Split – Marjan Forest Park

Split-188.jpg

Marjan Park in Split is unique in that it’s a forest on a hill, right next to the city center. It’s the greenest part of the city containing old ruins and medieval landmarks. I enjoyed the mild Dalmatian climate and wandered on a couple of the trails here during my stay.

Split-183

Do you spy the rock climber?

2017

In 2017, I:

(in no particular order)

  • Journeyed on two road trips with good friends: one to and around Joshua Tree, and one down the east coast from NY to FL. Many awesome memories came out of these.
  • Traveled to San Jose, San Francisco, San Diego, Orange County, Berlin, Zagreb, Split, Ljubljana, Mostar, Dubrovnik, Tampa, Orlando. This is probably the most travel I have done within a year.
  • Got laid off after 11 years in a corporate job, in June. Therefore, I had my first summer break since being in college
  • Attended 3 really fun weddings
  • Earned the TEFL certification to teach English abroad
  • Met many fabulous new people
  • Reunited with tons of old friends
  • Performed my civic duty on the Grand Jury
  • Ran my very first craft fair booth for Apathetic Sheep
  • Relaunched my website to start publishing more photos
  • Attended only 1 concert (times have changed)
  • And of course…uprooting 12+ years of a life and network I built in NYC to try things out here in Europe.

Quite a positive turnaround from a couple of years ago. Many of these things were new challenges in which I had anxieties and doubts that I still continue to struggle with, but know how to manage.

Looking forward to 2018 and whatever it brings!

 

Advent in Zagreb

ZagrebAdvent-29.jpgBecause my flight in and out of Croatia was through Zagreb, I was back here for a couple of days just in time to catch Advent. It was awarded best Christmas Market in Europe two years in a row, so I was glad to be able to check it out! Basically, the entire city center was one large wonderland of festive lights. Click thumbnails for larger.

ZagrebAdvent-36.jpg

ZagrebAdvent-55.jpg

 

 

Scenes from Split – Advent Edition

I’m a little behind on getting through all the photos I took throughout Croatia, but as it is Advent season, here is the first set of images from seeing Croatia all decked out for the holidays. In Split, much of Advent occurs along Riva, the seaside promenade in the city center.

I watched the huts getting built up and the cafe bars transform to holiday mode.

And then, it became festive! There was some merriment all over Riva as well as People’s Square inside the Old Town. I was wandering on a weeknight though, so it was a little quieter than it would have been over the weekend.

Split-227.jpg

Split-235.jpg

Train Ride to Split

These are views from my 6 hour journey from Zagreb in the north to Split in the south along the Dalmatian coast. There was a service change in the middle where we had to take a bus for about 3 of the train stops. The landscape changed as the train (or bus) wove through the forest, then snaking around, under, and over the mountains into the valleys (and back to mountains).

CroatiaTrain-15.jpg

CroatiaTrain-26.jpg

CroatiaTrain-39.jpg

CroatiaTrain-50.jpg

CroatiaTrain-57.jpgCroatiaTrain-64.jpg

Harry Potter Nerding

One of my last hurrahs in the USA was visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando with my best friend and fellow Potter nerd! I can’t say I loved Orlando, itself however I will give it the benefit of the doubt as I was only exposed to the commercialist theme park section of town. It was also Halloweekend and the roads seemed to have a lot of drunk drivers being erratic.

I travel-hacked my way into this trip via flying on miles and using hotel credits, and am so glad I was able to make it.

Although a complete tourist trap, I willingly throw my cash at it. Normally, I find theme parks to be tacky in their overt commercialism, but the attention to detail and beautiful set design made it worth it. There was attention to detail everywhere, and we got to be super silly. We went during low season yet it was still crowded by late afternoon. I cannot even imagine what it is like during peak months.

Overall it was a fun filled weekend of best friend time, night cheese, and gleeful nerding out. Click thumbnails for larger.

We also had some fun in Jurassic Park land. Rawr!

Day Trip to Slovenia – Postojna Cave

After wandering around Ljubljana, it was time for the main attraction – the Postojna Cave! From the photos I had seen, it looked otherworldly and I cannot resist seeing surreal natural wonders. The area they have open for tourism is only a tiny bit of the cave. I got to learn that the cave has been a tourist attraction since the 19th century, when Archduke Franz Ferdinand paid a visit and decided to make it one.

Entrance to the cave!

They have you take a train down the cave, to the main walking portion! It was like a theme park ride, except real.

Once you get off the train, you walk through a guided pathway for about an hour. At the end is the gift shop and then a train ride back to the surface. The photos fail to truly capture the grand scale of this place. You really just have to experience it if you find yourself in central Europe. However, I still wanted to get photos and catch some of the details. One thing I appreciated was that they really make an effort on conservationism of the cave – you are only allowed to go on one of the scheduled daily tours so that they can keep the lights out in the cave the rest of the time and protect the wildlife inside.

I spent the entire time in pure awe and wonder, and definitely recommend it.

PostojnaCave-23.jpg

PostojnaCave-26.jpg