vacanta in puglia

Vacanta in Puglia

Vacanta in Puglia

Vacanta in Puglia

Pentru unii dintre noi cea mai romantica destinatie de vacanta va ramane Italia. Un pachet complet de vacanta inseamna: vreme buna, plaje spectaculoase, orase istorice, mancare delicioasa si cultura bogata. Italia (in mod special Puglia) le are pe toate.

M-am indragostit de aceasta regiune de prima data cand am citit despre ea. Nici nu stiu cu ce sa incep: casutele trulli din Alberobello, restaurantul Grotta Palazzese din Polignano a Mare, Masseriile pugliene reconditionate, bucataria cu a ei burrata si caccioriccota, sau orasele cetate (Ostuni, Otranto, Gallipoli)? Am ales sa nu stau in orasele mai populate precum Bari, Lecce, Taranto sau Brindisi si sa gust mai mult din atmosfera locala prin cazari in locuri linistite, departe de agitatie.

Ziua 1

Bucuresti – Bari

Am preferat sa inchiriem masina pe toata durata vacantei deoarece aveam un itinerariu destul de bogat si nu voiam sa depindem de alte mijloace de transport. Aspectul neplacut al inchiriatului masinii in lunile iulie-august in Italia este ca nu vei gasi multe locuri de parcare libere si daca ai norocul de a gasi, va fi destul de scump.

Asadar, am inchiriat masina din aeroport si am plecat catre Polignano a Mare, unde ne-am cazat pentru 3 nopti la Calaponte. Am ales acest hotel pentru designul minimalist si dicretia oferita de casutele cu mici gradini de maslini, construite concentric in jurul unei piscine.

In prima seara am luat cina la Grotta Palazzese, unde ne facusem rezervare cu cateva luni inainte. Nu stiu ce s-a schimbat in ultimii 4 ani, dar noi am avut parte de un meniu fix format din patru feluri de mancare. Pretul meniului nu reflecta in mod neaparat calitatea meniului, desi tot ce ne-a fost servit a fost foarte bun (cel mai bun risotto pe care l-am mancat vreodata), ci se bazeaza mai mult pe locatia restaurantului si pe faptul ca este destul de greu sa gasesti o masa disponibila, chiar daca faci rezervare cu mult timp inainte. Chelnerii au fost amabili, chiar am putut alege locul in care sa stam si am putut sa facem poze oriunde ne-am dorit. Locatia restaurantului este cu adevarat speciala insa pretul si continutul meniului merita sa fie ajustate.

Vacanta in Puglia

Ziua 2

Am incercat sa facem plaja in cea mai fototgrafiata zona din Polignano A Mare, Lama Monachile, insa nu am rezistat foarte mult. De altfel, nu am rezistat mult la nicio plaja in aceasta vacanta, deorece vacanta noastra a coincis cu cea mai aglomerata perioada a anului: sfarsitul lunii iulie, inceputul lunii august, data la care nu numai ca sunt multi turisti ci este si perioada in care majoritatea italienilor sunt in concediu. De aceea, aproape la fiecare cazare pe care am ales-o, m-am asigurat ca avem o piscina la care sa putem sta in caz ca nu avem loc la plaja.

Singurele locuri in care nu am avut piscina au fost Gallipoli si Matera. Dupa experienta scurta la plaja din Polignano, am plecat catre Monopoli unde ne-am plimbat pe stradute si am facut o scurta baie in mare la plaja din centrul istoric al orasului, Cala Porta Vecchia. Daca vrei sa scapi de caldura si aglomeratie, poti vizita Pesterile din complexul Grotte Castellane, situate la 15 km de orasul Monopoli.

Seara ne-am pierdut pe stradutele din centrul istoric al orasului Polignano A Mare si am privit apusul de pe marginea unei stanci. Apoi am cinat intr-unul din cele mai frumoase restaurante din Polignano, Antiche Mura. Polignano a Mare este considerat unul dintre cele mai romantice orase din Italia si locuitorii lui se mandresc cu asta. Aleile centrului sunt decorate cu plante si flori iar scarile si zidurile ascund versuri din poezii. Podul roman din centru face parte din Via Traiana, care lega orasele Beneveto si Brindisi pe vremea imparatului Traian.

Ziua 3

Ne-am mai plimbat o data prin Polignano si am admirat arhitectura centrului vechi pe timp de zi. In Alberobello, situat la 30 de km de Polignano, ne-am cazat intr-o casuta traditionala si am intrat in fascinanta lume a casutelor trulli. Perioada a coincis cu festivalul luminilor din Alberobello, asa ca dupa ce ne-am plimbat prin centrul orasului am asistat si la cateva proiectii de lumini.

Experienta de a dormi intr-un trullo a fost interesanta insa nu este de recomandat pe termen lung, deoarece niveulul umiditatii din interior este foarte ridicat. In realitate nu ai nevoie de mai mult de o zi pentru a vizita principalele atractii turistice din oras. Nu se stie sigur cum au aparut prima data aceste constructii, insa cea mai credibila varianta este cea conform careia au fost construite in aceasta forma (conice si fara mortar) pentru a scapa de taxe.

Vacanta in Puglia

Ziua 4

In urmatoarea zi ne-am mai plimbat o data prin centrul orasului pentru a ne asigura ca nu am ratat nicio casuta si am plecat catre urmatoarea cazare, situata in apropierea orasului Ostuni. In drum catre Masserie ne-am oprit in Locorotondo, una dintre cele mai frumoase localitati din aceasta zona si in Cisternino, unde am luat masa pe aleile inguste din centrul vechi. Cateva ore sunt suficiente pentru a te plimba pe stradute si a admira arhitectura. Alte orase frumoase din Valea Itriei sunt Ceglie Mesapica (una dintre cele mai vechi asezari) si Martina Franca (cel mai populat oras din zona, cu multe cladiri in stil baroc). Pentru pasionatii de ciclism, zona pune la dispozitie nenumarate trasee turistice. Noi ne-am intalnit cu foarte multi ciclisti pe parcursul intregii vacante. Acceseaza link-ul urmator, Itria Valley: 5 days cycling tour.

