31 December 2014

My year in photos :)

Instead of telling a story about 2014 here are 12 photos describing how wonderful
these 365 days were...
I wish You all a happy New 2015! To be even better than the last one!
Enjoy the fireworks tonight, a glass of bubbly and a midnight kiss wherever you are and whoever you are with - make it special!
Lots of kisses :****








September (Kroejsa=Croatia) :)





23 October 2014

Pearl of Africa...

Came back last night from a layover in Uganda. First time in that country, one short day spent there and I can't wait to go back. Why the pearl of Africa? Uganda was referred like it by Winston Churchill because of its magnificence and so the name stayed. :)   

Was trying to get on Entebbe flight with only one wish, to visit one of the orphanages (one of many) and meet those kids my Miss A was telling me about. She's been there a few months ago, and met a boy named Adrian. Since then she wanted to go back and visit him, promised to buy him some toys and sunglasses. He is the oldest kid in that home, 9 years old... So when I swapped my Birmingham for Entebbe she went and bought a scooter and the sunglasses. I packed my suitcase and went on a 5 hours flight to find and meet Adrian.

Republic of Uganda is one of 48 landlocked countries in the world, which means it's entirely enclosed by land. It's located in east Africa and bordered by Kenya, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania. Substantial portion of Lake Victoria included in the southern part of the country situates Uganda in the African Great Lakes region. Uganda also lies within the Nile basin.
Uganda gained independence from Britain on 9 October 1962 so it doesn't surprise that the official language is English, with Luganda, a central language, widely spoken across the country.

Something interesting I have read about Uganda, and not a positive thing what so ever is this... - "In 2009, the Ugandan parliament considered an Anti-Homosexuality Bill which would have broadened the criminalisation of homosexuality by introducing the death penalty for people who have previous convictions, or are HIV-positive, and engage in same-sex sexual acts. The bill also included provisions for Ugandans who engage in same-sex sexual relations outside of Uganda, asserting that they may be extradited back to Uganda for punishment. The death penalty was dropped in the final legislation and replaced by life imprisonment. As of January 2014, homosexuality is illegal in Uganda and carries a minimum sentence of two years in prison and a maximum of life."

Lots of interesting facts about this country can be found on line, like the fact that Uganda is one of the poorest nations in the world, with almost 38% of the population living on less than 1,25$ a day. Child labour is common in this part of the world. With more than 300 Mountain Gorillas, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has approximately half of the world's population of Mountain Gorillas.
Have you ever heard of lions climbing trees??? Me neither. But there are some, Queen Elizabeth National Park is home to the tree climbing lions. Lions do not normally climb trees, except when chased by another lion group or wild buffalo. However the tree climbing lions found in this National Park intentionally climb trees and rest on them in the afternoon, when the sun is high. This is a truly unique phenomenon. There have only been rare similar sightings of this in Lake Manyara National Park of Tanzania.

There is also a rule about cutting trees - if you cut one you'll have to plant 3, and this rule is really present in Uganda. In Uganda you can even get a wine made of bananas! And the local beer is called Nile Special.
It is the biggest alcohol consuming country in the world, as well the world's youngest country with its 50% of the population being under 14 years old!
If a Ugandan person tells you he or she needs to make 'a short call' it usually means they need to use the toilet :)

Learning that we came to Uganda's resort on the Lake Victoria, must say, one of the most beautiful ones I have ever seen. But seeing the poverty on the streets on our way from the airport just felt so unfair, it makes you feel guilty...?

And as I said the plan was different, I didn't come to enjoy the pool but I came cause I wanted to go to the orphanage and help those kids and women taking care of them in a small way I could and knew how to - by buying the food and toiletries they need, bringing some toys and chocolates, and the most important thing spending time with them.
Unfortunately we couldn't stay long cause it was close to their bath/dinner/bed time but that one hour, 5 of us who came together enjoyed the company of almost 20 little ones. Adrian wasn't there, was really sad I couldn't meet him, but hearing he is in school and he'll be back for Christmas break (and that's when he'll get his present from Miss A I brought for him) made me hopeful that maybe, somehow, after all, some of these kids will have some kind of a future one day.

One of the ladies who's taking care of them told me that most of them are brought to that place by the police who find them out on the streets, left alone. The smallest one was found in the garbage dump in the 'last minute' and she spent months in the hospital fighting for her little life. Now she is a strong baby but very very tiny...
The other one, little Jo - age unknown, they can only guess but no one knows for sure. They have electricity problems, they don't have enough money of course, or the rest of the things they need for the kids...and the story goes on... 
But despite all of that all these kids are smiling, laughing, playing... They were so happy when they saw us!

You can't imagine how warm and gentle they are, how much they need love and affection and how much love they can show you in that one hour! You just want to give them all, everything you can, but the only thing you can is just promise them you will be back one day again...
When you feel their small arms hugging you so strongly, like they never want to let you go it just breaks your heart when you have to leave them. And go back to that beautiful resort of ours?! Feels so wrong... :(
That orphanage is one of many in Uganda, and all of them are struggling, all of them are doing their best, all of them have volunteers working as nurses, and all of those children are beyond happy and grateful if you come to visit them and play with them for a little while.

So if you have that chance, not just in Uganda, but anywhere in the world, to go and visit an orphanage, buy some food and soap, baby nappies, bring some old clothes or toys no one plays with any more it will mean so much to them! So much! You will do a good deed, you will feel better just being there with them, seeing them smile with those beautiful white teeth, looking at you with their huge puppy eyes, showing you around where they sleep and where they play, hugging you, showing you so much affection it just fills your heart up!

