Wednesday, 20 July 2016

It's Croatia this time - "Sibenik, Krka National Park"

June 10 2016, it’s Croatia this time.  

This was weird for me as the level of excitement and anticipation for this trip was a lot intense than normal. Was this because of a long gap (5 months) since I had been anywhere exciting? Or was it because I would be driving in Croatia (first time)? Whatever it was, the whole process of waiting until I touched the land of Croatia was exhilarating. Even though I love to visit different places and experience different cultures, I was never this excited since Venice. Ahhh…. I love Venice.  

Brief itinerary: 4 days; Split and Sibenik 

And of course to accompany me on this delightful trip was my trusty friend Suvexa, who generously proposed the idea of Croatia, booked an apartment, the flights and all the necessary research on Croatia and exchanged money as well. As for me, I just HIRED A CAR!....  [Symbol] Yes, this time I decided to drive rather than use the public transport since we had two locations to cover in 4 days.   

While the plane hovered over Split airport to land, I saw numerous mountains which seemed identical to Kathmandu Valley's (aahh...feeling nostalgic). Thankfully, it had stopped raining in Split as we made our way through wet tarmac with a clearer sky, scorching sun and fresh breeze. It was refreshing...but I had to pee...desperately... and a funny thing happened. As I was in the toilet one woman sprinted in the men's toilet. that I think about it, its not funny; you gotta go when you gotta go.  

Frist stop Sibenik, Krka National Park. 

Spacestar (mitsubishi), that’s our car; small, economical and efficient. Everything was fine until I realized it was manual, steering on the left and gear in the right, and had to drive on the right lane. Let me just point out, I am from the UK where we drive on the left and steer from the right. Suvexa was sceptical about me driving and already started to regret but I drove like a champ, with just some hiccups here and there. It sort of didn’t help as we had to use mountain narrow roads, however, the scenery was breathtaking which I only saw through my peripheral views. Suvexa strictly instructed me to keep my eyes on the road as my driving was conspicuously awkward. I think I might have went a wee bit off the road once. It's all hazy to   

That's our little Spacestar and the beautiful apartment with its own little fruit and veg garden, located parallel to Krka national Park. After a quick tour of the apartment, we went for an early dinner. I think the journey from the airport drained us, especially my driving :).  Initially, the plan was to visit Krka the next day but we were so impatient to check out this National Park that we heard so much about. We had about 2 hours before the closing time at Krka; we decided to have a quick look around to locate the perfect spot to park the Spacestar for the next day.

Boy...O...boy...,Holy...mother...of...god... it was the most stunning view I had ever encountered.  

Note: The following pictures do no justice for the actual beauty of the place. 

That's a map for ya. 

Next day: we decided to walk instead as the park only allows cars after 5pm. We had already seen all the picturesque area the day before so, we marched straight to swim under the falls. 

Saw these people jumping rope with kids after a boat excursion. This national park is really big! Took about 20 mins to half-hour to get to this little island monasteryVisovac

Found another cascading waterfall whilst on route to Roski Slap via Medu grede Canyon and later found out that the waterfall is called Roski Slap. Silly me...

These bundle of cascades are called Necklace cascades and these water will soon become Roski Slaps accessories

And here are some grape vines to end this part of the blog

Friday, 1 July 2016

A year later: Bhaktapur

Bhaktapur was one of the most culturally hard-hit areas of the quake. Parts of Durbar Square, including the 16th century Vatsala Durga Temple, were demolished. Here are some images taken around the affected site.

One of the saddest moments I encountered during my stay was reading this banner about the earthquake victims. Here, the message reads, "Our condolences and request for participation at Gai Jatra to remember the 343 Bhaktapur residents and 188 international visitors, who sadly passed away as a result of the 2072 (Nepali year) earthquake" Gai Jatra is the festival of cows, mainly celebrated in Kathmandu, to commemorate the death of people during the year. I came across an eastern Asian lady who was snivelling. As soon as my eyes met hers, she broke down into an emotionally painful gush of tears. I couldn't help but try to console her.

Looking back at the situation of Nepal, I'm afraid I cannot help but emphasise on the importance of safety and precaution that should be undertaken. I heard from my younger cousins that their schools now hold earthquake drills which is a good step forward. These measures should be spread everywhere, especially at home and working areas. Here are two webpages which give clear and straightforward steps on how to ensure earthquake safety.

City of Alhambra_earthquake safety

Aichi Prefecture_prevention

Unfortunately, I cannot say more in terms of the Nepali government and their agenda in providing help. You have already read my rant about them in my previous post. Nepal seems a nation with more politicians than civilians, and the government sadly seems to hold a goal in providing entertainment and adding salt to the wound, instead of doing what its supposed to do. I'm afraid, all we can do is help each other to overcome this calamity, which has proven to work best. I wasn't there during the quake but I would like to express my thanks and greatest gratitude to everyone who helped. I also have a newfound and utmost respect to the Nepal Police and Army who helped every citizen in every way possible. The government said the armed forces were acting on their behalf but sadly, any Nepali citizen, including my 7-year-old cousin, isn't gullible enough to believe them anymore. Lastly, I'm not the only one in saying how thankful we are to the nations who supported Nepal during the crisis.