Sardinia: My place on Earth

Here I am with a postponed post from my latest travel toooo……. SARDINIA! Again. Why again? Wine not? If you know what I mean…

This year I took it to the whole new level of travelling. I tried solo travel for the first time. I’ve never taken a train before, now I did it in Sardinia. By myself. Met a friend on the way. This years trip started in Venice, where I caught a plane to Olbia. From Olbia to Sassari I travelled by train (best experience ever!) and in Sassari my support club (read friends) was waiting for me.

I spent 3 beautiful days in Sassari, watched Cavalcata Sarda again, delivered one soft-skill training for the Exweek crew and had a lot of fun!

This time I had a chance to visit the mesmerising south of Sardinia. I wandered the streets of Pula, caught the sunset from the Cagliari city walls, relaxed in my friend’s amasssing beach villa in Porto Columbu and went enjoying in Cala Cipolla / Chia beach for a day. Also, I found one of my new favourite wines made by local winery called Audarya  ; Nuragus di Cagliari doc. Please do check out their FB and Instagram account, their work and, above all, their wine(s) are breathtaking!

 

After a short resume of what I did and where I went this time in Sardinia I want to reply to one question that I have been recently asked:

Why Sardinia again and again?

There are places on this Earth that make you feel at home, but make you tremble every time you’re there. Places where you leave pieces of your heart within people you meet there. After those kind of experiences with leaving your heart around, you must return to it. I honestly think Sardinia is THAT place for me. The people that I absolutely love, the language I can marvel in and the scenaries that take my breath away every time. No more words needed.

Don’t forget to check this times vlog: VISIT: Sardinia 2018 #MANUTRAVELS

Also, please do share your magic place on the planet Earth with me and the others! 

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The ultimate guide for a summer in CROATIA

Since I’m already writing about travelling there and everywhere, I’ve decided to write a few good tips for those who are travelling to Croatia this or any summer. I saw a lot of people online asking questions about travelling to Croatia so why not help our tourists a bit.

As you probably know I’m a fullblooded Croatian. Originally, I’m from a town called Crikvenica, situated on the Adriatic coast but currently I study in Zagreb, the capital. In my own experience, it’s always good to ask the locals about the directions of your route so let this be your ultimate guide for the summer in Croatia.

Basics of travelling to Croatia

Let’s begin with Croatia being the new TOP summer destination. This means if you’re coming to Croatia in July or August you’re likely gonna meet a lot of tourist all around. Zagreb, the capital, and the coastal Croatia included. Touristic places and a lot of tourist might be your thing, but if not you should also consider visiting this country in pre/post season : May/June or September.

Croatia is the part of European Union since 2013 so we’re not that different from the rest of the EU. Only when it comes to money, and food, and drinks. Our currency is KUNA (KN/HRK) and for 1€ you can get approx. 7,4kn depending on the season.

Travelling to and from Croatia during summer

This Mediterranean country is easily reachable by bus, train or airplane during the summer season. We have 8 airports ( Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik, Zadar, Pula, Rijeka, Osijek and Brač) all over the country but some of them are opened only in summer. Some foreign airports are also very close to Croatian border or have a good connection with some of our towns so that can be an option too (Venice, Treviso, Ljubljana, Beograd, Budapest)…

Coming by train is an option only if you plan on coming to the capital, Zagreb, which is really good connected to the rest of the Europe. Busses go everywhere. But I mean, EVERYWHERE. Travelling inside Croatia is really easy by bus and as it’s a small country it doesn’t take that long, depending on where you’re going. Plus, there is always an option of renting a car.

Booking a place to stay

As I’ve already mentioned, Croatia is packed during July and August and it will be pretty hard to get an appartment/room you wanted if you don’t book in advance. You can do it via tourist agency or via Booking.com/Airbnb/other websites with the same purpuse. So, don’t act like a smarthead but book in advance instead!

