Posts Tagged ‘ UNESCO World Heritage Site ’

How To Get To Meteora From Thessaloniki

I’ve always wanted to see the amazing mountains of Meteora. Those rock formations that formed millions of years ago and which served as refuge of monks since the 12th century. Meteora is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. SO even if it meant travelling to this gorgeous place on my own, I was more than up for it! :D
I arrived in Thessaloniki airport from Rome. It’s amazing travelling within the EU! Their free movement meant that there was not even any kind of check once we landed in Greece. Our flight was led to a gate that leads outside after you get your luggage!
Once outside, just follow the sign for the bus station which is literally just outside the doors, opposite side of the road. There is a kiosk that sells bus tickets. I bought a €2 ticket that would bring me to the main bus station (Macedonia Inter City Bus Station).  After around 55mins, we’re at the terminal.
Inside the terminal, there are several counters where you can buy tickets from. To get to Meteora, you buy a ticket for Trikala (at counter 1), for €20.40. I had around 30mins to kill so I took that as a chance to freshen up and get some food in my tummy. I had 2 pizza (one to take away), a hot cup of tea, and a litre of water for  less than €8! The bus was scheduled to leave at 12:00nn. 2.5hrs later, we arrived in Trikala. The bus ride was relaxing. No traffic enroute. And I had no one seated beside me!👍
Upon arriving in Trikala, I went to the ticketing counter and bought a ticket for Kalambaka (€2.60). This will be my base for exploring the mountains of Meteora. I opted to stay here so that I’d have more option for food and other shops. Also, more convenient as both the train and bus station will just be short walks away!
Coming back to Thessaloniki, I got on the 08:19 train (€15.20). The train station is only around 2mins walk from the town centre. It’s not an actual direct train as we’ve had to change at a certain station – there was an announcement though so you shouldn’t miss it (and almost everyone changed there)! And the next train is just the platform beside it. You just get off the train and get on the one opposite it! 👍
Advertisements

Inside: Plitvice Lakes

Here are some pics from our daytrip to Croatia’s largest national park – and a UNESCO World Heritage Site at that! :D

P1130743

P1130755

 

“The national park is world famous for its lakes arranged in cascades. Currently, 16 lakes can be seen from the surface.  These lakes are a result of the confluence of several small rivers and subterranean karst rivers. The lakes are all interconnected and follow the water flow. They are separated by natural dams of travertine, which is deposited by the action of moss, algae, and bacteria. The particularly sensitive travertine barriers are the result of an interplay between water, air and plants. The encrusted plants and bacteria accumulate on top of each other, forming travertine barriers which grow at the rate of about 1 cm (0.4 in) per year.”

P1130760

P1130764

P1130817

 

P1130977

 

 

P1140004

 

P1140019

 

P1140022

 

Related post:
Daytrip to Plitvice Lakes

DIY: Visiting the Terra Cotta Warriors

We included a visit to Xi’an for one goal and that is to see the terra cotta warriors! The greatest archeological find of our generation. They were discovered by some farmers who were trying to dig up a well back in the 1960s.

P1220038

The terracotta army in Pit 1

 

The Terracotta Army or the “Terracotta Warriors and Horses” is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. It is a form of funerary art buried with the emperor in 210–209 BCE and whose purpose was to protect the emperor in his afterlife. -wikipedia

There are several options on how you go about seeing them. Joining a group tour or hiring your private guide would always be the more convenient way. I find them pricey though and not to my liking. Or you can do it on your own. This one would require some bits of research – which is maybe why you’re on this page; and asking around. I find this more my style as I’ll save some money (though not as much time) and I think it’s the more exciting way to go about doing things.

I’ve read that if one rode the high speed train to get to Xi’an, they’re entitled for a free shuttle ride straight to the site on the same day. But we arrived around 11pm and wanted to visit the next morning. So instead of hoping our tickets were still valid, we decided to just not do it. We then went to Xi’an Railway station the next day. On the eastern side of the square is a bus terminal. We found a very long queue and thought it’s the one leading to the famed warriors and we were right after double checking with those in charge of the line.

P1220016

Take bus 5(306), 7RMB, 1hr travel time, last stop: Museum of Xin Terra Cotta Warriors and Horse

P1220024

I’ll finally get to see the terracotta army! :D

P1220028

Entrance fee is 150RMB

P1220062

Pit 1

The sheer scale of this sculpture army makes it impressive. Also, no two warrior look the same. The museum is divided into 3 pit (excavation): Pit No. 1, No.2, and No.3. Pit 1 was the first to be opened to public visits. It is the largest amongst the 3 and is the most impressive too. This is the pit that you’d I thought to myself  “that’s what I’ve seen in print countless of times before!”

