A Travellerspoint blog

Island Hopping up the Dalmatian Coast

sunny 35 °C

Having seen the impressive Dubrovnik on the mainland, we decided to spend some time traveling between some of Croatia’s many islands as we work our way northward along the coast. There are 1244 islands up the nearly 2000 km coastline of Croatia; while many are uninhabited, some of Croatia’s top attractions are found in the pristine waters and private coved beaches of these islands.

Our first stop was to Korčula, a beautiful old town built in the 15th century, with winding marble streets and impressive Renaissance and Gothic architecture. Marko Andrijić, the architect who built Saint Mark’s Cathedral in Venice, was both born in Korčula and designed the bell tower in the town’s central square. The towns greatest claim to fame, however, is that the explorer Marko Polo (who is often incorrectly described as Italian), was actually born in Korčula, and many little shops sell trinkets associated with the adventurer.

The little island of Korčula

The little island of Korčula


Korčula's bay

Korčula's bay


Ana in the Marco Polo chair... did you know he was born in Korčula? A Croatian explorer, even though Italy claims him as one of theirs.

Ana in the Marco Polo chair... did you know he was born in Korčula? A Croatian explorer, even though Italy claims him as one of theirs.

We had a charming little room overlooking the crystal blue waters of the Adriatic Sea. Settling in, we spent our time in Korčula touring the adorable little town and its mazes of narrow streets, bougainvillea lined windows and tiny sea-side restaurants, mainly serving pizza and gelato. We wandered the beaches and took photos, before climbing the bell tower shortly before sunset for a panoramic view of the town and nearby islands. Our regular nightly stroll led us into busy streets full of tourists eating and laughing, with large yachts mooring in the tiny harbour, drawing in the well-to-do for a visit to the peaceful little Korčula.

This was the view from our bedroom window...

This was the view from our bedroom window...


Beautiful waters of the Adriatic Sea

Beautiful waters of the Adriatic Sea


Andrew going to the beach in Korčula

Andrew going to the beach in Korčula


Andrew at the gates of old town, Korčula

Andrew at the gates of old town, Korčula


Grand staircase leading into Korčula's old town

Grand staircase leading into Korčula's old town


Atop the bell tower in Korčula

Atop the bell tower in Korčula


The town and bay of Korčula

The town and bay of Korčula


Pretty views

Pretty views


Some of Croatia's many islands

Some of Croatia's many islands


A waning sun from the bell tower in Korčula

A waning sun from the bell tower in Korčula


Sunset in Korčula

Sunset in Korčula


The sun rising over Korčula

The sun rising over Korčula

With a catamaran ferry service, we easily made our way up the Dalmatian coast to Hvar, which we soon learned is the European hide-a-way for the ridiculously rich and famous. Hvar boasts 13th century walls and Gothic palaces, all surrounding a beautifully sheltered bay. The marble streets are vehicle free and draw a vibrant tourist scene and night-life. The harbour is also regularly full of yachts, which our host explained were owned by actors and actresses, or owners of certain basketball or football franchises. Now, we have seen our share of large yachts in our travels and at home in beautiful Victoria, but none can rival the likes of the gargantuan yacht that spent a day in Hvar harbour. Inquiring about the vessel, we found out that it was 70 meters in length, with five levels and eighteen staff aboard to service the owner of this 85-million dollar yacht.

Ana in Hvar

Ana in Hvar


Beautiful clear waters around Hvar

Beautiful clear waters around Hvar


Small island off the coast of Hvar

Small island off the coast of Hvar


Ana boarding her new 70 meter yacht :D

Ana boarding her new 70 meter yacht :D

There is no question why this island draws such wealthy visitors, with its countless private beaches around the many little islands in Hvar’s near vicinity, as well as the historical backdrop of the cathedral, the elegant bell tower, and the imposing Citadel. Fortified against the once invading Turks, the old walls remain from what was at one time a medieval castle, and is built high atop the hillside, keeping a watchful eye over the town below.

Hvar's fortification

Hvar's fortification


Hvar's old town high atop the hill

Hvar's old town high atop the hill


Hvar's old town

Hvar's old town


Hvar's bell tower

Hvar's bell tower


Hvar's central square

Hvar's central square


Harbour of Hvar

Harbour of Hvar


Ritzy hotels cater to the wealthy

Ritzy hotels cater to the wealthy

Beaches abound in every direction around Hvar town, and finding a relaxing place to suntan and swim was an easy task. Our days were filled with sun and sea, overlooking the shocking colour-changes of the Adriatic, with no transition from a bright, light turquoise to a rich marine blue. Hiking the hill to the fortified old-town proved to be worth the climb as the breathtaking view of Hvar-Town, the bay and surrounding islands became visible. In the evenings we strolled the marble streets and promenade, taking in the sunset as well as the lively night crowds.

