zagreb, and many unmaintained buildings have been restored or rebuilt.

As usual I like to combine somewhere different for my trip. This time I also visited Plitvice Lakes National Park a.k.a. Paradise Park!


Station 2 – P2


Station 1


Station 1


Station 1

Before you go to this paradise park, you should prepare yourself to some extent, because Plitvice Lakes National Park is huge, packed with tourists especially during summer, and has 3 stations which located in different directions. In order to plan your trip happily and efficiently, I have created various simple combinations for you here, so you can check whether you can accomplish 3 stations or not!

Healthwise:
A. You are fit and be able to walk 12-13 km. “up and down hill” within 4 hours straight.
B. You are not fit enough..so la la…and unable to do the above mentioned A.

Timewise:
C. You have only 4 hours or less in the park.
D. You have more than 5 hours in the park.


Click image to enlarge

According to the above mentioned A,B,C, and D, now it’s time to choose your combination!

A+C. = You could probably be able to see almost 3 stations.
A+D = You could be able to see in more detail..enjoy the paradise in all 3 stations.
B+C = Darling, you have to choose only 1 or 2 stations out of 3. My advice is choosing Station 1 (ST1)
B+D = Sweetheart, you may accomplish 2 stations, but hey that 2/3 of the park! Don’t be sad.


Station 2 – P2


Station 3


Station 2 – P2


Station 2 – P2


Station 2 – P2

FYI : No flip flop or heels, because the pathway in the park is made of either wood or natural stone, just around 1.20 – 1.50 m. width, and has no balustrade!! I believe, you don’t want to fall into cold water or off a cliff!

Now comes another tricky part: an entrance ticket.
There are different prices according periods of the year, and person

Winter Period : 1 Jan – 31 Mar and 1 Nov – 31 Dec., panoramic trains and electric boats between station do not operate during these periods, and hence tours are possible on foot only.)
Price per person for a day ticket : Adult 55 Kuna, Student : 45 Kuna

Spring and Autumn Period : 1 Apr – 30 Jun and 1 Sep – 31 Oct
Price per person for a day ticket : Adult 110 Kuna, Student : 80 Kuna

Summer Period : 1 Jul – 31 Aug
Price per person for a day ticket : Adult 180 Kuna, Student : 110 Kuna

Summer 2017 : Plitvice’s ticket office – Entrance 2

Tips :

    • For buying a ticket 1 : you should go to the “Entrance 2”, because you will spend less time waiting, especially during a summer time. During this period, you can expect 40 min. – 1 hour waiting at the Entrance 2. To avoid this unpleasant situation, you should try to get there as early as possible!
    • For buying a ticket 2 : online purchase is not available.
    • For choosing when to visit : there are pros and cons in this matter.

Summer : it’s a fabulous time to visit, because there is often blue sky and less rain. But there are some catches: there are always a lot of visitors literally, the heat could be unbearable, expensive ticket, and also you spend longer time waiting in front of the ticket office.
Spring / Autumn : there are less visitors, cheaper ticket. The catches are: it’s kinda tricky to know whether it would rain or not, the path inside the park could get nasty, slippery, muddy and dangerous when it got wet.
Winter : well, I’d say, you’d better travel somewhere else, unless you’d like to experience a winter adventure. It’s a no no.

How to get there : Flixbus from Zagreb Bus Terminal
It departs Zagreb around 8:00, 9:45, and arrives at Plitvicka Jezera stop around 10:30 and 11:50 respectively. On the way back from Plitvicka Jezera to Zagreb, it departs around 16:15 and 18:35 and arrives Zagreb around 18:40 and 20:40 respectively. A ticket price is 13 Euro for a one way trip.

This was another memorable trip to Croatia. The country has so much to offer and people are mostly very kind, helpful and friendly. You will probably love this country like I do, once you visit it!

Das Leben ist zu kurz, um zu Hause zu bleiben!!! Deshalb reise ich gerne…Life is too short to stay at home !!! That’s why I like traveling 🙂

My beautiful experience in sLOVEnia, the greenest country in Europe

I love a long weekend trip and 2 weeks ago I visited the capital city of Slovenia. Yes I visited the beautiful Ljubljana and it pronounces [ljuˈbljàːna]. By the way, Slovenia is soooo green and so much so that I thought the plane would land on a corn field !!