Croatian people

It’s a bit silly for me to write about me, so I’ve asked some of my foreign friends to write a few words about Croatian people. I will state, though, that we’re occasionally very proud and that a lot of us speak few languages (mostly English, German and Italian – again depending on the region you’re visiting)

“Croatians are really welcoming, however you need to earn their trust and be respectful. They’re proud of their land and their origins (this stuff reminds me a lot of us Sardinian people).  Croatians, just as their land, are tough and they never give up. All this makes them tremendously fascinating, and it makes me want to come back to find out more.” – Nicola, Sardinia, Italy
“I find Croatian people very interesting. They seem physically spanish but with a different languange.  I really like them because in general they are openminded and ready to meet new people. Regarding myself, I had the oportunity to meet 8 people from Croatia and all of them were awesome.” – Alberto, Spain

Food and beverage

Once you come to Croatia you’re gonna have to eat too (huh, you don’t say). Do not, under any circumstances, avoid local cousine/food! Our food is really amassssing and you can choose between plenty of stuff. We, as a nation, are a bit carnivores, but there’s dishes for every taste here! Try eating seasonal and local. During the summer, on the coast there are a lot of local festivals which normally include food. You can find fish in thousand different ways, shells, octopus, squids etc. Taste the country, you won’t regret it. The cousine changes as you move from one part of the country to the other, so be aware of that too!

When it comes to beverages, we Croatians like to drink. Water, wine, beer, name it we drink it! I’ll start with the water : TAP WATER IS PERFECTLY DRINKABLE IN CROATIA! As for the alcohol, we have plenty of good wines, few beers made here and another type of water that deserves special attention : RAKIJA – liquor made of whatever you grow at home basically, it’s the HOLY WATER because it’s normally transparent and kept in the water bottles (eventhough it should be kept in the glass bottle). Be careful with that one, it can trick you easily.

Croatia’s must see’s:

Disclaimer: I assure you there are more places worth seeing, I just doubt I’d manage to mention them all at once!

1. Zadar, Dalmatia

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2. Vrbnik, Island Krk

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3. Svetvinčenat, Istria

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4. Old town Rab, Island Rab

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5. National Park Krka, Dalmatia

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6. Fjord Zavratnica

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7. National Park Sjeverni Velebit

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8. Dubrovnik

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9. Zagreb, the capital

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10. Motovun, Istria

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For those who like partying I’d recommand going to Zrće, Island of Pag, also city of Split in Dalmatia and other towns on the coast!

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Looking for a perfect carry on

In ten days I’ll be off to Sardinia again and this time I’m travelling only with my carry on. Which means six days of everything fit into 55x40x20(cm). As I’m super duper freaker when it comes to having over sized luggage for my carry on I’ve decided to get out my old carry on suitcase out of a closet. It’s a completely basic half soft suitcase that fits the dimensions. Definitely not the best option if you travel with it too often.
Few years ago I purchased a beautiful orange turtle suitcase in Carpisa, but unfortunatelly this one doesn’t fit the dimension criteria.  Also, it will be my first time travelling alone so I just want to have everything prepared and avoid any check in problems there might be.

As I realized I’m gonna need a new carry on pretty soon I did some research on it and found this 3 things that I really like:

1. SMALL UNISEX HARD CASE TROLLEY – CARPISA GOTECH®

  • INSURED SUITCASE: 10 YEARS
  • COLLECTION: C-TYRE TURTLE
  • COMPOSITION: AP
  • DIMENSION: 36.00X55.00X20.00 (cm)

As I mentioned earlier I’m a big fan of Carpisa products and purchase them every year whether it’s a suitcase, a wallet, a bag or just a simple umbrella. I really like the suitcase’s look, which is simple but yet reminds me of a turtle. The inside is separated into 2 parts which I have on my bigger Carpisa suitcase and fits me just perfectly.

The price goes around 100€ which is not so much when you actually get some kind of insurance for the product.

2. THE NORTH FACE – OVERHEAD

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“Designed for one-to-two-day trips, this 29-liter rolling duffel easily transports your essentials and fits in overhead bins.” I found this suitcase online and I really liked how many pocket it has. Please make sure you check the link and read all the features. The size fits carry on dimensions criteria (53 cm x 37 cm x 20 cm) and the price (199€) is pretty much affordable. Also they say there’s a lifetime guarantee and free returns available.

