After one month in Thailand

After one month in Thailand

When people ask how many Southeast Asian countries have I seen in one month, they can’t believe when I say – one! And it’s Thailand. I travel slowly. Time is on my side and I’m not rushing anywhere.

I was two weeks in Bangkok. I should be in the Guinness Book of Record, right? But I lived there with the American-Thai married couple, who brought me into the “Thai” world. Living in a totally non tourist street, they showed me where to eat, what to eat (coconut pancakes, my love), I didn’t know what double pricing is and I learned how to navigate through city and manage the money in local currency. I was prepared for all possible scams. It was a perfect start.

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14 Baht Adventure

14 baht adventure

Standing at the Hua Lamphong train station early in the morning, covered in sweat and tired of the night drive from Chiang Mai, we just wanted to escape the big city. Steff told Jazz and me about the place outside of Bangkok where you can get Sak Yant aka bamboo tattoo from a monk. The city’s name: Nakhom Pathom. 1,30 hour ride. 3rd class. 14 baht ticket fare.

“Let’s have an adventure! Let’s go where tourists don’t go! ” -Steff was excited.

We looked at each other and got on a local train. Not that we had anything else in mind so let’s  have an adventure for 14 baht.

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Into the Jungle (Pai)

Into the jungle

Pai is a getaway. Pai is wild, yet it smells like home.

“Pai. You have to go to Pai. Don’t miss Pai.”
As soon as I arrived in Chiang Mai, other travelers  started telling me the same – go to Pai! I never even heard of  this small town, nestled in the hills of Mae Hong Son province in northern Thailand.
It was only a three hour ride from Chiang Mai so I bought the ticket.  The ride itself felt liberating. Golden light peeking through the glass of the mini van… Driving through the perfect jungle scenery. Bananas. Only bananas and the mountain roads.

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Night train to Chiang Mai

Night train to Chiang Mai

– Hi, I am Fred. I’m Canadian.

His shirt was green as our bed curtains in a night train to Chiang Mai.
– Hi, I am Ivana and I am from Croatia. Do you know where that is?
– Oh, I know. I’ve never been in Eastern Europe though – Fred said.

Stranger in the night

After two weeks in Bangkok, it was time to leave. The Road called me. And the Road knows. When the boat started moving, my heart started blossoming. I was waiting for some kind of excitement but all I could acknowledge was calmness. Bangkok wasn’t the place that could silence my longing for what never quiets – the wanderlust. Will Chiang Mai succeed in this game of taming, I asked myself.

“I love to travel – Fred started talking. – But I won’t be able to sleep. Trains, buses, planes.. I never sleep”.

His movements were slow. Gracious. I could see that his eyes have seen more than he remembers, whilst his skin was touched by the places I can still only dream of.

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Istanbul, I hear your music

Istanbul header

How can I love more there than here? How can I feel foreign more as mine?Oh, but I can. Istanbul. Istanbul. Have we met before? A long time ago? Because, you got me.

Taksim square and Istiklal Caddesi

I arrived before they wounded you. The bus driver left us with simple: „Welcome to Istanbul“, and my first thought was: I am so lost. In the middle of a huge roundabout I saw people going in one direction – Istiklal street.
It is more than just a caddesi. Peppered with pedestrians, housing a huge variety of shops, Istiklal is more like a song. It can be loud and stressful or whispering silently. The message is same in both ways: FEEL. COME ALIVE. GET INSPIRED.

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Going home for Christmas

Sky is turning red as I’m peeking through the window in my coupe. I am going home for Christmas. Fifty! Fifty-one! Mister, sixty four is further down!  People are walking with their heavy baggage, looking for their seats, checking their reservation tickets. They are rushing as if it’s a guarantee for a faster arrival home.

Christmas music is bursting through speakers. It is the first time I hear music playing in a train and I’m waiting for the hidden camera to reveal itself! I’ve been traveling for years in Croatian trains and could write a book solely about it. Trains in Croatia are slow, rarely on time and you’re lucky if you find a seat during the rush hour or don’t end up stuck in the snow.

Obviously this is not a scenario in my train, as Mariah Carey is singing “All I want for Christmas is you”. A girl across me is anxious to get home. “I don’t feel Christmas here in Zagreb”, she says. “Christmas is home”. I wonder, how come she feels that way when every store, every street and every shiny lamp in Zagreb reminds you of Christmas. I am kind of a jealous at her. In a dreamy haze, she is so sure of her home. Continue reading “Going home for Christmas”

Flirting with the city

Flirting with the city

They say, once you start traveling it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller. And oh my, I’d like to write some poetry right now. To sing a song for the city I love.

With every heartbeat my love for you grows bigger and bigger and I wanna cry, I wanna laugh and be neurotic and calm at the same time. So I am.

You make me wild and young and refreshingly free, yet balanced. And that is all I ever wanted of you.

From the minute I wake up, I’m all yours and you use this against me. I was shy until you whispered to me – you are safe, trust yourself. So I did, for trusting myself was the scariest part.

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Travel Guardians

Travel Guardians

We all have them. Sometimes miles away. Sometimes a continent away. Some days just a click away. And sometimes we just haven’t met yet. Connected without knowing that, or even each other, they are here for You.

Your Travel Guardians

When one decides to live a life of uncertainty, an avalanche starts to roll within the body of a future traveler. A warm current flows through it, attacking the cells with something that one has been suppressing for a long time – a scent of choice.

You may not know where you’re going or what you’re gonna do but honestly, it doesn’t even matter. The decision is made and you’re off on a great adventure. To see the foreign lands.To rose deep into orgasmic pleasures of the newly awakened freedom. And this notion deliberates you unimaginably.

Once you’ve decided to go this path, surrounding yourself with good people is crucial. Their strength will become your strength. Their stories will become your soul food but most importantly – they will push you beyond your limits to show you how far you can actually go if someone truly believes in you.

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Magic of the Ruin Pubs

Magic of the ruin pubs

Inside the streets of the Jewish quarter in Budapest lies a new wave of entertainment. If you see an abandoned building with charming décor, contemporary art and live music – you found them.

 Ruin pubs

I haven’t heard of them until I went to Budapest for the fourth time. Browsing through the city map, it was time to explore the old Jewish quarter (district VII). And while I’m already enchanted by the Jewish history, architecture and music, ruin pubs were new to me.

When Fogasház takes over

Crumbling buildings and perky, yet quaint and fusty atmosphere, unique cafés and pieces of history on every corner – it makes my heart tingle whenever I’m close to something Jewish (without being Jewish myself. Funny, I know).
And then I stumbled upon them. Especially one – Fogasház. I visited a place I couldn’t believe it exists.

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