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Singapore – Orasul stat, Orasul Leu

Parca nici nu imi vine sa cred ca tin in mana biletele de avion catre Singapore! S-a intamplat totul atat de repede, incat cu siguranta s-au aliniat toate planetele pentru ca aceasta vacanta sa se realizeze (si aici ma refer la doi dintre cei mai buni prieteni ai mei, Mihaela si Vio, care au spus DA imediat).

Ne pregateam pentru o vacanta in Croatia cand, fara sa stam prea mult pe ganduri, am profitat de oferta celor de la Swiss Air si am schimbat planurile. Biletele cu escala in Zurich au costat aproximativ 460 de euro de persoana, cu doar o luna si putin inainte de data plecarii.

Am ales luna iunie pentru aceasta vacanta, intrucat citisem ca cea mai buna perioada pentru a vizita Singapore este martie-iunie si octombrie. Cu o clima tropicala si cu temperaturi ce variaza intre 22°C si 34°C, Singapore are o umiditate mare si ploi tropicale, cantitatea de precipitatii fiind cea care face diferenta majora dintre sezoane (avand doi musoni, unul care apare prin noiembrie si pana prin martie, iar altul din iulie pana in septembrie).

Asa ca, fii pregatit pentru un aer mai greu de respirat si umiditate ridicata!

Desi Singapore face parte din topul celor mai scumpe orase din lume poti sa gasesti foarte multe locuri de vizitat gratuite, precum si mancare pentru toate buzunarele.

Mai dificila mi s-a parut alegerea unui hotel care sa aiba un pret rezonabil.  Insa, am rezolvat “usor” aceasta problema datorita Mihaelei care a aflat ca, daca ajungi in Singapore si nu stai macar o noapte la Marina Bay Hotel, ai ajuns degeaba 😊

Si cum era sa ajungem noi degeaba in Singapore!? Am platit aproximativ 130 de euro de persoana/ noapte, insa a meritat toti banii!

Marina Bay Hotel este impresionant. Este cel mai mare hotel in care am stat vreodata, te poti pierde prin cele trei corpuri ale sale care ajung direct in statia de metrou.  Iar din camera (etajul 46) si pana in Garden Bay (care este vis a vis de hotel) poti sa faci chiar si 20 de minute. Piscina infinita este punctul principal de atractie al acestui hotel, iar accesul este acum doar pentru clientii hotelului. Privelistea pe care o ai de aici este umitoare si te poti bucura de aceasta si de pe puntea hotelului aflata la etajul 57. Aici ai access si fara sa fii client al hotelului, insa va trebui sa platesti $26. (https://www.marinabaysands.com/attractions/sands-skypark.html)

? Stiati ca Singapore este orasul cu cele mai multe interdictii si amenzi pentru: aruncarea gumei de mestecat, aruncarea gunoiului in spatiul public, desenarea de graffiti, traversarea prin locuri nepermise si multe altele. In anul 1992 a fost introdusa interdictia de a mesteca guma, insa in present guma nu este interzisa total, desi nu se gasește de vanzare la magazine. Doar din anul 2004 farmacistii și dentiștii au voie sa vanda guma terapeutica pe baza de reteta.

Singapore imbina armonios oameni de diverse natii si credinte, temple, moschei, biserici, pastrand traditiile, dar fiind in acelasi timp un oras futurist. Ceea ce inseamna ca ai foarte multe locuri de vizitat.

Noi am stat 3 zile si cu siguranta mai aveam nevoie de cateva ca sa vedem tot. Pentru ca ne-a parut tare rau ca nu am ajuns la Gradina Botanica, unde intrarea este libera, desi este singura gradina tropicala inclusa in lista patrimoniului mondial UNESCO. De asemenea, nu am ajuns nici la ZOO. Asa ca, daca voi aveti mai mult timp, nu le ratati! Pentru mai multe detalii: https://www.nparks.gov.sg/sbg & https://www.wrs.com.sg/en/singapore-zoo.html

Ce nu am ratat:

Durian:

Daca ajungi in tarile asiatice trebuie sa incerci acest fruct! Este supranumit si Regele fructelor intrucat are foarte multe propietati …..este un fruct exotic care are cel mai urat miros, din cauza caruia in majoritatea tarilor este interzisa trasportarea lui in mijloacele de transport. Daca il mananci fara sa respiri, gustul este chiar interesant 😉 A! si nu uita manusile de unica folosinta!

Singapore Sling Cocktail– 1Altitude:

Am savurat celebrul cocktail si am luat pulsul vietii de noapte din Singapore, bucurandu-ne in acelasi timp de o priveliste de 360 de grade asupra orasului, de la etajul 61. Am platit intrarea, insa in costul biletului intra un cocktail. (https://www.1-altitude.com/)

Little India

Am intram in lumea mirodeniilor si am admiram doua dintre cele mai frumoase temple: Sri Mariamman Temple si Buddha Tooth Relic Temple.

Chinatown

Cu celebrele sale magazine si ornamente chinezesti este locul potrivit pentru cumparaturi, insa si locul care gazduieste cel mai vechi și mai important templu al oamenilor Hokkien (Hoklo) din tara, si anume, Thian Hock Keng Temple.

Gardens by the Bay:

Cu siguranta nu poti rata acest loc minunat!    Aici gasesti celebri arbori, Supertree Grove, care te transpun in lumea fantasticului prin arhitectura nemaintalnita. Construiti din otel si acoperiti cu plante colecteaza apa de ploaie si contin celule fotovoltaice care le permit sa acumuleze energie. Astfel, odata cu lasarea intunericului copacii sunt invaluiti intr-o multitudine de lumini creand cel mai frumos spectacol sonor si luminos, vazut de mine vreodata. Spectacolul cat si gradinile exterioare sunt gratuite. Ai nevoie sa cumperi bilete doar pentru pasarela care leaga copacii, precum si pentru cele doua sere, Flower Dome & Cloud Forest.  Mai multe detalii gasiti pe site-ul lor: https://www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/en/attractions.html

Esplanade Bridge & Merlion:

Este o zona foarte frumoasa pentru o plimbare de dupa-amiaza, pentru a admira cladirile impresionante, dar si pentru a face o poza cu Merlionul, simbolul orasului, o creatura pe jumatate peste și jumatate leu.

Insula Sentosa sau insula veseliei:

Este una dintre cele mai importante atractii din Singapore unde poti petrece o zi intreaga vizitand Universal Studio sau relaxandu-te pe superbele plaje artificiale.  Aici gasesti un alt Merlion urias, precum si punctul cel mai sudic al Asiei.  Accesul catre insula se poate face:

  • cu monoraiul, care are statia la etajul trei al mall-ului VivoCity,
  • cu  telegondola care este o atractie in sine, oferind o priveliste deosebita,
  • pe jos pe un pod pietonal frumos amenajat care are si benzi rulante in cazul in care obosesti.

Accesul se plateste doar la dus, asa ca, noi am ales sa mergem pe jos platind 1SGD si sa ne intoarcem gratis cu monoraiul.

Telok Ayer Market:

Pentru o experienta culinara de neuitat incercati aceasta piata! Noi am ajuns aici pe seara si am gasit o atmosfera plina de viata, localnici, turisti, mancaruri de toate felurile si pentru toate gusturile si buzunarele.

? Stiati ca Singapore:

  • Impreuna cu Hong Kong, Coreea de Sud si Taiwan este unul dintre Tigrii Est- Asiatici
  • Face parte din primele zece cele mai moderne orașe din lume
  • Este unul dintre cele mai dezvoltate state din Asia de Sud-Est
  • Cel mai sigur oras din lume, rata criminalitatii fiind zero
  • Se extinde chiar daca nu mai are suprafata de pamant, construind artificial pamant din nisipul adus de pe fundul oceanului

Alicante – the city of light

Today we will travel to one of the oldest human settlements on the Spanish coast of the Mediterranean Sea, namely Alicante. Founded by the Greeks, Alicante is a picturesque city that perfectly combines the atmosphere of the beach and relaxation with historical and architectural attractions. Thanks to the Mediterranean climate, Alicante is a destination thatContinue reading “Alicante – the city of light”

Maldives – Indian Ocean Necklace

I have always dreamed of a vacation in this small, unique, exotic, and romantic paradise. And, as dreams are born to be fulfilled, this year, despite the difficult conditions we are in due to the pandemic, I managed to escape for a few days in this idyllic place.

