Holiday · Life · Live, love, laugh · travel

Guest post series #placestovisit – Why You Should Visit Krka National Park, Croatiapos

Today’s post is written by Sarah from that squat bot, if you would like to know more about Sarah please scroll down to the bottom of this post where you can find her details.

Croatia is a beautiful country with stunning landscapes, rolling mountains and excellent food and wine. If you wanted to stay around the coast, I wouldn’t blame you – the glittering ocean, the Dalmatian islands dotted throughout, and the incredible sunsets are certainly a draw.

What if I told you there was a place equally as stunning a little inland, just an hour from Split – and that in going here, you would get the chance to swim in a waterfall? It’s true! Krka National Park is a bus ride from the second largest city in Croatia, and is well worth the trip to walk around the forest and breathe in the magic of the waterfalls.


How do I get to Krka?

We got a bus from the station in Split, which cost around £20 return and took an hour and a quarter to reach the village of Skradin. From there you go into the glass visitor centre to buy your ticket to Krka (around £7), then you hop on the boat which takes you to the park. The boat takes 25 minutes but this is definitely a part of the experience!
You don’t seem to need your ticket for the rest of the time you’re there, but keep hold of it just in case. I’d recommend booking your return bus journey, as the buses back can get busy and ticket holders are prioritised.

What to take to Krka

Before going I read that you had to take your own food and drink as there was nothing there – but this isn’t true! There are quite a few places to buy food and drink, although I would imagine they are fairly expensive. You can’t go wrong with grabbing a sandwich and a pastry from one of the bakeries near Split bus station – just remember to take all of your rubbish away with you when you leave – and take cash along too.


You do not want to miss out on the chance to swim in a waterfall, so the main thing you’ll want to take to Krka is your swim kit, beach towel and swim shoes. Pretty much all swimming in Croatia requires neoprene swim shoes and Krka is no exception. There are just toilets to get changed in which you have to pay for, so if you can arrive in your swimming kit then it’s going to be much easier for you.

Finally, don’t forget your walking shoes and camera to capture the stunning views!
What to do in Krka

The main thing that drew me to Krka was the opportunity to swim in a waterfall, as this is a real bucket-list-ticking moment! However, be aware that unfortunately there are restrictions where you can swim, and you can’t swim under the actual falling water – I heard a staff member say they had to cordon off areas as people were getting silly jumping off. A real shame, but it’s good to know our safety is paramount.

The swimming area gets deep quickly, the current from the waterfall is powerful, and you can easily get swept into some big rocks so you do have to be a strong swimmer to get out there. However, there is a shallower area if you’d just like to relax, get some photos, and tick it off your list!


I must admit, although the main draw was the waterfall, the most beautiful thing about Krka was the forest and the lovely walk you can do around the park. It takes an hour to get fully around, and although there are some hills, it’s fully accessible with step alternatives and wooden gangways that lead you over streams. There are so many waterfalls within the park and there are many viewpoints at which to grab photos of them at.

Should I get a guide or do an organised trip?

It’s up to you and what you’re used to, but I don’t think it warrants it. It’s easy to book your bus online or in the bus station – information is clear and everyone speaks good English – and once you’re in the park it’s simple to navigate around. All you have to do is enjoy the views.

It may be away from Croatia’s glittering coast, but Krka National Park is not to be missed on your trip to Croatia!

Holiday · Interests and Hobbies · Life · travel

Guest post series #placestovisit – Why I Love My Adopted Home In Barcelona & Why You Should Too?

Today’s post is written by Charlie from world of travel photography, if you would like to know more about Charlie, please scroll down to the bottom of this post where you can find his details.

You may have heard about Barcelona in the news quite a lot recently. Since summer 2 major events have taken place which haven’t exactly painted the city in the best light, which is why I feel so passionate about writing this post. First there was the, quite frankly sickening, terrorist attack back in August and more recently the unrest about Catalonia (the region in Spain where Barcelona is located) voting to become an independent state and attempting to break away from Spain.

