Explore Rome in a smart and funny way

Rome is my favorite metropolitan city in Europe. The Renaissance is in the air and everything is so impressive here. The time is never enough for this amazing city.

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On the roof of St Peter Basilica

But the tourists are so much! You can get mad because of the thousands of people everywhere and you can destroy your holiday while waiting on huge queue, being in a group with so many and different people, so in the end you can feel just tired and frustrated.

This article is about how to behave smart and skip the big lines, being alone in usually crowded places, how to visit all the exciting things without getting pissed off. Rome is beating in a crazy rhythm and a good time schedule is the key for amazing time and you’ll have time to feel the energy of the places and to enjoy the food and the weather.

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Roman Forum

Smart time schedule for sightseeing in Rome:

1. Vatican city – Probably you read a lot about it, it is different city than Rome, located in the heart of Rome and it’s fully autonomous. It has its own lows and rules and you must follow them as a tourist if you want to go inside. Big problem here it is always very crowded, you can spend half day just waiting to go inside and you will not have enough time to explore all the museums and the gardens.

Tip 1: Buy your ticket online in advance or go in front of the main entrance and ask for a qualified guide. Otherwise there is unwritten rule you will be treated with the lowest priority on the queue. My advice is to spend a bit more money and have a guide (ticket + a guide is around 50 $) because this will make your stay in Vatican city more useful, you will learn new things in a funny interactive way and you will get more into the historical details. And you can ask whatever you want and you’ll get the answer, and this is super cool because in Vatican a lot of questions will appear! Also as a part of a group you will be treated with priority on the entrance.

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Vatican symbol in the museums of Vatican city

Tip 2: For the Vatican gardens you will need to book your ticket 2-3 months in advance. Depending on how much you want to see them – think for that some months before your staying in Rome. You can see them from the roof of St Peter basilica for free.

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Vatican gardens

Tip 3: Don’t be frustrated if you don’t see everything. This is mission impossible. Vatican city needs months to be discovered, so stay focused on what you see, feel the energy of the museums you will visit and enjoy Sistine Chapel.

Tip 4: Stay quite inside the Sistine Chapel. Don’t take pictures and videos – it is not allowed! Nippon Television Network Corporation of Japan owns the rights for all videos and photos and in case somebody take a photo, a fee might be registered! and when you want to leave, take the right exist which will lead you directly to St Peter Cathedral. If you take the left exist you will be back at the beginning of the museums and you will need to wait on another queue for the St Peter Cathedral.

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Walking on the roof of St Peter Basilica
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In the Basilica St Peter cover your shoulders and legs

Tip 5: You can have some snack with you as you will probably spend about 6 hours and inside the Vatican city there are no food places for tourist.

For Vatican city a day will be enough to be touched by the power of Art, to explore the main halls, to enjoy Sistine Chapel and St Peter.

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In front of St Peter Basilica

2. Coliseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill and Circus Maximus – 1 or 2 days in a row

Did you watch the movie Gladiator, if so – keep calm and wait for the moment you will start feeling as an actor in the movie. Coliseum is amazing from the outside. During the night the atmosphere turns even more to a magic. It is totally worth it to go inside and spend some nice hours exploring the past and the cruel fights that had happened.

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Tip 6: Depending on your time take a guide or audo record with you. You will hear about really interesting stories which had taken place inside the Coliseum. With the audo you are a little bit more free to do whatever you want and go where you choose without waiting for all the people in the group.

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Exploring Coliseum

Tip 7: The Coliseum ticket can be combined with The Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill. The ticket can be one for all these 3! And the good news are you will have 2 days to explore them with one ticket. But you can delay Coliseum for your 2nd day. With this combined ticket you have to start from The Roman Forum first!

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Roman Forum

Tip 8: Take the combined ticket from Tip 7 from the entrance of the Forum which is next to the Piazza Venezia, don’t buy it from the main entrance next to the Coliseum as there the queue is much bigger. Once you enter in the Roman Forum you can reach directly from the inside The Coliseum and The Palatine Hill.

Tip 9: If you delay your visit to Coliseum for the second day – once on the queue, go in front of all people and show your ticket. It is allowed to skip the line in case you have your ticket in advance as described in Tip 7 and Tip 8.

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Tip 10: Circus Maximus can be combined also during this visit. Enjoy it!

3. Spanish steps and Fontana Di Trevi

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Di Trevi is always romantic but I like it more in the night!

Tip 11: These two sightseengs are in the heart of the city center of Rome. It’s better go there during the night. Of course you will pass by them many times during the day as well. During the night it is not so crowded, especially worth it for Fontana Di Trevi. Spanish steps are a good place to eat gelato and feel the Roman love in the air!

