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    6 Reasons to Visit Split, Croatia

    6 Reasons to Visit Split, Croatia

    It’s been a few weeks now since I got back from Croatia, and honestly I don’t know where that time has gone! It has flown by. That’s why I still haven’t gotten all my Croatia travels written down, but hey, the Split photos are here! I loved exploring the city of Split and I didn’t even get round to doing half of what I originally wanted to do. Was a little optimistic there.

    Here’s just a snapshot of the 6 reasons why I think you should visit Split. The list would definitely get longer if another visit was on the cards – I can say that for sure!

    6 Reasons to Visit Split, Croatia

    6 Reasons to Visit Split, Croatia

    #1 – Diocletians Palace & The Old Town

    One of the most amazing things is that the Palace is all around you. Like it isn’t just a building you walk into. The Palace forms a lot of the Old Town and is just so beautiful to see. Wikipedia describes it as a fortress, and yeah I’d go for that. Walking around, it really feels like you are just walking through history. The buildings are beautiful. I just kept thinking, my dad would really love this. They also had *real* centurions walking about and doing performances.

    Something I found quite interesting is that there were signs saying that you couldn’t walk around with no top on. Apparently the police would fine you if spotted. I get it, because at the end of the day it’s a city, a place with restaurants and you’re in and around the Palace, but it’s different to my experiences in other countries! Topless people everywhere usually.

    It’s a very beige city, there’s no denying that. The majority of the buildings are this same colour, but each one did have it’s own character. It’s kind of sad really that such a beautiful place like this is so touristy now (and I know, I added to that!) because I can just imagine how lovely it would be when quiet. If I’d have stayed in the centre of Split, I would have gotten up early to do some exploring whilst it was (hopefully) quiet.

    6 Reasons to Visit Split, Croatia

    6 Reasons to Visit Split, Croatia

    #2 – Bell Tower view

    I don’t know if I’m remembering correctly, but I’m sure it was 20hrk to go up this tower. That equates to around £2.45 apparently. Well worth it. The tower is high, and you have to climb up on these really rickety feeling metal stairs that can just about fit two people on to allow others down as you go up. It was a bit of a squeeze.

    Once at the top, it’s so worth the slightly scary climb. You could see for miles, and get those much-wanted view-from-the-top shots of Split. Those lovely orange rooftops. There may be better views (feel free to give suggestions!) but honestly I was just so blown away by this, it was probably the best part of my trip. I could have stayed up there enjoying the view for hours.

    6 Reasons to Visit Split, Croatia

    6 Reasons to Visit Split, Croatia

    #3 – To Explore The Winding & Hidden Paths

    Split reminded me a lot of Venice, in that it was very maze-like. A lot of the alleyways/paths looked similar and you could easily take a turn and be somewhere completely new. Independent shops were dotted about, and we even spotted a Game of Thrones merch shop! Dubrovnik is the main area for Game of Thrones related things, but it was great to at least see something here. I bought my brother a Stark tankard because I’d missed his birthday by being away…

    What I like the most about these maze like walkways is that bars, restaurants and shops are just everywhere, and there’s always something new to see. And then you get buildings which are clearly homes, with pretty decorations and doorways up staircases to take them ‘off the street’. There were a few hotels around here, easy access for everything!

    6 Reasons to Visit Split, Croatia

    6 Reasons to Visit Split, Croatia

    #4 – Being by the Coast, and Boats.

    Yep. Quite simply, boats. Split is apparently a ‘hub’ in Croatia, and you’ll get a lot of trips or connections going out from the Split harbour. This means there are a lot of super pretty (and MASSIVE) boats about, as well as the option of many trips. We didn’t get the chance to go on any trips, but a boat trip to the blue caves is on my list for next time! I think there’s just something really great about being able to sit by the coast and watch boats coming in and out.

    There are some beaches along the coast of Split, but we weren’t close enough to any of them. Plus, I love the idea of beaches but I hate sand so it wasn’t really high on my list of things to do. The best idea seems to be to take a boat to one of the many little islands, like Hvar or Brač.

    6 Reasons to Visit Split, Croatia

    6 Reasons to Visit Split, Croatia

    6 Reasons to Visit Split, Croatia

    #5 – Ultra Festival Europe & Boat Party

    I’m not into dance music. Or so, I never thought I was. I really enjoyed Ultra. There will be a full post on this, but I mean it was so cool to be in a huge stadium, in another country, listening to music and seeing hundreds and thousands of people all from other countries too. There were people from Korea, Australia, Sweden, America – you name the country, there was probably someone there!

    It was just a great night, and I really did have fun. We also attended one of the boat parties, and that was great too. A little too long for myself personally, but I enjoyed the views! I’m not a dancer, and well, there was more of that on the boat than there was in the stadium. Glad I did it though!

