Monday, 11 January 2016


Finally I'm back on my blog, hello again!
At the beginning of this year I'd like to wish you a happy year, full of love and joy. :)

I returned from the Taize European Meeting some days ago, so these memories are still alive. That's why it's really difficult for me to write or even to think about something else. For this reason, I'd like to share with you this remarkable experience, but there are just so much things to say that I don' t know where to start. I want to mention only a few impressions.

Generally speaking, the meeting took place in Valencia (Spain), so the differences in temperatures were quite noticeable. It was great to sit on a beach, in the sun, wearing a shirt with short sleeves. 

Our host was so hospitable and big-hearted. We could say that we found in Spain our second mum. :) She speaks only Spanish, so there were some funny misunderstandings, even if there is a belief that Spanish and Italian are similar. Undoubtedly, it's true, but only to some extent. 

It was a time full of unforgettable meetings, thought-provoking conversations for example about current problems we have in Europe, like migrantions or Islamic terrorism. It was invaluable to know how people of different nationalities and age perceive these issues. 

Moreover, these days were filled with many positive feelings and of course not only prayers but also sightseeing. Just to clarify, this meeting is called a pilgrimage of Trust on Earth and it's organised by an ecumenical monastic community from France. It attracts several tens of thousands of people, not only catholic but christians in general, who get together to spend some time on different activities.

I'm aware of the fact that there are people who identify prayers with a long, monotonous and vain repetition of some meaningless words. However, I think that this can't be said about the Taize prayers which based on meditation, reflection and music. Here you have one of Taize songs (in Catalan): 

Unfortunately, I didn't be able to visit an open-air oceanographic park, the queues were too long. That means that I have to go back to Valencia (as soon as possible).

The next Taize European Meeting will be organised in Riga, and I hope to be there and I stronly recommend it to everyone to feel this unique atmosphere. 

As usual some (not many) photo impressions. :) 


Friday, 11 December 2015


It was my first and probably the last visit in Tirana. I don't mean that I'm disappointed, but my expectations were totally different. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that my trip to Tirana had a lot of benefits in terms of life experience, but in the same time it wasn't such a captivating place for me. In my opinion it's just an ordinary city, so I'd like to mention only two monuments I visited. 

The first one is a pyramid, nowadays used for example as an international cultural center. Its structure was designed by the daughter of  a former Albanian communist dictator. It was created as a museum in his honour, to keep his legacy alive (in other words for example: forced-labor camps, frequent political executions or secret police). 

I think that it's so ugly. The worst of it is that it's still standing and starting to crumble. It looks abandoned and its surface is covered with graffiti, but on the one hand it has its 'symbolic' meaning (no matter how dark its history is). Not to mention that it was a great expense in times of widespread poverty. The goverment doesn't know what to do about that fact, so the debate continues and the pyramid still stands.

I was also in a mosque. It was my second or third visit in such a place, but this time it was a strange experience. There were no separated areas for tourists. I had to have all skin and hair covered and take off my shoes. What's more, there were separate entrances to the mosque for men and women. Then, inside, as a woman, I wasn't allowed to stay in the main prayer hall, because it was dedicated only for men. There were an isolated prayer area for women and children (as the man said - for provides them some privacy). It was really, let's say, interesting to observe Muslim prayers.

Monday, 30 November 2015


There are always some things you should know before travelling to another country, like for example basic cultural differences. Of course, the Internet is an inexhaustible source of information and it seems that it's possible to find there an answer to almost every question. However, it can be misleading or even false in some cases.

