A freedom-oriented lifestyle blog

Category: Croatia

From Zagreb to Ljubljana

Ljubljana, the origin of the city’s name is unclear and debated.  In the middle ages, the German name of the area was Laibach and in the Italian langugage the town is called Lubiana. Also, the original name of the river that runs through Ljubljana is Ljubija, where the old slavic word Ljub  means “to love” or “like”, and the old Slavic male name Ljubovid means “the one of a lovely appearance”. Somewhere in there the name of the town became Ljubljana and is now the capital of Slovenia. 
We spent a few days in this beautiful city, but we also had time for a short stop in Zagreb, the capital Croatia, before we crossed the border to Slovenia. Interestingly, the border control was really strict even though we went from one EU state to another – so much for the freedom of travel within the demokratur  (Swedish for democracy + dictatorship) of the European Union.

Ljubljana, ursprunget till namnet på staden är oklart och debatterat. Under medeltiden var det tyska namnet på området Laibach och i det italienska språket kallas staden för Lubiana. Det ursprungliga namnet på floden som rinner genom Ljubljana var Ljubija, där det gamla slaviska ordet Ljub betyder “att älska” eller “tycka om”,  och där det gamla slaviska mansnamnet Ljubovid betyder “den med ett vackert utseende”. Någonstans ur detta blev stadens namn Ljubljana och är nu Sloveniens huvudstad.
Vi tillbringade några dagar i denna vackra stad, men vi hade också tid för ett kort stopp i Zagreb, huvudstaden i Kroatien, innan vi korsade gränsen till Slovenien. Intressant var att gränskontrollen mellan länderna var verkligen strikt, även om vi gick från en EU-stat till en annan – så mycket för friheten att färdas inom demokraturen Europeiska Unionen.

It’s so nice to travel by train again. This time we went over the Dinaric Alps , a mountain chain that spans from Italy to Albania, which separates the Croatian coast and inland.

Our goal was Ljubljana in Slovenia, but we had a couple of hours in Zagreb and we used that time to explore this city. The Art Pavilion in Zagreb is there to greet you when you step of the train.

We just walked around randomly in the city and we found the Croatian National theater, which was built in 1895. Zagreb feels like a combination of Gävle and Copenhagen for those of you who know which cities we’re talking about.

The brown tourist signs are everywhere, so it easy to find touristy things to do. For instance, you can visit the museum of broken relationships here in Zagreb and they also have a mushroom museum, if you’re interested in that.

A statue of Nikola Tesla can be seen in Zagreb. Their is an argument between Croatia and Serbia of who get to “claim” Nikola Tesla as their national treasure.

The Kaptol is the historic part of Zagreb, where the Roman Catholics settled and built this Cathedral in the beginning of the 13th century. However, not long after the consecration the Mongol invasion came and destroyed the Cathedral, so in 1263 the Cathedral was rebuilt and restored.

The defensive walls and towers around Kaptol were built between 1469 and 1473 and parts of the wall and towers still stands today.

The pedestrian streets in the city center of Zagreb are filled with small restaurants and narrow alleys. The atmosphere is really lovely and the city is filled with historical pieces, so next time we’ll definitely make a longer stop here.

We enjoyed our last Croatian beer at one of the pubs in the pedestrian zone, before we caught our train to Slovenia.

Ljubljana, the Capitol of Slovenia! We stayed a few days here and just relaxed in this beautiful city.  Ljubljana is one of Europe’s smallest capital cities with only 280 000 inhabitants, and it is the largest city in Slovenia.

It is so easy to walk around and explore, but you have to watch your head if you take the tunnel under the rail way.

You’ll find a lot of people bicycling here, so this art work really represents the atmosphere in Ljubljana.

Ljubljana is also a green city, trees make up a large amount of the city center.

Even the Ljubljanica river, the river that runs through Ljubljana, is green. You can jump on a tour boat for €8 to see the city from the river and that was exactly what we did.

You’ll find small, cozy restaurants here in Ljubljana as well.

We tried a Slovenian dessert which was delicious, and not to sweet. We have unfortunately forgot the name of the dessert, but the meaning was something like “cake in a jar”.

The city is also counting down to the next European championship in football, which Slovenia will host.

The Ljubljana castle is the landmark of the city and was built in the 11th century, but the area around the castle has probably been settled continuously since 1200 BC.

The University of Ljubljana is an impressive building. The whole town looks really old, but actually is quite new. A major earthquake destroyed much of the city center in 1895 and the city has then been restored and renovated.

We found a small shop with female clothes where Ulrika could shop a few items for the Malta conference in a month.

We also explored one of Ljubljana’s parks, the Tivoli City Park.

