Marathons 2020 Cuddlynest blog

Exotic Marathons Around the World in 2020

Are you a running addict and you would like to perform a marathon outside your comfort zone? Well, this is the ideal post for you. We are going to discover what marathons 2020 are the most suitable long-distance trails for the craziest and toughest runners who need a bit of adrenaline new goals. Of course, we all know the mythical marathons like New York, Athens or the great and mythical cities. Therefore, we will give you 5 options a little more alternatives for marathons 2020 has to offer.

1. Marathons 2020: The Great Wall Marathon (16th May 2020)

A Marathon that opened in 1999 and now has approximately 2,500 runners. A very tough race, since it crosses the 5,164 steps of the Great Wall of China, one of the most famous scenarios worldwide. Mentalize to endure the humidity and heat of the area, that is one of the most important conditions with which you will face.
If you are not prepared to run 42 kilometres but you still want to have the chance to experience it, do not worry, you can make other distances such as the half marathon or even an 8.5 km fun run.

2. Midnight sun Marathon (20th June 2020)

The next edition of this marathon celebrates its 31st anniversary. The most curious thing about the race: the sun will accompany you all the way. With 24 hours of daylight in the summer, this unique evening marathon can start at 8:30 p.m.
Sure, you have to deal with possible freezing temperatures and a few crossings of the gruelling Bridge of Tromso, but you might also spot some polar bears hiding out in the snowy mountains, too.

3. Inca Trail Marathon to Machu Picchu (3rd – 12th July, 2020)

Rated as the toughest Marathon on the planet, it can not be completed in a single day or two. It is a little-known race since it only has 6 years old. It started in 2012 with 40 entries and is gradually increasing in number.
For this event, it is necessary to be an expert runner as it’s described like “A Marathon in distance but an ultra in effort”.
The highlight of the trip is one of the world’s hardest marathons as well as the most scenic South American marathon with the finish line at Machu Picchu (Peru).

4. Antarctic Ice Marathons 2020(13th December 2019)

If you are into eccentricities this is your one. 42 km crossing the ice and the low temperatures characteristic of the Antarctic. That is why it is impossible to establish an average finish time since the weather conditions and terrain are variable from one year to the next. To give you an idea: The men’s event record of 3: 34.47 was set by Petr Vabrousek (CZE) in 2013, while the women’s event record of 4: 20.02 was set by Fiona Oakes (GBR) in 2013.
It’s a unique event that usually does not have more than 50 brave humans, are you one of them?

5. Great Ocean Road Marathon (16th – 17th May 2020)

This is a foot race on one of the most iconic routes of Australian road trips. But you must bear in mind that it can also be extremely hard: the point-to-point course is winding, hilly and is technically 45 Km in distance to the finish in Apollo Bay (although you’ll get a finish time at the 42 Km mark, too). A unique opportunity to experience another way of traveling by road.

Luckily for you, we have all kinds of accommodation to help you rest and prepare your body and mind for any challenge you have ahead. Take a look at our website and do not forget to pack your sports shoes!

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Europe Travel Cuddlynest

Switch the Crowded Tourist Spots to These Europe Travel Destinations

Are you planning to go to Europe travel on a fall vacation or romantic trip? While some cruise ship offers, flashy ads and cheap airline connections may lure you into visiting the most overcrowded tourist mills Europe, there is an alternative to experience Europe in full while avoiding tourist crowds with selfie sticks all over the place. There are always alternatives – you just have to know where to look!

Europe Travel CuddlynestInstead of Santorini, Izmir or Antalya

The sunset of Santorini is among Europe’s most Instagrammable spots, but while you may be busy catching the last sunrays of shining over the azure horizon breaking the pink clouds and tinting the white clay houses brightly orange, you may lose the vibe among the other 1500 tourists who disembark to the northern tip of the Greek island and wander Oia streets to watch the sunset just like you.

A more authentic southern travel option close to Greece is Izmir, Turkey. Along Antalya, Izmir is a Western-friendly travel spot on the Turkey’s Aegean coast. While founded by Greeks, today’s Izmir boasts more of a Roman architecture, with Roman Agora, now an open-air museum, bringing you back to the ancient times. From the Clock Tower and Kemeraltı Çarşısı, the traditional Turkish market bazaar, to Asansör with sweeping ocean views in İzmir’s Karataş quarter, the city has just as many Instagrammable spots and – to be frank – a much more laid-back atmosphere. Are you on the adventurous side? The nearby town Alaçatı is one of the budget hotspots for windsurfers. Want to taste the Greek wine? No problem at all, Turkey has its own Urla Wine Route, and the country’s renewed wine industry is striving again after a decline in the early 1900s.

While on Europe travel and visiting Izmir, also do not forget to taste the 200 year old dish from Crete ağla badem arapsaçı bakla (green beans with unripe almond and wild fennel), topped with yoghurt, fresh garlic and a sprinkling of red-pepper flakes, and mastiha, a piny tree resin, before going out and listening to minstrels, Turkish performers, accompanying themselves on the saz.

Instead of Amsterdam, Alkmaar

While Amsterdam with its canals and bike-friendly city infrastructure may be a hard one to let go, Alkmaar, a town in Netherland’s Holland region is just as exciting. The town is well known for its traditional cheese market but is one of the most beloved by culture tourists. Northern Holland makes the destination much more enjoyable than the capital, as you can see the tower of the Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk without tourist crowds that overpower Amsterdam’s streets. While Amsterdam is banning the Red-Light District in concerns for its inhabitants, the lesser-known Alkmaar can be easily travelled to via a direct train from Amsterdam, Utrecht, Nijmegen, Eindhoven, Maastricht and Haarlem.

When vacationing in Alkmaar, you must visit Waagplein cheese market open every Friday morning from 10.00 to 12.30 starting the first Friday in April until the end of the season on the first Friday in September, and buy some cheese, with traders and carriers weighing it of the hand clap. Edam and Gouda cheeses are the most well known, and a must when you are doing the Europe travel.

