A Travellerspoint blog

Time to find out if Berlin is worth all the fuss....

With the warmer weather in Europe a thing of the past it was time to spend a few chilly days in Berlin before a quick trip back to the UK (for Schengen visa purpose) before chasing the sun again in Morocco.

My mode of transport to Berlin was something I never thought I would do when I was at home thinking about my trip, I guess it highlights how much you can change when travelling! So from Prue and Enrico’s place in Salzburg I got to Berlin using mitfargelegenheit which is a car sharing system. For 28 euros I was picked up from the Munich train station and dropped off a Aleah’s house in Berlin. I was very happy with how it turned out considering the train would have cost 150+ euros!

Everyone I spoke to always raved about Berlin so I was keen to see what all the fuss was about. And now I too am a Berlin lover. The city is so unique with such an amazing mixture of history, culture and a modern/alternative edge. During my time in Europe my interest in the war grew and Berlin was a great place to finish with. The holocaust memorial and the emotions it elicited will stay with me for ever. The concept of the wall and division of the city and country is so difficult to comprehend and to think that it still existed in my life time! I loved this aspect of Berlin!

I was able to stay with a Aleah for a few days too. It was great to catch up with her and meet a few of her friends and get a local’s perspective of the city. We had a unique experience of going to an illegal club/party in a warehouse in the middle of an industrial building area. Not my usual seen but a great experience!
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Em and I were also finally able to organise ourselves to be in the same city at the same time. Was fun to hung out and explore the city together, eating the best kebap in Berlin at Mustafa’s Gemuse Kebap and finding ourselves in the middle of an Occupy Berlin protest. I had 5 days in Berlin but could spend so many more there!! I will be back for sure.
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Originally I would have loved to stay in Europe and gone to the Netherlands or head to eastern Europe for the few days I had before my Morocco tour started but due to the lovely Schengen visa if I stayed any longer I might struggle to get back into Paris for my flight back home. So this meant I had to go back to the UK. Where to go was the question. Basically I close my eyes and pointed at the map and booked a flight to Bristol. So what to do when you are in this part of the world I asked my self
-Visit historic Bath: a very beautiful little town with the history of the Roman Baths. I think it’s best described as a very ‘Mumsy’ place.
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-Stone Henge: A quick half day trip out here, worth the visit and I was lucky enough to even have the sun show it’s lovely face whilst I was there (it had been pouring rain all day!)
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-Oxford: Now this would have been an amazing place to study. Not only is it gorgeous but the whole town is basically a university. I thought we had some crazy traditions at college but this was something else
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It was then back to sunny London for a few days. I was lucky enough to be able to stay with Roy again and Em was in London so I had someone to play with. This time around I was feeling tired and a little over being a tourist. I spent a bit of time just organising myself for Morocco and didn’t worry about running around trying to see the sights! It was nice to have a reunion dinner with a couple of the girls from Sail Croatia, can’t believe it had already been 2 and half months!
My last memory of London had been stressing me for the last few days I was there. I made a rookie error booking my flight to Marrakech. There was a cheap flight departing Heathrow at 7am, with a stopover in Madrid, Casablanca and finally on to Marrakesh taking 12 hours or a more expensive direct flight. I choose the cheap flight because money was starting to become tight and time wasn’t really a problem for me. The problem in lies in trying to get to Heathrow airport for a 7am flight, the tube isn’t running yet, a taxi would cost a fortune, the night bus would take 3 hours. It looked like I was going to have to spend the night sleeping in the airport (hotels were too expensive)! In the end I managed to avoid this by catching a taxi at 4.30am to Victoria station and then catching the first Heathrow express, a 40 pound exercise. By the time I arrived at my hotel it was 10pm London time. So the moral of the story is, don’t always be a tightarse with flights because you may end up worse off!

Posted by katea_b 21:00 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Oktoberfest, Alps Detox and Northern Italy Food Coma

KLB x2 + Prue begins!
I couldn't believe it was already time for Katie to arrive and time to head back to Salzburg. This part of the trip was very poorly organised from the word go and so as the date became nearer Prue and I were trying to put some sort of a plan together for a speedy holiday including Oktoberfest, The Alps, Switzerland and Northern Italy. Somehow (more good luck then good management) it all came together in the end and left us with some amazing memories!
So I decided to change things up a little for this blog. I hope you enjoy the visual experience!

