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Unbelong to Belong

Flesh, Blood and Awesomeness

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nikschumi

Blog and Photography Enthusiast

Balkans: Slovenia

On our vacation in the Balkans we covered 3 countries: Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia i Herzegovina. Bosnia was a completely unconventional choice but turned out to be an interesting choice nonetheless. 2 months of planning has gone in to the vacation as a lot of info is scattered all around and needed a lot of emails, calls and WhatsApp chats regarding availability and even then Weather was a significant unknown variable

We were in Slovenia for 3 days and had the best start to the Balkan vacations

Day 0: Amsterdam to Zagreb to Ljubljana

We reached Zagreb from Amsterdam by Croatia Airlines which provided ample luggage in carry on. On board, I was served beer and olives while Swapna got Coke and Cheese. Though the flight was delayed due to Fog in Schiphol, we managed to be in time for our bus to Ljubljana, Slovenia. The bus journey was by Flixbus which we have come to trust the most even though it might be a little expensive than the rest but the punctuality and quality of ride is worth it. We passed by the Croatian and Slovenian border control which takes a good 30 minutes as there are 2 border control checks. The checks and 90 minutes later, we reached Ljubljana. We checked into the Airbnb house shortly thereafter. Eva, who was the host suggested Piazza which was super close and super awesome (Eva’s words, not ours). Turns out Piazza is as good as recommended and with a very interesting decor.


It is constructed of four houses facing each other with the back portion having been broken off. I ordered Polenta, a Slovenian dish and Swapna ordered Pasta both of which turned out to be great. We hit the bed early as we had a long day ahead planned

Continue reading “Balkans: Slovenia”

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Balkans: Preparations

Before I start writing the multi piece blog post on my Balkan trip, I wanted to put out the effort that went into preparing, apps and websites used and general warning

Planning for the Balkans is complicated to say the least and needs the most effort, simply because there is not much information out there on trains, buses etc for people who travel using public transport. For people with cars, well, except for bad and rash drivers, not much of a concern.

 

Flight tickets: I usually check flight tickets from Google Flights which gives me a reasonable understanding on cost and time etc thereby allowing continuous refinement of itinerary

Train schedules for Slovenia can be found quite easily but the tickets cannot be booked online. Tickets have to be bought in person and usually can be bought a few minutes in advance. Be forewarned about holidays as it can be an issue. Also, the legend is not the same. Sometimes, buses can be booked from railway station but it will be confusing as it might not be mentioned as bus.

Buses can be booked by using Flixbus for Slovenia and Croatia. For Bosnia, use GetbyBus which gives all possible options. Buses from both is reasonably on time with a +/- 30 minute arrival time. Print tickets and copies always because different bus companies have different practices and not consistent. Luggage in bus hold will be charged most of the time at a rate of 1 eur per bag

Luggage storage can be found at Railway and Bus stations and charge a nominal price

Read on travel websites and blogs to find more about the places and countries. Lots to discover and may cause travelers regret if research is not adequate

Confirmation from Embassies etc is good to have and Bosnian embassy officials promptly replied to queries

People from Balkans speak passable English and are very helpful but still chances are high you will be ripped off for a few euros in some places

Food: if you are a non vegetarian, lots to try but for vegetarians, there will be a lot of struggle as these countries are not known for vegetarian cuisine.

Guided tours are convenient and cost effective in Bosnia. I recommend Ihouse Travel in Mostar, Bosnia and Slovenia Explorer in Ljubljana, Slovenia

Always better to check with places such as Skocjan caves and Vogel ski resort regarding timings and trips as during off peak season, tours may not be available and will be a nasty surprise

Have Here WeGo for offline navigation and Google Translate handy and loaded with the requisite information

When striking a conversation, be aware and mindful of the topic. Tito, Milosevic, Serb-Croat war can be a touchy topic and unless indicated as willing to talk, do not approach the topic. Different people hold different opinions and can get ugly real fast.

