A Brief Stop in Bosnia

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This is last post of fourteen on our trip to Northern Ireland and Croatia, minus our mini Game of Thrones tour. Those posts can be found here.

During our trip in Croatia, Mr. Selfish, Cousin Selfish, and I had the opportunity to visit Bosnia. After we spent the day at Plitvice Lakes National Park, we stopped by Bihać to walk around and have dinner. Then, during our drive from Split to Dubrovnik, we had to pass through Bosnia, so we stopped by Agrotourism Matusko for a farm-to-table lunch near Neum, Bosnia.

Bosnia

Bosnia definitely had an entirely distinct feel from Croatia. Whereas Croatia was expensive and overly touristy, Bosnia felt like a place where people actually lived and worked. Everything was certainly cheaper in Bosnia, including food and gas. I wish that we had spent more time in Bosnia but that will have to wait for another trip.

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Walking the Wall in Dubrovnik

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This is post thirteen of fourteen on our trip to Northern Ireland and Croatia, minus our mini Game of Thrones tour. Those posts can be found here.

As Mrs. Selfish mentioned yesterday, Dubrovnik has an unreal, Disney-esq feeling to it – so much so that I half expected them to pipe in music at any moment.

While this is partially due to the influx of shops and tourist traps within the wall, it is mostly due to the fact that the city walls are so well preserved. I mean, look at this thing.

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While Dubrovnik has been around since the 7th century, the walls were constructed over the course of five centuries and were largely finished by the 17th century. They turned out to be a beautiful necessity, as Dubrovnik made many enemies on its rise to prominence as a maritime republic. At its peak in the 15th and 16th century it even rivaled the power of Venice.

The walls were used for defensive purposes as recently as the early 1990’s when Dubrovnik was under siege by the Yugoslavian army, but these days they’re more of a tourist attraction than anything else.

At 20 feet thick and 80 feet high in some places, walking the wall is a great way to get a stellar view of Dubrovnik’s old town.

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The Jewel of the Adriatic: Dubrovnik

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This is post twelve of fourteen on our trip to Northern Ireland and Croatia, minus our mini Game of Thrones tour. Those posts can be found here.

Mr. Selfish and I have been to our fair share of medieval cities, but we have never been in awe of how beautiful a city is until Dubrovnik.

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I mean, it is ridiculous how amazingly well-maintained Dubrovnik is. It felt practically Disney-esque in its perfection. I half expected to turn a corner and find Mickey Mouse signing autographs. Fortunately, there were no mascots to be found.

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Let’s Never Split

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This is post eleven of fourteen on our trip to Northern Ireland and Croatia, minus our mini Game of Thrones tour. Those posts can be found here.

After spending a few nights in Zadar and Plitvice Lakes National Park, Mr. Selfish, Cousin Selfish, and I headed to Split. We arrived during nighttime and had a stressful time dropping off the rental car (parking on a hill in a manual car is never fun). Nevertheless, once we entered the city proper, our worries melted away. The city itself was beautiful.

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Falling for Picturesque Plitvice

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This is post ten of fourteen on our trip to Northern Ireland and Croatia, minus our mini Game of Thrones tour. Those posts can be found here.

From Zadar Mrs. Selfish, Cousin Selfish and I rented a car and drove 3 hours north to the Plitvice Lakes National Park. The park is one of the most famous sites in Croatia, and is a UNESCO world heritage site.

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It’s pretty easy to see why.

The Plitivice Lakes National Park is located toward the center of Croatia, near the Western border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. It’s one of Croatia’s larger tourist attractions, so be prepared for crowds.

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Mrs. Selfish, Cousin Selfish, and I arrived at the park at 7am – just before sunrise. At that hour the park was practically empty except for a group of Japanese tourists.

We parked our rental car and paid the admission fee of 180 kuna (~$28 USD) per person then rushed ahead to the large falls. At that time in the morning the falls were serene, and for a short time we didn’t see anyone else as we walked around.

