Waterfalls

Hello everybody!

Welcome to a new post in Travel Thursday!

Today, I want to present a top 3 of the most amazing and majestic waterfalls I have seen (that’s not to say that I saw a whole lot of them, but they were really spectacular!)

I have always been fascinated with water and everything to do with it. Having lived my whole life in a city by the sea, I guess it was only natural that I have a connection with it.

Waterfall at Balchik Castle, Bulgaria

3. The Waterfalls at Balchik Castle, Bulgaria

Balchik Castle is a wonder right next to the sea. With its impressive gardens (I highly recommend a visit in the spring or summer time!) overlooking the Black Sea on its Bulgarian coastline, it features the lengthy waterfall above, which is very spectacular.

Being the first thing you hear when you approach the Castle, the waterfall seems to herald its entrance.

Waterfall at Quinta da Regaleira, Sintra, Portugal

2. The waterfall at Quinta da Regaleira Palace, Sintra, Portugal

The impressive waterfall at Quinta da Regaleira is a beauty in itself, but it also features a complex maze underneath. The labyrinth leads to a passage where you can see the waterfall from inside, creating a spectacular view. You can also explore the grotto and end up right under the waterfall.

Bigar Falls, Romania

1. The Bigăr Waterfall, Romania

Voted #1 în The “Eight most amazing waterfalls in the world”, by The World Geography, Bigăr Cascade Falls can be found just off the Main road. Located in the Nera Gorges, in Beușnița National Park, the waterfall features an amazing waterdrop, not due to its height, but rather it’s many springs.

Arches and Instances of Varna

As I had started saying last week, we have visited Varna for a day.

As a port to the Black Sea, Varna offers some amazing views.

In addition to the beautiful cityscape, Varna scenery is dotted with amazing arches, which breathe history.

Roses and Fountains of Varna

This year, for my birthday, my husband and I decided to do something new, instead of the usual restaurant lunch / dinner. However, international flights were out of the question, but we really missed a road trip, so we decided to drive to Varna.

From Constanta, Romania, it’s about a two-and-a-half hour drive.

We did get into some trouble with the Buglarian Vignette, because the shop in the Customs area was very busy, and we didn’t want to waste any more time, so we decided to buy the vignette at the first Petrol Station, in Durankulak. Unfortunately, they didn’t have that option there anymore (or they did, but they didn’t want to help us, the ladies there seemed very unhelpfull), so we ended up buying it online.

On our way to Varna, in order to stretch our legs, we stopped for a coffee in Tyulenovo.

Tyulenovo Bar and Restaurant

I recommend Tyulenovo Bar and Restaurant, it was a wonderful place, with an amazing view for a cup of coffee or even a lunch. They also function as a hotel, so if this is a view you could wake up to, now you have the opportunity! The prices are also budget-friendly, we paid 15 Leva (Around 7,50 Euro or 8,50 USD) for 2 coffees, a beer and a Coca-Cola.

Next, we arrived in Varna, and we ran into some more trouble with parking. The streets of Varna are narrower than we were used to, and there was road work on the streest near the center, so we had a difficult time finding a parking spot. When we did find a parking spot, it turned out we needed a Bulgarian phone number to send an SMS message to pay for the parking, or download an app and connect to it with a credit card. Finally, we managed to find somebody who was nice enough to send the SMSs from his mobile phone, and we paid him in cash for the parking. Parking in Varna costs 1 Leva per hour, plus the cost of the message, and you can send up to 3 SMS, so you can pay for 3 hours.

Next, we left our car and went in search of the wonders of Varna.

Antiques shop in Varna
Roses and Ruins

The rose is the flower symbol of Bulgaria, and with good reason. In the photo above, you can see a part of the Roman Baths, surrounded by a garden of roses.

What I did miss this time, but I promised myself I wouldn’t miss next time, is a shopping session for one of the many cosmetic products with rose oil. In addition to their properties, they also smell amazing!