Located in the Arabian Sea of ​​the Indian Ocean, the Maldives is the country with the lowest elevation in the world. The archipelago consists of 1192 separate islands within an area of 871 km (541 miles) by 130 km (81 miles). Due to climate change, there is an increased risk of sinking on many of the islands, which means that by the year 2100 most of the 200 inhabited islands will be abandoned.

With a tropical monsoon climate, the best time to organize a vacation is from December to April. But, depending on your luck, you can catch good weather in the rainy season or on the contrary, you can have few showers even in the dry season. I admit that, although February is one of the driest months of the year, the weather forecast for the period we chose was not very encouraging. Luckily, we didn’t cancel the trip because in the end we had nothing but sun 🙂

Besides the weather, another important aspect that I took into account when I organized this vacation was the type of accommodation. We could choose an island with a private resort, a local island, or even a cruise. Given that the Maldives is a Muslim country, on the local islands there are restrictions related to alcohol, food and clothing (or lack thereof), especially on the beach. Therefore, we opted for accommodation on a private island resort.  Although the costs were a bit higher, I think it is worth living this experience once in your life.

Choosing the resort can be quite difficult, as there are countless offers for all budgets. For us it was important to choose a resort that offers:

  •  a fast and flexible transfer to the island, as I did not want to waste time at the airport waiting for the seaplane that has fixed hours. Thus, if you arrive later in the afternoon you have to take a night’s accommodation in Male. And when you return, leave the island much earlier. Also, the cost of the seaplane is not included in the cost of accommodation and is much higher than the speedboat and can reach up to $ 500 per person.
  • an island with vegetation, relatively wide beaches, and an atmosphere as Maldivian authentic as possible, both in terms of accommodation and food.
  • an all-inclusive package. Although initially I started the search by selecting only breakfast and dinner (taking into account the fact that we do not normally eat 3 meals a day), I quickly came to the conclusion that an all-inclusive is better in order to have all the alcoholic beverages included, as well as the flexibility and relaxation offered by this service in which you don’t have to worry about anything. This brings with it its own problems, in that, initially, we tended to ask for the non-existent bill, and by the end we were worried that once we returned home we would just leave the restaurants without paying. 🙂 #firstworldproblems
  • a selection of motorized and non-motorized water sports (such as paddle boards or kayaks), snorkeling equipment available during the stay, as well as various excursions. Since some all-inclusive resorts include certain excursions, massage sessions, and access to non-motorized sports and snorkeling equipment, it’s a good idea to check this out, as the costs can be quite high if they aren’t included.

For us, Oblu Select at Sangeli met all these conditions. In addition, it included the fast boat transfer. And, when we announced that we would arrive at 7.30 AM, they told us that the transfer will be available immediately upon our arrival.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, a few days before the holiday they informed us that due to a case of covid they had on the island, they had to transfer us to another resort within the same company. We appreciated the fact that they offered us both an upgrade of the villa and of the resort itself, thus allowing us to stay at a villa with a swimming pool within Ozen Life at Maadhoo. (here is the link to our welcome at the resort and my first attempt at YouTube:  https://youtu.be/-TgwzTamXG4 )

As the name suggests, Ozen is truly an oasis of Zen and relaxation. From the first steps made on the pier, you are left speechless with the color of the water, the sand, and the vegetation. The warm hot air caresses your body and transports you to another world. You are greeted with applause and smiles and, without realizing it, any seasickness instantly converts into a wide smile all over your face. We were met by Barry, our butler for the duration of our stay, who took care of everything to the smallest detail. We didn’t stop at the reception to check into our room, and we didn’t even touch the luggage from the moment we were picked up from the airport to the room. Reservations, both for the trips included in the program, and for dinners at the 4 restaurants of the resort were already made for us. They were just as well organized when we told them just 2 days before departure that we would need the PCR test to return to our home (as was news to us as conditions had changed), arranging a friendly doctor to come to our room to administer the test.

One of the best parts of Ozen Life was the food.  No matter which restaurant or bar you are at, you will be treated to an endless supply of delicious choices, whether local Maldivian fare or more familiar selections.  In particular, we were delighted to discover an Ozen Life original cocktail called the “Salt Curry” (first encountered during our night at the Indian restaurant).  The bartender was even gracious enough to give us the recipe.  The quality and service never ceased to amaze us, with all the staff, no matter the level, stopping to chat us up at every opportunity with a friendly smile.

This little Heaven on Earth is the perfect place, both for a vacation where you can just relax in a hammock in the sun, enjoying colorful cocktails, having romantic dinners on the fine sand under the light of the stars, as well as for an active vacation of water adventures (scuba, snorkeling, fishing, etc.). You can stay all day with your face underwater marveling at the coral reefs and the countless colorful fish. So, I tell you honestly, you won’t get bored. The days passed too quickly and we would have liked to stay longer. (click here for another video: https://youtu.be/_Fk2MmXm4Eo)

For a full experience in the Maldives, I recommend you try at least a few nights in one of water villas. They have an obvious charm and are stereotypical of the Maldives. It is amazing to fall asleep to the sound of the water hitting the pillars, and to wake up with the image of the boundless ocean with its magnificent colors.

Besides the exotic beauty of the islands, the elegance and quality service make the Maldives a unique holiday (worthy of a bucket list). A unique experience was our dinner at the M6M underwater restaurant. Imagine serving fine dishes while watching the fish and sharks swimming leisurely in front of you. And, to realize that only a few hours before this experience you were in the middle of the ocean for a photo shoot and probably the very same shark passed by with equal ease only a few meters from you, you will know the experience is complete!

We peppered our schedule with walks around the island, which although not deserted, seemed to belong only to us. You could always find a deserted patch of beach to enjoy a few hours of silence on the sand so fine and white. And when the sun started to burn too bright, we took shelter in the shade of the palm trees by the pool, enjoying all manner of delicious drinks.

Because we wanted to liven up the holiday program a bit, we enjoyed a sunset cruise to admire the dolphins (but we were only visited by sharks), a fishing excursion (on the traditional Maldivian boat called a Dhoni), and a snorkeling session at a local reef away from the island. We couldn’t miss the relaxing massage at Elena Spa & Wellness, where we tried for the first time the blue tea, or Butterfly Pea Tea.

The only regret was that, due to the pandemic, we did not have the opportunity to go on a trip to a local island to experience the native culture. We would have liked to have had this experience as well, but we certainly won’t miss it next time!

And how else could I end this article if not with some amazing images of the Maldivian sunset. You can’t help but fall in love with this wonderful place!

Good to know:

  • The visa is easily obtained at the airport, without taxes or other documents, apart from a valid passport. You will not have to exchange money in local currency, because all prices are displayed and can be paid in dollars (as well as euros though you will get change in dollars).
  • If you do get a water villa, be aware that swimming without the land to shield you, will often result in some strong currents.
  • Be prepared to see all manner of sea creatures, including sharks and stingrays, but they pay you little mind, even if you want them to (I’m talking to you baby shark)
  • The coconut tree is the national symbol of the Maldives, and their wood is used in the construction of dhoni, or doni, ships (the oldest known maritime ships in the Maldives, made by hand).
  • The sand of the Maldives is made of coral, which is why it resists the sun, and you can walk comfortably even on the hottest days.
  • In the past, the inhabitants used coral to build houses. There are traditional homes made of coral, which can be admired in the capital Male and on some islands, but is now strictly forbidden as coral reefs are protected worldwide.
  • The Maldives has some of the smallest islands in the world, some only a few square meters, and the largest barely reaches 6 km in length.
  • The Maldives is the first country in the world to hold an underwater government meeting. The president of the country, together with 13 ministers, wanted to sound the alarm on the effects of global warming.
  1. Is the Maldives among your top places to visit?
  2. What places or resorts do you recommend in the Maldives?

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Maldive – Colierul Oceanului Indian

Am visat mereu la o vacanta in acest mic paradis unic, exotic si romantic. Si, cum visele sunt facute pentru a fi ideplinite, anul acesta, in ciuda conditiilor dificile in care ne aflam din cauza pandemiei, am reusit sa evadez pentru cateva zile in acest loc idilic.

Situate in Marea Arabiei a Oceanului Indian, Insulele Maldive sunt tara cu altitudinea cea mai redusa din lume. Arhipeleagul este alcatuit din 1192 de insule cu o lungime de 871 km (541 miles) si latime de 130 km (81 miles). Fapt pentru care, din cauza schimbarilor climatice exista un risc crescut de scufundare, ceea ce inseamna ca, pana in anul 2100 majoritatea insulelor locuite vor fi abandonate.