Masseria Corte Degli Asini a fost in top 3 locuri preferate de cazare in Puglia, alaturi de Le Capase si Sextantio Grotte della Civita. Numele provine de la fabrica de ulei de masline care exista inainte in aceasta zona. Uleiul era presat printr-un sistem pe baza de pietre de care trageau mai multi magarusi. Pe proprietate inca mai gasesti cativa magarusi si o livada de maslini pe ale carei alei te poti plimba cu bicicleta la lasatul serii, cum am facut-o noi. Maseriile sunt (foste) ferme fortificate asemanatoare constructiilor de tip “hacienda” din Spania sau America Latina. Alte maserii frumoase din zona sunt Masseria Torre Coccaro, Il Frantoio, Cervarolo sau Torre Maizza. Si sa nu uitam de celebra Borgo Egnazia. Unele dintre ele pun la dispozitia turistilor preparate locale create din ingrediente cultivate in interiorul proprietatii. Puglia este renumita pentru productia de ulei, legume si vinuri.

Piscina proprietatii are vedere la valea regiunii Fasano si Marea AdriaticaOrasul alb Ostuni si plaja sunt la 15 minute de mers cu masina. Am luat cina la Masserie (cea mai buna cina traditionala din toata vacanta!) si am plecat in Ostuni unde nu am luat in considerare faptul ca daca nu iti faci rezervare in aceasta perioada a anului, nu ai sanse sa gasesti loc la niciun restaurant/bar/terasa.

Ziua 5

In prima parte a celei de-a doua zi la Masserie am explorat coasta Marii Adriatice unde am vrut sa vizitam rezervatia naturala Torre Guaceto, dar nu am avut putut deoarece era inchis. Asa ca ne-am relaxat la Guna Beach Club si am facut plaja la Torre Pozzelle unde am admirat copiii care prindeau arici de mare cu mana. La Lido Morelli ne-am ascuns dupa dunele de nisip fin. Seara ne-am intors in Ostuni, dar pentru ca era vineri, am gasit foarte greu loc de parcare si am regretat ca nu am chemat un taxi (smart tip).

Vacanta in Puglia

Ziua 6

Inainte de a ne indrepta catre Salento, ne-am plimbat prin Ostuni si am luat masa la unul dintre cele mai bune restaurante din regiune: Taverna della Gelosia. In drumul catre urmatoarea destinatie, am incercat sa ne oprim pentru plaja in mai multe locuri, dar nu am reusit sa stam deorece era foarte aglomerat. Toate sunt locuri spectaculoase situate in aceeasi raza si pe care le recomand in alte perioade ale anului (iunie-jumatatea lunii iulie, septembrie): piscina naturala Grotta della Poesia, plaja Torre dell’Orso, Torre Sant’Andrea si plaja Alimini Lakes. Obositi, dupa atata aglomeratie, ne-am cazat la Le Capase si am luat cina la restaurantul resort-ului. O alta recomandare pentru cazare in aceasta zona este Palazzo Guglielmo Albergo Diffuso.

Ziua 7

Dimineata am incercat sa mergem la plaja din Porto Badisco (despre care a scris Vergilius in Eneida), insa era la fel de aglomerat ca in celelate locuri de ieri, asa ca ne-am intors la piscina hotelului unde ne-am relaxat si am primit fructe si limonada din partea casei. La Le Capase am avut parte si de cel mai bun mic dejun si cea mai buna servire din toata vacanta! Dupa amiaza ne-am plimbat prin Santa Cesarea Terme, statiunea recunoscuta pentru apele termale si frumoasele sale vile, printre care si Palazzo Stichi. Am ales sa cinam in Otranto unde am vizitat si o parte din centrul istoric al frumosului oras-cetate.

Vacanta in Puglia

Ziua 8

In urmatoarea zi am inchirat o barca din Porto Miggiano si am vizitat grotele/plajele din apropiere (Grotta Azzura, Grotta Zinzulusa, Grotta Romanelli) si admirat asezarile de pe malul marii: Santa Cesarea Terme si Castro Marina.

Ziua s-a incheiat la plaja Porto Miggiano, cunoscuta si sub numele de Plaja celor 100 de scari, care este (in opinia mea) cea mai frumoasa plaja de pe coasta de Est a Pugliei. Seara am cinat tot in Otranto unde mi-a parut rau ca nu am ajuns si in timpul zilei pentru a vizita mai mult din oras si a observa mai bine arhitectura locului.

Ziua 9

Ziua 9 a fost o zi lunga pentru ca am fost pe drum toata ziua, dar ne-am oprit in multe locuri frumoase unde, ca de obicei, era foarte aglomerat.

Calla Dell’Aquaviva, cu frumosul fiord si izvoarele de apa rece

Marina Serra cu a ei piscina naturala

Golful Ciolo cu al sau pod

Santa Maria di Leuca, unde am reusit sa facem plaja si am luat masa. Santa Maria di Leuca este punctul cel mai sudic al tocului Italiei si de cum treci pe coasta de vest a regiunii, incep interminabilele plaje cu nisip fin. Principalele atractii turistice de aici sunt biserica Santa Maria (care ii da numele), farul, cavernele si pesterile accesibile doar cu barca.

Inainte de a ne caza in Gallipoli, am ales sa ne oprim in Marina di Pescoluse, cunoscuta si ca Maldivele din Salento (Puglia), pentru o scurta baie in mare. In Gallipoli am stat in centrul vechi al orasului, unde este interzis accesul masinilor, asa ca am parcat undeva in afara cetatii si am mers pe jos pana la cazare. Gallipoli inseamna orasul frumos si este baza perfecta pentru a explora cele mai frumoase plaje din Puglia.

