A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about river

Day forty - a day in Belgrade

Saturday 5 October 2019

overcast 19 °C

Exploring the City

IMG_2612.jpg

My host Sanja advised me that there was a bus right outside that could take me into town. Looking at the map, it was probably only a 30 minute stroll so thought I’d find my way on foot. It’s also a better way for me to orientate myself in a new town. I was intrigued by the Armenian flags that were flying from lampposts together with Serbian flags. Doing some research I discovered that the Armenian Prime Minister was on a state visit.

IMG_2617.jpg

The buildings on Kneza Miloša were very imposing - some were embassies - statues seemed to be a popular adornment.

IMG_2620.jpgIMG_2618.jpgIMG_2621.jpg

To get into the Centre I had to turn left into Terazije Street - passing the famous Hotel Moskva - the most expensive place to stay in town. It certainly looks very grand. And the restaurant/cafe looked very stylish. Just along from there, Terazije Street was cordoned off for an event that seemingly involved cars. No idea what it was about, but when I passed by later, there was a row of vintage Fiat 500s lined up.

IMG_2624.jpgIMG_2635.jpgIMG_2625.jpg

Sugary breakfast

The centre of the City becomes pedestrianised, and is pretty easy to navigate. Terazije is the main shopping street with narrow, interesting streets leading off it. There is the obligatory Republic Square, several theatres, museums and other grand buildings. I started by getting a coffee and some breakfast at Baristocratia coffee society . Through a bit of poor communication on my part, I ended up with a croissant, Nutella and a great slab of cake that I couldn’t possibly eat.

Opposite the cafe, the Katapult Shop is an interesting store full of stalls with lots of handmade goods. I walked around, exploring side streets and independent shops. By lunch time I looked around for somewhere to eat and found that the menus were pretty 'meaty'. Pizza seems to be incredibly popular here but not something I fancied. Managed to google and find a vegetarian restaurant called Mayka which did a really good lentil dhal.

IMG_2629.jpgIMG_2628.jpgIMG_2627.jpgIMG_2632.jpg

Belgrade Fortress

I was going to do the free walking tour in the afternoon but had to go back to the apartment to pick up my power bank as my phone's battery was running low and I wanted to be able to take photos. I got the bus back, to save time. Or I should say that I got the tram back. It was extremely crowded but somehow, people manage to ram themselves on. I also went to the station to check out the cost of a train ticket to my next destination, Ljubljana, on the following day. By the time I did this, I just couldn’t get back in time for the start of the tour.

Instead, I walked to the fortress and gardens in the Stari Grad area as there are good views over where the Sava and Danube river meet. There is no admission charge and being a Saturday it was really busy. Great to see so many people enjoying themselves, particularly young people with their friends. There is a lot to see in the fortress as well as the views - definitely worth a visit. Like so many cities, Belgrade has a history of being occupied or under siege. Most recently, ethnic conflict and the fight for independence during the Yugoslav wars - 1991 to 2001 - resulted in the break up of Yugoslavia into separate states, including Serbia.

IMG_2645.jpgIMG_2647.jpgIMG_2649.jpgIMG_2648.jpgIMG_2641.jpg

I made my way back, picking up some food en route as there isn’t really any place to eat close to where I’m staying. I also got stuff for the train journey which was going to be another mega one. I made use of my day ticket as it was getting dark. Again, the tram was completely rammed. There were some guys with brass instruments waiting at the bus stop. As I'd walked around I'd seen several bands playing near Republic Square. I'd also seen a demonstration near the Parliament building so wondered if any of this was connected.

IMG_2634.jpg

After eating I relaxed with my book and had a nice quiet night in. Definitely nothing to watch on TV!

IMG_2615.jpgIMG_2616.jpg

Posted by Cath_Greig 12:57 Archived in Serbia Tagged buildings statues bus river serbia fortress Comments (0)

Day thirty-five - Istanbul

Monday 30 September 2019

sunny 29 °C

Vibrant Istanbul

I planned to visit my friend Yusuf at his ceramics shop in the Sultanahmet area on Küçük AyaSofya Caddesi no 37. Rather than jumping on the tramway, I walked across the city, firstly down the narrow streets near the Galata tower to the Galata bridge.

IMG_2478.jpgIMG_2477.jpg

There are a lot of fish restaurants on the lower level of the bridge, and above, it's lined with fishermen. The river itself is incredibly busy with ferries, small boats and tourist boat trips. Istanbul is a real city of movement.

IMG_2481.jpgIMG_2479.jpgIMG_2497.jpgIMG_2482.jpg

Once across the bridge, I found myself near the spice market so wandered through, the sight and smells are very enticing, but I wasn’t here to buy. From here I was in the Grand Bazaar, much busier than when I was last here in 2016 after there had been several bombings in the city. Definitely more tourists around, and like Armenia, large groups, mainly Chinese. You still need to go through security when entering the bazaars and other key places and there is a huge police presence around the city - it feels as if they are on constant high alert.

IMG_2484.jpg

Bustling Bazaars

I stopped for a coffee at the Grand Bazaar. It’s a great place to people watch. It’s interesting to see young women walking arm in arm, one in very western tight fitting clothes and the other wearing a traditional headscarf. It’s a real mix of East meets west. Getting out of the bazaar is a challenge as it’s huge. Once I managed to get out I headed past the Blue Mosque towards the area of my friend’s shop.

