G.O.T Memories in Dubrovnik, Croatia

I did not go to Croatia (Dubrovnik specifically) because of the series, “Game of Thrones” or the relatively new Pinoy series, “Make It With You”. I was never a fan of  GOT and I am just recently liking the latter. My desire to to visit this Balkan country came about because a friend of mine had awesome stories (years wayback) prompting me to include this country in my travel bucketlist. The next thing thing I knew, I was already booked and the rest is not history, but is shown in this post.

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And so before I am totally corrupted by my laziness, feast your eyes on how charming Dubrovnik is through these photographs! Taking it from the GOT reference, Dubrovnik as an experience is Great, Otherworldly, Tantalizing (G.O.T)! The moments I had are now some of my all-time favorites.

Both the sunrise and the sunset are magical in Dubrovnik. The Adriatic Sea is just lovely when the golden glow wraps its waters.

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Old Town Dubrovnik is probably one of the most beautiful “old towns” I have visited in Europe! Every corner is picturesque!

They also have lovely beaches with crystal clear, turquoise water that is very inviting (only that it is freezing at this time of the year – December).

I was, for a moment, lost for words… and truly happy I got the chance to experience this place.

PS: All photographs were taken using my phone camera.

Don’t be a wasted soul, be “juan”derlust. Take it easy.

 

Malmö o Mahal Ako (Sweden)

Malmö is a coastal city in southern Sweden that is in close proximity to Copenhagen, Denmark. It lies at the eastern end of an amazing man-made wonder, the Öresund Bridge, a long road and railway bridge–tunnel running to Copenhagen, Denmark. It is the largest city of the Swedish county of Skåne, the third-largest city in Sweden, after Stockholm and Gothenburg, and the sixth-largest city in the entire Scandinavia.

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Some noteable sights in the city are: Lilla Torg, a cobblestone square with cafes, half-timbered houses and shops selling local handicrafts; the Malmö Castle which is a 16th-century fortress that houses nature, history and art exhibits. The Turning Torso, commanding, neo-futurist residential skyscraper and the tallest building in all of Scandinavia. It was built and is owned by Swedish cooperative association HSB and is regarded as the first twisted skyscraper in the world.

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Here are some photographs I took during a day trip to Malmö from Copenhagen via train through the Öresund Bridge.

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be “juan”derlust. take it easy.

BAGA: A Spanish Medieval Village

Bagà is a Spanish municipality located at the head of the valley of the Llobregat river, at the foot of the high mountains of the Cadí range in Catalonia, Spain. The town itself is at 785 metres above sea level making this medieval community chilly in temperature.

My day trip to this place was a quiet, serene one. The town is really small with some of the following as the places that might interest you. Plus the small streets/ alleys are very picturesque too.

  • Sant Esteve de Bagà — is the parish church of the town, built between the 14th and 15th centuries.
  • Santuari de la Mare de Déu del Paller is a neoclassical sanctuary two km outside town, dedicated to the town’s patroness, the “Virgin of the Haystack”
  • Plaça Porxada, the town’s central square, built in the 13th century
  • Placa Galceran de Pinos, another interesting gathering area of the town.
  • Parc Naturel de Cadi-Moixero, which is a lovely hiking destination in the area.

I was in Barcelona when I did this day trip trip. It is approximately 1.5 hours from Barcelona.

Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy.

Ka-Prague Tumibok ang Puso

Prague, Czech Republic’s capital, is a city you shouldn’t miss when you are in Europe. Here are 5 reasons how Prague swept me off my feet in a heartbeat.

1. Prague’s allure is like seeing a Disney movie, only that it is real. With its castles and other medieval-looking buildings to its narrow, cobblestone alleys, Prague will leave you in awe. The Prague Castle specially is a vision to behold.

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2. Prague and it’s view from atop offers a spectacular sight of the city. St. Vitus Cathedral has this view above, and so as the tower at Charles Bridge, where Vltava River showcases its splendor. Or maybe make your way to one of those hilly sites of the city, grab a beer, and watch Prague glow as night envelopes the city.

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3. I love sweet food. And the “trdelník”, a traditional Slovak rolled pastry originating from the Hungarian-speaking region of Transylvania, managed to tickle my sweet tooth. This delicacy is roasted over an open fire and covered in sugar (and at times, nuts). I had a great time observing how this pastry is prepared, more so when your tongue gets to taste it.

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4. Besides the gothic architecture evident around Prague, pastel-colored buildings (that looks like gingerbread houses), and unusual, modern ones do exist too. The contrast make the city more appealing, and pretty. The Dancing House is such a stand-out, you’ll find yourself having a selfie in front of it.

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5. Prague is a cheap city. Or maybe it is the entire Czechia that is affordable. From among the many European nations I have been to, this country stands out for its affordability – from the transportation to entrance fees to food.

Oooops, by the way, I also love their train stations. Each station seems to have a distinct character because of its artistic interior.

Have you been to Prague? What do you love most about this city?

Don’t be a wasted soul. Be JUANderlust. Take it easy everyJUAN.