First up was Oktoberfest! It was a great day out but one day is enough for me
It all starts with 'typical' Salzburg

It all starts with 'typical' Salzburg

Beautiful view over Salzburg with Enrico and Prue

Beautiful view over Salzburg with Enrico and Prue

Let the Oktoberfest day begin with a train trip to Munich at 8am

Let the Oktoberfest day begin with a train trip to Munich at 8am

After beer you must have the other staple...pretzel! Thanks to Uii (Enrico's friend) we had 30 of these for the train ride

After beer you must have the other staple...pretzel! Thanks to Uii (Enrico's friend) we had 30 of these for the train ride

We had a 'small' group with us (which lasted about 10mins once we actually arrived)

We had a 'small' group with us (which lasted about 10mins once we actually arrived)

Nice to see Prue is already looking every bit the Hausfrau!

Nice to see Prue is already looking every bit the Hausfrau!

The highlight of our day was wearing our Drindls (which we bought as a steal from NKD - only 32 euro!!)

The highlight of our day was wearing our Drindls (which we bought as a steal from NKD - only 32 euro!!)

We were so lucky to get inside a tent! Opening day and pouring rain made for tough competition

We were so lucky to get inside a tent! Opening day and pouring rain made for tough competition

Enrico and Katie. A few steins consumed = bigger smile :-)

Enrico and Katie. A few steins consumed = bigger smile :-)

I don't even like beer! So it has to be said that consumed more then my yearly quota of beer

I don't even like beer! So it has to be said that consumed more then my yearly quota of beer

The more steins you have the worse your sight becomes

The more steins you have the worse your sight becomes

What more could you want? Chicken, beer, drindl, seat in the beer hall and amazing company!

What more could you want? Chicken, beer, drindl, seat in the beer hall and amazing company!

Can you guess what Katie has hiding up her dress? This was her main mission of the day - accomplished!

Can you guess what Katie has hiding up her dress? This was her main mission of the day - accomplished!


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"Typical of the region" Everyone's favorite expression. So German!

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The German boys look healthy on the trip back to Salzburg. Long day

The German boys look healthy on the trip back to Salzburg. Long day

Everyone looked a little worse for wear on the 3hour train ride home at 1am. Long day!

Everyone looked a little worse for wear on the 3hour train ride home at 1am. Long day!

We had a slow start to the day post Oktoberfest and then it was off to Fiss to stay with Benny. Enrico's friend was working near Fiss that week so we were able to get a lift with him. The 4 of us squeezed into a tiny Fiat with all our luggage. It was a scary drive to say the least...we were all relieved when we arrived!! We spent the next 4 days hiking, eating, riding, eating and enjoy the amusement rides they have at the resort thanks to Benny and Thomas!
The view from Benny's house over the mountains after a rainy day was amazing! We loved the little Austrian villages

The view from Benny's house over the mountains after a rainy day was amazing! We loved the little Austrian villages

Feeling like kids in Fiss

Feeling like kids in Fiss

Benny's house was gorgeous! And we were treated like VIP guests during our 4 day stay in Fiss

Benny's house was gorgeous! And we were treated like VIP guests during our 4 day stay in Fiss

I love how neat the Austrians are!

I love how neat the Austrians are!

A day in the Alps including a hike and bike ride

A day in the Alps including a hike and bike ride

The rain didn't stop us from hiking!

The rain didn't stop us from hiking!

Horse riding in Fiss?

Horse riding in Fiss?

Katie and Prue perfected the art of jump photos! Not a bad location to do it either

Katie and Prue perfected the art of jump photos! Not a bad location to do it either

Hiking in Fiss. Austrians love hiking, we couldn't believe how many people we saw (walking with poles as well)

Hiking in Fiss. Austrians love hiking, we couldn't believe how many people we saw (walking with poles as well)

MTB! I loved being back on a bike (although I can't say the same for Katie...she was hating life)

MTB! I loved being back on a bike (although I can't say the same for Katie...she was hating life)

Prue is officially a European now!

