Sunday, August 9, 2015

The island of Krk, Croatia

Fancy was returning spent the last 2 week visiting friends in the US and it was one of the last free weekends together before school starts. We were eager to spend time together as it's been a busy summer with family and friends and travel but little time between just the two of us.

We love living close to Croatia. Croatia is an amazing country that holds an old-world charm - most of its towns built in white limestone - pristine blue water of the Adriatic coast - delicious Italian food adopted from it's time ruled by the Venetians - these three things made for a wonderful trip.

We rented a car for the weekend, left early Friday and spent three nights on the island without vowels - Krk. It was convenient to drive because no ferries were needed (but you play plenty in tolls) and we drove 5 hours directly our apartment in the small town of Malinska.

It's quickly become our favorite thing - to visit smaller towns and little villages. It offers something a little more genuine and pre-fabricated tourism. Croatia seems to be gaining in popularity and for good reason. However, some of our best memories are always from visiting these small towns that no one tells us to go to but have incredible views, nice people and confusing, narrow streets.

A highly recommended trip to the island of Krk, Croatia: 

Fancy had Taylor Swift on repeat.

Sunset in Malinska.

The highlight of the trip was this 'private' beach in Stara Baska. You can only arrive by boat or by hiking down a perilous mountain trail off the side of the road (which apparently a lot of folks do) and we rented chairs, an umbrella and enjoyed the day immensely.

Navigating through "the world's narrowest street" - it's Guinness world record, and we navigated it like champions.

All of these distinguished gentlemen gather every Sunday to discuss the town's business.

Gotta respect the strategy of leaning back-to-back when on the Croatia beaches.

Baska, Croatia - super busy beach on the southern tip

Monday, April 6, 2015

Spring Break 2K15 in Gozo, Malta

Being married to a teacher has many benefits - one of which is the beautiful thing we call Spring Break.

We found cheap flights to the island of Malta in the Mediterranean and were excited about visiting a new country and hopefully a warm weather island. We accomplished the first part but the weather was a bit windy and the temperature hovered around the 60s all week - but it was a Mediterranean 60. It was enough to get sun, but not exactly cruising around in tshirts all day. It's been a long, cold winter in Budapest. Since November and all the way until the beginning of April, it hasn't seem to break away from Winter. It was a bit warmer in Malta, but the wind made it cool. The locals explained the winds are from the North, this means the winds is coming down from Sicily and off the ice of the it's dormant volcano.

Malta is made up of three islands - the principal island of Malta, the more rural and relaxed island of Gozo and a very small island in between called Komino.

We spent the first night in Valletta, the capital city of Malta. We discovered a wonderful family run guest house - ASTI Guest House. It's been family run for 30 years and we were greeted at the door by the sweetest little lady you ever did see - all 4 feet of her. She was short and admonished me for trying to open the doors when they were locked. We got past this initial confusion and were quick friends.

I was able to wake up at 3am to watch UK play in the final four. This effort included me standing up from about 4am-4:10am to charge the laptop that I had hold the plug in by hand. The short version is Malta is on the UK electric system and this caused all kinds of problems for us, but we managed.

After my utter disappointment of the UK loss, I was happy to learn we were treated to a special Easter brunch in the morning.

We spent the previous night and following day exploring Valletta which was a beautiful town with a mixture of Arabic, English and Spanish influences. The cream buildings and large enclosed terrace windows, it was great to explore on foot.

As the sun begin to get low, we returned to our car, traversed the island of Malta to the port and landed in Gozo - our home for the next 6 nights.

I think we all agreed we've never stayed in a better airbnb rental.

Early morning flight to Malta - half asleep.

Easter in Malta - all of the lights.

Quite possibly the sweetest old lady in Malta -- all 4 ft. After receiving an initial scolding for opening the doors too abruptly, we became quick friends.

Exploring Valletta.

Fancy and Lindsay Arizona.

Ferry over to the island of Gozo.

These unforgettable views from our balcony in Gozo.

Fancy allows looks fashionable in helmets.

Roman salt pans, or panes or whatever.

I think I enjoyed our time exploring this library more than Fancy (according to her face).

They had the original island paper for everyday since 1950-ish.

Love these scooter days.

Easter goodies at the hotel in Valletta.

Our airbnb was on the downhill outskirts of the town of San Lawrence - including an epic view that will never be forgotten. Our terrace looked out over the Mediterranean with nothing but rolling hills and farmland beneath us. It even had a private elevator that opened into our kitchen. 

Fancy and I rented a scooter and explored the island by bike. For us, it's a great way to see the island and explore some of the hidden parts and little alley ways. We visited Roman salt panes and what stayed with me the most was each small village's church and steeple piercing the otherwise flat and rolling hills. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Skiing in Val Thorens, France

We've been looking forward to Christmas Break for months. It was going to be packed of new adventures.  The break starts with a flight to Geneva and a 2.5 hour shuttle to Val Thorens, France. Skiing for 4 days and then returning to Geneva to spend the night in order to fly to Prague to meet up with my parents! We are meeting my parents and brother and sister in Prague for a 2.5 week tour around Central Europe. But I digress. 

A group of 8 of us, all friends from Fancy's school, were planning a weeklong ski trip to Val Thorens, France. It was still early in the season but we had heard VT would have snow. 

Fancy's athletisism continues to impress me. I know most of you would peg me as the natural athlete, but I'll just say Fancy can hold her own, especially on the slopes.

It would be my third day ever on downhill, needless to say there was apprehension going into the week. I've been excited about skiing, but I still needed to figure out how. 

Early morning leaving Budapest.

The Geneva airport had a 'picture book' of a kissing scene from Gone With the Wind. As a proud Georgian, I was pleasantly surprised to see this and still have no idea how that would be connected with a place like Geneva, Switzerland. Anyone?

I'm very inexperienced. But jacket is very experienced. I've actually owned this yellow North Face jacket since the year 2000 and this was the first day it was used as a ski jacket. 

The village of Val Thorens.

A man and his coffee. Photo cred: Shanti. 

Sunrise over Val Thorens. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving = Wine + Wine

For this year's Thanksgiving we joined another couple to experience Hungarian wine country.

The four of us rented a car from the city and drove 2 1/2 hours to southern Hungary to a small town called Villany. We spent three nights in the city drinking wine, exploring the small picturesque town and drinking more wine. 

We left with heaps of wine that none of us could drink after our weekend of indulgence.

The town was situated among a bunch of rolling hills and was as picturesque as you hope. That, and the delicious red wine must have enhanced our environment also. Despite restaurants closing super early and one restaurant literally closing the door in our face and removing their schedule off their window (that states they were still open for another hour) it was a great Thanksgving weekend. 

A massive bowl of goulash, even for my high standards. 

This lady is super proud of her sausage - inappropriate?