2 days in Dubrovnik- Game of Thrones and the old city

Croatia had been on our travel list for many years. But it wasn’t until Game of Thrones came along that it really bubbled up to the top. Dubrovnik, famous for being Kings Landing, is as beautiful as you would expect. Of course, the history of Dubrovnik and Croatia overall goes much further back than the show

Read about how to get to Dubrovnik old town in our separate post here

With 2 days in Dubrovnik, the 2 things we recommend are the Game of Thrones tour and walking along the old city walls, of course well lubricated with local food and drink, and interspersed with some beach time!

We spent our first day on the Game of Thrones walking tour. It may sound tacky but it’s a must do if you are a fan of the show and also a great way to get some local stories of the show and the city.
We started at Black Water Bay – where the battle was filmed and saw the area where all the bastards were purged in Kings Landing.

Across from the famous walled city of Dubrovnik is the Lovrijenac fort or St. Lawrence Fortress. The fort is built to withstand attack from the seas and the land, with 39 feet thick walls and is often called Dubrovnik’s Gibraltar. Two drawbridges lead to the fort and above the gate there is an inscription Non Bene Pro Toto Libertas Venditur Auro (Freedom is not to be sold for all the treasures in the world). A lot of scenes from Game of Thrones were shot in here- the Dog saving Sansa from being raped, Joffrey’s name day.

The fort also offered great views of the city and played an important part in the (real) history of Dubrovnik and its many sieges, right up to 1991, after the break-up of Yugoslavia, when the city was under siege for 7 months!

Then we walked into the main city. It still has a drawbridge to limit how many people enter and of course, was another important site in King’s Landing.

This gave us a good idea of the layout of the city and whetted our appetites to walk on the old city walls the next day. The city belongs to the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites and has been maintained to retain its old charm. Walking on the walls provided a panoramic views in all directions and was definitely worth the time and effort.

With the close proximity to the water, how could any visit be complete without some beach time!

Delicious local wine and fresh sea food was the icing on the cake!

Read about food and wine in the Istria region in the north of Croatia here


Food guide for Croatia: Agrotourism in Istria

Food and wine are an essential part of our trips. the 2 days we spent in Istria, which is the wine region in the north of Croatia were fantastic.

One of the restaurants we visited was Jadruhi. You can follow them on social media  or check out their Jadruhi website or Facebook page . The restaurant’s owner, Dario Simonovic, and the chief vintner, his son Marko Simonovic, are trying to promote what they refer to as Agrotourism with their home-made prosciutto,  olive oil, wine and cheese.

The menu was simple and we started with a cheese and meat platter (all made from local ingredients). Sounds simple but was delicious. We later found out that the cheese,  prosciutto and olives were all locally made

Cheese and meat platter

We also tried their soup as an appetizer and it was quite delicious.

Delicious pasta in truffle sauce

For the main course, we got the truffle pasta. We had never tried truffles before and reading about it later found out how expensive it can be. The fact that it was delicious and also not that expensive made the  meal even more special. We paired it with their house red wine and it was just perfect. Istria is known for its truffles and the area close to Motovun has an abundance of it

After the meal, we had no room left for dessert but we saw some served at the neighboring table and couldn’t resist. We ended up getting the house specialty cake and it was fresh and moist.

With the owner Dario Simonovic

After lunch it was time for some wine tasting straight from the barrel. Dario’s son, Marko, who is the vintner and prosciutto expert took us to their cellar for some wine and grappa.

Barrel tasting some young wine
Marko was so hospitable and humble
The Simonovic wine collection
The grappa collection!
Marko pouring some of his home-made grappa straight from the gigantic vat

Marko showed us the process of making prosciutto. It is made from the rear haunches of the pig; The curing is controlled so that the ham absorbs only enough salt to preserve it.

Posing with his hard work, prosciutto!

This happened to be one of the best meals of the trip. The food, experience and hospitality left a lasting impression on us. Highly recommend spending a day or two around Istria tasting wine and making a stop in Vizinada visiting the Simonovic’s and their wonderful restaurant.


Mostar-Bosnia and Herzegovina : Day trip from Dubrovnik

If you’ve spent a few days in Dubrovnik and need a change, one of the cool things to do is head to Bosnia and Herzegovina with which Croatia shares a border and lots of history. Mostar is one of the historic cities and easiest to access from Dubrovnik.

