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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

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 setContinue reading “Cote d’Azur”

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. CalatoriaContinue reading “Coasta de Azur”

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.

Mdina

Mdina, one of the most beautiful inhabited medieval fortresses in Europe, is the old capital of Malta. As you pass through the city gates you will be surprised by the labyrinth of streets and honey-colored buildings, built of a special type of limestone. The charm of this fortress is that it has kept its old atmosphere and you feel that time has stood still. Probably that’s why it’s also called the City of Silence. And, how could it be noisy if it only boasts fewer than 300 inhabitants!

We stopped at each street for pictures and admired the Vilhena and Falson palaces, as well as the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul built in the Baroque style on the site of the oldest church in Malta.

Gozo, Comino and Blue Lagoon

To get to these islands you have many travel options. If you don’t have too many days at your disposal, you can choose to visit in one day, both Gozo and Comino, but then everything is on the run and you don’t seem to have time to enjoy everything these wonderful places can offer you. To take full advantage of the approximately two-hour ferry ride, try to choose tickets with access on the upper deck.

The Blue Lagoon located on the island of Comino, has blue and turquoise water that you will never get tired of watching. The beach is mostly made up of rocks, but there is a small section of the beach where you can rent a sunbed on the sand. However, you will definitely not need it because the water is too beautiful and warm to be laying around.

We only left the Blue Lagoon to go to Gozo, where we had time to visit only the Citadella, the fortified fortress of Victoria, which dates from the Phoenician period. You will not regret spending more hours exploring the history of this place!

Plajele Golden Bay & Riviera

Malta boasts many beaches, so you will have lots of choices.

Golden Bay Beach is the first and most popular sandy beach in Malta along with Għajn Tuffieħa and Gnejna. The fine sand, the blue color of the sea, as well as the rocks that surround the bay, will ensure you an excellent day. And the spectacular sunset will successfully complete this picture. 

Golden Bay Beach enjoys the status of a blue flag and is easily accessible, offering many facilities.

Għajn Tuffieħa, or Riviera Beach, located quite close to Golden bay will delight you with its natural beauty, even if it is a little small. The stairs to the beach (with their 100 steps) make it less accessible, but you will enjoy a beautiful panorama nonetheless.

Did you know that?

  • The biggest treasure of the island is its honey-colored stone – a special type of limestone. This golden stone, which gave Malta the name of Melita, the “honey island”, inspired 7000 years of architecture;
  • The archipelago has been a British colony over time, so the official language is English. However, Maltese (a latinized variety of Arabic) is also spoken;
  • They drive on the left side, and the plugs are in the English model;
  • The Azure Window collapsed following a storm on March 8, 2017. The famous arch formed sometime in the 19th century appeared in the series, Game of Thrones;
  • Valletta is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the most concentrated historical sites in the world;
  • Malta is the country with, arguably, the best climate in the world, with a Mediterranean climate consisting of very mild winters and summers that vary between hot and very hot;

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Malta – Insula de miere – o vacanta de neuitat

Cu siguranta, cand spui Malta, te gandesti la renumitii Cavaleri Ioaniti sau Cavalerii Crucii Albe datorita celebrului lor simbol, Crucea Malteza, care este o cruce alba in opt colturi, purtata pe o mantie neagra. Acest minunat arhipelarg aflat in mijlocul Marii Mediterane si format din 6 insule este incarcat de istorie, de traditii si legende,Continue reading “Malta – Insula de miere – o vacanta de neuitat”

Little Switzerland!

If you could choose any place in this world, where would you like to live? For me, Switzerland is the exception to the rule. In the sense that, although it doesn’t border seas or oceans (so dear to me) it is easily at the top of the countries where I would like to live. TheContinue reading “Little Switzerland!”

Mica Elvetie!

Daca ai putea sa alegi orice loc din lumea asta, unde ti-ai dori sa locuiesti? Pentru mine, Elvetia este exceptia de la regula. In sensul ca, desi, nu este marginita de mari sau oceane (atat de dragi mie) se situeaza cu usurinta in topul tarilor in care mi-as dori sa locuiesc. Peisajele minunate ale acesteiContinue reading “Mica Elvetie!”