Want a more cultural experience? Visit Beatles Museum, as the John Lennon’s first guitar was made in Alkmaar, or national Beer Museum “De Boom”.

Europe Travel CuddlynestInstead of Barcelona, Lisbon

Instead of trying to catch a glimpse on Spain’s world-famous Gaudi designed La Sagrada Familia or Park Güell, or even revisit the shooting scenes of “Vicky Christy Barcelona,” enjoy the Catalan art Noveau for a trip to Valencia or go to Northern Riga in Latvia.

Instead of Barcelona, crowded with the French, Spanish and Italian tourists among others trying to get a taste of paella restaurants now serve in a chrome yellow shade, undergoing parquetematización, the city becoming a theme park, visit Lisbon, a less known destination of Southern Europe. With Spanish and French under your belt, you will be able to come across as more or less local, and the country has 17 spectacular Portugal UNESCO sights to visit when on Europe travel.

Instead of Dubrovnik, Tirana

Instead of staying in Dubrovnik for the whole vacation, let yourself visit Game of Thrones new museum opened in May 2019 and walk through the filming locations in the city before heading to a much more authentic Balkan city Tirana in Albania.

Opposed to the overcrowded Dubrovnik streets with tourist guides wearing medieval Seven Kingdom-inspired outfits, Tirana has a much calmer, yet just as the tourist-friendly atmosphere. To see the true face of Balkan warmth, go to Skanderbeg Square, the main plaza in the centre of Tirana. What more to see? Go to Et’hem Bey Mosque, and make sure to taste burek during your time in Tirana, the national pastry pie filled with feta cheese and spinach.

Europe Travel CuddlynestInstead of Prague, Kosice and Lviv

Are you amazed by Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic? Nicknamed “the City of a Hundred Spires” the city has just about the perfect combination of nightlife and picture-perfect architecture. From wandering the Old Town looking at the sites like St. Vitus Cathedral and Charles Bridge shoulder to shoulder with the crowds from all over Europe, to visiting Olomouc, Czech Republic has certainly a lot to offer.
What you may have lost in translation is another two gems in the Central and Eastern Europe. Before booking a  flight to Václav Havel Airport Prague named after the last President of Czechoslovakia, consider going to Kosice in Slovakia or Lviv in Ukraine. Both being much more of a budget (you may say bootstrap budget) destinations, they also offer a great connectivity by train, in case you consider Eurotrail travel card. Kosice in Slovakia is surely a great option if you are looking for nature and authentic medieval spirit. Make sure to visit St. Elisabeth’s Cathedral, a massive church with Gothic architecture, or Spiš castle, an expansive 12th century castle ruins. To catch a breath from the hot weather outside, find an escape in a St Michael Chapel built in the Gothic style in 14th century, before going to the Singing Fountain and tasting bryndzové halušky.

If you, however, are trying to get through with the smallest budget, a good place to visit is Ukrainian town Lviv. Close to the border of Poland, the city has a Polish and Austro-Hungarian heritage, which blends the Central and Eastern Europe styles and may remind you of those seen in Germany or Italy. Make sure to visit Lviv National Academic Opera, as the tickets are on the cheaper side as well as have a walk in the Lychakiv Cemetery and around the gardens of St. George’s cathedral.

Instead of Florence, Bari

Before booking a trip to Florence, the unnamed capital of Italy’s culture and arts since the Renaissance ages, you cannot beat the destination in arts and culture density. Homing Michelangelo’s “David,” the Uffizi galleries, and Brunelleschi’s dome, the capital of Tuscany region of Italy is, however, swarmed with tourists, with around 380,00 tourists visiting the destination in 2018. Florence is continuously popular despite the city’s efforts to redirect the art lovers with social media campaigns like #EnjoyRespectFirenze, but you can do a favour to yourself and go and visit Southern Italy instead.

If looking for beaches and warmth, go to Bari. If, however, you want to dive into the Southern culture, consider going to Palermo in Sicily, the Southern island of Italy. While Bari amazes tourists with its pristine blue Adriatic Sea, and mazelike old town Barivecchia, the narrow streets will guide you through the history of Italy, from the 11-th century Basilica di San Nicola, where the remains of St. Nicholas are told to be held, to 19th-century architecture and a promenade by the sea.

Instead of Copenhagen, Tallinn

Copenhagen is surely a good spot for those seeking a less-than-40-degree per Celsius summer destinations, and especially perfect in the late August or early September when the rain season is not yet on. While you may be amazed by Tivoli Gardens and Nyhavn, or go crazy in the Christianshavn small boutique stores, there is much more to the city. However, the Danish capital may be a bit too much of crowd for some not enjoying the densely populated areas, and thus Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, may be much of a better choice for Europe travel.

Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, the Northern of the three Baltic States, has a similar climate to Copenhagen’s while having much less of a tourist crowd in the centre. To visit Estonia and see it in the full beauty, go for Christmas market in December, and taste glogg, eat some gingerbreads and see where the tradition of Christmas tree comes from!

Are you ready to go for a holiday to do a Europe travel? Make sure to not run into the tourist crowds and visit some of the best undiscovered off-beat destinations! For more updates, follow us on Instagram and share this on Pinterest:

Europe Travel Cuddlynest

10 Things to Do in Hanoi, Vietnam on Budget

If one goes for budget accommodations, yet wants to get the most value out of the money, enjoying all the perks of traveling and exploring new places, exotic locations, an abundance of fresh fruits, then South East Asia is the place to go. Even high-class places and luxury hotels here in Vietnam are priced very moderately. From hotels to cafes to even haircuts and foods are extremely budget-friendly. Here we list 10 experiences you should have when visiting Hanoi, Vietnam.

Why Vietnam?

