15 Photos that will make you want to visit the Balkans during winter

I fell in love with Balkans when I first visited these countries way back 2012. I dreamed to explore the remaining countries to complete my obsession to finish 50 countries at my 30’s. I love that experience of sleeping in the bus or train and waking up in another country. Thanks to my love, Matt for supporting me about my crazy idea and making my dream come true. Well not totally, because I wasn’t able to visit Macedonia. I didn’t know I need a separate visa there. So for those who have a passport from other continent, I will make a separate post about passport power by country.

All in all we had an amazing time and real adventure. We experienced all kinds of accommodation and we ate in different kinds of restaurants we’ve found online and on the street. From 5 star Hotel in Croatia to economical price apartments we’ve found on Airbnb, I can say that we’ve seen a lot for the time we had.

My Balkan memories are all special that they remain vividly in my head. The photos are not enough to capture how unique and stunning these places are. With that I strongly urge you to go and see them for yourself no matter what period of the year. Each country becoming magical for upcoming holiday  is a unique experience that will make your Balkan trip a memory of a lifetime.

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Plitvice National Park

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Crossing borders Albania – Kosovo

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Dubrovnik

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Plitvice National Park

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Tirana

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bunkers in Albania

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Skanderberg Square

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New Mosque in Tirana

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Durrës County

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Durrës County

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Lake Bled

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Dragon Bridge in Slovenia

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Magical Lights at Old Town Llubjana

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Cave in Plitvice National Park

 

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Budva Montenegro

 

 

Beautiful Landscape – only an hour trip from Milano

This weekend while everyone is out and busy.

I sit here in reflection of my last week.

Finally we have finished all the strict deadline at the end of the school year.

Had exciting thoughts that will not let me sleep for coming summer travels.

And that night ends off crazier than I could have ever imagined.

Some projects ended, some about to start.

In a city life where we get busy, do million things, hop here and there, move fast, and trying to get efficient, I love this simple moment where I can take a break and escape. Put the phone on airplane mode for a day and just get lost. And yes that’s what we did.

So  three days ago between Lecco and Bellagio, a place not far from Milan. We were off to search the hidden falls. Nature is so therapeutic to the mind, body and soul. It’s so powerful. I’m thankful and blessed for this moment with complete disregard for what has happened in the past or the future events to come.

Right now I’m mentally preparing myself to complete my goal of visiting 13 countries this summer.

I hope you are following along.

Anyway,  ladies and gents, I present to you the beautiful landscape only an hour trip from Milano.

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We arrived with this grey weather.

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And then suddenly sun starts to show up.

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A garden overlooking the lake and those mouth watering dried fish.

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I always try to imagine how it’s like to live in a villa with this magnificent view. 

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perfection

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close up view of the dried fish

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lovely spot

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after walking and climbing here it is

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And of course a great way to end an awesome day,..

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make a wish,… 5,..4,..

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3,.. 2,…

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1…

To our amazing journey.

-Jonie

 

 

 

5 Easy Steps to Fall in Love with Lake Como

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QUICK FACTS ABOUT LAKE COMO

  • Lake Como is the third-largest lake in Italy, after Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore and the deepest lake in Europe at over 400 metres (1,300 feet) deep.
  • The name of Lake Como originally comes from Ancient Greece. The Greeks called the lake, Lario (Λάριος), and the Romans translated it into Latin as, Lacus Larius. It comes from the root “lar,” which refers to the depths of Como. In the Middle Ages the Latin name was not relevant anymore and a new one took over – Como, which is short for, Lacus Comensis.
  • You probably have seen this beautiful lake in the movie like Ocean’s Twelve(2004), James Bond film Casino Royale(2006), Star Wars: Attack of the Clones(2002), A Month by the Lake(1995), Julia and Julia(2009), The Complete Churchill Series (1991) and Man on Fire (1987).
  • The natural beauty of this lake inspire great artists and politicians like President F.D. Roosevelt, President J.F. Kennedy, Stendhal, Giuseppe Verdi, Lord Byron, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, Leonardo da Vinci and many others.
  • Since the earliest days of the Roman Empire Lake Como has been a popular spot of rich and famous people. George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Antonio Banderas, David Beckham, and Catherine Zeta Jones own villas on the shore of the lake.

Lake Como is a favourite spot for a relaxing and beautiful get away from Milan’s busy city. The fact that Lake Como is less than an hour away from Milan makes it very easy to get to as well. I cannot remember exactly how many times I’ve been here. But undoubtedly all the visits were unique, memorable and beautiful like the lake itself.

So here are the highlights of what I love about Lake Como so you can fall in love with it too. In 5 easy steps.

1.  Challenge yourself! Walk, take the bus, or go around with bike. There are so many options, so you don’t limit yourself to see every landscape in different viewpoint.