Andrew climbing the steps to Hvar's old town

Andrew climbing the steps to Hvar's old town


Ana hiking the countless stairs to get to Hvar old town

Ana hiking the countless stairs to get to Hvar old town


Ana and some of the Dalmatian coasts islands off the coast of Hvar

Ana and some of the Dalmatian coasts islands off the coast of Hvar


The slanted door that leads into Hvar's fortress

The slanted door that leads into Hvar's fortress


Andrew and the canon in Hvar

Andrew and the canon in Hvar


How Hvar was kept safe

How Hvar was kept safe


Hvar old town

Hvar old town


The large fortress overlooking Hvar

The large fortress overlooking Hvar


Beautiful views of Hvar

Beautiful views of Hvar


Hvar

Hvar


Andrew overlooking Hvar and the harbour

Andrew overlooking Hvar and the harbour


Ana the poser

Ana the poser


A-Team in Hvar

A-Team in Hvar


Hvar's central square lit up at night

Hvar's central square lit up at night


Ana ready for a night stroll in Hvar

Ana ready for a night stroll in Hvar


The bell tower at night

The bell tower at night


Hvar's vibrant night life

Hvar's vibrant night life


The sunset over Hvar

The sunset over Hvar

From Hvar we continued on to the island of Brač, staying in the sea-side town of Bol. Bol has Croatia’s most recognized beach, found on countless postcards being referred to as the “sexiest beach in Croatia.” The tongue, or v-shaped protrusion of beach, stretches out into the sea and is the main highlight of this island. The beach, called Zlatni Rat, draws huge crowds of tourists over the summer months, which unfortunately takes away from its splendor; however, only a short walk past this sight lie the quiet coves of the beautiful nudist beach. We decided that, ‘when in Brač…,’ and spent days ridding ourselves of tan lines and basking in the freedom. No pictures will be attached to this portion of our vacation, sorry folks.

Leaving Hvar behind and heading to Bol, Brac

Leaving Hvar behind and heading to Bol, Brac


A postcard photo of Bol beach (without all the tourists)

A postcard photo of Bol beach (without all the tourists)


The pointed tongue of Zlatni Rat

The pointed tongue of Zlatni Rat


Another view of Zlatni Rat

Another view of Zlatni Rat


These are the real colours, no photo shop here

These are the real colours, no photo shop here


The center of Bol town

The center of Bol town


Amazing colours

Amazing colours


The main dock in Bol

The main dock in Bol

Bol

Bol


Pretty little little boats in Bol's harbour

Pretty little little boats in Bol's harbour

A long stone walk follows the coastline from the center of town all the way to Zlatni Rat, making a beautiful place to stroll under the shade of the pine trees. Leading in to the town of Bol, the walkway wraps through the little harbour, full of tiny fishing and row boats. The town itself is a cute, sleepy sea-side place with winding stone streets meant only for pedestrians, a large public farmers market and little restaurants wafting smells of freshly cooked sea-food. Our days consisted of food, walks and sun tanning. With our portable speakers playing our favourite tunes in the seclusion of our own little bay, we read and swam away our time in Bol.

Bol

Bol


Bol beaches

Bol beaches


Zlatni rat

Zlatni rat


Andrew and Zlatni Rat beach

Andrew and Zlatni Rat beach


The walkways are lined with sculptures

The walkways are lined with sculptures


Bol, sun and beaches... the simple life

Bol, sun and beaches... the simple life


Andrew, the poser, and the wind swept tree

Andrew, the poser, and the wind swept tree


The harbour of Bol

The harbour of Bol


Andrew in Bol's harbour

Andrew in Bol's harbour


Bol at dusk

Bol at dusk

With these three islands explored and enjoyed to the fullest, we continued on to the mainland to see Split, a couple incredible national parks and Zadar… but that can wait until the next blog.

Love to friends and family,
Xox A-Team

Posted by A-Team 23:07 Archived in Croatia Comments (0)

Dazzled by Dubrovnik

sunny 35 °C

Eager to set off on our Croatian backpacking adventure, the journey was preceded by yet more airport troubles that I will sum up as exasperating and draining, spending nearly 24hrs in the airport. But let’s skip past that and on to the beauty of Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik is found in southern Croatia, along the Dalmatian coast. It is one of the most visited cities in Croatia, and for good reason.

Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik

Traveling by bus from the airport, we drove along the cliff-side highway with views of the sparkling Adriatic far below. The bus began weaving its way down the mountainside towards the ocean, before us looming the impressive stone walls, turrets and forts of the fortified old city of Dubrovnik. Passing through tunnels and arches carved out of the rock, the bus dropped us off just outside the gates and in the central hub of the city. With endless tourists milling about, snapping photos, eating in bistros, and following tour guides, we began the daunting task of finding our accommodation. Speaking Croatian, it was easy to ask locals for directions, though it is not hard to find an English speaking local to guide you if needed. Asking anyone in sight for directions to find a tiny little street amidst a maze of stone houses separated by steep stairs, we finally made it to our adorable little suite, high above the city walls, ready with kitchen and an ocean-view terrace, shaded with a tangle of grape vines. Dropping off our packs, with sweat already beading on our brows, we began the descent back to town. We should have counted the steps down, but let’s just say the ten minutes of stairs downwards was later an arduous hike back in the scorching heat.

