The Italian pearl Tivoli

I spent one amazing week in Rome, full of surprises and unexpected joyful moments. Rome is my favorite European metropolitan city and my heart starts beating in the rhythm of Renaissance every time I am in Rome. But this time I discover the beauty of Tivoli – just 30 km away from the crowded Rome!

It is easy to go there – a plane to Rome and then you can find one day trips to Tivoli  or just go to the train station Termini (in Rome) and in 40 minutes you will arrive in Tivoli.

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Distance Rome – Tivoli

Tovoli is a small city with narrow streets which smell on coffee and delicious bread panini. The atmosphere is charming, harmonic and you can fall in love with Tivoli from the very first moment!

It has the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen. Villa d’Este and Villa Gregoriana – the masterpiece of many centuries. Both places are beautiful gardens which represents the scientific and creative achievements of thousands famous painters, physicist, architects, sculptors, and any other kind of аrt people. There is another ancient garden Villa Adriana but it is out of the city Tivoli. It should takes 1 hour to reach it. I read amazing reviews for Villa Adriana but I could’t manage to visit it this time. Amazing excuse to come back in Tivoli !

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Villa Gregoriana’s view to Tempio della Sibia
Villa Gregoriana's waterfall
Parco Villa Gregoriana

Villa Gregoriana is a funny way to spend amazing time and even to have your lunch away from the big city’s noise and vanity. It has crazy wild paths and waterfall. While walking Tempio della Sibia is wathing you from the top of the gardens. One of the ways to enter in Villa Gregoriana is from the side of Tempio della Sibia. The other way is across the bridge.

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Tempo della Sibia is ancient temple from Roman times located in acropolis of Tivoli, in the province of Rome. The temple is huge and well preserved and there is a nice restaurant nearby where you can eat delicious food and enjoy the beauty of both the temple and Villa Gregoriana. The restaurant has Michelin sighs for 2017, 2016, 2015 and the food here must be tested. Unfortunately during my stay the restaurant was closed.

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Villa d’Este is UNESCO World Herritage and it has been created before Christ. During the centuries many creative people has been building more and more beautiful masterpieces inside. It is very famous with its fountains. Villa d’Este is 4 hectares residential place and the best gardens to walk through! Some of the fountains are singing at fixed hours, other have light shows.

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Villa d’Este. This part of the park is dedicated to Rome city
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Representing the power of Rome city in Villa d’Este
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Villa d’Este is magnificent place to be!
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Villa d’Este has so much art inside!
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Beautiful fountain in Villa d’Este and unexpected rainbow!
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This part of Villa d’Este is dedicated to Piazza Navona in Rome
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Mather of Nature!

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Beautiful view of one of the towers in Villa d’Este!
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Crazy cave in Villa d’Este with a light night show
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Some of the fountains are with monkey’s faces and all are different…

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Is it romantic here?

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Travel Tip: Check the opening hours for both villas and plan in advance when what. If you have a day for both villas, better to do Villa Gregoriana first because usually Villa d’Este opens in a later hour. Between the two walks a lunch can be included 🙂 Home made pasta and pizza are always the best choice.

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While walking through the Tivoli’s streets searching for some souvenirs, I found Rocca Pia. Another well preserved historical sightseeing in Tivoli – the castle of the city with imposing structure and ancient architecture. The sightseeing of Tivoli can been seen from the top if you go inside. I enjoy Rocca Pia from the outside because of my time schedule. If you have experienced the Rocca Pia atmosphere from the inside, please share your excitements as comments 🙂

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Arco dei Padri Costituenti is modern arc in the center of Tivoli. Perfect place for snack or gelato. From this point you can reach all sightseeings of Tivoli in 5-10 minutes, you are close to the central streets where you can eat delicious homemade pasta and drink homemade wine.

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So start planning a trip to Tivoli! and don’t miss: Villa d’Este, Villa Gregoriana, Tempio della Sibia, Rocca Pia, city center and the small restaurants and bakeries. Feel the energy of Tivoli!

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Many cows = a house/ an apartment + a car + a good job!

We are here on the island Zanzibar in Tanzania. We arranged everything about 6 months ago so now we can enjoy Africa! I strongly recommend to discover Africa.

