Monthly Archives: May 2013

Ohrid Travel Guide. Part I: The Road

Macedonia is one of the most under-appreciated European countries I’ve visited and one that it would be a shame to leave out whenever you’re making a list of destinations to visit. About the country as a whole I won’t tell you very much, as you’ll find a comprehensive description on Wikipedia. Quite small, both as surface and population, not very developed, nor very rich, Macedonia offers, though, some extremely beautiful landscapes, as it benefits from several mountain chains, lakes and natural parks that its people knew how to protect, exploit and turn to profit. I will only linger upon Ohrid (the city and the lake), one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, where I have already been four times and where I’d gladly go again and, most important, that I will always recommend and promote whole-heartedly!

As a whole month won’t be enough for me to write my travel thoughts on Ohrid, I’ll try to divide my guide in several chapters, each of which will, of course, be a postzilla! The first one is about preparing the trip to Macedonia and the road to Ohrid. I’ll review some places that worth being visited on the way, and include useful info on the state of the roads, useful documents, customs, and all sorts of recommendations. Before leaving home, make sure you have in your pocket your ID card (if you are a citizen of a EU member state or of the signatories to the Schengen Agreement; otherwise a password and a visa may be needed). If you come by car and cross Serbia on your way to Ohrid, make sure the green card of your car is also valid for this two countries. Continue reading

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Alba Carolina Citadel – a place where time stopped

Have you ever been to a restored historical place and got the feeling that you are actually entering a time-warp that takes you back to when the place (be it a citadel, a church, a castle or whatever historical building) was built? That’s what happened to me when I set foot in the excellent-looking recently rehabilitated Alba Carolina Citadel in Alba Iulia, Romania.

Short history of the city

5th millennium BC – prehistoric settlement.

106 BC – Roman castra (Colonia Aurelia Apulensis and Colonia Nova Apulensis) on the spot of an older Dacian settlement (Apoulon).

1542-1690 – capital of Transylvania.

1599 – the first political union of Transylvania, Moldavia and Wallachia under Michael the Brave took place here.

1918 – proclamation of the union of Transylvania with Romania.

1922- coronation of King Ferdinand and Queen Marie. Continue reading

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Colours of Chalkidiki

The bluest blue and greenest green, / most charming place I’ve ever seen.

For years I’ve postponed visiting Greece, even though there are less than 600km separating my home city, Craiova, to the Aegean Sea. It seemed to me too close, too mainstream and too accessible to put it at the top of my To Visit list. I prefered to go to faraway places, such as Stockholm, or visit certain countries or cities, such as Ohrid (Macedonia), for example, for four times in one year, but never find time and courage to enter the land of the Gods. Yes, courage, because at some points I felt there is too much of Greece to get to see, understand and appreciate during a short trip. I was afraid going to one place might make me fall so in love with the natural beauties and man-made monuments of this country that I would constantly wish to go back for more, to return to see every time something else, something more. And I was not mistaken!

I spent Easter with a group of (cool) friends in Chaniotis, a tourist town on the Kassandra branch of Chalkidiki Peninsula. I am not too much of a beach/sea/sun person, so before getting there I was quite sure the beach would be just like any other common beach in the world, the water just like any other water of any other sea in the world and so on. Here’s what I actually got: Continue reading

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