Arriving outside the old town

Arriving outside the old town


Stairs are everywhere, be ready for a good workout!

Stairs are everywhere, be ready for a good workout!


Andrew in an alleyway, climbing the steps

Andrew in an alleyway, climbing the steps


Eating breakfast on our terrace (fresh tomatoes from the garden left for us for lunch)

Eating breakfast on our terrace (fresh tomatoes from the garden left for us for lunch)

Dubrovnik is ringed by 2 kilometers of walled fortification, within which lie sleepy little stone houses with shops and bistros on their ground floors. Terracotta roofs pop against the white stone buildings and marble streets, along which you can find cathedrals and incredible baroque architecture around every turn. With a harbour on one end just outside its walls, and the draw-bridge Pile Gate on the other, Dubrovnik is something remarkable to behold. The main street, known as Stradun, is the main pedestrian promenade with small crisscrossing streets leading away from it. Restaurants are found in tiny alleyways and fountains pour fresh cold water that you can wash your face in and fill your bottle with. Souvenir shops dot the streets between Palaces, a cathedral, monastery, and clock towers. Little passageways lead you just outside the imposing walls and cliff-side cafes cater to the beach-goers that sunbath and cliff jump into the deep blue of the Adriatic Sea. Dubrovnik is breathtaking.

Andrew on the inside of Pile Gate and the draw-bridge

Andrew on the inside of Pile Gate and the draw-bridge


Ana and the walled city behind

Ana and the walled city behind


The Cathedral

The Cathedral


The inner Cathedral

The inner Cathedral


Towers and terracotta rooftops

Towers and terracotta rooftops


Ana and the rooftops

Ana and the rooftops


Harbour view

Harbour view


The A-Team in Dubrovnik

The A-Team in Dubrovnik


Ana looking out at the harbour

Ana looking out at the harbour


The main streed in old town, Stradun, seen from the mountain

The main streed in old town, Stradun, seen from the mountain


Dubrovnik and the sparkling Adriatic

Dubrovnik and the sparkling Adriatic


Andrew with the city backdrop

Andrew with the city backdrop


Ana and the flowers that adorn every building

Ana and the flowers that adorn every building


Beautiul Boroque architecture

Beautiul Boroque architecture


The central square

The central square


Small passageways lead outside the walled city

Small passageways lead outside the walled city


Cold spring water flows freely for all to drink

Cold spring water flows freely for all to drink

We spent a day walking through stari grad (the old city), and climbed to the top of the city walls to walk the entire perimeter, spanning 2 kilometers around, with incredible vantage points to stunning views far below. These walls were built between the 13th and 16th century and are still fully intact today. The inner and first set of walls were built in the 13thcentury and are 1.5 meters thick and fortified with 15 square forts. In the 15th century, with threats of invasion, extra forts were built along with an outer wall that enclosed the entire city in the 2km of walls that span up to 25m in height. On the land side, the walls are thicker, with areas reaching 6m, and are thinner on the ocean side, though still up to 3m thick.
After a hard day in the intense heat, reaching temperatures above 35*C with humidity and not a breath of wind, we treated ourselves to pizza at a little alleyway restaurant in the shade of the stone walls. Another day, having witnessed the cliff jumping from our trip around the city walls, we scouted out a place to leap and threw ourselves into the pristine, warm waters below.

The beautiful waters of the Adriatic

The beautiful waters of the Adriatic


The harbour

The harbour


The view from little windows inside the forts

The view from little windows inside the forts


Walls upon cliffs, good luck getting passed these!

Walls upon cliffs, good luck getting passed these!


Andrew walking the walls

Andrew walking the walls


You can see how thick the outter walls are

You can see how thick the outter walls are


The fort and walls that fortify Dubrovnik

The fort and walls that fortify Dubrovnik


Seaking shade from the heat

Seaking shade from the heat


The central drinking fountain leadining to Stradun

The central drinking fountain leadining to Stradun


View from a gaurds lookout

View from a gaurds lookout


A tapestry of tarracotta and the island of Lokrum in the background

A tapestry of tarracotta and the island of Lokrum in the background


The A-Team sunning on the cliff-tops

The A-Team sunning on the cliff-tops


IMG_1765.jpgIMG_1766.jpgIMG_1767.jpgIMG_1768.jpgIMG_1769.jpg All smiles as he climbs back up or another jump

All smiles as he climbs back up or another jump

He's like a frog, leaping off every cliff

He's like a frog, leaping off every cliff

Here I go!

Here I go!

