Reading Around the World: Croatia

Reading Around the World is a feature that combines my love of travelling with my love of reading. Each month I plan to spotlight either a city I have visited, or a city I plan to visit in the near future, and recommend some of my favourite books set there. After all even if you can’t visit these cities yourself the next best thing has to be reading about them and living the experience through the eyes of the characters.

Croatia (1)

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Reading Around the World: Romania

Reading Around the World is a feature that combines my love of travelling with my love of reading. Each month I plan to spotlight either a city I have visited, or a city I plan to visit in the near future, and recommend some of my favourite books set there. After all even if you can’t visit these cities yourself the next best thing has to be reading about them and living the experience through the eyes of the characters.

Romania (1)

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Reading Around the World: Los Angeles

Reading Around the World is a feature that combines my love of travelling with my love of reading. Each month I plan to spotlight either a city I have visited, or a city I plan to visit in the near future, and recommend some of my favourite books set there. After all even if you can’t visit these cities yourself the next best thing has to be reading about them and living the experience through the eyes of the characters.

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Reading Around the World: Paris

Reading Around the World is a feature that combines my love of travelling with my love of reading. Each month I plan to spotlight either a city I have visited, or a city I plan to visit in the near future, and recommend some of my favourite books set there. After all even if you can’t visit these cities yourself the next best thing has to be reading about them and living the experience through the eyes of the characters.

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A Postcard from Croatia

Ever since one of my friends went a few years back and posted some truly beautiful pictures Croatia has been high on my must-visit list. Still I didn’t expect to actually make it there myself for a few more years at least, but when my sister’s original plans fell through guess who got a free holiday.

Well, I had to pay for my flights and spending money of course, so I guess it was a mostly free trip.

Croatia (1)

Croatia (2)

We flew into Zadar, and spent the day there. Zadar reminded me of Venice, and when you consider how close Croatia is to Italy that probably isn’t much of a surprise (it certainly explained the amount of Italian restaurants we saw in Croatia). Our hotel was in the centre of Zadar’s Old Town so we spent most of our time exploring the streets, and later we wandered along the coast to the Sea Organ and the Monument to the Sun.

Croatia (3)

Croatia (4)

The next day we hired a driver to take us to Dubrovnik, and on the way stopped off at Krka National Park. The waterfall there is probably one of the main images people associate with Croatia, so it was a must on our trip. Me and my sister ended up taking the boat to the waterfalls on the Sunday, which according to our driver is the least busiest day to visit, but it was still packed. We swam in the water around the falls and took plenty of pictures. I also ended up falling in the water, so my beach wrap got drenched, not ideal but it was so beautiful there I couldn’t complain too much.

Croatia (5)

Croatia (6)

We arrived in Dubrovnik in time for the World Cup Final. Even though Croatia lost the match you wouldn’t have been able to tell; when we went out that evening car horns were honking, people were hanging out the windows waving flags and cheering. I even saw one guy sat on the hood of the taxi while it was driving, waving a flag around.

Dubrovnik is where they filmed Game of Thrones and the second I stepped into the Old Town I could almost see the shots from the TV series, walking through the streets was like walking back in time or walking through King’s Landing. We walked along the Walls of Dubrovnik, which looked out over the top of the city and out to the harbour, and in the evening to make the most of our last night we headed up in the cable car to see the sunset.

Croatia (7)

Croatia (8)

Croatia (9)

Advice (a.k.a. learn from my mistakes)

  • Just because it’s a city break don’t forget the suncream…This is something I forget every single time and I never ever learn. No surprise I got a little sunburnt walking the Walls of Dubrovnik.
  • Wear comfortable shoes…Dubrovnik is the city of hills (not its official name just what I’m calling it). I didn’t take trainers, just my sandals so by the end of the holiday my calves were in agony and I had blisters on the bottom of my feet. I was not prepared at all!
  • You don’t need publish transportation…Everything in Zadar and Dubrovnik is within easy walking distance. However be careful because in the winding streets of Dubrovnik’s Old Town it can be very easy to get lost wandering around.

A Postcard from Croatia (2)

While I’ve now been to Zadar, Krka National Park and Dubrovnik I know there’s a lot more the country has to offer, a lot more beauty to experience, so I will be going back again one day. Overall Croatia was a cheap holiday (which was very handy for me because it wasn’t a holiday I expected to be going on, and given how much money I’d already spent on Dubai and Mauritius I didn’t have a lot of spare cash lying around) so if you’re looking for a budget break there’s no better place (certainly no more beautiful place)!

A Postcard from Mauritius

After five nights in Dubai my sister and I took another six hour plane ride to Mauritius. Again our flight landed in the evening so even though we didn’t have to cope with the time difference between Dubai and Mauritius we were still shattered after a six hour flight and then an hour and a half drive to our hotel from the airport.

Mauritius (1)

Mauritius (2)

Mauritius (3)

I was shocked when I found that that in June and July it’s winter in Mauritius. I wouldn’t have guessed because the temperatures still reached the high twenties/early thirties, we had no rain while we were there, and we spent more time than not on the beach, but after the intense heat of Dubai the winter heat of Mauritius was a nice change.

Mauritius (4)

Mauritius (5)

Of course like Dubai Mauritius offered a lot more to explore than just what our hotel offered. One of the days we were in Mauritius we hired a car through our travel agency and were taken all over the island. We saw the volcanic crater Mauritius is famous for and went to La Vanille Nature Park to see the giant tortoises and crocodiles. We got to stroke and feed the tortoises, and even made it time to see one of the crocodile feedings (we didn’t get to stroke the crocodiles, but after seeing them feeding I wouldn’t have wanted to get that close). We saw the Seven Coloured Earths, the Black River and Alexandra Falls. It was a long day, but we got to see so much of island in that day.