Vacanta in Puglia

Ziua 10

O noua zi, o alta plaja! Am ales sa mergem la Porto Selvaggio, unde ne-am plimbat prin rezervatia naturala. Dupa amiaza ne-am mutat la Spiaggia Padula Bianca si am avut parte de cateva ore de relaxare si de cea mai frumoasa priveliste. Alaturi de Padula Bianca se afla o alta plaja la fel de frumoasa, Rivabella. De altfel, litoralul din apropierea orasului Gallipoli este renumit pentru multitudinea de plaje amenajate. Cele mai recunoscute (si aglomerate) plaje se afla in zona de sud a orasului: Spiaggia di Baia Verde, Spiaggia di Punta della Suina si Punto Pizzo. La finalul zilei ne-am mutat pe plaja din Gallipoli, Spiaggia della Purita, de unde am privit apusul. Am incheiat cu o cina in centrul istoric la Pescheria La Lampara.

Ziua 11

In ultima zi petrecuta in Galipolli, am privit rasaritul de pe acoperisul hotelului, unde era servit si micul dejun, dupa care am vizitat Castelul Gallipoli. Ne-am indreptat usor catre Porto Cesareo, Torre Lapillo si Punta Prosciutto si am facut scurte opriri, ultimele doua fiind considerate cele mai frumoase plaje cu nisip din Puglia.

Am ajuns in Matera odata cu lasarea serii si am fost nevoiti sa ne lasam masina in partea noua a orasului, deoarece accesul masinilor este interzis in centrul istoric. Ne-am cazat in grotele reconditionate Sextantio le Grotte della Civita si am simtit ca ne-am teleportat intr-o lume magica din trecut despre care trebuie sa cititi si voi mai multe. Am cinat intr-un restaurant amenajat intr-o grota, Baccanti.

Vacanta in Puglia

Ziua 12

O zi intreaga pentru explorat Matera pe jos. Am urcat si coborat de zeci de ori scari peste scari, dar senzatiile traite au fost de nedescris. Frumusetea locurilor au facut din Matera platou de filmare pentru multe filme istorice printre care Mary Magdalene (prilej cu care s-au cunoscut Rooney Mara si Joaquin Phoenix), Passion of the Christ sau Ben Hur. Am vizitat mai multe muzee care prezentau viata de odiniora din Matera, biserici si localuri cu design specific zonei. Seara am incheiat-o pe terasa hotelului cu un ceai si un cappuccino.

La Grotte della Civita am avut cele mai intense trairi. Camerele sunt amenajate cu lumini ambientale si lumanari care iti dau impresia ca nu exista electricitate. Usa camerelor este din lemn masiv si nu se inchide ermetic. Astfel ca atunci cand ploua ai impresia ca esti in aer liber. Mobilerul si decorul sunt simple, pe baza de piatra si lemn, incercand sa redea cat mai bine atmosfera de grota. Grotele erau locuite de oameni saraci care traiau impreuna cu animalele pe care le cresteau, ceea ce a dus la dezvoltarea bolilor. De aceea in 1952, locuitorii grotelor au fost evacuati si relocati in partea moderna a orasului si zona nu a mai fost folosita pana la sfarsitul anilor 1980.

Sala de mese a hotelului este amenajata in locul unde functiona o capela, iar intrarea in hotel se face pe un culoar care are vedere panoramica la Valea Murgiei din Matera si a pesterilor rupestre de pe cealalta parte a gravinei. Micul dejun la Sextantio este extrem de bogat si bazat pe multe produse de patiserie specifice zonei.

Ziua 13

Am admirat pentru ultima oara orasul de pe cealalta parte a gravinei, dupa care am plecat catre aeroportul din Bari cu destinatia Bucuresti.

Vacanta in Puglia


milos noul santorini mykonos

21 de Motive sa vizitezi Milos - Combinatia perfecta intre Santorini si Mykonos

milos noul santorini mykonos

EN: 21 Reasons to visit Milos

The perfect combination between Santorini and Mykonos

milos noul santorini mykonos

Recunosc ca titlul e mai mult pentru a va atrage atentia pentru ca sunt mult mai multe motive pentru care merita sa acordati o atentie cat de mica acestei insule.

Cum ajungi in Milos? Cu avionul pana la Atena, apoi high speed ferry din portul Piraeus: aprox. 3-4 ore, in functie de viteza feribotului, sau cu avionul (Olympicair, Aegean Airlines), durata unui zbor fiind de 40 de minute.

EN: I admit, the title is just a way to get your attention because there are a lot more reasons to direct your smallest attention to this island.

How to get to Milos? By plane to Athens and then by the High Speed Ferry from Piraeus Port: approximately 3-4 hours, depeding on the speed of the ferry, or by plane  (Olympicair, Aegean Airlines) with a flight time of around 40 minutes.

milos noul santorini mykonos

Am surprins atatea peisaje spectaculoase in aceasta calatorie incat imi este imposibil sa le cuprind pe toate intr-o singura postare. Pentru cateva dintre motivele mentionate mai jos vor urma si postari individuale. Aici vei regasi o parte din farmecul frumoasei insule Milos.

EN: I have captured so many spectacular landscapes during this trip that it is impossible for me to include them all in one post. For some of the reasons mentioned below, individual posts will follow. Here you will find part of the charm of the beautiful island of Milos.

milos noul santorini mykonos

 

Peisajul lunar de la Sarakiniko

EN: The Moonscape from Sarakiniko

Probabil al doilea cel mai faimos lucru din Milos dupa statuia lui Venus. Partea proasta este ca locul este aglomerat la orice ora a zilei, dar datorita faptului ca se intinde pe o suprafata mare, ai sanse sa prinzi o portiune doar a ta de unde sa poti admira frumusetea peisajului.