3. MUZMM – BIG GARDEN BACKPACK 

 

* Any big backpack from their website fits the criteria for carry on (50 x 29 x 29cm – 33L),  you basically just pick the design. I found this one via Instagram and it seemed really well designed in a way that you have a lot of pockets and that somehow whatever you’re carrying on fits into a simple backpack. The price is around 70€, however they charge also shipping depending on where you live. They also have some discount codes circling around the net all the time so there you go.

I hope this was helpful. For possible promo codes follow me on Instagram!

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Visit Montenegro – undiscovered jewel of the Adriatic

Montenegro is a small country in the south of the Adriatic, right on the border with Croatia and many other Balkan countries. Back in the 20th century it was a part of Jugoslavija and it got its’ independance in 2006. It’s rich with history, beautiful nature and lovely people. As our neighbouring country it’s not so unfamiliar to me, but for the rest of the world it’s still a bit undiscovered. There are a lot of fun facts about Montenegro and I’m going to start with the Euro. So, eventhough they’re still not the part of the European Union, Montenegro’s currency is €. The country itself is pretty cheap and extremely affordable if you’re on a low budget trip, especially during the off season.

I’ve visited Montenegro this December due to an european meeting within my student association. You can check all about that here. There weren’t a lot of people and the weather was tricky but the trip itself was amassing!

I bring you my 3 “must see” places in Montenegro:

#1 Cetinje – the Old Royal Capital (prijestolnica)

This historical town dates back to the 15th century and its’ years are written all over it. There are some roman left-overs just like everywhere in the Medditeranean :

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Then there’s the Monastery of Cetinje which is pretty big and beautiful if you ask me. It’s an ortodox church and they told us that the hand of John the Baptist is kept there. Weirdly, we kinda interrupted a baptising when we came so we didn’t stick around for more.

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The city of Cetinje is magical and you can easily enjoy only walking around its’ streets as I did.

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There are two museums to visit : first one is Historical, Art, and Archaeology Museum of Montenegro 

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and the other one is King Nikola’s Palace.

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Both of them I saw from the outside and forgot to take the photo. My group did visit the museums while I on the other hand was dying for some good coffee and that’s how I spent those few hours. Enjoying good company..

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#2 Kotor – UNESCO’s World Heritage

If you thought you saw it all, you got it wrong.. The Gulf of Kotor and the city itself are so breath-taking that you’ll have to breathe in twice before we continue. I would describe it as a typical Adriatic old town, but as I already mentioned it’s much much more.. It was founded in the 5th century BC and you get the feeling that you travelled the time as soon as you enter its’ walls. All in stone, all from some other era.

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On the entrance of old town Kotor there is a phrase : ” Tuđe nećemo, svoje nedamo” which is not so old as the city is however it has a good point – “What belongs to others we don’t want, ours we don’t give.”

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As soon as you enter the old town the surrounding hits you hardly… I could write a lot about how it feels but my best suggestion for you is to go book a ticket right away!

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Not only it’s under protection of UNESCO, but the old town of Kotor has it’s very own CATS MUSEUM which was unfortunatelly closed at that time.. If anyone has any photos of the museum inside I’d really appreciate it!

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I could continue on and on about Kotor but it’s time to share my number 3 destination:

#3 Lake Skadar

Unfortunatelly, I didn’t get to see it properly but from the bus. However I firmly believe it’s worth seeing and experiencing. It looks like good nature/adventure destination to me.

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We stayed in Podgorica, the capital for a week and the rest were one day trips. As for Podgorica you can find really nice bars there with cheap but great coffe, fun pubs and nice places to eat.

Of course there are many many other things that I didn’t have time to visit but are worth visiting.. so for more detailed tour in Montenegro make sure you visit their tourist office pages! I can suggest a good summer party in Budva any time, sneeking into the isle of St. Stefan and hiking in Durmitor National Park, also there are the biggest vineyards of Europe in Montenegro so don’t miss that too, the rest is up to you!