Cu un climat musonic tropical, cea mai buna perioada pentru organizarea unei vacante este din decembrie pana in aprilie. Insa, in functie de norocul pe care il ai, poti prinde vreme buna in plin sezon ploios sau din contra, poti avea parte de cateva ploi chiar si in sezonul uscat. Recunosc ca, desi luna februarie este una dintre cele mai uscate luni din an, prognoza meteo pentru perioada aleasa de noi nu era tocmai incurajatoare. Noroc ca nu am anulat calatoria, pentru ca, in final am avut parte doar de soare 🙂

Pe langa vreme, un alt aspect important de care am tinut cont cand am organizat aceasta vacanta a fost tipul de cazare. Aveam posibilitatea de a alege o insula cu un resort privat, o insula localnica, sau chiar o croaziera. Avand in vedere faptul ca, Maldive este o tara musulmana, pe insulele localnicilor sunt restrictii legate de consumul de alcool, mancare si de imbracaminte, mai ales pe plaja. Prin urmare, am optat pentru o cazare intr-o insula privata, desi costurile au fost putin mai mari, insa cred ca merita sa traiesti aceasta experienta o data in viata.

Alegerea resortului poate sa fie destul de dificila, intrucat sunt nenumarate oferte cu preturi de toate felurile. Pentru noi a contat sa alegem un resort care sa ne ofere:

  • un transfer rapid si flexibil catre insula, intrucat nu mi-am dorit sa pierd timpul in aeroport in asteptarea hidroavionului care are ore fixe. Astfel, daca ajungi mai spre dupa amiaza esti nevoit sa iti iei o noapte de cazare in Male. Iar la intoarcere sa pleci de pe insula mult mai devreme. De asemenea, costul hidroavionului nu este prins in costul cazarii si este mult mai mare decat al barcii de viteza, putand ajunge pana la $500 de persoana.
  • o insula cu vegetatie, plaje mai intinse si cu o atmosfera cat mai autentica, atat in ceea ce priveste cazarea, cat si mancarea.
  • un sistem de all inclusive. Desi, initial am pornit cautarile selectand doar mic dejun si cina (luand in considerare faptul ca in mod normal nu mancam 3 mese pe zi) am ajuns destul de repede la concluzia ca, pana la urma, este mai bine all inclusive pentru a avea si toate bauturile alcoolice incluse, si pentru flexiblitatea si relaxarea oferita de catre acest sistem in care nu mai ai nicio grija. Daca in prima zi am avut de cateva ori tendinta de a cere nota de plata, ulterior ne-a fost teama ca vom ajunge in tara si vom pleca de la masa fara sa platim 😉
  • o selectie de sporturi nautice motorizate si nemotorizate (placa de stand-up paddle, caiac), echipamente de snorkelling disponibile pe durata sejurului, excursii. Unele resorturi cuprind in oferta de all inclusive anumite excursii, sedinte de masaj si acces la sporturile nemotorizate si la echipamentele de snorkelling, asa ca, este bine sa verificati acest lucru, intrucat costurile pot fi destul de mari.

Pentru noi Oblu Select at Sangeli a intrunit toate aceste conditii. In plus am avut inclus si transferul cu barca rapida. Iar in momentul in care i-am anuntat sa vom ajunge la 7.30 AM ne-au raspuns ca transferul va fi disponibil imediat. Din pacate, sau din fericire, cu cateva zile inainte de vacanta ne-au anuntat ca, din cauza unui caz de covid pe care l-au avut pe insula, sunt nevoiti sa ne transfere la un alt resort din cadrul aceleasi companii. Am apreciat faptul ca, ne-au oferit, atat un upgrade al vilei, cat si al resortului, ajungand astfel sa ne cazam la o vila cu piscina in cadrul Ozen Life at Maadhoo. (va las aici linkul cu prima mea incercare de a crea un video pe YouTube: https://youtu.be/-TgwzTamXG4 )

Asa cum iti transmite si numele, Ozen este cu adevarat o oaza de zen si relaxare. Inca de la primii pasi facuti pe ponton ramai cu gura cascata privind culoarea apei, a nisipului si a vegetatiei. Aerul cald, fierbinte iti brazdeaza corpul si te transpune intr-o alta lume. Esti intampinat cu aplauze si zambete si, fara sa iti dai seama, raul de barca s-a transformat instant intr-un zambet larg pe toata fata. Am fost preluati de catre Barry, majordomul nostru pe toata perioada sejurului care s-a ocupat de tot in cele mai mici detalii. Nu am asteptat la receptie pentru preluarea camerei, iar bagajele nici nu le-am atins din momentul in care am fost preluati de la aeroport si pana in camera. Rezervarile, atat pentru excursiile incluse in program, cat si pentru cinele la cele 4 restaurante ale resortului erau deja facute. Au fost la fel de bine organizati si cand le-am spus, cu doar 2 zile inainte de plecare, ca vom avea nevoie de testul PCR pentru a ne intoarce acasa (conditiile de intrare in tara schimbandu-se de la o zi la alta), aranjand un medic prietenos sa vina in camera noastra pentru a efectua testul.

Una dintre cele mai bune parti ale Ozen Life a fost mancarea. Indiferent la ce restaurant sau bar va aflati, veti fi tratati cu o oferta nesfarsita de alegeri delicioase, indiferent daca este vorba despre mancare locala sau selectii mai familiare. In special, am fost incantati sa descoperim, in restaurantul indian, picantul si originalul cocktail numit „Salt Curry”. Iar barmanul a fost atat de dragut incat ne-a oferit si reteta! Calitatea serviciilor nu a incetat sa ne uimeasca. Personalul, indiferent de nivel, profita de orice ocazie pentru a se opri sa vorbeasca cu noi si a ne oferi un zambet prietenos.

Acest mic Rai pe Pamant este locul perfect, atat pentru o vacanta in care poti doar sa te relaxezi intr-un hamac la soare, sa savurezi cockteluri colorate, sa ai cine romantice pe nisipul fin la lumina stelelor, cat si pentru o vacanta plina de aventuri acvatice (scuba, snorkeling, pescuit etc). Poti sta cat este ziua de lunga cu ochii in apa pentru a te minuna de recifurile de corali si de nenumaratii pesti colorati. Asa ca, va spun sincer, nu aveti cum sa va plictisiti! Zilele au trecut pe nesimtite si ne-am fi dorit sa stam mai mult. (click aici pentru video: https://youtu.be/_Fk2MmXm4Eo)

Pentru o experienta completa in Maldive, va recomand sa incercati macar cateva nopti cazarea la vilele de pe apa. Au un farmec anume si sunt specifice locului. Este uimitor sa adormi in zgomotul apei ce loveste pilonii si sa te trezesti cu imaginea oceanului nemarginit cu ale sale magnifice culori.

Pe langa frumusetea exotica a locului serviciile elegante si de calitate fac din Maldive o vacanta unica. O experienta inedita a fost si cina in restaurantul subacvatic M6M. Imagineaza-ti sa servesti preparate de fine dining privind in acelasi timp pestii si rechinii care se plimba agale prin fata ta. Iar daca doar cu cateva ore inainte ai trait si experienta de a fi in mijlocul oceanului pentru o sedinta foto si probabil acelasi rechin sa treaca cu aceeasi lejeritate la cativa metri de tine, experienta este completa!

Ne-am presarat programul cu plimbari in jurul insulei, care desi nu era pustie, parea numai a noastra. Puteai oricand sa gasesti un petec pustiu de plaja pentru a te bucura de cateva ore de liniste pe nisipul atat de fin si alb. Iar cand soarele incepea sa dogoare prea tare ne faceam loc la umbra palmierilor de langa piscina, savurand tot felul de bauturi delicioase.

Pentru ca ne-am dorit sa mai animam putin programul vacantei ne-am bucurat de o croaziera la apus pentru a admira delfinii (insa ne-au vizitat doar rechinii), de o excursie de pescuit, cu barcile lor specifice, denumite dhoni si de o sedinta de snorkeling in larg, la recifurile de corali. Nu am ratat nici masajul de relaxare de la Elena Spa & Wellness, unde am incercat pentru prima data ceaiul albastru sau Butterfly Pea.

Singurul regret a fost ca, din cauza pandemiei, nu am avut posibilitatea de a merge intr-o excursie pe o insula de localnici. Ne-am fi dorit sa traim si aceasta experienta, insa, cu siguranta, nu o sa o ratam data viitoare!

