Museum of Bags and Purses in Amsterdam

Herengracht 573, 1017 CD Amsterdam
Opening hours: 3.50-12.50 EUR
Tickets: Open every day! Monday-Sunday 10:00-17:00
Click here for more information!

About the founders
During a visit to England one antique bag took the heart and constant attention of Hendrikje and Heinz Ivo. Throughout the years they collected 5000 bags and first had
an exhibition at their home in Amstelveen in 1996. The collection moved to its current place, a house that is part of UNESCO’s World Heritage in 2007. Their daughter, Sigrid Ivo is the director of the museum and the museum is often mentioned as one of the best fashion related ones on Earth.

The collection
The exhibition starts with the oldest bags from the 5th century and by explaining the methods how bags were made and used in the past centuries. Did you know people started making bags back then because their clothes didn’t have any pockets? It moves through time, materials and fashion as well until we reach our current days.
Let me just mention of couple of names from the haute couture collection: Chanel, Dolce&Gabbana, Yves Saint Laurent, Judith Leiber, DKNY, Gucci, Hermés, Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton.
It also contains bags that used to belong to celebrities: the bag Madonna wore to Evita’s premiere, Sophia Loren’s, Julia Robert’s and Lady Gaga’s bag, Salvador Dalí’s wife, Gala Dalí’s bag, Hillary Clinton’s, Margaret Thatcher’s and some of royal families.

The museum shop 
If you take a look at Tripadvisor and other sources you will find that this museum shop has been named the best one in Amsterdam. But why is it so special compared to the one in the Van Gogh Museum for example? Because it is impossible not to find the perfect bag there for yourself. This September the newest collection of Valentino was also on sale. Hard to be strong when so much useful (!!) beauty is surrounding you…
Anyway, you can also take a look back at the bags by buying a book containing stories and photos of the whole collection.

During the visit you can design a handbag for yourself. Here is the one I made while feeling very creative and empowered standing next to a red Chanel bag. Am I a born designer or what?!

My bag

 

 

15 things I learnt about Switzerland

After getting a taste of Italy, Austria, Croatia, Slovenia, Spain, Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Hungary of course, we are moving to the beautiful Switzerland. I was 13 years old on a 10-day bus trip with my parents and this is the only family vacation of which we don’t have our own pictures. Because for a camera it’s the best time to fall apart while you are visiting landscapes and cities in Switzerland… so we have pictures of stranger people and we are smiling happily on every 30th picture. Even though this happened I remember enjoying Switzerland a lot.

  1. The Swiss Confideration is a sovereign state and it consists of 26 cantons. It is surrounded by Germany, France, Italy, Austria and Lichtenstein.
  2. The country was founded in 1291 and its population is about 8 million people.
  3. The official languages are German, French, Italian and Romansh.
  4. The capital is Bern and the most popular tourist sights are Zürich, Geneva, Lausanne, Lucerne and Basel.
  5. Switzerland is a very rich country. Banking industry and tourism are the major fields of their economy.
  6. When it comes to Swiss national dishes fondue comes to most people’s mind. During the cold days in the mountains the Swiss invented fondue to eat cheese and bread.
  7. Raclette, Rosti and Meingue also came from this region and let us not forget Swiss chocolate! Lindt, Milka, Nestlé, Moser Roth… seems like they know all that must be known about chocolate. They are one of the world’s biggest exporters.
  8. Swiss inventions include muesli, milk chocolate, potato peeler, cellophane and LSD.
  9. Famous Swiss people include Daniel Bernoulli, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Carl Jung, Elisabeth Külber-Ross, Siegfried Wagner, Hermann Rorschach, Friedrich Dürrenmatt and Roger Federer.
  10. E=mc2, the theory of relativity was born in Bern during Einstein’s stay at 1905.
  11. The Swiss Guard, the bodyguards of the Pope all come from Switzerland and they wear the same uniform since the 16th century.
  12. The world’s largest physics lab, CERN can be found is in Geneva. If you are a Big Bang Theory fan, the Hadron Collider will sound familiar to you. The CERN scientists who discovered the Higgs-Boson particle received a Nobel Prize in 2013.
  13. Switzerland has many natural beauties (there are 208 mountains and 1500 lakes!) so filmmakers often choose to shoot some scenes for a movie. Angels and Demons, The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo, Star Wars III and Goldeneye are just a few of the list.
  14. Even though peple can own a gun in Switzerland and assisted suicide is legal, the country has the second longest life expectancy in the world (the first one is Japan). The country has the highest doctors to patients’ ratios in the world
  15. Empress Elisabeth of Austria (who was also Queen of Hungary) was assassinated by Luigi Lucheni in 1898 in Geneva. The murderer used a small and narrow grater but the Sissi died hours later because her corset was so tight the bleeding was very slow. A statue stands there as a reminder of the horrible event.