Vietnam is one of the countries of South-East Asia that in the West is mostly known for its clothing and apparel industry, tea, coffee, and war. However, the history of Vietnam makes it much more alluring. If you for a Vietnam 10 day itinerary, you will definitely see it. From the early days of inhabitation, the rule of Chinese and European arrival and colonization, Vietnam has survived and blossomed throughout centuries and preserves the diversity of cultures, customs, and traditions. French architecture, Chinese temples, Vietnamese coffee, and traditional religion has been well preserved and not yet destroyed by globalization, tourism and catering to travelers.

Eat Out and Good

If you are a foodie, then Vietnam will be a paradise for you. We promise this. From healthy vegetarian Pho soups with tofu to crunchy spring rolls to green clean-eating vegan Morning Glory dishes, Vietnamese cuisine is simple, yet super delicious and good for your belly. And the best thing is, you can eat like a queen for just a couple of dollars a day. Even at the fanciest restaurants, your meals are unlikely to cost you more than 5 dollars. Make sure you try street food as well, like spice mango slices everyone gets crazy about!

Taste the Egg Coffee and Vietnamese Coffee

Food is food, but what desserts are a whole different level. What could be better than a freshly picked mango, dragon fruit or guava fruit for breakfast? These exotic fruits are deliciously sweet, ripe and well preserved. Look for the best prices at night markets, on the streets of Hanoi in the daytime or grab a snack of mango and spices on the street at night. The best market we recommend for you to visit is Cho Hom Market. Get some cash before though, as looking for an ATM that accepts your Western card in Hanoi can be a bit of a hassle.

If you are more into nuts, seeds, and other salty and savoury snacks, here is great news for you! Vietnam is the largest exporter in the world of blood cashew nuts. As an exporter country, Vietnam also offers the best prices for cashew nuts. So do not wait and dive straight in!

 

Shop for Silk Clothing for Cheap

Along with cotton fabrics and sports clothing manufactured for Nike, H&M, Zara and other consumer labels around the world, silk is one of the top export fabrics of Vietnam. If you happen to look for a new dress, shirt or some other clothing, then go and visit Hang Da Market in the Old Quarter which is open every day from 5 AM to 5 PM. You will find deals you would never imagine.

Go to Body Massage

 

If you wish to relax a bit, you should definitely go and try Vietnamese massage. You will find posters advertising cheap foot massages or full-body massages on every single street for one of the best prices in the world available, but in case you want to visit a trusted review, go and have a massage at  TRE Massage.

Ride a Bike

Are you more into action? Hanoi (and the whole Vietnam) is best enjoyed and discovered while riding a motorbike. If you live in the outskirts of the city, make sure you rent a bike. In case you are staying here for longer, it is even better to buy one and sell it further when you leave. Many go on a full-fledged adventure from South to North or the other way around, discovering Vietnam on a whole different level.

 

All in all, you can enjoy just about any experience in Vietnam on a budget. Be it a fancy restaurant, a street food market, tailoring services or even hairdressers, you can have it all, not wasting money and having the best travel experience and quality time. Not sure you want to go to Vietnam? Here is our guide on how to choose between Vietnam vs Thailand trip.

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Croatia travel 2019

Travel Croatia: What’s Hot in September 2019

Croatia travel Cuddlynest blog cuddlynestCroatia, believe it or not, is one of the most sought-after destinations in September and October 2019. Contrary to Slovenia and North Macedonia travel destinations, Croatia offers blue waters and pristine beaches, all of which draw travellers to Split, Zadar and Dubrovnik to visit Game of Thrones filming locations and eat and drink Balkan food like kings. Want to explore what’ s new and hot in Croatia to tell your family and friends? We composed this top list by what visitors are excited about on Instagram, what they Google, and what our avid travel ambassadors suggest us seeing this month.

Game of Thrones – Travel Croatia: What’ s New?

Game of Thrones Cruise Ship 2020

While we still have to wait for Game of Thrones Season 8 to see what the new shooting locations are, there are new and exciting opportunities offered to GOT fans visiting Croatia in 2020.
The cruise ship Adriatic Sun sets the way around the most iconic GOT shooting locations around the island for 7 nights. From the yacht with private balconies you can oversee King’ s Landing, Qarth, Braavos and the Westeros Riverland. Limited to 38 passengers only, this will be one-of-a-kind-experience, and with $1.895 you can live like a king straight from GOT, with breakfast, lunch, plenty of cocktails and guided tours included. What not to forget? Make sure to taste the rakija or Croatia wine, whichever sort of tipsy you want to get. And do not worry about anything – the transportation from and to the airport is included as well!

Game of Thrones Museum in Split – New Opening 2019

After visiting Dubrovnik, Šibenik and Klis GOT filming locations you may think you’ve run out of things to do in Croatia as a Game of Thrones fan. This is, however, now solved with the newly opened GOT-themed Split museum opened in May 2019. Located close to Diocletian’s cellars, the new museum compromises 300 m2 interior space. The private museum owned by Luka Galic will transform you in space and time with all your senses. The black walls and scents of cedar and jasmine, together with over 100 exhibits ranging from dragon heads to swords of Valerian steel and life-sized Jon Snow and Tyron brings you into the mystical world of Seven Kingdoms. Located at Bosanska ulica 9 and open daily between 9AM and 10PM, the GOT museum will be a great addition to those for whom series are close to the heart.

Travel Croatia on Budget – Uber in Croatia | New Uber Boat Services

Uber for a cheaper and more reliable transportation service (unless you rent a car via Nova Rent a car or use Sixt, but the reviews are not that inspiring) is available in Dubrovnik and we highly advise it! Although Uber is nothing new to Croatia, you can now enjoy the pioneering Uber Boat service. It costs around 2,600 kuna (about $416, or $52 per person) to take 8-seat boat from Hvar to Split. For a budget option, we recommend trying ferry ticket priced at $16.

