Rome!! What a beautiful city! Getting sick of me saying that? Well get used to it! Stunning architecture that dates back thousands of years, just incredible. Ever watched the movie Gladiator? I highly recommend watching it before entering the colosseum, really gives you the atmosphere of what it used to be like back in those days.
Trevi fountain is amazing, but like any massive tourist destination it is ridiculously busy and difficult to take a good pic. Go first thing in the morning, earlier the better. Italians like a lazy morning, it should be quieter as nothing will be open. Same deal with the Spanish Steps.
Florence was a short visit, one night. We did a walking tour through the streets and saw some great sights. We had a leather demonstration (showing you how you can tell if it's real or fake) and explaining how they make a few pieces. We had a short visit to the all famous leaning tower of Pisa! Surprisingly it was pretty tricky to take a good photo with the tower, as you weren't allowed on the large space of grass right in front of it. Talk about working the angle.
We had a great included dinner, with the choice of pizza or pasta (is there any other choice in Italy?)
Before we hopped on the bus to go Rome we hit the street markets and picked up a few bargains, after we bartered them down first that is. If you have never been in a situation where you have had to negotiate the price it can be quite confronting. Luckily for me I've been to Thailand and Bali and am used to bargaining it down. They will usually start at nearly 3 times too much, just stay strong and you'll get it cheaper.
5 June 2017
Anyone I had talked to that had gone to Venice before warned me of the dirtiness of the place, and told me that the canals stunk and were really gross. I didn't find it dirty at all. The water was a greeny colour and you could see at least a metre down, I was expecting browny/black by their description. The gondola ride wasn't as amazing as I anticipated. We didn't have the best rower, he barely spoke and when we asked him if he could sing he replied 'can you?' So that was that. The ride itself was quite relaxing and scenic, but also quite short, and for €20 I probably wouldn't do it again.
The food holy shit!!! Amazing! We had a traditional Italian pizza, tomato, cheese and rocket salad. Perfecto! Quick tip - they charge an extra 12% if you eat in the restaurant rather than taking it to go. And of course topped it off with incredible gelato! Coconut, hazelnut and strawberry flavoured.
If you ever need a mask for an event they are everywhere! Not too pricey either, €2.50 I got mine
3 June 2017
Monaco is all about the glitz and glam. It is the 2nd smallest country in the world and attracts the rich and wealthy. We stopped off at the world famous Monte Carlo casino, which was €10 entry, and minimum €27 for a drink! So it was safe to say we did not stay long. Although we did find a beautiful roof top cafe where we have frappucinos and ice teas. We had a fantastic view of the coast line and watched expensive farraris and Lamborghinis zoom past us on a road with the tightest hair pin bend, basically doing a u-turn on the street, it was nuts. I can see why we only did a day visit in this country, because a few nights there and we would be broke already!
Monaco it was a pleasure, and I'll see you when I become a billionaire 💁🏼💰
2 June 2017
France I'm back! And this time I'm in Nice. Another beautiful city in Europe I can now tick off. The beaches here are stunning with clear blue water and no waves, so you can float on a blue paradise all day long. Except there are no long stretches of sand on the shores like there are in Australia, but lots of grey pebble rocks. Which makes it very difficult to walk in and out of the water without stumbling like a drunk person.
You can walk up Le Parc Du Chateau, for amazing views of the coast line and the city. There are awesome places to eat and get an ice cream/gelato on the beach. Also they are famous for their seafood here! Mussels galore!! I think I'm in heaven.
Regret not doing parasailing here! We didn't look into it that much as we assumed it would be expensive, but apparently you can do it for €40, which is roughly $60 Australian. If I had known I would've done it, but alas only had one day in Nice and by the time I had found out the price the day was nearly over. Next time
31 May 2017
...chance it'll get taken. And anything you leave behind at our hostel, make sure we lock it away in a safe or suitcase with a passcode or lock because things have been taken out of rooms before... sometimes by the staff that work there. 😐 Walking home after a night out last night I was so so thankful that we went in a big group with guys and girls. Those streets at night are a scary place to be. We were approached at least 8 times by different men asking us where we were going for the night, if we wanted a drink, to go to a club, if we didn't have guys in our group I really think we would've been in trouble.
I also thought there was a lot more to do and see here. There is a church called Sagrada Familia, that was designed by the famous architect Gaudi. There is also Park Guell, also designed by Gaudi, that has beautiful views of the city.
I don't know what I was expecting of Barcelona really, but it's not on my list of places I want to come back to. I'm glad I can now tick it off
Expectations are a funny thing. Personally I think expectations ruin experiences. Whether you expect something to be amazing and it isn't and you're disappointed. Or it is, but that's what you were expecting anyway so it's not that exciting. What I'm trying to say is just don't create assumptions of things before you try them, just go with an open mind and you'll enjoy everything way more.