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On a lonely island nearby Zanzibar

Here you can find useful information what to know in advance before going in Africa, Zanzibar.

Preparation for Zanzibar – TIPS

Malaria and malarone

Vanccines

Passport and Visa for Tanzania

First impressions from Zanzibar. The main asphalt roads are two, some roundabouts and almost no road signs. Driving is on the left sides, UK standard. There are sand roads through the forest between the palms and the small huts of the locals.

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While passing through Jozani forest we see some unique Zanzibar red colobus monkeys. They can be seen only here! They are staring with you sometimes but actually don’t care much what happen around. Small, cute and indifferent – this is the behavior of the red colobus monkeys on the island.

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Unfortunately this is a pet monkey not red colobus monkey

People here live simple and they are very poor. There are some parts with no electricity and water. But I can see some locals are driving expensive cars like jeep. Big contrast. And while some parts are so poor there are places on the island Zanzibar which take you to Paradise.

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Drinking wine in Indian ocean! Cheers !

We spent our blessed time in such paradise – our hotel Coco Paradise is on Jambiani beach.

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African playing game which I didn’t understand

I’ve never been in such exotic and romantic place. Here everything is perfect for the tourists – there is spa, massages, restaurants, perfect fresh ocean food, clean wide beaches and amazing stuff. Hakuna matata!

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While travelling through the island I see schools and small kids dressed in tidy uniforms, the colors are white and blue.

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African girl is going to school barefoot in Zanzibar

The driver of our car explains that in Tanzania the kids are going to school the whole year, there is no summer vacation, just some fests during the year. Some of the kids are going to school barefoot and this looks so natural! I love the eyes of the Zanzibar kids!

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Kids playing with a bicycle
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Kids on a boat ready to sail in Indian ocean
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Kids playing on the beach
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Me playing with kids

The richest local people in Zanzibar have many cows. This is a big sign of prosperity here.

Many cows (in Zanzibar) = a house/ an apartment + a car + a good job (in Europe)

But I think all locals are rich because of the beautiful nature on the Spice island Zanzibar.

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No matter where you come from, you will be able to understand locals on the African coast because they speak very good English as England colony in the past. And some of them are ready to teach you some Swahili 🙂

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The crab wonders “What are you waiting for?”

What are you waiting for? Start planning your vacation to Zanzibar, Tanzania!

 

 

 

Prison island (Zanzibar, Tanzania)

In the past when the ships returned to Zanzibar island, they departed here, and if the people were sicked/ deceased they stayed on the Prison island (an island in Indian ocean, Tanzania). If they were healthy and good, they went home after a quarantine period. That’s why this island is called Prison island.

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Prison island looks more like Paradise island…

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I love Prison island. Me and my friends arranged one day trip to Prison island and to Stone Town.

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Our capitan is shinning!

It is easy to go to Prison island. Once in Zanzibar, Tanzania you need to go to the Zanzibar port in Stone town. There are lots of small boats and locals who can take you there through Indian ocean. Better options is to buy a day excursion with a guide – visiting Prison island plus some snorkeling above amazing coral reef and zebra fishes.

After that you can land in Stone town port and walking through the city.

The price is around 40 USD.

You can take this trip from your hotel or choose an offer by locals.

Our guide was Hassan Bin Haji. He also organized for us amazing Spice tour.

He is very nice guy and we became friends. Perfect tour guide for the whole Zanzibar, Tanzania.

Nowadays Prison island is the home of giant old turtles. So stunning place with azure shore. The Tanzanian turtles live till 200 years! The oldest creates I have ever seen.

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On the shell of this turtle is written its age 🙂

And the baby turtles are so cute. I can hold them in my hands. These turtles are the proof that as locals say “pole pole” which means take it easy, is the best formula for longevity.

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In front of us two turtles dove in a love game – spectacular and sound. The turtles are rare species and locals enjoy their love acts because they will populate.

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Hello from my new friend – Prison island giant turtle

Despite of the the fact they are so enormous and interesting, the turtles can bite you painfully and you have to be cautious. In the sun they fall into a state of complete inactivity.

And I hear your question “What else I can see on this Prison island?” Well, the beauty of the nature, crystal clear water, silence of the past and ocean birds…

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Kisses and stay with me on the road! Africa is always the best choice!

