Christmas in Croatia (Part 2)

 Well, Everybody is always excited to go visit one of the places where Game of Thrones has been shot right? I certainly was! Just the idea of seeing the Dubrovnik Castle got me excited .
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Post an overnight drive, I was welcomed to Dubrovnik with a beautiful view of the Sea with the sun rising majestically over it. It was calming. Calm to idea of the new year celebrating at the Dubrovnik Old town. Yes , totally calm.
As the sun rose & the day getting warmer, the happiness came out radiating. It was the feeling of feeling younger all over again where I just wanted to discover all that was new. Here, it was the place, culture, people and food. Well, Croatia is one country that did not disappoint any aspects.

The sea was calming, the settlement was a hilltop one where all the buildings were above each other, very compact and eye pleasing. The breeze by the sea, ever calming, ever peaceful and refreshing. I totally dig the idea of visiting east europe during this period of time as they are culturally more rooted and take an interest to celebrate something , anything with all their heart. The effort is seen. The christmas markets were still on which was surprising as they usually stop the markets in Germany by the 23rd of December.

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Dubrovnik , being a compact, cozy town, welcomes you directly to the Dubrovnik Old town. The winding curvy roads just lead you directly here and oh how beautiful it was!

It is like being in a fantasy world , definitely not the royal feeling but this was festive, feeling of curiosity. The small shops on either side is fulfilling. A small place just for you, to spend the whole day there. The Old city gives you much to explore, the city itself has a variety of ends that leaves you with incredible views for photographs and the experience is very fulfilling.

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The whole of the Old city is very coherent with it’s materiality, stone that is used all over, buildings, roofs, walking pavement, staircase also including the high walls around the city.

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The first level of exploring takes you to places to the different view points at the ground level. The first point being the entrance, the opposite end of it opens out to a harbor with ferries parked , a very peaceful outlook. The settlement of Dubrovnik can be seen at the far end of the hill. As the sun sets, the lights start flickering on, and the whole scene changes, almost-like floating lights around you.

Travelling to Croatia during winter seems very desirable and pleasing. It is easier to break away from the German Winter and come to much needed warmer climate.

It is in the winter evenings too that not many people come around here but this place was just great to chill and unwind. Time was in my hands, I honestly enjoyed it. It was indeed very calming. We enjoyed our time by clicking a couple of pictures and stare into the incoming darkness that transitioned to twinkly lights.

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Isn’t it fun exploring a place that you have no clue about? Just by free will, if you can wander about and just find places without googling.

As we all started wandering, we reached a point where the of linear, narrow , corridor-like spaces with housing settlement on either side emerged.

The houses were either used as habitation by either the localities or the tourists by airbnb. These houses looked lovely and there was that certain charm to it.

[ p.s : Mind you, there are a lot of cats wandering about, some of them being tom cats. ]

This whole place looked very picturesque, each of the addition that has happened over a period of time indeed just looks organic and beautiful. There was something beautiful about this settlement. There was a particular style that was followed by the people, in their own way.

Could really pass off as wallpaper 🙂

But really, walking through this helps understanding this walled city so much more better. There were these cafes that popped out in between every milestone that was again a viewpoint to the sea that stretches far out to the small islands that popped out from the clear blue sea.

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Walking up through walls is definitely the biggest excitement. The point of start and end are the same so no worries about that but the route that comes inbetween the start and the end is extremely exciting. It takes up atleast 5 to 6 hours of the time so pack up well!

The journey launches off with a full view to the city outside and the entrance to the Old town and the rest of the inside. The excitement shot up further as the view to the New Year’s party came into light.

As the journey continues, different levels and openings of the old town can be seen, including the place of shooting for the Game of Thrones, view to the ocean, islands, harbors, houses, cafes, restaurants. The view is so culturally and visually very rich and a sunny day at the time of the walk is the best!

The main excitement : New Year Celebration.