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2. Admire the statues, monuments and villas that seem to be everywhere.

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3. Take the boat that goes to different towns around the lake. Varenna, Bellaggio, Lenno, Tremezzo, Lezzeno all these towns will make you feel as if you’re in another time, and surely a charming place where you can relax, unwind and enjoy the moment.

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4.  They said dine where the locals dine and drink where the locals drink; so why not swim where the locals swim?

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5. Savour a coffee in a balcony with your special someone or grab a cocktail with your friends. Make sure to  always have a charming lakefront location and imagine what your life would be like if you live here.

 

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So are you ready to enjoy a wonderful range of opportunities to enjoy the beautiful lake water? Are you ready to fall in love again?:)

 

USEFUL LINKS & TIPS:

If you don’t have a car and you plan to explore the lake area by bus consider that the buses pass less often at weekends.

COST:

Milan – Como by train 4,80€

 

POINTS OF INTEREST:

SOURCES:

www.discovercomo.com

www.lakecomo.it

http://www.asfautolinee.it/content/it/home

10 Steps to Fall in Love with Ischia in a day

Naples is chaotic and crazy but full of colours and natural attractions. If you may find yourself not having enough time to explore all of its islands: Capri, Procida and Ischia, our personal experience could help you have a smooth day trip memorable experience with this island.

Here are the 10 Steps we did to fall in love with Ischia.

1. Ischia is a fascinating island, but any visitor will fall in love with it more if they find out the story behind the castle, the tower and the creation of modern day Ischia after it survived several natural disasters. I love looking at the photos and gather information online before I plan my itinerary. I love Pinterest for this because it beautifully organised my selected articles and photos in one place. Screen Shot 2017-02-19 at 21.41.46.jpg2.  Check and book the boat schedule ahead of time. If you need to go to the port by foot from the metro station it will take more time than you thought. There was no clear sign on the way to the ticket office. We were transferred from port Porta di Massa to Molo Beverello port by bus because there were different types of boat that can take us to the island. We wanted the cheapest one but we had not much time so we took the hydrofoil which was the fastest that took 50min. instead of 1hr and half to reach the island. Here is the english version of the website to book the ticket and see the prices. img_8171

 

3. The moment we arrived, we explored the beach area in search of food. But there were lots of people everywhere so we ended up in a supermarket. We bought our food, and walked a lot, until we’ve found a peaceful spot where we could relax and appreciate the sparkling blue water of Tyrrhenian sea. FullSizeRender 5.jpg4. We’ve walked admiring the vineyards, colourful flowers, and sometimes stopping by to take a closer look at the craft works typical in Mediterranean landscape. IMG_8161.JPG5. Naples and Ischia are famous for its lemons. It’s really a paradise for lemon lovers like me. We loved that short break in a bar where we would stop to savour the most delicious lemonade ever.  FullSizeRender 6.jpg6. We had mixed emotions as we walked to the majestic Aragon Castle. This castle is the most impressive historical monument of Ischia, stands on a volcanic rock connected to the island by a bridge built in 1438 by Alfonso of Aragon. Vittoria Colonna, an Italian noble who was a close friend to Michelangelo, married here and lived in the castle for almost three decades.img_8176fullsizerender-77. We’ve walked and followed the crowd, sometimes ignoring the map because all those small streets were too pretty to resist.img_8172img_8173img_81758. We took everything slowly like listening to the music on our chosen spot and endured endless picture taking. Why not the colours were just perfect!img_8168fullsizerender-99. As we said goodbye to this island, we immortalised our Ischia memory by capturing my favourite part of the day, the sunset. This is something that anyone who truly knows me can testify to.  And the thought of returning is the sweetest part.img_817910. I’m so excited about the fact that I made a little promise to myself that I will return here and hopefully stay longer. The idea of living like Cleopatra even if it’s only for a day and indulge myself with thermal spas, volcanic mud, and hot springs of this volcanic island made my heart skip a beat – but then, who doesn’t?ischia-island-italy-19-lesser-known-travel-destinations-to-visit-before-you-dieAbove all, I feel so overwhelmed about the fact that I fell in love with this island with my beloved girl friends. When we were here, we didn’t realize we were making such memorable memories of our life time, we just knew we we’re having fun!

Later we found out that the mega-budget historical epic Cleopatra began its filming in Ischia. If you are curious to see a short clip here‘s a link.

Do you have your own favourite island? Do you think we will fall in love with it too?

 

 

Best of the Weekend : Her

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Rosielyn our beloved friend turned 30! I’m so excited for her, because we used to share our dreams and plans together. She is loved by all the people around her because well, she’s got the whole package: sexy, super sweet, smart, generous and very hardworking person. I already imagined that her Facebook page will be filled with lots of photos and messages, that her cellphone will notify her nonstop with the greetings from different people all over the world and her boyfriend will prepare a special surprise. Well it turned out actually like that. So I thought I would just like to do something simple that will give opportunity to all of us that are present on that occasion, to leave her a message that she will be able to read the day after when the day is more calm. She used to spoil and love us all the time so this is the best opportunity to show her how thankful we are to have her as our friend.