Blue safari in Zanzibar, Tanzania

Faustino! He organizes for us Blue Safari in the Indian ocean (from Zanzibar, Tanzania) and takes us in the world of colorful zebra fishes, white brilliant coral reef and secluded islands.

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During the Blue Safari Faustin is our guide in the Indian ocean who cannot swim! and our Swahili teacher.  Later we realized he is our best African friend!

Check here How we met Mr Faustin in Zanzibar. In case you need his contacts please write me on private massage.

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Blue Safari! All day in the ocean! Snorkeling and ocean waves, while we are swimming, exploring, laying on the beach of an unknown island, eating exotic fruits and ocean food… we fall in love with the soul of this eccentric Faustin. He has 3 sisters but they were 9 kids. He says this:

“The life and its end it’s just check-out from this hotel “World”. And you are ready for the next adventure.”

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Our Blue Safari is our best African experience ever! I feel so free and so calm. I hear the nature and I can taste it on my skin. Zanzibar island is amazing but being here, in a lonely island far away from Zanzibar, just us! This is fantastic! I can behave like a kid, I can jump in the water, found myself running on the beach… drinking wine in the water while sitting. Chilling time! Perfect moments! We are laughing loudly and on the chocolate face of Faustin the white teeth are shining.

We have fresh seafood – delicious!

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Resting and sitting in the water; we go back to the shore and have a little more time to eat, laying on the sand, strolling, swimming, diving among the rocks, and sometimes we take out ocean treasures; we eat fruits in the water, collect mussels. Amazing variety of flora and fauna! We found mangrove tree – the only one that drinks salty water!

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Indescribable atmosphere and a very good company! And Faustin was proclaimed unanimously for the African God of the Blue Safari!

We are blessed to be where we are!

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How we met Mr Faustin in Zanzibar

We are laying on the beach all day long and our incredible stay in Coco Paradise Hotel – Jambiani beach, is more than amazing. I strongly recommend the hotel as a great place to stay in Zanzibar (Tanzania), the stuff is excellent; the restaurant and the kitchen are one of the best on the beach. Price versus quality – completely satisfied level!

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The pool is a great relaxing area for reading a book, chilling, swimming and enjoying the nature around.

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We enjoy the African nature and the day ends with beautiful sunset under the Indian ocean.

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It’s our dinner time, we are in a hungry mood eating delicious fresh ocean food (fished today, cooked today and to be eaten today).

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The African wine is with exotic aftertaste and I really enjoy it. In the restaurant of the hotel Mr Faustin noticed us and came to check where we are from and what kind of people we are. He has a big smile and he is very friendly, always ready for jokes. We liked him at the very beginning of our first conversation.

He offered us to go with him on a Blue Safari – all day long adventure in the Indian ocean. Food included on a lonely island. Snorkeling with many colorful fishes and more…

Of course we took the offer and I will share with you in details how our Blue Safari became the greatest experience in Zanzibar! Soon on my blog!

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With Mr Faustin on a Blue Safari

But the most valuable from the Blue Safari is the connection with such a nice personality – Mr Faustin. He brings the natural positive vibes with him and he has seen a lot in his life. He speaks 6 languages (English, German, Italian, Spanish, Swahili, French) and we took some lessons on Swahili. He is crazy funny and his jokes bring wisdom.

Our group really love him and we are keeping in touch now. We really hope we will meet him again some day!

We all are blessed to have this kind of people in our life who can teach you to take it easy and to think for really the most important things. For all the rest – “Pole Pole” which translated from Swahili means “Just take it easy. Relax.”

Can’t wait to share soon more from my Zanzibar experience! Stay cool!

 

Jambiani beach

While being in Africa, we experienced one of the best beaches in Zanzibar, Tanzania. We booked a hotel on the beach Jambiani, Indian ocean. Next to Jambiani is Paje beach – perfect for surfing and swimming. Both are wide and burning white beaches.

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We stayed in Coco Paradise hotel or Villa de Coco how locals know it. I love the place and you will love it too! Great conditions, fresh food, nice restaurant, chilling area on the beach and we had amazing view from our balcony. The stuff is very nice and ready to help you. We booked our apartments via Booking.com, other platforms also have the hotel in their list.

