Tag Archives: Holiday

The language of Croatia

The inspiring language of Croatian can be originated back to the 9th Century, when the Old Church Slavonic gained the official status of a religious language. The Old Slavonic and the Local Dialect then developed into Croatia, by using the three alphabets, Latin, Cyrillic and Glagolitic. As years passed on, other countries such as Serbia and Slovakia influenced the Croatian language.

Nowadays, Croatian is spoken in many regions of neighbouring countries, such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Russia, Serbia and Austria.

Here is a small list of necessary words and phrases required to get around in a Croatian speaking country:

  • Hello – Bok
  • How are you? – Kako ste?
  • What is your name? – Kako se zovete?
  • My name is … – Zovem se …
  • Good morning – Dobro jutro
  • Good afternoon – Dobar dan
  • Good evening – Dobra večer
  • Good night – Laku noć
  • Have a nice day – Lijep Vam dan želim!
  • Yes – Da
  • No – Ne
  • Help! – U pomoć!
  • Please – Molim
  • Do you speak English? – Govorite li engleski?
  • Parlez-vous français ? – Govorite li francuski ?
  • Hablas español ? – Govorite li španjolski ?
  • Can you help me? – Možete li mi pomoći?
  • How much is this? – Koliko je ovo?

Obviously, I am not a Croatian speaker, but I am hopefully going to visit Croatia this summer, so I figured that I should help others perhaps vacating there soon as well as myself.

If any of the above phrases are incorrect or could be corrected / added, do not hesitate to comment below!

Have any of you been to Croatia before? If so, comment below!

– Navigatio Travel

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Most Favourable Spanish Seaside Towns

Spain. What do you think of? The tapas, or the fiestas? The La Tomatina Festival or the Flamenco? But did you think of the beaches? Or the quaint little fishing towns which are perfectly placed everywhere? Even if you did, or if you didn’t, this blog post will be great for you. Who knows, it may even inspire a small trip to one of the seaside towns featured in this post… read and find out!

Of course, it would be nearly impossible to include all of the towns but I shall just include my personal favourites, enjoy!

  • The Costa Brava Coast (Catalonia) boasts plenty of gorgeous resorts, so it would be unreasonable to not include more than one so I have to mention Begur and of course Calella de Palafrugell. If visiting Calella de Palafrugell, remember to explore the little cove of Cala el Golfet.
  • Interested in Mallorca? Check out Deia, and be sure to try out some of their local delicacies.
  • The La Tomatina Festival occurs annually at the end of August in a small town called Buñol (Valencia), however a small seaside resort nearby named El Saler, situated close to Valencia, is highly recommended. It also boasts plenty of sand dunes, perfect for the little ones. 
  • The Bay or Biscay also withholds San Sebastián. If visiting, be sure to visit the Playa de la Concha and the Playa de Ondarreta
  • Tossa de Mar is another Spanish Gem, again situated on the Catalonian Coast, and this historic fishing village is full of history and has plenty of life. The ancient castle is also well worth a visit. 
  • Another fishing village is Nerja, and again is perfect for any budding photographers and is full of history, culture and of course the traditional Spanish beauty.
  • Or are you looking for a larger, more city like town ? Would Malaga tick the boxes? 
  • Another large city is Barcelona, which as well as being on the coast, is famous for the art and architecture, especially from the artist Gaudi and the popular Sagrada Familai Church. 

Of course, the list could go on. 

Have you been to any of these places, are there now, or are planning to go in the future? Have I missed out a place which you believe should definitely feature? Just comment below!

-Navigatio Travel 

Turkish Delicacies

What’s the first thing that pops into your head when I just mention “Turkish Delicacies”? Kebabs? Those sickly Turkish Delights in wrappers that you find in your local supermarket? Anything else? Well, I can assure you, Turkish Cuisine is one of my favourite cuisines, te spices and aromas that fill all of my senses can back me up on that, and I invite you to read my favourite Turkish Delicacies and to perhaps comment your own.

  • Turkish Delights. The real Turkish Delights, that contain pistachios, or nuts, dates or hazelnuts, you name it. You are bound to find one that suits your unique tastebuds. If you are in Istanbul, i recommend going to the Spice Bazaar to select your individual Turkish Delights. 
  • When I visited Turky, I was a meat eater (I am now a vegetarian) and I loved the traditional döner kebab. The Döner Kebab is a type of Turkish kebab, made of meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie, which I recommend entirely!
  • Meze is another of my favourites, it is very similar to Spanish Tapas, so a selection of small dishes (calamari, salad, cheese, yoghurt with garlic and cucumber) generally served with an alcoholic drink. Depending on which place you go to get your Meze, the courses will be different. 
  • Baklava is a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of filo filled with chopped nuts and sweetened and held together with syrup or honey. It is traditionally Turkish, dating back to the Ottoman Empire. 
  • Similar to Baklava, Tulumba is a popular dessert found in the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire. It is a fried batter soaked in syrup. This Turkish Delicacy, is very similar to Churros or a similar European Dish. 
  • Feeling thirsty? Why not try the common Turkish Apple Tea? In basically every restaurant or shop, Turkish apple tea would be on show. Perhaps people drinking it, or people about to drink it… everywhere. 