Nin

14 kms from Zadar you can find a jewel-box-like town called Nin. The main reason for its popularity is that it has a sandy beach while the in Zadar is rocky. When you enter the town you will immediately meet the heroic statue of Dux Branimir (I know it kind of sounds like Boromir!). He lived in the 9th century and he tried to decolonize his region from other empires. Throughout history the town has been a center of the Church and served as the home for the Princes of Dalmatia. Its most popular attraction is the Church of the Holy Cross. It was built also in the 9th century in Pre-Romanesque style and it is known as the smallest cathedral on Earth. Other sights are the remains of a Roman Temple in the center of the old town. During our walk in Nin (the town can be crossed easily because its length in only 500 ms!) we found a very interesting statue that looked like a drunk Dumbledore (Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter in a place that kind of looks like it were a scene from Game of Thrones… Could this be a coincidence? I don’t think so!). Turned out the statue pictures a medieval Croatian bishop, Gregory of Nin. He did not agree with the Pope and decided to officiate his messes not only in Latin but in Croatian. That must be the reason for his gesture and the fact that he is holding the Holy Bible. The town is also famous for its medicinal paddle and its summer festivals. You can choose from a lot. There is one for fishing, one for the Roman Ages and also one for Salt.
I recommend this destination if you want to have a quiet holiday and spend your days at a sandy beach but still want to wander in a history filled town.

Šibenik

The Renaissance town was already founded in the 9th century to the place where Krka River meets the Adriatic Sea. It is famous for its Children’s Festival since 1960, the festival is held every year in June or July. While we were walking on the streets, all of them were decorated with lovely handmade portraits of children. St. James Cathedral is the most famous of its sights and it is part of the UNESCO World Heritage. You can also enjoy the sun and the cool water, if that is what you are looking for at the public beach called Banj.

Practical tips for your visit:
First of all, the town can be easily reached from Zadar or from Trogir.
If you arrive by car, you have to leave it at a public car park next to the sea and the casinos and continue your journey by foot.
There are a lot of steps so make sure you wear comfortable shoes.
And have a lot of water with you. You will need it, believe me.
If you decide to book your accomodation in Sibenik, you can take daily trips to either Kornati Islands or to Krka National Park.

Although we only spent an afternoon here, I advise you to visit these things:
St. James Cathedral with the Statue of Jurac Dalmatinac
St. Lawrence Church and Monastry with the Mediterranean Garden
St. Michael’s Fortress
The Count’s Palace
St. Anne’s Fortress
Church of St. Barbara
St. Anne’s Fortress
Town Hall
Channel Harbour

Šibenik and Game of Thrones
Bet you didn’t know that this town is one of the places where GoT was shot! It appeared in season 5 as a city of Braavos. Arya Stark can be seen running in front of the St. James Cathedral, which served as the House of the Many Faced God. You can also see Mandroc as the port of Braavos.

Krka National Park

Trg Ivana Pavla II br.5, 22000 Šibenik
Opening hours: Open every day! January, February, November and December 9:00-16:00; March and October 9:00-17:00; April 9:00-18:00; May and September 9:00-19:00; June, July and August 9:00-20:00
Tickets: 30-110 kn
Click here for more information!

Krka National Park can be found at the Sibenik region of Croatia. It is famous for its waterfalls and also because the most beautiful part of River Krka can be found in the park. The Park lies on 109 km2 territory and can be entered from two towns. If you arrive to Lozovac, you will enter the waterfalls with a bus. If you go to Skradin, you will talk a half hour and 3 km long boat trip. The boats leave from the town once in every hour and in every half an hour back.
For additional fee, you can book a boat for yourself and take a trip that is not restrained by other people or time.

The visitors have a chance to enter some of the waterfalls, but the ground is very rocky, it is not easy to move and the water is very cold. Although this place is very tourist-friendly, make sure not to enter the places where it is not allowed. The hiking route is 4 kms but with a lot of uphill steps and roads.
You can find many relaxation stages in every 10 minutes where you can freshen up or have a picnic. There are many food stands in the park and although they are very expensive, it certainly has a feeling when you walk with a fruit salad in your hand surrounded by natural beauty.
I noticed earlier that fig is very popular in Croatia and I saw many bushes in the park. There are also stands selling the fresh or the dried version of the fruit.
During our walk in the park I saw dragonflies, different kinds of fish and ducks. It is stated that more than 200 hundred bird species and even bats live in the park, but I didn’t run into them during my visit.