Si, cum altfel as putea incheia articolul daca nu cu niste imagini uimitoare ale apusului din Maldive. Nu ai cum sa nu te indragostesti de acest loc minunat!

Good to know:

  • Viza se obtine foarte usor in aeroport, fara taxe sau alte documente, in afara de pasaportul valabil. Nu va trebui sa schimati bani in moneda locala, pentru ca toate preturile sunt afisate si pot fi achitate in dolari (se poate plati si in euro, insa restul il veti primi in dolari).
  • Daca va cazati la o vila pe apa, sa va pregatiti pentru a inota in curenti mult mai puternici decat in alte parti ale insulei.
  • Puteti vedea tot felul de creaturi marine, inclusiv rechini si pisici de mare, dar care nu va vor acorda prea multa atentie, chiar daca va doriti (si aici vorbesc cu tine baby shark! 🙂 )
  • Arborele de nuca de cocos este simbolul national al Maldivelor, iar lemnul lor este folosit la constructia navelor dhoni sau doni (cele mai vechi nave maritime cunoscute in Maldive, realizate manual).
  • Nisipul din Maldive este format din corali, fapt pentru care nu se inclazeste si poti pasi confortabil chiar si in cele mai fierbinti zile.
  • In trecut locuitorii foloseau coralii la construirea caselor. Exista locuinte traditionale facute din corali – pot fi admirate in capitala Male si pe unele insule -, acum este strict interzis, deoarece recifurile de corali sunt protejate la nivel mondial.
  • Maldive are unele dintre cele mai mici insule din lume, unele avand doar cativa metri patrati, iar cea mai mare de-abia ajunge la 6 km lungime.
  • Maldive este prima tara din lume care a tinut o sedinta de guvern subacvatica. Presedintele tarii, impreuna cu 13 ministri au vrut sa atraga un semnal de alarma asupra efectelor incalzirii globale.
  1. Se afla Maldive in topul listei voastre cu locuri de vizitat?
  2. Ce locuri, resorturi ati recomanda in Maldive?

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Alicante – the city of light

Today we will travel to one of the oldest human settlements on the Spanish coast of the Mediterranean Sea, namely Alicante. Founded by the Greeks, Alicante is a picturesque city that perfectly combines the atmosphere of the beach and relaxation with historical and architectural attractions. Thanks to the Mediterranean climate, Alicante is a destination that you can visit most of the year, the sea water is always warm enough, even in October.

For me, Alicante was the perfect place for “dolce far niente“. Of course, that doesn’t mean that I just stayed on the beach 🙂

Alicante boasts a beautiful beach with palm trees, fine sand, restaurants, and cafes in the center of town and at the bottom of a castle perched on a rocky hill (Mount Benacantil) which gives it a special charm. Postiguet Beach is not too long, but it is more popular than its sister, San Juan Beach, located about 10 kilometers from Alicante.

On Postiguet beach we discovered the Kiosco Miramar restaurant, which delighted us daily with delicious dishes and cocktails. I recommend that you don’t miss the oysters!

Alicante managed to surprise me with a charming atmosphere, even though I visited it during the pandemic. And even though we wore masks everywhere, we managed to fully feel the charm of this city. We also appreciated the involvement of the locals in respecting all the rules, especially at the terraces, restaurants, and tourist attractions.

One of the most important attractions of the city is Santa Barbara Castle. Perched on Mount Benacantil is one of the largest medieval fortresses in Spain and offers stunning views of the city and port. If you want exercise, you can reach the castle on foot, thus enjoying a walk through Erata Park, and on your return you can go through the charming Santa Cruz District. Those who do not want to get too tired, can take an elevator on Postiguet Beach, which costs 2.70 € / person, or a taxi. Access to the castle itself is free.

The Santa Cruz District is located on the slopes of Mount Benacantil, near the castle of Santa Barbara and is one of the most authentic and traditional enclaves in Alicante. With steep streets and many stairs, the neighborhood is the perfect place for photography enthusiasts. With its white houses with colorful borders, facades and balconies decorated with flowers, this neighborhood has a Moorish air.

Another important attraction of the city is the Explanada de España. This beautiful promenade is paved with marble mosaic and is guarded by palm trees, colorful flowers, and chic restaurants. It is a real pleasure to walk on this promenade, to admire the architecture of the buildings, and to breathe the sea air located just a few steps away.

Among the important buildings famous for their special architecture are: Carbonell House, which contains architectural elements of Baroque and Valencian modernism, the City Hall, built in the Baroque style of the eighteenth century, the Post Office Building, the Renaissance Cathedral of St. Nicholas and the oldest church from the city, St. Mary’s Church.

To my surprise, Alicante offers a variety of both quiet or lively bars and restaurants, located especially in Gabriel Miro Square also called Plaza de Correos. And the port area is famous for nightclubs and entertainment, which unfortunately, due to the pandemic, were closed.

For a romantic dinner, I recommend the El Portal restaurant, which impressed us, both by the quality of the services offered and by the tasty dishes. Also, the disinfection measures are commendable, which I haven’t really seen elsewhere. Constantly they were disinfecting the front door and the carpet you had to wipe your feet on before entering the restaurant!

Of course, the Port was not to be missed among the city’s attractions. Here you can enjoy a fantastic sunset, as well as boat trips to see the city from the sea.

From the port you can reach Tabarca Island, which was inhabited by pirates, in just 45 minutes by boat. The island is now a protected reserve and is famous for snorkeling. We found it almost deserted, maybe because of the pandemic, but we enjoyed a quiet walk through the old town and along the wall that surrounds the city, and we admired the wild landscapes and the fantastic color of the sea.

At the Amparin restaurant we ate the best fresh fish we had all holiday.

And if up till now I was in love with the magnificent sunsets, in Alicante I discovered even more beautiful sunrises!

Ana Frank

“Piensa en toda la belleza que hay a tu alrededor y sé feliz”

Alicante – Orasul de lumina

Astazi vom calatori intr-una dintre cele mai vechi asezari umane de pe coasta spaniola a Marii Mediterane, si anume, Alicante. Intemeiat de greci, Alicante este un oras pitoresc care imbina perfect atmosfera de plaja si relaxare cu atractiile istorice si arhitecturale. Beneficiind de un climat mediteranean, Alicante este o destinatie pe care o poti vizita mai tot timpul anului, apa marii fiind suficient de calda, chiar si in octombrie.

Pentru mine, Alicante a fost locul perfect pentru “dolce far niente“. Bineinteles, asta nu inseamna ca am stat doar pe plaja 🙂

Alicante se mandreste cu o frumoasa plaja cu palimeri, nisip fin, restaurante si cafenele fix in centrul orasului si la poalele unui castel cocotat pe o stanca (muntele Benacantil) ceea ce ii confera un farmec aparte. Plaja Postiguet nu este foarte lunga, insa este mai populara decat sora ei, Plaja San Juan, situata la aproximativ 10 kilometri de Alicante.

Pe plaja Postiguet am descoperit restaurantul Kiosco Miramar, care ne-a incantat zilnic cu delicioase preparate si cockteiluri. Va recomand sa nu ratati o portie de stridii!

Alicante a reusit sa ma surprinda cu o atmosfera fermecatoare, in ciuda faptului ca l-am vizitat in timpului pandemiei. Si, chiar daca am purtat masca peste tot, am reusit sa simtim din plin farmecul acestui oras. Am apreciat, de asemenea, implicarea localnicilor in respectarea tuturor regulilor, mai ales la terase, restaurante si atractiile turistice.

Una dintre cele mai importante atractii ale orasului este Castelul Santa Barbara. Cocotat pe Muntele Benacantil este una dintre cele mai mari cetati medievale din Spania si ofera vederi senzationale asupra orasului si portului. Daca doriti sa faceti putina miscare, puteti ajunge la castel pe jos, bucurandu-va astfel, si de o plimbare prin parcul Erata, iar la intoarcere puteti trece prin fermecatorul Cartier Santa Cruz. Cei care nu doresc sa oboseaca prea mult, pot lua un lift de pe Plaja Postiguet, care costa 2.70 €/persoana sau un taxi. Accesul in castel este gratuit.

Cartierul Santa Cruz este situat pe versantii Muntelui Benacantil, langa castelul Santa Barbara si este una dintre cele mai autentice si traditionale enclave din Alicante. Cu stradute abrupte si multe scari, cartierul este locul perfect pentru pasionatii de fotografie, si nu numai. Cu ale sale case albe cu chenare colorate, fatade si balcoane decorate cu flori, acest cartier are un aer maur.