On the way back to the airport we stopped by the road to buy some delicious fruits and veggies, fresh and cheap... Imagine, more than a kilo of avocados for only 1US$?! ONE! :)) So we left the rest of the money to the kids who were around. People seem so warm and nice, not for a second I felt scared or anything. No ebola in Uganda...
You just have to book a ticket and pack your bags :))


19 September 2014

Love Croatia...

I have never met a person who didn't like their vacation in my beautiful country, or heard 'Oh I so wanna go there!', 'That's my next vacation destination!' and so on when I say where I'm from :)
And it makes me happy when people ask me for suggestions, tips, when they want to listen about it, hear stories or learn interesting stuff about Croatia :)
So this is another one, about an amazing week on a boat, sailing around southern islands of Adriatic coast... One week layover in Croatia :)

The vacation started when we came to Primosten, where our boat was parked in marina Kremik. 6 of us and our lovely skipper Jure started our little adventure :) Out of everything else the most adventurous thing for all of us was the size of the boat, actually cabins/rooms and sleeping in the same ones :)
When you're a couple of not so tiny/small/skinny people you definitely come back with tons of bruises. Kicking your head, knees, elbows, toes became so normal that when I came back home I kinda missed it (nooot!) :) How small it was is easy to explain - when I stepped in the room my ass was left outside on the deck :p Get the picture? :))

We spent the night in Primosten where we woke up with one of the most beautiful sight that week. Sunset was amazing, but waking up surrounded with all the shades of blue you can imagine was even more breath taking. Whether it was the sea or the sky, and you are somewhere in the middle staring at it and feeling peaceful... Breathing in that fresh air and soaking in sun rays, charging your mental batteries in a split of a second... Breathe in breathe out... I'm here. we're finally here. First vacation with my best friend, first vacation with Him, first time on a sailing boat, first day of this, soon to be, one of the greatest week so far!

What is interesting about this place is its beach Mala Raduča which is voted one of the 10 most beautiful beaches in Croatia. Primosten is famous for its huge and beautiful vineyards, and what I didn't know is that a picture of those vineyards is hung in the UN center in New York. They are also under consideration to become a UNESCO World Heritage site :) Never enough of those!

Plan for the week was that there's no plan at all. So we planned every day according to Jure's recommendations, weather forecasts, wind, and our wishes :)
First destination - island of Vis...
Weather was amazing for almost the whole week, and that day even the wind was excellent for sailing, so we did. All the way, and it was a long wavy way so when we finally arrived we couldn't wait to get off and go for dinner, step on a solid ground :)

Island Vis is the farthest inhabited island off the Croatian mainland, with the two bigger cities - Vis on the east part of the island and Komiza on the west.  Stopping on the way from Vis to Komiza, swimming in the small bays, seeing The Green cave called like that cause of the emerald color of the cave when the sun pierce through a small whole on the top of the cave. We weren't that lucky to see its full beauty cause the sun went behind the clouds :( Something much better was the Stiniva cove. With its tremendous scenery and clean water it is one of the most phenomenal beaches I've ever seen... Although it's pretty hard for me to be objective, this place really is something... Best time for visiting is in the morning when there are not so many people so you can enjoy the quietness. The easiest way to reach this small beach is by boat.

Reaching Komiza was just perfectly romantic, in the sunset, getting ready for a night out :) That's the reason why we don't have a single pic of the city from far away :)
It was the best part of the week cause we celebrated my best friend's birthday there. Little Miss Twiggy  blew another set of candles :) In a restaurant on the top of the hill, just next to a small airfield used in the World War II (since it was, at one point, the site of the general headquarters of Marshal Josip Broz Tito, and later on one of the main naval bases of Yugoslavia). Roki's is a small family restaurant with amazing food, drinks, and exterior... We had a guitar, birthday cake, candles, presents, and soon enough everyone in the restaurant, locals and tourists, joined us in singing and drinking :)) A night to remember...

We had delicious dinner, octopus under 'peka'... to understand what it means and how it's being prepared watch this video ;)

Where we went the next morning left us all speechless... Small island of Bisevo is hiding one of the breathtaking beauty of nature... The Blue Cave. It has been accessible since 1884, and the approach to the cave is only possible by boat.
18 meters long, 6 meters deep, and 6 meters high... Again, the best time to visit is between 10 am and 1 pm when sunbeams that penetrate through the submarine opening in Blue Cave are reflected from the white bottom floor, coloring the cave sapphire blue and objects in the water shiny silver.

Day 4 - via Hvar, another beautiful island, and one of the best (and most expensive) party places in the country, I think :) Wind in our (messy) hair, sun tanning, drifting slowly, guitar playing, humming some old songs, drinking home made vine, eating... How would you call it? Enjoying sounds like an understatement so I'll teach you a word I like to use - gušt (goosht) is a Croatia word that simply means pleasure :)) Nicer word to express how much I enjoy doing something :)

So, Hvar... A must visit port for every boat that sails through this part of Croatian coast. Rich in history and culture, night life as well we visited it for a day... One short day, as every single day felt like

Don't know which words to choose, can't decide which pics to post so I'm just letting photos tell you the last part of the story :) Being home again reminded me how much I love it and miss it when I'm not there, thinking about it makes it hard to write about it in the way I feel cause being homesick is the worst feeling when you are so far away... It was so hard for me this time to leave, I think the hardest so far, specially cause I was there with Him for the first time and it all felt just perfect  ♥ Can we stay a little longer, and not go back to work again so soon, on different parts of the world? And vacation was over just like that :(

On the brighter side - the word of the week was - bombastic! :))) Thanks to Jure, so that's how it was, the word I was looking for :D
We spent one amazing (khm, bombastic) week and I can't wait for the next vacation! Counting down weeks :)

...till the next time... :)