Malta – Insula de miere – o vacanta de neuitat

Cu siguranta, cand spui Malta, te gandesti la renumitii Cavaleri Ioaniti sau Cavalerii Crucii Albe datorita celebrului lor simbol, Crucea Malteza, care este o cruce alba in opt colturi, purtata pe o mantie neagra.

Acest minunat arhipelarg aflat in mijlocul Marii Mediterane si format din 6 insule este incarcat de istorie, de traditii si legende, precum cea a lui Ulise tinut captiv timp de sapte ani pe insula Gozo, de catre Calypso.

Malta ne-a fascinat prin frumusetea sa naturala, prin arhitectura incredibila a cladirilor, insa, si prin viata nebuneasca de noapte, pe care rar am mai intalnit-o. Astfel, Malta, s-a dovedit a fi o alegere perfecta pentru o vacanta de vara de o saptamana, in care am imbinat distractia si dansul pana dimineata, cu bronzatul pe cele mai frumoase plaje si ape turcoaz, precum si cu plimbarile in orasele medievale.

Malta, alaturi de Gozo si Comino ofera numeroase locuri de cazare, insa, pentru a beneficia de distractia cea mai mare, noi am ales sa ne cazam in St Julian’s, cunoscut pentru barurile si cluburile sale de noapte din zona Paceville. Este locul unde am intalnit cele mai multe petreceri de burlaci 😀

Din St Julian’s poti sa ajungi relativ usor peste tot. Zic relativ usor in cazul in care alegeti sa va deplasati cu mijloacele de transport in comun, asa cum, din pacate, am ales noi. De cele mai multe ori autobuzele nu veneau la timp, avand intarzieri chiar mai mult de 30 de minute, iar cand veneau, fie nu opreau, pentru ca nu le-ai facut semn din timp, fie erau prea pline. Acesta a fost singurul inconvenient din vacanta noastra, asa ca, va recomand sa inchiriati o masina sau mai bine un scuter pentru a va strecura rapid prin trafic, distantele nefiind foarte lungi.

Dintre nenumaratele obiective pe care Malta le oferta, noi nu am ratat:

Popeye Village

Platoul de filmare al muzicalului „Popeye” din anii ’80 a devenit acum un parc tematic, unde poti sa faci cunostinta cu celebrele personaje de desene animate Popeye si Olivia, si, sa admiri casutele din lemn frumos colorate.

Parcul mai ofera si o zona de relaxare pe o plaja privata si cu un peisaj cu totul inedit: apa limpede si de culoarea smaraldului imprejmuita, pe de o parte, de stanci care formeaza mici pisnice naturale, si, pe de alta parte, de casele din desenele animate. Locul perfect pentru nenumarate poze 😉

De asemenea, poti sa faci si o scurta plimbare cu barca. Astfel, poti sa petreci cu usurinta o zi intreaga in acest loc de poveste, pentru care ai nevoie de un bilet de intrare. Gasiti aici detalii: https://popeyemalta.com/index.html

Sliema

Sliema, care inseamna „pace, confort” este una dintre principalele statiuni ale Maltei. Este cunoscuta pentru plajele sale stancoase si inedite, pentru promenadele pe faleza incantatoare, pentru sporturile nautice si hotelurile de lux. Candva un sat linistit de pescari, Sliema este si locul ideal pentru o vedere spectaculoasa asupra capitalei malteze, Valletta.

Valleta

Capitala Maltei ne-a primit cu o mare de oameni iesiti pe strazile orasului pentru a sarbatori alegerea Presedintelui, prin urmare, am avut parte de multa agitatie.

Cu toate acestea am reusit sa surprindem farmecul acestui oras, cu stradutele sale inguste si in panta, si cu minunatele Gradini Barracca care iti ofera o priveliste perfecta asupra Portului. Poarta orasului, Castelul Auberge, Fortul St Elmo si Catedrala sunt doar cateva dintre comorile acestui oras, pe care cel mai bine il strabati pe jos, pentru a te bucura de fiecare coltisor.

Mdina

Mdina, una dintre cele mai frumoase cetati medievale locuite din Europa, este vechea capitala a Maltei. De cum treci de portile orasului vei ramane surprins de labrintul stradutelor si al cladirilor de culoarea mierii, fiind construite dintr-un tip deosebit de calcar. Farmecul acestei cetati este ca si-a pastrat atmosfera de odinioara si simti ca timpul s-a oprit in loc. Probabil, de aceea mai este numita si Orasul tacerii. Si, cum ar putea sa fie galagie daca se lauda cu mai putin de 300 de locuitori!