What are the top 3 things to do in Bosnia and Herzegovina?

Visit Stari Most

This is a must – do in any day trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina. One of the most photographed bridges in the world, you’ve probably seen photos of the Stari Most online without realizing where it is! The bridge connects the Bosnian side with Turkish/Islamic influences to the more Christian influenced Herzegovinan side. Stroll along the bridge and also the markets in old Town on either side.

If you are lucky, you might get to watch one of the professional bridge jumpers drive off the bridge, into the river below!

Take a swim at Kravica Falls

A hidden gem along the way to Mostar is the Kravica Falls national park. Bosnia and Herzegovina is still not very touristy but the park was fairly busy. Still we had plenty of space in the river to take photographs! The entry fee is 5 euros and allows entry to the park and swim at the falls.

The water is cold but really refreshing! Do not miss out!

Taste local Bosnian food and drink

Bosnian food includes lot of delicious meat – cevapi, kebabs etc. Try the burek, which is very similar to Turkish borek. Visit Irma Time which is very close to the Stari Most. It is a small restaurant with large and delicious food portions. One meat platter can be shared easily. Cost of a meal is easily less than 10 euros per person

Taste the Bosnian coffee- very similar to turkish coffee, it’ll wake you right up!

Unfortunately we couldn’t find traditional turkish tea, but the Bosnian čaj was very close.

How do I go to Mostar?

Highly recommend booking a day tour with Drago. He’s a very knowledgeable, and friendly guide and had great stories. We were only a group of 7 which is better than joining a big bus with 50 people. Made our day trip memorable. Cost is ~50 Euros and well worth it

Do I need a visa for Bosnia and Herzegovina?

Make sure to carry your passport. You cross the border between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia atleast 3-4 times and will get checked each time. A multiple entry Schengen Visa or EU ID card is sufficient to enable travel. If you made it to Croatia, you have the documentation to enter Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Enjoy the trip!


7 days in Iceland: Driving on the Ring Road

Iceland may seem like a small country but it isn’t. You can spend weeks exploring the country and there are many ways to organize your trip, all centered on the Ring Road.

Here’s a suggestion of a slightly grueling 7-10 day itinerary, giving a flavor of the different region, each of which is distinct from the others


Vik and southern Iceland

Read about some of the must-visit waterfalls in Iceland here

Vatnajokull Glacier

East Fjords

Drive along the fjords taking in stunning views

Akyureri and northern Iceland

Read about must-visit thermal springs in Iceland here.

Sneafellness and western Iceland

Iceland in summer is a really fun place with great outdoors, beautiful sights and friendly, helpful people – put it on your bucket list of places to visit, if it’s not already there!

Oktoberfest!! And 48 hours in Munich, Germany 

Experiencing Oktoberfest had been on the to-do list for many years, considering how much we liked beer, how could we not attend the festival solely dedicated to it! Finally everything fell into place and in Sept. 2015, K, conveniently, had a work trip planned in Germany and Norwegian airlines had a great ticket to Oslo, so we gathered the troops and made it happen!

The extremely affordable Oakland-Oslo ticket, allowed 24 hours to explore Oslo, an added benefit.

Update: in the last few years we’ve been regulars at Oktoberfest, atleast going once a year to take in the beer, music and fun

The famous Marienplatz
World famous BMW Welt. Must visit museum if you love cars

Day 1 was spent exploring Munich and its sights, Marienplatz, the Deutsches museum, BMW museum and Olympic village, ending with dinner at the Viktualenmarket
We warmed up for the next day with a few beers and kaiserschmarrn (a delicious dessert of caramelized pancake) at a local pub Nihar found and loved. He might’ve over-indulged just a little- the next day didn’t begin as well for him!

The next day, we explored the Englischer Garten and soaked in some sunshine before an afternoon/evening of debauchery!

Hacker-Pschorr tent. One of many large tents with beer and music

Finally, it was time! The train to Theresienwiese transported us to what felt like a city unto itself. Large beer tents, fair rides and games, food stalls and more people than would’ve been imagined. Needless to say, we were delighted! The evening saw us in the tents of Hacker Pschorr,  Spaten and Paulaner. Since we had no reservations anywhere, finding a table was often a challenge but we did get to know a few interesting people in the process, our and their friendliness, no doubt, fueled by all the beer.