As I visited about three years ago, (2013) I obviously cannot recall every dish I tried, but these are the ones that have evidently stayed in my mind for many years after.

Have any of you tried any of these dishes? Or are there any that you have tried and adored but have not featured in this list, please comment below!

Thanks for reading.

-Navigatio Travel

Turkey 

So, a couple of years back, (pretty sure it was in 2013), I spent a week in gorgeous Turkey. However, I have since acquired a new phone as my old phone broke, parting me from my photography I took on my travels. Therefore this post will not be full of photos, as I have no personal snaps, but alas may contain an occasional Google Images (most probably photoshopped) photo. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this post, and please feel free to comment or like, or even just wait in anticipation for the next blog post. Enjoy!

Istanbul. This extremely cultural city, hosting a variety of historical events, ranging from the Roman Times to the Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire. During my stay in Istanbul, I remained in the Otel Fuar Hotel, which I reccomend highly; they supplied the yummiest food (such as spicy lentil soup) as well some as the comfiest beds I have ever stayed in. 

The first day consisted of visiting the legendary Blue Mosque (pictured above (as I mentioned before, courtesy of Google Images)), Sultanahmet Square, Basílica Cistern, Ayasofya Müzesi, Chora Museum and the Spice Bazaar. 

Luckily I kept all of my leaflets I received over the course of my cultural stay, so am able to use this information in my blog. The Blue Mosque was built between 1609-1617 by Sedefkar Mehmet Aga upon the order of Sultan Ahmed 1, who became King at the young age of 14, and Sedefkar was only 19 when he was ordered to build this historical aftifact. This Mosque is a masterpiece built with the understanding of the Great Architect Siman in the 17th century. 

The Blue Mosque also contained a hospital, a madrasah (higher education institution), a soup kitchen, a primary school, a bazaar (market) and a tomb for the members of the Royal Family . As well as this, there is also an individual room called a Muvakkithane, where an astronomer did calculations of the times of prayer and other important occasions in the Muslim Calendar. 

This Mosque is famous for the Blue Tiles (originating from Iznik) and other handmade tiles that adorn the interior walls of the Mosque, giving it its Western Name of Blue Mosque. In total, there are more than 21 000 tiles decorating this splendid Mosque. 

Within Sultanahmet Square, or Hippodrome, I saw the Egyptian Obelisk, as well as the Stone Obelisk and the Serpentine Column, that weee originally brought to Turkey by Emperors and were used to decorate the Hippodrome. These again, were spectacular, and helped me to open my eyes about the culture of Turkey. 

The Basilica Cistern, again, wow. One of the largest of hundreds of underground, ancient Cisterns, that lie beneath the city of Istanbul. According to Historical Figures, people have deduced that around 7000 slaves were involved in the complicated construction of this complex system. The Basilica Cistern provided a water filtration system for the Great Palace of Constantinople and other buildings on the First Hill, and continued to provide water to the Topkapi Palace after the Ottoman conquest in 1453 and into modern times.

The Afosofya Müzesi, as pictured above, was again gobsmacking. This ancient Byzantine Church was built by Justinian 1 between 532-537 AD after the Niko Riot, and this museum boasts many decorative mosaics in this church of Jesus and Virgin Mary. 

The next Museum I visited, the Chora Museum, is again a church of the Holy Saviour and is considered to be one of the most beautiful surving examples of a Byzantine Church. Likewise with The Afosofya Müzesi, the interior is adorned with fine mosaics and frescoes. 

The Spice Bazaar, or Misir Carsisi is located behind the Yeni Mosque at the entrance of the golden horn, or bay of Istanbul. This incredible Bazaar sold spices, nuts, teas, Turkish delights, honeycomb, essences and even more. I was lucky enough to find a Turkish delight stand that sold the most delicious treats I have had in a very long time. 

The next day, I visited Gallipoli and Çannakale. I visited the Battlefields and Sites were the Dardanelles Campaign took place (a WW1 campaign that took place on the Gallipoli Peninsula in the Ottoman Empire between the 25th April 1915-9th January 1916). I also visited a beach that represented the Battle, as well as many graveyards were the never forgotten soldiers now lay. 

