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Posts Tagged ‘view’

Mount Dajti is the mountain close to Tirana. Tirana itself is very flat, but the mountain is not far at all. Just on the edge of town, you can take the Dajti Ekspres, a gondola lift/cable car ride up to an area near the top. Up at the top, there is a hotel with a café, some restaurants, and hiking trails. The ride itself is quite long and is a great way to see the scenery, while once you reach the top, you have a nice view of Tirana. When I visited, the view was very hazy because it was quite hot and had not rained recently. This means my pictures of the view aren’t so great, so it’s hard to properly convey the experience here. It’s a great trip that can be done in an afternoon, and I highly recommend it as part of a visit to Tirana, since the city itself does not offer many experiential activities.

Heading up the mountain in the cable car you have great views, but the photo opportunity is not so great since most of the windows are scratched up with graffiti.

View of Tirana from the overlook point at Mount Dajti

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Okay, I admit it: this post doesn’t really have anything to do with its title, except maybe that it is about two of our dinners in Istanbul, which I suppose can qualify as dates. I can’t help myself, I love this song and it’s just to easy to start throwing out the lyrics when you actually get to Istanbul! Anyways, this post is actually about rooftop dining:

Rooftop dining is a popular and fun way to eat in Istanbul; on our trip we enjoyed two dinners on the rooftop terraces of Istanbul restaurants. The first time, we tried a restaurant recommended by the guidebook that sadly did not have the great service indicated. However, we had a great view of the Bosphorus and a bridge that lights up with color at night, so that was quite enjoyable. Our second attempt at rooftop dining was a bigger success. After some guidance from our hotel, we figured out how to get one of the major nightlife areas of town, on the northern side of the Golden Horn. Once you get to the northern side of the bridge, you get on a really, really old subway car that takes you through an uphill tunnel. This is definitely a tourist attraction, because it doesn’t go very far and seems to be mostly for show—but it did save us from an uphill walk. Once you exit the tunnel, you are at the end of a long street full of people, restaurants and shops. Further up the street, there are some side streets that are just packed full of restaurants. These are known as meyhanes and they are a really great place to go out to eat. One price gets you a set menu of mezzes, salad, hot appetizers, main course, dessert and drinks—there’s a lot of food. We paid 60 turkish lira apiece and literally got a bottle of wine each with our meals. Entertainment is provided by a house band playing traditional music; they come over to your table to play for tips. We mostly watched the other tables, full of locals, who really got the band going playing songs to which they were all singing along. It was great fun, and all happening on the rooftop terrace of the restaurant, so the air was nice and fresh as well. Food was great all over Turkey, but this was truly the most fun and unique dining experience we had on our trip.

Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get any good photos from our dinners out, but we did have lunch on a rooftop in Sultanahmet on our last day in Istanbul, and it had the best view by far of the Blue Mosque.

A perk of rooftop dining: the great views! Here you can see the Blue Mosque.

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This little fortress town was our first stop in Bosnia and Herzegovina on the way to Sarajevo. You can climb up a large hill to a tower that sits on top. On the way up the hill is a restored mosque, but the tower itself is basically in ruins. It is still accessible, though, and you can even go up in the tower if you aren’t afraid of narrow, steep stairs and dirt! The view from the outer part of the tower to the river Neretva below is worth the climb.

View of the fortress from the path on the hill

Downhill view of the mosque and the Neretva river below

About the level of the tower, but over to the side, is a small café where you can get drinks. I think it is basically someone’s house, but there was a cute little garden with a view and it is a perfect spot for a cold drink after the climb up the hill. The cold options were all juices made right there from local fruits, so we chose the pomegranate juice. This was apparently made from the pomegranates that grow wild all over these hills; they are much smaller than the ones you see in the stores back home. The juice itself was quite purple, and had an interesting taste. Our hostess also served us pastries flavored with local lavender and sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar, which were delicious. Overall, Počitelj was a really cute little place to stop and I recommend taking about an hour to check it out if you are ever on a road trip through the region.

Inside the outer walls of the fortress (between the outer walls and the tower)

Fresh pomegranate juice with lavender pastries. Delicious!

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These are a few more pictures from our week in Croatia. The sunsets were really nice, so I took a lot of sunset pictures. Our last night in town, we had a group dinner at the top of a mountain in a restaurant that was an old train station. The dinner was traditional Croatian food, and the meal began with cherry and walnut brandy—or rakija for those who like their drinks a little stronger—on the terrace outside the restaurant.

This guy was walking around the Dubrovnik harbor with a live octopus. Interesting...

Our restaurant at the top of the mountains

The view from the mountaintop restaurant

One more sunset photo...

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We went on a day trip to Vienna, and in the morning we were invited to visit the Austrian Supreme Court. One of the justices gave us a very interesting presentation on the Austrian judicial system, which gave us a comparative perspective of how a civil law system operates. The court is located on the famous ringstrasse, or “the Ring,” and it has a cafeteria on the top floor with an open-air patio that provides a great view of the Ring and of the Parliament Building, right next door to the Supreme Court.

Statue of Justice in the Austrian Supreme Court building

View of the roof of the Parliament of Austria from the rooftop terrace at the Supreme Court

 

 

 

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We spent our first free afternoon in Linz visiting the Postlingberg Church, located at the top of a hill just outside the city. There is a great panorama view of the city and the Danube winding through it, and it’s definitely worth a visit. I’m even considering going back at night to see the city lights from the hill; this has the potential to be really neat since there are some cool buildings along the river that light up very colorfully at night. The church itself is really beautiful, but frankly every church in Europe is really beautiful and I get a little tired of seeing church after church, so that didn’t excite me very much!

View of the Postlingberg Church spires from the lookout point

This creepy little gnome points the way to a children's ride through a fairy-tale gnome land

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