Ne-am oprit la fiecare straduta pentru poze si am admirat palatele Vilhena si Falson, precum si Catedrala Sfintilor Petru si Pavel construita in stil baroc, pe locul celei mai vechi biserici din Malta.

Gozo, Comino si Laguna Albastra

Pentru a ajunge pe aceste insule aveti nenumarate variante de excursii. Daca nu ai prea multe zile la dispozitie poti alege varianta in care intr-o singura zi ajungi, atat in Gozo, cat si in Comino, insa totul este pe fuga si parca nu ai timp sa te bucuri de tot ceea ce iti pot oferi aceste locuri minunate. Pentru a beneficia din plin de plimbarea de aproximativ doua ore cu ferrybotul, incercati sa alegeti bilete cu acces pe puntea superioara.

Laguna albastra aflata pe insula Comino, are o apa de culoare albastra si turcoaz pe care nu te mai saturi sa o privesti. Plaja este mai degraba formata din cateva stanci, insa, exista o mica parte de plaja unde puteti inchiria un sezlong. Oricum, la cat de frumoasa si calda este apa, cu siguranta nu veti avea nevoie.

Cu greu am parasit laguna albastra pentru a ne indrepta spre Gozo, unde am avut timp sa vizitam doar Citadella, cetatea fortificata din orasul Victoria, care dateaza din perioada fenicienilor.  Nu veti regreta daca veti petrece mai multe ore explorand istoria acestui loc!

Plajele Golden Bay & Riviera

Malta se lauda cu foarte multe plaje, prin urmare, vei avea de unde sa alegi.

Plaja Golden Bay este prima si cea mai populara plaja de nisip din Malta alaturi de Ghajn Tuffieha si Gnejna. Nisipul fin, culoarea albastra a marii, precum si stancile care inconjura golful, va vor asigura o zi excelenta. Iar apusul spectaculos al soarelui va completa cu succes acest tablou.

Golden Bay Beach se bucura de statutul de steag albastru si este usor accesibila, oferind si cateva facilitati.

Plaja Għajn Tuffieħa sau Riviera, aflata destul de aproape de Golden bay, te va incanta prin frumusetea sa naturala, chiar daca este putin mai mica. Cele 100 de trepte pe care trebuie sa le parcurgi pana la plaja o fac mai putin accesibila, insa te vei bucura de o frumoasa panorama.

Stiai ca?

  • Cea mai mare comoara a insulei este piatra sa de culoarea mierii – un tip deosebit de calcar. Aceasta piatra aurie, care i-a adus Maltei denumirea de Melita, “insula de miere“, a inspirat 7000 de ani de arhitectura;
  • Arhipelagul a fost colonie britanica de-a lungul timpului, asa ca limba oficiala este engleza. Cu toate astea, se vorbeste si malteza;
  • Se conduce pe partea stanga, iar prizele sunt pe modelul englez;
  • Fereastra de Azur s-a prabusit in urma unei furtuni pe data de 8 martie 2017. Celebrul arc format candva in secolul XIX a aparut in filmul Game of Thrones;
  • Valletta face parte din patrimoniul UNESCO si este una dintre cele mai concentrate zone istorice din lume;
  • Malta este tara cu cea mai buna clima din lume, avand un climat mediteranean cu ierni foarte blande si veri calde si foarte calde.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Little Switzerland!

If you could choose any place in this world, where would you like to live?

For me, Switzerland is the exception to the rule. In the sense that, although it doesn’t border seas or oceans (so dear to me) it is easily at the top of the countries where I would like to live.

The wonderful landscapes of this country will delight your eyes. To these are added the organization, cleanliness and punctuality, so essential for a civilized country. But as everything has a price, of course, Switzerland is also one of the most expensive countries,  which is why my adventure here lasted only a few days. We tried to organize ourselves as best as possible, so that we could see as much as possible.

Taking advantage of a good offer from Wizz Air from Bucharest to Basel, we created our itinerary according to the distance from this city, and thus, we managed to visit: Basel, Colmar, Bern, Lake Thun and Zurich.