Reading some blog posts of other travellers, I was looking for some travel memories related to Albania. Opinions were quite divided but in my eyes many of them show this country in a bad light. Danger, insecurity, theft are the most common words used to describe it. No wonder I was a little bit worried. Nevertheless we decided not to change our plans. One of the aim's of our stay in Albania was to confirm or shatter these stereotypes.
It was the last country we visited. After more than two weeks of sigthseeing and in general many other activities, we wanted to rest a bit and just doing nothing. For three days, lying on the beach (I couldn't stand it even one more day :) )  I could admire these views:

Our hosts (like everyone else during the whole trip) were so nice and helpful. A good news is that in the south Albania some people speak Italian because of their economic emigration. A lot of young people decide to leave their country and move for example to Italy or Germany in search of better life, with its main aim to support their families. I had an opportunity to see the world from another point of view once again. For me, there is no doubt that conversations with local people can tell you more about a determine country that all the information in mass media. In the same time, I'm aware that it isn't always possible. Sometimes somebody starts to talk to you in Albanian and at this point you just know that your conversation doesn't take place.

There was no electricity for several hours every day (of course when you least expect it :) ). It was connected with a lack of water. Generally speaking, there is a problem with the electrical wirings in Albania. Despite these small ''difficulties'' (it isn't an appropriate word) I felt really happy there. First of all, it was a great opportunity to enjoy my life. You may think it sounds banal, but it was a perfect time to  take all the things slow, there was no rush and I could focus only on pleasurable things and views. Sometimes, it's necessary to escape from reality and to look at your life and choices in a different way, from a different perspective. All the days spent in the Adriatic Sea were full of tranquility. The town where we were staying was really small so we were attracted the attention of local people and in some moments it leaded to funny situations.

On the way back home,  we visited the capital of Albania, so in my next post I'd like to write a few words about Tirana.

PS: In my experience, contrarty to some opinions of other peole, Albania is such a safe and congenial country and I strongly recommend you to visit it.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Let's go to ....

The (unplanned) two-day stay in Greece was one of the surprises of my holiday trip. We had to drive about 300 km and we decided to spend in Meteora only one day, but then some things went wrong and we were forced to stay in Greece one more day. It was absolutely worth it. Meteora is so charming and this place completely blew my mind! Like many others by the way. :)
Why? There' s my answer:

Generally speaking, this place is considered as a magical and mystical not only for all these stunning views but also for a complex of Greek Orthodox monasteries, which are built on rocks. Nowadays remain six of them and they are still inhabited by monks and nuns. At the same time they have become a tourist attraction.

Originally, the access to the churches was difficult. First, hermits were living there in some individual caves within the rocks. Then, during an age of Turkish occupation, monks have decided to build these monasteries. It took a lot of years to carry all the construction material to the top of rocks, using for example baskets. Initially there were no access to for example electricity and water. 

Today the situation has changed. All of the monasteries are connected by some pathworks, so it's possible to see them all in one day. What's more, there are also roads, so you can get close enough them and then continue your 'climbing' on foot. It doesn't take a lot of time (if you choose an option with a car) and in my opinion it's good to see at least one monastery to have an idea of its architecture. Inside, there are a lot of things to see, for example some outstanding  frescoes, iconostasis, sculptures or:

I'm aware of the fact that to take advantage of all things that Meteora offers to the tourists, one need to spend there a few more days. It should be noted that these monasteries aren't the only 'attraction' of Meteora. We had to make a choice as our time was limited. It's undoubtedly one of these places that I would most like to revisit one day.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

City of light - Ohrid

Finally, it's my last blog post about Macedonia but the story isn't over, not yet. :) It's time to share one of my favourite macedonian travel memories, even if it seems to be almost impossible to choose only one, the best place. By the way, I really enjoy writing all these blog posts. It's a great opportunity to take a stroll down memory lane and recall some past events or take another look at photos. 

Getting back to what I was saying, first I'd like to show you some of my photo impressions of Lake Ohrid. All of them are unedited, I mean that it's the original version of the pictures, without any filter. For me, these photos convey the natural beauty of the city. It isn't insignificant to note that Ohrid and its Lake were accepted as Cultural and Natural World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.

It's a typical summer destionation and for this reason Ohird is quite a crowded place and wherever you go, you'll find a lot of tourists. However, this doesn't change the fact that it's an ideal place to have a rest. Of course, you can spend all days on doing nothing, laying on the beach or walking along the shore of the lake, but like everywhere, there are some lovely places to visit. 