Let’s walk through Paradise!

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African vibes everywhere.

What’s next? More sunny days in Zanzibar and more adventures. Stay with me on the road. Kisses.

African doors against elephants!

We are walking on the streets in Stone Town (Zanzibar), Tanzania. I already shared with you my experience- check it here .

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Hassan, our tour guide is with us – his facebook. You can alwasy contact him.

We are in front of a door against elephants. Yes! There are no elephants at all on the island Zanzibar! but in the past Indians who have built these doors didn’t know 🙂 Hassan explains to us they believed these doors can really protect them if elephants walk through the streets. So this is like a heritage from Indians who have lived here in Africa, on the island Zanzibar.

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I find myself asking “Are these doors really safe?” And the answer is – “No”. Hassan and my friends start laughing.

Hakuna Matata! Life is good and there is а tease on every corner.

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Spice tour on the spice island Zanzibar

Island Zanzibar, Tanzania, is called Spice island. Here there are variety of cooking spices (spices for fish, chicken and other meat), spices and herbs used in medicine, spices for decoration and home usage. Some spices are even used for construction materials.

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The ocean food and all exotic fruits are so delicious and the spices turn them into paradise food. The taste of Zanzibar food is unforgettable.

Our spice tour in one Zanzibar plantation overturned our imagination of some plants, herbs and fruits. Let’s start the tour now!

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We are walking through the forest plantation, it smells so strong of so many spices and fruits. It is relaxing and our best tour guide Hassan is with us ready to explain about every tree, every grass and everything we are seeing.

Find Hassan’s facebook here and you better contact him if you want to travel through Zanzibar, Tanzania.

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Nutmeg tree. My first time I see it.

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Cacao tree. Why I start thinking of chocolate!?

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Lipstick tree. From this tree local produce lipsticks for women. It is natural, shiny colorful and long-lasting. A local guy shows us how to use it 🙂

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Carnation flower. We discovered the Swahili  word is pronounced exactly the same as in Bulgarian language. So many plant names in Swahili are common with the Bulgarian words for the same things. May be common origins..? Carnation flower is used for massage oil. Locals use carnation to cook the local specialty pilaf rice and for medical purposes.

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Vanilla tree – first time I see vanilla as a tree. The vanilla flower changes its color from green to brown and even black.

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Pineapple flower. Wow, it is beautiful and colorful! I want to have it in my garden some day when I have a garden.

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Sesame – looks like a high grass. It is used for producing oil.

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Tamarind tree casuarina

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Lemon grass. It is curious fact that locals make fire with this grass and the mosquitoes fly away. So the lemon grass is like a natural repellent.

Henna plant – this plant is used for painting and decoration for body and hair. The color is red and turns into black when it’s dried.

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Black pepper – the pepper is at first white and turns into black.

Carambola

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Cinnamon tree – I love cinnamon. My favorite tree. We tasted some parts of the bark and the root of the tree. The root parts smell like medicines and they are used for that, as our guide Hassan explain to us.

Curry tree – We tried the leaves and here it comes the well-known scent and taste of curry.

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Coffee graves

Ylang ylang plant – Chanel 5 is made by this plant.

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Curcuma

Jackfruit

We have tasted and smelled many more fruits, trees and grasses. We tried local tea made from spices. We bought amazing gifts as soaps made by herbs, spices for any kind of food and exotic perfume for me!

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Zanzibar island is staggering! I am in love with it!

This spice tour is once in a life experience that touches all your senses and imagination.

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Taarab Music and Ngoma in Zanzibar

Taarab Music

Taarab is a form of local music in Zanzibar that is a mix of sounds and styles from India, Arabia, and Africa. Taarab shows are as much about audience participation as they are about music. Although the music may be a bit harsh for Western ears, the show itself is great theater. The audience howls at the antics of the other audience members and the Taarab singer carries on with the back up of a forty-piece band that includes horns, strings, and drums.

Below is an example of taarab music 🙂

Check the Old Fort for performances and check with hotel and restaurant staff to see if shows have been announced on the radio.