Basel

We arrived in Basel in the evening, and from the airport we took the bus, line 50, which left us only a few minutes walk from the hotel – Apaliving.  Accommodation was 85 chf / night, and most surprising was the fact that, based on the hotel reservation, access to public transport is free, including the bus to and from the airport. So check at the hotel if they have this option!  In general, public transport is very well set up (running like a Swiss watch). 

The city is located on the border with France and Germany and is the heart of the Dreiländereck region (the corner of the three countries).

The Rhine gives a special charm to this small town that stands out through a medieval historic center, but also with its vibrant atmosphere.

We started the day with a walk along the river, which gives you a great feeling of relaxation. I could have sat for hours and watched nature breathe around me. From time to time you see someone floating or swimming lightly on the river… because, yes, the river is a means of “public” transport. That’s often how certain people choose to get from one place to another… along on the river. They have a waterproof backpack so as not to get their clothes wet and, I think, it works like a raft, too. Great, isn’t it? 😉

We continued our walk on the old streets of Altstadt, admiring the architecture of the houses full of flowers, the fountains at each small intersection, as well as the Middle Bridge. In front of the Museum of Contemporary Art there is the Tinguely Fountain, worth stopping at for at least a few minutes.

We climbed the tower of Münster Cathedral for a panorama of the city and then we visited the City Hall, which catches your eye like a magnet due to its red color.

To reach the other side of the river you can take a boat pulled by a cable which is how we got to see the Gates of the city walls.

We took a tram for several stations and crossed the border into Germany to see the famous Three Countries Bridge that connects Huningue in France, Weil am Rhein in Germany and Basel in Switzerland. Here even the swans are well organized 😀

We ended the day enjoying a glass of wine at Sandoase, where you feel like you are on the beach. Sand, hammocks, good music and a few businessmen who have just finished work.

Thun Lake

We took the train from Basel and, in an hour and a half, arrived in Paradise. That’s exactly how I felt just minutes after I got off the train.

The image of the mountains, which mirror their snow-capped ridges in the crystal clear water of the lake, along with the raw green of the valley, simply takes your breath away. And, to make everything even more perfect, this wonderful place hosts both a Medieval Castle and Gothic Revival Castle. You will also find a Gastronomy Museum, a restaurant, as well as a very nice hotel.

Honestly, I didn’t want to leave, but yet another wonderful place was waiting for us.

Bern

From the train station we went directly to the Medieval Center of the city, which was inscribed on the UNESCO list of World Cultural Heritage.

We walked on the cobblestone streets and admired the famous fountains (all 11 of them), which depict historical or legendary characters dating from 1545. They are all true works of art.

You will be surprised by the stone arches that adorn the sidewalks and served us so well when the rain started. You can’t miss the huge astronomical clock tower, Zytglogge, built in 1405, with its mechanical figures indicating the time. 

It is also worth climbing the highest church in Switzerland, the Gothic Cathedral Münster, with its 100 meter tower and which offers a beautiful view over the city. In the garden of the cathedral you will discover some statues with the canine pride of the Land of the Cantons, namely, the Bernese Mountain Dog.

Also for a special view over the city, I recommend you to go to the Rose Garden, where you can also enjoy countless species of roses, irises, and rhododendrons.

If you have time, stop and visit the Palace of the Parliament and, at the end, relax at the bear park, BärenPark, located near the river Aare. The bear is a symbol of the city and canton of Bern and is depicted in their coat of arms.

Zurich

It is said that you should travel alone at least once in your life. I’m not a big fan of this saying, but I couldn’t have chosen a better place than Zurich to have this experience.

Taking the bull by the horns, I left by train alone from Basel, and in about an hour I arrived in Zurich, in complete comfort.

A few hours are enough to taste the charm of this city which, while the financial center of the world, keeps its old-world atmosphere.

From the train station you quickly reach the main attraction of the city, namely the beautiful promenade created by the Limmat River which crosses the city on its way to the point of discharge, Lake Zurich. The emblematic buildings, Grossmuster Cathedral (Great Church) and Fraumunster, found on almost all postcards, rise on both sides of the river. 

Famous is also St. Peter’s Church, which has probably the largest clock face in the world, with a diameter of almost 9 meters.