Prue is officially a European now!

Decorations in Fiss. They have really done well with there summer tourism

Decorations in Fiss. They have really done well with there summer tourism

A break mid walk

A break mid walk

Prue relaxing at the Pregenzer house with some schnapps after a day full of rides and food in Fiss

Prue relaxing at the Pregenzer house with some schnapps after a day full of rides and food in Fiss

Typical Austrian dinner at the Pregenzer house (by the end I was a little sick of sausages!)

Typical Austrian dinner at the Pregenzer house (by the end I was a little sick of sausages!)

One of the many Austrian desserts Benny 'made us' sample in Fiss

One of the many Austrian desserts Benny 'made us' sample in Fiss

Thomas (13 years old) made us a delicious dessert (which he had learnt at school the week before). He was a great host

Thomas (13 years old) made us a delicious dessert (which he had learnt at school the week before). He was a great host

Katie was excited to see her favorite animal in the animal farm!

Katie was excited to see her favorite animal in the animal farm!

Prue felt at home with the pigs in Fiss

Prue felt at home with the pigs in Fiss

Note the smiles on our face prior to the ride. 5 minutes later Katie was screaming at us to let her down

Note the smiles on our face prior to the ride. 5 minutes later Katie was screaming at us to let her down

One of the summer rides we went on. Going backwards along the cable was by far the worst bit!

One of the summer rides we went on. Going backwards along the cable was by far the worst bit!

The 2km Rodelbarn was fun! The first time we all took it a little bit conservatively but not so much the second time!

The 2km Rodelbarn was fun! The first time we all took it a little bit conservatively but not so much the second time!

Our last dinner with Benny and Thomas (Karina was away but the boys did a great job of hosting us!)

Our last dinner with Benny and Thomas (Karina was away but the boys did a great job of hosting us!)

We cooked dessert for Benny and Thomas. I think we perfected the art of the giant ice cream cookie sandwich

We cooked dessert for Benny and Thomas. I think we perfected the art of the giant ice cream cookie sandwich

And we also managed a day trip to see Innsbruck. It was a nice little city and we had an amazing thai lunch (which was a welcome change of cuisine)
The cemetery is last thing you want to see when standing on top of the ski jump!

The cemetery is last thing you want to see when standing on top of the ski jump!

We said good bye to Benny and Austria and boarded the train for Switzerland. I have heard so many wonderful things about Switzerland, there are so many amazing places to visit. But as everyone knows it's really expensive so our visit was quick and on a tight budget. We had a couple of beautiful days in Zurich, hiking the mountain, riding along the river, browsing the chocloate and eating ice cream by the lake. Sadly apart from chocolate and the Movenpick icecream we didn't sample any good Swiss food!

The 3 of us agreed that Zurich was a very livable city (minus the cost of living). Although we w!ere all VERY under dressed

The 3 of us agreed that Zurich was a very livable city (minus the cost of living). Although we w!ere all VERY under dressed

The lake and river in Zurich were so clear! You can tell the mountains are close

The lake and river in Zurich were so clear! You can tell the mountains are close

After walk up The Uetliberg in Zurich. Beautiful views of the city, lake and then in the distance the Alps

After walk up The Uetliberg in Zurich. Beautiful views of the city, lake and then in the distance the Alps

Prue was off home to Salzburg after Zurich while Katie and I continued to Lugano. We couched surfed with a Swiss guy in Chaisso (last town in Swizterland before Austria). He was a nice enough guy but i'm not sure if it's a cultural thing or his personality but after 2 days Katie and I didn't have anymore questions left to ask him and he knew nothing about us. Having said that he was very kind to show us around Lugano and Como and as per usual said 'you need to visit in the summer' (everywhere I go people say this....it's hard when summer is only 3 months of the year :-)
Our view down to Lake Lugano