Both of these events however do not define this beautiful city that I have come to call my home and I feel as though the other side of the story needs to be told.

Firstly let me start by saying this isn’t going to be a politically driving post, this is just me showing you why I love it here and why, if you haven’t already, you should plan your next escape to this little corner of the world full of so much culture, fun and things to do.

Let’s start with a little background information

You can think of Spain as less of a country as a whole and more of a union of smaller regions which came together to form what we know as Spain today. In total there are 17 autonomous regions within the country which have varying degrees of independence from the central government in Madrid.

Catalonia is one of these autonomous regions.

You might think that in Spain the language everyone speaks is Spanish right? Well while this is true for 99% of the population there are also 3 other main languages spoken, the largest of these other languages is Catalan which is from Catalonia. In total 17% of the entire country of Spain speak Catalan (as well as traditional Spanish, or Castellano to give it its true name) so you can see that Catalan culture is well and truly alive and kicking.

This strong connection to their roots makes Catalans and the city of Barcelona a melting pot of traditional Spanish culture and Catalan culture. If your thinking ‘well Catalan can’t be that different from Spanish’ you’re wrong. It’s not a dialect, it is its own language entirely. I speak Spanish and can only just about understand the odd word of Catalan here and there.

The fact that the people of Barcelona identify so strongly as Catalan rather than solely Spanish is the reason the independence movement has gained so much momentum recently, but like I said this isn’t a political article so let’s move on to one of my favourite things about the city.

The architecture  

Barcelona is known the world over for its stunning buildings, mostly thanks to the 19th century architect Antonio Gaudi who used the city as his playground for creating his masterpieces. His most famous piece being the Sagrada Familia, a unique church that takes pride of place in the centre of the city.

The Sagrada Familia

It’s impossible to come to Barcelona and not see some of his creations. They are dotted all over the city, each one unique but at the same time distinctly ‘a Gaudi’.

Casa Batllo, another one of Gaudi’s creations

And finally we come to Park Guell. Gaudi designed it as a place for the local community to enjoy his unique style of architecture whilst looking out over Barcelona with a clear view all the way down to the sea.

Park Guell

The cities’ easy going vibe and eclectic mix of nationalities

Barcelona is anything but unwelcoming. As you walk through the narrow alleyways of the Gothic Quarter or down the famous La Rambla you will hear every language being spoken under the sun. The city is a metropolis in the true sense of the word, people from all over come to Barcelona to both visit and make a new life for themselves. Everyone is welcome here.

(PHOTO 5 Caption: La Rambla)

What sets this place apart from other big European cities is something intangible, its vibe. This is largely thanks to the fact Barcelona is situated on the coast and has a beautiful beach which for some reason seems to make everyone take life just that little bit slower. During the summer months people sunbath by the Mediterranean Sea, others can be seen playing volleyball and laughing with their friends. Then at night the beach turns into a chilled out bar under the stars, groups of friends sitting on the sand with beers and sangria in-hand chatting away late into the night.

Barcelona Beach found right on the cities’ door step

The food

You can’t talk about Spain without talking about the food. This gets even more interesting when in Barcelona. The Spanish/Catalan mix really comes out when eating in this part of Spain. While you can still get a great Paella you’ll also find other traditional Catalan dishes with a Spanish influence on the menu.

Traditional Pa Amb Tomàquet Flickr Creative Commons Credit

Find a great little local cafe and order Pa Amb Tomàquet (toast with blended tomatoes and plenty of olive oil) for breakfast, or if you’re there in the right season some char grilled Calçots (a type of long thin onion that is cooked over bare flames and served with Romesco Sauce).

Calçots & Romesco Sauce Flickr Creative Commons Credit

I hope I’ve inspired you to visit my favourite city in Europe, if I have I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. If you have any questions about Barcelona drop them below as well and I’ll make sure I reply and help out as much as I can!

Thanks for reading.