Some pictures of Pit 1:

P1220067

P1220071

 

P1220083

P1220098

 

Pit 2 is said to be the most spectacular owing to more complex combat formation. Also, the units here are said to be more complete as compared to those in the other pits. That may be the case but unfortunately, I got sidetracked by a display in the corner where you can have pictures taken with the terracotta army. If you don’t want to shell out for those souvenir photos, you can opt to pay a minimal fee to be able to use your own camera instead. The bf laughingly remarked that I seemed to have been more excited with the photo-op session over seeing the terracotta army in the pits! hehe

P1220126

Pit 2

P1220112

Pit 3 though the tiniest is said to be the headquarter/ command centre of the army in the other pits. Unfortunately, most of the warriors here are endless which could be attributed to vandalism but it’s still a guess.

P1220142

Pit 3

P1220139

Pit 3

There’s also a museum there. From which we learned that the terracotta warriors were originally meant to be colourful! It’s just that time and natural elements eroded most of the colours away.

P1220166

The terracotta warriors were originally full of colours.

I would recommend for history buffs to see the terracotta warriors. However, I wish we had a full day and night to explore Xi’an too! Guess it’s another reason to go back then? :)

Day Trip to Plitvice Lakes

P1140019

Plitvice Lakes National Park

Michael, my boyfriend, and I love to travel. According to him, the fact that I’ve been to many European countries makes it difficult for him to decide on where else to go in this part of the world. I informed him I haven’t really travelled on the eastern side. ;) Setting our sights on it then, we chose to go to Croatia. More specifically, its Plitvice Lakes. Yes, we know people normally go there for Dubrovnik – but we kinda had our fill of old towns/ forts/ cities at the moment and would appreciate nature more.

P1130724

To get to Plitvice Lakes:

Fly in to Zagreb – capital city. Get on a bus from the main bus terminal bound for Plitvice Lakes – just double check with the driver if they’ll make a stop here. Travel time is 2hrs 20mins.
OR
Fly in to Zadar – city by the coast. Get on a bus bound for Plitvice Lakes. Travel time is 2hrs.
Last bus bound for Zagreb where we stayed at is at 6:30pm. I’ll advice to getting back to the bus stop well ahead of that as some of the buses would either get there ahead of their schedule – or later, but why risk missing your trip back?

I love road trips! Even if it means just sitting on a bus. The promise of an adventure is just so exciting!

I love road trips! Even if it means just sitting on a bus. The promise of an adventure is just so exciting!

Entrance Fees:

110 KN – 1 adult/day
180 KN – 2day ticket
55 KN – child

P1130729

Entrance 2’s bus stop

Don’t forget:

Wear comfortable shoes. You will be walking quite a lot. You don’t want your feet to hurt afterwards.
Water/ drinks to keep yourself hydrated.
Snacks if you’re like me who almost always seem to be eating! ;)
Camera to capture those moments – unless you’re not into it.
Shades/ hat for those bright, sunny days.

 

About to start our walking adventure. :)

About to start our walking adventure. :)

Lots of walking!

Lots of walking!

By the information counter near both entrance,  there would be boards which show you options on what route to take and how long it’d take. Pick the one that you’re comfortable with.

Paths are clearly marked with signs like this.

Paths are clearly marked with signs like this.

Our route:

We started our walk in ulaz (entrance) 2. That’s ST2 there. We took the train/bus to ST3. From hereon, we walked downwards to P2 then to P1. In P1, we got on the boat that sailed towards P3. We then walked towards the big waterfall then to ST1 where we again rode the bus towards ST2 to catch our bus back. All in all, it took us around 5 1/2 hours. That’s us stopping for snacks and lots of photo ops or to just plain stop to soak it all in! There’s no need to pay for the bus and the boat as it’s part of the entrance fee. This might be a bit confusing but once you have your ticket in front of you with the general outline of the park, you’ll understand perfectly what we did.

The park's train/ bus. It'd take you from ST1 to ST2 to ST3.

The park’s train/ bus. It’d take you from ST1 to ST2 to ST3

P1140024

 

One of the boats sailing across the still waters of Plitvice

One of the boats sailing across the still waters of Plitvice

Good to know:

The park is open all year round.
There are toilets/ WC in ST1, 2, and 3 as well as in P3.
You can buy some food and drinks in the places mentioned above as well as the 2 entrance to the park.

I loved walking on their wooden pathways. Felt like I was a kid! It was well maintained too.

I loved walking on their  well maintained, wooden pathways. Felt like I was a kid!

We think a day trip is enough to see the whole park. Unless your main objective to travelling there is to take pictures and might wanna be there during sunrise/ sunset – the golden hour of taking photographs. If that’s the case, you might need more then. ;)

P1130785

We encountered many kids on a school trip and people on tour groups. Don't let it dampen your trip. We're all there for the same reason :)

We encountered many kids on a school trip and people on tour groups. Don’t let it dampen your trip. We’re all there for the same reason :)

Making sure he doesn't get his shoes wet.