Our view down to Lake Lugano

By this stage we had given up trying to talk to Michael

By this stage we had given up trying to talk to Michael

Our afternoon hike in Lugano completed

Our afternoon hike in Lugano completed

Shame the cloud cover came over...we tried to appreciate the view all the same

Shame the cloud cover came over...we tried to appreciate the view all the same

Northern Italy was awaiting us and our first stop was Milan. No one we had spoken to had given Milan a good report so we went in with very low expectations. We met up with two different locals which we organised through couch surfing. Mirkel spent 4 hours giving us his tour of Milan which was amazing and really made our experience in Milan unique and Special. In the night we caught up with another Italian local who showed us a good place for aperitivo! And of course what sort of visit to Milan would be complete without a day of shopping
Katie and Mirkel wondering the streets of Milan

Katie and Mirkel wondering the streets of Milan

Katie spinning on Milans lucky bull balls

Katie spinning on Milans lucky bull balls

Mirkel showed us the best gelato shop in Milan and he was right! I voted it my number one gelato of the trip! Even Katie enjoyed it and she doesn't even like sweets

Mirkel showed us the best gelato shop in Milan and he was right! I voted it my number one gelato of the trip! Even Katie enjoyed it and she doesn't even like sweets

A very impressive aperitivo! 10 euro cocktail and then you can help yourself to all you can eat food. Another couching surfing guide showed us this place. Again having a local show you around is amazing!

A very impressive aperitivo! 10 euro cocktail and then you can help yourself to all you can eat food. Another couching surfing guide showed us this place. Again having a local show you around is amazing!

Tired after a fulls day shopping and 20km  of walking (there was a public transport strike so the metro was closed for the day - although in Milan's defense it was the most organised Italian city I have been too, they even have a bus timetable!)

Tired after a fulls day shopping and 20km+ of walking (there was a public transport strike so the metro was closed for the day - although in Milan's defense it was the most organised Italian city I have been too, they even have a bus timetable!)

It would seem Katie was an admirer in the kitchen

It would seem Katie was an admirer in the kitchen

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To end our trip we stopped by the famous city of Verona with a day trip to the Garda Lake. I'm glad we decided to go the the Lake, so pretty at the northern end! Verona it's self was very pretty but I was not a fan of the made up tourist business of Romeo and Juliet. We had a few good meals and wines here to end our Italian adventure
KLB x2 in Verona

KLB x2 in Verona

Garda Lake. We spent a day walking along the lake from Garda to Lazise, it was nearly hot enough to swim!

Garda Lake. We spent a day walking along the lake from Garda to Lazise, it was nearly hot enough to swim!

Katie enjoying aperol spritz during lunch at the Garda Lake (she was drunk after one glass)

Katie enjoying aperol spritz during lunch at the Garda Lake (she was drunk after one glass)

Katie wasn't disgusted by the tourist attraction of Romeo and Juliet but I was

Katie wasn't disgusted by the tourist attraction of Romeo and Juliet but I was

We thought this balcony was much nicer then the 'real' Juliette's balcony

We thought this balcony was much nicer then the 'real' Juliette's balcony

Our B&B in Verona. Katie was a little tired after our frustrating travel day

Our B&B in Verona. Katie was a little tired after our frustrating travel day

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Our last night in Verona was date night haha!

It was then back to Salzburg to see Enrico and Prue before Katie flew home. We were pretty excited to cook some food that didn't resemble German/Austrian/Italian cuisine too!
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Sushi train!
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Although Prue did manage to get one last German breakfast on the table!!

It was a busy but very fun 3 weeks of KLB x2 + Prue. Was sad to say goodbye to Prue and Enrico because i'm not sure when I will see them again (I guess I'll have to start planning my next trip)

Posted by katea_b 05:03 Archived in Austria Comments (0)

All Over Ireland

In a green bus

Ireland
After nearly 60 days of sunshine and warm weather I again packed my bags and headed for some place slightly cooler and slighter wetter, lovely Ireland! My rain jacket got a work out for the second time this trip as did all the winter clothes that I had been lugging around pointlessly for the last 2 months. I did a 6 day ‘All Ireland’ tour with Paddywagon and we packed a lot into this short time. Dublin, Derry, Belfast, Galway, Dingle and Killarney were all on the itinerary and my highlights/memorable moments were:

• Northern Ireland – I found the history fascinating and hard to comprehend at the same time. Learning about Bloody Sunday in Derry and then the Black Taxi tour of the Peace wall and political murals in Belfast were standouts for me.