EN: Probably the second most famous spot to see in Milos after the statue of Venus de Milo. The downside is that the place is crowded at any time of day, but due to the fact that it stretches over a large area, you have the chance to find a  place just for yourself where you can sit and admire the beauty of the landscape.

milos noul santorini mykonos

Plaja langa o mina abandonata – Paliorema/Thiorichia (Old Sulphur Mines)

EN: The Beach near an Abandoned Mine –

Paliorema/Thiorichia (Old Sulphur Mines)

Daca vrei sa fii singur pe plaja, aici ai sanse pentru ca nu multi se incumeta sa ajunga la minele abandonate din cauza drumului neasfaltat.

EN: If you want to be alone on the beach here’s your chance because not many dare to reach the abandoned mines because of the dirt road.

milos noul santorini mykonos

Plaja Tsigrado

EN: Tsigrado Beach

Coboara pe o franghie pentru a ajunge la plaja Tsigrado.

EN: Slide down a rope to get down to Tsigrado Beach.

milos noul santorini mykonos

Sate pescaresti unice

EN: Unique Fishing Villages

 

Sate pescaresti transformate in cazari idilice: Klima, Mandrakia, Fyropotamos. Acestea sunt unice si se gasesc doar pe insulele Milos si Kimolos – sora mai mica a insulei Milos.

EN: Fishing villages transformed into idyllic accommodations: Klima, Mandrakia, Fyropotamos. These are unique and are found only on the islands of Milos and Kimolos – the younger sister of Milos Island.

milos noul santorini mykonos

Plaja langa o mina functionala: Voudia

EN: The Beach near an active Mine: Voudia

milos noul santorini mykonos

Bentonit, Perlit, Barit; Sunt doar cateva dintre resursele naturale ale insulei care inca se mai extrag din aceasta zona.

EN: Bentonite, Perlite, Barite; These are only a few of the island’s natural resources that are still extracted from this area.

Plaja Geotermala – Paleochori

EN: The Geothermal Beach – Paleochori

Datorita activitatii vulcanice, in aceasta zona a insulei exista izvoare calde submarine care incalzesc apa si portiuni din plaja. Unul dintre restaurantele de pe malul marii are amenajat un spatiu unde se prepara mancare vulcanica.

EN: Due to the volcanic activity in this area of the island there are underwater hot springs that heat the water and portions of the beach. One of the restaurants on the seaside has an area where volcanic food is prepared and served.

milos noul santorini mykonos

Plaja curcubeu – Firiplaka

EN: The Rainbow Beach – Firiplaka

Nu cred ca am vazut intr-un alt loc mai multe culori care sa se imbine perfect cu albastrul apei. Cu siguranta aceasta este plaja mea preferata din Milos.

EN: I don’t think I ever saw another place with so many colors that combine perfectly with the blue of the water. This is definitely my favorite beach in Milos.

Papafragas, Kapros & Alogomandra

Sau cum sa faci plaja intr-o pestera.

EN: Or how to sunbathe in a cave.

milos noul santorini mykonos

Plaka

Locul in care te poti bucura de celebrele apusuri cicladice si de o plimbare printre frumoasele alei marginite de cladiri albe.

EN: The place where you can enjoy the famous Cycladic sunsets and a walk among the beautiful alleys bordered by white buildings.

O! Hamos!

sau restaurantul unde era tot timpul coada

EN: or the restaurant with a neverending queue

O! Hamos este cel mai cunoscut restaurant din Milos, cu un meniu ce consta in preparate traditionale realizate din ingrediente locale. Proprietarii detin o ferma de unde se aprovizioneaza pe tot parcursul anului. Restaurantul este celebru si pe Grecia continentala, grecii venind in weekend special pentru a lua masa aici. Meniul este scris de mana si peretii sunt decorati cu mesajele prietenilor sau ale celor care au trecut pragul restaurantului.

 

EN: O! Hamos is the best known restaurant in Milos, with a menu consisting of traditional dishes made from local ingredients. The owners have a farm from which they supply the kitchen throughout the year. The restaurant is also famous on mainland Greece, the Greeks coming during the weekends especially to dine here. The menu is handwritten and the walls are decorated with messages of friends and those who have passed by the restaurant.

Trypiti

sau locul in care poti dormi intr-o moara de vant si lua cina cu vedere la apus.

EN: or the place where you can sleep in a Windmill and have dinner overlooking the sunset.

Medusa

Restaurantul unde gasesti cea mai buna caracatita din Ciclade.

EN: The restaurant where you will find the best octopus in the Cyclades.

milos noul santorini mykonos

Milos Cove

Sau singurul Resort de pe insula construit pe un zacamant de obsidian.

EN: Or the only Resort on the island built on an Obsidian deposit.

milos noul santorini mykonos

Apus de soare la Utopia Cafe

EN: Sunset at Utopia Cafe

Locul in care te poti delecta cu cele mai frumoase apusuri de pe insula alaturi de un pahar de prosecco/vin/etc. Localul nu accepta rezervari, asa ca trebuie sa iti ocupi locul cu cel putin o ora inainte de apus.

EN: The place where you can enjoy the most beautiful sunsets on the island with a glass of prosecco / wine / etc. The Cafe does not take reservations so you must come in at least one hour before sunset.

Adamas

Locul cu cele mai frumoase si apreciate restaurante situate pe malul marii. Este portul principal al insulei si punctul de plecare pentru cele mai importante obiective turistice.

EN: The place with the most beautiful and popular restaurants located on the seafront. It is the main port of the island and the starting point for the most important tourist attractions.

milos noul santorini mykonos

Psaravolada

Restaurantul cu cea mai frumoasa priveliste si cele mai gustoase preparate de pe insula. Imi aminteste de peisajele de pe coasta Italiei.