    6 Reasons to Visit Split, Croatia

    #6 – The Little Bits of Green

    Split and Croatia had more green than I was expecting, what with the temperatures. In fact, they have Marjan Hill in Split, which looks gorgeous but is also somewhere I didn’t get chance to visit. I originally thought we were staying in Split, but we were in fact staying in Solin, so it wasn’t as easy to get out to places like this! But Marjan Hill is a wonderfully green looking area. And there were also a few mini parks/grassy areas around the Old Town too.

    Ever been to Split or Croatia? Anything I’ve missed?

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    Europe, Travel

    Exploring Solin // Croatia Travels

    When I travelled to Croatia, I didn’t actually plan it myself. None of it. So I didn’t really know where we were going properly, besides Split. Turns out we were staying in Solin. A little town just a few kilometres away from the centre of Split. So here’s what we discovered whilst exploring Solin on our trip.

    Exploring Solin // Croatia Travels

    I’ve been to a few different countries whilst travelling Europe but admittedly nowhere near as many as I’d like to. Croatia was never really on my list until I had the opportunity, and now I just want more of it!

    Exploring Solin, Croatia

    So if I’m being perfectly honest, Solin didn’t have too much to do, not from what we saw. But, that didn’t matter. When you’re going down to Split every other day it’s nice to just come back to the quiet little town and relax. The place itself was beautiful. A river running through, a pretty church and plenty of little streets, houses and parkland dotted about.

    The bridges and river looked gorgeous, and we did see people dipping in the river either looking for fish or crabs or something I assume. I definitely had the urge to go paddle in that river though, it was so hot out! Also, I found it pretty funny to see a fruit stand with a little area of the river sectioned off for their watermelons. It makes sense, because warm watermelon isn’t great and the water would be doing a great job keeping them cool in the 30+ degree heat. Still funny though.

    There were a few bars in what seemed like the centre and it was very much a locals area. We didn’t see many other tourists, and I think as British we really stood out. Not a bad thing as such but we did feel a little strange sitting out here. It’s like when you go to a little country village pub and all the locals turn and stare when you walk in. They know you don’t ‘belong’ here haha.

    Exploring Solin // Croatia Travels

    Exploring Solin // Croatia Travels

    Exploring Solin // Croatia Travels

    Exploring Solin // Croatia Travels

    Exploring Solin // Croatia Travels

    Staying At Hotel President Solin

    We were staying at Hotel President Solin+++++. Yep. 5 star. No, I’m not sure how we got that either! The hotel was gorgeous, and the staff just couldn’t have been more helpful and lovely. The hotel itself was situated opposite to the church and we heard bells ringing all day/night. It was kind of cute, kind of annoying.

    Weirdly though each day it came to around 8pm and the bells went on for longer than usual. All of a sudden there were kids and families everywhere on the grass. Playing, laughing, talking… It’s like they were just hiding from the sun all day and came out once it had set to have a bit of a play before bed. Strange. You can just about see them in the photo above.

    The hotel itself was so beautiful. Two pools, no noisy/splashy kids, and lovely staff. They really couldn’t do enough for you. We got friendly with a few of them and really got to know them and the area we were in. It was great. The breakfast was a mixture of continental and cooked, and I just couldn’t get enough of the watermelon to be honest. And the tropical juice which really just tasted like pineapple. We got the tickets from a supplier at work, and I’m so grateful for work giving me the chance to come to Croatia! First and last time I’ll probably get to stay in a 5* hotel haha.

    Watermelon & Pool

    On our last night in Solin, Croatia was hit with horrendous wildfires. They were close to us, but not close enough that we were in danger. We could sure see all the fires on the hills though, and the resulting smoke as you can see below… Our hotel was used to transfer people who were staying in the area of the fires, and also to allow the firemen/police to sleep. They could only fight the fires so long before having to come away because the dark made it unsafe. They stayed in our hotel because it was close enough that they could get out quickly at first light! Amazing people. It was not nice to see though.

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    More to come from the Croatia trip! I think the city of Split needs it’s own post for sure, and also I’ll be writing about my first dance festival experience at Ultra! Keep an eye out for those in the next couple of weeks.

    Ever been to Croatia?

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    Europe, Travel

    Lanzarote Short South Tour

    I’m still not totally accepting of the fact that I am home from Lanzarote and back in boring Wigan. Nope. Hopefully, with Spring officially here, the weather will start to look up. Can’t say the same for work though haha!

    Anyway, whilst in Lanzarote this year, we decided to go on a tour. There are a lot to choose from – some just half days, some full days – and we chose the ‘Short South Tour’. The full days mostly just included a meal as an extra, and with me being vegetarian and my cousin vegan, it just probably wasn’t worth the fuss. Looking through the options, the Short South Tour sounded pretty good, and included a camel ride opportunity, wine tasting and then volcanic experiments and views.