With all the joy-rides and games stalls beckoning, a few of the braver souls rode the roller-coaster and claimed that they loved each of the 4 loops it took them on! Emma and Teja also shot targets and won a rose each.

The fest really ended for us, with an extremely satisfying meal from McDonald’s- probably the best we’ve ever had there!

While the next morning was not much fun, it was a great experience and highly recommended, if you’d like an evening of beer, music and some drunken singing along, lots of people, a roller-coaster ride and some more beer!

Dubrovnik: How to get from Airport to Old Town

Ready to explore Dubrovnik and all it’s Game of Thrones sites! But how do you get to Old Town from the airport?

There is no train station in Dubrovnik but if you fly in there are two easy options to get to Old Town from the airport. Either way it takes approximately 30 min and great sea views along the way!

Uber: the easy option. The comfort of ordering a taxi and clearly described fares. Average cost is 300 HRK (~45 USD).

Direct shuttle bus: this is fairly recent and a great option. The schedule is quite frequent and costs 55 HRK (~8 USD), a sixth of the cost. Follow the signs for “official shuttle bus” as soon as you reach arrivals. Payment by cash or card is acceptable.

Now that you’ve reached old town Dubrovnik, read about our 2 day itinerary

2 days in Verona, Italy

Verona is a hidden gem, rich in history and right at the entrance of Valpolicella wine country.

With 2 days to spend, we recommend day 1 in Verona and day 2 in wine country.

Top 5 things to do in Verona

1. Take a walking tour –

As in any city, we always recommend going on a walking tour as a great way to get to know the city. We went with JM tours and enjoyed it a lot.

2. Check out the main squares –

Piazza Bra – one of the main Piazzas in the city, it is surrounded by buildings spanning many centuries. From the Roman Arena dating back to 20BC to the newer city hall, you can see a wide variety of styles – ancient, Gothic and neo classical. If you have the time, definitely watch an opera in the Arena! Read more about the opera in Verona here.

Piazza Erbe – one of the biggest squares in Europe, it is always busy and boasts buildings with cool frescoes, the Lamberti tower and the Madonna fountain.

Piazza Signore– it has the famous statue of Dante and other renowned Veronese citizens,and the Scaglione Palace . Just past the Piazza Signore, check out the tombs of the family La Scala

3. Recreate Romeo and Juliet –

Visit the houses of the star crossed lovers and dont forget to rub the statue of Juliet for good luck!

4. Watch sunset from the top of Piazzale Castel San Pietro –

10 mins climb up uphill from Ponte Pietra brings you to the top and provides a great view, especially at sunset. Remember to bring insect repellant!

5. Eat and drink everything Italian!

A big part of most holidays is the food and drink. For more details about what to eat and drink, check out the independent post about food in Veneto.

Day 2: Wine country

Valpolicella and Bardolino wine regions are about 30 mins drive away and are definitely worth visiting. Read more about the wineries to visit, here.

Chasing waterfalls: Top 5 in Iceland

Iceland is the land of waterfalls, one more beautiful than the other. These are our top 5, waterfalls but  every ‘foss’ as you drive along the Ring Road is spectacular.

Read more about our drive around Iceland here.

Another country with great waterfalls is Ecuador- read more about them here.

1. Seljalansfoss

Driving south from Reykjavik towards Vik, Seljalansfoss is one of the first and most accessible falls. Of course you will see a lot of tourists but don’t let that put you off. Go walk behind the waterfall and get wet!

Don’t miss a snack /breakfast at the entrance. The lamb soup and pesto panini were delicious

2. Skogafoss

Continuing further south, Skogafoss is quite close to Vik. The approach is less touristy but as you get closer you can feel the force of the fall. The hike up along the fall is beautiful and can be tailored to your time and difficulty. We walked up the stairs and absorbed the view but didn’t hike more than an hour.

If the weather is good plan to camp near Skogafoss. The camp site is well equipped and offers spectacular views.