EN: The restaurant with the most beautiful view and the tastiest dishes on the island. It reminds me of the landscapes on the coast of Italy.

milos noul santorini mykonos

Mic Dejun/Brunch la Kivotos ton Gefseon

EN: Breakfast/Brunch at Kivotos ton Gefseon

 

Aici am mancat cel mai bun mic dejun din Milos si am savurat cea mai buna cafea intr-o gradina traditionala. A fost unul dintre cele mai relaxante momente ale calatoriei, prilej cu care am incercat si unul dintre faimoasele deserturi grecesti, Galaktoboureko (foietaj cu crema de vanilie).

EN: Here we had the best breakfast in Milos and enjoyed the best coffee in a traditional garden. It was one of the most relaxing moments of the trip so I had to try one of the most famous Greek desserts, Galaktoboureko (pastry with vanilla cream).

Apus de soare la Papikinou

EN: Sunset at Papikinou

 

Sau cum sa admiri dintr-un hamac portul din Adamas invaluit in culorile apusului.

EN: Or how to sit in a hammock and admire the port of Adamas shrouded in the perfect sunset colors.

milos noul santorini mykonos

Achivadolimni

 

Cea mai buna vedere la caldera in jurul careia s-a format insula Milos. Plaja cu cel mai fin nisip de pe insula si locul in care poti privi avioanele care aterizeaza pe insula.

EN: The best view of the Caldera around which the island of Milos was formed. The beach with the finest sand on the island and the place where you can watch planes land on the island.

Apus de soare la ruinele Castelulului Venetian

EN: Sunset over the ruins of the Venetian Castle

 

Adica locul cu cea mai buna vedere panoramica a insulei.

Pont: opreste-te la biserica Panagia Thalassitra pentru a admira privelistea.

EN: Or the place with the best panoramic view of the island.

Tip: Stop by Panagia Thalassitra Church to admire the view.

Daca esti pasionat de design-ul si arhitectura cicladica

si vrei sa scapi de aglomeratia de pe Santorini si Mykonos.

EN: If you are passionate about cycladic design and architecture

and also want to escape the crowds on Santorini and Mykonos.


raven's nest

Raven's Nest

Raven’s Nest

“Childhood never disappears from us; it becomes a continuous spring from which all of life’s turns come forth.”

George Călinescu

Once upon a time there was an emperor. This powerful emperor had defeated and submitted everyone around his kingdom, and forced each emperor to send one of their sons to serve him for 10 years. At the other end of the world there was an emperor who had not been defeated until he turned old. When his turn to send a son came he did not know what to do in order to please the powerful emperor as he did not have a son, but three daughters.

So begins the story of one of the most cherished characters in the Romanian Folklore, Ileana Cosanzeana. Ileana is the original concept of feminine beauty said to use her power to heal or revive. She is a mythical character with supernatural powers and with symbolic features. In some tales “Ileana Cosânzeana” was the fairy of flowers, a fairy that puts the perfume into every flower, but she has the power to take it back; even the wind loves Ileana, but he can never catch her. She is the female correspondent to Fat Frumos – Prince Charming, usually his ideal female. According to folklore, she is kidnapped by a dragon (the Romanian term is Zmeu) and locked in a tower or taken to the Other Land, but she is always saved by Fat Frumos.

You can find depictions of these characters inside one of the accommodations belonging to Raven’s Nest, The Transylvanian Village. The Guesthouse comprises renovated buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries, a garden house and a traditional outdoor dining space. The story behind the name of the location is a no brainer. When deciding upon the location the owners saw some ravens flying around the area, so they called the place the Raven’s Nest.

If you want to immerse yourself in nature and disconnect this is the perfect place. Dive into the private forest, where you will find hammocks and hideouts, and an open-air cinema.

There are two large decks built on the cliffs, from where you can enjoy the panorama of the Apuseni mountains: “Turnul de Apus” (The Eye of the Raven) and “Cuibul Tainic” (The Lovebirds’ Hideout).

You can choose to spend your evenings at the campfire or watch the sunset from one of the decks or from the hot tub, located near the sauna, “Căldarea Vrajitoarei” (The Witch’s Cauldron).

Guests can enjoy authentic recipes together with a selection of Romanian wines or locally brewed beer at the on-site restaurant, The Dragon’s Tavern or the outside space called “Umbrarul Voinicului” (The Arbor of the Brave). The outside space also features an old stone oven and an on-site natural water spring.

Meals are prepared with local, fresh ingredients. For breakfast they offer a full buffet, while for lunch and dinner the menus are pre fixed. Lunch and dinner consist in a three-course meal and they can also include vegetarian or vegan options if you request it in advance. There is also an impressive list of cocktails, lemonades and several other plant based drinks. We were welcomed with a delicious cold drink based on locally prepared raspberry syrup which proved to be the perfect remedy to a hot summer day.

If you love hiking and other connected activities, you have a lot of options to explore. Some of the closest attractions are Vanatarele Ponorului Waterfall, Zalmoxe’s Cave, Dragon’s Gate and Cave, or Sipotele Waterfall. By car you can easily reach Rimetea, Coltesti Fortress, Valisoarei Gorges, The Temple of the Knights Castle, Mount Baisoara or Turda Gorges.

The Raven’s Nest is a good starting point to access the endless beauty and history of the Apuseni Mountains. The road that accompanies the Aries river is a scenic drive in all seasons. Several years ago there was also an old train – Mocanita, running along the road and crisscrossing it. This was my favourite route as a little girl, as I used to come here almost every year. I am actually very fond of this area as my father was born here. Some of my favourite places are Scarisoara Cave, Pisoaia Waterfall, Mount Gaina, Avram Iancu Memorial House, Rosia Montana, Geamana, and the list can go on. There is some sort of time stopping beauty in every corner.