Travel Croatia on Budget – Bolt (formerly Taxify) in Croatia

Bolt, the Estonian transportation sharing service company is now expanding to Croatian coastal towns. Split and Dubrovnik are now easier to navigate with a local driver, also pushing the prices once dictated by Uber slightly down.
What new did you discover on your Croatia trip in August 2019?
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Valencia dancers Spanish dance tango women travel CuddlyNest

How to Overcome FOMO: Guide to Valencia and La Tomatina 2019

La Tomatina is well known around the world, but apart from 20 000 people throwing 120 tons of tomatoes on the streets of Buñol, the region has so much more to offer for those looking for a bit more relaxing stay than Barcelona.

Here we tell you what’s in and hot (literally!) in the East of Spain Valencia region capital. Whether you are getting involved in tomato fight on August 28 or not, you can surely enjoy the Spanish laissez-faire approach to life. No more Fear of Missing Out!

Valencia | Basic Facts

Valencia is Spain’s third-largest city. It homes around 800 000 people, which is a little more than Seville (read: what to do around Seville). It is a modern port city and a centre for business. As for currency, you will get by euros. Valencia is also known for the Fallas festival – save the date for June 2020!

In Short:

Region: Southern Europe
Language | Catalan
Currency | Euro
Population | 800 000

Valencia La Tomatina Cuddlynest guideThe Talk

Yes, you may be excited to have taken Spanish classes back in the day, but there are some things to keep in mind when going to Valencia.
As a matter of fact, not all Valencians speak Spanish. The official language is Valenciano, a dialect of Catalan. Therefore, when greeting someone, use Bon dia which is more frequently used by locals than Boenos dias. To say goodbyes, say Ow – meaning See you later!

Valencia La Tomatina Cuddlynest guideWhat’s Hot

If you’ve never heard about La Tomatina Valenciana, you probably just landed from Moon. The famous tomato fight festival has been around since 1945 from an ordinary street fight. At first, vegetables form a market stall were used, but in the years to follow people would bring their own tomatoes in quarrels to fight. Although illegal in the 50s, the tomato vibe is taking leaps and the festival becomes larger with every year.
While tomatoes take up the central stage, there are parades, paella cooking contests, fireworks and so much more! That said, the world’s largest food fight will take place on August 28, 2019, and you better be there.

Valencia La Tomatina Cuddlynest guideKey Area

To have a taste of the local Spanish life, head to El Cabanyal. Located just behind Las Arenas Beach, the main beach of the city, the district is full of modernist style buildings. Pioneered by Antonio Gaudi, and scattered across the whole Barcelona city, Catalan Modernism is all around Cabanyal-Canyamela neighbourhood. Here, the building are low, and you will see the real Spanish life unfolding between the ceramic facades and colourful, patterned tiles. On abandoned house walls, artists splash the life in with street art, graffiti. This is the birthplace of illustrator Sorrola amongst many other artists, whose work will be exhibited in the cultural centre in the former Cabanyal slaughterhouse. You will most definitely find an Instagram-friendly spot here!

To truly get the vibe of city, meet the locals. While the residential area is calmer during the middle of the day, you can have esmorsaret, the little lunch prepared by locals, for locals. The neighbourhood food scene is quite diverse, and exotic restaurants from Japanese to Chinese and Mexican represent the true queerness of the place. Get the essence at  La Pascuala or El Ultramarinos.

At night, listen to flamenco concerts at Mar d´Amura. Spanish and Mediterranean spark friendly attitudes towards tourists and asking for directions will have success if you address locals with ”Bon día rey/reina/cariño.”

When there is enough of wandering around the streets of El Cabanyal, you may want to have a walk in the beach where artists from Sorolla and Goya to even Hemingway walked in their time.

Valencia La Tomatina Cuddlynest guideKey Souvenir

What to take home from a place that is so full of diversity? In case you come from a place as hot as Valencia, we suggest getting a beautiful, hand-painted wooden fan with roses, flamenco dancer or matador.

Eastern Spain is also famous for its fabrics and embroidery. Level up your shopping experience visiting Plaza Redonda. The tiny, locally owned textile shops have great embroidery and textiles to bring back home. Pro tip: remember taking a picture of the store and its owner– your home-stayers will be amazed knowing where the gift comes from!

Valencia La Tomatina Cuddlynest guideObsession Food

Paella, paella, paella. Whereas tourist restaurants in Spain are offering food to tourists all over the country, the birthplace of the food is Valencia. Same case as pizza and Naples. Valenciennes sit down to paella on Sunday. To not to give out yourself as guiri, a Northern European tourist in Spanish, or extranjera, remember that the dish is always eaten during the daytime, and never at night. To know you get the real thing (although it will be the case anyway), know that the traditional dish is made from chicken, rabbit and garrafó white beans. You can also seek seafood and vegan options (read: where eat vegan in Spain, Granada), or paella with artichokes, or even snails! Go to La Rogeta cuina vegana  for vegan paella and El Racó de la Paella for traditional paella.

Valencia La Tomatina Cuddlynest guideThe Landmark

Along the world-famous Sagrada Familia and Alhambra, Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias is one of the 12 Treasures of Spain. The complex translating into English as City of Arts and Sciences is also the most important tourist destination in the region, and rightly so.
Taking almost a decade to build, the huge architecture centre now houses Oceanografic the largest aquarium in Europe. When you are tired of looking at sea lions and sharks representing marine from the Mediterranean to polar oceans and even Red Sea, walk around Agora. Built to host Tennis Open (but didn’t – it happened to be too expensive for Valencia), it now stands empty, waiting for the opening as an event space.

The Refreshment

When hot is becoming too hot, look out for horchateria or a simple ice cream store. Horchateria Santa Catalina is our favourite, and you simply must ask: “Hola! Quiero una  horchata de chufa, por favor.”We already wrote about the traditional drinks in Europe, and Valencia happen to be the home of Horchata. Made using the milky juice from tiger nuts and mixed with sugar, the drink is cool and refreshing in hot summer days and makes a healthy vegan alternative to ice cream.