O alta atractie importanta a orasului este Esplanada de Espana. Aceasta frumoasa promenada este pavata cu mozaic din marmura si este strajuita de palmieri, flori colorate si restaurante cochete. Este o adevarata placere sa te plimbi pe acesta promenada, sa admiri arhitectura cladirilor si sa respiri aerul marii situata doar la cativa pasi.

Pintre importantele cladiri renumite pentru arhitectura deosebita, se numara: Casa Carbonell, ce contine elemente arhitecturale ale modernismului baroc si valentian, Primaria, contruita in stilul baroc din secolul al XVIII-lea, Cladirea Postei, Catedrala renascentista Sf. Nicolae  si cea mai veche biserira din oras, Biserica Sf. Maria.

Spre surpinderea mea, Alicante ofera o diversitate de baruri si restaurante mai linistite sau dimpotriva pline de viata, situate mai ales in Piata Gabriel Miro denumita si Plaza de Correos. Iar zona portului este renumita pentru cluburile de noapte si distractie, care din pacate, din cauza pandemiei, erau inchise.

Pentru o cina romantica va recomand restaurantul El Portal, care ne-a impresionat, atat prin calitatea serviciilor oferite, cat si prin gustoasele preparate. De asemenea, sunt laudabile masurile de dezinfectare, pe care chiar nu le-am mai intalnit in alta parte. La cateva minute dezinfectau usa de la intrare si covorasul pe care trebuia sa te stergi inainte de a intra in restaurant!

Bineinteles ca, dintre atractiile orasului nu avea cum sa lipseasca Portul. Aici puteti sa va bucurati de un apus fantastic, precum si de excursii cu vaporasul pentru a vedea orasul de pe mare.

Din port puteti ajunge in doar 45 minute cu vaporul pe Insula Tabarca, care a fost locuita de pirati.  Insula este acum o rezervatie protejata si este renumita pentru snorkeling. Noi am gasit-o aproape pustie, poate si din cauza pandemiei, insa ne-am bucurat de o plimbare linistita prin orasul vechi si de-a lungul zidului care inconjoara orasul si am admirat peisajele salbatice si culoarea fantastica a marii.

La restaurantul Amparin am mancat cel mai bun peste.

Si daca pana acum eram indragostita de imaginile magnifice ale apusului de soare, in Alicante am descoperit cele mai frumoase rasarituri!

Ana Frank

“Piensa en toda la belleza que hay a tu alrededor y sé feliz”

Cote d’Azur

Should we travel or not during the pandemic? That was the big question. After many months in which we stayed at home and respected all the rules of social distancing, we decided to take the risk and go on a beautiful trip to France. We armed ourselves with many masks and disinfectant gels and set off.

Our journey began with the wonderful town:

Carcassonne

I know, it is not exactly on the Cote d’Azur, but it is a place that is definitely worth visiting, having been added to the UNESCO list of world heritage since 1997.

The castle surprised me both by its grandeur with its 53 towers, and by the fact that inside the roughly 3 km of walls of the fortress you find a small town with lots of souvenir shops, restaurants, terraces with live music, and even a beautiful church. The entrance to this old town is free, but not the access to the ramparts. You can buy tickets for these online: http://www.remparts-carcassonne.fr/en/.

To better taste the old atmosphere of the knights you must try the cassoulet with a glass of red wine. Cassoulet is a bean dish with pieces of duck meat, sausage, and many spices. I also recommend you try onion soup (typically known outside of France as French onion soup unsurprisingly), as well as the famous steamed mussels and fries (moules frites).

Although we traveled during the pandemic, we discovered a fortress full of life and tourists. Luckily masks were mandatory outside in public as well.

Our journey continued with a drive of about 4 and a half hours to get to:

Nice

Nice is everything you could want! The fifth largest city in France benefits from both the bohemian air given by the old town and the beautiful beaches with their infinite blue sea, as well as the hustle and bustle and cultural events specific to a metropolis.

Nice is also strategically located between Saint-Tropez and Monaco, making it easy to travel along the Côte d’Azur (whether you choose the train, bus, or car). Therefore, you have a lot to do and visit, depending on the time you have available.

For Nice, we reserved about two days to be able to fully feel the beauty of this place and we did not miss:

  • The famous promenade – Promenade des Anglais – so named because it was built by the English. Palm trees, terraces, luxury hotels, beaches, and sea water will make you forget about the approximately 5 km that you would have to walk to take it all in.
  • Bathing in the clear and pristine water of the Mediterranean Sea. The rocky beaches are both public and private. It would be advisable to have a fluffy towel as well as water shoes due to the rocks on the beach
  • Albert I Garden and Masséna Square where you can admire the Sun Fountain
  • The Negresco Hotel whose founder was the Romanian Henri Negresco
  • The Cathedrals of Notre-Dame and Saint Nicholas
  • The old town (Vieux ville) with its colorful streets and Provencal air
  • The Port and the Castle Hill that will offer you enchanting views and countless pictures perfect for Instagram 🙂

Here everything is superlative! And, if the food in Paris didn’t impress me, I can’t say the same for Nice. Specific to the area are Nicoise salad and ratatouille that you can find everywhere. Additionally, you should taste pan bangat, which I recommend you try at the Tintin Kiosque restaurant. And, if you are still in the area do not miss a visit to Gare du Sud where you will find a market with various restaurants and dishes, a fish market, and a fruit market. The famous Nicoise street-food socca with a few slices of pissaladiere I tasted at the small but locally renowned Chez Theresa. And at Le frog restaurant, in the heart of the old city, naturally I tried frog legs and snails.

For a romantic and scenic dinner, I recommend the restaurant on the rooftop of the Radisson Blu Hotel. And for a beach dinner at Cocoon Beach you will find the tastiest tuna and live music.

Nice offers a wide range of accommodation, so you have many choices to fit your budget. After several searches, we chose to stay at Radisson Blu, as it best met the criteria we had in mind, namely, a wonderful view of the sea, a clean and spacious room, and the indispensable pool.

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, Eze, and Monaco

Although, initially, we had decided to have a whole day for Monaco, on the spot we changed our plans and we chose to reach the 3 places mentioned above in a single day. Because of this, although public transport is very well set up, we decided to travel by car to be a little faster and better control our schedule.

We started the morning with the lovely gardens of the Villei Ephrussi de Rothschild. You can’t be in the Cote d’Azur and not visit this wonderful place to see how the French aristocrats lived in the early 1900s.

“Ocean line” Île-de-France – is the name that the extravagant Béatrice de Rothschild gave to her villa located in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. With a wonderful panorama over the Mediterranean and the nine gardens decorated with waterfalls, ponds, and flowers, the villa is a perfect place to spend the morning or afternoon.

Another fairytale brought to life is the small village of Eze. Located between Nice and Monaco, Eze is one of the most picturesque places on the Cote d’Azur. Suspended between the sea and the sky, perched on top of a cliff, 427m above the sea, Eze greets you with winding, narrow streets and old stone houses.

The ruins of Eze Castle are located in the beautiful Botanical Garden (Jardin Exotique), along with fifteen goddesses sculpted by Jean-Philippe Richard. Nietzsche’s path (the path that the famous philosopher walked daily and which inspired him in his work “So Spoke Zarathustra”) offers a route not exactly easy all the way down to the beautiful beach.

The Provencal air, along with all its scents, is masterfully captured in the enchanting essences of the Fragonard perfumery. So, don’t miss a visit to the famous factory and shop open since 1926!

We left behind the charming and quiet Eze and in 20 minutes we arrived by car in Monaco. We parked the car in the underground parking lot near the Casino and started walking to discover one of the smallest, and most expensive, countries in the world. Monaco being the second smallest state after the Vatican.

Monaco is a city full of history and charm, where the Grimaldi family has ruled for hundreds of years. It is said that the name dates back to the 6th century BC. from Hercules Monoikos who would have passed by. Built vertically, on the rocky slopes, Monaco is chic and refined. With sloping streets connected by stairs, public elevators or tunnels, with 20-30 storey skyscrapers, luxury hotels and restaurants, Monaco is a magnet for those looking for brilliance. Many of its residents are millionaires from other countries, the natives being a minority in their own country.