In Çannakale, the Asian Part of Troy, I visited the archaeological site of Troy, which is currently more than 4000 years old and is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the World. And in 1870, Heinreich Schliemann made the first excavations at the site.

 

I continued my cultural journey around Turkey by staying in the Grand Anzac Hotel, situated close to the coast and boasting brilliant views. 

The following day, I returned to Istanbul to visit the Topkapi Palace and the Grand Bazaar. 

Topkapi Palce was the first Ottoman Palace to be built in 1466-1478 in the newly conquered capital of the Empire by Mehmet 2, however this palace is not a single monumental structure but a more organic complex made up of various kiosks, gardens and areas spread over the tip of the histórica, peninsula at the entry of the Golden Horn. Then in 1924, the Topkapi Palace was turned into a museum and has since become one of he most attractive and famous palaces/museums in the World. 

Then I arrived at the Grand Bazaar. Wow. Wow. Wow. I thought I had seen it all at the Spice Bazaar, but no. The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with 61 covered streets and over 4,000 shops which attract between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily.you can really picture the immense size and scale, as well as atmosphere, of this cultural experience.

Everywhere I looked, spices filled my nostrils, bright colours and silks overwhelmed my sight and loud chatter weaved in and out of my ears. I, of course, did quite a bit of shopping whilst in there, including a Turkish Bowl, Turkish Scarf, plenty of Evil Eye Charms, Spices,  more Turkish Delights. I was in heaven, it was truly and unforgettable visit. 

I would upload a photo of the Grand Bazaar, but unfortunately WordPress is reporting an error, so I have attached a link to a photgraphic website which represents my still very vivid memories. Grand Bazaar

The next day was my last, so it only consisted of me travelling to Istanbul Airport to catch my late plane home. 

Overall, Turkey was a very eye opening trip, and for everyone who hasn’t  been or is considering to go , I urge you, GO!

If you are there at the moment, please try and find a Tulumba, a small sweet delicacy which I consumed constantly throughout my trip. 

– Navigatio Travel

Best Châteaux in France

France is one of the most diverse and stunning countries I have ever visited, therefore it is essential that one of my first posts is about the cultural and spectacular Châteaux found in France.

Obviously there are hundreds of Châteaux in France, so it would be almost impossible to create an interesting blog post, if I have to repeat myself again and again (and also, I just don’t have that much time!)

So, I have carefully narrowed the list down, to my favourite 5 , historically and culturally.

Enjoy!

Château de Versailles is situated in the île-de-France region, and is perhaps one of the best know Châteaux in France. It was constructed in 1623, to be used as a hunting lodge for the King Louis XIII, and has since been expanded by other various monarchs; Louis XIV, Louis XVIII, Louis XV. It is still being renovated to this day. 

As Versailles was the seat of political power in France from 1682, the Château de Versailles is not only famous for being a building, but also represents the absolute monarchy of the Ancien Régime. 

The Château de Saumur (inset) is also another of my favourites, it can be found in the heart of Saumur, within the Loire Region, overlooking the River Loire. It was originally built by Theobald I in the 10th century as a fortification against the Normans, however it was destroyed in 1067, leading to the reconstruction in the 12th century. 
Along with many other Châteaux in France, the Château de Saumur has been labelled as a monument historique. 

Château de Chambord, is built with a renaissance style and is situated in Chambord, unsurprisingly. This Château has never been completed but it was constructed by the French King, King Francis I of France. As well as being the largest Château in the Loire Valley, the Château de Chambord also plays a major piece in French History. 

It was practically abandoned, after the sale of its furniture, paintings and even timber, until Napoleon Bonaparte gave it to his subordinate, Louis Alexandre Berthier. Also during WWII, paintings from the French Galleries (Louvre in particular) were sent to the Château de Chambord, to be safety. One of the most well known paintings sent here was the Mona Lisa.

The Château de Chenonceau is also in the Loire Valley and is built with the artchitectural mixture of gothic and renaissance style in mind. It is also one of the most visited Châteaux in France, unsurprising due to its extensive and beautiful gardens, and the river that flows beneath the Château. 

It was not built for royal reasons, but in fact for rich people and was passed down through the generations. 

Finally, the Château de Pierrefonds has also made it to my quite small (sorry) list. It’s a medieval castle situated in Pierrefonds, Oise Region. The 12th century began the major construction of this Château, however it just began with a small castle, and was extended to a larger one in 1393. Although during Louis XIII’s reign, people attempted to demolish this castle, but gave up eventually, due to the enormity of the task, and therefore, the castle remained abandoned and a ruin for more than two centuries until Napoleon I arrived. From then, the castle has been effectively restored and extended. 