How to get to ljuˈbljàːna from the airport:
Let me tell you, it was super easy for me to get to the city!
There are usually 3 options to get to the city: Bus (approx.4 Euro – one way) which leaves almost every hour from 6am – 8pm, Shuttle bus service from GoOpti (approx.9 Euro – one way), and Taxi with a fixed price 30 Euro.

Where to stay:
Ljubljana is a small capital city, literally.
Many hotels are located inside “the old town”. Hence you can stop worrying about the distance from your hotel to a tourist attraction!
There are 2 tips here;

  • Choose your hotel which located along Slovenska cesta or Miklošičeva cesta, because these 2 streets are located next to the center of the old town, and therefore less noise at night.
  • Try not to choose a hotel which located on the street along the Ljubljanica river, because your room could be noisy during the night.

Where to go
* * FYI, I blogged this travel log for my summer trip. If you visited the city in winter, it could be different!

Literally, you could see most of places in one single day, if you started your day around 10 am…..With this advice, you could get beautiful photos of places or even selfies at no time, because the city isn’t too crowded around 10 am and the light is still nice and bright enough. You can simply start your walk at the Tromostovje or the Triple Bridge which is located at Prešernov trg a.k.a. Prešeren Square. Yeah you read it right…3 bridges…Interestingly it wasn’t 3 from the beginning. The first bridge was built in 1842 and 2 more had been added in 1931. These bridges are literally the entrance of the Ljubljana old town.

Right next to these beautiful bridges, you can easily see the beautiful Frančiškanska cerkev – Franciscan Church of the Annunciation, built with magnificent orangish pinkish-red façade in Baroque style. It’s considered as a famous landmark of the city. You cannot miss it…..Then you can just simply walk along the Ljubljanica river and enjoy the green scenery of the city down to Čevljarski most – Cobblers bridge where you can take a beautiful image of the old town with Frančiškanska cerkev and Tromostovje as your background….Here I can bet you…you would be really tempted to take a couple of selfies if you stood on this bridge!

After snapping some photos and selfies, it’s time to walk up to Tromostovje or the Triple Bridge by starting at Cankarjevo Nabrezje, but I guess, it could be more than 30 minutes to finish this little distance, because along the Cankarjevo Nabrezje contains numbers of restaurants and cafés. As for me, it was such a pleasant experience to sit by the Ljubljanica river and had a cup or two of coffee while enjoying the morning sunlight.

From this point you can walk to Plečnikove arkade where you can enjoy, again, food and drink….up to Mesarski most – Butchers’ Bridge and Zmajski most or the famous Dragon Bridge respectively.

With this route, you can see most of tourist attractions in Ljbljana, except The Ljubljanski grad – Ljubljana Castle. If you like to see the bird eye view of the city, you will need to take a cable car and the station is located close to the Dragon Bridge. The ticket price for a round trip is 4 Euro (without museum pass). From my opinion, it was a nice experience to see Ljubljana from the top with a beautiful mountain view as a background.

After visiting The Ljubljanski grad, you can have a little late lunch in the city. Optional you can walk towards the west to Tivoli park, if you feel like. It’s a nice and huge park on a hill!

That’s it….Ljubljana is really a small city which can be seen within a day, but it’s really worth visiting. However, my trip wasn’t only visiting Ljubljana, but also Bled and Vintgar Gorge. By the way, both Bled and Vintgar Gorge can also be a day trip as well.

A tip before taking a train to Bled and Vintgar Gorge is…. don’t forget to bring enough drink and snack with you, because it wasn’t easy for me to find a convenience store along the way!

How to get there:

I suggest you take a morning train from Ljubljana Main station to Bled Jezero via Jesenice. The ticket price from Ljubljana to Bled Jezero is around 7 or 8 Euro – One way.