    Lanzarote Short South Tour // lifeofkitty.co.uk

    As we drove into the area, we had some lovely views from the coach and a great tour guide telling us things about Lanzarote and the island. When rain clouds appear and it starts to rain, you usually only get a few minutes worth of rain because it can get so windy that the clouds just get blown away so quickly! It rained a few times whilst we were there, but only ever for a couple of minutes if that. I think that’s so fascinating haha! “Lanzarote has on average around 5 days of rain per year. About the same that England gets of sun.” Funny. Sadly not far from the truth!

    We also discovered on the journey that the buildings in Lanzarote are painted white to contrast the black volcanic landscape. If you decide you want a differently coloured house, you’ll be paying up to 2000 € every year it isn’t white! Damn. Traditionally, all houses inland have green windows/doors, and the ones on the coast have blue to reflect the sea. I’d always wondered why every building was white and green/blue, thinking it was actually something to do with the sun. Modern houses tend to have brown windows/doors – but I like the reasoning behind the green and blue!

    Lanzarote Short South Tour // lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Camel Rides

    First up – camel rides! I can’t say I’ve ever really wanted to ride a camel, so I didn’t. It was an extra 6 € and they took you on a little walk around the base of the ‘Fire Mountains’. The people on our coach who did it said it was worth the money, but then they also looked like they were holding on for dear life as the camels were moving… I kind of wish I’d done it, because the views would be amazing, but then I still don’t fancy taking a camel for a ride. There must have been a good couple of hundred of camels here though. Our tour guide told us they even had their own special road that took them back to their village – and the journey was always quicker on the way back because they were hungry…

    Lanzarote Short South Tour // lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Wine Tasting

    Next up – wine tasting! I’m not a big wine fan. I could drink one glass and probably be drunk, but nevertheless I wanted to try them. We headed to the wine district of Lanzarote – La Geria. Grown in the surrounding areas, the vines are planted in craters dug into the black fields. Quite a sight to see hundreds, thousands of circles on a black landscape. These craters are protected from wind erosion by the natural lava stones, built up to create a wall. You can see what they look like below!

    When we walked into the building, the smell was so strong and overwhelming. I suppose if you are some sort of wine connoisseur you may enjoy this smell. It was fine once you’d gotten over that initial shock!

    How was the wine? Well we tried a white and a red, and I really thought I’d hate the white and like the red. Wrong! The white wine was actually quite soft and sweet. Nothing like the white wines I’ve previously tried ha! The red wine was really sharp and quite tangy, and I didn’t like it at all. Took one swig and that was it – off to my mum so she could finish it.

    Lanzarote Short South Tour // lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Lanzarote Short South Tour // lifeofkitty.co.uk

    the Volcanoes

    Finally, we headed towards the Timanfaya National Park. On the drive up, we could see miles of land affected by previous volcanic eruptions. Just loads of lava fields, everywhere. It was pretty, and still a strange sight to see. We also got a small glimpse of actual grass – on a roundabout. Apparently grass is hard to come by in Lanzarote.

    We drove up a really steep hill, parked the coach on a precarious angle and headed towards the ‘experiment’ centre. First up, our group were told to stand in a circle. This area was known to be the hottest bit of land in Lanzarote. You could actually feel the heat through your shoes! The kind man who was working there dug up some of the stony ground and put a bit in everyone’s hand. It was bloody hot! A lot of people dropped it straight away from the shock, others – like me – just quickly kept passing the stones from hand to hand because it was so damn hot.

    Then we moved on to a hole in the ground. Because of the heat from the ground, when the guy shoved a load of dry hay type material into the hole, it just set on fire straight away. Pretty crazy. Then we were onto the hot steam. This guy put water into a hole (i think?) and this huge billow of steam followed. I was sad that he’d done the one on the far left for us, but the group before had the middle one and I’m guessing you have to give it a few minutes before trying again. The final experiment was to see how they cooked food there, just from the heat of the ground – no fire. Although this small room stunk of chicken, it was interesting to see.

    Overall, the experiments were interesting, and I enjoyed seeing them and hearing the information at each step. The downside for me is that it felt rushed. You could tell it was a popular tourist attraction, as you were just quickly moved through each station ready for the next group. Not much time to just look and reflect. I can only imagine what it would be like in Summer at peak season!

