Looking to go on a vacation? We, at the Social Diary followed Zaynab Naqvi, the famous traveler and Health & Happiness Coach, all the way to Croatia for all of you. Give it a read!
1. Why did you select Croatia for your holiday destination?
To be honest, thought just came randomly to my mind. I
was sitting with my best friend and we, as usual were making our travel plans. We always like unusal and less touristy places. Surprisingly, out of nowhere Croatia came to my mind and i said “Croatia” and she said bamm! And that’s exactly where adventure took us next!
2. First impressions of the city/country while you toured?
People! I instantly fell in love with that place the minute our first interaction took place. Everyone was very welcoming, friendly and helpful. There’s no sense of rushing and life is so laid back. They value their times being with friends or family, sipping on a cuppa or two whilst soaking up the summer sun. What a beautiful sight to see.
3. Which are the must-see places in the destination that you chose?
This is such a difficult question because they literally have everything for all kinds of interests.
I personally love Art so will highly recommend to go to “Art park”, Plitvice lake is a must see for all you nature lovers out there, Sea organ installation in Zadar and watching sunset there is something you are going to cherish forever.
Of course if you are a Game of Thrones Fan, then not going to Dubrovnik would be a blasphemy because thats’s the place of Lannisters, King’s Landing!
Most important, do not miss swimming and kayaking there, they have undoubtedly the clearest water in the world that you can even see the corals.
4. Anything one should be prepared for when visiting Croatia?
You better lose a lot of weight before you go there because you are definitely going to indulge yourself in Food coma! Comfortable shoes for walking, switch up your friendly side as you are gonna make lots of friends. Swim suits for sure because you are not gonna resist swimming. And last but not the least, let go of the “Tourist” mindset. Which means, take your time at one place, soak up the atmosphere,, the beauty,, try on their coffee,, interact with others. Live like the Croatians
5. People travel to Dubai for shopping or to Nepal for a peaceful getaway. What is the specialty of Croatia? The differentiating feature?
Coffee, Clear waters for some water activities, Food and Art. This is one thing that differentiates Croatia from the rest of the world. You wont find any famous coffee chains there except 1-2 on airport though they are biggest coffee lovers on this planet. They have their own speciality coffee which they make and brew themselves. After that, you wont like processed coffee anymore. Looking deep inside the sea from the surface is the most serene experience and you would definitely not miss their sense of Aesthetics everywhere you go. Ofcourse scrumptious and budget friendly Food is at every corner of the place.
6. Did you meet any interesting personality while travelling, what have you learned from them?
There was a waiter in one of the restaurant who was very young. He had a strict boss and me and my friend were so impressed at how he was still managing everyone with Big smile on his face. We had a good chat and later during the day, we bumped into him again on our way to home. Best thing about his personality was , despite having a crazy boss, he was having a time of his life with his friend, had time to entertain us and there was so much positivity and kindness in him at such young age.
7. Boškarin, Crni Rižot and Fritule are some famous foods of Croatia. Did you try and enjoy those? What were your favorite dishes?
I am vegan so basically i couldnt try most of their local dishes that contains meat. However, what made me most happy there was that they had vegan version of some of their dishes. I am a big Risotto fan so i loved Crni Rizot and their icecreams are worth trying. Throughout our trip, I kept on wondering the very obvious love affair between Croatian people and icecreams. You will spot icecream parlours in every nook and corner packed with people inside outside so i was majorly high on their desserts , icecreams and Coffee.
For my sweet tooth friends, some of the best places in Croatia to try icecreams and desserts are Vis a Vis Vincek in Zagreb, Makro vega in Split and the best one is Sladoledarna in Dubrovnik . Recently, Croatain iceceam wins Gold at international awards in Spain.
8. There are some historical sites in Croatia? Did you visit any? How was your experience?
Gric Tunnel in Zagreb was great, it was made during the World war 2 to serve as bomb shelter, now it’s renovated and re opened to public but despite that, you feel calmness there, as if you are somewhere in secure place, it was cold and beautiful.
The Famous city walls of Dubrovnik ( aka Kings Landing) was beautiful and rich in history, however , citizens of Dubrovnik are not very happy about it anymore as most tourists go there to have Game of Thrones tour which is fictional rather than taking time going deeper into researching on their original history. Talking about history, i would also like to add here that 600 years ago, in1416, slavery was banned in the Republic of Dubrovnik, condemned as being “shameful, wrong and disgusting, and against all humanity”. Just to compare: the slave trade was not banned in Britain until 1833, and in the US not until 1865.
9. Deciding on what to spend on more (food, hotel or travelling) is a decision we all take. Which of these do you prefer to empty your pockets on?
To be honest! I dont spend money on hotels anymore unless it’s a staycation and i just need to stay in the Resort. You are out all day and paying ridiculous amount of money on hotels is something i cant fathom. I usually get Air bnb apartments , hostels if i am backpacking or 3 star hotels if i am going with family. All you need is a good bed and clean bathroom which is not very hard to find. I tend to spend money on Experiences and Food is also an experience when you are traveling to a new place. So for me Activities, Food and Experiences are the ones that i like to keep my money for.
10. What did you enjoy most about your trip?
I loved how me and my friend was getting whatever we were Manifesting and wishing for. Starting from Getting a free upgrade of BMW car when we actually booked for a regular mini car, finding 200$ on the street of Dubrovnik, A free Pass to Piano concert of a famous pianist in Europe and this was totally random! Drinks on the house at several restaurants we dined in at
11. Any funny incident that took place on your trip?
There were so many but there was one which i dont know whether you wanna call it dumbness or what, but whatever it was, we laughed like crazy so we had to catch the bus for the airport and we went to the stop 30 minutes earier, sitting right in front of our bus. After 40 minutes , we began to wonder why isnt’the bus leaving yet and to our surprise, when we asked, we found out that it has left! Right in front of us and we didn’t even notice it! We were too engrossed in our conversations whilst sipping our drinks away. Best thing though, instead of panicking, we laughed our hearts out and carried on with the journey.
12. Pakistani currency is pretty weak atm. For those of us who haven’t been to Croatia. How much would you suggest we keep in our pockets in PKR to spend a quality vacation?
Croatia is one of the cheap places to visit. I think you can easily have a nice luxurious trip under 700$ .
13. What are the three things that you always carry with you on your trips?
Comfortable shoes , Yoga Mat/Yoga pants, Jojoba oil for face, Phone Charger and Towel (This is something I carry physically) but mentally I do forget everything back home, I tend to be present there fully and absorb everything about the new place.
14. Did you bring / will you be bringing any souvenirs with you?
Well! I am an ardent fan of Game of thrones so i picked up lots of Jon snow and Arya stuff .
Write anything you want to add!
Some historical facts ! (fit them wherever you like)
1. The necktie, worn by business people around the world, is from Croatia. The cravatas, it was named originated from Croatian soldiers who served as mercenaries for the King of France.
2. Croatia’s drinking water has one of the highest quality standards in Europe.
3. The dog breed Dalmatian can be traced back to Croatia and the Dalmatia region.
4. Zadar has the world’s first pipe organ played by the sea and is also known for its sunset which Alfred Hitchcock said was the most beautiful in the world.
5. Hum in Istria with a population of around 20 is the world’s smallest town