The Author

Charlie is a travel photographer who shares his experiences and work over on his blog World of Travel Photography. Since a young age he has been passionate about travel and using photography to document the world as he sees it. Recently he has turned his attention to helping his readers get on the same path and turn their hobby of photography into part-time or even full-time work.

Blog | Instagram

Holiday · Interests and Hobbies · Life · Live, love, laugh

Places to visit guest Post series

Who doesn’t like travelling?! I’m sure you all have a bucket list of places you want to visit or a dream holiday. I love to go on holiday and I would love to travel more if only possible but at the moment it’s limited because my boys were still little. However, it’s nice to indulge and get inspiration from travel bloggers who are happy to share their experiences and recommended places for a holiday or travel destination.

Since travelling is one of our interests but we can’t do as much as we would like at the moment that we are launching a “places to visit” guest series

The #placestovisit guest series will be a new Wednesday regular weekly feature on the blog and aims to feature fellow bloggers sharing their traveling diary, experiences, holidays and recommended places they have visited, uk and abroad. It would be a valuable insight to hear their journey of adventure so that when our turn comes, we will be ready and things we learn from their post will be handy for travelling.

The first guest post will start next week. If you would like to take part in this guest series and would like some more information please message me to get in touch.

Philippines

Since we originally came from the Philippines, I would kick start this guest series by showcasing you why you should visit the philippines.

The Filipinos

The people in the philippines is very welcoming and hospitable when it comes to visitors. They are more than happy to offer the best thing they have just to pleased their guest. They are very generous, entertaining and always smiling. They have a cheerful personality that makes you happy as if like there is sunshine everywhere.

The foods

There is a wide varieties of food choices in the philippines since many restaurant cater many different cuisines either Chinese, English, Japanese food and many more so you there is something for everyone. However, your travel to the country won’t be complete without trying filipino foods.

Gift guide · Holiday · Life · Live, love, laugh

Packing for our holiday in the Philippines and what is filipino pasalubong?

We are going on a family holiday to the philippines again this August and as our flight is getting nearer I have start packing and I have accumulated so much shopping I have collected in preparation for our holiday.

Everytime we go for a holiday to the philippines, I always buy new things for everyone, it's become a habit but I always do it early if I know we're going. I shop around from the sales and buy clothes and other things as gifts and toiletries etc. I buy for my kids, my husband and of course for myself 🙂

Here is what I have packed so far, and this is not final yet as I still have a few items bought online which haven't arrived yet and I need more shopping trips to buy chocolates for family and friends in the philippines.

For me

I must admit, I'm a bit of a shopaholic and I have so many clothes that I don't know what to bring anymore lol, I feel like I wanted to bring my whole closet but I can't. I bought so much new stuff from the sales but I still have loads of new clothes to pack. I will probably just pack loads and giveaway some of them as a pasalubong (gift).

For hubby

Since it's my husband's birthday while we are away, I have bought him loads of new summery clothes to wear in the philippines. It's an early birthday present, but shhh I got them mostly from the sales 😉 and yes they are mostly from H&M. 

For my daughter

My teenage daughter has her own fashion taste and style, according to her she doesn't really want most of the clothes I buy for her  (teenagers, who'd have em!?), so I let her have a browse online and treat her a shopping spree for stuff she wants to use on our holiday. We will probably put the kids stuff in hand carry luggage as we need a lot of space for pasalubong, which I will tell you about in a bit.

Every time I see a clothes sale I can't resist buying for my boys. I even bought them the same t shirt each so they will look like a twins lol I just like them matching, even if there is a few years between them. 

Hubby's shopping spree

Hubby went shopping as well and bought even more so that's another thing to add to our luggage.

What is filipino pasalubong?

Pasalubong is a popular Filipino tradition of bringing home something from your travels for your loved ones back at home. It can be a simple souvenir you got from the places that you went to or food that you have tried and want to bring home with you.