Ana taking the leap

Ana taking the leap


I have proof that Andrew can levitate

I have proof that Andrew can levitate

With beaches found near and around the city, excursions that will take you kayaking and snorkeling to nearby islands, and the city walls to climb and walk, there is always something to do and see in this old city. We arrived on the first day of their Libertas Film Festival, which attracted endless locals and tourists into the old town walls in the evenings. A stage was set up in the central square and a play was put on that we couldn’t see from the crowds that blocked the view. We had more fun just people watching as droves turned up in their finest attire and paraded the streets on a mission to see and be seen. Every person that came through the gates carried an ice-cream cone of fresh gelato; girls teetered from five inch heels along the marble cobble stone streets, and packs of young men trolled close behind. The city is lit up in the evenings and must be viewed again as the walls glow white in the dark of the warm evening.

Andrew walking along the Stradun in the evening

Andrew walking along the Stradun in the evening


Night in the city

Night in the city


The walls glow white

The walls glow white

There is a cable-car that runs just outside the city walls, all the way to the top of the steep mountainside above. From here, the entire old city can be seen, as well as the housing outside the walls and the outlying area of Lapad, where a lot of the housing and large hotels are found. The view stretches out into the Adriatic Ocean and showcases many of Croatia’s islands, just off the coast. We took the cable-car up before sunset, getting to view the city in the waning light of dusk, and then stayed until nightfall to take in the stunning view of the lit up city.

Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik


The city walls

The city walls


Beautiful

Beautiful


More birds eye views of Dubrovnik

More birds eye views of Dubrovnik


A bay, protected by a for on one side and the city walls on the other

A bay, protected by a for on one side and the city walls on the other


Ana and Andrew looking down at Dubrovnik below

Ana and Andrew looking down at Dubrovnik below


A view of the islands

A view of the islands


Andrew at sunset

Andrew at sunset


The A-Team at sunset

The A-Team at sunset


Sunset

Sunset


Sunset over Dubrovnik

Sunset over Dubrovnik


Brilliant sky as the sun set

Brilliant sky as the sun set


Lapad at night, along with more Croatian islands

Lapad at night, along with more Croatian islands


Dubrivnik's old town, lit up at night

Dubrivnik's old town, lit up at night

A History lesson for those that are interested (IF NOT, SKIP THIS PARAGRAPH :) )

Slavs took over this city in the 7th century and fortification was in place by the 9thC with threats of invasion. At the time, the city was separated from the mainland by a narrow channel. On the mainland another settlement grew and by the 12th century these two settlements merged and became known as Dubrovnik. For a period of time Dubrovnik was under Venetian rule, but after breaking away and increasing its land with small islands off the coast, Dubrovnik became a main port and thriving merchant city, acting as an important trading post between the Mediterranean and Baltic. Due to its strong relations with countries using the port for trading, Dubrovnik was an area of peace and prosperity. A large earthquake destroyed the city in 1667, but it was then rebuilt in the Baroque style. As other trading posts popped up along the same route, Dubrovnik began to decline in prosperity. By 1815 it was conquered by Napoleon and came under Austro-Hungarian rule until 1918, when it became part of Yugoslavia and increasingly a tourist destination. The war from 1991-95 brutalized the city, with approximately 60% of the inner houses bombed, but the city has been fully restored to its amazing glory.

We saw many reminders of the 90's war on the mountain top.

We saw many reminders of the 90's war on the mountain top.

Thank-you all who are falling our journeys! We are moving on from Dubrovnik to do some island hopping up the coast. A new blog will be posted about the island of Korčula and Hvar within the next few days.
Hoping you are all well, the A-Team sends love.
Xox A-Team

Posted by A-Team 23:28 Archived in Croatia Comments (2)

The Sun Always Shines in Ibiza

sunny 30 °C

Ibiza is a relatively small island, approximately 21 km across and 45 kms north to south. It lies around 80kms off the coast of Spain (a 50 minute flight from Barcelona). Ibiza is known as the clubbing capital of the world, with the most renowned DJ’s and musicians gathering throughout the summer months for incredible shows. Ibiza has enormous clubs and boasts the world’s largest club –Privilege, which holds 15000 party-goers. Young and old alike flock to Ibiza at this time to take in the night life, as well as the many beautiful beaches located around the coastline.

The Evissa coastline

The Evissa coastline


The long stretch of beach in San Antonio

The long stretch of beach in San Antonio

Andrew and I are electronic music enthusiasts and Ibiza has been on our must-see bucket-list for a very long time. Known for being extremely expensive, we worked and saved for this once in a life time experience. We spent more money here in a week than we did in Asia in one month. An example: one bottle of water and a Red Bull in the club totaled the exorbitant price of 25€ (or roughly $32 Canadian dollars –GULP!) With no other option once there, you just have to stomach it, no matter how hard. Most tourists that visit Ibiza are on a one-week vacation and save all year to blow it in this time. We estimate that 85% of the tourists were Brits.

Clear blue waters and never ending sunshine

Clear blue waters and never ending sunshine


Need I say more?

Need I say more?