Well, I might be a year late to write this blog but it is never too late to go to this place and experience the New Year like the way I did. The set up is very extravagant but very beautiful. The mode of entertainment is on the lines of Mediterranean music, just music, famous Croatian musicians are called over to perform, and its definitely something to chill to. There is no party or intense alcohol consumption, it was a very chill and peaceful evening here. Well of course, the performers change every year and there are parties to look out for as well.

This is a must-experience!

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Post the mellow New year, next day, decided to kick off the brand new day by walking up the hilltop opposite to the old town. There is a walkway to the top with a small castle at the top. The overview to this hilltop is totally great.

The full view to the Old town comes into full sight for the eyes to feast on. It stands magnificent, glorious, striking and commanding!!

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Christmas in Croatia! ( Part 1)

Video Credits : Vamsi Krishna Vemuri

Getting to a warmer place in winter is my favorite thing to do and that would be on everybody’s mind if you live in Germany. Well, this is one warm story of mine too.

On the eve of Christmas in Germany, it seemed like an apocalyptic moment in Frankfurt, not sure of how things would be in Croatia, keeping fingers crossed, my friends and me boarded our bus.

The journey started from Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. Once we got there, I was in for a beautiful surprise. The City was beaming with colors and people, Oh! that ray of sunshine which gave birth to these beautiful emerging shadows at dawn light was just something I had been waiting for.

 

The Hustle & Bustle throughout the city, the whole energy consumed me.

As an Architect by profession , my first observation subconsciously crawls towards buildings. I was impressed by the outlook of the Croatian Architecture. The buildings had a hilarious composition and structuring.

The under-renovation Cathedral was hilarious since I was surprised by the effort taken to make a construction screen with the picture of how it really looks. That was mind-blowing for me!

The Building that seems floating is actually an entrance to their beautiful looking cemetery.

The Cemetery was vast, serene and very organised. One could actually spend their entire day there looking out towards the hills. It also has a plaza to it’s extension where one can sit for a coffee or food. The experience here is wonderful. One of the most beautiful Cemeteries I have been to.

The old town of zagreb is the place to be, whether it is to stay or if it is to visit the city, to eat, just have fun or whatever. During this particular season, all the streets of old town was Christmas- decorated with plenty of stalls for food and drinks to enjoy upon. The food in here in Zagreb was just amazing. Every kind of food was a spot on to it’s flavors.

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The were the worthy mentions from Zagreb.

Apart from the typical food stalls, they also had a couple of other local markets that was fabulous to explore. They had stalls selling artifacts to handmade articles & collectables.

Also, the local farmer’s market. They had a huge range of meat market, fresh produce like fruits , vegetables and fresh honey amongst a lot of other interesting things. The walking around all these markets would definitely take about two hours and leave you longing for food.

Zagreb doesn’t stop at this. There are parks, Zoo, Lakes and museums that the city offers. The museums here are not any ordinary ones with cliched paintings or sculptures but instead are very interactive museums.

One fantastic discovery by accident : a tunnel that takes you from one part of the city that being the main part to these museums that are on a hilltop. This tunnel is a very quaint one. The video below shows the fun side of the tunnel. One stretch had these wild blue lights with some laser cut paper hangings from the ceiling. It was very artsy with a few sculptures too.

 

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There is one that really caught my attention like the Museum of Illusion and the second over the Hilltop Museum of Broken Relationships. Very innovative and funny. Keeps you engaged and happy. The second one is a choice if one likes to spend time reading and going around. Just gives a different perspective.

Once you get out of the Museum of Broken Relationships, there exists different view points to the city. One is the city itself, one being the view to the city and one is the kind of architecture that exists on a hill top.

The best part is that on the way down, there is another small Christmas market with a couple of tents. After a long day of exploring, it is a great time to take a break and enjoy the slight warmth and relaxing inside the tent next to one of these stalls by sipping on a hot Glüwein. 🙂

The enthralling view of the City all glorified during the Sunset makes one just want to absorb the last bits of light. A great experience indeed .

A great place to click a lot of pictures!