In modern times, the Château de Pierrefonds has been used for plenty of filming, such as Camelot in the BBC’s Merlin, and also for Disney’s Wizards of Waverley Place.

There you have it, I hope you have enjoyed it! 

Have you been to any of these Châteaux? or are there any that aren’t on my list but they definitely should? just comment below!

– Navigatio Travel 

Best places in Saumur 

Well, as I said before in my previous post France – Saumur , I just love France, along with it’s diverse countryside and countless Chateau’s.

So in this post I am going to be naming my favourite places to eat, things to do and best views in the gorgeous town of Saumur.

This historic town is situated between the Loire and Thouet Rivers, as well as being surrounded by some of France’s best wine vineyards. 

I think I will start with a bit of history about this  town; the Chateau de Saumur was built in the 10th century to protect the settlement from Norman Attacks. If you walk alongside the walls, which go down the hill from Rue des Moulins to the town centre, you can still see the arrow slits. 

Saumur was also involved in the Second World War, and was therefore the site of the Battle of Saumur (1940). Once the war had finished, Saumur was awarded the Croix de Guerre (Cross of War) due to the display of French Patriotism and resistance during the war.

Saumur is also the home of Le Cadre Noir, an equestrian display team, the National Tank Museum and above all, the magnificent Chateau de Saumur. 

For me, the best restaurants were:

  • L’escargot
  • Le Grand Bleu
  • La Bigouden 
  • Saumur 1929

They all showed individuality as well as  delicious and traditional French Cuisine. 

I would honestly recommend walking or cycling along the River Loire, a great bike hire place is Velospot , they have great and friendly service, as well as speaking English. 

Also Kayaking along the River, proved to be very enjoyable as well, we chose Pole Nautique which enabled us to choose where to start our journey and how long we would make it. Here are some options if where to start the kayak:

  • Villebernier
  • Montsoreau
  • Luynes
  • Chouze
  • St. Clement

Here are some activities that I would really reccomend  to see or do:

  • Le Cadre Noir
  • The National Tank Museum 
  • Chateau de Saumur 
  • Mushroom Museum 
  • Notre Dame des Ardillieres 
  • St . Peter Church 
  • Troglodyte Caves

If you want, you can always visit Chateaux close to Saumur, such as in:

  • Chenonceau  
  • Chaumont
  • Chinon
  • Blois 
  • Rivau
  • Amboise

For me, the best views were at the Rue des Moulins. It looks over the River Loire, with a terrific view of the opposite bank.

Have you been to Saumur before? If so, do you have any suggestions or other comments (or perhaps just wanting a little shoutout?). All you have to do is comment below!

Comment below if you have any blog post suggestions.

Thanks for reading ,

– Navigatio Travel

France – Saumur

Well, what can I say? This is without a doubt the reason that France is practically my second home. 

We stayed in a gorgeous house, with fabulous views all over the River Loire, where over the next couple of days, we cycled and walked along it as well as kayaking downstream. I will try and find a link to the house, I really do recommend it. 

I visited this stunning town about two years ago now, so obviously I can’t remember all of the facts that made this trip memorable, but I can remember this: my true disappointment and sadness when I had to leave this little gem of France.

The people here are undoubtedly some of the friendliest type you could ever wish to meet, at every café, restaurant, shop or even on small excursions, or just generally wandering and exploring Saumur, they constantly treat you as if you weren’t a tourist but a local, living there with them in France. The genuine smile I saw so many times a day really lifted and brightened my day, thus improving the holiday overall.

We also visited the wonderful Chateau of Chenonceau, a highlight of the trip, which is situated in Chenonceaux, only 1 hour or so away from Saumur.

It’s bright gardens, river flowing practically beneath the Chateau, and maze will make it a trip for the whole family. 

We also visited the Saumur Chateau on another day, which again was pretty spectacular, compared to British castles. If you visit France, make sure to visit at least one castle; I will do a later post on the best French Chateau’s to visit. 

The Saumur Chateau is not featured in the photo below, but the photo is instead of the Notre-Dame des Ardillieres, a chapel.

On another day, we enjoyed watching Le Cadre Noir, an equestrian display team, and the French Military Academy École Nationale d’Équitation  (where the display is held) is considered to be one of the most prestigious in the World. 

I apologise, I have no photos of this display, due to my attempt to upload photos, but them just not seeming to upload, but here is a link to Le Cadre Noir’s webpage, I advise you to check it out.

Anyway, that is all for now, I think, any questions or comments, please feel free to ask or perhaps to even share this blog post, it’s up to you.

Have you been to this glorious part of France, or are you planning to come to Saumur or the Loire Region? Comment below,

Thanks again and goodbye,

-Navigatio Travel