We flew into the main city of Evissa (Ibiza Town), which is a spread-out metropolis but considering the tourists here, it is kept very clean. We chose to stay on the west side of the island, in San Antonio Bay, which is known to be quieter and more family friendly. Across the bay lies San Antonio where the young crowd gathers and the beats never cease. We booked a hotel that is away from the loud music and had our own little studio apartment where we could make our own meals. Immediately outside our door was a large pool with the ocean just a few feet away.

Our shwanky apartment and pool in San Antonio Bay

Our shwanky apartment and pool in San Antonio Bay

Our week here was spent out dancing nightly, or sunning and sleeping our days away. The purpose of this trip was to hear the most amazing music and dance our hearts out, and that’s just what we did. For our first night out we went to Pacha, a famous club with resident DJ’s like Tiesto and David Guetta to name a couple, and had the privilege of seeing Tiesto (currently rated the worlds #1 DJ) play live, all night long. We made our way home to enjoy the sun rising over San Antonio Bay.

Tiesto in Ibiza... I was there!

Tiesto in Ibiza... I was there!


First night out at Pacha

First night out at Pacha


Andrew waiting for Tiesto at Pacha

Andrew waiting for Tiesto at Pacha


Yup, I was there! <img class='img' src='http://www.travellerspoint.com/Emoticons/icon_smile.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':)' title='' />

Yup, I was there! :)


And the crowd goes wild at Pacha for Tiesto

And the crowd goes wild at Pacha for Tiesto


Look closely and you can see Tiesto spinning on the decks

Look closely and you can see Tiesto spinning on the decks


Tiesto's dancing girls

Tiesto's dancing girls

A night out in Ibiza often starts in the West End, which is a bar lined strip with booze, music, lights and scantily dressed woman. It reminded us of a mix of Koh San road in Thailand, and Vegas. People work their way from bar to bar, getting more inebriated by the second and looking for all the attention they can get. Around mid-night everyone starts hopping Disco busses (which are set up to take partiers to and from the clubs and blast beats the entire way), making their way to that night’s big show.

The West End in San Antonio -lights, drinks, and hot young girls wearing very little... :o

The West End in San Antonio -lights, drinks, and hot young girls wearing very little... :o


Ana and Andrew getting ready for a night of dancing (it's insanely hot in these clubs -you feel like you're in a steam bath all night long)

Ana and Andrew getting ready for a night of dancing (it's insanely hot in these clubs -you feel like you're in a steam bath all night long)


hahaha... I almost bought a shirt that said this... almost

hahaha... I almost bought a shirt that said this... almost

Night two was spent at Space dancing the night away with Carl Cox and thousands of screaming fans. Each club and DJ had some special form of stage theatrics, weather it was pyrotechnics, dancing ladies, or acrobatics. In the middle of Carl Cox’s amazing set, a twelve foot lit-up robot rose from the dance floor and towered over the thousands of dancers before finally bursting into flames and fireworks. Another amazing night ended with Andrew and Ana stumbling home to see Ibiza’s beautiful sunrise.

Andrew, ready to get down and funky with Carl Cox

Andrew, ready to get down and funky with Carl Cox


A packed house at Space, all waiting for the legendary Carl Cox

A packed house at Space, all waiting for the legendary Carl Cox


Carl Cox on the decks

Carl Cox on the decks


Carl Cox and his dancing girls

Carl Cox and his dancing girls


The large 12 ft Robot that came up from the floor at Space for the Carl Cox show, and then later burst into sparks and flames

The large 12 ft Robot that came up from the floor at Space for the Carl Cox show, and then later burst into sparks and flames


One of many sunrises we enjoyed in Ibiza

One of many sunrises we enjoyed in Ibiza

Likely our favourite show and venue was our third music event. We went to Ushuaia, an outdoor massive dance floor with a large pool in its center. This show started in the early evening with Pete Tong, getting the crowd going before Swedish House Mafia took over and blew everyone away with their incredible beats and insane stage theatrics. From lights and pyrotechnics, to Cirque du Solei acrobats suspended from the stage, we have never experienced a show quite as incredible as this one. Without words to describe it, I can only show you a video to express the magnitude of this event.

The large outdoor venue of Ushuaia, with a large pool in the center (too many people to see it from this angle)

The large outdoor venue of Ushuaia, with a large pool in the center (too many people to see it from this angle)


Huge crowds at Ushuaia

Huge crowds at Ushuaia


The A-Team excited for Swedish House Mafia and dancing!

The A-Team excited for Swedish House Mafia and dancing!