The Breakdown

To get you tipsy, taste the Aigua de València, translating into Valencian Water. Served in jugs, and drank from champagne or cocktail glasses, the drink will splash refreshing sweetness. Valencian Water is made from cava (Spanish sparkling wine), orange juice and vodka or gin.

The Face

Meet the talented seamstress Lindsay, the owner of one of a kind Spanish 50s vintage dress shop. She left her job 8 years ago, leaving the life of headteacher back in England and moving to Valencia to become an owner for the store full of vintage gems. She sources and styles vintage dresses for performers, prom nights and even weddings, and you can take a moment and dive into the sugar-pastel world of the 50s.

Valencia La Tomatina Cuddlynest guideThe Stay

To enjoy Valencia to the fullest, rent apartment in Valencia centre. Spanish modernist housing in El Carmen historical centre neighbourhood features high ceilings, natural materials and modernist interiors. You can also look for apartments around the centre to escape the more touristy areas.

Valencia La Tomatina Cuddlynest guidePracticalities

How to Get Around?

To get around Valencia, walking is surely the best option. If you want to get from one attraction to the next in no time, though, get a metro ticket. The Valencia underground metro zone map shows the destinations. One-journey tickets Billete Sencillo (one-way) for €1.50  or Billete Ida y Vuelte (return ticket) €1.50 are normally within zone A. If you have to travel further, you can specify the zone (-es) – see the adjusted prices here. The return journey can be used until the end of the day after using the first journey. Both are the best options if you are around for a few days. However, if you are keen on slow travel, the Bonmetro 10-day ticket may be useful. When buying tickets at the metro station, you can navigate the machine in English. Cash, cards and coins are all accepted to buy a metro ticket for Valencia.

What Apps to Download?

Before going to Valencia, we suggest you downloading Maps.me for offline navigation and El Tiempo for accurate weather forecasts. We already wrote about the full Spain best travel apps – you can re-visit the article.

What Gives Out You’re a Tourist?

Coming to practicalities, there are some simple rules to remember to fit in. First, do not pack shorts, especially if you are a man. Women after 25 usually wear dresses or skirts. In general,  conservative dressing style is always preferred. Also, leave your sneakers at home and pack leather shoes, espadrilles or flats for your Valencia trip. You will also encounter a lot of leather and fur around here,

Local Etiquette

Although Spanish are known for outgoing and loud interactions, a piece of good advice to Americans is to lower your voices while here. Another tip? Keep your hair well done, and – finally – eating on the street is a no-no. Packed with some of these tips, you will feel more respected by locals, if not entirely fitting in.

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Game of Thrones Spain Roadtrip

Game of Thrones Spain. GOT and Spain. Sounds like it does not go together? Sunny Spanish culture and Game of Thrones winter and wars may seem like an odd combination but is nevertheless true.

 Ever wanted to find yourself at Dragonstone or visit Dorne, the Water Palace of Sunspear? We already set you up for a guided visit to Dubrovnik, Croatia, where the majority of scenes for the King’s Landing is set. Want to explore the realities of the Seven Kingdoms and wander around Game of Thrones Season 7 shooting locations? Ee prepared a 7-day tour to Spain for you. Now, you will be able to visit all filming locations in just 1 week. So, let’s start from here!

Days 1 and 2. Game of Thrones Spain: Visit Seville 

There is no wonder directors chose to shoot series in Seville – it is one of Spain’s most beautiful and historically rich cities, with architecture ranging from the Gothic cathedral to Mudéjar (Moorish) palaces to churches in baroque style. If you have no time, then visit at least María Luisa Park and Plaza de España – these two wonders tell the story of Andalusian capital throughout the centuries.

Game of Thrones (film still)

Royal Alcazar of Seville, Game of Thrones Spain Dorne

Series are set in the very centre of Sevilla, the Royal Alcazar of Seville. To shoot here, the film crew had to get special permission to close half of the palace for the time being, which is not an easy task, as the palace is the tourist hotspot and the general policy is against movie shooting here.

Game of Thrones (film still)

Game of Thrones (film still)

However, the Dorne scenes were shot here, capturing the summers of royal Martell family. Before you go to Seville, watch Season 5 starting Episode #2 showing the Water Garden. From there on, you can see almost every corner of the Dornish Palace. From Ambassador’s Hall where Jamie Lannister, Doran Martell and Ellaria Sand are resting on the royal couches, to the Golden Ceilings which Jamie Lannister passes. You can also climb down to the Moorish Baths of the Alcazar where Myrcella Lannister was killed by Ellaria and Sand Snakes.

Game of Thrones (film still)

Game of Thrones (film still)

Open from 9.30 am to 5 pm daily, the palace is the top attraction for tourists. We suggest you go there in the early hours to have enough time and skip the crowds taking over the palace from noon.

Look up more information on the museum website.

Game of Thrones (film still)

Italica,Game of Thrones Spain Dragonpit

Just outside Seville, in the ancient amphitheatre ruins with some columns and beautiful floor mosaics dating back to Roman times in Iberia, the production of Game of Thrones season 7 and season 8 is set. In series, you can recognize the amphitheatre as a King’s Landing Dragonpit. Once served to 25,000 spectators, this indeed a must-visit for all GOT fans, especially if you want to take a short break from the tourist crowds in Sevilla.

How to get here?

Get on a bus from Sevilla Villanueva Serena to Santipoce. The ticket costs 10,34€ – you can buy it from the company website or get on the bus.

Day 2. Visit Osuna and Castillo de Almodóvar del Río

To continue the exploration of the Game of Thrones filming locations, go to Osuna and Castillo de Almodóvar del Río, which you will recognize as Daznak’s Pit and Highgarden.