The Bulgarian Rose

The Sea Garden, the major park in Varna, is a real wonder of nature. A walk in the park helped us recharge our batteries and gave me some time to find these gems below.

Follow us to find about the best place to eat in Varna!

Did you visit Varna? What do you think of the city? Let us know in the comments!

Honeymoon in Lisbon – Day 5

Hello everybody!

I have prepared a special itinerary for day 5.

One of the most impressive monuments I have visited in Lisbon is the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos. It houses the Museu da Marinha, the Maritime Museum, and other various exhibits.

Amazing details on the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos

Next to the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, you can find the Torre de Belem, a fortified tower, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as it was a crucial part of the Age of Discoveries.

Also, near the Torre de Belem, you can find the Padrão dos Descobrimentos, another monument dedicated to the Age of Discoveries.

Tip: Just across the street from the Mosterio dos Jeronimos, you can find a Starbucks. Right next to the Starbucks is THE PLACE to try Pasteis de Belem – Portuguese custard tarts which are amazing! Pasteis de Belem is also the name of the place which sells them here, and they have been making the tarts since 1837, following the original recipe from the Mosterio dos Jeronimos!

Honeymoon in Lisbon – Day 3

Hello everybody!

I am continuing the honeymoon itinerary with another day trip!

If you are not up-to-date on the read, find Day 1 HERE and Day 2 HERE.

For Day 3, I propose a day trip to Cabo da Roca and Cascais!

For this, you must take the train from Lisbon to Sintra, then the bus from Sintra to Cabo da Roca, and another bus from Cabo da Roca to Cascais! Alternatively, you can stay in Sintra for the second night, and leave to Cabo da Roca in the morning, with the final destination being Lisbon, but that would prove rather difficult if you carry a lot of baggage! What I propose is that you add another night in Sintra, because I have something amazing for Day 4!

What awaits at Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of Continental Europe? The amazing scenery below!

Cabo da Roca

It really is worth a visit, but make sure you check the bus schedule! There is a bar just outside the bus station, so you can enjoy a beer if you happen to miss the bus!

Next on the itinerary, I propose you hop on the bus heading to Cascais! Enjoy lunch with a view!

The Cascais marina is really amazing, and the water looks marvelous! I could hardly decide between the hundreds of photos we took there!

Another hidden jewel is the Boca do Inferno, which literally translates to Hellmouth, due to the noise the water makes when entering the grotto.

Boca do Inferno

I hope you enjoyed Day 3 and that you are not too exhausted for Day 4!

Honeymoon in Lisbon – Day 2

Hello everybody!

As I was saying last week HERE, I will try to provide some ideas for a honeymoon in Portugal, in the Lisbon area.

The first day ended with you and your spouse / significant other drinking wine and listening to Fado music. If you can, and this is a sort of general travel tip, try to book a hotel with breakfast included; this way, you can grab a bite to eat before you head out, and you can stretch lunch to a later hour, so as not to interfere with a busy schedule of visiting!

For the second day of the trip, I propose the following itinerary:

  • Take a walk through the park to the Castelo dos Mouros (it will last forever, but the view and the journey is AMAZING!!!)
  • Visit the Castelo dos Mouros
  • Have a picnic lunch in the Palacio da Pena Gardens
  • Visit the Palacio Nacional de Pena
  • Visit Vale dos Lagos – Pateira

It may sound like a lot, but only the first part of the itinerary is the hardest, as I propose you return to Sintra center via Tuk-Tuk (the trip from the exit of Vale dos Lagos – Pateira to Sintra center was 5 Euros / person, and I can honestly say it was the best spent money of my life, as my feet were killing me by the time we finished the trip!)

If you don’t have any ideas for a picnic lunch, try to find a grocery store (I think we actually got some groceries in a town near Sintra on our first day!). A small selection of local meats and cheeses makes for an amazing lunch, and is also easy to pack and clean up afterward!

