Basking in Baška Voda

Last month, Bjørnar and I went back to our favourite place; Croatia! Initially, we had discussed doing city breaks this year with Amsterdam in the Summer and Iceland in late October. But with everything that’s going on, we decided to have a nice relaxing beach holiday instead. So this year, we went to Baška Voda, located in the Makarska Riviera.

My motto this Summer was to “Eat, Drink and be Merry”, so we definitely came to the right place!

On the Monday, we booked an excursion to go wine tasting in the mountains. Before we got to the winery, we stopped off at two different locations – the blue lake and red lake.

These are both sinkholes. The blue lake looked green whilst we were there. The red lake is named after the reddish-brown colour of the surrounding cliffs, coloured by iron oxides.

Afterwards, we arrived in Imotski at the Grabovac vineyard. Having sampled many of their lovely wines last year, we knew we were in for a great evening. We left with two bottles of red wine – one of which is still unopened! (We’re saving it for a special occasion once I’m fully healed from surgery – fingers crossed I can still drink wine then!)

During our stay, we decided to walk to Brela. This was a beautiful town that seemed bigger than Baška Voda. There were so many beautiful beaches, but the one we headed to was the furthest away; Punta Rata (In July 2004, Forbes magazine listed this beach among the 10 most beautiful beaches in the world). I made sure to pack our swimming goggles that day, and I got to see lots of different fish around the rocks.

IMG_20170824_125417-1.jpg

On the Friday, we booked an excursion to Dubrovnik. The coach journey, although long, (4 hours each way) was wonderful as we got to see some beautiful scenery. An area of the coastline, a town called Neum, is actually part of Bosnia, so we had to pass through the border four times (into Bosnia – then back into Croatia as we reached Dubrovnik and vice-versa). We were told this could potentially take up to an hour both ways, but luckily we were allowed through without scrutiny each time.

Dubrovnik Old Town was beautiful! It actually reminded me of Venice with it’s stunning architecture, history and stone walls. I did however struggle that day with the heat and crowds. I was dehydrated and didn’t have enough energy to keep walking around. I felt like I didn’t get to thoroughly enjoy the day, and would like to go back there again but in Spring or Autumn – something that I also said about Venice.

It was a great week in Croatia, and we were glad that we had the opportunity to see a bit more of the country by also visiting Dubrovnik. Split Airport was of course the same as last year! But at least we already knew what to expect!

 

21984175_10155780999501079_1737512567_n

The Croatian goodies we came home with ❤ 

Skogsøy

After living in Bergen for almost 3 years, (wow, has it really been that long?!) I’ve started searching for new places to explore since I’ve seen the majority of the tourist hotspots here; museums, the mountains, art galleries etc.

The great thing about Bergen is that it’s fairly easy to get around thanks to the bybane and bus services, but there’s a lot more that Bergen has to offer that can only be accessed by car. On rare days that we have access to a vehicle, I like to take full advantage of this by exploring some place new.

I came across the beautiful Skogsøy after searching for things to do in Bergen on Visit Norway, and decided that this was a place I needed to see and explore. So, I asked 2 of my expat friends if they would like to join myself and Bjørnar on our little adventure and off we went.

The 55 minute drive from the city centre was wonderful! It wasn’t long before the urban scenery changed. The longer we drove, it became more beautiful and peaceful, with many rolling hills that sheep and lambs were grazing upon.

We began our hike by admiring some galloping lambs that were close to the path. They didn’t seem fazed by us or anybody else for that matter! I assume this is a very popular hiking route as they were different to the sheep on Fjørtoft – there they start to shuffle away before you’ve even seen them!

DSC_0041-2

The hike was described as being “medium” for effort level on the website and I definitely agree with that. Some of the terrain was difficult and rocky. The path was marked well and we would often come across stacks of rocks, (some of which were painted blue) which reassured us that we were heading in the right direction.

After walking for some time, we came upon a signpost for “Skogstuo” on the side of a hill that we climbed. The panoramic views from the top were breathtaking! The four of us sat silently and watched the ocean waves crash against the cliff walls, whilst breathing in the cool, salty sea air.

I definitely recommend visiting this beautiful island if you have the opportunity to do so. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of city life, so it’s important to get away from it every once in a while to unwind and relax.

Fjørtoft

Last week, Bjørnar and I traveled to Fjørtoft; the island he grew up on and an already favourite location of mine. We began our journey from Bergen to Ålesund via coach and was a little sceptical after being told it would take ten hours. I have endured many long, dreadful coach journeys in England; usually amounting to nine hours with no stop-offs.

However, this trip was more than bearable! The coach journey provided me with some incredible views of the beautiful fjords; something the M1 doesn’t have to offer… There were also around five ferries during the journey, which allowed us to get some fresh air, stretch our legs and satisfy our appetites with warm food.

Once we arrived in Ålesund, we had to make our way to the dock to board a ferry, enabling us to travel to Fjørtoft. This added another two hours onto our journey. Once aboard, I began peering through the window and noticed that the ocean was full of jellyfish! I had never seen so many in my life! Bjørnar then explained to me they were called brennmanet; brenn translates to burning. I immediately knew I had to give these a wide berth but couldn’t help thinking what they would taste like…!

 

After a long day of traveling, we finally arrived at Fjørtoft and were greeted by hugs, hot cocoa and a lovely supper. It wasn’t long before I was tucked up in bed and fast asleep…

The next few days involved a lot of exploring on the island. On one side of Fjørtoft, there is a lighthouse that is surrounded by a vast stretch of land. Nothing else has been built on this area and sheep are allowed to roam freely. It also features some viking burial mounds as seen below.

DSC_0020

In comparison with the others on the island, this one in particular is very wide and extremely long. Unfortunately, nobody knows what exactly lies beneath. But I think the mystery is what fascinates me the most…

DSC_0019

During my stay, I was lucky enough to get access to the Church as I was eager to see what it looked like on the inside. The decor and warm colours evoked a cosy feeling and positive energy…

 

The Church is over 130 years old and prior to this, there was a Chapel from 1309 to 1878.

DSC_0122

On the final day, I was lucky enough to drive the boat in the ocean and also attempted some fishing! On two occasions, I was almost dragged overboard by something heavy on the end of my line, but it took me so long to reel it in that by the time I did, whatever I had caught had escaped! Therefore, B was gloating when he managed to catch a fish…

Although who can blame him?! After all, what he caught was rather delicious!