The Tivoli Pond, which is one of Ljubljana’s two major ponds.

The last thing we saw before leaving Ljubljana was an outdoor library set up in the Tivoli Park. It looked so peaceful and we wanted to stay here, but we had a train to catch, so we have to save this until next time.

Two nights in Split in the Dalmatian region of Croatia

Split is located in the Dalmatian region in Croatia, and yes, the Dalmatian dog’s roots can be traced back to this region. However, we did not see any Dalmatians dogs during our visit here. Instead we got several chances to see the skyline of Split.  We only stayed two nights, but we managed to see a lot of different places in and around the city center before moving on.

Split ligger i Dalmatien i Kroatien och ja, dalmatinhundens rötter kan spåras tillbaka till denna region. Vi såg dock inte några dalmatinerhundar under vårt besök här. Istället fick vi flera chanser att se Splits skyline. Vi stannade bara två nätter, men vi lyckades se flera olika platser i och runt stadskärnan innan vi reste vidare.

Linda suggested that we should spend a few days in Split, the second largest city in Croatia, so that’s what we did. Here we are looking at Split from the bell tower in the old town.

The stairs in the bell tower, we met some people on our way up that just couldn’t manage to conquer their phobia of heights.

St Domnius bell tower was constructed in the 12th century and it still stands today.

The skyline!

The peninsula, where you’ll find nice beaches and Marjan National Park.

The Port of Split, where also the bus station and train station is situated, so getting in and out of Split is really easy.

If you take the bus between Dubrovnik and Split, you have to deal with immigration, because the part of Croatia that Dubrovnik is situated in is an exclave of Croatia, so you have to travel through Bosnia and Herzegovina. But if you take the boat you don’t have to worry about immigration controls and you get to see the islands just outside the Croatian coastline.

The boat is also very comfortable and cheap, by European standards, to go with.

We had just two nights in Split, so we decided to walk around and explore the city right away. There are a few beaches in the south, near the city center, and Bacvice Beach is the most popular one.

Bacvice Beach also has the main nightlife with bars and restaurants.

And a water playground for the kids.

We also found a old motorbike in mint condition, with shaft drive instead of a chain.

There are a lot of cozy restaurants in the old part of Split.

An old coin slot where you could donate to orphans.

We met another Swede, Anna from Umeå, whom we rented bikes with and explored the peninsula.

The nice beaches can be found on the peninsula.

We had a break and tried the cold waters of Croatia, which was very refreshing, before heading up on the hills.

Marjan National Park on the peninsula was our goal for the day.

From the hill we could see the beach, where we had been taking a break. We also made a video during the day that you can see below.

We got a really nice view over Split.

The day after we packed our bags and took the train to Slovenia, so goodbye Split it was a pleasure meeting you!

Days in Dubrovnik

We explored the rest of Dubrovnik during the days Linda was working and the small Croatian coast town is much more than Game of Thrones and old town. We hiked up the Srđ mountain, walked around Port Gruz and jumped from the cliffs in the old port of Dubrovnik and got to use our Gopro in the Adriatic sea. We had five wonderful days here before we said goodbye to Linda and Dubrovnik.    

Vi utforskade resten av Dubrovnik under de dagar som Linda arbetade och den lilla kroatiska kuststaden är mycket mer än Game of Thrones och gamla stan. Vi vandrade upp på Srđ-berget, promenerade runt Port Gruz och hoppade från klipporna i Dubrovniks gamla hamn, samt fick användning av vår Gopro i Adriatiska havet. Vi hade fem underbara dagar här innan vi sa adjö till Linda och Dubrovnik.

You get an awesome view over Dubrovnik if you walk up the Srđ mountain, which rise up just behind Dubrovnik. The trail is found along bus line 3, and is marked out on the tourist maps.

The trail will take you to 412 meters above sea level and the view is fantastic. Old town looks like the town tiles in the board game Carcassone, from up here.

You can take the cable car up to the top if you don’t want to walk.

The view over Babin Kuk and Port Gruz, other parts of Dubrovnik. We hiked up to the top under 50 minutes, with several photo stops a long the way, so it is a quite easy trail to hike.

The sun is about to set.

We caught the last light of the day hiking down to civilisation.

We lived near old town the first few days, so we just followed the coast to get to the city center.

We had amazing accommodation here, a video from our first “home” can be seen below.

Our second “home” was in Babin Kuk, approximately 4.5 km from city center. Here, we could see Port Gruz from our place and see the huge cruise ships that come to Dubrovnik. There are a lot of tourists here during high season, so the town is really crowded. Main reason for this is these huge cruise ships. There are a limit in the number of ships that are allowed to be in the harbor, so you will see big cruise ships hanging around Dubrovnik waiting for a spot in the port.