Take into consideration that Raven’s Nest welcomes you from May to October so you might want to book ahead. There are some house rules that will be communicated to you once you make the booking. You can find more info on their website: http://ravensnest.eu/accommodation

Inside one of the rooms

Common area of one of the living spaces


 

I have taken one of my favourite dresses on a holiday. You may have spotted the dress throughout the gallery. If not, here is a glimpse of its trip.

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Mahe beaches seychelles

Travel Journal - Mahé Beaches Part II

Mahe beaches seychelles

Mahé is the main island of Seychelles and the site of Victoria, the republic’s capital. Almost 90 percent of the population of the Republic of Seychelles live on Mahé. It has plenty of attractions and activities to keep you covered for an extended holiday. We have chosen it as our main base for exploring Seychelles and have discovered a lot of interesting beaches. I admit that the west coast beaches are on top of my list. Let me know which of them looks more appealing to you!

 

 

Continued from Mahe Beaches Part I

Anse Bazarca

This is the first from the “wild beaches chain” situated in the southern tip of the island. The other two are Police Bay and Petite Police Bay. The conditions are not good for swimming or snorkelling, but you can have a nice picnic under the trees and take lots of beautiful photos. There is a parking lot and a bus stop nearby and the closest facilities can be found at Takamaka beach.

Mahe beaches seychelles

Police Bay

Unlike most of the other beaches on Mahe, this is a wild beach suitable for surfing, not swimming. The views are spectacular so you can enjoy a relaxing picnic, if you bring along all the equipment. You can only reach the beach by car, parking it at Petite Police and walking 7 minutes through the tropical forest until you reach the ocean. You will be amazed.

Petite Police Bay

The smaller sister of Petite Police is the least friendly beach that I have discovered on the island but it has an unique charm: the old coral formations that line the beach. The water is unsafe for swimming, but you can have a relaxing walk admiring the coral formations. There are no amenities nearby.

Mahe beaches seychelles

Anse Forbans

Beautiful beach of the east part of the island. The most famous accommodation nearby is Double Tree By Hilton Seychelles, where you can have lunch. Like most of the beaches on this part of the island, Anse Forbans benefits from an offshore coral reef which ensures great conditions for swimming and snorkelling.

Anse Royale

Named after the city that surrounds it, this beach consists of a number of smaller beaches, with beautiful scenery and coral reef protection which make it suitable for swimming and snorkelling. There are a lot of shops, restaurants, accommodations and other facilities nearby, so you can spend a whole perfect day here (lunch and dinner included). It is the second most popular beach on Mahe after Beau Vallon, so if you want to tick the most popular places on the island make sure to add it on your list. I am sorry that my picture does not reflect the true beauty of the location, but it was raining when we were passing by. 🙁

Anse aux Pins

This is one of the first beaches that you see after you leave the airport. The sensation that I had was to leave the car in the middle of the road (as there were not a lot of parking lots available), dive right into the beautiful water and hide from the sun under the trees. The coral reef protects the shore from the ocean and offers great conditions for swimming and snorkelling. The beach does not have other amenities, but there are several restaurants and shops nearby that can be reached by car.

Mahe beaches seychelles

Anse Nord d’Est

Situated in the north-eastern tip of the island and right next to the road, this wild and beautiful beach has an unexpected charm. You can easily spend a few hours relaxing on the beach and charging your batteries with spectacular views of Saint Anne and Cerf islands. The swimming conditions are not as safe as on the rest of the east coast but you can a bring along your surf board. There are no amenities on the beach so bring your own snacks and drinks.

Anse a la Mouche

This is a long beach with shallow water, suitable for swimming and snorkelling and for taking lots of beautiful pictures. There are lots of restaurants nearby so you can easily spend a whole day here just to catch the amazing sunset views.

Although it is open to public as all of the other beaches in Seychelles, this beach is mostly frequented by the hotel guests. The coral reef protects it from the ocean and offers great conditions for swimming, snorkelling and a large variety of water sports. One of the best restaurants on the island are located here: Windsong, Cafe Lazare and L’Indochine (open mostly for dinner, please make a reservation beforehand).

Mahe beaches seychelles

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Mahe beaches seychelles

Travel Journal - Mahé Beaches Part I

Mahe beaches seychelles

Mahé is the main island of Seychelles and the site of Victoria, the republic’s capital. Almost 90 percent of the population of the Republic of Seychelles live on Mahé. It has plenty of attractions and activities to keep you covered for an extended holiday. We have chosen it as our main base for exploring Seychelles and have discovered a lot of interesting beaches. I admit that the west coast beaches are on top of my list. Let me know which of them looks more appealing to you!

Beau Vallon

This is the most popular beach of the island. It has all the amenities that you need in order to spend a great day at the beach: soft sand, natural shade, lots of restaurants, shallow water. You can also rent boats for sailing, practice water sports or book excursions for the other islands. It is also one of the longest beach in the Seychelles, so even if it’s the most popular, it won’t get extremely crowded. You can also watch the sunset and have a drink at the bars or nightclubs close by. I cannot say that it was one of my favourites as I am more into secluded beaches but it’s definitely worth at least one visit.

Sunset Beach

This is a small, golden sand beach situated in the north of Mahe. It is one of my favourites on the main island as its scenery is out of a postcard. The water is shallow and has an intense colour thanks to the greenery that surrounds it. You can order a cocktail at the Sunset Beach Hotel bar and enjoy it on the beach. The small bay is visited by the most colourful fish I have seen in my life, so if you’re looking for great snorkelling opportunities this should be one of your options.