The steps took us to the wonderful Harbor with its luxury yachts and to the Princely Palace from where you have a fabulous view over the bay and the rocky slopes. We relaxed for an hour on Larvotto beach to recharge our batteries, as we prepared to visit the famous Casino Royale. The architecture is amazing, but even more impressive is the interior atmosphere, elegant, with amazing stained glass windows, golden columns and walls, and grand crystal chandeliers. We were lucky to arrive just a few minutes before 19:00 when the dress code no longer allows shorts, sneakers, or sandals, but once admitted you can remain all evening. The entrance price to gamble in the casino is 17 euros, of which 10 euros is a credit that you can use either at the bar or for chips. I can also say that, if you are used to the atmosphere in Las Vegas, Casino Royale will seem like another planet 😉

The icing on the cake is the Formula 1 Grand Prix, hosted by Monaco on its streets in Monte Carlo, on the last weekend of May.  You can follow the route yourself in the days leading up to the race.

Cannes

A new day, a new destination. Because we wanted a quieter day, in which to relax under the sun, we chose to take the train from Nice and arrive in about 40 minutes on the sandy beaches of Cannes. Famous for the International Film Festival, Cannes has everything it needs to have a perfect day.

The beach did not disappoint, clean and tidy and with warmer water than Nice, it gave us a few hours of laziness. In general, the beaches are private, belonging to hotels, with terraces or bars, but there are also two public beaches towards each end of the promenade. Speaking of the promenade, you can’t go to Cannes and not make time for a walk along the famous Boulevard de la Croisette and get lost in the streets of the old town, Suquet, which especially comes to life at dusk. The architecture of the buildings impresses you everywhere.

We admired the old port (Vieux port), imagining all the celebrities that must have docked here,  while we passed on our way to the ferry boat that takes 15 minutes to reach the island of Île Sainte-Marguerite. The island is a pine and eucalyptus forest and is bordered by bays with crystal clear waters and stunning views of the French Riviera. History buffs will find a seventeenth-century fort on this island, which has gained notoriety for being one of the prisons of the “Man in the Iron Mask”.

Gorges du Verdon

Just two and a half hours from Nice by car is one of the natural wonders of France. Gorges du Verdon is the deepest and most spectacular gorge in Europe, up to 700 meters deep and about 25 km long. It is often described as the second largest canyon on Earth, after the Grand Canyon. The gorge was formed by the Verdon River which is famous for its stunning turquoise green color.

Visitors can enjoy spectacular views either along the road on the edge of the gorge, by car or bicycle, or via the exhilarating hiking trails in and around the gorge. There are also plenty of opportunities to rent boats and kayaks at the lower end of the gorge at the Pont du Galetas.

After a wonderful pedal boat trip along the river we continued our way back to Nice, passing the Col d’Illoire and the Balcony of Mescla for the most spectacular, and Instagram worthy, views over the canyon.

Saint-Tropez and Marseille

Our vacation was coming to an end and I didn’t know where all the time went. We left Nice thinking that we will definitely return, although I rarely choose to visit the same place twice. That’s because there are so many new and wonderful places in the world, that I don’t have enough life to see them!

On the way to Marseille we stopped in Saint-Tropez, and if so far everything has been superlative, Saint-Tropez is more than superlative 🙂 I was very close to giving up the planned last night in Marseille and staying longer in Saint-Tropez instead. In the little time I spent there I fell in love with landscapes with amazing vineyards straight out of a painting. We would have liked to stop for a wine tasting, but we put it on the list for next time.

We quickly headed to the port where we saw yachts even more impressive than those in Monaco or Cannes. The relaxing atmosphere makes you forget you are in one of the most expensive places in the world. I realized this only after seeing the bill for lunch at the SÉNÉQUIER café, which I had read was famous, but didn’t think it was famous for its prices 🙂 So, if you land at this café, get ready to pay between 19 and 22 euros for a cocktail (admittedly delicious).

In contrast to lunch, the wonderful Pampelonne beach is free, and the parking lot next door has very reasonable prices, if you are lucky enough to find an empty spot that is. This beach with its fine sand and incredible colored water is, in my opinion, the most beautiful of all the beaches visited on the Cote d’Azur. A little paradise from which I had a hard time leaving.

The road to Marseilles took two hours, so we arrived just in time to see an extraordinary sunset on the plateau located near La Major Cathedral (also called the “Pajama” Cathedral due to the horizontal stripes  on the façade).

A walk through the Port of Vieux is perfect to capture the rhythm and atmosphere of the city. The port is buzzing with tourists, street artists, and fishermen selling fresh fish at the Fish Market. If you like fish, you can try the traditional specialty of the city: Bouillabaisse. It is a soup with several types of fish (whatever is fresh that day) prepared with wine, olive oil, saffron and other secret ingredients. The first course is the soup broth with bread greased with garlic, and then they add the pieces of fish as the second course. I can’t say that the taste impressed me especially considering the extremely high price of this dish, but opinions vary. You will see the price per person (65-80 euros) everywhere, but with the minimum order always for two people.

From the port you have a perfect view over the famous Cathedral Notre-Dame de la Garde located on top of a hill, with a height of over 150 meters above. If you do not dare to walk, Le Petit train is a nice way to get from the port to the cathedral, or you can take the bus.

Certainly Marseille has many more sights to visit, but time did not allow us to get everywhere, such as Chateau D’If, Calanques National Park, Longchamp Palace, or Fort Saint-Jean which we saw only from the outside, because probably due to the pandemic, it was closed.

After nine days we returned home with luggage full of beautiful memories. Definitely the Cote d’Azur is a wonderful place, perfect for any occasion.

We wanted to travel this holiday by car, and to avoid public transport and air as much as possible for obvious reasons, but also to have more flexibility. But, contrary to expectations, the best option, both in terms of price and time, is by plane. France is a pretty expensive country when it comes to parking and tolls. And, in order to reach the desired objectives as soon as possible, it is important to choose the shortest route, which involves quite a lot of toll roads.

We may have left the Cote d’Azur behind, but it will always be in my thoughts as one of my favorite vacations.  From the food, to the sites, to the culture, it was nothing short of perfect, if expensive.  I may say this often in my posts, but I could not mean it more here, when I say that everybody should be lucky enough to visit this area of France at least once in their lifetime.

I have shared so many of my favorite vacations with you, why don’t you tell me which was your favorite vacation or place you have visited? 

Please comment below and subscribe 😉

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Coasta de Azur

Sa calatorim sau nu in vremea pandemiei? Aceasta a fost marea intrebare. Dupa multe luni in care am stat in casa si am respectat toate regulile de distantare sociala, am decis sa riscam si sa plecam intr-o frumoasa calatorie in Franta. Ne-am inarmat cu multe masti si geluri dezinfectante si am pornit la drum.

Calatoria noastra a inceput cu minunatul orasel:

Carcassonne

Stiu, nu este tocmai pe Coasta de Azur, insa, este un loc care, cu siguranta, merita vizitat, fiind adaugat pe lista UNESCO a patrimoniului mondial din 1997.

Castelul m-a surpins atat, prin maretia sa cu cele 53 de turnuri, cat si prin faptul ca, in interiorul celor circa 3 km de ziduri ale cetatii gasesti un mic oras cu numeroase magazine de suveniruri, restaurante, terase cu muzica live si, chiar si, o frumoasa biserica. Intrarea in acest vechi oras este gratuita, insa nu si accesul pe metereze. Biletele le puteti achizitiona online: http://www.remparts-carcassonne.fr/en/.

Pentru a gusta mai bine din atmosfera de odinioara a cavalerilor trebuie neaparat sa incercati cassoulet alaturi de un pahar cu vin rosu. Cassoulet este o mancare de fasole cu bucatele de carne de rata, carnati si numeroase condimente. De asemenea, va recomand sa incercati supa de ceapa, precum si renumitele scoici cu cartofi prajiti (moules frites).

Desi, am calatorit in timpul pandemiei, am descoperit o cetate plina de viata si de turisti. Norocul nostru ca masca era obligatorie si in spatiul public.

Calatoria noastra a continuat cu un drum cu masina de aproximativ 4 ore si jumatate pentru a ajunge in:

Nisa

Nisa este tot ceea ce ai putea sa iti doresti! Al cincilea oras ca marime din Franta beneficiaza, atat, de aerul boem dat de orasul vechi si de plajele superbe cu apa marii de un albastru infinit, cat si de agitatia si evenimentele culturale specifice unei metropole.

De asemenea, Nisa se afla pozitionata strategic intre Saint-Tropez si Monaco, facand astfel, posibila deplasarea cu usurinta de-a lungul Coastei de Azur (fie ca alegi trenul, autobuzul sau masina). Prin urmare, ai foarte multe lucruri de facut si de vizitat, in functie de timpul pe care il ai la dispozitie.