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• Uncomfortable night in Belfast – Dirty and very cheap (5 pound) hostel called Paddy’s Palace. This hostel came with surprise items in your bed and topped off by a wakeup call from an unknown visitor shining his phone in my face at 5am claiming he was ‘a nice lad.’

• Morning run to a lake in the mountains (near Dingle) and not even getting rained on!

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• UNESCO sites and amazing scenery
o Giants Causeway (this time hearing the Irish version as opposed to the Scots)

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o Cliffs of Moher

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o Lunar landscape of the Burren – I have never seen anything like this

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o The coast line around Slea Head – even stopping for a quick swim (not me!)

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• Kissing the Blarney stone was memorable for the 1.5hours that we lined up for (and nearly missed the bus because of it). All that waiting meant we had great expectation on the experience and I can’t say it lived up to it!

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• Meeting a great bunch of Aussies, Kiwi’s, South Africans, Scots and an American aging from 19-35! And having a few fun nights out, in particular in Galway (apparently Ireland’s party capital)!

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• Realising that I am getting old. There were a few 19 year olds on the tour and they affectionately named me GAK (Great Aunt Kate)…now I know what ‘yolo’ means!

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Posted by katea_b 10:18 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Back to the beach before the Pyrnees

The French Riviera
Continuing on our journey, our destinations very much decided by the Busabout stops we were on our way to the French Riviera! We decided to try Airbnb in Nice and ended up staying in a cute little flat in the city hosted by an American who had been living in Nice for the last 8 years. I was so excited to finally have the opportunity to cook (and not look at a menu for once) so we dosed up on our iron stores with a steak and green salad! A day trip to Monaco was on the agenda, that place is in a league of its own, incredibly clean/orderly and filthy rich! In Nice we also caught up my Myra’s friend’s twin brother AJ and his mate Scot.

This is what I took away/learnt from the French Rivera
• Even in the most beautiful and richest places it can still look grey and miserable on a rainy day!
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• Some people have far too much money – window shopping for yachts, Ferraris and private jets isn’t something you can do everyday
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• You may have aspirations of going to Monaco to meet a rich husband but this may not work out exactly as you envisaged (like an invitation to go to India instead)
• Just because you are in a very rich country and you pay a lot for your food doesn’t mean it will be cooked. 5 euro for a Coke and 20 euro for a raw burger – thank you Monaco
• As an English speaking tourist you always seem to end up going out to English places e.g. ‘Waynes Bar.’ But we still managed to meet people where far too much of the conversation was lost in translation. There is only so many times you can try say Monaco/Monte Carlo with varying accents before you give up on a conversation!
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• If you order a litre of wine with dinner you may have a few bottles of liqueur placed on your table after dinner to sample as you please
I have to say we were pretty excited that our long trip (13hours) from Nice to Barcelona was our last trip on the bus! We spent one night in Barcelona, Myra’s first night in Spain where I introduced her to paella and Nesquick ice cream. Before Myra had to head home and back to the reality of working life we decided we should spend a few days relaxing on the beach in Spain. Trying to choose a place was difficult because a) we didn’t have much idea what places were like and b) we are girls and therefore it seems impossible for us to make a decision. We somehow finally booked a place in Tossa de Mar which turned out to be a fantastic decision (the other place we were looking at reminded us of the Gold Coast so we were glad we avoided this).
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Tossa de Mar
Tossa de Mar was a quaint little fishing town with a beautiful beach on the Costa Brava (about 70km north of Barcelona). Our two days there consisted of swimming, reading on the beach, shopping, eating paella and drinking sangria. A perfect combination for Myra to feel like she had some time to relax in her 4 week whirlwind trip!
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Barcelona (again)
Because my trip of Europe looks like someone has scribbled all over the map, it’s only fitting that I went back to Barcelona for the 3rd time! Again this was just a flying one night visit for me. This time however we stayed in an awesome hostel with AJ and Scott. Barcelona is famous for its nightlife and we were excited to spend a Saturday night on the town. It didn’t quite work out the way we planned, the Spanish go out much later then we are used to, clubs don’t even open til 1am. We had an amazing seafood paella and sangria for dinner which was probably the highlight of the night because we spent more time looking for places to go rather than being in places themselves. We stood in the line at Razzmatazz and decided the crowd wasn’t for us and we were squashed into the tiny 200 shot bar with the shortest men I have ever seen (Myra looked like a giant) but all in all we still had fun! The next morning I played the role of the Guadi tour guide (and for what I couldn’t remember from my tour in July I made up) and then it was time to say a sad goodbye to Myra! We had the best 4 weeks and weren’t even sick of each other which I think is an amazing feat in itself!