So here are the snaps of my DIY very custom present.img_8053

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She really felt spoiled and loved all week long and she deserved it!

Here are some  of my favourite pictures we snapped during that special day.

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Our “I woke up like this” face the day after.

Luca really deserves the best boyfriend award for putting the posters of Rosielyn’s travel on the wall to surprise her as she get back from work on that day!

I really love to feel and witness all this sweetness especially from the people I care about. We had fun, she was overjoyed and that was what we all hoped for.

Hack Your Day

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The bottom line here? It doesn’t matter how busy you are, not about how talented you are, and definitely not about how lucky you are. It’s all about small things that you consistently do, these little small 1% that adds up and accumulate everyday that determine your progress!

Why some people are successful and others are failure?

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Like Bro. Bo Sanchez I asked these questions:

Why some people are successful and others are failures.

Why some people are happy and others unhappy.

Why some people have loving families and others have broken families.

What determines success and failure?

He came up to this conclusion that it’s how we relate to the OS of the universe.

The operating system of the universe is the Law that governs all of reality. Success and failure hang on this one Law. Follow this Law and you’ll succeed. Disregard the Law and you’ll fail.

So what is the OS of the universe?

Are you a believer of Luck or a faithful servant of God? He cited it this way:

  1. LUCK: Some people think luck is the OS of the universe. If good things happen to you, you’re lucky.If bad things happen to you, you’re unlucky.So to be successful, just be lucky!
  2. God: Some believe that the operating system of the entire universe is a capricious, self-centered, immature, insecure God. They don’t call Him by that description but that’s who their God is. He is a Divine Being who sits on the throne, looking for people to reward because they adore Him — or looking for people to punish because they forget Him. So to succeed in life, all you have to do is make this capricious God happy. Don’t anger Him. And perhaps, He’ll throw some rewards in your direction.

Reasons Why Some People Never Succeed

1. Wrong Theology

Some people think that God wants them to remain small. God wants them to remain insignificant. God wants them to remain humble (a distorted definition). Their religion tells them, “Don’t stand out. Don’t create waves. Just follow. Just obey. Just be quiet.”

2. Wrong Psychology

Some people believe they deserve to be small. Some people believe they deserve to be failures. Perhaps because their parents treated them as dirt and not as stars. Or they had some other past trauma.

3. Wrong Strategy

If you have no hope of reaching the top of that ladder, get off that ladder. Why? Because you’ll always be mediocre. You’ll always be average. And in business, average is death. In jobs, average means you’ll be the first one to be retrenched. Even in relationships, average is risky. To be good enough is not enough.

To Be Successful, Follow the Operating System. 

“This is what governs the world. And this is what governs your life.”

The Law of the Harvest.  What you plant, you harvest. What you don’t plant, you don’t harvest. The more you plant, the more you harvest. The less you plant, the less you harvest. If you plant love, you harvest love. If you plant hatred, you harvest hatred, too. Make a decision now to plant today what you want to harvest tomorrow.

How to Harvest More Money? If you want more money, plant value.

Remember:

“Money is nothing but a symbol of value. So the surest way to increase your income is to increase your value — and share that value with others.

“Whatever you give to the universe, you’ll receive it multiplied.”

Here is an absolute law written in the fabric of the universe. It states, “When you give, you will receive a reward.”Always. No exceptions. Sometimes you’ll have to wait for a long time. But the reward will always come.

This is a law in our universe. You’ll even receive much more than what you gave. This is as sure as the sun rising tomorrow. This is 100 percent guaranteed. Here’s the great mystery of life: When you give, you don’t lose. You gain.

I have been his fan ever since I read his book “How To Find Your One True Love.” I’m grateful I am connected to him through his books.

At the back cover, the publisher of the book says read this book and you’ll be very blessed.

2016 Top 20 Travel Experience at 21 photos

I like to look back at all the wonderful travels I’ve had. Now in the cold winter of Milan I can’t help to wonder where my feet will take me next. I love traveling so much it doesn’t matter which mode of transportation or how difficult it is as long as I’m going to see a new place. One of the toughest ride was the 24 hour bus ride from Warsaw to Copenhagen. Or the 14 hours layover in Beijing. While the vacation with my friends were always economical yet comfortable it’s not easy to organize a trip with them. (We all have regular jobs though it looks like we are just young adults always having fun!) We love that 1-2 hours plane ride and see our city slowly disappear and be covered with clouds. The hot summer vacation in Naples left us sweet and beautiful memories we know we will treasure forever. I’ve been traveling too much I sometimes wake up at night because of jetlag and wondering what city I’m in. 2016 is so special because I’ve never felt so whole. So alive. So free. I thank God for keeping me safe in my journey and continuously giving me the means to be able to travel.