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Before I die – 2018 Bucket List

Six years ago, when I was still in highschool, it was popular to make your own Before I die Facebook albums. I totally forgot I had one until today. I remember searching for photos saying what I want to do before I die and being so excited when I’d finally find them. I was just going through that album, it’s still available on my FB profile today and I saw that I’d “check” all the photos I actually did. It was my own Bucket List before I even knew what a bucket list was.

I found a lot of different stuff in there, some of them I’ve even forgotten that I wanted in the first place. Some things haven’t changed though. It’s full of travel photos, DIY photos and “own an animal” photos.

I’m gonna share with you 5 things from my old “before I  die” bucket list that I got to do and 5 things that I haven’t done yet that I’m gonna use for my 2018 Bucket List.

5 THINGS THAT I GOT TO DO

1. I got my first tattoo when I was 18. I still love it and I didn’t regret it.

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2. Few years back I’ve decided to become UNICEFs Guardian of the childhood and I’ve continued till the day. For me it was a way of giving back to the world and hopefully helping children in Africa too.

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3. They may be ugly, they may be big, but they’re so warm and comfy that I’d spend my whole life in them.

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4. I moved to Zagreb in my first year of University. It’s the capital of Croatia and it’s by all Croatian standards big. And beautiful.

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5. I did this in Prague with my friend Sara. Fun times…

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5 THINGS THAT ARE ON MY BUCKET LIST FOR 2018

1. This has been my wish since forever. I want to dance salsa, drink Mojito and enjoy Havana! It sounds so perfect just saying this. It got to my number 1 on the 2018 bucket list. Fingers crossed that it comes true.

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2. I love my mum and I know how much she worked her butt off to get me where I am now.

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3. Through the international student association I’m in, I’ve met sooo many Greek people. It’s my turn to visit them.

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4. Can’t explain. Just something I’ve always wanted to do.

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5. I  really think it’s time to get myself a nice camera..

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I hope you enjoyed it. If you want to share what’s on your 2018 bucket list, please comment below. For more upcoming post don’t forget to subscribe!

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The perks of being a MultiCulti

The beautiful wide world. Makes you feel full of opportunities, chances and souls.

During the last 2 years I’ve met a lot of young prosperous people from many different countries. We mostly have the same profile; students, wanting to change the world and hang out together, pushing our boundries to the fullest. It makes you open your eyes at least a little bit. Let me show you how I got from being Manuela to being MultiCulti Manuela.

It all started on a sunny day in May 2016. I met a bunch of crazy students travelling around the world on my Faculty. You already guessed, I decided to join them. Few events passed, I improved my already existing communication skills and I simply decided that’s the way of life I’m gonna live from now on. Being a MultiCulti is not only about travelling, but also about hosting the people you met and making their stay in your corner of the world the most remarkable thing ever. And about enjoying  diversities between you because there’s definitely gonna be some.

I bring you 5 things that you’ll have to get used to if being a MultiCulti:

  • Accept that you’ll never think in only one language again

Nor you will use only one language while speaking. Your brain will turn on it’s Esperanto* mode and while thinking or speaking you’ll often find yourself using words that people from your everyday life around you don’t normally understand. I mean, who’d say “to the bottom” when you can just say “koupa“. The trick is in the small amount of foreign words that completely change you and possibly make you feel better. So, yes amici, we’re definitelly ready to koupa and become borachos. You see what I mean..

*Be aware, you may not always know what are you saying while saying it.

  •  Skype will become your best friend

When you know people from different countries and different time zones you’ll often have to make sacrifices. Skype calls at 9pm. Oh you mean 4 am in Croatia. Aand vice versa :’D

  • Gatherings being games with no limits

After a certain time of not seeing each other in person you really have to catch up on everything, meaning – you’ll have to carpe that f*** diem while you’re together because you never know when you’ll meet again. Oh, and yes, don’t expect to have enough energy to continue your life when the gathering is over..

