Tag Archives: apartment svilokos

Krakow, Poland

In the early 1980s, I studied Polish History at uni for 3 years. I don’t remember much now, that space in my brain has been replaced with html, seo and other online selling stuff, but  as we walk around this beautiful old history-filled city, bits and pieces come back to me. Somehow, pronunciation of Polish words has stayed with me, so while I probably don’t know what it means, I do know how to pronouce it!

We’re staying in an Airbnb apartment in Kazimierz, the Old Jewish Quarter, for 4 nights – here. Gorgeous old building, huge 2nd floor apartment with parquetry floors and high ceilings. There are 2 bars on the ground floor. The bars each have a ‘beer garden’ in the courtyard below our apartment, but they close at 10pm, so it’s not noisy. A couple of streets away it’s much more lively with the bars and eating places staying open until 3am.

The food choices here are amazing – from street food and a couple of empty corner blocks with 6 or 8 food trucks permanently parked there (and a handy Bankomat ATM at each site too!) to traditional Polish restaurants to a Michelin-starred French cafe just a couple of blocks down the street from where we’re staying. Between us so far we’ve eaten Belgian fries, kielbasa (Polish sausage) with sauerkraut & rye bread, French crepes, pulled pork rolls, Krakow pretzel with salami, tomato & cheese and rhubarb & apple crumble. I was initially a bit disappointed that there is no oven in the apartment, although there is a washing machine, and after the mess I made of the pulled pork roll, I think our Airbnb host has the right priorities!

We spent yesterday afternoon at Podgorsz, across the Vistula River from Kazimierz, visiting the Schindler Factory, the Pharmacy Under the Eagle and a short remaining stretch of the Ghetto Wall.



A bit more about Budapest, Hungary

There is as much interesting stuff to see on the Buda side of the city as there is on Pest. Yesterday we caught the metro across to Deli Pu, the last stop on the red line. The Deli train station is also there, and it’s a short but steep wall up to Castle Hill. Getting on the metro was a bit tricky – most of the smaller stations don’t have ticket sellers any more, just a machine. The first 2 we tried would not accept coins, only card payments, and of the 4 machines at the 3rd station we tried, only 2 accepted coins. We made sure we bought enough tickets to do us for the rest of the day.

Castle Hill is (of course!) on a hill overlooking The Danube and Pest. Impressive city walls, lots of museums, a few churches and HEAPS of touristy stuff and tourists. It was good, but after seeing the old towns in Zadar, Trogir and Dubrovnik, where real people actually live their lives, Castle Hill seemed a bit … um …. 2-dimensional, like a theatre stage with nothing behind it. The really ‘off’ moment for me was finding the Jamie’s Italian restaurant. Um, what’s a chain restaurant that doesn’t even serve regional food doing THERE? (apologies to any Jamie fans among our readers). I know, I know, it’s for the tourists.

The Royal Palace complex is also within the city walls, with more museums, the National Gallery which is currently featuring a Modigliani exhibition, statues and more great views of the river and Pest. We walked down to the river and towards the Liberty Bridge to get the metro back across the river, stopping at a cafe for lunch – the daily special for me (mushroom soup and crumbed chicken livers with rice & peas), crepes with strawberry jam and a milkshake for Greg.

Then 2 line changes on the metro to get to City Park, which is east of the city and our apartment. Originally royal hunting grounds, the park is a huge green space which was the main location for the city’s millennial celebrations in 1896. The Budapest Zoo, Municipal Great Circus, museums, the city’s largest thermal baths, an amusement park, monuments, cafes, restaurants and the list goes on. Just at the entrance to the park is Heroes’ Square with an empty coffin representing the unknown insurgents of the 1956 Uprising, with the Archangel Gabriel on top of a 36-metre high pillar, holding the Hungarian crown and a cross, and the very  impressive Military Monument with 14 statues of rulers and statesmen.

We walked back to the apartment along Andrassy Utica, with its beautiful mansions and townhouses, past theatres and the Terror House which pays tribute to the victims of the Nazi and Soviet regimes. We didn’t go in, I’m still scarred by our visit to the Apartheid Museum in Jo’burg last year.

Here’s a song, suggested by Margaret

The metro in Budapest
Matthias Church Castle Hill
Looking down over the Danube to Pest
City Park
Heros Square
Terror Museum
Victims of torture displayed outside the Terror Museum


Zagreb, Croatia

After our lovely morning wandering around the beautiful Plitvice Lakes, we drove to Croatia’s capital, Zagreb. Located in the north of the country, close to the Slovenian border, 140kms from Ljubljana, and about 80kms from the Hungarian border, population 800,000.