Zadar

‘Zadar has the most beautiful sunset in the world, more beautiful than the one in Key West, in Florida, applauded at every evening.’ /Alfred Hitchcock in 1964/

Zadar, the capital of Dalmatia lies on the coast of the Adriatic Sea in the middle of Croatia. Throughout history it has been occupied by the Romans, the Greeks and has been a part of the Republic of Venice and the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. The town’s income comes mainly from fishing and tourism. What if I told you you can study archaeology, Francophone Studies or Psychology at the seaside, you can do it at the University of Zadar. Isn’t that cool?

What are the sights you definitely have to check out in Zadar?

Church of St. Donat
Trg. Sv. Stoshije 4
Opening hours: Open every day! Monday-Sunday 9:00-17:00
Tickets: 12-20 kn
Click here for more information!

The symbol of the town definitely has to be the Church of St. Donat, it’s even embossed in tickets for local transportation. The church was built in the 9th century and was named after Zadar’s bishop who lived in the 4th century. As we were inside people were charmed by the four little kittens who seem to have found shelter in the church. Outside on the square you can find ancient Roman ruins.

Sea Organ
Obala kralja Petra Krešimira IV

It’s a musical instrument that was first established in the world in Zadar and is played on by the waves of the sea.  Next to it you can find the Greeting to the Sun that you have to see at night.

Andy Warhol exhibition
Rector’ Palace –  Poljana Šime Budinića 3
Opening hours: Open every day! Monday-Sunday 9:00-23:30
Tickets: 200 kn
Click here for more information!

There is a current exhibition dedicated to the American pop-art artist, but be prepared because it is only open until September!

The beach
No words needed, just enjoy the rocky beach of Zadar!

Besides from these Zadar offers several kind of boat trips. The organized ones go the Kornati Island and Krka National Park, but you can plan one for yourself. The prices of these are pretty high, a 3 hours trip to a neighbour island costs 1000 kunas.

I advice you to go to the local market that to see the fish and beautiful and fresh vegetables of the local people. Also make sure to take a walk at night.

Bon voyage!

 

15 things I learnt about Croatia

I just came home from the beautiful Croatia on Sundays and I’m ready to share my thoughts on the vacation with you.

  1. Croatia can be found in Europe and is surrounded by 5 countries: Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia and Montenegro. Most of its territory is fenced by the Adriatic Sea so it serves as the ultimate beach holiday destination.
  2. Its capital is Zagreb and the most popular places for vacation are Dubrovnik, Zadar, Split and Trogir.
  3. Croatia and Spain has most of the merits in Europe that are protected by the UNESCO World Heritage.
  4. The territory of Croatia has been ruled by the Greeks, the Romans and the Habsburg dynasty throughout history.
  5. Croatian population is about 4 million. 10% of the population consists of ethnics like Serbs, Italians, Germans and Hungarians. People are nice and helpful and most of them speaks at least a few words in English, and it is always enough to make yourself understood.
  6. 90% of the Croatian population is Christian.
  7. Croatia has more than a thousand islands and many spectacular natural sights. The most famous one is the Plitvice Lakes National Park, but Krka National Park and Kornati Islands are worth a visit as well.
  8. Famous Croats include the 2Cellos duo, movie maker Goran Visnjic and Krist Novoselic from Nirvana. Although Nikola Tesla was Serbian by nationality, he was born in a now-Croatian town called Gospic.
  9. Croatian inventions are ties, high speed photography, torpedos, speedometers and benzodiazepines.
  10. The transportation in Croatia can be tricky sometimes. There are not always pedestrian crossings, drivers don’t always care about traffic signs or speed limit and buses never come on time.
  11. 20% of the country’s GDP comes from tourism so everything is very expensive. For example, when we went from Zadar to the Krka National Park, we had to pay twice for the highway, for the parking, for entering the park, for using the toilet and for eating a fruit salad.
  12. Typical Croatian dishes are seafood based such as black risotto, brodetto and buzara. They also have strukli (strudel). The most famous Croatian beers are Karlovacko and Ozujsko.
  13. While walking in different towns, I noticed that hydrangeas, lavender, fig, olive trees and evergreen species can be found everywhere.
  14. Maverick cats often invade the street or sometimes the buildings. In the Church of St. Donatus in Zadar there were 4 newborn cats with their mummy upstairs (!!).
  15. You can find many of the Game of Thrones scene locations in Croatia, such as Dubrovnik (King’s Landing), the Fortress of Klis (Meereen) and Split (Daenerys’ Throne Room).

Stay tuned for more blog posts about Zadar, Sibenik, Nin and the Krka National Park!