Ohrid is most famous for its ancient churches and monasteries, handmade jewellery (especially pearls). Most of the monuments are located in the Old Town. Anyway, I'd like to mention only a small part of all the places you can visit there.

In the Old Bazaar the customers can buy different handmade items, peral jewellery,  counterfeit articles, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables. There are always a lot of people, and in general the bazaar is known for its vivid atmosphere. Walking between stalls, a foreigner can observe behaviour of local people. It's a perfect way to understand, to a certain extent, cultural differences.

Travelling through Macedonia, many times I came across some frescoes and icons, which are strictly related to the religion. They are everywhere, also on the market stalls, because the biggest religious community in the country is the Orthodox Church. 

And here you can see a part of a frescoe from the monastery of Saint Naum, which is located close to Ohrid. It was founded in the year 905.

The above picture shows my preferred ancient church in Ohrid. It's one of the prettiest place I've ever seen. The building is really small, but  it offers a phenomenal view of the lake and this is why it's my favorite one. The view and the location are just breathtaking!

As I said, it's only a small part of Ohrid. It would take too much time and especially I have to write more blog posts about it. However, I prefer not to focus on only one place, so next time I'll write about totally different place. :)

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Tetovo & Matka Canyon


Today I'm going to describe (briefly)  another two places which I recommend you to visit in Macedonia. I'm really sorry but I truly like this country so I must warn you that it isn't my last post about it. :)

The first one is a mosque located in Tetovo. By the way, it was the first and the only Macedonian town in which I had a shock. Traffic jams, bad driving and so on, in general - disorder .... everywhere. For this reason we decided to visit only this place and leave Tetovo as soon as possible.

Anyway, in Macedonian the building is called Šarena Džamija, while in English it means Decorated Mosque. It was originally built nearly 600 years ago, then it was rebuilt. The facade of the building draws people, because it's covered with a great number of vivid, colorful paintings. There are a lot of them also inside. It doesn't look like any other mosque I have seen. It looks rather like it was made from some playing cards. Unfortunately, it was foribbden to take photos inside, but it's easy to find them on other websites. Check them out, because they are absolutely worth seeing!

And now something for nature lovers - Matka Canyon. It's situated close to Skopje and it's a popular tourist destination. There are dozens of caves (some of them are under the water) and monasteries. As you can guess, there are a lot of things to do: mountain biking and climbing, sailing, kayaking, canoeing, scuba diving or walking. It's a perfect place to chill out and spend an active day.


Thursday, 29 October 2015

Valley of Stone Dolls & Ancient Observatory

Yes, it's another blog post in which I'd like to emphasize that Macedonia has much to offer and is a safe place to visit. I hope you don't get bored with it. :) It seems to me that this country isn't sufficiently appreciated by foreigners.

As some of you know, I really love hiking and spending time in the mountains enjoying the scenery. That's why I was captivated by this place. 

The pictures present an Ancient Observatory which is located near the Kokino village. It's a hill that could be used as a perfect place for observing the movement of the Sun and the Moon. Moreover, there were found some objects from the Middle Bronze Age.

Even if it takes about 10 minutes to go to the top of the hill (it's more a walk than climbing), the landscape is stunnig! I liked also the shape of all these rocks. ;)

While talking about rocks, there is another quite unusual place - a stone town, located about 55 km from Kokino. These rocks are naturally formed and at the first sight, there is nothing speciaI about them. During our visit in this ''town'', we had an opportunity to hear the legend, which has totally changed our perception of this place.

There are different versions of the story, but I want to tell you only one of them. Once upon a time, there was a man who was undecided. It was hard for him to choose between two women. He didn't know which of two women he should marry. For this reason, he decided to  marry each woman on the same day, but at different times. When the first wedding was taking places, another woman wanted to see this ceremony and a young couple. As she saw her future husband with another woman, she turned them into stone.

These stone blocks are called ''dolls'', because according to the story, they are reminiscent of human figures - wedding guests. Of course, the scientits have their own explanation of this phenomenon, but I think that this one is more pleasurable. ;)