Today my Italian journey comes to an end, as I leave Milan to go to Munich.
Crazy lady continued to slam doors this morning and then continued to swear at my roommate and I when we asked her to be quite.
Before I left the room, I passively aggressively moved her stuff because she was OCD.
Made my way to the train station, got there at 11am and my train was only at 13:45.
Went window shopping and then bought some groceries to eat lunch on the train, thought I would get dinner at another train station - I was mistaken!
My train from Milan to Verona was on time, the train from Verona to Brennero was on time, my last next train arrived 25min late.
There was then a casualty on the rail so we were stuck at Innsbruck in Austria for another two hours and we arrived in Munich at 01:30.
Pap luckily booked me a hotel to stay in close to the station so I didn't have to get to Olivia at 02:00.
I got dinner on the train - WOW was expensive!
30 July 2017
Wow what a night, my own roommate is a crazy lady, not only did she snore all night but she got up at 6am and started huffing and puffing and was constantly opening & closing the door to the room!
For a better day though, I went on a free walking tour of the city, which was really great to get a locals perspective on history as well as all the quirky facts about the city. We walked to the less popular tourist sites and learned some Milanese superstitions.
After the tour, I went to have drinks with some youngsters I met on the tour and two girls and I decided to meet up for an aperitif at the Aperol spritz bar looking over the Duomo at 6pm.
I bought a ticket to go into the Duomo and to climb to the top, and walk along the Terraces. Got a view of the whole city.
Met the girls at Aperol where we had some delicious snacks and it was great to laugh and talk with people.
The heavens hoped and there was a lovely short storm that I waited to finish before going to back to the hostel.
29 July 2017
Left Bergamo today, my train was at 12ish, getting into Milan an hour later. Had to take a metro to the second last stop and then walk to the hostel, which was luckily only a 10min walk. The hostel is in a quite residential area as in Saturday's there is a street market which made it difficult to find at first.
Once settled into my room, I got a train back to the city so continue exploring.
I got some street food for lunch (Luini - similar to a vetkoek but with different fillings).
From the Duomo I walked to the castle again (they have free clean toilets) and then walked through to the gardens and an arch way.
I went to the Ambrosio church (one of the oldest in Milan) and then tried to get to the Lorenzo church but it was already late, so it was closed.
There was a bar that had a aperitif special (drink with a buffet €7), that ended up being dinner which was perfect and cheap!
Didn't want to get back to the hostel too late, got back by 9.
28 July 2017
Went to Milan today just to get a feeling on the city before I actually stayed there. Well it's hot - just like everywhere else!
Walked from the station, passed the Theater Scala, through the Galleria (most expensive property in Milan), into the square in front of the Duomo. The Duomo took 600 years to build and was technically only officially finished in 1965!
I got a bubble tea on my way to the Castle Sforzesco, got the ticket to see all the museums - from church history to musical instrument history and furniture.
Was a short day in Milan, so that I could make it back to Bergamo before Arturo went to see Nicolette's parents. We went with his mom and got a gelato.
I finally got a gym session in and managed an hour, with some yoga and then got into the fancy jet bath/ pool.
I had dinner with Arturo's parents at their house - aperitif followed by spaghetti vagole and a salad! Was a wonderful evening of chatting and eating delicious food!
27 July 2017
I was debating what I would do today, thought I would take it easy, go into Bergamo again and do gym, BUT talking to the ladies at reception I decided to go to Lake Como.
Just north of Bergamo, the 'Y' shaped lake is on the boarder of the Alps (George Clooney has a house there) was the best choice for the day.
I went to Varenna (as recommended) and walked through the town (it's not that big).
Put my feet in the water, got an ice cream, walked up and down again and then decided to have a late lunch with a view of the lake.
Lunch had to include an Aperol Spritz, I got saffron tortellini- so Devine!
I then got another ice cream 🍦 and walked up to the train to get back for a massage at 18:00.
Last dinner with Arturo and Nicolette, we walked to a pizza restaurant around the corner from the hotel because all the streets are closed off for a summer party (beer, dancing, shops stay open late). Was a wonderful fun night!
26 July 2017
I went to Venice today!
I fell in love as soon as I stepped out the station! It is such a different and magical city!
I have booked my ticket to go into the church at 13:30 so I decided to make my way to St Marco's square and then afterwards dawdle and get lost exploring the city.