Pete Tong opening at Ushuaia for SHM

Pete Tong opening at Ushuaia for SHM


Three cheers for Axwell, Steve Angelo, Sebastion Ingrosso! (from Left to Right)

Three cheers for Axwell, Steve Angelo, Sebastion Ingrosso! (from Left to Right)


Amazing acrobatics at Ushuaia with the Swedish House Mafia

Amazing acrobatics at Ushuaia with the Swedish House Mafia


Axwell, Steve Angelo, Sebastion Ingrossio, Pete Tong

Axwell, Steve Angelo, Sebastion Ingrossio, Pete Tong

1. OUR VIDEO (not the best quality... but, can you spot the A-Team dancing?)

2. or you can copy/paste this link into your address bar to see a better video by someone else:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eu4yFIsOEJc&feature=related

Night four (and yes, you read that right, four nights in a row!), we went to Cream Amnesia and danced the night away with friends we had met at Space, to the likes of Paul Van Dyke, Calvin Harris, Eddie Halliwell and Benny Benassi. Not to sound too repetitive… we came home to watch the sun rise over Ibiza.

We were there <img class='img' src='http://www.travellerspoint.com/Emoticons/icon_smile.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':)' title='' />

We were there :)


Friends we met out dancing at Carl Cox and Cream Amnesia (L-R: G, Laura, Erica, Jim)

Friends we met out dancing at Carl Cox and Cream Amnesia (L-R: G, Laura, Erica, Jim)


Cream Amnesia with Calvin Harris, Benny Benassi, Eddie Halliwell and Paul Van Dyke

Cream Amnesia with Calvin Harris, Benny Benassi, Eddie Halliwell and Paul Van Dyke


Dancing girls at Cream Amnesia

Dancing girls at Cream Amnesia


Eddie Halliwell, live at Cream Amnesia

Eddie Halliwell, live at Cream Amnesia


Paul Van Dyke

Paul Van Dyke


A night out with the A-Team in Ibiza

A night out with the A-Team in Ibiza

Realizing the Ibiza’s nightlife was getting the better of us, we spent the final days in the sun and exploring the scenery of the island. We went to the infamous Café del Mar to take in a sunset (for a change), with large crowds that cheered when it set into the water. Our last day on the island, we went into Evissa to see the old town, which is a UNESCO world heritage site. The walled city, built upon a hilltop, gives panoramic views of the island and coastline.

A beautiful sunset at Cafe del Mar

A beautiful sunset at Cafe del Mar


Beautiful views from the city walls

Beautiful views from the city walls


High, thick walls protect the city

High, thick walls protect the city


Ana in Evissa

Ana in Evissa


Don't mess with the Spaniards

Don't mess with the Spaniards


Ana and the canon

Ana and the canon


The old city was built on a hill to have a vantage point in war situations.  The old Canons still remain.

The old city was built on a hill to have a vantage point in war situations. The old Canons still remain.


The large fortified walls of Evissa

The large fortified walls of Evissa


Andrew in the old town, with Evissa below

Andrew in the old town, with Evissa below


The highest point in old town Evissa is the church

The highest point in old town Evissa is the church


Pretty little streets

Pretty little streets


Little lizzards are everywhere, basking in the scorching hot weather

Little lizzards are everywhere, basking in the scorching hot weather



Another check-mark on our bucket-list, we leave Ibiza with great memories and empty wallets. The experience was everything we hoped it would be, and more –a must do for any electronic music lover. Good bye Ibiza, till we meet again.

Another beautiful day in Ibiza

Another beautiful day in Ibiza

Next stop, Dubrovnik and the coast of Croatia –WHOOP!

Love to you all, glad your summer is turning around. Enjoy that sunshine.
Xox A-Team

Posted by A-Team 06:06 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

A Quick Stop in Barcelona

semi-overcast 30 °C

The anticipation of our trip had us barely sleeping the night before. We Checked and re-checked our luggage, even though we knew we were set. We skipped out a bit early from work on Friday, and finally were getting away from the rain and on with our European vacation. We said our goodbye’s to our lovely chauffeur, Eric, and proceeded to the check-in counter. Joking about whose bag weighs more (mine!), we casually handed over our passports, feeling as if all our worries could now disappear. Of course, this is just when the troubles began. The attendant handed back Andrew’s passport and asked if he had another one because, “it’s expired, you need a new one.” Meanwhile, we were only an hour away from our flight and the dread took hold as we realized that we might not make it to Barcelona after all. Calling Eric in a panic to turn around and come back for us, I confess to a few tears being shed. After the initial shock passed, we realized that this could mean two wasted tickets, so I ended up taking the flight alone, leaving a devastated Andrew behind. Andrew rushed down to the passport office in hopes of getting an emergency passport in time to meet me at some later point in the trip; I confess that I had little faith this would happen and sulked the entire way. My flights were uneventful and pleasant enough, getting the window seat all the way from Victoria to Vancouver and continuing to London where I had a five-hour lay-over. On a hard plastic chair, worn out from the day’s events, I tucked my backpack under my head and took a nap in the London Airport as I waited for my flight to be announced. Suddenly, I felt a hand on my shoulder and, startled, I sat up to see Andrew smiling down at me. He managed to get a passport within an hour (for a hefty price of course), and was only 2.5 hours behind, giving him just enough time to catch up and join me for the last leg of the trip. Disaster averted and with tired smiles, we made our connection to Barcelona, showing up near 11pm at our hotel.