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Spanish steps

4. Piazza Venezia has special place in my heart!

It is modern Piazza and personally I can say this is the most beautiful one in Rome. It is so enormous and so impressive. The building is marble and white. The view is so cool! The two fires at the entrance of the building represent Roman people always keep the fire. You can visit Piazza Venezia many times and every time it looks different.

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Tip 12: Close to Piazza Venezia is the main street Corso in Rome. You can combine the visit here with a walk after that on the Corso street. And plenty of restaurants, coffees, shops and souvenirs can be found. Of course the smell of pasta, pizza and wine is everywhere!

5. Piazza Navona and The Pantheon
Two amazing places to have fun! Piazza Navona is another charming place to eat gelato, relax and enjoy the two beautiful fountains there. There are very nice restaurants but they are quite expensive.

Tip 13: If you want to eat somewhere in the city center, avoid the restaurants in front of Piazza Navona. Take some small narrow streets and find a place close to Piazza Navona but not on it. The prices will be different but the quality will stay the same.

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At Piazza Navona

Tip 14: Go inside The Pantheon and enjoy the energy, take some history background and the place will be even more alive.

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One of the oldest building in Rome – Pantheon. It is older than Vatican city!

6. Tiber and castle St Angelo
If you like to spend hours in museums and different castles – check St Angelo castle as well. The price is 15 EUR.
Tip 15: If you are more about the nature – spend some time in front of the castle. There is a beautiful bridge and the river Tiber is making the nature around so fresh and green. Nice chance to eat gelato or find a restaurant near the St Angelo Castle and enjoy some pasta and wine.

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7. Villa Borghese and the whole Borghese gardens are a good way to spend really funny time laying on a green grass. The park is with small lakes, beautiful trees and flowers and it is so relaxing to just sit on a bench.
Tip 16: Combine the walk through Villa Borghese with a nice lunch, drink wine and be an actor/ actress of this Renaissance masterpiece. You can hire rickshaw or a bike and be active and free. Amazing way to have some fun with your friends, to burn some calories and deserve the dinner.

On the Borhese terrace there is nice view!

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I believe these tips are quite helpful because they are about the most wanted to be visited places in Rome. Of course this is not the entire list of all sightseeings as there is something to be seen on every corner in Rome. But for the rest there is not so much pressure and queues.
Keep calm and enjoy Rome!

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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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Tupavica waterfalls, Serbia

I had the chance to visit water pearls of Stara planina, located in Serbia – Tupavica.

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Stara planina is the longest mountain in Bulgaria but also has amazing places in Serbia!

You can have a very nice walk there and it’s close to Pirot and Nis in Serbia.

The nature is calling you , the nature gives you hugs and energy.

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People are so warm and friendly. Take your friends also and the atmosphere will be so fresh and crazy!

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Attention: The food is just amazing, delicious, natural, homemade with love.

Tupavica waterfalls in Serbia are perfect for one weekend trip, so don’t wait and take the road!

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Kavaci – Bulgarian Black sea

The sun is up and the summer is coming soon here in Bulgaria. There are amazing Black sea beaches and summer spirit everywhere!

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Do you remember my story for Sunny beach. Now let me take you in a place where the story is the opposite – it is relaxing area, beautiful, exciting wide siren beaches.

Here we are – Kavaci, region Burgas. It is between Burgas and Sozopol – so it is really reachable destination on the Bulgarian Black sea.

Destination Kavaci on the Black sea

There is a forest around to decorate the camping area of Kavaci. The subject of protection here is the rare Pontic white dunes and the characteristic sand-dunes.

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The name of the district Kavaci originates from the word “kavak” which in Turkish means the poplar, and is so named because of the poplars that grow in the area.

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Laying on the beach, drinking cocktail, reading a book… And watching the seagulls’ dance in the air… sounds like a paradise and it is possible! Kavaci. Black sea! Bulgaria!

I was there in September, so my pictures are a little bit different from the usual summer pictures. But I think the beauty of the place is so obvious. Follow me!

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Kavaci is famous with the camping area but also have four stars hotels around. Absolutely for everyone destination!

I like the area because it’s calm and I can practice sport activities on the Black sea beaches here (That’s why I decided to go in September), I can stay alone and just breathe. And of course there are beach bars in Kavaci for the time when your summer party spirit will get wild.

I’ve never seen anything more beautiful than the sea before storming!

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Can’t wait to visit this summer the Bulgarian Black sea!

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Are you ready?