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This fabulous building just caught my attention from the corner of my eye. St.Mark’s Church – has a stitched effect roof. The patterned roof and attention to detail was a surprise. It is actually a very simple building otherwise. Just the effect of the patterned roof makes it a very quirky building.

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Here, a small clipping of the general city life is seen.

One is on a tiny adjacent road in Zagreb. Just a regular off-route taken by people in general on a daily basis.

The other is when you get down the hilltop by the funicular road, it opens out into the main city side bustling with people by another Christmas market. This was such great fun !

 

The main area of the city. Base point of the main trams to go anywhere. The busiest part of the city. Shopping malls. Christmas markets . Entertainment. Everything!

Loved Zagreb ! It is a city that anyone can fall in love with. Enroute Dubrovnik. Stay tuned for the next Part 😉

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Facade and faces of Berlin

‘You are crazy, my child. You must go to Berlin.’

— Franz von Suppé, Austrian composer, 1800

“Berlin” was one city in Germany that was always close to my heart and ever since I was 13 years old, I heard stories about the city in all aspects. The crazy one. The historical one. Adventure one. The happy one. An emotional one.

The Capital of Germany. A city which took the most beating. Well all in all I must admit, Berlin is one city I never imagined it to be after living in Frankfurt for almost 2 years. The awfully dull life in Frankfurt is to never be compared to the life in Berlin . A city that touched my heart in many ways.

First admiration for the city was the day I stepped my foot into the city. Snowy BUT great!! Cold BUT great!

The view from my room was what was exciting. Close to Warschauer Strasse, OHHH Yeaaaaah! The Party Hub of Berlin, was an interesting place to stay as the all the buildings in the street were Funky and colorful, something that is a rare sight in Frankfurt.

THAT VIEW!

That day, a walk through the street of Check point charlie, I was in awe with the contrasting & divergent textures flowing through the city.

A sunday couldn’t make a difference to the city with the bright bold colored facades gleaming on to you.

 

With great colors, comes great nightlife…!

Warschauer strasse has the best known nightlife in Berlin with funky clubs and parties. There is a particular alley with cassiopeia and that day being a sunday has a lot of people and the crowd was crazy!

By 23:00, the club was packed with people and the music was booming with all the kicker tables occupied! Loved the energy , loved the funky life of Berlin.

All the walls were painted with fun filled graffiti which made me smile and click pictures throughout. Continue reading “Facade and faces of Berlin”

The Gallery Cafe

This is one of the places in Colombo which is under the list “must-try” for all the Architects as this used to be the office of Geofrey Bawa and now maintained by The Gallery Cafe. I have been here twice and both my visits have been amazing. The entrance to The Gallery cafe is a narrow dark passage with office spaces on either sides. It opens into a transition space with a water body and seating area. This finally opens out into the Cafe followed by a restaurant. There is an art gallery on the first floor which is open to all.

The first bit of space is only for the Cafe and beyond the Courtyard is the restaurant area. The food here is really unique and very professionally served and presented. Their signature desserts are the Chocolate Nemesis and Double chocolate cheesecake.


The used-to-be entrance to geofrey bawa's office entrance Used-to-be entrance to geofrey bawa’s office entrance but now The Gallery Cafe entrance. The play with textures , light and shadow , materials makes it interesting with every part of the building.


 

The transition space
The transition space

 

The seating space

The seating space


 

Seating area for the Cafe area
Seating area for the Cafe area

 

The play of textures, Shadow & Light effect created by the roof and the wall.

The play of textures, Shadow & Light effect created by the roof and the wall.


 

The fancy table mat that i probably want to customize for myself here :)
The fancy table mat that i probably want to customize for myself here 🙂

 

#mojito
#mojito

 

Lemon grass and ginger chicken
Lemon grass and ginger chicken

 

Grilled garlic jumbo prawns
Grilled garlic jumbo prawns

 

Display of desserts.

Display of desserts.


 

Double chocolate cheesecake
Double chocolate cheesecake

 

Chocolate Nemesis
Chocolate Nemesis