It might be time to start plotting and planning for my next trip but for now I would like to share my 2016 travel experiences at 21 photos!

1. Witnessed the perfect sunset and sunrise in Punta Malabrigo.

2. Enjoyed this paradise with Filipino and Polish friends in El Nido, Palawan.

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3. Being amazed how well preserved the old architecture mix with modern skyscrapers in Seoul.

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4. Smelled different kinds of roses inside “Rose Garden” in Florence.

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5. Had a good glass of wine while admiring a breathe taking view and sunset in Monte Brè.

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6. Discovered all the streets and visited traditional mediterranean houses in my all time favourite Malta.

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7. Had a long and peaceful walks in beautiful parks of Riga.

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8. Made a wish in front of bronze and granite sculpture of little mermaid in Copenhagen.

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9. Knowing Sweden by visiting a cultural tour and museums in Stockholm.

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10. Crossed beautiful bridges in Warsaw.

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11. Felt like a princess with this horse and carriage ride in Krakow.

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12. Found cute little dwarfs in Wroclaw.

13. Climbed the breathe taking mountain in St. Moritz

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14. Lived like a professional beach bum around crystal blue beach in Ischia.

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15. Being able to time travel to the past in the ancient city of Pompei.

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16. Felt like a diva with all the beautiful postcard-perfect photos in the spectacular scenery of Positano.

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17. Fell inlove with Naples.

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18. Had a moment of contemplation in the most peaceful landscape of  Lake Maggiore.

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19. Explored every tiny cobblestone road and stopped at the magical viewpoints in indescribable Lisbon.

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20. Got an opportunity to slowdown in the fascinating temple in Beijing.

I have been to many beautiful places. But the journey is never over.

Now I am imagining the next trip in my head and at the end of this year I will take a look at the new photos. It already makes me feel excited. Life is good.

Rainy day wander in Milan

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It rains everyday here in Milan and the weather forecast says it will be the same till next week. I love spending rainy day at home with a cup of tea and a good book. Yesterday I finished another good book written by Benjamin Hardy it talks about “Time hacking” on how to cheat time, live more and enhance happiness. He explained clearly how it is possible to live thousands of years’ worth of life in a single life – time. That we can get to our desired destination much faster than we think. Sounds like fantasy isn’t it? We have the power to create the life we truly want to live. The power is in us. We just have to believe with all our heart. The goal is to be PRESENT while simultaneously moving in a desired direction. BE OPEN TO INSPIRATION. TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS. Trust that voice inside you moving you forward. BE TRUE. We heard it already so many times. “You are the designer of your destiny.” What I like the most about him and the book is that he was able to narrate the facts in science aligned with his faith. His beliefs in God and his passion for science both align beautifully. What an inspiration and I couldn’t help but share this message.


He also cite this inspiring message by my favourite author.

“You can’t be the wind,” the wind said. “We’re two very different things.” “That’s not true,” the boy said. “I learned the alchemist’s secrets in my travels. I have inside me the winds, the deserts, the oceans, the stars, and everything created in the universe. We were all made by the same hand, and we have the same soul.” —Paulo Coelho


Rains always bring warm memories and new inspiration from the heart. As it rains here, I couldn’t help but just embrace this moment. From tomorrow I will be posting photos from my country like this one. Will be there soon and I’m so excited for the warm weather, my friends and family and of course the foods cooked by my mum.😋

Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend!🙏🏻

Autumn Colours

So now I’m enjoying my favourite season. Autumn is my favourite time of the year. The leaves on the trees turn yellow, gold, red, and orange. Halloween comes in autumn too, and it is one of my favourite holiday. In my country it was being celebrated in a sacred way. Family members reunite again to go altogether to the cemetery. We bring fresh flowers, candles and food believing that these are simple ways to show our beloved who passed away that they are still remembered. At home TV programs are mostly horror episodes. Candles are lit in many homes in front of the door and every family member should utter a prayer so that our beloved dead will find peace and we pray that they protect and guide us. This holiday is celebrated here in Italy in a very different way. For majority of the people it is like another occasion to party. Children in school dress up to play treat or trick. Most of the shops have tons of decorations for Halloween holiday. Italians seemed to like this celebration and I started to enjoy it that way.

But one of the reason why  I love autumn is the chill in the air, the smell of dried leaves, the anticipation of the holiday season, the mountain views that take your breath away – painted orange, yellow, flame red, the calmness of the morning and the coziness of the early nights. I could go on and on..  and it’s so relaxing just thinking about it.

These are the colours of sunny autumn days I captured two weeks ago. What’s your favourite thing about autumn?

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