Pasalubong can also be a gift given to you by someone who just came from other place in the Philippines or abroad.
Often, pasalubong is associated with people traveling abroad and are coming back home, who we call balikbayan. So people returning from out of the country, like us, are almost always carrying a lot of gifts from the country that they have been to that they will be giving to those who they left here in the Philippines. However, pasalubong can also be taken the other way around. It can be something you give to other people abroad that came from the Philippines when you travel out of the country.

So far, I have pack this but I have more so they will take the space on our 2 main luggage. All of this will go to our family and friends in the philippines as our pasalubong. It's very expensive to go home for a holiday in the philippines but it feels awkward to go empty handed without giving any presents to them since it has become a tradition for us Filipinos to share blessings and be generous with anything we can give.

Days out · Holiday

5 tips for a summer holiday in Florida

As you know I have just got back from a fabulous trip to Florida. Florida in June is hot and humid, not just warm but very very hot. Most days the temperature reached 36 degrees celcius but by late afternoon (4-6pm ish) there is usually a thunder storm with huge downpour. 

Here are my tips for getting the most from your Florida trip;

Tips for the heat:

  • Buy a cool towel from Walmart, they are cheap at around $5 and stay wet most of the day, they are great round your neck for keeping you cool
  • Wet rides! Make the most of your time in the parks by going on wet rides every few hours to cool off or if you don’t do rides hit the splash zones

Tips for avoiding the rain:

  • Get up early and start your day. Lounging in bed wastes the dry morning, as much as we all love having lie ins when on holiday it is better to avoid the rain by getting out early. 
  • Take a pac-a-mac jacket with you, you can only get ponchos in America and unfortunately they get ripped really easily and once they have been wet a few times they stink!

My final tip is if you go as a couple like we did:

  • Use the single rider queues. Often you only have to wait 10-15 minutes for the ride and, personally, 2/3 times we used them we still got on together. 

Do you have any more tips for enjoying Orlando? Please share!

Holiday · Interests and Hobbies · Life · Live, love, laugh

A Night Of Fun Doesn’t Have To Cost The Earth!

There are few things more frustrating than getting to the end of a busy week, wanting to socialise, only to look at the bank account and see that things aren’t as rosy as you’d like. However, just because you can’t afford a delicious meal and drink after drink, that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. There are much more opportunities to have a good time than most people realise, and they don’t involve spending time in the UK’s best bars, pubs, and clubs. Below, we’ve put together a handful of inexpensive nights you can enjoy when you’re watching the pennies.

Source: Pexels.com

Summer Nights

When the weather is fine, the first thing most of us think to do is head out to the nearest beer garden and soak up the rays, beer in hand. But hold on right there, because that’s going to set you back a fair bit. Instead, why not enjoy the simple pleasures of the summer season? On a warm spring night, you don’t have to go out at all. Instead, you can invite friends around, get a summer campfire lit (see http://www.artofmanliness.com/2008/09/04/how-to-build-a-roaring-campfire/ for info how), and spend the night chatting and waiting for the summer stars to show themselves. Perfect!

Cosy Nights In

Alas, this is the UK, and that good weather won’t stick around forever. Soon, and for most of the year, the weather simply isn’t good enough to spend long nights in the garden. Still, that doesn’t mean you have to go out; there are plenty of ways to have a fun night right in your own home. Invite your nearest and dearest friends around. Select your favourite board game. Find a delicious pizza – discount included – from https://www.vouchercodespro.co.uk/dominos-pizza. Have your friends bring a few drinks, share out the pizza, and spend the evening finding out who’s the King or Queen of the Board Games!

Mixing It Up

We have a tendency to get stuck in our ways, always going to same bars and pubs, always doing the same thing. This can cost a lot of money, and we don’t get anything new from it. Instead, look at doing something different. If it’s sunny, then head out into the town and explore. If it’s rainy, then find a coffee shop in your local city and watch the world pass by. There’ll be a lot more going on in your town or city than you realise. Do something different.