Game of Thrones (film still)

Osuna, Daznak’s Pit

About an hour ride from Seville lies Osuna, a small but extremely beautiful historic town. In the series, the bullring hosts a scene where Daenerys settles a score with Meereen slave masters in the Dance of Dragons.

You will be able not only to visit the scene where the crew spent 12 days to shoot the scene, requiring hundreds of re-shoots but also immerse yourself in Spanish bullfighting tradition, brought to Spain by Moors. On feast days, Moors would kill the bulls riding on horseback. Modern-day Matador style bullfighting, though, came around only in the 18th century. Contrary to popular belief, the tradition is not banned entirely but has lost its popularity with 93% of youngsters being against.

Game of Thrones (film still)

How to get here?

Take a train to Almeria from Sevilla Santa Justa to Osuna. The train runs every hour and costs Є11.50. We suggest planning the early arrival, so you can take your time in Osuna and make it to Highgarden shooting location the same day.

Game of Thrones (film still)

Game of Thrones (film still)

Castillo de Almodóvar del Río, Highgarden

The 8th-century medieval castle serving as Highgarden in series will disarm you with its magnificent sights. First screened in season 7, the castle hill finds itself under Lannister rule.

Just as in series you can see it from far away – the castle hill stands out in the landscape, as it is the only hill in miles. There is an easy and scenic trail, and you can climb the towers to see the views.

Game of Thrones (film still)

We recommend to come here either by bus or – if you rent a car – then parking space is limited and will cost you Є 9.00. The castle is open on weekends from 11 am to 8 pm, but beware the weekdays – the Spanish siesta takes place from 2.30 om to 4 pm, and the castle is open to visitors only in mornings and evenings.

Game of Thrones (film still)

Day 3. Visit Game of Thrones Spain Los Barruecos

The nature reserve Los Barruecos is located just near Caceres, 3-hour drive away from Madrid. The Loot Train attack was shot here. As for series, you can recall how for the first time Daenerys released her dragon against the Lannisters.

To get from Highgarden here, we suggest you to go on BlaBla car and get a ride-share through Merida. Or, you can skip the public transport hassle and head straight to Castillo de Zafra via Madrid.

Game of Thrones (film still)

Days 4 – 5. Long stop in Madrid and Castillo de Zafra

Either coming from Caceres or Cordoba,  there is no way to avoid Madrid, the capital of Spain, on your way to Castillo de Zafra where Tower of Joy appearing first in Season 6 is located. Located between Madrid and Barcelona, the Tower of Joy homes Prince Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark after their secret wedding. It was also a birthplace of Jon Snow.

The Zafra Castle – Bastion of Molina Manor is a magnificent 12th-century building and one of the strongest castles in the kingdom by the 16th century. Originated as an Arab fortress, the castle is only open to visitors from outside.

Game of Thrones (film still)

Days 6 – 7. Stay in Zaragoza and Game of Thrones Spain Bardenas Reales

As the Bastion of Molina Manor is located near to Zaragoza, we encourage you to share a ride on BlaBlaCar to Zaragoza, visiting its beautiful city centre, and then ride to the Bardenas Reales. Going by car, it takes around 1 hour to get to the breathtaking landscape. After seeing the soaring canyons, sandstone cliffs and rocky outcrops, there is no wonder why the film crew chose the location to shoot the Dothraki Sea. The Spanish badlands made from clay, chalk and sandstone have been moulded by water and wind for centuries, and you can see it just like another planet once again on Season 6.

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Florida Festivals CuddlyNest

Florida Vintage and Historical Festivals to Attend August 2019

Florida with its festivals is the new California, they say. Indeed, there is plenty to do in the Sunshine State, no matter the season. From mussel food festivals to vintage car parades, Florida is a hotspot for family holidays. 

Today, we look at Florida festivals that will bring you at least 20 years back in time.

August 2019 Historical Florida Festivals 

80s IN THE PARK

Save the date! August 27 2019

Where? Melbourne Auditorium, Melbourne

Fringed t-shirts, long hair and simple metal music will bring you back to the olden days in the festival in Melbourne FL. Food courts, music video wall, photo booth and after-parties included!

Festivals in Florida in Autumn 2019

1890s FESTIVAL

Save the date! October 26 2019

Where? McIntosh

Travel in time to Victorian time McIntosh! Vendors will demonstrate candle making, glass blowing, and basket weaving. Antique vendors and live music will entertain adults and children’s corner will allow for parents to rest.   

Florida History Themed Festivals 2020

THE DRAGON FESTIVAL

Save the date! Thursday, June 25 2020

Where? Wickham Pavilion, Melbourne

Dragon Festival in Central Florida is all about boats. It celebrates the ancient Chinese culture and originated from the story of Chinese patriot Qu Yuan who jumped into the river as a silent protest. Legend holds that local fishermen raced the boats to save him, but arrived too late.

The festival as it is today offers plenty of opportunities for all ages and interests.

ART DECO WEEKEND – The Cream of Florida Festivals

Save the date! January 18 to 20 2019

Where? Ocean Drive in Miami Beach

It is the longest-running free community cultural festival in Miami Beach, and for a good reason. The Art Deco festival offers more than 85 free events during the 3 festival days aiming to preserve the history of 20t century Miami.


You may also like 10 Short Daytrips from Naples in Florida


ZEPHYRHILLS AUTO EVENTS SWAP MEET 

Save the date! February 14 to 17 2020

Where? Zephyrhills Festival Park, Zephyrhills

The swap meet, car corral, auto auction and vintage car race – the festival is the perfect weekend getaway for those seeking immersion into vintage world of cars and motor parts.

FLORIDA RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL

Save the date! February – March 2020 (dates to be announced)

Where? Quiet Waters Park, Deerfield Beach

The Bay Area Renaissance Festival is walking around the Tampa Bay Area with a taste of 16th century. From village life to magic, glassblowing and archery, there will be something for every family member to enjoy. 

