My favorite European places (2010)

Not wanting to sound like Julie Andrews, but it’s a year later, and time to update my list of favorite places. Yes, there have been changes and I will discuss the “newcomers” in depth; however, visit Top European Places (2009) for a more detailed description of places which have made it back onto the list.

1.  Mostar

The jewel of my 2010 trip that jumped straight into the #1 spot. There is a lot one can say about this town that is/was ravaged by war. But, one simply has to include reference to the bridge. The Old Bridge, the Stari Most, was built in the 16th century during the Ottoman era and connected two parts of the city. The bridge stood for 427 years until it was destroyed in 1993 during the “War.” Reconstruction started in 1997 and it took 7 years to complete before it was reopened in July 2004. The new bridge is an exact replica of the Old Bridge and the following year UNESCO added it to its World Heritage list, despite the newness (I learned all this the next day during a conversation that I sought out). The bridge footpath and the approaching roads are paved with cobblestones and stone steps enable pedestrians to ascent to the bridge from either side.

One cannot help but feel sad when walking through Mostar. Remnants of the war are everywhere and made me wonder: Why, why, why?

P6230595P6230606It was while I was in Mostar that I had a hilarious experience. I stayed at Kiki’s place where I had a kitchenette at my disposal. Seeing that I had been gone for nearly two months and desperately wanted home cooked food, I planned a hearty breakfast for the next morning. Two doors from Kiki’s place was a supermarket, where I found everything I needed, except the most important ingredient: EGGS! And there was no ways I was going to have breakfast without eggs. It was a small, cozy place. I asked the cashier in English about eggs and, yes you guessed it, she could not speak English and I do not speak Bosnian!

I was determined to have my eggs. I placed my hands under my armpits and made the gestures and sounds like when we call someone a chicken. Everyone in the store burst out (yes, I did ask the other customers if there was anyone speaking English, but to no avail) in laughter and the cashier returned with a chicken! I looked at her, shook my head and said no, while motioning with my hand away from my butt and pointing to the ground … like a hen laying an egg. By this time everyone in the store was hysterical, but I got my eggs!! Mostar has about 170,000 inhabitants. Mostar has two universities. Mostar made such an impression on me, I am going back next year. Thus far, Mostar is the most beautiful place I have been privileged to visit.

P52702472.  Croatia

Remember my rule? If there are more than two places from one country, I have to include the entire country. After all the places that I visited in Croatia during the summer of 2010, I had to do this. I have been to several places in Croatia and am gaga about all of them, with the exception of Split. There is something about that town that simply does not appeal to me.

I visited Zagreb in 2009 and it was love at first sight. Maybe a bit light on sights, but a great place that is hustling and bustling, great food, great people. The Hobo Bear Hostel has been voted one of the top hostels in Europe. I also visited Dubrovnik in 2009. Words cannot describe the emotions I experienced when I saw this pearl for the first time and I knew I would be back. Villa Micika in Lapad is a wonderful place to stay. Away from all the craziness and madness, near the promenade with its great restaurants and bars.

In 2010 I started in Rijeka and thoroughly enjoyed this port city. A bus ride took me to incredible Rovinj … a MUST! On to Pula I went where I stayed in an incredible hostel, Hostelling International with its own private beach. I flew toZadar and really liked this town.

P5300276P6040399It was from here that Zoran took me, and others, to the Plitvice Lakes … a sight I will NEVER forget. I took the bus to Trogir, yet another outstanding place, from where I took daytrips to Primosten (OMG!) and Kastella. At Split, I caught the ferry to Hvar island (Hvar City), ferry to Korcula and then the bus to Dubrovnik. If I had to choose one thing that stands out in Croatia, it is the coastline. It does not matter where one travels in this country which I consider to be the most beautiful in the world, the coastline is very long and gorgeous everywhere.

3.  Cesky Krumlov will always remain a favorite place of mine and am thinking of revisiting, although I do not believe it will be in 2011.

cesky

4.  Cinque Terre … what an area. If I continue with my plans for next year, there is no doubt in my mind that there will be more than two great areas/places in Italy and I will have to include the entire country (remember my rule?)

ct3ct2

5.  Austria is the country that I would move to in a heartbeat … what, not Croatia? No, I consider Croatia to be the most beautiful in the world, but Austria with all its class and style is the country where I would live (if they would have me). And please do not get me wrong, Austria is no slouch in the beauty department. Those magnificent Alps ….

Salzburgaustrian alpsIM000287

6.  Rome

Plan to revisit my favorite city in 2011. An incredible place, incredible sights, commands several visits.

rome

Clovelly-StreetPD*22856006

7.  England.  It has been a long time since I have been to UK and in particular England. Don’t know when I am going to go back, as there is so much to do/see and so little time left.

8.  Amsterdam is another one of my favorite cities. One that I have visited several times and because of that, I do not foresee a visit in the near future.amsterdam

VltavaRiverAtPrague9.  Prague. I love this place. Had a 15-hour overnight layover in October 2010 on my way back home after presenting a paper in Krakow. You guessed it, I did NOT spend the time at the airport … got downtown so fast and enjoyed every moment I had before catching the last train and bus back to the airport!

 

Speak Your Mind

*