Local Events

Regardless of where you live, there’ll be plenty of locals events taking place in your area, and especially so during the summer and around Christmas. Check out what’s going on at sites like the https://www.list.co.uk/ (there’ll also be websites that focus specifically on your area. Try Googling ‘events in [city]’). Whether it’s a festival, parade, free performance, or something else altogether, you’ll be able to find an event near you that is inexpensive or has to cost at all.

Think Different

The main thing to remember when you need to do something fun but inexpensive is: think different. There are always ways to make your own fun; it just requires a little thinking!

 

*collaborative post

Holiday

Guest Post! Top 10 Travel Bucket List

As I get to travel to more and more places, I get to tick things off my bucket list – but that just leaves room on the list to add more places! Here’s my summer 2017 updated list of places that I NEED to travel to…

1. Santorini Probably the most Instagrammable of all the Greek islands, the hotels carved into the cliff side caves and the blue dome rooves are beyond aesthetically pleasing and have really captured my imagination. I’d love to go here for my honeymoon (I’m not even engaged!) as it looks super romantic, especially the suites with infinity pools or hot tubs overlooking the sea – ideal!

2. Croatia Croatia has become really popular recently and I’d love to go on an island hopping trip there. I’d like to see Dubrovnik and all the places where Game of Thrones is filmed as well as the mid-Dalmation city of Split, Brac, Hvar and Korcula. Apparently it’s an enticing mix of old and new, sightseeing and beach-bumming.

3. Australia Australia has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember but with it being so far away and so expensive, I’ve never had the opportunity to go there before. We’re actually planning a trip in January which I am beyond excited about (I only mention it about 10 times a day) where we’re going to hire a campervan and drive from Sydney up the east coast to Cairns. I’m especially excited for an overnight sailing trip to the Whitsunday Islands which has been recommended to me by pretty much everyone I’ve spoken to about the trip.

4. Kenya I’ve always wanted to go on safari and see some magnificent animals in their natural habitat, rather than in zoos. I’d ideally love to stay at The Safari Collection’s Giraffe Manor, a boutique hotel with luxury rooms set in 12 acres of land where you can have your breakfast with wandering giraffes.

5. LA I’ve visited America a couple of times – Florida and New York – but LA is now top of my list. I’d like to wander up Rodeo Drive, roller skate on Venice Beach and hike in the Hollywood hills. Add to this star spotting on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and a tour of celebrities’ houses.

6. Macedonia A very late addition to the list, Macedonia has very recently caught my attention and, in particular, the capital Skopje. The Soviet-era architecture is really interesting and a lot of it is inspired by architecture in other European countries, like the Arc de Triomphe from Paris. I don’t know many people who have been to Macedonia for a city break and that sense of discovery really appeals to me.

7. Venice The first time I went to Italy was a city break in Rome this January and I absolutely fell head over heels in love with the country. I want to sail on a gondola down the canals, explore the narrow streets and visit St Mark’s Square, the Bridge of Sighs and the Realto Bridge.

8. New Zealand I never really fancied New Zealand up until quite recently but it looks incredible. The lush green scenery is super varied with mountains, lakes, beaches and fiords. Apparently it’s really relaxed, it’s easy to travel around and the beer is good – oh and there are no snakes, unlike Australia!

9. Jamaica I’ve visited the Caribbean in the past when I’ve been to Nassau in the Bahamas and it was literally paradise. I’d love to go back and this time visit Jamaica. I love the laidback island life style, delicious jerk chicken and, of course, the rum cocktails.

10. Iceland Iceland has become really popular for a mini breaks over the past couple of years and I’d love to go. I’ve heard that the best way to see the best of the country is by driving the golden circle. I’d love to see the Northern Lights, take a dip in the Blue Lagoon and sample the local cuisine – although I’m not too sure if I could eat reindeer!

Samantha from CocoButterBlog is a travel influencer exploring the world one adventure at a time and sharing it with the world.