CIVIL WARS DAYS HERITAGE FESTIVAL

Save the date! February 22 2020

Where? Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park in Key West

Cannon fire will be roaring, and Yankees along Rebel soldiers in uniforms will be all around. Learn the Key West’s pasts while attending Civil War reenactments at the festival. 

BAY AREA RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL

Save the date! March 2020 (dates to be announced)

Where? Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), Tampa

Archery, live armored jousting, dancing, human chess matches and artisans – these are all perfect reasons why to attend the Bay Area Renaissance Festival by themselves! Remember to take out cash, as the vendor will offer old-time refreshments.

SCHOOL OF THE 16TH CENTURY FESTIVAL 

Save the date! February 2020 (dates to be announced)

Where? Ponce de Leon Archaeological Park, St. Augustine

Can you fire a crossbow? And what about cannon? Learn how to do a swordfight and other usual 16th-century life skills at this festival.

STONE AGE & PRIMITIVE ARTS FESTIVAL

Save the date! February (dates to be announced)

Where? Ochlockonee River State Park, Sopchoppy

Do you think sword fights are a lifetime ago? Well, you can travel even further back in time now. Learn basket weaving, early pottery craft and spear throwing, and antler carving. There will be primitive arts auction as well!

ANNUAL FLORIDA FOLK FESTIVAL 

Save the date! February 2020 (dates to be announced)

Where? Stephen Foster State Park in White Springs.

Folk musician, craftsmen and artists are gathering annually for more than 60 years to share the heritage via jam sessions and workshops, telling stories and encouraging to learn more. Discover the rich cultural traditions of Florida.

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Drinks Europe

Weird Europe Drinks You Must Try on the Next Trip

Are you thirsty while getting ready for your next Europe trip? Here are the best (and weirdest) drinks –warm, cold, soft and alcoholic  – you absolutely must try on your next visit to Europe.

Horchata – Spain

While Spanish are famous for Spain tapas and its alcoholic drinks, from sangria to Agua de Valencia, Horchata is a sweet, smooth and does a good job with cooling you off in summer months in Spain – and all that without any alcohol! The drink is made of rice and almonds and sweetened with sugar. Spanish love it so much that there are special shops horchatarias dedicated to it! Pair it with creamy and sweet dessert, and you will get the most out of your sip.

Poppy Seed Milk – Lithuania

You are probably well accustomed to vegan options for milk, from almond to rice, to soya varieties. But Lithuanians, one of the Balti peoples, are taking another take on it. Poppyseed milk (aguonų pienas) is usually served together with sweet pastries. You can make your own at home, leaving poppy seeds in water for 2 days changing water from time to time. When seeds are soft, crush it with pestle, strain and crush and repeat until the milk is, well, milky.

Rakija – Macedonia

Rakija – or rakia – or raki – is  a fruit brandy from Balkan origin. It is popular all over the region and is one of the best reasons to visit Balkans, and there are several varieties thereof. In Macedonia, the white rakija is one of the most famous, usually served as an appetizer with salad. All over Balkans, rakija is often served to guests as a welcoming gesture, beware the tradition. However, try to dilute it with water, and it becomes milk white!

Kvass – Estonia

Kvass, a traditional drink for Eastern Europe, is made from leavened rye bread. As much as Latvian traditional bread soup (dessert) and fermented bread-porridge, kvass used to be made from what was left over. Today, wheat, rye or barley bread is fermented with an additional sugar and yeast structure for faster processing.

Fermented Baked milk – Russia

The fermented baked milk ryazhenka is a sort of yoghurt, common as a breakfast food. In the olden days, milk was baked in Russian oven and fermented with sour cream. Today, you can try it eat it with Estonian  kama or in the place of regular milk.

Honeywine – Norway

Mead is a honeywine, and when visiting Norway you will see ginger biscuits sitting right on the side of the glass. There are two major varieties of mjød available; Suttungs mjød made in Norway and Valhalla made in Denmark.

Hot beer

Grzane piwo is a hot lager beer, with froth. Spiced with artificial syrups, either ginger or raspberry, as well as spices as cinnamon and clove, it may remind you of the mulled wine. Except the pink colour, in case you choose the raspberry variety. A quick reminder: Polish still hold onto gender standards when it comes to beer. The choice between imbirowy (ginger) or malinowy (raspberry) is largely defined by the colour.

 

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Sinj Croatia

What to Do Around Sinj, Croatia

Cuddlynest vacation rentals travel blog tips and tricks when to go to croatia what to do what to see in croatiaCrowds come to look at the great rally taking place for the 304th time in the Sinj town in Croatia. The annual race gathers men from all Sinj Croatia counties. They rally their horses through the main city street. The goal of the tournament is to target the iron ring (alka) hanging on the rope.

Sinjska alka is a traditional knight tournament, oldest of its kind. It was inscribed on the UNESCO List of Intangible Heritage in 2010. There is no question whether you should go – it is a definite yes. The beautiful horses galloping the city streets, the spectacular traditional dresses and procession held after the race is a truly unique experience in Croatia.

The real question, though, is how to get to Sinj, what to see around and where to go next after you have seen the spectacular racecourse.

Cuddlynest vacation rentals travel blog tips and tricks when to go to croatia what to do what to see in croatiaSinj Croatia, Signo or Zein: A Small Town with Long History

As you may guess by name (or, several of them), the history of Sinj carries through many time periods, and the city landscape provides tourists with diverse cultural experiences.

Since the Stone Age, the place was inhibited. The valley of Cetina river, cast between the mountains and favoured with a mix of continental and sub-Medditarean climates allowed for peoples to settle and flourish. Illyrian tribe, the first discovered inhabitants of Sinj, has left a large footprint in the Croatian culture. For example, the famous peka food preparation style, it is, cooking under the bell jar, is as ancient as 2250-1600 BC. Romans In the 1st century AD founded the first cities. To see the remains of their culture, visit  Archaeological Collection of the Sinj Franciscan Monastery, where the Goddess Diana Lucifera and head of Heracles are exhibited for visitors.