3. Svartifoss

This one is situated in Skaftafell, which belongs to Vatnajökull National park. Black columnar basalt formations frame the waterfall, giving it its name. Accessible by a short hike from the entrance of the national park, it is definitely worth the time and effort!

4. Kirkjufellfoss

Kirkjufell or “Church Mountain” is the most photographed mountain in Iceland. It is a located on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, about a 2 hour drive from Reykjavik. Kirkjufell gets it’s name from its resemblance to a church steeple. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that you can dive (unofficially of course) into the ice-cold water!

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5. Dettifoss

The Dettifoss waterfall is with the greatest volume of any waterfall in Europe, 500 cubic metres of water per second plunges over the edge, making it the most powerful waterfall in Europe. And of course, it’s beautiful!

Bonus: Gulfoss

Although we have our top 5, we couldnt leave this one out, so Gulfoss is the secret 6th on the list! Gullfoss (or ‘Golden Falls’) is one of Iceland’s most iconic and beloved waterfalls,  in south-west Iceland.

Day trip to Luxembourg City

Luxembourg, one of the smallest sovereign states in Europe and the only remaining grand duchy in the world, has been on our list ever since we moved to Europe.

Only an hour drive from Metz or Saarbrücken, makes it very accessible. We used one of the many long weekends in June to visit the capital, Luxembourg City for a day trip.

Planning a day trip to Metz? Check out our blog post

Here’s 5 things to do in a day in Luxembourg city:

1. Take a walking tour of Luxembourg City

As with all cities, a walking tour is the best way to get a lay of the land and learn more about the city. We went on the walky talky tour and after 2.5 hours of walking around, felt like we knew the city a lot better. We highly recommend it.

2. Ride the panoramic elevator

The two – level nature of Luxembourg city took us completely by surprise. There are a number of vantage points in the city that offer great views, and the panoramic elevator in Pfaffenthal is one of them. A quick ride allows you to lose (or gain) 150m and offers picturesque views.

3. Luxembourg City cathedral

Bearing the picture of the patron Saint of the city and the country, Maria Consolatrix Afflictorum, the Notre Dame cathedral in Luxembourg is ornate with beautiful stained glass windows, and worth a visit.

4. Mudam- the modern art museum

Located in the newer part of the city, the museum of modern art is quite different from the rest of the city. Around it are the buildings of the EU court of justice and offices of all the translators.

5. Eat and drink

Food in Luxembourg isn’t cheap but they have some interesting options. Get a croissant or pastry at Oberweis and try the local beers!

Day trip to Metz, France

2 hours from Paris by train is the cute city of Metz. It has enough to see, eat and drink and is definitely worth a day trip.

For things to do in Paris, check out our post here.

We drove there from Zürich, took us 4 hours driving through the pretty French countryside.

Being very close to the German border, this city was transferred back and forth between France and Germany until after the second world war, after which it has belonged to France.

The city has a few sites that are definitely worth a visit, thanks Solo Sophie, for the tips.

Another recommended day trip from Metz, is Luxembourg City. Check our post here

If you have a day, these are the top things to do!

Metz Cathedral

With its gorgeous stained glass windows and vast interior, it is definitely worth a visit.

Temple Neuf and Jardin d’Amour:

The new Protestant church is situated on a little island in the middle of the city, surrounded by a park, offering a lovely view of the city and rivers.

Place Saint Louis

The location of the Christmas market, in spring it is full of cafes and open air bars – great place to get a drink or grab a bite to eat and people watch!

Église Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains

It is the oldest church in France can be found in Metz and dates back to 390 AD. Walking through the ruins gives you the feeling of Rome and the ruins in that city. Today, the church is used as a cultural centre and exhibition hall.

Centre Pompidou-Metz

In the newer part of the city, across the train station is the “younger sibling of the iconic Centre Pompidou in Paris”.

By the way, the train station and post office are pretty spectacular buildings, with their own history too and are worth a minute to stop, stare and marvel!

Aux Merveilleux

They make and are famous for only 2 items – Merveilleux and Cramiques. We tried the Merveilleux in chocolate and cherry flavors, chocolate was great, cherry was almost too sweet.

With a good dinner of duck casserole and steak tartar, with a couple of local beers to wash it all down, it was a good day!