Today wasn't too hot and the city wasn't as busy as I expected, but I did have the quick ticket to get into the church so I skipped the line.
All the decorations on the walls and ceiling is gold mosaic - ostentatious but so meticulous in the work and detail, and I loved the constant different design of the floor.
I then waited my turn to go up the bel tower and made friends with the security man who gave me advice on what food to try in Venice.
The bell tower gave a panoramic view of Venice and all its channels - so blue!
Now time to dawdle in between all the streets, walk over all the bridges & find all the different door handles.
Nearly missed my train back to Bergamo- I just made it! Ate at the hotel.
25 July 2017
I saw that the one lense of my sunglasses popped out in the case - I tried to fix it to no avail so I went in search of a glasses shop - he managed to sort it out but not 100%.
Then went to find a tattoo shop to find an earring because mine randomly fell out 🙈
I eventually managed to make my way up to the old city (Città Alta). I went up by Feniculore, quicker and easier!
I explored the main Piazza area, bought a ticket to climb to the top of the bell tower to get a view of the surrounding area of Bergamo. It was lunch time so the museums and churches were closed until 14:30, so I walked down the Roman road and found an epic pizza place - got a takeaway and ate it in the park.
Made my way to see the 'gates' of the city and go up to the place we had dinner last night - took another Feniculore. To see the whole hill took 20min and then went back down.
Time to see the churches and the museum as lunch time was now over!
Had dinner at the lake with Arturo and Nicolette - so deliciou
24 July 2017
So I went out with a group of the hostel people into Pisa town! Had a few drinks - people bought for me and I got back to the hostel at 4am.
I thought I put my alarm on for 6:00 - I didn't and I woke up at 6:50 - the time my train left Pisa for Milan🙈
I got up very quickly and rushed to the train station to see what train I could now catch. Had to buy a new ticket and take a train to La Spezia, change to a train to Milan (the train was late and i nearly missed the train to Bergamo- I had to run)!
Finally made it at 16:00!
Chilled in my room and did yoga until dinner time!
Had an incredible Michelin dinner over looking Bergamo- super tasty!
23 July 2017
How wonderful to sleep in an air conditioned room and such a comfortable bed!! Had a full uninterrupted nights sleep which was spectacular!
Had breakfast next to the pool with Arturo's parents. Francesca had a lunch of 2 sandwiches and 2 plums prepared for me and a bike so that I could cycle and explore the area and go to the beach.
I first cycled towards the Marina, I had to get off and push the bike over a very rocky/ uphill area by got to ride down a fantastic downhill until I realized I had to cycle up that later!
Explored the Marina - there are many very expensive boats!
Cycled up a windy hill to a magnificent view of crystal clear water - I just wanted to dive in because I was very sweaty after the uphill cycle!
Time for beach - I made my way down to find a place to spend the rest of the day. I found a place on the edge of the trees on the "free" beach, where I could lock the bike and be in some shade. Tan/ swim/ lunch/ tan/ swim!
Caught the late train back to Pisa.
22 July 2017
Left Florence at 11ish to go to Pisa. Only an hour by train.
I left my luggage in baggage storage so I could go see Pisa as light and cool as possible.
The city only has the one attraction and is small enough to walk there within 40min - so I took a super long walk up to the tower, window shopping!
I laughed when I saw the tower - it's really leaning 😂!
I of course had to do the tourist leaning picture!
Bought tickets to 3 of the monuments and the free ticket to enter the church that surround the tower - of which was built with no actual purpose!
My train was only at 7 so had to waste some time!
Walked through the cemetery/ baptistry - if there are stairs I climb them - got an awesome view of the church! I lay on the grass in the shade, went inside the church and under it!
Walked back through the town, got a Gelato and bought some truffle products.
Fetched my bags and caught the train to Follonica, where Francesca's parents fetched to me to go to Punta ala.
21 July 2017
Took the morning nice and relaxed and then walked down to the Duomo by 10:00.
I started by going through the museum - artwork over the ages from the Duomo as well as explanations of how it was built and the sculptures.
Was not a massive museum but the aircon was very welcome!
Then went to see the Baptistry - which is an elaborately styled building for Baptisms. Took all of 5min to see it.