The ship can barely come under the bridge.

“Smaller” yachts can also be seen in Port Gruz.

Dubrovnik is small, so public transportation is easy to use even tough it is not crystal clear where the buses stop and which way it will go. All buses are stopping in old town, so you can just jump on a bus and eventually you will come to the city center.

The public transportation aren’t scaled to handle the tourists.

Old Port of Dubrovnik, a nice spot to eat your lunch before swimming in the Adriatic sea.

The wall around old town looks quite big compared to Pontus. Below is a short video from our day here.  Then it was time for us to leave this beautiful place and head up north.


An old friend in Kings Landing

Dubrovnik or Kings Landing, depending on if you’re a Game of Thrones-fan or not, was our next destination. We ended up here because one of our old friends has relocated to this place and we decided to pass by and surprise her with a visit. There are direct flights from Istanbul to Dubrovnik, so this time we had an enjoyable flight with only a few hours in the air and no transit. It was Pontus birthday as well, so the flight attendants came and wished him a happy birthday and gave him a small present.
Within half an hour after we stepped on a bus towards Dubrovnik, the Old port of Dubrovnik showed up outside our windows and it was as to see Kings Landing, the only thing we missed was the giant fleets battling in wildfire. We were going to spend a few days here and we really liked what we saw.

Dubrovnik eller Kings Landing, beroende på om du är ett Game of Thrones-fan eller inte, var vår nästa destination. Vi hamnade här för att en av våra gamla vänner har flyttat till denna plats och vi bestämde oss för att komma och överraska henne med ett besök. Det finns direktflyg från Istanbul till Dubrovnik, så den här gången hade vi ett trevligare flyg med bara några timmar i luften och utan byte. Det var Pontus födelsedag också, så flygvärdinnorna kom och önskade honom grattis på födelsedagen och gav honom en liten present.
Inom en halvtimme efter att vi gick på en buss mot Dubrovnik, så uppenbarade sig den gamla hamnen i Dubrovnik utanför vårt bussfönster och det var verkligen som att se Kings Landing. Det enda vi saknade var jätteflottorna som kämpade i “wild fire”. Vi skulle tillbringa några dagar här och vi gillade verkligen vad vi såg.

Next stop for us was Dubrovnik, Croatia!

And we were here for this girl, Linda!

Blurry picture with Linda and her co-workers Amanda and Caroline. Linda has started to work here this season with Solresor. Linda is a fantastic history geek, so that is handy when she’s taking her customers out exploring the historic parts of Dubrovnik (in Swedish).

Linda brought us to Old town and told us about Croatian and Dubrovnik history. This is the Stradun, the main street of Old town Dubrovnik. We also filmed a few parts of our tour with Linda, which you can see below.

The shame-shame steps from where Cersei starts her naked walk through the mob (Game of Throne-reference again). It is much smaller in reality.

The old Port of Dubrovnik and the harbor of Kings Landing (Game of thrones-reference).

The big Onfrio’s fountain, near the Pile gate, is one of two fountains in old town. The fountains were built in 1438 to give people access to the 20 km long water supply system from the mountains. The big Onfrio’s fountain is the only fountain still in use today.

The clock tower in the end of the main gate was built in 1444 and shows both the time and the phases of the moon.

Orlando’s Column near the Clock tower has a sculpture of the famous medieval knight Orlando, or Roland which was his real name. There are famous songs written about knight Roland and the chivalry associated with knights are believed to come from knight Roland.

For a long time the old town used Roland’s underarm as a unit of measurement, 1 L equaled to approximately 51 cm. Merchants that came to Dubrovnik had to convert their goods to the unit before they could enter the market in Dubrovnik. People who bought for example a piece of fabric could go to the column and see that they weren’t fooled. They have carved out 1 L at the bottom of the column so people didn’t have to reach up to use knight Roland’s under arm.

The small alleys are packed with tables. The red flags, which are hanging at the entrance of the alleys, tell you what you can find further in the alley.

The war time photo museum is very interesting to visit, but can be hard on you if your’e sensitive to see the ugly parts of humanity. It was a war photographer that documented the Yugoslav wars, who opened this museum after the war. The main exhibition is photos from the wars on Balkan between 1991 and 1999, but they also have temporary exhibitions on display and a room full with selected pictures from earlier temporary exhibitions.

We headed up to Fort Lovrijenac after our tour in the old town. This place is called Dubrovnik’s Gibraltar and the Fort is built early in the 11th century to keep the Venetians away from Ragusa (the old name of the city). You get an awesome view over old town from the fort!

It was so much fun meeting Linda again and to see where she spends her days now.

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