IMG_2492.jpgIMG_2485.jpg

Chewing the fat - Istanbul style

Yusuf and I sat outside in the shade, drinking coffee and catching up. It made me feel like a local. Apparently, friends are always passing by for a catch up. Yusuf has adopted a cat that loves to sleep at the front of the shop. If Yusuf charged everyone for very photo they've taken of the cat, he would be a millionaire. We arranged to meet later at Hamid restaurant near the Galata Bridge. Yusuf closes his shop late so we arranged to meet at 10.30pm - my default bedtime since travelling on my own! I had to keep awake somehow.

IMG_2493.jpg

Cat City

I found somewhere for lunch and probably made a bad choice - going into the Capadocia restaurant. They have pushy people outside encouraging patrons into the restaurant, but once inside the service is quite lacklustre. The food is okay but nothing to write home about.

There are lots of cats in Istanbul. There is even a film called Kedi [2016] - the City seen through the eyes of its resident cats. I haven’t seen it but would like to try and get hold of a copy when I back to the UK. People leave food and water out for them and they can often be seen in shop doorways guarding the goods. Little huts are also provided for them. There is a definite affection for cats, just like there is in Cyprus and Armenia.

IMG_2499.jpgIMG_2501.jpg

After walking over the Galata Bridge, I thought I’d try out the funicular. Not that I can’t walk up the hill, but I love going on the different modes of transport in the city. The top station is very close to my hotel. I sat out on the terrace reading and relaxing until the sun started to set. The view across the river was beautiful. Soon it was time to get ready and cross the river again to get to meet Yusuf.

IMG_2512.jpg

Hamid's

Hamid restaurant is a bit of an institution, and is one that features on a lot of the highly recommended lists. However, it’s quite meat orientated so I chose food off the starter list - stuffed peppers, pickles, shepherd's salad and Muhammara - more than enough for me. Yusuf hardly seems to eat anything at all. Apparently, once he’s full, he stops eating. Now I know where I’ve been going wrong all of these years. Anyway, I hate wasting food so I ate all of mine! It was very delicious.

I was happy to walk back to the hotel but Yusuf didn’t feel it was safe, so we got a taxi which dropped me off close to the hotel. The Beyoğlu area is busy so probably be safe to walk around there but I wondered if the Galata Bridge was maybe not so safe. Certainly, I was grateful for Yusuf's concern. It was way after midnight when I got back so I was glad to crawl into bed for a good night’s sleep.

Posted by Cath_Greig 07:22 Archived in Turkey Tagged bridges river istanbul bazaar coffee cafe Comments (0)

Day fourteen - Zeda Gordi becomes a ghost town

Monday 9 September 2019

sunny 24 °C

Like many countries, attractions are shut for the day on Mondays. We decided to hike up to the waterfalls even though we wouldn’t be able to go into the official site, we were given directions to get the the pools at the bottom. It had been a very windy night and when the light wouldn’t switch on, I realised that the power was down again. The hotel has a generator to power essentials but it meant the internet was down again.

After another good and filling breakfast, I went on ahead in the slim chance that I could get a coffee at one of the cafes. As I suspected, everything was closed except the small shop. It was like a ghost town with tumble weed blowing through it, literally, as strong winds were whistling through the village. It was still pretty hot though. While I waited for the others, I was approached by a couple of taxi drivers again. Life was must be so hard for people and, without the walkway and waterfall, the village would not have any external income coming in.

Although we had to walk along the road, it was a pleasant one as there were hardly any cars. We had great views all the way along and could see for miles into the distance. We passed a lot of small hotels and guest houses along the way. Not sure if many people stay here or whether they are more likely to do day trips from elsewhere.

3F926449-7FE5-46E7-8E70-CFA5D67721F2.jpegCAC4B7A5-0123-43A9-A03E-963144F93F95.jpeg

When we got to the last sign for the waterfall we got a bit confused as to where we had to go and ended up turning off too soon but still managed to find a peaceful place by the river to have a rest.

B2D1A8E2-005D-4574-98DF-A22067AD056E.jpeg

The 7k walk back felt easier as there was more downhill than uphill. A church was in the process of being built and there was a sign asking for donations at the side of the road. I wonder how successful their fundraising efforts are.

2D0C292B-ADA6-4DCB-A0EC-1871342149D4.jpeg

Near one of the guest houses on the way back down there was a great looking tree house. Would love to have a picnic up there.

A8DEB189-6550-4CB8-B2D6-11E61D14545B.jpeg

The shop was still open in Zeda Gordi where we bought water and snacks. The afternoon was spent relaxing next to the pool that had just been refilled. I went for the hammock but as the sun disappeared it started to get chilly with the wind still quite high - time to go inside.

I had the Katchapuri and salad which was very good although too much for one person. Luckily the others helped me so it all got eaten. A party of Russians arrived at the hotel so we were no longer the only guests for the night. It looked as if they were on a tour as they had a minibus and Georgian driver with them.

We were going to round off the meal with a cognac but none of the staff were around - it was as if they had disappeared into thin air! Maybe something for tomorrow as it would be our last night at Chateau Chikovani...

Posted by Cath_Greig 00:01 Archived in Georgia Tagged waterfalls river chateau_chikovani zeda_gordi kinchkha Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 3 of 3) Page [1]