When in Merida with messy hair

Merida is the capital of the autonomous community of Extremadura, Spain. The city sits proudly on the Iberian Peninsula just 174 miles (280 km) southwest of Madrid.

Destination Merida

Merida can be reached by plane to Madrid and from there rent-a-car/ train or bus. Merida is also very close to Portugal and the trip can be combined with some places in Portugal.  Check my amazing experience in Lisbon here.

Unique region with strong Roman influence. Over time, the Extremadura region was held under Christian, Moorish and Portuguese control – marvelous mix of cultures and spirits in Spain!

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When I was there sometimes I had the feeling I am in Rome but the Spanish language always turned me back in the reality.

Let me start with the most visited part of Merida, Spain – Mérida Theatre – one of the oldest archaeological sites in Spain. The ticket is less than 10 EUR, so it is a must to go there when you visit Merida, Spain.

20150204_112615Roman Theatre is one of the most Roman places in Merida. It is built in Emerita Augusta (the old name of Merida, it means the Army of Augustus), located in the archaeological ensemble of Merida, one of the largest and most extensive archaeological sites in Spain. It is World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Beautiful wide stage and so much Roman spirit around. Behind the stage is a garden area surrounded by columns. It makes me feel a part of the past. I had so much fun around!

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While trying to find some place to eat, I found The Temple of Diana – Perfect Roman style under the Extremadura sun.

20150204_121600.jpgAn old couple joined our group for a walk around the Roman ruins and they gave us more information about Merida.

10690184_880889398600702_6043211934728796442_nAcueducto de los Milagros, another extraordinary example of Roman masterwork, is the ruins of the Roman aqueduct bridge – great place to sit and relax with a drink.

Another bridge which connects Merida with small village area around is the Roman Bridge of Merida – Puente de Lusitania. It is nice to crossed it and have amazing view from there. Perfect time to take some photos.

I spent some time in the village area around Merida and the nature was so beautiful!

Something I missed to visit because I did’t have enough time – National Museum of Roman Art – Museo Nacional de Arte Romano. My friends strongly recommend it as a very arty place.

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Do you like circus? If yes, then Roman Circus (Circo romano) in Merida, Spain is waiting for you!

anfiteatro-romano-meridaIt is ruined Roman circus used for Chariot racing – so exciting and very dangerous for the racers in the past, spectacular for watching.

Tip: don’t miss the local Jamón ibérico (Iberian ham) in Merida, Spain. The food is delicious! Taste sangria!

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Spent at least one whole day walking around the city Merida to feel the energy. Enjoj Spain!

Take the road!

Transilvanian sky in Brasov, Romania

For centuries the Romanian city Brasov has been gateway towards the South and East. The Harvard professor Samuel Huntington used the term “The Clash of Civilizations” for Brasov.

I see for the second time in my life the name of the city “written” in the mountain. The first time was in Los Angeles.

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The Old Town of the city still reminds us for the Medieval battles. The Old Town had been fortress. This can be seen from the top of the Mount Tampa, one of the crazy things to do in Brasov. The Mount Tampa is an easy way to „climb“ the mountain and to have the best view on the top. It takes around 14 minutes in both directions to go on the top and back.

IMG_20170305_114153-EFFECTSYou can be lost in The Old Town of Brasov and start thinking you are in Italy not in Romania. Sorry for the comparison, but I really see a lot of common things between Romanian and Italian and the languages are closed enough so they can understand each other perfect!

The long pedestrian street in the heart of The Old Town of Brasov is beautiful and can take you directly in front of the Cathedral on the main square – Council Square of Brasov. For all tourist there are plenty of bars, restaurants, coffee bars. I am in love with the main square of the Romanian city Brasov. I can stay here with hours just to drink coffee and be grateful for the moment!

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The Old town of Brasov has green areas and relaxing zones, so it is really nice to have time for the city, not to be in a rush there!

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The night life is interesting, it is a nice mixture between Balkans and Western Europe spirit. I had delicious dinner in Brasserie Brasov on the Council Square. Check it at tripadvsor here: Brasserie Brasov. During the dinner there was incredible music. The decors on the floor and on the roof are kind of religious and at the same time very beautiful. The style inside is medieval and modern, perfect combination. The place is so unique and I strongly recommend it!

TIP: Don’t expect the spirit of the Old Town to be outside of the Old Town. After going out of the Old Town of Brasov, you are in a big Romanian city – crowded, dirty, a lot of people in a rush. Better plant to spend the night in The Old Town, there are small boutique hotels with breakfast included on a fare prices.

This destination can be combined with the Castle Bran, the castle of Dracula. Also close is the Castle Peles. Unfortunately I couldn’t manage to visit these castles as my travel was just for a weekend, but this is a sweet excuse to go back and to look for more adventures in Romania again.