Mauritius (6)

Mauritius (7)

On our last day we went on a boat trip, and it ended up being my favourite part of the holiday (in Mauritius at least). We stopped off for snorkelling, had barbeque on board for lunch and ended up at Ile aux Cerfs, which is the largest lagoon in Mauritius and the image you will see pretty much on all the postcards. It was gorgeous, and basically a perfect way to end the holiday as well.

Mauritius (8)

Mauritius (9)

Advice (a.k.a. learn from my mistakes)

  • Tailor your own excursions…While our travel agency offered a lot of excursions the best way to make the most of the day is to do what me and my sister did and rent a car. Our driver was incredible; he took us all over, showed us everything we wanted to see plus much more, and it was just me and my sister rather than a busload of other tourists along for the ride.
  • Research what part of the island you want to stay in…Mauritius doesn’t look like a large island, not if you look on Google maps or if you look at the measurements, but it’s bigger than it seems. If all the attractions you want to visit are in the South then try and find somewhere on that side of Mauritius to stay.

A Postcard from Mauritius (2)

People keep asking me which holiday I preferred; Dubai or Mauritius, but it’s impossible to choose between them. Dubai is a lot more commercial, despite the time me and my sister spent by the pool or on the beach it felt like more of a city break than anything else. Mauritius was much more relaxing, and it’s beauty was more natural. It was the perfect relaxing way to end our trip before flying home.

A Postcard from Dubai

This was my big holiday of the year, and the one I’d been counting down the days until ever since I booked it last year. Back mid-June my sister and I flew out to Dubai for five nights, and then travelled onto Mauritius for another five nights before flying home again.

It. Was. Amazing.

Dubai (1)

Our flight didn’t land until the evening so our first evening in Dubai we didn’t do anything other than eat a quick dinner and crash for twelve hours. After waking up at 3am to get to the airport on time, flying for six hours, and dealing with the time difference when we finally landed we were beyond shattered when we finally arrived at Atlantis, The Palm where we were staying.

Dubai (2)

Dubai (3)

Dubai (4)

There was plenty to do in our hotel so a lot of our time was spent either by the pool or on the beach (when I posted my June and July recap a couple of days ago people wondered how I got so much reading done in those two months, the answer is I spent a lot of time lying on a sun lounger on holiday with nothing else to do other than read). We also spent a day at the waterpark Aquaventure, which was so much fun but left me very sunburnt.

Of course we explored outside of our hotel as well.

Dubai (5)

Dubai (6)

Our first stop was the Dubai Mall and the Burj Khalifa. The Burj Khalifa is (please correct me if I’m wrong because I’m not too sure about this) the tallest building in the world, and while my sister and I didn’t make it all the way to the top we did go to the 124th floor which took us higher than we’ve ever been before. The views were beyond impressive.

Dubai (7)

The Dubai Mall is one of the largest malls in the world. It’s very very easy to get lost inside but walking past the shops the Dubai Mall seemed more like a contained city than just a mall; as well as the shops it has its own aquarium you can visit, and waterfalls and fountains you can see.

Dubai (8)

Dubai (9)

For food and nightlife two places that were recommended to me was the Dubai City Walk, which is close to the Burj Khalifa, and the Dubai Marina, which is close to the Palms. Both were impressive enough in the day, and offered plenty of things to do to make a visit before it got dark worthwhile, but they really came alive during the evening.

Dubai (10)

Dubai (11)

Advice (a.k.a. learn from my mistakes)

  • Spend time exploring your hotel…Depending on where you stay the hotels in Dubai are pretty much their own city. At the Atlantis where I was staying there were more restaurants me and my sister could eat during our holiday, an aquarium and the waterpark which were both free for guests of the hotel, and plenty of shops and even a mini souk for souvenirs.
  • Book ahead for brunch…On Friday’s brunch is a big thing in Dubai, and while you can get some good spots showing up on the day the best places fill up fast.
  • Use cabs…Dubai does have a public transport system, there’s a metro line and bus service (I think), but depending on where you want to go it will be quicker, easier, and cooler to just hop in a cab.

A Postcard from Dubai (2)

This was pretty much the holiday of a lifetime, and now I’ve been to Dubai I can cross it off my list. When me and my sister were in Dubai it was beyond hot (temperatures reached 40 degrees and for two English natives that was nearly too hot to handle) but we had a brilliant time. Dubai is one of those places everyone seems to be talking about and travelling to, and after being there myself I can see why it’s one of those must-see travel destinations.

Reading Around the World: Las Vegas

Reading Around the World is a feature that combines my love of travelling with my love of reading. Each month I plan to spotlight either a city I have visited, or a city I plan to visit in the near future, and recommend some of my favourite books set there. After all even if you can’t visit these cities yourself the next best thing has to be reading about them and living the experience through the eyes of the characters.

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Reading Around the World: Oxford

Reading Around the World is a feature that combines my love of travelling with my love of reading. Each month I plan to spotlight either a city I have visited, or a city I plan to visit in the near future, and recommend some of my favourite books set there. After all even if you can’t visit these cities yourself the next best thing has to be reading about them and living the experience through the eyes of the characters.

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Reading Around the World: Amsterdam

Reading Around the World is a feature that combines my love of travelling with my love of reading. Each month I plan to spotlight either a city I have visited, or a city I plan to visit in the near future, and recommend some of my favourite books set there. After all even if you can’t visit these cities yourself the next best thing has to be reading about them and living the experience through the eyes of the characters.

Amsterdam (1)

Continue reading “Reading Around the World: Amsterdam”