We drove the last 50kms to Zagreb on the autoceste and joined the huge queue of vehicles at the toll gate – it took us longer to pay the $4 toll than we spent driving on that stretch of road! We were late meeting our Airbnb host, but he wasn’t too fussed – he knows what the local traffic can be like, especially on a Friday afternoon! The apartment was close to the city centre, around the corner from the university and not far from the Botanic Gardens. After our parking woes in Dubrovnik, Greg made sure this one really did have parking on the premises, and it did …. but it was down a very narrow entryway through the building in front of our apartment block. As Greg said – it was probably the width of a standard horse-drawn carriage’s wheels!

Our 30-something host, Neven, lived in the apartment with his family when he was growing up, the family moved to their own places and the parents moved somewhere else and the apartment sat vacant for a while, then became Airbnb accommodation.It was a lovely mix of old and not-so-old – gorgeous parquetry floors, tiny 1960s kitchen, huge bedrooms with timber built-ins, very intricate modern front door lock, brand new front-loading washing machine purchased the day we arrived. Here it is so you can see some photos.

Neven is a computer software engineer and has developed a program for Airbnb hosts (and guests) to help them manage bookings and information. It’s called ‘MyRent’ and so far is only available in Croatia, but Neven is hoping to take it to ther countries as well. Wherever we stayed in Croatia, we had to show our passports – or a couple of times campgrounds would hold our passports overnight and give them back when we paid our bill. I don’t like letting my passport out of my sight and would have much preferred to prepay the bill.

We spent yesterday exploring Zagreb – in the morning we walked around to the local supermarket to get lunch and dinner. There was a small market outside the supermarket with a few stalls selling produce and others selling second-hand stuff. I could only get 2kg bags of potatoes at the supermarket, so bought just enough for dinner and a couple of leeks from one of the market stalls – total cost $2.  In the afternoon we walked to the Botanical Gardens and found a Wollemi Pine tree! Very exciting! We saw a tree in a cage and I said ‘heh, if we were at home, that would be a Wollemi Pine.’ And it was – a fine-looking 11 year old tree, about a metre tall.

Then into the main square in town, a stroll through the old town and past the cathedral which reminded us a lot of Burgos Cathedral in Spain and back to the apartment.  A nice day, our last in Croatia.

We’ve just arrived in Budapest, found our Airbnb apartment which will be ‘home’ for the next 3 days and will start exploring tomorrow.

more pictures on the photo pages as well here

Home made Pizza by Judy baked in the Zagreb apartment – very nice!
The local markets in Zagreb on Saturday morning
Lots of trams on lots of routes in Zagreb
Vegetables in the Zagreb Botanical Gardens
A Wollemi Pine in Zagreb Botanical Gardens
Zagreb Catherdral
Zagreg main square
Croatias favourite son Nicola Tesla (Nicola Tesla street)
Squeezing our way out of the parking area near the apartment in Zagreb



How to find Airbnb apartment Villa Svilokos, 13 Mljetska Ulica, Dubrovnik

We recently stayed at an Airbnb apartment in Dubrovnik – Villa Svilokos, 13 Mljetska Ulica, Dubrovnik.

We really enjoyed our stay at the apartment, which is comfortable, well-equipped and in a good location. The purpose of this post is to hopefully help any other guests avoid the problems we had with parking our car and finding the place. The information in the Airbnb listing is misleading – the apartment is located on a street which is not accessible to vehicles. In addition, there is no numbering on the property, although #11 and #15 do both have numbering.

At the time of writing this blog post, the Airbnb listing (here) still states that there is ‘Free parking on the premises’. This is totally wrong, and not only is it impossible to park on the premises, the closest street you can drive a car on is 200 metres away and down 65 steps, on Svetog Kriza Ulica. During the time we stayed there, we rarely saw any space to park a car along that street. DO NOT drive on Dura Basariceka Ulica, the street above Mljetska Ulica, it is impossible to park there and almost impossible to turn around. Also, there are at least 120 steps down from this street to Villa Svilokos.

If you can, try to find a parking spot as close to 19 Svetog Kriza Ulica as you can. Then walk up Lastovska Ulica and turn left onto Mljetska Ulica. Mljetska goes around a bend at Number 11, go up the lane to the first gate after Number 11, which is Number 13 although there is no numbering on it. The Airbnb apartment is just inside the gate, and the host’s father lives upstairs.

Once you have parked your car, leave it there and use public transport to get around Dubrovnik. Straight down the hill from Villa Svilokos is a bus stop which is opposite Hotel Petka. At least 4 buses (1A, 1B, 1C & 3) stop there and go to Pile Gate at Old Town. There is a good supermarket, Konzum, and a bakery nearby, close to the main bus station, which is also just down the road from the apartment.

This property is also newly listed on Booking.com, but in that listing the host states that parking is available at a nearby hotel’s car park for 20 Euros per day!