And then I was off the usual Europe trip path, heading to Andorra

My plans to visit Andorra had two purposes
1. To see the famous Pyrenees mountains and landscape
2. To get my passport stamped. The principality of Andorra is not in the Schengen area, therefore by spending time here it technically shouldn’t count in the 90/180 day Schengen rule
Unfortunately because I came by bus and they aren’t strict on passport control I didn’t get my passport stamped. However I didn’t regret my decision to spend 5 days by myself in Andorra, the mountain scenery was incredible!
A quick summary of my time in Andorra
• Shopping (window shopping) – Andorra is known for its duty free shopping. The capital Andorra La Vella feels like a giant version of an airport because every second shop is selling cigarettes, perfume, alcohol or watches/sunglasses!
• I was shocked to see you could still smoke indoors and Tabaco companies can still advertise on billboards
• Accommodation: I spent the first and last night in a hotel in town and the other nights in a hostel 4km out of town up a mountain. I was basically the only one in the hostel which was like a school camp and it was a 45min hike to get into town!
• The highest golf course in Europe – at 2250m. Sadly they didn’t have any smefty golf clubs so I couldn’t play
• Day hikes – I caught the bus out of Andorra La Vella to some of the smaller towns (Arinsal and Soldeu) and did a few hiking trips. I loved the landscape of the Pyrenees and was shocked by how steep some of the ‘green’ hiking trials were. I have never walked up something so steep in my life, I thought my calves were going to explode!
• I can’t wait to go back there in winter and go skiing!!!
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Posted by katea_b 00:41 Archived in France Comments (0)

Itinerant in Italy

And now it is Italy! This also means it’s time for the waist line to expand no thanks to the pizza, pasta and of course daily/bi-daily (and maybe once 3 times per day) gelato stops!