 

Riga, Latvia: An Art Nouveau Mecca

Art Nouveau architecture in Latvia’s capital, Riga, makes up about 1/3rd of all the buildings in the center of the city. This makes Riga the city with the highest concentration of Art Nouveau architecture in the entire world.

Also called as Jugendstil, art nouveau ultimately gave this Latvian capital its trademark look. The various buildings with elaborate floral designs, weaving garlands, theatrical  masks, intricate sculptural figures (from flamboyant naked maidens to funky gargoyles), flowing lines, and elaborate geometric forms adorning the facade of buildings, has made Riga famous and a must-see Eastern European city.

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But this Baltic City is not only known for these architectural gems, Riga is also visited for its wooden buildings, and its lovely medieval Old Town. I personally enjoyed walking around the pedestrian-only Riga Old Town that offers alot of  shops and restaurants. The Livu Square, with its lively bars and nightclubs were also a delight.

Don’t be a wasted soul, be “juan”derlust. Take it easy everyJuan.

Travel Memorabilia

Hello friends! It has been more than a month the last time I have made an entry here. I just came from yet another pretty tiresome, but definitely fun-filled series of travels. I will try to post some of these recent adventures sometime soon. In the meantime, here is a short sharing of what I love to buy and bring home during travel.

Traveling is a very rewarding experience. After a trip, one goes home with innumerable mementos — from incomparable life lessons to new found friends, to of course uncountable photographs, and memories to cherish a lifetime.

Aside from these, I have also developed a habit of bringing home a physical memorabilia that comes in different forms. Before, I would make sure I get to buy at least a keychain or a fridge magnet as a souvenir from my trip.

Today, i have gone beyond these usual stuff. Whenever I go on a travel, I alot a certain amount of my money to buy some of the things I personally collect. Some of these include miniature building decors/displays like an Eiffel Tower from France, a Burf Khalifa and Burj Al Arab from my Dubai travel or a Milad Tower I bought in Iran from a recent trip and many more.

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Also, I make sure that I have a paper bill and some coins to spare for my currency collection. Some of my friends actually like these as my pasalubong to them since some of them also have this kind of colkection. I happen to collect also Starbucks tumblers and diecast planes. I am even starting to collect some books and dolls unique to a certain place I have visited. And lastly, I also bring home some paintings which I plan to use as wall decors when my dream of putting up my own cafe comes into fruition.

I know these are just material mementos and the memories that go with the travel are still far more important. Nonetheless, it feels good to see tangible reminders as to how awesome one particular trip was.

 

Don’t be a wasted soul, be JUANderlust. Take it easy everyJuan.

Tales from Trakai (Lithuania)

“The way to read a fairy tale is to throw yourself in.” ― W.H. Auden

Trakai, a town in Lithuania located south-west of its capital Vilnius and is a former capital city of Grand Duchy of Lithuania. It is a pretty small town surrounded by lakes, wherein the scenic Trakai Historical National Park can be found. To date, it has become extremely popular from among Lithuanians and other Eastern Europeans as a vacation destination making it one of the most visited spots on the cultural tourism map. It has even become a major landmark of Lithuania.

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The town is small enough for everything to be walked on foot, but there are also buses running from the bus station (where the buses from Vilnius also arrive/depart) to the Trakai Island Castle. The Trakai Island Castle, a 14th-century Gothic residence with some Renaissance features of Lithuanian dukes, is the main attraction in the town and has become a symbol of medieval Lithuania. I have learned that during the summer season, a lot of concerts and plays are staged here.

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Locals would say that Trakai is full of myths and secrets. One version is that of the story of Gediminas, a grand duke of Lithuania and one of the strongest medieval rulers of Eastern Europe. One day, he decided to hunt near a place called Kernave, a medieval capital of Lithuania. During his search, Gediminas saw a stunning landscape with lakes and islands to which he decided to build a castle in the middle of one of the lakes. Another version is a more romantic one. It is about a lovely woman named Birute who was a wife of a local duke. She was born in a seaside town who felt lonely because she misses her hometown. To make her happy, her husband gave her a unique gift — a castle surrounded by lakes. So there. Of course, there were also historical accounts but I am not very certain about its details.

Other sites worthy to visit are the Trakai Peninsula Castle, (this is the older of the two castles of Trakai), the Saint Mary Church – an originally gothic church altered during the Baroque period; and Galvė Lake, a relaxing nature spot where sailing can be done.

There are also restaurants worth trying. Most of which are known to serve Karaitian cuisine. If you want to stay overnight, several accommodations are also found.

Trakai is indeed a fairytale-like town. The architectural, natural and cultural wonders all add up to a wonderful experience visiting this seemingly magical place. I have to admit that Trakai is one of my favorites during Europe travel because it was simply fascinating, and yes, romantic!

Don’t be a wasted soul, be Juanderlust. Take it easy everyJuan.

Snapshots from Stockholm

Stockholm – a beautiful city on water. Where modernity meets tranquility. With its vibrant, trend-setting cafes and restaurants; lovely buildings, and idyllic coastline – Stockholm is a feast to the sense of sight.

Here are some of my photographs in Stunning Stockholm, Sweden!

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be Juanderlust. Take it easy everyJuan.