So I arrived in Zagreb, eventually, but my baggage did not. I had quite a crazy morning screeching through the airport like a mad woman to try to catch my connecting flight to Zagreb after my first flight was delayed. Poor Munich airport did not see me coming!
Well I am here. After a much-needed shower, we hit the streets of the city for some quality cafe time. The city is littered with cafe´s where you just sit and relax and people-watch. (By the way, I have watched the Croatian men and they are delicious!)
Speaking of delicious, it is also strawberry season and these babies are the juiciest and sweetest you have ever tasted…yum!
Off to Plitvice Lakes tomorrow (after a quick yoga class in Croatian – should be interesting), which is the number 1 must-see of Croatia, so that will be lovely.
That is it for now, mainly because I cant find any damned punctuation on this Croatian keyboard and I dont need stress on my holiday. *smiley face*
One more sleep until I leave for Croatia! I am quite stressed about the whole thing, although I know that I am actually ready for it. There’s just something about independant travel that gives you that extra buzz of nerves. I don’t know – could be the whole not having booked anywhere to stay and just winging it, not really sure 😉
I’m armed with my Lonely Planet book on Croatia, and having had a brief little visit to the Thorn Tree forum on their site, I do have a bit of an idea of where I’m going, how I’m getting around and how much I can expect to spend (ah crap, just realised I need to transfer some money still…). I’m a big Lonely Planet fan, and between their site, books, blogs and traveller forums, I think that they absolutely provide the best support for independant travel! Maybe one day I will write for them…hmmmm…or photograph for Lonely Planet Images.
I am packed (just about) and ready. Just have to fit this small pile of clothes into a backpack and do some bon voyage kisses.
I’m not taking my Blackberry and am completely removing myself from the world as I know it for 2 weeks. I will probably start having withdrawal symptoms and hunt down an internet cafe every now and then for a quick-fix blog post, so I’m not making any promises just yet!
If I don’t come back, please just assume that I have found a beautiful Croatian husband and am sipping cocktails and eating truffles in his seaside villa. Or more likely, I lost a day and missed my flight.
A few of the crazies and I took the recent very conveniently placed holidays to take a real break from, well, everything we know, and packed up and headed off into the deep Transkei.
As South Africans, we are always itching to dash off overseas for a holiday when we actually have such amazingly beautiful places right here in our own country. All we need to do is rough it up a bit, go off the beaten track and we will find places like this for a ridiculous fraction of the price of an overseas holiday.
Okay, this one was quite FAR off the beaten track, I won’t lie about that, but the treacherous bends and a few encounters with near-death on the mountainside gravel dongas (I’d like to call them roads, but that would be lying), was well worth it.
Absolute untouched, unspoilt, rural beauty.
We stayed at Swell Tours Guest Lodge, a modest and rustic “lodge” on the north side of the Mdumbi river. We lived amongst the locals, minutes away from the untouched beach, with the locals helping us out wherever they could.I would highly recommend this place if you are interested in this kind of holiday – the owners are unbelievably supportive of their neighbours and in return very well respected in the area as well. It was just so easy and quite perfect, really.
The Xhosa people are so friendly and accomodating and I was quite touched by how happy they were with the little that they had. Well, depending on how you look at it, they are probably the ones who have so much and we are the ones that have very little. Humbling.
Life in the fast lane came to a grinding halt and we were very quickly forced to slow down, relax and feast on prawns, crayfish and oysters for next to nothing. Oh, and take a slow stroll down to the beach every now and then. If you’re into more than that, there are plenty of activities like surfing (the lodge is actually a surf lodge), kayaking, hiking, shebeen tours, horse-riding (although you may have to catch your own horse – true story), etc.
All in all, a truly memorable holiday that I hope you will also get to experience in your lifetime.
Support our country – there is so much untouched beauty here – you never know how long it will last.
Dahab, Egypt has to be second on my list of favourite places to trave to. It is situated on the southeast coast of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt and is the only place that has really been able to put me at peace. It’s a ridiculously lazy diving town that sucks you in and wills you to stay. What was meant to be a few days there ended up being over a week. We also managed to lose a day to the town and nearly missed our flight home.
The sunsets over the still Red Sea against the backdrop of the Saudi Arabian mountains on the other side of the coast is something that everyone has to see in their lifetime. Put it on your bucket list now! As soon as the sun starts to fade and the sea turns red, while you’re sipping your traditional bedouin tea with the smell of fruity-flavoured shisha pipes, you cannot actually imagine being anywhere else!
It’s also an amazing diving town and there are many, many diving schools where you can do a huge range of certified diving courses at your own leisurely pace. The underwater world of the Red Sea is definitely something that you want to see.
I found a kind of magic there that I have yet to find anywhere else.
To steal a line from a fortune cookie from my good friend, Big Daddy:
The travel bug has bitten again. Hard and vicious.
So to psyche me up to spend all my money again on seeing the world, I thought I’d write a few blogs on some of my favourite travel experiences. I hope you enjoy them and it inspires you to go experience whatever it is that you need to experience!
The country at the top of my list of travel memories right now, is Cambodia, which I like to refer to as ‘The Land of Smiles’.
Khmer people are the friendliest people that I have ever met…and I’m talking genuine friendliness, you know…the kind where you feel that they are genuinely happy to meet you? As a traveller in a third world country (I mean real third world, not South Africa-style third world), you will always encounter the unpleasant hasslings of locals who want your money, but Cambodia welcomes you with open arms and a big, big smile. Okay, the exception would be a border post between Thailand and Cambodia, but even that was enough of a bizarre experience to think I’d do it again.
Considering what these people had been through with the Khmer Rouge brutality (a visit to the killing fields left shivers down my spine to this day – which is why you will not see any photos on this blog post of this), still seemingly unknown to a lot of the world, the genocide and absolute inhumanity that they experienced seems to have made them stronger and they still manage to smile and forgive. Insane.
Okay, enough ramblings, a picture tells a thousand words…
Travel, travel, travel! That will be my mantra from now on…watch this space!