FYI… Don’t get out of the train at Lesce-Bled, because you see many tourists get out of the train…..Well, from Lesce-Bled, you can see the Church on the Island a.k.a. Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Maria from afar, and I guess, you don’t want that.

From Bled Jezero station, you can also get a spectacular panoramic view of the Lake Bled as you can see here.


After walking around Lake Bled, you can take a train to Podhom to visit the natural wonder Vintgar Gorge. Podhom is located just a station away from Bled Jezero! Podhom station is a very small station which looks more or less like a bus stop. So…be alert when the train stops and don’t miss it!

From Podhom, you just need to walk uphill to Vintgar Gorge across a beautiful field. The nature and mountain scenery could make you feel like you were Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music !!

Vintgar Gorge is the continuation of the Radovna Valley. It is naturally made of natural sheer cliff walls and terraces carved by erosion. It is really a must to visit. If you are a trekking fan, you will probably love this place like I do….FYI, the entrance fee is 5 Euro and it was worth every single cent and actually I could pay more in order to get in!!

Here was my 3 days trip to Ljubljana, Bled and Vintgar Gorge. It was memorable and really worth visiting! Slovenia is such a beautiful and green country!

Is Belgrade a new Berlin ? Let’s find out!

As a Berliner, I was always curious about Belgrade, because so many people told me that it’s a new Berlin! Well, why I should wait any longer….So I booked a round trip ticket to Belgrade for my Summer vacation.

FYI, I take 1 Euro = 120 Serbian Dinar for this entire blog.

How to get to the city from the Belgrade Airport a.k.a. Nikola Tesla Airport :

  1. Bus A1 – I took this one from the airport to the city. The fee was 300 Serbian Dinar for a one way trip. The bus condition was generally good and spacey, so there was no worry about how to place my luggage.
  1. Taxi – It was actually my transportation from the city to the airport. I learnt beforehand that it shouldn’t cost more than 2000 Dinar for a one way trip, which was true.

Where to stay :

As usual, I choose to stay close to one of the airport bus stops, so there is hassle free. This time, I chose to stay close to the stop at the main train station which was a great choice, because this place is close to everything literally.

Life Design Hotel was my choice and I was totally happy that I chose to stay here, because everything was perfect and the staffs were really helpful. It is recommended.

Where to go :

If you are not a museum fan, you will need 2 full days in order to see most of places in Belgrade.

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Here was my plan for the 1st day in Stari Grad; I started to walk from the hotel which located in Balkanska to Hotel Moskva. The location of Hotel Moskva is actually where all the activities begin. This area is called Terazije or the central town square. From there you can walk to the city center walking street called Knez Mihailova. It is full of shops, restaurants, café including street performances and arts. My first impression was – the city is living on this street and it’s the heart of the city, literally!  It’s beautiful and well restored, not excessively though you can still feel the communist style. The street is a pedestrian zone leading to the Belgrade Fortress a.k.a. Beogradska tvrđava which declared a Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance in 1979.  It consists of the old citadel and Kalemegdan Park. I can guarantee that you will love this historical place and also the spectacular view where the River Sava and Danube meets. From here you can walk down hill to the International Passenger Dock a.k.a. Međunarodno putničko pristanište where you can enjoy a cup of coffee or a glass of wine or a lunch from a café or restaurant by the Sava River. It’s really a lovely spot and you can certainly escape from busy Knez Mihailova.

FYI: At the International Passenger Dock, you can book a short boat trip to see a beautiful skyline of Belgrade along the Sava and Danube River.

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After that I went to Skadarlija for a dinner. Skadarlija is generally considered the main bohemian quarter of Belgrade and is located less than 300 m. north-west of Terazije. It doesn’t consist of restaurants and café only, but also art galleries, antique and souvenir shops. It’s a beautiful street made of cobblestones. It’s a must to visit and I love this street from the first sight!

My second day; I visited the west side of Terazije area. From there you can walk to Nikola Pašić Square a.k.a. Trg Nikole Pašića decorated with a lovely fountain. It’s a lovely spot to take a picture of National Assembly of Serbia – Narodna skupština Republike Srbije.