You can walk along the riverside to the Chinese Garden and then continue through the small city streets as much as you like.

I did so and had an unforgettable experience, in which I met friendly people, smiling and eager to help me with any information I needed or to take a picture (often more than one). 😉

Good to know:

  • Switzerland has four official languages: German, French, Italian and Romansh. That’s why they use English so much 😀
  • Public transport is expensive, but it is very well set up and you can get there quickly, safely, and very comfortably wherever you want;
  • The restaurants have quite high prices, but I recommend you choose the menu of the day. You will eat decently for 20-30 CHF. Migros restaurants also offer a wide range of food at slightly lower prices;
  • The scenery is amazing, so don’t miss the nature walks and especially don’t forget the camera!
  • According to statistics, Switzerland is one of the best places to be born, taking into account employment, crime rate, quality of life, health system, level of happiness and other similar factors;  So I recommend you try to be born there! 😀
  • Chocolate is indeed the most important product that Switzerland exports and my favorite product.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Bali – Insula Zeilor

Dupa cateva zile petrecute in Singapore ne-am indreptat cu entuziasm catre Bali. Am ales sa zburam cu cei de la Scoot, low-costul celor de la Singapore Airlines si, trebuie sa mentionez ca, am intampinat cateva probleme cu cumpararea online a biletelor, intrucat nu au fost acceptate cardurile noastre, nici Visa, si nici Mastercard. Intr-un finalContinue reading “Bali – Insula Zeilor”

Mica Elvetie!

Daca ai putea sa alegi orice loc din lumea asta, unde ti-ai dori sa locuiesti?

Pentru mine, Elvetia este exceptia de la regula. In sensul ca, desi, nu este marginita de mari sau oceane (atat de dragi mie) se situeaza cu usurinta in topul tarilor in care mi-as dori sa locuiesc.

Peisajele minunate ale acestei tari iti vor incanta privirea. La acestea se adauga organizarea, curatenia si punctualitatea, atat de esentiale pentru o tara civilizata. Dar cum totul are un pret, normal ca, Elvetia este si una dintre cele mai scumpe tari. Fapt pentru care aventura mea aici a durat doar cateva zile. Am incercat sa ne organizam cat mai bine, astfel incat, sa vedem cat mai mult.

Profitand de o oferta buna a celor de la Wizz air din Bucuresti catre Basel, am stabilit traseul in functie de distantele fata de acest oras, si, astfel, am reusit sa vizitam:  Basel, Colmar, Berna, Lacul Thun si Zurich.

Basel

Am ajuns pe seara in Basel, iar de la aeroport am luat autobuzul, linia 50, care ne-a lasat doar la cateva minute de mers pe jos de hotel – Apaliving.  Cazarea a fost 85 chf/noapte si, ce m-a surprins tare mult, a fost faptul ca, in baza rezervarii de la hotel, accesul in mijloacele de transport public este gratuit, inclusiv autobuzul catre si inspre aeroport. Iar transportul public este foarte bine pus la punct (ceas elvetian, normal). Asa ca, verificati la hotel daca au aceasta optiune!

Orasul se situeaza la granita cu Franta si cu Germania si reprezinta inima unei regiuni numite Dreiländereck (coltul a trei tari).

Rinul ii da un farmec aparte acestui mic orasel care se remarca printr-un centru istoric medieval, dar si printr-o atmosfera vibranta.

Am inceput ziua cu o plimbare de-a lungul raului, care iti ofera o senzatie nemaipomenita de relaxare. As fi putut sa stau ore in sir si sa privesc natura din jurul meu. Din cand in cand mai vezi pe cineva plutind sau inotand usor pe rau… pentru ca, da, raul este un mijloc de transport. Asa aleg anumite persoane sa ajunga dintr-un loc in altul…pe rau, in jos. Au un rucsac impermeabil pentru a nu isi uda hainele si, care, cred ca functioneaza si ca o pluta. Minunat, nu? 😉

Ne-am continuat plimbarea pe stradutele vechi din Altstadt, admirand arhitectura caselor pline de flori, fantanile de la fiecare mica intersectie, precum si podul Middle. In fata Muzeului de Arta Contemporana se afla Fantana Tinguely pentru care merita sa te opresti macar cateva minute.

