Venice, Italy | Floating in her Beautiful Shabbiness

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All blog posts are based on our personal travels around Europe, penned by J. Christina.

Venice, Italy, the Queen of the Adriatic; notably the most beautiful and unique city in the world- a jewel of European culture.

We arrived in Venice where it connects to the mainland by the road causeway, Ponte Della Liberta, Bridge of Freedom; traveling from Croatia, Slovenia, and the Gulf of Trieste, Italy.  It’s good to be back in Venice after a few years away. What better way to end this month of travel than spending our birthdays and wedding anniversary in this romantic city?

This extraordinary city floats in her beautiful shabbiness and embraces you with her incredible beauty; beckoning you forward to discover its hidden nuances, curlicue alleyways, and winding canals.  It’s a magical atmosphere and a perfect postcard treasure that will linger in your memory forever.

Rialto bridge was built to provide access to the Rialto market and connect the San Marco and San Polo sestieri (districts), the Rialto is the oldest bridge across the Grand Canal  image@pixabay

It was a pleasure to reorient ourselves with the most famous and touristy St. Marco Square, St. Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace, and the ornate Rialto Bridge, the most photographed spot in the world. We took a quiet break to explore a few other neighborhoods in Venice. Where each sestieri has its distinct personality and allure; taking a slow walk to catch our breath and relax.  We strolled the behind-the-scenes areas to enjoy the authentic beauty of Venice, exploring the labyrinth of back streets, rambling passageways, on foot, far away from the charming chaos. Yes, there are romantic gondolas rides and vaporettos to take you around this treasured city; but exploring the off-the-beaten-path, laid-back, lived-in, neighborhoods on foot for an up-close and personal experience of everyday life in Venice is memorable.


Trieste, Italy | A City by the Sea

Welcome!  Join our journey to postcard -perfect destinations. 

All blog posts are based on our personal travels around Europe, penned by J. Christina.

We are enjoying our slow travel through Central Europe, where we are weaving back-and-forth, crisscrossing the final borders in Slovenia, Croatia, and Italy; and we hope you are too.  On this trek, we have discovered a melting pot of cultures, dialects, and Art Nouveau elegance, and all in one stop, as we arrive at the heart-shaped Istria peninsula at the Gulf of Trieste, Italy. (tree-estItalian tree-es-te)

Today the largest part of the Istrian territory belongs to Croatia, small slivers belong to Slovenia, and minuscule parts to Italy. It blends the cultures of Austria and Italy with the culture and heritage of Croatia seamlessly. Most people are bilingual, so road signs and places are shown in Italian and Croatian. Istria is a premier holiday destination in Croatia.

Istria is Croatia’s largest peninsula and has hundreds of kilometers of stunning coastline, allowing us to cross into the Gulf of Trieste, Italy easily.  Some say Trieste is Italy’s most cosmopolitan city where it reminisces of the glory days of the Habsburg influence dubbing it “the little Vienna on the Sea”.  That’s the perfect portrayal, since Trieste belonged to the Habsburg Monarchy for 400 years, and became one of the greatest powers of Europe with its international seaport in the Mediterranean. 

Trieste, Italy  @google image
Trieste is often overlooked by tourists who are making their way to more well-known Italian cities like Venice, sitting a meager 100 miles to the west.  But Trieste is a bustling city with cultural attractions, museums, and refined Viennese-style coffee houses. Most famously, Trieste is headquarters to the Italian coffee brand illy, created by Francisco Illy in 1933. The city is intimately aligned as the world center of coffee, and nowadays with the Università del Caffè, offering an International Master’s degree in Coffee Science and Economics. Coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world.


Bled, Slovenia | Magical Legends, Fables and Folklore

Welcome!  Join our journey to postcard -perfect destinations. 

All blog posts are based on our personal travels around Europe, penned by J. Christina.

From along the breathtaking Dalmatian Coast and traveling through war-torn countries in Central Europe, we have experienced the incredible natural beauty, glittering azure water, majestic beaches, and soaring mountains as we reach storied Lake Bled.

We arrive at magical Lake Bled and its fairy tale world in Slovenia. Lake Bled is ranked one of the most beautiful places in Slovenia and the most photogenic lake on the planet.  Bled is Slovenia’s most popular alpine resort, luring honeymooners, backpackers, hikers, mountaineers, and outdoorsmen, during all four seasons.