    Lanzarote Short South Tour // lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Seeing the volcanic landscape

    Back in the coach, we headed out for a drive through Timanfaya National Park where we could really see the landscape and the volcanoes. Lots of winding roads, and sometimes driving along a cliff side made this coach trip scarily exciting. Not for those who don’t enjoy heights! We had a recorded tour guide giving us some information (along with some cringy sound effects) and I really enjoyed this bit. I’m a sucker for information. Love it. The bottom photo here is our view from near the top of a mountain/volcano, and that bus was behind us on the route.

    Lanzarote Short South Tour // lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Lanzarote Short South Tour // lifeofkitty.co.uk

    The tour lasted from 9am to 2pm and whilst bits did feel rushed, I really enjoyed it. Was super interesting to hear about the history of Lanzarote and it’s land, as well as the few interactive bits. I’d definitely recommend doing a tour like this if you visit the area.

    How about you? Been on any interesting tours lately?

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    Europe, Travel

    Diving in Lanzarote!

    Diving in Lanzarote | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Diving has been something that I’ve wanted to do for so long, and when I discovered we were visiting Lanzarote I just had to take that opportunity. I researched months beforehand, looking at all the different places and checking out prices. Manta Diving was the place I settled on, and after a few friendly emails, my brother and I were all booked in and had a lift from our villa to the diving centre on the morning of our dive sorted! I’d booked it for our third day, and it was honestly the highlight of the holiday for me. I know my brother enjoyed it too, so I’m sure he’d do it again!

    The guys at Manta Diving were brilliant, and I couldn’t fault them at all. So friendly and helpful, and considering we did a beginners diving experience, I never felt like I was out of my depth. (Sorry, couldn’t resist that one!)

    We were diving in Playa Chica Bay and it was soo gorgeous! The waters were pretty calm, and there were tons of fish, as you’ll see in the videos below! Breathing underwater through the diving equipment felt so strange – you actually have to think about breathing! We got to 6 metres, and honestly the worst thing is getting your eyes sorted! Imagine being on a plane, and then times the amount they pop by 10. Definitely something you need to get used to, but it wasn’t all that difficult. Of course, as we were just on a discover dive, the guys leading us did all the hard work – sorting out weights and our buoyancy for that first one. We did the follow up a couple of days later, going down to 12 metres and this is where we actually got off the seabed, and swam/floated about instead.

    (Make sure you watch in HD!)

    Keep Reading for snorkelling in Lanzarote

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    Europe, Food, Travel

    Eating in Lanzarote

    One of the things that I was looking forward to when going to Lanzarote (besides the hot weather!) was food. Food, glorious food. I’m a big fruit lover, and living in England is just disappointing. If you’ve eaten fruits such as watermelon, pineapple and mango in a hot country, you’ll know just how much sweeter and juicier they are! Of course, going on holiday isn’t all about eating healthy – there’s got to be a few treats in there too! We over 7 days we ate at 6 different restaurants (I haven’t got photos from each though!) and we had a great time tasting different foods.

    Eating in Lanzarote: Fruit | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    The fruit of course was amazing. The best watermelon I’ve ever tasted, and such a sweet pineapple too. I actually went through 1 and a half pineapples whilst there (my mum ate the other half!) it tasted that good. We also tried a dragonfruit, which was very mildly sweet, and a lot brighter than expected! Plantain crisps are something I’ve tried before, but i got a couple of bags whilst there and they were great to snack on throughout the day.

    As we had a villa, we ate breakfast there, had a little walk, came back for lunch and to relax during the hottest period and then ate out for dinner. So for lunches, it was often sandwiches on freshly baked bread or salads. Funnily enough, we actually had a Lidl just round the corner from our villa!

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    Europe, Travel

    Puerto Del Carmen, Lanzarote

    Visiting Puerto Del Carmen, Lanzarote | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    It has been a week since I got back from Lanzarote, and I’m still sad about it. We had a lovely week there in the sunshine; eating good food, swimming and sunbathing all day long. It’s really hard to come back into the cold weather and straight back into work!

    Puerto Del Carmen is a pretty popular place to visit in Lanzarote, though I didn’t really see many hotels. Not like when I’ve been to mainland Spain. It seemed to be mostly apartment style ‘hotels’ and lots of villas. We had a villa and oh, it was brilliant. We had our own pool, a table tennis table and a pool table! Town and the main strip were both a 10/15 minute walk away from our villa, and we went down there most nights. Puerto Del Carmen is such a beautiful place, and I’d definitely love to go back. I’m going to let the photos do the speaking for the most part for this post – there’s a mixture of both phone and camera photos.

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    Crafting, Europe

    Homemade travel journal. (SMASH/Scrapbook)

    As I have mentioned previously, I’ve been creating a travel journal to document my expedition to Finland. Well, it is finally complete (or near enough) and I have done a video to show you the pages. Yes, I have done a video! A little scary to be honest, but I’m afraid you’re only getting my voice…

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