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A few hundred meters further, you can also walk to the fabulous Byzantine styled St. Mark’s Church – Crkva Svetog Marka located in the Tašmajdan Park. Interestingly, this church was built in the Interwar period between 1931 – 1940. It’s one of many beautiful places in Belgrade and hence it’s a must to see!

From St. Mark’s Church, you can walk downhill along Resavska to Cvetni trg or Flower Square for a cup of coffee or a glass wine. This square is full of café and restaurants as well. From this point you have 2 choices: either to walk to St. Sava Temple or Hram Svetog Sve which is under construction at the moment (Summer 2017) and you can see only the exterior, or walk to the direction of Pionirski Park where you can visit 2 beautiful buildings: The Presidential Palace and The City Assembly or Skupština grada respectively.

 

 

Now you can probably get some ideas where to go and where to see in Belgrade, but where to eat? Let me tell you in a second.

Where to eat :

From my opinion, there are 2 places which I had great impression.

  1. For a chill out evening, I would suggest that you go to one of the Boutiques. They are all located in the Stari Grad. The restaurant offers quite good and delicious food with reasonably price.
  2. Restoran Vuk (Вук) in Vuka Karadžića 12 where you get a mountain of meat with reasonably price and very delicious Ćevapi a.k.a. cevapcici with creaaamy butter sauce….hmmmm….

Conclusively, I think Belgrade is yes and no a new Berlin;

Yes, because it offers various night life activities.  Literally, the city is still so lively even Sunday midnight!

No, in the sense of architecture and urban planning.

Finally, Belgrade is a fabulous city, and the Belgradian are really kind. It’s truly worth visiting, especially in Summer !

 

 

New York New York !

You may probably know Frank Sinatra and his popular song, New York New York. And this was one of the reasons I wanted to visit the city. I just simply followed the sound and lyrics, because I want to be a part of it…..New York, New York…. I wanna wake up, in a city That doesn’t sleep!

View from Brooklyn to NYC

Be prepared before departure:
As a German citizen, I needed a kind of Visa and it is called The Visa Waiver Program (VWP). To those of you who haven’t visited USA, you may wonder what the hell is this….and let me tell you this… The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) is designated to certain countries. You must check at your nearby US Embassy / Consular for further information whether your country participates in this program or not. Anyhow, a visitor must apply for this VWP…like say… 72 hours before boarding time, and it costs around 15 USD. Usually one can get it in no time.

As for a flight, there are 2 options; either to Newark or JFK. I chose JFK airport, because I would spend less time commuting from the airport to the sleepless city. So I booked a ticket with Air Berlin with an XL seat. An XL seat ? Yes you read it right….Why ?…..because :
– I was seated next to the business class, which means, I could get out of the plane quickly, and as the result, I was able to get to the border control earlier than most people inside my plane = I could save a lot of time….I meant a long time waiting in front of a border control is kinda unpleasant situation, right ?
– As for a long haul flight, in my case almost 9 hours (Berlin-JFK), sleeping is quite crucial. In order to travel like a fit person, I always believe, one needs a good sleep! I didn’t want to be worried about pain on my back or sleep deprivation, because the seat was big enough and the pitch between 2 rows was larger than a normal economy seat.

A view from Columbus Circle

 

Arrival:
As previously mentioned, I’d prefer hassle free from the airport to the city, so I booked a hotel which situated along subway line E, J, or Z, because I didn’t need to change to another train. Believe me, a subway and its station in NYC is usually packed.

Where I stayed:
I chose to stay in Midtown at Wingate by Wyndham Manhattan, because it was close to everything…literally everything….I could go to everywhere at no time and plus both a subway station and Penn station are situated right around the corner. However there were some down sides which I experienced after I arrived. The hotel was kinda old, services were not so pleasant, very very limited choices for breakfast and most staffs weren’t friendly at all, except the cleaning ladies who always gave me nice smiles. Anyway, the bed was great which was more important than those downsides.
One nice tip :
If you planned to visit NYC, you’d better book a hotel room at least 6 months in advance in order to get a real good deal. You could book with free cancellation option though, in case you would change your mind later or get a better deal from another hotel.