Joined the line to enter the church which is definitely more impressive on the outside than the inside but it really is HUGE!
As I walked out the church I was super lucky and the line to climb the bell tower was short - climbed the narrow 462 stairs to the top - great leg workout!
At this point I was starving - got my famous Panini!
Time to climb more stairs after lunch - to the top of Duomo (480 stairs) - really magnificent views of Florence!
Went back to the hostel to change for a free sunset yoga class at another hostel - was very much needed!
Had drinks with American girls :)
20 July 2017
Day Trip into Tuscany!
Woke up at 7, got dressed quickly and had a hostel breakfast and got on the train to the train station where I had to meet the group.
First stop San Gimignano - still has 7 of its towers still standing from the original 15? That were used to see if the town would be attacked. There was a market on and all the food smelt so delicious! I bought a Tuscan sandwich with cheese, ham and olives - kept it to eat on the way back to Florence.
Next up Monteriggioni a tiny town that took all of 10min to walk through the whole walled town.
Off to lunch at a Chianti vineyard. Had a very quick two wine tastings and then an average lunch but I made friends with an American girl and her mom so was great to chat to them!
Last stop was Siena - had a walking tour through the city and then I explored the church with the American ladies (the mom bought me a ticket which was very nice of them)! And the square where they have a famous 3 lap bareback horse race!
19 July 2017
Since I have pretty much seen everything in Florence, I took it very slow this morning. Did some yoga and tried to plaite my hair.
Walked a different route into town, so that I could walk past St Marco square and the fortress.
Walked through the leather market and made my way towards my favourite lunch spot this time trying a different one. Didn't manage to finish the whole Panini so I kept it wrapped up.
Hired a bike and this time cycled up to the Palazzo Michaelangelo- great leg work out! On my way down to Piazza Pitti I are the rest of the sandwich.
Had a Gelato (watermelon and grapefruit) just because 😬 bought a beautiful water colour/ sketch paining from one of the many artists and then cycled to the massive park.
The cycle was so much fun and definitely make getting around the city easier and more enjoyable!
Got a quick pic by the Ponte Vecchio and returned the bike.
Walked back to the hostel to have a FaceTime date with Paige😋
18 July 2017
Finding all the secrets of Florence.
Florence is does not have tons to do unless I bought tickets to all the museums.
I did some of my washing to have clothes for the next few days, took the morning slowly doing some stretches and then had breakfast (beach and biscuits) in the common area.
I walked into town and passed the Duomo, bought tickets into the museum and to climb the Duomo for Friday. I continued to walk around the town and window shop until I came upon the best find in Florence - All'Antico the best panini place for only €5 and they are huge! I sat on the pavement and had lunch.
I then walked up the the Palazzo Michaelangelo, a panoramic view of the city! Went to lie in the Garden on roses - to try cool down and because not much else to do. Climbed more stairs to a church at the top of a hill, also with a view!
Had dinner at a restaurant that had a "special" ~ bruschetta, spaghetti bolognese and a glass of wine - service took forever and then they charge €2.50!
17 July 2017
Off to Florence 😃.
Train was at 11:50 so gave me some time to have breakfast, make sure I had enough time to get the unreliable metro to Termini.
From the Florence station I had to catch a bus to the hostel which is tucked behind a church. Very happy I didn't have to walk far!
Got settled into my room which I am sharing with 7 other girls, the shower and toilet arrangements are thought out and convenient! I chose a top bunk to hopefully get some air!
Did some booking for the Tuscany tour and caught up on some admin!
At 5 I went to start exploring Florence, it's not a massive city!
I pretty much saw all the tourist attractions- Duomo, Ponte Vecchio and Piazza Della Signoria (statues in the square).
To find dinner I went to a massive indoor market/ restaurants and found a chicken burger 🙌🏻 really only the third time I have eaten chicken in Italy!
16 July 2017
Last day in Rome!
In true Italian style my metro was 20min late leading me to miss my train to Tivoli! I had to catch the metro again to another main train station, wait for 2 hours and catch the next train to Tivoli.
The drive was very scenic, Italy has many little hill that they leave covered in trees!
I went to Villa d'esta first, it is a renaissance garden similar to the Palace of Versailles with water fountains scattered throughout the garden and many little secret nooks in the garden.
Being me I had to go find food - pizza with rocket, tomato and mushrooms with a coke - because it's so cold and refreshing!
