Editorials  • 

Alfama district, Lisbon

April 27, 2015
alfama_miradouro

The view from Miradouro das Portas do Sol

Lisbon’s Alfama district must be the weirdest and most unexplainable place in Portugal. Being the oldest place in the city, just by the walls of Sao Jorge castle, it attracts a great number of tourists who love walking its narrow and steep streets. Alfama is like a medieval village, not only because it’s small and has a provincial feel, but also thanks to its community of people who lived here their whole life and know each other pretty well.

The people of Alfama have become quite an attraction themselves. Tourists are obsessed with Alfama’s quirky decorated doors, street art and most of all – laundry. That’s right, fresh laundry hanging outside the residents’ windows is the most documented sight of Alfama!

alfama_graffiti alfama_laundry alfama_lisbon alfama_stairs alfama_streets alfama_tourists alfama lisbon_alfama_castle lisbon_alfama_district lisbon_alfama_streets

The best and quickest way to get to know Lisbon’s old town is by tram 28, which will take you on a tour around the most popular sights of Alfama, Baixa and Estrela districts.

lisbon_tram

Travel Inspiration  • 

Blue flower season in Hitachi Park, Japan

April 17, 2015
flowers field japan

Photo: Azure

Late April to early May is the blooming season of 4.5 million nemophilia (baby blue eyes) in Japan’s Hitachi Seaside Park, which got everyone’s attention after tons of blog posts last year. The blue flower fields get lots of visitors which is perfectly understandable when you look at their beauty, but the Hitachi Park offers colourful sights all year round – just check out their flower calendar!

blue flowers field

Photo: kobaken

hitachi blue fields

Photo: Yumi

blue flowers

Photo: kobaken

 

Culture, Travel Inspiration  • 

Dogon country, Mali

April 16, 2015

The Dogon people living in Mali’s Dogon country are an ethnical group with distinct traditions, including mask dancing, wooden sculptures and architecture. As they refused to convert to Islam a thousand years ago, they had to build settlements in defensible positions, along the walls of the Bandiagara cliff. Their religion which involves animals, spirits and androgynous creatures, is separated into several sects who worship different gods or totems.

Dogon society has experienced many changes during the last century, as Dogon’s country became one of the main tourist attraction of Mali. The main sights include mud huts and shrines, cave paintings and funeral masquerades.

dogon_dance

Photo: El-Len

 

Editorials, Travel tips  • 

Top 5 reasons to visit Kraków

April 14, 2015

krakow_what_to_seeBeing the most important city in Poland, Kraków attracts millions of tourists yearly. Why do they come here and why should you? Here are my reasons:

Kraków has long history and a multitude of attractions

krakow_places_to_see

Settled in 10th century, Kraków is one of the oldest towns in Poland. The 500 years when Kraków was the capital is though to be the golden age of the country, when the most prominent buildings were built, the most beautiful artworks created and a great cultural progress was made.

It also resulted in numerous monuments (some say it’s over 6 thousand!) and every visitor will learn the city is full of history. From the organization of medieval towns, to communism in Poland, Kraków can feel like time travel.

The choice of restaurants and cafes is huge

krakow_cafes

The centre of Kraków is the Main Market Square and it’s said the number of cafes and pubs per kilometre² is the largest in the world. I can confirm that not even the locals know all the spots and the new ones are created almost every week.

Poland is cheap

krakow_sukiennice

Though the prices have risen the past couple of years, Poland is still so much cheaper than most European countries. You can get a full meal in a nice restaurant for about 10 dollars and a beer is only 2 dollars. 30 dollars per night get you a very decent hotel in the city centre.

People speak English very well

krakow_kazimierz

Kids in Poland start to learn English in kindergarden and most young people speak the language fluently. Compared to France or Italy, it’s a paradise for English speakers so don’t hesitate to ask for directions or even start a conversation at a bar. Just be careful with what you’re saying in public transport, as most of the people actually understand you.

Kraków is not that big

krakow_reasons_to_visit

It’s easy to explore the city on foot so if you like hiking you’ll surely appreciate it. Most of the attractions are close to each other so you can not only visit most of them in just a weekend but will also have time to explore Kraków’s surroundings and distant districts.


Interested in reading more about Kraków from insider’s perspective? Check out my book Kraków for Adventurers and learn about the most interesting attractions, the tastiest restaurants and the best spots. 

books-of-wonders