Sagrada Familia at night, all lit up

Sagrada Familia at night, all lit up


The church was only a couple blocks from our hotel

The church was only a couple blocks from our hotel

Initially when planning out trip, Barcelona was simply a detour to change flights on our way to Ibiza; however, when we realized that there may be time to explore the large city, we decided to book our connector flight for the following day and give time for some quick sight-seeing in the beautiful city.

Dropping off our bags in the room, we wandered for a couple of blocks and found ourselves standing under Sagrada Familia –the most famous of Gaudi buildings –all lit up with a full moon beaming above. Continuing on, we found little tree-lined streets full of people eating dinner close to midnight, and pizza shops fervently making pizzas. Following some good advice from my sister, we found the metro and, buying ten passes, we quickly figured out the intricate maze of lines that crisscross everywhere under the city. The scale of this transportation system was in itself a marvel. With the routes running exactly on time and within 5 minutes of the last tram, we set off to see La Rambla –the main tourist street in Barcelona. The street was overcrowded with tourists and locals alike, strolling along the promenade and showing off in their attire. Women wear their high heels and mini-skirts regardless of the time of day or weather, and men are always fashionably dressed (and compared to our standards, over-dressed) in their tightly fitted pants, deck shoes, and low-cut V-neck T-shirts. Little flower stands lined the street, amidst tantalizing smells of freshly made waffle cones and home-made ice-cream. Peddlers were mixed in the crowd, selling little trinkets as a rouse and whispering offers for any illegal substance you could imagine. We finally called it a day after countless hours of travel and our watches saying 2am, heading back on the metro for our hotel.

A block from our hotel was this beautiful building -a hospital

A block from our hotel was this beautiful building -a hospital


Hospital

Hospital


A night in Barcelona

A night in Barcelona


Night-time architecture

Night-time architecture

Waking up the following day later than initially planned, but with a much needed rest, we hurried out to see all we could in the seven hours we had before needing to return to the airport. Retracing our steps, we went back to the incredible Sagrada Familia with the hopes of seeing it from the inside, but were met with a line wrapping around the building and knew that if we waited for this queue we would see nothing else. While unfortunate, we made the most of it by walking around the incredible feat of architecture multiple times and took countless pictures.

Sagrada Familia -front

Sagrada Familia -front


Ana, so thankful to have stood at the steps of Sagrada Familia

Ana, so thankful to have stood at the steps of Sagrada Familia


Andrew on the back side of Sagrada Familia

Andrew on the back side of Sagrada Familia

The construction of Sagrada Familia began in 1882 and is still not completed. Gaudi’s architecture is a blend of Gothic and Art Nouveau, clearly visible in the towering spires and elaborate details. Each spire represents an Apostle, an Evangelist and the Virgin Mary (18 are to be constructed by completion). There are three façades: Nativity, which faces East, Passion facing West, and the Glory façade, which is still to be constructed, will be facing South. Gaudi worked on this famed church until his death in 1926, at which time only a quarter of the building was finished. With the Spanish Civil War and a lack of donations, the construction ceased until 1950, from which time it has been under constant construction. In 2010 building was deemed to be at its mid-way point, with a hopeful completion date of 2026 –the centennial of Gaudi`s death.

Sagrada Familia, began being built in 1882

Sagrada Familia, began being built in 1882


Gaudi began building in 1883

Gaudi began building in 1883


Construction still taking place in hopes of finishing by 2026 for the centennial of Gaudi's death

Construction still taking place in hopes of finishing by 2026 for the centennial of Gaudi's death


Clusters of colourful balls atop the towers at Sagrada Familia

Clusters of colourful balls atop the towers at Sagrada Familia


Details of Sagrada Familia

Details of Sagrada Familia


Amazing attention to detail

Amazing attention to detail


Musicians on Sagrada Familia

Musicians on Sagrada Familia


Sculptures on Sagrada Familia

Sculptures on Sagrada Familia


Amazing sculptures cover Sagrada Familia

Amazing sculptures cover Sagrada Familia


Details

Details


Details of Sagrada Familia

Details of Sagrada Familia

Heading back to La Rambla the rain began to pour (I think this is Karma for me bragging about our sunny vacation), but un-deterred, we wandered to the Gothic District and saw old buildings converted into expensive shop fronts, and were able to go into one of the churches and witness a mass in progress. We continued down to the pier, saw the large monument in the central round-a-bout, and then headed back to the metro. One main stop on our list of “must-sees” was the Park Guell –an incredible and famous park, built between 1900-1914, by Gaudi. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage site, and is more than deserving of this title. A park open to the public, without fees or lines, the pathways wind you through the gardens and amazing Gaudi artistry. Long columns look as if they were dug from the dirt and support a grand terrace above. They reminded me of the stalactites and stalagmites we’ve seen diving. Even the railings were created out of an intricate pattern of rock work that neither of us could fathom the process and time it took to build. The large terrace is a popular gathering place and is surrounded by a long wave-like bench, covered in irregular ceramic pieces, meant to represent a sea serpent. Climbing up even higher, amidst beautiful blue and white flowers and masterfully made columns and balconies, there is a breathtaking viewpoint that overlooks the entire city of Barcelona below.

