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Places to Go

It’s Hard Not to Love Croatia

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Split1When most people think of visiting Croatia, delicious cuisine is not normally what immediately comes to mind. Like every other country, Croatia has its own culinary identity and several regional dishes designed to tempt your taste buds and set the gastric pleasure centres alight. If you ever plan on travelling to Croatia, book through GatwickAiport.com and make sure you use that same site for Gatwick Airport Parking too. Presented below are a few of Croatia’s local dishes which can be enjoyed during a visit to this delightful country.

Dining Customs
The traditional meals enjoyed by Croatians differ somewhat from those enjoyed by more Western countries. A Western-style breakfast might be served by most hotels, but traditionally Croatians who farmed or worked early would stop around 10am for a meal known as gablec, which is sort of a smaller lunch. Lunch, or rucak, is traditionally the main meal for Croatians and is often the largest and heaviest meal and is served anytime between 10am and late afternoon. Dinner, known as vecera, is sometimes skipped but when it is eaten it is generally a light meal. Taking coffee is done throughout the day and is often considered to be a social event.

Pag Cheese
Pag is a type of cheese made from sheep’s milk and named for the island on which it is produced. Pag has a hard texture and is considered by many to be one of the top cheeses in the world. It also pairs well with wine and is often served cut into triangles. Pag pairs well with wine.

Jota
Also known as Istrian stew, Jota is a delicious stew made of beans, potatoes, spare ribs, sauerkraut and, best of all, bacon. This stew, served piping hot, is a great way to warm up on those cold Croatian winter days. Jota is also eaten in other countries, as far away as Italy, but originated in Croatia.

Burek_en_platoBurek
Burek is a pastry dish and, like many pastry dishes, can be quite flexible. Typically it is served as a breakfast food, but makes for a heavy meal and you may well find that it keeps you filled up for quite a while. The pastry is often filled with cheese, apples and even meat. Often pastry shops will serve it with a thick drink of yoghurt-like consistency, and if available should be consumed alongside the burek.

Blitva
Blitva is a dish made of boiled Swiss chard and is often served with olive oil, garlic and potatoes. The side dish is quite common, very delicious and pairs well with just about any type of meat.

Cevapcici
This dish is a sort of kebab made up of grilled, minced meat. This meal is served in various Balkan countries and the Croatian version is often made of pork and beef, and spiced with cumin, salt and black pepper. Normally, the dish is served with five to 10 pieces of meat on a plate along with onions, sour cream, minced red pepper, ajvar and cottage cheese. Particularly in Bulgaria, many enjoy this dish along with a good beer.

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Travel Communication Technology

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Staying in touch while travelling is a huge part of the travel experience for not just yourself but for those that you meet and care about back home. If you’re lucky enough to be able to get out there and see some of the world, chances are you have some friend or relative that isn’t and is living instead vicariously through you and your adventures. Don’t be rude – stay in touch!

It’s easy to say they should just get out there and do it, or that it’s their choice not to, but some people can’t because of a physical impairment, obligations they can’t get out of, lack of money or they just aren’t as brave as you. It takes very little effort on your part to stay in touch with them and it may make all the difference in their lives if you do. Add in the benefit of being able to stay in touch with new people you meet so you can talk to them when you get back home or meet up later on in your travels and you’d be stupid not to have some sort of communication technology on hand when you travel.

Some people really do want to just cast off all the modern conveniences when they take a break on their travels, but having just one of these devices on hand can drastically improve your overall experience. Consider bringing one of them along on your next adventure!

 

Smartphone

You really wouldn’t want to use this while on the road if you don’t have the right SIM card or are outside of WiFi range, but if you are able to, it makes everything easier. From making reservations at a restaurant to calling a friend to let them know you made it okay – your smartphone is your internet and phone all in one. Add in a camera that most of them have and you can capture almost every aspect of your trip and fit it all in your pocket.

Tablet

These have come a long way from those little bricks that you needed a stylus to operate and it could only jot down notes, but modern travellers are crazy not to have a tablet on hand. From loading them with movies during downtime to typing a quick email, to web conferences in a café to your grandparents back home, a tablet is a convenient and versatile way to stay in touch. Couple it with a portable keyboard and it’s just as good as a full computer.

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Even cats prefer laptops… much warmer to lie on.

Laptop

That being said, there are still things a tablet can’t do as well as a laptop. With more power comes the ability to do more, especially when it comes to storage. Brining a laptop is a great companion to the other two devices as it’s a place to edit pictures, save your work and communicate with others in a more comfortable setting. I can seriously see not using these at all in a few years with more advances to tablets, but I would still rather blog or have a webcam chat over my laptop than my tablet… for now.