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Azure Waters Await at Kornati National Park

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This is post nine of fourteen on our trip to Northern Ireland and Croatia, minus our mini Game of Thrones tour. Those posts can be found here.

When Mrs. Selfish and I originally planned our trip to Croatia we had looked into taking a ferry from Split to Dubrovnik in order to visit some of Croatia’s lovely island cities. This quickly nixed that plan, since we were already visiting 8 cities during this trip, which was already more fast travel than I would have liked.

The Adriatic Sea is known for its beautiful islands and azure waters, however, so we started looking into daytrips when we stumbled upon the Kornati National Park.

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Heating Up in Zadar

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This is post eight of fourteen on our trip to Northern Ireland and Croatia, minus our mini Game of Thrones tour. Those posts can be found here.

After spending many cold days in Northern Ireland, Mr. Selfish and I met up with Cousin Selfish in Croatia where it was consistently sunny and hot. After wearing so many layers of clothes, it felt a little odd breaking out the shorts and tank tops, but they were definitely needed in the blazing heat of Croatia.

Our first stop in Croatia was Zadar, which is the fifth largest city in Croatia. The city is right on the Adriatic Sea coastline.

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Singing the Blus in Dublin & Letterkenny

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This is post seven of fourteen on our trip to Northern Ireland and Croatia, minus our mini Game of Thrones tour. Those posts can be found here.

Mrs. Selfish and I have a pretty clear hierarchy when it comes to hotel preferences: Hyatt, Hilton/Starwood/Marriott, IHG, other.  There are admittedly a ton of great hotels out there, but I’m pretty cheap when it comes down to it. I mean, why pay for a good (or even a great) hotel when you can get it for free?

Unfortunately, Northern Ireland wasn’t exactly swimming in hotel options, so I decided to try a new program: Club Carlson.

Mrs. Selfish and I each got the Club Carlson business cards back in the summer of 2013 because the sign-up bonus was decent: Gold status (which meant free internet & breakfast) 80,000 Club Carlson points and 40,000 on each anniversary. The real kicker, however, was the card’s #1 feature: redeem one award night, and get a second one free!

Since we were doing a lot of fast travel in Ireland, I decided to give Club Carlson a whirl, so I booked us for two nights in the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Dublin and two nights in the Radisson Blu Letterkenny.

The Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Dublin

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Hiking Glenveagh National Park

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This is post six of fourteen on our trip to Northern Ireland and Croatia, minus our mini Game of Thrones tour. Those posts can be found here.

Mrs. Selfish and I drove from Port Stewart, Northern Ireland to Letterkenny, Ireland where we spent 2 nights at the Radisson Blu Letterkenny.

During our Selfish Year we completed an 8 day drive around the west and south of the Republic of Ireland, missing the north altogether, so we resolved to check out the north western side on this trip. After scouring the internet for things to do on that side of the country, Mrs. Selfish settled on the beautiful Glenveagh National Park.

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The Land of Giants and the Northernmost Point in Ireland

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This is post five of fourteen on our trip to Northern Ireland and Croatia, minus our mini Game of Thrones tour. Those posts can be found here.

Although we didn’t have the amazing sunny weather that we had in Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland was absolutely beautiful. In fact, while we were visiting, there was an epic storm due to some hurricane in the U.S. that was wrecking havoc on the northern coastline.

As a result, the weather was tumultuous and varied from torrential rain to cloudy to brief glimmer of sunshine. Mr. Selfish and I tried to hold out for the brief glimmers of sunshine but we weren’t always the best at predicting when it would occur. There were certainly times when we got caught in torrential downpour.

Below is one of the instances, in which we got lucky with the sunshine:

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This is Dunluce Castle, and although it looks quite scenic on the coast, it is mostly in ruins. We didn’t go in; we just snapped some photos when the sun came out briefly. This is because we were trying to ensure that we had some sunshine at Giant’s Causeway, which was our next stop.

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Chasing Scully: Staying at the Hilton Belfast

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This is post four of fourteen on our trip to Northern Ireland and Croatia, minus our mini Game of Thrones tour. Those posts can be found here.