Am urcat in turla Catedralei Münster pentru o panorama a orasului si, apoi, am vizitat Primaria, care iti atrage privirea ca un magnet prin culoarea sa rosie.

Pentru a ajunge pe malul celalalt al raului poti sa iei o barcuta trasa de un cablu. Asa am ajuns sa vedem si Portile zidurilor orasului.

Am luat tramvaiul cateva statii si am trecut granita in Germania pentru a vedea celebrul Pod al celor trei tari care face legatura intre localitatea Huningue din Franta, Weil am Rhein din Germania si Basel din Elvetia. Aici pana si lebedele sunt cuminti si organizate 😀

Ne-am incheiat ziua savurand un pahar de vin la Sandoase, unde te simti ca pe plaja. Nisip, hamace, muzica buna si cativa corporatisti care abia au terminat munca.

Lacul Thun

Am luat trenul din Basel si intr-o ora si jumatate am ajuns in Paradis. Exact asa m-am simtit doar la cateva minute de cand am coborat din tren.

Imaginea muntilor, care isi oglindesc crestele atinse de zapada in apa cristalina a lacului, alaturi de verdele crud al campiei, iti taie pur si simplu respiratia. Si, ca totul sa fie mai mult decat perfect locul acesta minunat gazduieste un Castel medieval, si un Castel in stilul gotic Revival, unde gasesti un muzeu de gastronomie si un restaurant, iar la cativa pasi se afla si un hotel.

Sincer, nu imi mai doream sa plec de aici, insa ne astepta un alt loc minunat. 

Berna

Din gara am mers direct catre Centrul Medieval al orasului, care a fost inscris pe lista UNESCO a Patrimoniului Cultural Mondial.

Ne-am plimbat pe stradutele pavate cu piatra cubica si am admirat cele 11 fantani celebre, care infatiseaza personaje istorice sau legendare si care dateaza din 1545. Sunt o adevarata opera de arta.

Te vor surprinde arcadele ce acopera trotoarele si, care ne-au prins atat de bine cand a inceput ploaia. Nu ai cum sa ratezi turnul cu ceas astronomic, Zytglogge, construit in 1405, cu figuri mecanice care indica ora. 

De asemenea, merita sa urci in cea mai inalta biserica din Elvetia, Catedrala Gotica, Münster, care are are 100 metri si, care, iti ofera o panorama superba asupra orasului. In gradina catedralei vei descoperi cateva statui cu mandria canina a Tarii Cantoanelor, si anume, ciobanescul de Berna.

Tot pentru o priveliste deosebita asupra orasului iti recomand sa ajungi si la Gradina cu Trandafiri, unde te mai poti bucura si de nenumarate specii de trandafiri, irisi si rhododendron.

Daca ai timp opreste-te si viziteaza Palatul Parlamentului si, la final relaxeaza-te in parcul ursilor, BärenPark, situat langa raul Aare.

Ursul este un simbol al orasului si cantonului Berna si este figurat in blazonul acestora.

Zurich

Se spune ca cel putin o data in viata sa calatoresti singur. Nu prea sunt adepta acestei zicale, insa, nu as fi putut alege un loc mai bun decat Zurich pentru a avea aceasta experienta.

Mi-am luat inima in dinti si am pornit cu trenul din Basel, iar in aproximativ o ora am ajuns in Zurich, in deplina siguranta.

Cateva ore iti ajung pentru a gusta din farmecul acestui oras, care, desi, este centrul financiar al lumii, isi pastreaza din atmosfera de odinioara.

De la gara ajungi foarte repede la atractia principala a orasului, si anume, superba promenada creata de raul Limmat, care traverseaza orasul in drumul sau catre punctul de varsare, in lacul Zurich. Cladirile emblematice, regasite in aproape toate vederile, se ridica semete de o parte si de alta a raului, Catedrala Grossmuster (Biserica Mare) si Fraumunster.

Celebra este si Biserica Sf. Petru, care are probabil cel mai mare cadran de orologiu din lume, cu un diametru de aproape 9 m.

Poti sa te plimbi pana la Gradina Chinezeasca si apoi sa strabati cat vrei stradutele orasului.