Looking around and roaming in NYC :
Planning to see places in a big city like NYC wasn’t easy. So I decided to group where I wanted to see.

The 1st Group:
I planned to visit the lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge in the early morning, because it wasn’t busy, yet, and of course I wanted to photograph places without people interfering camera views.
Tips:
After seeing the Battery Park, go to Pier 15, East River Esplanade for a fabulous view of the East River and Brooklyn Bridge with the Manhattan Bridge as the background.

View from The Pier 15 to the City

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View from The Pier 15 to the bridges

After that you could walk along the river up to the Brooklyn Bridge and make a turn towards Canal Str., which is located close to the China Town and Little Italy….there you could enjoy your lunch quietly before people get in restaurants. After that you could enjoy walking around and along the Broadway street down to the Wall street and Chambers Str. comfortably, because people were eating…..less hassle…. Then you could walk to the World Trade Center and there you could enjoy various fabulous and spectacular architectures like this favorite one of mine designed by Santiago Calatrava.

 Designed by Santiago Calatrava

The 2nd Group:
I wanted to see the Central Park and The Guggenheim Museum, because I’m an architect and this one was part of the history of architecture.

What I could do, was….I took a subway up to the 79st., and walked towards the Central Park. By the way, if you felt like to stop at the American Museum of Natural History, this would be your chance, because it is located just a few hundred meters from the 79 St. unless get out at 81 St. that would be closer!

central park

Walking across the central was such a great experience, because I could see one of the fabulous skylines of NYC, situated at the other end of this greenery park. It was like clearing up my mind before I entered The Guggenheim Museum where I could soak up my soul with beautiful art pieces.

Naum Gabo Linear Construction in Space No. 1 at The Guggenheim Museum

After that I walked down along the 5th Avenue to the Plaza. With this route, I also had a chance to stop at The Metropolitan Museum of Art as well .

At the Plaza…. if you like shopping, from this point, you will be in heaven!!

 

A great alternative:
Well….I was at NYC, and I had an idea to visit a nice city nearby as a day trip. There I went. Washington DC……Oh no, I didn’t want to travel by a train or a bus to DC, because DC isn’t small and it isn’t that close to NYC, which means, I might probably end up stay overnight due to exhausting and time.
What I did was, I booked a day trip with Gray Line New York which located at W 47 Str / 8th Ave. The trip costed around 190 USD which was almost the same or cheaper than a round trip by train, but I could see the most of DC in a day without too much exhausting…. easy peasy….

John F. Kennedy Quotations at Arlington National Cemetery

A beautiful sculptor in front of The Smithsonian Museum

Arlington National Cemetery

The Time square:
I would keep it short for this one, because this place is packed with people 24/7. Although, it is a must to see and experience standing there among thousands of people, but after 15 minutes I had to leave……

Tips for you:
– Go to Barnes & Noble at E 46 Str / 5th Ave to enjoy the view from its top floor bakery to the 5th Ave while having a cup of coffee or two.
– DUANEreade is your best friend for many things, because you can buy from hundred kinds of drinks to some take away, in case you are hungry and don’t want to bother by sitting with many people in a restaurant.
– If you like shopping, you will probably want to visit The Mills at Jersey Gardens. It is quite easy to go there from New York.
– Along W46 Str. you can go to various restaurants with reasonable prices.

 

 

 

Let’s go to Skopje!

This is my first travel journal ever!

I had been procrastinating for a long while, but I decided today that I will try my best to keep track on where I will travel.

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The Archaeological Museum Of Macedonia

As many of you may have no idea where Skopje or Macedonia is located. It is located in the Balkan Peninsula, and northwest of Greece. Skopje is the capital city filled with brand new buildings, because it was destroyed by various unfortunate events such as an earthquake in 1963, and the wars during the Socialist Yugoslavia period, plus some other various disputes.  Anyhow…before this journal turns into a history channel, I should tell you about Skopje and my trip.

First of all, I would like to use the rate of 1 Euro = 60 Macedonian denar for this entire journal.

