For New Year and birthday celebrations we struggled to decide where to go; there are certain destinations which we think of as winter destinations and our mission to explore as much of Europe as possible led us to consider Estonia and Latvia. Due to the fact it was over New Year, flights were unfortunately not our £10 bargains however as we had a week we thought a dual city break would be a good option. The flights were £120 each return which is way more than we would usually feel comfortable with but was expected because of the time of year. When the time came we moved on to Riga by coach which was a 4-5 hour trip each way but only cost 30 euros each return back to Tallinn to fly home from there. There was a substantial saving by flying home from Tallinn as opposed to from Riga.
Malta was somewhere on our list of European countries we hadn’t been to and looking for a warm break in October is no easy feat! After ruling out Cyprus due to the cost and looking at a map we decided to check out Malta. With average temperatures of low to mid 20 degrees Celsius, it seemed a comfortable option although we were aware there was also a possibility of rain at that time of year. We had arranged to go away with Caitlin and a friend, and with Malta as the agreed destination (having ruled out Croatia on grounds of lower temperature), we managed to find reasonable flights with Air Malta from a new airport for us, Southend. We had dropped someone off there previously and had a good run so didn’t discount it from future travel and here was our opportunity!
After some deliberation and the fact we had some time off, we decided to head away for a few days in July for Nigel’s birthday. After a few searches of Skyscanner.net for what was cheap on the dates we had and a bit of deliberation about destinations we hadn’t been to before we decided to head towards San Marino!
We left Pristina bus station on the Albus bus to Skopje which cost 5 euros each. The journey took just under 3 hours with a stop on the way and quite a long delay at the border before we arrived at our accommodation Hotel Super 8. We were lucky in the fact we passed the hotel and the bus driver allowed us off nearby rather than having to find our way back from the bus station. Continue reading “Skopje – Macedonia – April 2018”
How many countries are there in Europe? Google it if you have to. Some say 50, others 51. Why the difference? Kosovo. Some countries recognise it as an independent country, including the UK and the US, whilst others do not. Continue reading “Pristina, (Prishtina) Kosovo – April 2017”
We booked a minibus from Gea tours which collected us from our Timisoara accommodation and promised a door to door service to our hotel in Belgrade for 10 euros. We were a little sceptical due to the price however the reviews were good and we were collected at 10.45am. Driving through the border from Romania to Serbia was a strange experience; we were at the border for some time; handing our passports to the designated person on the minibus and waiting for the final verdict from the border guards.
Timisoara was a bit of a wildcard choice for us; we had never heard of it, it had cheap flights from Bucharest (£8) and was near the border of Serbia. We did do a little google and it looked a nice place so we thought why not! Some of the best places we have been had been little known or slightly off ‘tourist central’. We caught our Ryanair plane from Bucharest which left on time for the short flight to Timisoara arriving at 19.20. By population, Timisoara is currently the fourth biggest city in Romania, constantly jostling for second place behind Bucharest with Cluj-Napoca and Constanta.
After a snowy drive to the airport, we got our Wizz air flight from Stockholm Skavsta to Bucharest Henri Coanda/Otopeni (OTP) Airport which departed an hour late and arrived in Bucharest just before 1pm. We also had a delay awaiting our ‘meet and greet’ for the car hire also; however, after a few calls we were collected and taken to the off-site car hire location. Our first impressions coming into Bucharest were that they had had a lot of snow and this was apparent on the sides of the roads and pavements also. Off we set in our hire car heading for the estimated 30-minute journey into central Bucharest.
We headed off to Stansted ridiculously early and dropped off the car at the long stay car park at 6am which was trouble free, grabbed the transfer bus and headed to the airport for our Ryanair flight at 8.20am. It departed on time arriving at 11.40am Swedish time at Stockholm Skavsta Airport. This was the first of at least three times on our trip we managed to ‘lose’ an hour, with Sweden already being an hour ahead of the UK before daylight saving kicked in the following day, therefore ‘losing’ another hour. The airport itself was not so much of an airport as a tin shack! You got off the plane, went through a tiny building and before you knew it you were outside!
Excitedly, off we set on our Easyjet flight bound for Geneva! The flight itself was only about an hour and a half and that was fine; we got there early evening and grabbed a taxi to get to our pre booked hotel. We had been warned how expensive Switzerland was and even by booking our trip we had already spent a small fortune on train passes and hotels; however nothing prepared us for the taxi cost. We travelled approximately 4 miles and sat watching the meter as it clocked up the equivalent of £5 waiting for a red light! After we coughed up 35 swiss francs (approx £27) we checked in at Ibis Centre Gare, our home for the next two nights. Continue reading “Switzerland and Liechtenstein New Year 2017/2018”