The amazing alpine town of Bled is nestled between the soaring Julian Alps and the Karawanks mountain ranges near the border of Austria; about 50 km northwest of the nation’s capital city of Ljubljana. Where the sky-high mountain ranges ascend upward 9,400’above Lake Bled, the highest peak in Slovenia.

Slovenia has some 500 fairy tale castles sprinkled through the country; that’s one castle per 25 kilometers, all enhancing the backdrop of the folklore of this stunning and intriguing country.

In the distance, the iconic Bled Castle / Blejski Grad the oldest in Slovenia gracefully dangles over a 130m high rocky limestone cliff, overlooking the mirrored turquoise waters of Lake Bled.  This postcard-perfect place is a treasure-trove of tales, myths, and magical legends waiting to be explored.

Just one of the many fables in ancient times is there was no water at the now Lake Bled, it was once a valley of lush green grass and only a single rock.  By day the shepherds grazed their sheep in the valley, and by night the fairies danced. Until one day, when the fairies asked the shepherds to fence in around their dance area, so the grass would remain soft.  The shepherds ignored their plea and soon the youngest and most beautiful fairy broke her leg while dancing. 


Slovenia | Fairy-Tale Places

Welcome!  Join our journey to postcard -perfect destinations. 

All blog posts are based on our personal travels around Europe, penned by J. Christina.

Where is this pint-sized, fairy-tale country of Slovenia with love in its name? Slovenia is situated in Central and Southeast Europe where one could touch the Julian Alps or tickle the Mediterranean Sea. Slovenia is bound by Austria, Croatia, Hungary, and Italy, being nearly landlocked; with only 50 km of Adriatic Sea between Italy and Croatia. Here we visit the capital city of Ljubljana, (loo·blee·aa·nuh) a hidden European gem.

This journey began along the shimmering Dalmatian coastline, crisscrossing the Homeland War countries of Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Adriatic Sea provides glorious views at every turn, playing hide-n’-seek with the sea on one side, and the soaring Balkan Mountains in the distance.


Bosnia's Only Seaside Resort: Neum

Welcome!  Join our journey to postcard-perfect destinations. 

All blog posts are based on our personal travels around Europe, penned by J. Christina.

Our journey began in the southern tip of Dubrovnik, Croatia, where we head northbound, purposely making stops in other war-torn countries; Bosnia, Montenegro, and Slovenia. Through our travels, we delightfully discovered unexpected seaside resorts, learned their country’s troubled history, and explored this ethnically diverse region. All while navigating the most spectacular stretch of coastline in the world, the Dalmatian Coast.

Soon the border crossing into Bosnia-Herzegovina is within sight, 70km from Dubrovnik, and just west of the country of Albania. Luckily entering Bosnia was uneventful, after a 45-minute wait, passports are presented, but no face-to-face interview required; this is not the norm in the summer months, so prepare for a very long wait. We show our appreciation for a speedy pass-through leaving bottled water for the border agents.  (*As of July 2020, new border crossing regulations are in place due to coronavirus pandemic).

Just inside the BiH border, we take a comfort stop at Neum, often referred to the Neum Riviera.  The Neum corridor is the shortest coastline in the world, aside from the principality of Monaco. It boasts a scant 20km of shimmering Adriatic Sea coastline wedged in-between the Croatian coast. This tiny corridor is a result of the break-up of Yugoslavia, and the only exit to the sea in Bosnia.



Elusive Montenegro

Welcome!  Join our journey to postcard -perfect destinations. 

All blog posts are based on our personal travels around Europe, penned by J. Christina

Where is this elusive, pocket-size country of Montenegro, Europe's youngest country; and our 29th member to NATO? Montenegro is a tiny country in southeastern Europe, on the sunny, southern coastline of the Adriatic Sea. Formerly, Montenegro was part of Yugoslavia, until the break-up in 1992, and became a sovereign state when over 55% of the population voted for independence in  May 2006.

Montenegro is often called the land of six continents for its geographic diversity. It’s a country that offers tourists, intrepid travelers, and holidaymakers a versatile vacation destination; where you can tickle the turquoise sea or enjoy the soaring, snow-capped mountains in the distance.