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Take the road!

Under the Transilvanian sky – Carpathians miracle

There are million reasons why I love travelling. I believe it’s a way of living. Travelling is education and love!

Once in a plane I’ve had the perfect moment to see the Carpathians from my window!

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It’s one of the most inspiring flights I’ve had. I felt like a bird and I felt freedom.

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Such a beautiful view and such a wonderful life!

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It’s pleasure to share with you Carpathians miracle.

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I had the feeling I am not in the sky but in the ocean!

Life is great! Buy the trip you want and go to explore the unique world!!!

Sibiu is watching you!

May be you already have checked my expression of the beautiful city Sibiu in Romania.

I have a night story here and I found my favorite clothing store Gossip Tree.

I am in Sibiu (Romania) again and while walking on the streets I have the feeling the houses stare at me, the trees follow me and I have some invisible eyes on my back every time.

I will not explain more with words, just with pictures.

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Sibiu is watching you! Did you get the same expression?

Chepelare & Pamporovo- the Bulgarian pearls of Rodopi mountain

The ski season is open and all mountains are beating with the rhythm of millions people’s hearts!

Bulgaria has beautiful mountains which are waiting to be explored. Compared to other European ski resorts the prices are really good.

Let’s explore Rodopi mountain – there are legends, spirits, skiing, traditional dishes, traditional dances and beautiful nature!

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From Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, to Pamporovo and Chepelare ski resorts it takes around 3 hours and a half to reach the heart of Rodopi mountain.

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It’s another world out there!

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There are plenty of hotels and houses you can stay in Pamporovo and in Chepelare. The prices in Chepelare are cheaper compared to Pamporovo. No matter where you will decide to stay, you definitely should explore the skiing in both areas!

Pamporovo – this is the official site . For the beginners there are really good Bulgarian teachers who can show you the first steps in skiing.The ski slopes are green (for all tourists), blue (for beginners), red (for advanced) and black (for professionals) – so the mountain is for everyone! The slopes are wide and good for skiing. The lifts and all facilities are in a good condition.

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Pamporovo is well-known Bulgarian ski resort. The tower “Snezhanka” is the most popular tourist peak. From the top there is a breathtaking view of the Rodopi mountain. In clear weather even Stara planina mountain can be seen. On the tower “Snezhanka” you can take a rest, drink hot drinks and eat.

 

Be brave to feel the spirit of Rodopi mountain, feel the energy of all the people, drink a cup of tea with rum and speed up yourself!

It is an excellent way to spend the entire day in the mountain and be on a new place all the time. Your breaks will be surrounded by friends and delicious food – definitely try traditional dishes – patatnik, kachamak, Bulgaraian beans, vine leaves stuffed, fruits. Taste the traditional Bulgarian wine! The Bulgarian kitchen is a legend!

Chepelare – next destination for skiing. Here is the official site. “Mechi chal” has its own lift and slopes with different difficulty. Everyone is welcome! The ski slopes are really nice and long, wide and one good advantage – not so crowded as in Pamporovo.

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On my walk in the city center of Chepelare I found one beautiful frozen pine tree in the middle of the river 🙂

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A good hotel where you can stay in Chepelare is Rodopski dom. They have and spa which is the perfect combination with the skiing all day 🙂

 

There are traditional pubs with folklore music and amazing food, so you can have really interesting night life 🙂

Enjoy Rodopi mountain!

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Between The Old town and The Lower town in Sibiu – Gossip tree

It’s been one amazing day in Sibiu, Romania!

The city is more alive than ever. From a week lots of strikes against the new government’s laws! Good job, Romania!

But this is another story. And my story is happening every day between the Old Sibiu Town and The Lower town of Sibiu –Gossip tree!  Just click on the name and you will see the location.

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Let’s enter the story and go directly into the Wonderland!

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The store collects beautiful unique cloths and jewelries from 40 Romanian designers from Sibiu! Everything is arty and you feel like the cloths are telling you stories…

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I love home made nice creative style and this shop is full of this!

It smells like home and the music makes me feel like I want to start painting… or at least to create something beautiful!

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If you have the chance to visit Sibiu in Romania, this shop is exactly for you. You can have amazing gifts or also you can add something really beautiful and different in your wardrobe!

The Gossip Tree Boutique facebook page is here. I have more good news for you. You can contact them and make your order online and they might be able to send you what you want 🙂

I have the feeling this will return as my practice 🙂

And most but not least the lady in the shop is charming and can make your day. One of the few people who really loves her job!

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