The Nutshell Guide to Nicaragua: Leon to San Juan Del Sur

Nicargua is a fantastic country to visit, especially if you are looking to escape the winter in the Northern Hemisphere: it has wonderful colonial towns, great beaches and wonderful landscapes, from active volcanoes to Central America’s largest lake.   We did a short, 10-day version of the “Gringo trail” through Nicaragua, sticking to the Pacific coast from Leon to San Juan Del Sur.  As we … Continue reading The Nutshell Guide to Nicaragua: Leon to San Juan Del Sur

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10 ways to win at winter in Belgrade

There is no denying that Belgrade is a city best enjoyed from April to October. Apart from the cheer over the extended holiday season (lasting roughly from Gregorian Christmas on 25th December to Julian New Year on 14th January), between November and March, the city is quieter, people are more irritable, while grey dilapidated facades and rusty infrastructure show themselves more against the gloomy winter … Continue reading 10 ways to win at winter in Belgrade

The Nutshell Guide to the Montenegrin coast (2): Budva, Lake Skadar, Podgorica and Cetinje

This is the second part of my guide to the Montenegrin coast aimed at visitors planning to spend a weekend or a week in Montenegro. The first part suggested places to visit in the Bay of Kotor.  Budva Both metaphorically and physically, Budva is at the heart of the Montenegrin riviera and concentrates all of its best and worst features in its wonderful bay. On … Continue reading The Nutshell Guide to the Montenegrin coast (2): Budva, Lake Skadar, Podgorica and Cetinje

The Nutshell Guide to the Montenegrin coast (1): The Bay of Kotor

Despite its great natural beauty and diversity, until relatively recently Montenegro was under the radar of tourists outside the Balkans, Italy and Russia. Tourism in Montenegro started in the times of Yugoslavia, from the opening of the luxury peninsular fishing village/ resort of Sveti Stefan in 1955, which has since hosted glitterati like Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren and Bobbi Fisher, to the nudist camp at … Continue reading The Nutshell Guide to the Montenegrin coast (1): The Bay of Kotor

Lake Skadar: eerie land of macabre fairies, ruins and skeletal hills

Lake Skadar is as dramatic as landscapes get in Europe. Whichever side you apprach it from in Montenegro your first sight of it will be an explosion of a green watery expanse, dotted with white cones of karst covered in thick Mediterranean bush. As you train your eye on its beauty, you will notice birds soaring above its waters and maybe a ruin of a … Continue reading Lake Skadar: eerie land of macabre fairies, ruins and skeletal hills

Hidden Belgrade (4): Unusual churches

Although Belgrade’s oldest existing religious building is in fact Bajrakli mosque (built in 1575), it is the Orthodox Cathedral,  Temple of St Sava and St Mark’s church that came to define iconic city views. In the recent boom in church building there are few new interesting places of worship, as most of the new temples are built according to conservative tastes of churchgoers.  Nevertheless, there are three fantastic … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (4): Unusual churches

Trieste: Italy’s hidden gem

While I was growing up in Milošević’s rump Yugoslavia, Trieste was to me a mythical city of my parents’ stories. In them, Trieste figured not only as a thriving market for Western wares for Yugoslavs – jeans, toys and appliances – but was also as a stage where some of the funniest family stories, petty arguments and mishaps, played out and conjured those lost care-free days. … Continue reading Trieste: Italy’s hidden gem