Honeymoon in Lisbon – Day 1

Hello everybody!

Today, I am starting a new post series on Travel Thursday, a DIY honeymoon planner for a week in the Lisbon area. I am going to present ideas from my actual honeymoon, so I really hope you will enjoy!

My husband and I choose a mid range budget, but we did splurge a little on the hotel, we usually book 3 star hotels, but for our honeymoon we choose 4 star hotels. For our meals, we try to keep it balanced – not only eating in high end restaurants, but more like down to earth places, full of local flavor (the type chosen by locals mostly), and we try to avoid tourist traps.

So, for the first part of the trip, I will propose a 3 day stay in Sintra, a city somewhat near Lisbon. From my “before the trip” research, I found that Sintra was mostly presented as a day-trip from Lisbon, but I got the feeling that only a day was not enough to visit all the beauties this area had to offer, so we settled on 3 days in Sintra, followed by 4 days in Lisbon. It was really worth it!

The itinerary for the first day is pretty simple:

  • Arrival at Humberto Delgado Airport.
  • Take the metro from Airport to Oriente train station.
  • Take the train from Orient station to Sintra station.
  • Walk to the hotel.
  • Check-in formalities.
  • Visit Palacio Nacional da Sintra.
  • Have dinner at one of the many restaurants around.
Dona Maria Restaurant, Sintra

As for the hotel, I really recommend Tivoli Sintra hotel, it has a nice restaurant with an amazing view, as well as rooms with mountain view. It is right next to Palacio Nacional da Sintra, so you have something to visit on your first day. It is also in the middle of the tourist “hot spot”, so you are really close to most of the objectives you have to visit.

A Fonte Mourisca em Sintra

The only downside is the distance to the train station, but the view you must pass to get from the station to the hotel is well worth the 15 minute walk.

Palacio Nacional de Sintra

Wherever you choose to stay, end your day with a glass of wine (or Vinho de Porto, if you hold your liquor! 🙂 ), on a terrace, listening to Fado music (on Youtube, if you can’t find a restaurant with live music in the area).

Cafe ‘ Rocher Catania

Hello everybody!

One of my plans for 2019 is to try and write more often, and more original content, not just language lessons, but also short stories and travel related posts!

This week’s Travel Thursday is more like a history lesson than a review, seeing as the place I am talking about is permanently closed.

I have spent several my winter holidays in Catania for several years, and it was a beautiful place. It was really nice to enjoy Christmas at 15 degrees Celsius, even though everybody was bunddled up as though it was freezing.

One of my favorite tips for tourists in Catania would be to enjoy happy hour! In this part of Sicily, as I have found, happy hour means that for every cocktail you order, you receive some sort of appetizer.

Cafe Rocher was really great, and the food was really good! It was the place where I learned to love Pasta alla Norma (and the only place where I actually enjoyed eggplant!), and their desserts were quite decadent also.

One of the reasons why I liked Cafe Rocher was because their happy hour offer extended to beer also (not many bars offered appetizers for beer, only for cocktails), and I was there with my now husband, who isn’t really a fan of cocktails.

Do you have any such tips for other tourists?

Happy New Year!

Hello everybody!

I wish you all a Happy New Year! May the new year find you healthy, wealthy and loved!

Please find below some traditions for the New Year!

In Spain, the New Year’s tradition for good luck revolves around grapes. If you can manage to stuff 12 grapes in your mouth at midnight you’ve achieved good luck for the next year.

In Italy, tradition calls for lentils to be served on New Year’s Eve because they symbolize money and good fortune for the coming year.

In Portugal, it is tradition to keep some money in your pocket at midnight, to attract wealth.

In France, the evening often starts with a traditional dinner including foie gras, oysters,smoked salmon and champagne.

In the UK, the carol Auld Lang Syne became a tradition. The poem was written by Scottish writer Robert Burns in 1788, and the music was added after Burns’ death.

Happy New Year!