Zen Recreations

Christmas in the Czech Republic is now a lavish affair, with what seems like every town trying to outdo the other in the amount of outdoor decorations they put up and the size of their tree in the local square. Who cares, of course, as long as it all looks nice and there’s plenty of piping hot mulled wine to drink while you’re enjoying the Yuletide festivities. Typically, you have a month to enjoy it, because the season begins on the fourth Sunday prior to the big day. The countdown is still traditionally marked using an advent’s wreath with placeholders for four candles. The first Sunday you light one candle, the next two, then three, until it’s the final Sunday and all four candles are burning, meaning you’re just days away from that “most wonderful time of the year”.

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The coming of spring in the Czech Republic is a time of sports. The gyms and indoor pools are full of people trying to work off winter flab, which pretty much applies everywhere. But here sports takes on an almost fanatical edge. First and foremost is the bike, and the sunnier days and drier roads mean’s it’s time to haul it up out of the basement, pump up the tires, oil the chain, and check the brakes. It’s not just gone after that because you still have to put on an outfit that suggests more than a passing reference to the Tour de France, and map out what’s going to be an all-day adventure. This is a mountainous region, so all the ups and downs have to be taken into account when you’re planning to do fifty kilometers or more. That’s just the inaugural ride of the season. After that, it gets to around a hundred or better in some cases. What motivates people to undertake these grueling trials are the benefits:

excellent physical conditioning, drop-dead views, and stops at all the beer gardens on the way.

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Summer ’17 means Euro music festivals; they’ve already gotten under way, but there are opportunities to jump in now for some of the best fun to be had this year! If you’d be satisfied with a nice beach and some mildly scenic eye candy, well then head over to Montenegro’s beaches for a little Adriatic awesomeness anyway. But, baby! There’s so much more!

The world-famous (and enormous) EXIT music festivals are hitting the beach, too, with the Sea Dance landing beachside in Budva in mid-July. What a gas, right? But you jump over to the festival website and get hit with the news that hotels are sold out. Downer? Serious bummer?

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For this year’s big getaway, may we propose a something quietly different? How about “unique + calm + touristy + history”? All these are available in Herceg Novi, and summer is the time to relax and absorb all those time-off things you want to indulge in; shopping and sightseeing gives way to munching and sipping on something entirely new and different. But your Secret Sauce for this adventure is to top it all off with moments of serenity you just can’t find anywhere else.

Unique even among historical sites, the still-functioning Savina monastery compound houses two churches called the “Church of the Dormition” and a third church named after Saint Sava. Savina will provide a dose of calm that (according to some records) dates back to 1030 A.D., and the churches house some of the most important religious relics in existence, including the Crystal Cross of St. Sava, dating from the 13th century. The churches have undergone significant renovations and now represent some of the best Baroque architecture still in use and some of the best preserved frescos predating the Renaissance.

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  Posted Tuesday, July 25, 2017 at 3:38pm by Zen Recreations

Kotor City For Groups

Enchanted by the idea of a special European getaway? The best stopovers are the ones gaining popularity with experienced travelers and we have one for you: Montenegro is a country that’s equal parts convenient, affordable and quintessentially European. And of the many hidden gems there, this gem of Montenegro is the tiny city of Kotor.

This charming “hidden” city is a real treasure of the Adriatic! Thousands of years old and sheltered by beautiful mountains, the Old City is home to marinas and stunning water-side views, too. Charm, history, welcoming people and majestic scenery combine where ancient architecture meets modern conveniences along streets you simply won’t find anywhere else.

Homey and full of flavor, but just a short drive from beaches, awesome national parks, and cities.

Montenegro is getting popular for superb scenery, great travel bargains, a thriving art scene,  a real Unesco Jewel meandring down the cobbled streets and fantastic things to do, Kotor is your perfect place to call home base while you’re here.

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                                                                                                                                          “Lost, but not Really” ……………….. ;-)     

The Old Town in Kotor is a sightseer’s paradise jammed into the old fortified area of town, meaning an hour’s walk will take you to several neato spots if that’s all you want to do. And it’s all pretty good stuff! A little calm meandering will fulfill your tourist needs with regard to all things historical, certainly, and along the way there are opportunities aplenty for shopping, snapping photos, grabbing snacks or taking in a full meal.

But you will absolutely hit the scenic jackpot if you can stand to put a half a day into it, or hit the city on more than one day; there is a LOT to see, shop, eat and drink along the way!

Low season can be a great time to visit if you don’t a little bit mind cooler weather. You might enjoy walking around without getting drippy, you’ll certainly save cash and there just won’t ever be any crowds at all after summer winds down.

 

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The Day of the Dead is Worth a Solid Week this Year!

Party traveller? Fun seeker? Anthropologist in search of the most interesting human behavior on the planet? Prepare to book a full week of travel if at all feasible!

Friend, you might as well plan that much of a party trip because this year’s most fantastic holidays fall dead in the middle of the week (pun intended). Besides, what could be better than celebrating intensely on all three official los Días de los Muertos holiday days?? We’re not joking. You’ll need a day to get ready (of course) and you’ll definitely need time to recuperate!

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  Posted Tuesday, January 16, 2018 at 10:44am by Zen Recreations

The Montenegro Calendar of Fun

Year ‘round, the natives of Montenegro work play hard to enjoy everything! As the Montenegrin search for a great time is pretty constant, perhaps the French phrase “joie de vivre” could be best translated as “Montenegro, any time and all the time”. This little seaside country serves up a full-time joy for life at every turn:

Food: How about “tasty and amazing food influenced by cultures North, South East and West?” Step out for food in any town and you’ll find something different and delicious.

Scenery: Well, that’s built in – and amazing! Ancient cities, modern amenities, mountains, enormous parklands, beaches, rivers… all here, all fantastic. From some spots you can see all those things at the same time!Beer and wine: Beer is more than a hobby here (it’s a way of life) and given that the land and climate are *perfect* for viniculture, wine holds center stage quite often as well.

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December – March   Hot Winter in the Hills

Vrela Zima u Brdima

This is a long-running (constantly “on”) festival that runs in many individual venues throughout the northern region of Montenegro. Culture, art and entertainment events are featured in shows, music events, parties, café gatherings and ski and sports events. Special musical guests make appearances to highlight the fun and events throughout the region.

Hot Winter in the Hills events are held in the towns of Kolasin, Zabljak, Niksic, Rozaje, Berane, and Cetinje, as well as on the slopes and ski paths of Durmitor, Bjelasicam Sinjajevin and more.Durmitor national park is a world heritage site, formed by glaciers and sliced by rivers and underground streams: along the Tara river canyon, which has the deepest gorges in Europe, there are dense pine forests and clear lakes.

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February (1st week) St. Tryphon Festival – Kotor

A feast in honor of Kotor’s patron saint, the festival of St Tryphon is held in early February and has been a Kotor tradition for more than a thousand years.

According to tradition, a dedicated detachment of the Navy of Boka performs a special Kolo dance in front of the Cathedral, accompanied by bands from Kotor and Tivat. (The group is a folk dance troupe with ties going back to a medieval seafaring and defense organization.)

 

 

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