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Ngoma

Ngoma is traditional African dance and singing accompanied by fast rhythmic drumming. There are performances around the island but they can be difficult to be found. Try the Old Fort in town and ask hotels and restaurants. Some restaurants feature Ngoma on certain night. Local shows are much longer than Western shows; a Taarab/Ngoma night’s schedule may last five hours. Ngoma was originally performed at weddings, harvest festivals, circumcision ceremonies and other celebrations.

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Ready for Zanzibar?

African vibes everywhere! Chilling summer moments!

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Zanzibar Stone town

The old town of Zanzibar is Stone town. Here is dynamic, colorful, spicy-scented. Everyone looks busy and the city is alive. Someone steals a souvenir and starts running on the street trying to sell it fast.

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Stone town is the most developed part of Zanzibar, Tanzania. There are high buildings and small port on the Indian ocean. We are here with a tour guide, his name is Hasan, and this is an excellent choice! He speaks very good English and he can explain everything about the city. The island Zanzibar is very attractive and we are asking about the past. Hasan answers all our questions related to the history of Zanzibar and Tanzania.

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I strongly recommend you to contact Hasan HERE  via facebook if you want to discover Stone town or the whole Zanzibar island. He is a very nice young person.

We are passing the Old Fort where the culture of Zanzibar is represented during their festivals. More about the culture of Zanzibar can be found in another post here .

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The Old Fort is next to House of Wonders. A curious fact is that the first elevator in Zanzibar was in this old building . It is the largest and tallest building in Zanzibar. The architecture of Palace of Wonders is ancient, compound and curious.

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The second elevator was built in Palace of Sultan, one of the most historical places on the African island. So much history here! The Palace is enormous and keeps the spirit of the past. Said bin Sultan was the first Sultan in Zanzibar. On the second floor we can see how princess Sayyida Salme has lived. There is one book – “The princess of Zanzibar” which is dedicated to this princess. She married to a German and had really tough life because of her choice. Her parents didn’t want to see her anymore so she left the country.

The exhibits include some of her writings, clothes and daily life accessories.

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In the Palace of Sultan, we see a hall which is still functional for local elections.

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Here from our tour guide we learn so much about the African history. Before Tanzania,there were Tanganyika and Zanzibar. They merged into Tanzania – “tan” like Tanganyika; “zan” like Zanzibar; “nia” means together. People’s life here has changed after the merged and some are happy, other don’t feel sure about their future.

I am walking in the palace of Sultan and so many pictures are changing. I am hearing about the political situation now and I see how was life here in the Palace. The Sultan had one main wife – Sultana, and more other women which rooms are not in the Palace. There are nice portraits as gifts. In the past sometimes this was the only chance to represent yourself to the Sultan. No Facebook, remember?

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Going out of the Palace of Sultan, we are learning more facts about Tanzania. The citizens in the whole Tanzania are 49 million and on the island Zanzibar – 1.5 million.

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Narrow dirty streets are showing us where is the Market of Stone town. On the market everything can be found – meat, cheese, milk, so many spices! of course because Zanzibar is the spice island. There are small souvenir shops and homemade things can be found.

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It is dirty and so arty!

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The smell around the market is disgusting because they don’t have refrigerators and the food is a bit spoiled. Locals are used to that but it is really hard to see a meat with so many flies on it to be for selling. While we are walking, we hear some nice dancing music from local poor hut. Small children are running with no shoes on the dirty dusty streets.

They look happy 🙂

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We are hungry, so we need to try one of the local food places. There are many and you can sit to eat almost on every corner. The food quality is suspicious at first for us and they serve you the food with hands. You can see their fingers have parts of your food. And that’s how we start eating… The food is delicious! and we taste some local specialties with rice and vegеtables.

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Our walk continuous with Freddie Mercury’s house but there was nothing special about it, because nowadays they rebuilt it like hotel. So if you are not a guest of the hotel, you cannot even enter the house.

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We have pleasant moments picking souvenirs from small and bigger shops. We found some really nice stores for clothes and jewels.

Our day is ending, we are on one of the highest points in Stone town, drinking cocktail Crazy monkey and waiting for the sunset.

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I am so grateful! I know I am blessed!

African kisses to all of you and can’t wait to share what else I’ve discover on the island Zanzibar.