Noi ne-am rezervat pentru Nisa vreo doua zile pentru a reusi sa simtim din plin frumusetea acestui loc si nu am ratat:

  • Celebra promenada – Promenade des Anglais– denumita astfel datorita faptului ca a fost construita de catre englezi. Palmierii, terasele, hotelurile de lux, plajele si apa marii te vor face sa uiti de cei aproximativ 5 km pe care ii poti parcurge la pas
  • O baie in apa limpede si curata a marii Mediteraniene. Plajele pietroase sunt atat publice, cat si private. Indicat ar fi sa aveti un prosop pufos, precum si incaltaminte pentru apa
  • Gradina Albert 1 si Piata Masséna unde poti admira Fantana Soarelui
  • Hotelul Negresco al carui fondator a fost romanul Henri Negresco
  • Catedralele Notre-Dame si Sfantul Nicolae
  • Orasul vechi (Vieux ville) cu stradutele sale colorate si aerul provensal
  • Portul si Colina Castelului care iti vor oferi incantatoare privelisti si nenumarate poze perfecte pentru Instagram 🙂

Aici totul este la superlativ! Si, daca in Paris mancarea nu m-a impresionat, nu pot spune acelasi lucru si in acest caz. Specifice locului sunt salata nicoise si ratatouille pe care le gasesti la tot pasul. La acestea se adauga pan bangat, pe care va recomand sa il incercati la restaurantul Tintin Kiosque. Si, daca tot sunteti in zona nu ratati o vizita la Gare du Sud unde veti gasi o piata cu diverse restaurante si feluri de mancare, precum si o piata de peste si una de fructe. Celebra socca alaturi de cateva felii de pissaladiere am gustat-o la micutul local Chez Theresa. Iar la restaurantul Le frog am incercat bineinteles piciorusele de broasca si escargot.

Pentru o cina romantica si la inaltime va recomand restauratul de la ultimul etaj al hotelului Radisson Blu. Iar pentru o cina la malul marii la Cocoon Beach veti gasi cel mai gustos ton.

Nisa ofera o gama variata de locuri de cazare, asa ca aveti de unde sa alegeti. Dupa mai multe cautari, noi am ales sa ne cazam la Radisson Blu, intrucat indeplinea cel mai bine criteriile pe care le-am avut in vedere, si anume, o priveliste minunata asupra marii, o camera curata si incapatoare, precum si nelipsita piscina.

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, Eze si Monaco

Desi, initial, stabilisem sa avem o zi intreaga pentru Monaco, la fata locului am schimbat planurile si am ales ca intr-o singura zi sa ajungem in cele 3 locuri de mai sus. Din aceasta cauza, desi transpotul public este foarte bine pus la punct, am decis sa ne deplasam cu masina pentru a fi putin mai rapizi.

Ne-am inceput dimineata cu gradinile incantatoare ale Villei Ephrussi de Rothschild. Nu ai cum sa ajungi pe Coasta de Azur si sa nu vizitezi acest loc minunat pentru a vedea cum traiau aristocratii francezi la inceputul anilor 1900.

“Linia oceanica” Île-de-France – este numele pe care extravaganta Béatrice de Rothschild l-a dat vilei sale situata in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. Cu o panorama minunata asupra Mediteranei si cu cele noua gradini decorate cu cascade, iazuri si flori, vila este un loc perfect pentru ati petrece dimineata sau dupa-amiaza.

Un alt loc de poveste este si micul sat Eze. Situat intre Nisa si Monaco, Eze este unul dintre cele mai pitoresti locuri de pe Coasta de Azur. Suspendat intre mare si cer, cocotat pe varful unei stanci, la 427 m deasupra marii, Eze te intampina cu stradute intortochiate, inguste si case vechi de piatra.

Ruinele castelului Eze se afla in superba Gradina Botanica (Jardin Exotique), alaturi de cincisprezece zeite sculptate de catre Jean-Philippe Richard. Calea lui Nietzsche (drumul pe care se plimba zilnic celebrul filozof si care l-a inspirat in lucrarea sa “Așa grăit-a Zarathustra“) ofera un traseu nu tocmai usor pana la frumoasa plaja.

Aerul provensal, alaturi de toate miresmele sale, este surprins cu maiestrie in esentele incantatoare ale casei de parfumerie Fragonard. Asa ca, nu rata o vizita la celebra Parfumerie deschisa inca din 1926!

Lasam in urma fermecatorul si linistitul Eze si in 20 de minute ajungem cu masina in Monaco. Parcam masina in parcarea subterana de pe langa Cazinou si pornim pe jos in descoperirea uneia dintre cele mai scumpe si mici tari. Monaco fiind al doilea cel mai mic stat dupa Vatican.

Monaco este un oras plin de istorie si farmec, unde familia Grimaldi a condus de sute de ani. Se spune ca denumirea vine inca din sec 6 i.Ch. de la Hercule Monoikos care ar fi trecut pe acolo. Construit pe verticala, pe versantii stancosi, Monaco este chic si rafinat. Cu strazi in panta legate intre ele prin scari, lifturi publice sau tuneluri, cu zgarie-nori de 20-30 de etaje, cu hoteluri si restaurante de lux, Monaco este un magnet pentru cei aflati in cautarea stralucirii. Multi dintre rezidentii sai sunt milionari ai altor tari, localnicii fiind minoritari in propria lor tara.

Pasii ne-au purtat spre minunatul port cu ale sale iahturi de lux si spre Palatul Princiar de unde ai o vedere fabuloasa asupra golfului si a versantilor stancosi. Ne-am relaxat pret de o ora pe plaja Larvotto ca sa ne incarcam bateriile, intrucat urma sa vizitam celebrul Casino Royal. Arhitectura sa este uimitoare, insa si mai surpinzatoare este atmosfera interioara, eleganta, data de vitraliile, coloanele, peretii aurii si candelabrele de cristal. Am avut noroc sa ajungem cu doar cateva minute inainte de ora 19:00 cand codul vestimentar nu mai permite pantaloni scurti, adidasi sau sandale. Pretul de intrare este de 17 euro, din care 10 euro reprezinta un credit pe care il poti folosi fie, la bar, fie pentru jetoane. Mai pot spune ca, daca esti obisnuit cu atmosfera din Vegas, Casino Royal, ti se va parea o alta planeta 😉

Cireasa de pe tort o reprezinta Marele Premiu de Formula 1, gazduit de Monaco pe strazile sale din Monte Carlo, in ultimul weekend din luna mai. Iar in zilele premergatoare cursei, poti sa conduci pe acelasi traseu.

Cannes

O noua zi, o noua destinatie. Pentru ca ne doream si o zi mai linistita, in care sa ne relaxam la soare, am ales sa luam trenul din Nisa si sa ajungem in aproximativ 40 de minute pe plaja cu nisip din Cannes. Renumit pentru Festivalul International de Film, Cannes are tot ceea ce ii trebuie pentru a avea o zi perfecta.

Plaja nu ne-a dezamagit, curata si ingrijita si cu apa marii mai calda decat in Nisa, ne-a oferit cateva ore de leneveala. In general plajele sunt private, apartinand hotelurilor, avand terase sau baruri, insa exista si doua plaje publice spre fiecare dintre capetele promenadei. Si, daca tot am mentionat cuvantul promedana, nu ai cum sa ajungi in Cannes si sa nu iti faci timp pentru o plimbare pe celebrul Bulevard de la Croisette si sa te pierzi putin pe stradutele orasului vechi, Suquet, care prinde viata mai ales spre lasarea serii. Arhitectura cladirilor te impresioneaza la tot pasul.

Portul vechi (Vieux port) l-am admirat in treacat (imaginandu-ne toate vedetele care au ancorat aici) in drumul nostru spre ferry boat-ul care in 15 minute ajunge pe insula Île Sainte-Marguerite. Insula este o padure de pin si eucalipt si este marginita de golfuri cu ape cristaline si cu vederi uimitoare asupra Rivierei Franceze. Pasionatii de istorie vor gasi pe aceasta insula un fort, din secolul al XVII-lea, care si-a castigat notorietatea pentru adapostirea „Omului cu masca de fier”.

Gorges du Verdon – Cheile Verdonului

La doar doua ore si jumatate de Nisa se afla una dintre minunile naturale ale Frantei. Cheile Verdonului reprezinta cel mai adanc si spectaculos defileu din Europa, cu pana la 700 de metri adancime si aproximativ 25 km lungime. Este adesea descris ca al doilea cel mai mare canion al Pamantului, dupa Marele Canion din SUA. Verdon a fost format de raul Verdon care este renumit pentru uimitoarea sa culoare verde-turcoaz.