Fontana di Gemma was a hike (done in heels) to two waterfalls in a gorge - was so refreshing to be surrounded by trees after all the buildings in Rome!
Caught the train back to Rome and walked to find some homemade pasta for my last night - ate in sitting along the River Tiber!
Thank you Rome!!
15 July 2017
Saturday in Rome, during summer - not a good combination! Tried to go to the Vatican to climb the stairs to the copula - the line was easily 1km long!! I'll do it one day in the future!
I then decided to walk to Campo di Fiore to see the market - not disappointed- the colours of all the fruits and vegetables are gorgeous.
I wanted to go see a church but just because it's a Saturday it was closed to 3 hours at midday, so I walked towards the Spanish steps - where I found a cute take away homemade pasta place where I bought lunch. DELICIOUS!
Went into the church above the Spanish steps because I couldn't go in previously.
Got dessert of course at Pompi (known for their tiramisu), got on the train to go see the Aqueducts.
There is not much left of the Aqueducts but what is there just shows you how incredible the structure was and it bought fresh spring water from the mountains to Rome!
Because it was still early and I didn't want to buy another train ticket I walked 8km home 💪🏻.
14 July 2017
Time to move to another Airbnb, luckily this flat was close the metro so I could walk to it - but the google directions were different to the actual location and took me a while to find. I changed clothes and then made my way to the Vatican because my entrance time was at 13:00.
I seem to be lucky with lines because always when I get to them, they are short! Went through security quickly and into the museum. Logically all the art is Catholic based - but there is only so much a person can take! The Sistine chapel was phenomenal- all the painting look 3D!
The hall of map was mind blowing - besides being very sweaty and hot - they are frescoes (paintings into the wall) in a 120m long room of Italy!!
I also saw all the carriages/ cars used over the years for the Pope.
Once finished I walked and stood in the line again to try climb to the stop of the Basilica, but as I get through they closed the stairs!
Went to spoil myself to Spaghetti vangole for dinner just off Campo di Fiori.
13 July 2017
Colosseum and Roman Forum day!!
Woke up and did some yoga, difficult because no aircon so it's sticky instantly! There is only one bathroom shared between 4 people so had to wait just to brush my teeth!
I had breaki of yoghurt and a peach.
Did the whole routine of getting the bus and then the train to the Colosseum. I read a Pinterest post that said enter at Palantine hill first because the line is usually shorter than getting into the Colosseum.
I absolutely loved the 7 arches in Palantine hill! The Palantine hill links directly to the Romum Forum so made my way down and walked through the ancient markets.
I had to find a print shop to print my ticket to the Vatican tomorrow and found a hotel that was willing to print it for me for free. I grabbed some pizza and a suppli for lunch and ate it on the stairs.
Then decided it was time to battle the lines to the colosseum and was very lucky that it was SHORT! Made it inside the Colosseum!! It's breathtaking! I waited for sunset.
12 July 2017
So I left Federica and Amaya today.
Had a chilled morning doing some yoga, had breakfast and then packed my bags.
Federica dropped me off at the station to get the 12:30 train to Rome.
Once in Rome I had to catch the blue line to Eur Fermi near to where my Airbnb was. From the train station I had to carry my bags up stairs, catch a bus and then climb more stairs 😂. Once I was at the apartment and started to catch up on some wifi admin, booked tickets for the colosseum and the Vatican museum.
I made my way back into the main city and walked to the Terme di Caracalla, the Roman baths. I then bought some olives and bread and made my was back to the Garden of Oranges for sunset.
Grabbed a Gelato on my way home. Stopped at Eataly - Italian food from all over Italy with restaurants. I bought some breakfast for the next few days.
I then had to rush to make the train because the last bus to the flat is at 11:30 and it's way to far to walk.
11 July 2017
Federica wanted to go to Rome to join in on a strike against new vaccination laws. The new law is to force children to have 10 compulsory vaccinations otherwise they will not be allowed at school.
So I decided to join her in Rome but do my own thing.
I started by going to the Sicilian bakery that has everything delicious!! I got a massive cannoli and a cassata (made from marzipan) and an arancini (bigger than suppli) - I didn't eat them all at once but over the afternoon!
I then went to the church of angels that has a meridian line on the floor through the church.