How to get to the city:

As you may know, Macedonia isn’t part of EU, yet, nor under The Schengen Agreement. So I, as an EU Citizen, needed to prepare myself to some extend in order to travel smoooooooothly. First, I booked a direct flight from Berlin to Skopje with Wizzair and I also booked a round trip transfer services from Vardar Express. It was quite helpful though, because:
– I didn’t need to exchange any money at the airport, which always offers a bad rate.
– There was no need to be worried about how to get the city like…. do I need to travel by taxi ? will the taxi driver charge me with a hefty bill ? and so on….

In my case, I was willing to pay Wizzair 7 Euro for a round trip Vardar Express ticket, which is approximately 420 Macedonian denar, whereas the real price at the bus costs 300 round trip Macedonian denar.

FYI, the Vardar Express bus stops at 2 places :
1st The Main Bus Station which located a bit outside the old town.
2nd The Holiday Inns Hotel stop which located next to the Vardar River and is in the old town. This means, if you choose to stay in the old town, you won’t need to jump out of the bus at the The Main Bus Station!!

Where to stay:

Usually I always book a hotel close to an airport bus stop or the main train station of the city, so there is hassle free. In Skopje, I chose to stay at Hotel Senigallia.

Here were my reasons:

  1. It is located 5 minutes walk from The Holiday Inns Hotel airport bus stop (Vardar Express).
  2. It is located right in the heart of the old city.
  3. In my opinion, this is the most beautiful hotel in Europe…Why ?….because the hotel is inside a ship!! plus a spectacular view from the roof deck to the Archaeological Museum Of Macedonia and beautiful bridges. It is really a WOOOOW view…believe me. Apart from this WOW, the hotel staffs were totally friendly and very helpful.

Where to go:

Skopje is a small capital city, so you actually don’t need to be worried about how to commute from one to another place, because every place can be reached by walking, except another place which I will tell you later.

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A view to The Archaeological Museum Of Macedonia from The Old Bridge

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The Old Bridge

Skopje’s Main Square

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The Archaeological Museum Of Macedonia and new bridges

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Mother Teresa Memorial

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Monuments in front of The Old Bazaar

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A view to the city from The Skopje Fortress

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The Skopje Fortress

 

Most of the places situate near the Vardar River namely: Archaeological Museum Of Macedonia, Old bridges, Macedonian Orthodox Church , Mother Teresa Memorial, The Old Bazaar, and The Skopje Fortress. Speaking about The Skopje Fortress, actually I found that going up there I could get a better view of the city, because the city is so small and there is no prominent skyline. Although many people try to go up to The Millennium Cross in Vodno.

FYI 1, if you want to go up to Vodno, you’d better take a taxi which costs you around 400- 500 Macedonian denar for a round trip. The taxi will drop you at the cable car station and from there you will have to pay for a ride around 120 Macedonian denar for a round trip.

FYI 2, I was advised that a single tourist shouldn’t go alone at night to The Old Bazaar due to some petty crimes.

Apart from mentioned places above, you gotta visit Matka Canyon!! It is another BIG FAT WOW. To get to Matka, you can either take a bus no. 60 at The Main Bus Station (150 Macedonian denar for a round trip ticket) or a taxi. I would suggest that you should take a taxi, because it costs only 1500 Macedonian denar for a round trip and Matka is located about 30 -40 minutes from the city. I, myself, tried to wait for a bus, but it never came after 40 minutes according to the time table.  So I had finally decided to take a taxi instead.

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In Matka, there is only one restaurant and if you want to sit by the lake and enjoy the Matka warm air during summer, you’d better reserve a table in advance. And if you don’t want to sit in the restaurant, you’d better prepare some food, drink for the entire trip. And don’t forget to bring some sun protection cream with you too, because the summer sun in Matka is scorching hot!!

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This was one of my memorable trips ever, because the city is beautiful, the landscape is amazing, and more importantly the Macedonian are totally friendly, lovable, and kind. Thank you to the Macedonian for helping me complete my unforgettable journey 🙂

Useful Information
Information about Macedonian Entry Visas