Numerosii vizitatori se pot bucura fie de un drum spectaculos pe marginea defileului, cu masina sau cu bicicleta, fie de unele dintre traseele de drumetii exaltante in si in jurul defileului. De asemenea, exista o multime de oportunitati pentru inchirierea de barci si caiace la capatul inferior al defileului, la Pont du Galetas.

Dupa o minunata plimbare cu barca ne-am continuat drumul inapoi spre Nisa, trecand pe la Col d’Illoire si Balcon de la Mescla pentru cele mai spectaculoase vederi asupra canionului.

Saint-Tropez si Marsilia

Vacanta noastra se apropie de sfarsit si nici nu stiu cand au trecut toate aceste zile. Plecam din Nisa cu gandul ca ne vom intoarce cu siguranta, desi eu cu greu aleg sa vizitez acelasi loc de doua ori. Asta pentru ca sunt atatea locuri noi si minunate, ca nu imi ajunge o viata sa le vad!

In drumul catre Marsilia ne-am oprit in Saint-Tropez. Si daca pana acum totul a fost la superlativ, aici este mai mult decat superlativ 🙂 Am fost foarte aproape de a renunta la ultima noapte in Marsilia si de a ramane mai mult timp in Saint-Tropez. In putinul timp petrecut aici m-am indragostit de peisajele desprinse din tablouri cu podgorii uimitoare. Ne-am fi dorit sa ne oprim pentru o degustare de vin, insa am trecut-o pe lista pentru data viitoare.

Astfel, ne-am indreptat rapid catre port unde am vazut iahturi mult mai impresionante decat cele din Monaco sau Cannes. Atmosfera relaxanta te face sa uiti sa esti intr-unul din cele mai scumpe locuri. Am realizat asta abia dupa ce am vazut nota de plata pentru pranzul luat la cafeneaua SÉNÉQUIER, despre care citisem ca este celebra, dar nu m-am gandit ca este celebra pentru preturile sale 🙂 Asa ca, daca “aterizati” la aceasta cafenea pregatiti-va sa platiti intre 19 si 22 de euro pentru un cocktail.

Insa minunata plaja Pampelonne este gratuita, iar parcarea de langa are preturi chiar rezonabile, asta daca aveti noroc sa gasiti un loc liber. Aceasta plaja cu nisip fin si o apa de o culoare incredibila este dupa parerea mea cea mai frumoasa dintre toate plajele vizitate pana acum pe Coasta de Azur. Un mic Paradis de la care am plecat cu greu.

Drumul catre Marsilia a durat doua ore, asa ca, am ajuns la fix pentru a vedea un apus extraordinar de pe platoul situat langa Caterdala La Major sau Catedrala in pijamale datorita peretilor exteriori cu dungi orizontale.

O plimbare prin Portul Vieux este perfecta pentru a surprinde ritmul si atmosfera acestui oras. Portul zumzaie de turisti, de artisti stradali si pescari care vand peste proaspat la Piata de Peste. Si, daca iti place pestele, poti incerca specialitatea traditionala a orasului: Bouillabaisse. Este o supa cu mai multe tipuri de peste (noi am avut si un crab) preparata cu vin, ulei de masline, sofran si alte ingrediente secrete. La inceput mananci supa clara cu paine unsa cu usturoi si ulterior ti se aduc bucatile de peste. Nu pot sa spun ca gustul m-a impresionat (insa parerile sunt impartite) mai ales avand in vedere pretul extrem de piperat al acestui fel de mancare. Desi vei vedea peste tot pretul pe portie (65-80 euro), comanda minima este pentru doua portii.

Din port ai o priveliste perfecta asupra celebrei Catedrale Notre Dame de la Garde situata in varful unui deal, cu o inaltime de peste 150 de metri deasupra nivelului marii. Le petite traine este o varianta draguta de a ajunge din port pana la catedrala, sau poti lua autobuzul, asta in cazul in care nu te incumeti sa mergi pe jos.

Cu siguranta Marsilia are mult mai multe obiective de vizitat, insa timpul nu ne-a permis sa ajungem peste tot, cum ar fi Castelul D’If, Parcul National Calanques, Palatul Longchamp sau Fortul Saint-Jean pe care l-am vazut doar la exterior intrucat, probabil din cauza pandemiei, era inchis.

Dupa noua zile ne intoarcem acasa cu un bagaj plin de amintiri frumoase. Cu siguranta, Coasta de Azur este un loc minunat, perfect pentru orice vacanta.

Noi ne-am dorit sa calatorim in aceasta vacanta cu masina, si pentru a evita cat se poate transportul public si cu avionul, dar si pentru a avea mai multa flexibilitate. Insa, contrar asteptarilor varianta cea mai buna, atat ca pret, cat si ca timp, este cea cu avionul. Franta fiind o tara destul de scumpa atunci cand vine vorba de parcari si taxe de drum. Si, pentru a ajunge cat mai repede la obiectivele dorite este important sa alegi drumul cel mai scurt, care presupune destul de multe autostrazi.

Poate ca am lasat Coasta de Azur in urma, dar va fi intotdeauna in gandurile mele ca una dintre vacantele mele preferate. De la mancare, la peisaje si cultura, nu a fost nimic altceva decat perfect, chiar daca scump. Poate spun asta adesea in postarile mele, dar, in cazul de fata, este valabil mai mult decat oricand, cand cred ca toata lumea ar trebui sa aiba norocul de a vizita aceasta zona a Frantei cel putin o data in viata

V-am impartasit cateva dintre vacantele mele preferate, si sunt curioasa sa imi spuneti si voi care a fost vacanta sau locul vostru preferat.

Puteti sa comentati mai jos si like si subcribe 😉

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Malta – Honey Island – an unforgettable holiday

Certainly, when you say Malta, you think of the famous Knights Hospitaller, or the Order of St. John, due to their famous symbol, the Maltese Cross, which is a white cross in eight corners, worn on a black cloak.

This wonderful archipelago in the middle of the Mediterranean of 6 islands is full of history, traditions, and legends, such as that of Odysseus being held captive for seven years on the Maltese island of Gozo by Calypso.

Malta fascinated us with its natural beauty, with the incredible architecture of the buildings, but also with the crazy nightlife, the likes of which I have rarely seen. Malta proved to be a perfect choice for a week-long summer vacation, in which we combined: fun and dancing until the morning, sunbathing on the most beautiful beaches with turquoise waters, as well as visiting the medieval cities.

Malta, along with Gozo and Comino offers many accommodations, but to enjoy the most fun, we chose to stay in St. Julian’s, known for its bars and nightclubs from the Paceville area. It is the place where I encountered the most bachelor parties ever 😉

From St. Julian’s you can get everywhere relatively easily. I say relatively easy if you do not choose to travel by public transport, as, unfortunately, we did. Most of the time, the buses did not arrive on time, with delays of even more than 30 minutes, and when they did arrive, they either did not stop, because you did not signal them in time, or they were too full. This was the only inconvenience of our vacation, so I recommend you rent a car or, even better, a scooter to get through traffic quickly, as the distances are not very far.

Among the countless objectives that Malta offers, we could not miss:

Popeye Village

The film set of the musical “Popeye” from the ’80s has now become a theme park, where you can meet the famous cartoon characters Popeye and Olive, and admire the beautifully colored wooden houses.

The park also offers a relaxation area on a private beach with a completely unique landscape: clear emerald-colored water surrounded, on one side, by rocks that form small natural pools, and, on the other, by houses from the cartoons. The perfect place for countless pictures! 😉

You can also take a short boat tour so you can easily spend an entire day in this place of whimsy, for which you need an entrance ticket. Find details here: https://popeyemalta.com/index.html

Sliema

Sliema, which means “peace or comfort”, is one of the main resorts of Malta. It is known for its rocky and unique beaches, for the promenades on the enchanting seafront, for water sports, and luxury hotels. Once a quiet fishing village, Sliema is the ideal place for a spectacular view of the Maltese capital, Valletta.

Valleta

The capital of Malta welcomed us with crowds of people on the streets of the city celebrating the election of the President. Therefore, we had a lot of action.

However, we still managed to capture the charm of this beautiful city, with its narrow and sloping streets, and the wonderful Barracca Gardens that offer you a perfect view of the port. The City Gate, the Auberge Castle, the St Elmo Fort, and the Cathedral are just some of the treasures of this city, which are best experienced on foot, to better enjoy every little corner.