Mrs. Selfish and I drove for 6 hours from Dublin to Belfast, taking the long way (the drive normally takes an hour or so) during our Game of Thrones tour.  Since we were traveling during peak tourist season, I tried to have us stay in as many chain hotels as possible to mitigate our costs for the trip.

While I normally like to stay at Hyatt hotels, they don’t have much of a footprint in Ireland (though that is changing, with the opening of a Park Hyatt in Dublin this year), so Mrs. Selfish and I fell back on Hilton.

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Bubblin’ in Dublin: Dublin Eats

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This is post three of fourteen on our trip to Northern Ireland and Croatia, minus our mini Game of Thrones tour. Those posts can be found here.

During our stay in Dublin during the Selfish Year, we enjoyed some tasty food. This time around, Mr. Selfish and I figured that we would enjoy some new eats. However, when we asked our cabbie from the airport for food recommendations, he immediately recommended Leo Burdock for fish and chips. So we decided to go back. It was just as good as last time. The fish and chips were perfectly crispy and well-seasoned.

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I think we’ll have to make it a tradition to eat here every time we visit Dublin.

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Recovering from Jetlag in Dublin: Dublin Castle and Trinity College

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This is post two of fourteen on our trip to Northern Ireland and Croatia, minus our mini Game of Thrones tour. Those posts can be found here.

After back-to-back red-eye flights, Mr. Selfish and I landed in Dublin. We were exhausted, me in particular due to the pregnancy. We spent two nights in Dublin and took it pretty easy since we had already been. Of course, last time, we only searched the city for the best pint of Guinness. This time, we figured we would hit up some of the sights.

Dublin Castle: Inside, Out, and Underneath

The first place we visited was Dublin Castle, which was largely completed by 1230. Most of the original construction has not survived, other than the Record Tower (photos below). Today, Dublin Castle is a major Irish government complex.

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Intro to Northern Ireland & Croatia

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This is post one of fourteen on our trip to Northern Ireland and Croatia, minus our mini Game of Thrones tour. Those posts can be found here.

Since Mrs. Selfish is a huge fan of Game of Thrones, I decided to plan a trip for her birthday that would two new locations for us: Northern Ireland and Croatia. The trip spanned 18 days, which would have made for one MASSIVE trip report, so we decided to break it up into two separate trip reports for the sake of simplicity.

If you are interested in our Game of Thrones tour, you can find that report here. Otherwise, this trip report will cover the other things we saw and ate in Northern Ireland, Croatia, and Bosnia.

This trip was INSANE. Seriously crazy. For starters, we kicked off the trip with TWO REDEYES. Yeah. Two.

On US Airways, no less, not on a fancy European, Asian, or Middle Eastern carrier.

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First we flew from San Francisco to Charlotte on a redeye, landing in that city at 8 the following morning. After getting 5 hours of sleep at the Hyatt Place Charlotte, we ate our weight in Carolina BBQ before boarding our 7pm flight to Dublin.

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From there we made our way to the Radisson Blu Dublin, which I booked with 44,000 Club Carlson points for 2 nights. We spent 2 days trying to shake 8 hours of jetlag, hitting old favorites and new sites alike.

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The ever-so-swanky buffet at the Radisson Blu Dublin.

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Day 6 in Croatia: From King’s Landing to Qarth to the House of the Undying

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This is the final post of seven posts on the Selfish’s customized Game of Thrones tour.  Check out the other posts here:

Mr. Selfish and I saved Dubrovnik for our last stop in our Game of Thrones tour. Dubrovnik is the current filming location for King’s Landing and formerly provided the sets for Qarth and the House of the Undying. We knew that it would be the pinnacle of our GoT tour, and we weren’t disappointed.

Looking for Tyrion in King’s Landing

Even though Malta was the filming location for King’s Landing in season 1 of GoT, Dubrovnik has been King’s Landing since seasons 2 forward.

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Although there’s a lot of CG going on in the two above stills, you can still see Dubrovnik all over it. It’s such a beautiful walled city.

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