Venice
We had a short but sweet stop in Venice which suited me fine because I had been there only 2 years ago. Although the place looks so different when it’s packed with tourists in high season compared to the ghost town feel in January! A quick point summary of our day
• Accommodation: It was nice to stay on Venice island its self with a view of a canal from our room but seriously the Italians need to learn how to condition the air! One tiny desk fan just isn’t going to cut it in a heat wave! Let’s just say it was a night of multiple cold showers!
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• A whirl wind day –Shopping/walking/Guggenheim: Our day was spent shopping (Bec knows how to shop) and as all must do in Venice, go wondering and lose yourselves in the puzzle works of the streets! We also managed to fit an ‘express tourist’ (my favourite kind) visit to the Guggenheim museum.
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• Stalker boys: We knew the English boys from Bled were going to be in Venice and we were going to try catch up with them for dinner on our second night. ‘Coincidently’ as we were walking out of the checking-in location for our hotel at 11pm they boys happened to be walking past. What are the chances?
• Gelato/highlight: Being our first day in Italy and the sweltering heat wave of course it was appropriate to stop for a gelato. I went for a scoop of Nutella and one of hazelnut which would prove to be the BEST gelato of the trip!
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Rome
Our journey from Venice to Rome took about the same time it takes for you to get from Australia to Dubai! We were up at 6am for our 20min walk over the many bridges and through the weaving streets of Venice to bus station. A short bus ride across the bridge was then followed by a 2km walk to the Busabout pick up spot for a 8am departure. Busabout loves it’s ‘service stops’ so travel takes a little longer then if you were driving yourself. We pulled into the drop off point in Rome at 6.30pm. Myra and I had booked to stay in Trastevere so this meant we had to catch 2 more local buses. Italians being Italians means the timetable system for public transport is non-existent. After waiting 45mins the bus finally arrived and we only had to walk for another 15mins before we reached our ‘hotel’ at 8pm. The memorable days of travel
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When you are travelling/planning to travel you always ask people’s opinions of places to visit. Rome hadn’t received the best ratings, so basically I was expecting a big, hot, disorganised, cat infested and slightly dirty city and for the most this was correct. But I found it to be such a fascinating city for so many reasons
• The Romans were an unbelievable force! It’s so hard to fathom what they were able to achieve and how they treated other people. I knew very little of Roman history, so there was a lot to take in
• Roming tours:
1. Ancient Rome with some added American humour (so not overly funny): This tour was all about seeing the sites and learning all about the Roman Empire. This was taken be an American history graduate, who had been living in Rome for 4 years because basically this was the only place in the world where his major of Roman history could possibly useful for a fulltime job (and as a pick up line)
2. Vatican City: a very long hot day around and inside the Vatican. We were given a very ‘academic’ opinion of Christian history (luckily there were no Catholics on the tour)! My highlight was the roof of St. Pauls Basilica, Michelangelo had amazing skills to be able to paint that perspective on such a large scale !
• We got our tourist on at the Spanish steps, Parthenon and the Tivoli fountain. I find the people watching almost more interesting than the sights themselves!
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• The Colosseum was my favourite sight. The reason why it was built, the sheer size of the place and to hear the stories of what went on there are fascinating, so different to now days but at the same time so similar!
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• And of course me being me I need to mention something food related. Check out this amazing Panini we had right outside the Vatican
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Florence
Another day on the bus awaited us for our journey through Tuscany to the leather capital of Italy, Florence. Once again I had already visited this city so I was looking forward to having a couple of days off trying to see every sight possible in a city and we enjoyed some relaxing days wondering the city, eating gelato and having picnic lunches!
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• Accommodation: This place took the cake for the worst accommodation of the trip. The wet dog smell was off putting, the hairs all over the bathroom sink and floor were a little sickening but the black hairs on the towel were the real winner. (We chose not to look too closely at the beds)
• Night bike tour with an ice cream stop – sums me up very well!
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• Florence delivered some of the best food we had in Italy (although the pictures don’t look overly appetizing)
o Hazelnut ice cream – a new favourite.
o Trip advisor treated us well in recommending the best sandwich place in Florence, a tiny wine bar with amazing panni’s, I love prosciutto!
o And a lovely little family run restaurant were the homemade pasta was to die for and there seemed to be a bottomless basket of bread (which is a very dangerous thing when Myra and I are involved)
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Cinque Terre
The last stop in Italy was definitely one of my highlights! Cinque Terre was such a beautiful and a unique place to visit. I was so excited for the walk and it exceeded my expectations in both the scenery and difficultly of the walk! I took a photo blog of our walk which I think gives a fantastic idea of what it was like!
These are a few of the things that made our time in Riomaggiore and Cinque Terre unforgettable
• Accommodation – A few people told us to stay in Riomaggiore which was great advise. Perfect to start the walk from the end town and not nearly as touristy as Monterosso. We had a cute little room with a balcony view of the town and ocean.
• Dinner (take away homemade pasta in a little box), strawberries and wine on the balcony watching the sunset. We joked at how romantic it was!
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• Our day hiking the Cinque Terre. We had decided to walk the detour up the mountain instead of taking the train (because of the landslide in November last year part of the trial was closed). This was up hill and Myra wasn’t so happy about it but it was definitely worth it in the end! I love playing mountain goat
• Swimming in Monterosso at the end of our hike to wash of all the dust and dirt was the perfect end to the day! Myra was so excited to be in the ocean for the first time of her trip!
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Thanks Italy. We had the most amazing time! I’ll be back (in about a months time)

Posted by katea_b 11:52 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

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