 

P.S: good place to watch the sunset 🙂

Anse Takamaka

Mahe beaches seychelles

This beautiful beach situated in the south of Mahe gets its name from the takamaka tree that grows nearby. The wood from this tree was used by pirates and locals to make boats. Although it is accessible, as it’s situated near the road, it does not have a lot of amenities, except the Chez Batista restaurant nearby. You will need to bring your own equipment if you want to spend the day here and witness the beautiful sky at sunset.

Anse Intendance

This is my number one option in Mahe and second in Seychelles after Anse Cocos, La Digue island. The colour of the water is surreal and the lush vegetation provides natural shade. I can only leave the photos speak for themselves. Anse Intendance is home the the exclusive Banyan Tree Resort, where you can book a table for dinner and watch the magnificent sunset. From May to September swimming is not allowed but you can bring your surfboard or your picnic basket and enjoy the views. There is only one small beach bar on the one km long beach so bring your own food and drinks.

Grande Anse

Mahe beaches seychelles

This beautiful beach is the longest of the eastern coast and provides a picturesque mountainous background, perfect for a photo session :). The sand is soft and white and the water is good for surfing, not so much for swimming. Some accommodations nearby can be a good option for lunch if you want to spend the whole day here.

Baie Ternay Beach

The bay is part of Baie Ternay National Park, which is popular among snorkelers and scuba divers thanks to its biodiversity. The easiest way to access it is by car and a 7-8 minutes walk through a beautiful scenery. There are no amenities nearby so make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks.

Port Launay North Beach

Mahe beaches seychelles

Located in the Port Launay Marine National Park and close to the Constance Ephelia Resort, this beach can easily keep you busy for the whole day. Not only can you swim in the shallow water, hide under the natural shade and enjoy the food and drinks from the nearby hotel bars, but you can also practice water sports (surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, scuba diving, fishing, sailing, kayaking and canoeing) and book sunset and fishing trips or excursions to Silhouette island. Also, Port Launay Marine National Park contains one of the last and best remaining mangroves in Seychelles. As a fun fact, did you know that these mangroves were populated by crocodiles when the first settlers arrived on the island?

Port Launay South Beach

Less popular than its sister, Port Launay North, this beach is equally beautiful, except for when it disappears at high tide. At low tide, the water is so shallow that a number of unique rock formations appear from under the water, and visitors can walk to Islette (small island) nearby. If you plan to spend the whole day at the beach, you can enjoy the food and drinks served at the restaurants part of Constance Ephelia. Don’t forget to book your visit beforehand at the hotel’s reception. If you still have time, visit the Port Glaud waterfall nearby but be careful not to get lost.

Port Glaud

Small, picturesque beach on the road to Port Launay. You can spend a couple of hours here if you want some privacy as the beach is often deserted. There are no amenities but you have some interesting restaurants nearby, including the famous Del Place – must try.

Mahe beaches seychelles

Petite Anse

This is one of the most beautiful beaches that I have ever seen. There is a fairly different tropical vibe here, probably thanks to the 5 star property that surrounds it. You will need to book your visit at the Four Seasons Seychelles hotel and chances are that you might not be allowed to enter the property if the hotel is fully booked. The road down to the beach is out of a fairytale and full of magnificent tropical flora and fauna. Do not miss the fruit bat!

Anse Soleil

This is a small beach on the same road with Petite Anse. Swimming can be dangerous at high tide, but you can find plenty of shade under the palm trees and catch a great tan while you’re there. The beautiful views create a perfect background for a photoshoot. You could also have lunch at the nearby restaurant, Chez Julien. The closest hotel nearby is Anse Soleil Beachcomber.

Mahe beaches seychelles

Check out more beaches on Mahé in

Mahé Beaches Part II

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Praslin beaches

Travel Journal - Praslin Beaches

Praslin beaches

Praslin is the second largest island of Seychelles (size and population), so it offers a great variety of attractions and accommodations. The guide was really surprised that we did not choose it as our main base for exploring Seychelles. It is very close to La Digue (the best place for beach lovers), so you should have it in mind if you find yourself in the aforementioned category. Unfortunately, we only had one day to explore the beaches so there still are a lot of places to discover. Praslin is also a good base for visiting the various Coco de Mer nature reserves (click to read more) and exploring Curieuse, Cousin, Cousine, and Felicite islands.

Anse Lazio

This is without doubt one of the most beautiful beaches in Seychelles. I was fascinated by the lush vegetation that provides abundant natural shade. The turquoise water invites you to go for a swim but it gets deep quickly so do not go too far as the currents are strong. The access to the beach is easy by car, or a 20 minutes walk if you go by bus. There are two restaurants, one at the end of each side of the beach (I recommend Bonbon Plume), where you can enjoy Creole cuisine.

Praslin beaches

Anse Georgette

This gorgeous beach is located near the luxurious Constance Lemuria Resort, so you need a permit from the hotel in order to visit it. Once you enter the property it will be a 30 minutes walk through the golf course until you reach the beach. The scenery is amazing, which makes the up and down walk a little bit more pleasant. Once you catch a glimpse of the beach you will want to dive right into the water. The water gets deep rather quickly, so you should be careful. If you are not a good swimmer you can relax under the shade provided by the palm trees and treat yourself with some local fruits and fresh coconut water. If you want to spend more than a few hours on the beach, bring water and some snacks as there aren’t any restaurants nearby, except those inside Constance Lemuria (30 minutes walk).

Praslin beaches

Petite Anse Kerlan and Grande Anse Kerla

Only a rocky stretch separates Grande Anse Kerlan from Petite Anse Kerlan. You can visit both of them while you are inside the Constance Lemuria Resort. Petite Anse Kerlan is preferred over Grande Anse Kerlan mainly because the water provides better conditions for swimming and snorkelling. The beach can be busy with the clients of the resort but it’s worth a visit before having lunch or dinner at The Nest restaurant, situated on top of the cliffs.