  • Saving money in order to choose

You know what you’ll be choosing right? What’s the next friend you’re gonna visit. So basically, a lot of times you’ll be forced to choose between your friends. Or maybe not, if you’re the Rockefellers.

  • Love doesn’t choose the time or place

Falling in love internationally can be a little difficult, especially if you have no intention of moving to that certain country any time soon. I’ve came across some YouTube vloggers who moved their whole life because of love. So cute. And brave. Well yes, this is also one of the things you have to concider before becoming MultiCulti. You never know when your belly butterflies are going to come to life. It also has it’s vantages. The world is wide, don’t try to shorten your horizon just because you’re scared.

I hope you decide to become a MultiCulti too. You get to learn a lot, see a lot and definitely feel all sorts of different cultures and people. So don’t be afraid of becoming a global citizen, it’s only a matter of how you see it. Be you, keep your identity but be opened to also meet the others.

And yes, welcome to the beautiful wide world. A world of many cultures, many languages and many hearts.

 

*Esperanto- An international auxiliary language or interlanguage is a language meant for communication between people from different nations who do not share a common first language. 

 

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Oh Switzerland, I’ve never thought to have you as a friend..

Four languages, dozens of cheeses and hundreds of mountains.

Let’s just say I experienced these 4 languages in one day and it’s a bit confusing. Everyone already knows their famous cheeses so in this occasion I’ll leave that out. But the mountains, oh the mountaines – that was one of the most mesmerising experiences I’ve ever had. I spent few days in Switzerland, saw a lot of things and met some really good people. So let’s begin!

So, I started the jounery from my homeland Croatia, through Italy and ended up in Switzerland. I spent most of the time in canton Ticino, as we were visiting some old friends of my dad there. We’ve stopped in Basel for few hours and spent a nice evening in Delemont.

Switzerland has it’s own way of remembering I have to admit. You expect almost nothing and get so much by only passing through it’s inlands. The people are different in every and each canton I’ve visited but the main picture is the same. Some of them are a bit stuffy but the most of them are extremely lovely – it depends on a person of course and wherever you go it will be like that.

During our stay all the houses and buildings we’re decorated with at least one Swiss flag which I’ve found really interesting. The reason was Swiss National Day that is celebrated on 1st of August. Every bigger town has fireworks and it’s a pretty big deal and nice party there.

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So here are some of the things I visited during my stay in Switzerland. Although it was a short one I’ve got to see enough things to fall in love, but am definitely planning to go again soon.

  1. Passo del San Gottardo / St Gotthard Pass / Der Gotthardpass

Let me first tell you a story how we ended up 2.106 m high. There’s a tunnel – St Gotthard – which is 17km long and connects cantons of Uri and Ticino. Apparently, during the high traffic season Switzerland has a strange way of controlling it, so we waited for 2h only to enter Gotthard. Once we did, it was 17km of slow driving and no air. Don’t panic, it’s not so bad. It wouldn’t be bad at all if we hadn’t waited for 2h in front of it.

This was on our way to Basel, on our way  back the traffic jam was even worse so we decided to go across the mountain insted of through it. And here begins the tipical Heidi story. Green meadows, cute alpine houses and beautiful river creeks. Welcome to the Saint Gotthard mountain : 

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2. Swiss Monte Carlo – Lugano, Ticino

I don’t even know  how to describe it with words. In this case I can say the photo’s are just enough. Beautiful town on the lake, you get the feeling it’s actually the sea. Charming little streets full of all kind of shops. It just owns a soul.

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3. Delémont, Jura

This little town has a soul. It’s very very peaceful and people are calm. They’re also really friendly and welcoming. I went for a beer with my swiss friend and an old man heard us speaking in english and ended up wishing us a nice stay in Delemont. It was so cute! Also, this town owns a pretty little square where that bar we went to is and I just fell in love with it.

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4. Basel, Basel

We went to meet our cousin that lives there… Nice city, bigger than Lugano and Delemont for sure. Lost a little bit of it’s charm in it’s size but is still really really nice to visit. We went for a beer in an Irish pub, great beer even greater price. We walked along the river Rhine and the view is just stunning! The old town is all about restauranst and coasy shops which is followed by a lot of people but that’s where Basel gets it’s charm!