Making sure he doesn’t get his shoes wet. :)

P1130989

P1130992

P1130931

He says it’s one of the most beautiful place he’s been to in Europe. I have to agree!

P1140022

Have you been to Plitvice Lakes? Planning on going there? It would be great if you could share other tips and suggestions! Or ask here if you have questions. :)

Happy travels everyone!!!

Amalfi Coast

My cousin and I were planning to go on a month long backpacking trip in Europe. Our list of places to visit was so long, I could feel myself getting a headache just thinking of what route we’re going to take while taking into consideration the budget. We did agree on two things: we will be going to Vienna to visit a good friend AND go to Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Unfortunately for my cousin, she wasn’t able to join me because of work. I still managed to go on a trip and do those two but with different companions.

Amalfi is beautiful!

As I’m typing this, I would have to say that Amalfi Coast is the most beautiful place I’ve seen here in Europe. To get there, you could either catch a flight to Rome then take a train to Naples then Amalfi OR fly to Naples then go to Amalfi OR you could also book a Mediterranean cruise. While over there, there were several cruise ships around the coast. But it still wasn’t as crowded with tourists as the rest of Italy. Probably since it was already early fall (mid-September)?

Breathtaking Positano!♥

Amalfi Coast is a 50km stretch of coastline along the province of Salerno in Southern Italy.  It is composed of 13 municipalities. Around 7 of which we have seen: Amalfi, Positano, Ravello, Maiori, Minori, Scala and Vietri sul Mare. The rest being Tramonti, Atrani, Conca dei Marini, Furore, Praiano, and Cetara. It’s said that Amalfi Coast is also known as “the land of the Sirens,” referring to Homer’s epic “Odysseus.” It has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site as a cultural landscape because of its unique scenery as well as its indisputable beauty: jagged cliffs bordered by crystal clear waters of the sea; whitewashed (sometimes colorful) villas built on mountain slopes; flowers abloom and trees (mostly of lemon) abundant; and clear skies all combine for a spectacular view!

I travelled with my friend Ania in Italy for 9days. Wanting to save some money, we stayed in a hostel that’s walking distance from Salerno’s train station. After a quick change of clothes, we got on a bus bound for Amalfi. We bought the €3 day ticket. It was a very zigzaggy route but it was soooo picturesque! The one hour trip passed by quickly since I was just enchanted with what I was looking at! It is a must to ride a bus when here!

My friend got a bit of motion sickness hehe

A map of the coast painted on ceramics :)

Amalfi town used to be a maritime superpower. During the 800s it was the capital of the Duchy of Amalfi, a maritime republic which was considered an economic powerhouse and an important trading power in the Mediterranean. Built in the 11th century, you can visit the Cathedral of St. Andrew where in its crypt are buried the remains of St. Andrew, the first disciple of Jesus.

St. Andrew’s Cathedral

Wanting to make the most of our day card, we decided to catch the sunset in Ravello, a scenic town that’s perched high up in the mountains, 350meteres above sea level. To get there, we just went back to where the buses were parked in Amalfi and caught the one that’s headed to Ravello. Up there, they were producing limoncello (you can have a sip which we thought was a good way of warming us up coz it was relatively cold up there) and ceramics with beautiful designs on it. When it got too cold for us (we were just wearing very light dresses), we headed back down to Amalfi and from there got on a bus to Salerno.

Catching the sunset in Ravello’s piazza

We wanted to start early the next day but we kinda overlsept so we were in a hurry to get to Amalfi. Once in Amalfi, we again rode a bus but this time, towards Positano. It may seem that we were spending too much time in buses whilst there but it was alright with us since it allowed us to see much of the coastline. Plus riding a bus there seems to be an adventure especially if you’re seated near the driver. The road is narrow (barely enough for two vehicles side by side) that when at curves, cars have to give way to each other! It’s a bit troublesome when we’re by a curve and if the oncoming cars were driven by visitors in the area because it seems that they’re so used to wide roads that they won’t really move to the side for fear of scratching their vehicles that it doesn’t give our bus much space to get by. What’s funny though is when our driver would shout instructions to them to say… move backward, turn more to the left (or the right) and close their side view mirror so that we could pass by. I found it totally entertaining! :D

Looking up at Positano :)

Amongst the towns we’ve seen in Amalfi Coast, Positano is our hands down favorite. It is enchanting! Bellissima!!! It’s beauty earned for it the title “the pearl of the divine coast.” However, it is also probably because of this beauty that’s why it’s the most expensive place there. It is the most visited place in the coast of Amalfi. The town is also known for its clothing and shoe production. I was going to buy a handswen sandals worth €70. Alas, I thought twice about it! Oh well, guess I’ll have to come back again for one! :D

Enjoying the summer (well, early autumn) sunshine! :D

Related Posts:

DIY: Schengen Visa Application
Getting Around in Europe
Bella Italia
Rome, the Eternal City!
Rome: Must See(s)
Inside: Vatican City’s St. Peter’s Square