 

Travel Wisdom

Reasons to Keep in Touch While Travelling

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There is this temptation among travellers to cast off the weight of the world, unplug from the grid and just get lost for a while when they are on the road. It’s very appealing to just tell people ‘I can’t be reached’ and disappear for an indeterminate amount of time – stuff can wait, right? I mean, what could be so urgent that it can’t wait until you get back?

Well, a lot.

It’s never a bad idea to have cheap international calling services on hand when you’re traveling if for no other reason than emergencies that may require your attention. Maybe you have an elderly relative that suddenly takes ill and you should be informed. Many people will argue that death or illness has no bearing on your travels, and while this is stoically correct, you may come to regret being so selfish upon later reflection.

Another reason is if something goes wrong that involves you back home and that you need to contact someone or get some information to someone urgently. A business deal that falls through? The password to a safe deposit box with time sensitive materials? Something from the government that may impact your loved ones if you don’t reply? There are many things a simple phone call or email would solve but if you can’t be reached, it could result in a bigger problem with long lasting consequences that could have been easily avoided.

315672_10100361812881461_87458010_nThis isn’t to say that the only reason to keep in touch back home is to avoid the big old boogeyman terrorizing everything that you hold dear. There are also many socially considerate reasons that you should not cut off all ties to at least someone. It gives people peace of mind, both to know that you’re okay and that you remember there are people out there who love you and do care about your well being. You don’t need to call every day or provide lengthy updates on your every thought and worry, but status updates every now and then can go a long way to just being considerate of the concerns of others.

It’s a very selfish person who thinks they are in the world all on their own and that it shouldn’t matter what they do because it doesn’t involve others, because we all got to the point we have because of someone else – and it’s nice to keep in touch from time to time. There are many ways to do so, from email to video chat and post cards – you can even make free calls in many circumstances.

If this doesn’t convince you, watch the movie 127 Hours and tell me that events in that guy’s life wouldn’t have been different had he just told someone where he was going before taking off for the day. You never know what’s going to happen on the open road and it’s best to be as prepared as possible.

Travel Wisdom

Long Term Budget Travel Tips Part 2

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Budgeting sucks but it’s a reality of travelling. Everyone does it differently and some people avoid it altogether but it’s always there – reminding us of the limits of our means. This can either be because of a time constraint or more likely due to money, but deciding how to budget for a trip can be a great planning challenge, even if at its core it’s just a necessary evil. Why is it evil? Well, it’s evil because it signifies that your means aren’t unlimited and things are expensive.

What you choose to spend money on shows a lot about what you value in the experience. Some people go all out on food but skimp on accommodation; others miss out on cultural exhibits or paid admissions to attractions but move around to new destinations to soak up the atmosphere and travel costs. We all do it differently but we all have one thing in common – we’re trying to get the most for our money.

This is especially true for long term travellers who really have to be careful in what they spend so they can make the most of their time and limited means. Unless they are living the dream with some sort of endowment fund or have some other source of revenue, money is a huge part of deciding what will get done and what won’t – so you’d best plan out how to spend your money wisely!

Here are some tips for long term travellers on how to squeeze as much out of their money as possible. Check out the previous list of tips from the last article if you want some pointers on communication or food!

Sightseeing

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Walking around is free and arguably the best part.

So many sights, so little time! This is a trouble facing many travellers who are on the road for a long time, and while many resort to seeing next to nothing either as a means of saving money or apathy towards the ‘touristy’ things, there is a way to see those things on so many people’s to-do lists without going completely broke. Many museums or exhibits have free or heavily discounted nights that can be taken advantage of if you’re in a place for a long period of time better than for a few days. Know that these days will be busier and plan according though!

Additionally, buying a pass to see many different things can save you huge amounts of money instead of seeing them individually, but it may take some planning and foresight, which can be tough for the impulsive types. If all else fails though, keep an eye out for those great experiences that don’t cost anything, like great views from parks, strolls down streets or festivals in the summertime where you don’t have to pay an admission fee. Some of the best things do require you to spend money but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a great time without spending a ton!

 

Getting Around

Things like flights and train tickets are a significant part of travelling, making it desirable to stay in one place as long as possible to cut down on travel expenses. Doing things like waiting for seat sales or booking last minute are good options to save a ton but they can’t always be counted on and don’t apply to all destinations.

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Contrary to popular belief, you can have a good time in Venice without a gondola ride.

This means a great way to save money on travel is in the everyday modes. Walk where possible or take public transit – avoid things like taxis which are always more than buses or trains (and can be more risky in certain countries!). If you need to travel a great distance, look into getting a pass that can save you significant amounts of money, or take an off-peak hour option, like a night bus or train – saving you money on accommodation too!