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5. Swissminiatur, Melide, Ticino

As I didn’t have the chance to see whole Switzerland in this one time, we decided to visit Swissminiatour. It’s like Minimundus in Klagenfurt, only swiss version. You basically get to see over 200 monuments/buildings/or anything connected to Switzerland. I fell in love with Heidi’s village of course and promised myself that I’d visit it in real size soon.

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Follow me on YouTube for more vlogs that are coming. Swiss one coming soon!

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The elixir of a long life hidden in the Mediterranean

The ElixirOfLuck went in a search for another of it’s kind, elixir of a long life, and we found it in Sardegna. Sardinia / Sardegna  is the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea ( after Sicily ) and an autonomous region of Italy. It is also one of the blue zones of the world – Sardinian people are thought to be the healthiest and the ones who live the longest. These were some googled facts, let’s check if it’s really like that!

I spent 10 days in May 2017 on this beautiful island. We were in group of 7, Croatian students, going for an exchange week in Sardinia. We flew across the Italy and landed in Alghero, charming little city and there began my Sardinian adventure. Instead of listing every thing I did for that 10 days I’m gonna write you what enthused me the most.

I give my no. 1 to Sardinian people – if you meet someone from Sardinia and you tell them they’re Italian they’ll get highly offended. Well, they have full right to do that! Sardi / Sardinians are really special kind of people. I would definitely list them as less loud and even more leggiero than the rest of the country. When I first met the crew we were having the ExWeek with, I thought this will be easy; I speak Italian. Well, apparently I don’t, at least not their kind of Italian ; Sardo. In 10 days I got used to it and it started to seem so cool at one point.

The thing that intrigued me the most was how self-aware they are, how much they love their Island and are eager to preserve it. The way they talk about their land and their food is so astonishing that you wish you were born a Sardo. We had some Agricultural visits during the stay there and have met some wonderful people who welcomed us with some of their amazing products and a warm smile.

I’ll take the opportunity here and introduce them to you because I really think you should visit their properties and try what they offer.

  1. Cantina Sa Pruna – Jerzu

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You can visit their Facebook page by clicking on the name written above the picture.  Family Serra hosted us at dinner with a lot of their special Sardinian elixir of long life – Cannonau.

2. Nuraghe Crabioni

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This is a sample that I brought home to my parents, but for more information on their vines you can click on the name above and it will link you directly to their webpage.

Well, under no.1 we sorted people and vines. I’ll give my number 2 to Sardinian beaches. Unfortunatelly, I saw only two of them because of our schedule and the fact that it was May. I got to see Lido di Orri and La Pelosa- Stintino, those two beaches were nice, the water was up to the knee for 1km or so, but I survived. The sand is white as I’ve actually never seen it before, but it’s texture could be compared to flavour so it can get messy afterwards. I know I couldn’t get rid of it for a while…

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My number 3 goes to Cavalcata Sarda in Sassari. I was lucky enough to be on the Island in the time of their traditional “carnival” – Cavalcata. A lot of interesting folk costumes, a lot of young people participating in it and a lot of beautifully trainer horses too. I spent few hours on the streets of Sassari just watching the parade pass and it was the most remarkable part of whole Sardinia for me. It gave me the chance to see their past, present and their future in only one event.

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And the last but not the least, the little island Asinara tightly attached to Sardinia. We went there by a ferry and spent almost the whole day on Asinara. The island is virtually uninhabited ; it was named after their only habitants – donkeys (italian – asilo). But not usual donkeys, the white donkeys that live only there. We went around the island with them and they were pretty friendly. On the island there is a little pharmaceutic company FarmAsinara that makes skin-care products made of donkey milk or etheric oil of plants that grow there.. Definitely check them out! I got myself after-shower oil and am more than content with it!

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I hope you visit Sardegna once if you still haven’t. It won’t disappoint you!

Also, feel free to check my vlog from Sardinia and if you like it, give it a thumbs up! : Check the vlog now!

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