Praslin beaches

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La digue beaches

Travel Journal - La Digue Beaches

La Digue Beaches

Whether it goes down to places, experiences or people, I have always disliked the idea of comparisons. The only way in which I can accept it is by using it in mathematics, literature or computer science. How many of you were embarrassed when your parents asked you how your other colleagues did in the test? I did not understand what difference it made for them if I did better than others  or worse. We had different backgrounds and different hobbies. So if my favourite class is geography, you cannot compare my math grades to someone’s whose favourite class is maths or the other way around. Also, you cannot compare a trip to Italy to one in Sri Lanka, because they are part of different cultures. I think you’ve got my point now. And that is why I think that you cannot really make objective top 10’s of sites that you can visit, experiences you can have or places that you can stay in, unless the person that created the top likes exactly the same things that you do. Which happens seldom.

So, instead of top 10 beaches I will create a review based on my experience and you can figure out if you like it or not. Bare in mind that I have only visited three islands from the 115, so there’s still a lot to discover, even on the islands that I have been to.

The first island that I recommend for all the beach lovers out there is La Digue. It has one of the most beautiful, pristine beaches that I have ever seen and is surrounded by the most intense, turquoise water.

Anse Source d’Argent

Named by some the most photogenic beach in the world, this is a beach that you cannot miss if you plan to visit Seychelles. You need to pay an entrance fee, but the access is easy and once you’re there you have an amazing beach bar at your disposal. If you don’t catch the high tide, it’s an amazing place for swimming and snorkelling. You can read more about my experience here: Travel Journal – Anse Source d’Argent

La Digue Beaches

Grande Anse

One of the most picturesque beaches of the island and one of my favourites. This is a long beach with soft, white sand and turquoise waters. Swimming is not recommended, but you can catch a wave if you’re into surfing. There is a restaurant nearby (Loutier Coco), where you can have lunch if you want to spend the whole day at the beach. There is no shade, so bring your umbrella along if you’re planning to stay more. Don’t miss out the beautiful lake near the beach.

La Digue Beaches

Petite Anse

This one is the smaller sister of Grand Anse, so the view is equally amazing. You can reach it via Grand Anse, over a small hill. The walk takes about 15 minutes, but you will need to climb over some rocks so be careful with your shoes. Swimming is dangerous but you can spend your day sunbathing while catching some shade under the trees or the driftwood shelters. There is also a small bar with fresh fruits and coconut water.

Anse Cocos

La Digue Beaches

However impartial I would like to be I cannot hide the fact that this was my favourite beach in Seychelles. I will make a separate post dedicated to this beach, where I will tell you why. Access to the beach is done via Grand Anse through a 30 minutes hike. The steep climb and the lush vegetation make it challenging, but the beach is worth the effort. This beauty is friendly for swimmers at low tide as long as you stick to the protected natural pools of water. Natural shade from the trees offers protection from the sun and a small bar welcomes you with fresh fruits and coconut water.

Anse Severe

I’ve only passed by to watch the sunset. This would make be good caption for this beach. Anse Severe is situated near the main road and close to some snack bars and the 4* accommodation Le Domaine de L’Orangeraie. Thanks to the protection provided by corals and rocks and the natural shade it is safe for swimming and a good number of beach activities. The views over Praslin create a perfect background for some nice pictures and a romantic place to watch the sunset. I don’t have any pictures though, so you will need to trust me on this one. 🙂

La Digue Beaches

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Fond Ferdinand Nature Reserve

Travel Journal Fond Ferdinand Nature Reserve

Fond Ferdinand Nature Reserve

Have you ever dreamt of hiking through an ancient forest and being transported thousands of years back? I did but I never thought that it would be an ancient palm forest, containing the largest number of sea coconut trees in the world! Coco de mer is a rare species of palm tree native to the Seychelles archipelago. Unlike the coconut palm, coco de mer has separate male and female trees. The fruit, which requires 6–7 years to mature and a further two years to germinate will grow only on the female tree. But the issue is that you won’t know if it’s a boy or a girl earlier than 25 years since you planted it. People have tried to grow it in other regions of the world but the stubborn coco de mer cannot and will not grow somewhere else.

The nut of the coco de mer is the largest seed in the plant kingdom and is funnily shaped. That’s why it is sometimes called love nut, double coconut or coco fesse. And that is also why you can read some interesting legends about it. General Charles George Gordon, who visited the Seychelles in 1881, believed that Praslin island contains the Garden of Eden and that the coco de mer was the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In the Maldives, any coco de mer nuts that were found in the ocean or on the beaches were supposed to be given to the king, and keeping a nut for yourself or selling it could have resulted in the death penalty. You can read more here: Legends of the coco de mer.

The main population of coco de mer trees now grows in the national parks on the Seychelles, mainly on Praslin: Valee du Mai (UNESCO World Heritage Site) and Fond Ferdinand Nature Reserve. We decided to visit the second one at the suggestion of our guide. Although the two km long hike was pretty challenging due to the heat, humidity and never-ending steps, the story of the forest told by the local guide, the magnificent flora and fauna of the reserve and the view from the top were more than worth it. This is a must do if you go to Praslin. Let the trail begin!

We are warmly welcomed by the Aldabra giant tortoises that reside under a mango tree. Yum!

Now we get acquainted with the main residents of the reserve, the coco de mer nuts. The fruit can contain from one to four seeds.

We start our climb through the lush vegetation, discovering not only the famous sea coconut but also vanilla and cinnamon trees.

Climbing more steps…

Admiring the tall trees…

Meeting another resident: the gecko.

And finally, the reward from the top:

Finding some shade and catching our breaths before we return:

On the road back to the entrance, the black parrot joined us to say goodbye.

After walking through the Coco de Mer forest with me, which of the sea coconuts legends did you like best?

Write your opinion in the comment section below!

 

Later,

Pomegranate Juice