Jun 22, 2016

Walking tour of Budapest

Jun 8, 2016

Plitvice Lakes National Park

First timers going into the park with a phone. That's what this post is all about. My phone clicks and my selfies. But the emerald lakes blew my mind off. I can't wait a minute to post these on my blog. I'm droolig over the waterfalls of the Plitvice lanes national park.

When you enter the park, you are on the top of a cliff .. literally. The view starting 50 m into the park just blows mind eh! Mind blowing view!!!!

Then we follow the common walking route and walk down the steps to reach the lower lakes. The little water falls and emerald lakes in close proximity gave me the feeling of being in the most exotic place ever. The entire walking route is on decks along the water and very easy trail.

View from the top 
The route also cover a boat ride and a bus ride to reach back to the stations from where you can reach the entrance by foot.. in all a very friendly trail to walk and personally, the most beautiful inland landscape in Europe.

Jun 2, 2016

Budapest for first timer

When you start a brand new day in a brand new city, it sends an excitement that few travelers identify with.

Budapest started with a 2am entry into the city for us. The airport taxi service is quite authentic as they take the end point and give you a calculation of fare printed on the recipe with taxi number. 

The next morning we went to Deak -ter area which is the tourist hub and downtown. It is the called the Jewish quarter. Seems to be well known for the cafe and bars lining the street. Walk into the Budvar passage. It is really nice with cafes and hip restaurants along. This is a culture I have notices in Europe. They upgrade historical structures into passages with cafe so the current generation uses it and appreciates the history alongside. 
Walking tours are another favorite of mine. So we took the afternoon walking tour starting from Vorosmarty square. 
The walking route is around the old town of Pest, Jewish quarter and until the bridge which separates Buda and Pest. Pest is the flat side of the river and Buda is the hilly side. 
Pest palace as seen from Buda

Buda is up the hill and the castle. It's a quick walk and the hill is all of 80m high. I liked this castle for its mosaic tops. Didn't get a chance to go inside but the exterior charmed me so much that I went into a narcissistic mode and took selfies around the castle walls to satisfaction.

May 31, 2016

Travel the Grottos caves of Lagos

Lagos of Portugal is the stretch along the Algarves coast. First thing to note. If thought Lagos was only the capital of Nigeria and brushed it off, give it another thought. It could just be that awe striking scenery you were waiting to travel to.

The Algarves coast of Portugal has some amazing turquoise and emerald waters that I have seen in Europe. The fact that I hadn't researched Algarves and went with a friend on her suggestion made it more of a pleasant surprise to travel to. We reached Faro on a Sunday. Everything was closed in the evening that we strolled around. It seemed like a sleepy old town but the inner old city area had a charm alright. That's for another post. During this boring sunday we were deciding between Albufeira vs Lagos and almost decided on the former because of proximity to Faro. But a last minute article I read recommended traveling an extra hour for the lesser developed Lagos. It was definitely worth the decision to pick Lagos. The inner town of Lagos has a quaint old world charm that most European cities offer. Most houses are now guestrooms etc. Promenade of Lagos is well maintained and the walk on end may was good for me. Slightly breezy but not chilly and definitely not crowded with tourists. Now all along the promenade tour boat stalls try to sell you 1hr/ 2hr/ 4hr boat rides. We took the 1 hr boat because of our day trip time constraint. I would even recommend this if you are not much of a swimmer of kayaker. 2hr trip has an hour for kayaking the caves which I felt I missed but hey! You make mistakes.

The boat sails along caves coast with the captain explaining about each of the beaches and the access to them. Ad the town is on along cliff you would need to walk down to the beach from 50 to 300 steps depending on which beach you choose.

The coast is lines with calcium and lime deposits and these have carved the caves. Some are structures in the middle of water,  some are covered in an arch along nd some others are stuck to the cliff making the cave that allows minimal light inside.  That's what makes it so exotic for me. The water inside is shallow and clear. It plays with emerald shades with hardly any signs of moss. Kayak groups paddle between these caves. Water seem clear enough to take a swim but end may is still 17 degrees to enter water. If I come back in August I will be dipping. I know that!

An hour of the caves sailing, a lunch on the waterfront and a breezy walk on the promenade. That set me up on the nirvana mountain!

May 30, 2016

Visiting Faro

Think of a quaint little beach town in Europe that has lesser people than the smallest town you have visited. That's Faro for you. This is end of May and I arrived with an expectation of warmth and beach swims. Clearly this year summer is playing with us. After days of cloud and rain in Amsterdam, we are here at a 16 degree Faro in Portugal' Algarves coastline. It is windy as ever and doesn't make me forget Amsterdam at all. But the sun has made an appearance and that's the grace to thank!

After a super windy afternoon at Praia beach, I decided to get my jacket for the evening walk in Faro city.

The city center happens to be deserted on sunday evening. Your best bet is the cafes inside with Algarvean seafood and desserts.

A short walk in the city and the windy started off. Bought some amazing desserts with coffee. It kind of made the first day of this long trip worthwhile. We walked along the coastline to the center and this line is amazing. There is and spread of land, greens and water. It looks like a marsh but is not even one. The walk along deck is a sunny one. I loved is the sight on both sides... wait for more...