Smoking inside a restaurant is quite prevalent and people light up a lot

All said, Balkans are a joy to visit and have so much to offer that some of the bloggers I follow have made it their home and continue exploring.

All said, Balkans has lots to offer through out the year and enjoy exploring

Nik

Zagreb to Ljubljana

from Instagram: http://ift.tt/2hTRAYA

Whither whither the sun meets, thither thither the ice melts 

When the weather is 3 C max and -4C min, the result is a beautiful landscape

from Instagram: http://ift.tt/2hbrAYg

Going onboard

Glow Eindhoven 2016

Glow Eindhoven 2016 memories
from Instagram: http://ift.tt/2fOBQFG

Fog blankets building

from Instagram: http://ift.tt/2ftX1PJ

The power of vote

So in the last 24 hours, 1 major event and 1 relatively minor globally but a major event in India has taken place. USA has chosen a new president who has the less popular backing than his opponent. Indian Prime minister has unveiled major steps in his fight of corruption and unearthing hidden money. Both were made possible by one thing : people getting off their asses to vote… Or not… In which case, a vote was still cast

When the Indian elections were held in 2014, the entire country got up and headed out the door to deliver a historic mandate to elect candidates from one party, BJP, to form a government single handedly and chose as it’s representative a tainted, controversial, harangued by a biased media, hard working and honest erstwhile chief minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi. One of Narendra Midi’s election promises was to bring down corruption and black money which he seems to be keeping by unveiling major measures of financial inclusion, voluntary disclosure of black money scheme and now abolishing currency notes of higher denomination making people to extract them from their hidden places and bring it into the open. How successful this measure is remains to be seen but it is huge step nonetheless in the fight against corruption.

In the USA, on the very same day, the country’s citizens chose to do one of the 3 things

  1. Cast a vote for Hillary Clinton
  2. Cast a vote for Donald Trump
  3. Did not cast a vote

It so happened that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump carried the states that typically voted Democrat or Republican but the big swing states which made all the difference voted unanimously Trump. Not by a huge margin but by a significant one enough to give Donald Trump the votes he needed to get elected. Many do not see him as their President nor worthy to be a candidate for election but what now they have to live with is that he is the President for the next 4 years. In the midst of all this, there is only one dawning realization for one and all, it is that not enough people who should have vote exercised their constitutional right to choose their President thereby voting someone else to make their decision for them.

Thus the lessons and meaning of democracy are always reinstalled in everyone that Democracy and Government(formation) is for the people, by the people and of the people. Just not all the people. To end my rant, I will leave with a modified version of a few lines that have stayed with me from Guy Fawkes plot

Remember, Remember the 9th of November

USA cast the ballot;

I know of no reason why the cast of ballot

Should ever be forgot

Remember

Nik

Google Flights: my 2 cents

So if you have been doing any search for flights from point A to point B in past few days, chances are you would have seen Google giving you additional options in the form of flight suggestions via its not so newest, not so secretive Google Flights. Now why do I say not so newest, well, Google Flight had been in public beta in a few country for like well over a year. Not so secretive cos it has been available if you know what to look for. Having said that, Google Flights is probably my most favorite website to check out when I have nothing better to do planning for a while range of places to visit. My trip to Oslo was because of it. If I visit Copenhagen in December, you know why.

Well coming to real reason why I am writing about it now, quite simply to talk about my experience. Google Flights helps you plan vacation better. Want to be in Place X for 2 or 3 days, you know what the flight cost is. Want to know how to plan a multi city trip with all legs planned, Google Flights to the rescue. Want to know when to go on vacation, you know who to turn to. Most importantly, I combine Google Flights with Rome2Rio to plan my vacation across Flights, Bus and Trains to travel with as little inconvenience possible. It is absolutely compatible with Rome2Rio which means since you can play with date and time of flight, R2R helps you plan the onground transport while GF takes care of flights this covering all transport options.

Plan for next vacation with GF and R2R for simpler scheduling and maximum value

Nik

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