So I expected Barcelona to be amazing. I put it on a pedestal of places I always wanted to visit. Mainly because I had seen it in movies (and you know everything in movies is realistic) and it looked beautiful and colourful and vibrant! But when we arrived I was slightly disappointed. It was pretty dirty, A LOT of homeless in the streets, a lot of beggers and a lot of dodgey pick pocketers and scammers. We have been warned by our tour guides more than once to not put ANYTHING in your pockets. And don't bring anything with you out on the streets that you don't absolutely need, cause there's a good..
28 May 2017
Biggest regret whilst in Switzerland! Was only there for one full day and spent it going up to Jungfrau (which is definitely not the regretful part because that trip was amazing!!) BUT I really wish I had an extra day or two to explore! Apparently there are some amazing hikes up the mountains that lead to beautiful waterfalls and stunning views! And I totally regret not having enough time to see more! Hikes are totally my thing, I don't claim to be extremely fit or anything, but I love a good hike and a good view 👌🏼
Another activity I wish I had the time to do here in Switzerland is white river rafting. Apparently it's a must do whilst in the Swiss alps and looks like so much fun. Will definitely have to add it to the bucket list for my next time round Europe.
And no I did not get a topless photo at the top of the snowy mountains, might just have to do that on my next trip also. 😉
Switzerland you beautiful country you! When I heard that my tour was going to Lauterbrunnen in the Swiss Alps I was not overly excited. Actually less than excited, I hate the cold. My experiences in cold weather have never been the best. Ice skating is a big fear, and wearing a hundred layers of clothing isn't my idea of a good time, I come from the Gold Coast for goodness sake. But my god I could not have been more wrong about this place. It is breathtakingly beautiful. One of, if not the most, stunning place I have ever stayed at in my life. Waking up in a valley surrounded by mountains, waterfalls and snow covered hills is just the most magical experience. We took the train up to Jungfraujoch, where there was a beautiful ice palace filled with ice sculptures, a stunning view point of the snow covered mountains and of course snow activities like snowboarding, skiing and tabbogoning. It was so high up and sunny that the snow was blinding and you can get seriously sunburnt up there.
27 May 2017
Really mad at myself for not bringing a book along on this trip. We are doing so much travelling, 9 hour bus trip we're doing today to Switzerland from Paris and I have absolutely nothing to read! I could finish two books by the end of this trip, maybe 3 depending on how big. I don't particularly like reading off a phone or iPad for long periods of time, it's bad for your eyes and gives me headaches. Plus the wifi that the itinerary promises is limited to 16gb per person for the whole 21 days. So yeah Instagram is out of the picture to pass the time. I guess I'll just play sudoku and take in as much of the country side as I can whilst in these beautiful countries, it's a tough life.
26 May 2017
If you are planning to go up the Eiffel Tower I highly recommend you book online and in advance!! This morning I went to book tickets online and it said the next available tickets weren't until next week! So my sister and I had to wait in line for nearly 3 hours to go up. And unfortunately for me I did not apply sunscreen and left that day a few shades redder than necessary. Slip slop slap guys.
The wait was definitely worth it, it's not every day you can climb one of the most famous man-made structures in the world. Definitely excited to tick that one off the bucket list.
The Eiffel Tower is roughly 324 metres tall. I say 'roughly' because in summer the tower can grow an average 17cm extra in height! Crazy huh? Lucky we climbed it in summer so we get to see so much more of the view ;)
25 May 2017
The best way to see the city and all the beautiful highlights it has to offer, is most definitely the bike tour. It is sociable, relaxing, interesting and of course good exercise. You stop off at all the main destinations of the city starting with the Eiffel Tower and visiting the famous louvre, Alexander the 3rd bridge, Napoleons tomb and Place De La Concorde just to name a few. You have an awesome and funny leader who tells all sorts of historic stories that are both beautiful and gruesome. Plus you get to meet some really cool people along the way, we even had a beer stop and sat on the grass in the shade sitting in a circle and having a cold one - as the French do.
If you are in Paris for a short time and want to see lots in a short amount of time, do the bike tour! Was one of the highlights of my trip in Paris, and would definitely do it again.
24 May 2017
I fell in love with a city. There, I said it. I have never been a city girl in my life. Grew up on the Gold Coast and my heart is always where the water flows. So I didn't have high expectations for Paris. When I think of cities I think of grey, dull, tall buildings, busy people and a lot of stress. But boy was I wrong about this one. Not only are the buildings beautiful with culture and history, but it is actually very colourful. Lots of bright flowers everywhere, and the culture in France is very relaxed. They have a great work/life balance with 5 weeks of holidays and 12 public holidays a year. They also do this thing where whenever the sun is out and the weather is beautiful they all lie on large patches of grass just relaxing, having picnics and tanning! Right in the middle of the city they all just chill out with a big group of friends or by themselves. Reminds me of Aussies on the beach.
So there you go, the city of Paris reminded me of the coast back at home, and I loved it.