Eu asa am facut si am avut parte de o experienta de neuitat, in care am intalnit oameni prietenosi, zambitori si dornici sa ma ajute cu informatiile de care aveam nevoie sau sa imi faca mai mult de o poza 😉

Important de stiut:

  • Elvetia are patru limbi oficiale: germana, franceza, italiana si romansh. De aceea, folosesc foarte mult engleza 😀
  • Transportul public este scump, insa, este foarte bine pus la punct si poti sa ajungi repede, in siguranta si foarte confortabil oriunde doresti;
  • Restaurantele au preturi destul de mari, insa iti recomand sa alegi meniul zilei. Vei manca decent pentru 20-30 CHF. De asemenea, restaurantele Migros ofera o gama variata de mancare la preturi putin mai mici;
  • Peisajele sunt uluitoare, asa ca nu rata plimbarile in natura si mai ales nu uita aparatul de fotografiat!
  • Potrivit statisticilor, Elvetia este unul dintre cele mai bune locuri pentru a te naste, luand in calcul angajarea in campul muncii, nivelul criminalitatii, calitatea vietii, sistemul de sanatate, nivelul de fericire si alti factori asemanatori;
  • Ciocolata este intr-adevar produsul de baza pe care il exporta Elvetia.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Singapore – Lion City

I can’t even believe I’m holding my plane tickets to Singapore! It happened so fast that all the planets were certainly aligned for this holiday to happen (and here I’m referring to two of my best friends, Mihaela and Vio, who said YES right away). We were preparing for a holiday in Croatia when, withoutContinue reading “Singapore – Lion City”

One day in Key West

When I found out that we were going to spend a few days in Miami, my first thought was to get to Key West, which I had read about some time ago. Being the southernmost point of the United States and only a stone’s throw from Cuba, Key West stands out from all the otherContinue reading “One day in Key West”

Vietnam – The land of the Flying Dragon

What is the first word that comes to your mind when you say Vietnam?

The land of the Flying Dragon will surely surprise you with its unique landscapes and the mix between old and new. This country heavily affected by wars has managed to develop a lot lately and, I would very much like to see where it will end up in the next 2-3 years.

Vietnam offers you countless places worth visiting, so if you want to cross the country from the south to the north, you need at least two weeks. The infrastructure does not help you much to move very well by land, but, fortunately, there are airlines with a few low cost options. As we only had one week available,  unfortunately, it was a challenge for me to choose what we would visit, taking into account the fact that it was the beginning of the rainy season. Fortunately, I can tell you that, although the weather forecast shows rain almost every day, we only had a few drops of rain on one evening.

In the north, the rainy season lasts from mid-April to mid-October. The southern area has a more tropical climate, and the typhoon season lasts from June to November.

Thus, I was only able to visit Ho Chi Minh (Saigon), the Mekong Delta, and spend a few beach days in Nha Trang.

Ho Chi Minh (Saigon)

We arrived in Saigon after about 15 hours, choosing to fly with Qatar Airways and having a 2 hour stopover in Doha. We obtained the visa at the airport, but it is important for you to know that you need to obtain a letter of approval before departure. This process also involves paying a fee and can take about 3 days. There are several sites that can help you get this letter, but I used the Vietnam Visa Pro site. With this letter, two pictures and a form I got a visa at the airport quite quickly. Therefore, get this approval in advance.

Saigon is a vibrant city, which amazes you from your first step, with the impression that sometimes it is one of the most modern cities, and other times that time seems to have stopped in place “100” years ago. Impressive buildings, parks, restaurants, rooftops, malls and shops with all the luxury brands are at home among the old streets. It is a city in continuous transformation and development, probably also due to the investment of China.

Here it is an adventure in itself to cross the street even on the zebra (crosswalk for my American friends), as they are not very used to stopping but rather to simply flowing around you like a school of fish. So, we tried to follow the advice of a local, and to cross firmly and courageously, without stopping or running.

Among the things not to miss, try to enjoy the traditional Vietnamese cuisine, with the essential pho, a very tasty soup with boiled beef, rice noodles, herbs or green onions. I think that I have the most photos of food and cocktails from this holiday than from any other. And, for a unique dining experience, try to get to Phường 8, District 4, where you will eat exactly as the Vietnamese eat. I let the pictures speak for themselves:

Don’t miss: Notre Dame Cathedral, Independence Palace, Opera, Saigon Skydeck, War Remnants Museum.