In the late Medieval period, Sinj outgrew the ancient fortress. In the 17th century still, during the times of Ottoman Empire, the city grew around the monastery and the church of the Miraculous Lady of Sinj (Gospa Sinjska), which you can still visit today on the main square. Resisting wars and earthquakes, it is indeed a miracle the church has withstood the time and preserved its original appearance.

By the end of the century, the town was taken over by Venetians. Sinjska alka celebrates the victory over the Turkish army in 1715 when it defended the city from 60,000 troops invading the town. Precisely 100 years after, the town was included in Austria, where it remained for another century. Visiting the In the 20th century, Sinj was under the rule of Yugoslavia, until the independence in the late 20th century. You can visit the monument of Sinjska alka in bronze from this period of the town history which celebrates the 1715 victory.

Sinj: How to Get there

Located just 40 min ride away from Split (bus: €2), this Dalmatian town is a place of contrasting quiet, especially after you come from Split or Dubrovnik, cities full of tourists.
To get to Sinj, you can use the public bus. In Croatia, also UberX works, as well as Bolt, in case you come from Split. There are no trains, but taxi will cost you around €60.

Cuddlynest vacation rentals travel blog tips and tricks when to go to croatia what to do what to see in croatiaBest Daytrips from Sinj, Croatia

Best for Active Adventure Travelers: Orlova Staza

Are you ready to bring a bit of action to your vacation? Orlova Staza or the Eagle’ s trail near Sinj is one of the best Dalmatian countryside cycling routes you can possibly find. The 44 km route is not quite flat, with an elevation of 969 metres. It is not boring, though – the mix of cross trail and road cycling will keep you awake. Starting with asphalt, continuing with picturesque gravel roads and ending with oak forest, the route is demanding but with excellent views. You can also cycle to the spring of the river Cetina.

Best for Families

If you are not certain of your kids enjoying long hours on their bikes, you can go for the Game of Thrones filming location instead. Not all of the GOT was shot in Dubrovnik (read: Game of Thrones Dubrovnik Guide). The Klis Fortress in between Split and Sinj. You can get here from Sinj by taking a taxi (24 km) or by private car. Alternatively, if you come from Split, get a 30 min ride in bus No.22 from the National Theatre (buy the ticket in the kiosk). Beware the 1.5-hour break in the bus timetable around lunch, though.

Best for Seniors – travel from Sinj Croatia

If you are looking for SPA and wellness retreat, the best bet is to go back to Split and enjoy some lazy afternoon at fish SPA or enjoying the pre-historic peka foods in this famous Peka restaurant. Are you ready for Sinj?

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Cuddlynest vacation rentals travel blog tips and tricks when to go to croatia what to do what to see in croatia

Europe UNESCO Destinations has 3 New UNESCO Heritage Sites

UNESCO New 2019 Destinations: What to Visit in Portugal

Looking for Europe UNESCO Destinations to visit on your holiday? Portugal, the Western-most country of Southern Europe is home to many cultures and peoples who lived here throughout centuries. Therefore, it also boasts 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Portugal UNESCO site CuddlyNest travel blogThe History of Peoples in Portugal

Already 35,000 years ago Portugal saw its first inhabitants. Homo sapiens arrived in Portugal first. Then, Pre-Celtic tribes inhabited Portugal. They left a remarkable cultural footprint around the Algarve and Lower Alentejo regions from the 6th century BC. Further, Portugal saw the Roman invasion in the 3rd century BC. It still manifests today, with Portuguese heritage sites including works of engineering, baths, temples, bridges, theatres, layman’s homes, sarcophagi, and ceramics. Also later, in 711, an invasion by the Islamic Umayyad Caliphate started, leaving a significant Moorish footprint.

Portugal UNESCO siteUNESCO World Heritage Sites in Portugal

The UNESCO World Heritage currently lists 1,092 sites in 167 countries around the world. In Portugal, there are 16 cultural and 1 natural site (Alt Duoro River Region). Also, there are many in Northern and Central Portugal dating back to medieval times: Braga, Porto, Coimbra, and Alcobaça are some good places to visit. But if you go to the South of Portugal, also do not miss Azores, Madeira, and Lisbon sites.

Portugal Adds 3 New UNESCO World Heritage Sites

On Sunday, July 12, UNESCO announced 3 new listed sites. The Royal Convent in Mafra, the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus in Braga and the Machado de Castro National Museum in Coimbra have all are now UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

President, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, considered the news a reason for “great joy for all Portuguese”, reported Portugal News. So what is it that you should visit in 2019 when coming to Portugal, Europe?

Portugal UNESCO siteEurope UNESCO Destinations: The Royal Convent in Mafra

The Palace of Mafra is one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal, and with a good reason. It is a monumental Baroque palace-monastery near Lisbon. In 7 July 2019, the Royal Building of Mafra – Palace, Basilica, Convent, Cerco Garden and Hunting Park was added to the UNESCO list.

Portugal UNESCO site CuddlyNest travel blogThe Sanctuary of Bom Jesus in Braga

Translating in English as Good Jesus of the Mount, the sanctuary sits in Tenões, just outside the city of Braga in northern Portugal. It is one of the main pilgrimage sites. Besides, you can climb the monumental, Baroque stairway 116 meter high.

Portugal UNESCO site CuddlyNest travel blogThe Machado de Castro National Museum in Coimbra

Named after Portuguese sculptor Joaquim Machado de Castro and located in the Portuguese university town Coimbra, the museum was first opened in 1913. Besides, the building dates back to Medieval times when it housed the Roman Forum of the city and later served as a Bishop’s Palace. If you visit Coimbra, do not forget to listen to fado (in Northern Portugal, only men are allowed to sing it!), and go to the Library of the University of Coimbra Biblioteca Joanina. And, you can still spot bats here!

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