We live in Victoria... A little rain won't stop this duo

We live in Victoria... A little rain won't stop this duo


Walking along the pier

Walking along the pier


Barcelona's port

Barcelona's port


The Port of Barcelona

The Port of Barcelona


The central pavillion at the end of La Rambla

The central pavillion at the end of La Rambla


architecture

architecture


architecture

architecture


architecture

architecture


architecture

architecture


The Cathedral in the Gothic district of Barcelona

The Cathedral in the Gothic district of Barcelona


Entrance to the Cathedral

Entrance to the Cathedral


The interior of the Gothic cathedral

The interior of the Gothic cathedral


Inside the church in Barcelona's Gothic district

Inside the church in Barcelona's Gothic district


Church

Church

In reading this, it may not seem like we covered a lot of ground in this quick tour of the city, but we saw enough to know that we need to come back one day and take in all that Barcelona has to offer. It is full of art, architecture, music and food, and is one of the cleaner large cities we have visited in our travels.

Park Guell

Park Guell


Amazing columns designed by Gaudi in Park Guell

Amazing columns designed by Gaudi in Park Guell


amazing angles

amazing angles


Incredible columns and railings designed by Gauid

Incredible columns and railings designed by Gauid


One of the columns supporting the terrace in Park Guell had this woman built within it

One of the columns supporting the terrace in Park Guell had this woman built within it


Ana and Andrew on the terrace in Park Guell

Ana and Andrew on the terrace in Park Guell


The serpent-like bench on the main terrace in Park Guell, made with thousands of shards of tiles.

The serpent-like bench on the main terrace in Park Guell, made with thousands of shards of tiles.


At the lookout in Park Guell, over looking Barcelona

At the lookout in Park Guell, over looking Barcelona


A view of Sagrada Familia from the highest viewpoint in Park Guell

A view of Sagrada Familia from the highest viewpoint in Park Guell


Ana in the park

Ana in the park

Rushing back to the hotel to pick up our bags and running in the rain to the metro, we realized that we weren’t quite sure how to get to the airport. With my broken Spanish, gesturing, and repeatedly questioning strangers in the metro, we found our two connections and finally the train that dropped us off at the airport. Pleased that not only had we figured it out, but also had made it just in time, we went to check-in and get started on our time in Ibiza. Unfortunately, due to the rain and our plane was delayed for three hours. We spent our time in front of the T.V. with a crowd of people watching the final match of the Euro Cup. You can imagine the excitement when Spain won 4-0. Neither Andrew nor I are big soccer (football) fans, but it was fun to watch the cheers of encouragement and later the flags waving from buildings, shops and car windows.

Good-bye Barcelona, we will be back!
It's time for some dancing in Ibiza -where the sun always shines!

Love to all…
Xox A-Team

ps. We have been having troubles getting WiFi, so while blogs are written and pictures await, they are a tad behind but are on their way.

Posted by A-Team 01:36 Archived in Spain Tagged architecture Comments (0)

And We're Off!

Leaving Victoria for Sunnier Weather

semi-overcast 16 °C

We have worked hard all year in eager anticipation of our summer vacation. Today we leave home for a long flight to Barcelona. We will be touring the Gaudi buildings and the main tourist street of Las Ramblas, as well as the Gothic district. With comfortable walking shoes, camera and new lenses ready and an abundance of excitement, we are ready for this next adventure.

From Barcelona we will travel to Ibiza for the beautiful beaches and amazing night life. This is a big checkmark on our bucket-list. As enthusiastic Electronic music listeners and fans, we are ready for the party of a life-time, hearing the top DJ's in the world in the most famous electronic music-scene venue. As we're getting older, we both wonder if we will survive this week of festivities, but are both willing to make a great attempt :) watch out Ibiza, we are coming!

From Ibiza, we fly to Dubrovnik and begin our incredible journey up the coast of Croatia. Beautiful architecture and buildings from the Roman Empire, stunning and warm waters of the Adriatic, beautiful people and food, and a visit with family all await us in this leg of the trip.

We will end up in Venice to see the intricate maze of waterways, gondoliers, Venetian architecture, gold-encrusted churches and stain-glass windows.

Andrew will leave from Venice and return to Victoria to share the remainder of his summer with friends and visiting relatives, while I (spoiled as I am), will remain in Croatia to spend time with my family and bask in the heat of the Croatian Summer.

Life is good!

I will attempt to maintain the blog in this whorl-wind journey... come along and join our travels! We love to hear how you are all doing back home, and to know that our weather trumps yours (HA!) hehehe.

Much love and many hugs to you all. We'll be seeing you in a couple months. Enjoy your summer everyone!
xox the A-Teams

Posted by A-Team 10:31 Archived in Canada Tagged me Comments (0)

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