I then walked to see Circo Massimo (used to be the largest stadium in Rome) and then close by is the Bocca della Verità (Mouth of truth), but as with all places in Italy in summer there was a line - so I took a picture from the side.
Then walked up to the Garden of oranges, has the most amazing view of Rome and last of all the Key hole on Aventine Hill (looking through a row of trees onto St. Peter's Basilica.
10 July 2017
Day started off nice and slow with breakfast at 9. Federica's mom wanted me to do yoga with her so we did some basic stretches in the garden.
Felt so good to do some yoga - I miss class!
Got down to the beach at 12:30 after Federica made lunch that we would eat at the beach.
Tanned, had pasta lunch, had a swim and then went for a walk to the fortress 1,5km away from where we were sitting! In the cliffs of the fortress is clay that people rub on themselves as an exfoliation - so like a local I got all grey putting the clay all over my body.
The rest of the way was very relaxed at the beach, we went home for an "early" dinner at 19:00 so we could go see another beach town, Nuttuno.
It's amazing how people still live in the original parts of the city, that are quaint and full of activity in the evenings - Italians eating at 22:30!!
9 July 2017
Going to the beach today 🙌🏻
Had a slow morning - while I finished making the Rhino toy I bought for Amaya and Federica was doing the final packing.
She had to go change something at the mall, so I waited in the car with Amaya and the cat Rainbow.
We finally got to the beach house at around 14:00, the house is a 5min drive to the beach.
I stayed in a new room built outside the main house, which was great for some more privacy.
We then went down to get the best gelato before going to the beach.
As it is Sunday - all of Rome was at the beach, so was super busy!
There are NO waves - it's so super flat! The beach is really long and you can walk and walk.
The water is also super shallow - to my mid thigh, you have to walk 150-200m before getting deeper water.
Was great just to have a change of scenery and to cool off in the sea.
Had prosciutto and melon as a starter and pizza for dinner.
8 July 2017
Federica cleaned the house this morning as we are going to the beach tomorrow and they don't go back to the house for 2 months, so I played with Amaya. We had a quick lunch of wraps and I got into my routine to go back to Rome.
Today I went back to Trastevere to see more of the area and of course started with a gelato (wild berries and mango 😍).
I walked to the Fontana del Prigione and had a long sit down in the shade. Then made the steep walk up to Piazza di San Pierre in Mantorio, which is a stunning fountain that looks out over Rome. Everyone was sitting with their feet in the water.
I then walked to the Terrazza del Gianicolo which has a view over Rome. From there I walked down to the Vatican City and accidentally walked into a church were a wedding was happening.
I then went to St. Peters's square and luckily got into a short line to go see St. Peter's Basilica - which is just spectacular!!
I then went down to the river and got a Mojito 👌🏻 and walked back to the station
7 July 2017
On Via del Corso there is a café that has massive sculptures throughout that its like a mini museum. I had a cafe latte and a little carrot cake.
I continued to walk down Via del Corso to Altare Della Patria put went right, where yesterday I went left to the Colosseum.
Found a church right next to it but had to hike up a ton of stairs. I continued to make my way to Trastevere, a Jewish area of Rome. It is more quaint and quieter than the main city.
It is also on the other side of the the river Tiber.
There is only one island in the river, I crossed over here before arriving in Trastevere.
While In Trastevere, I sat down to have a quick lunch (took longer than expected) ~ bruschetta, pasta, chicken and then tiramisu.
Because lunch took so long I had to rush back to the train station, I nearly missed it 🙈.
Afternoons are for playing with Amaya and trying to keep her entertained.
6 July 2017
Today is walked straight down Via del Corso to the Altare Della Patria, Italy's war memorial. It is a decent 45min walk.
It has a beautiful view of the city, with the Basilica is the distance and looking over Foro Roma.
The Basilica has to be the tallest building in Rome by law.
Taking my time in the shade I walked around the old ruins and then went to see the Colosseum. It is absolutely massive and still standing! So much bloodshed happened inside those walls.
As the colosseum is far from my train station at Flaminio, I started to make my way back up.
Not without stopping to get 2x suppli 😝
I took the 15:30 train back to the house.
Tonight we went for dinner at Federica's favourite pizza restaurant in Sacrafano. I had an anchovy, fresh tomato, mozzarella and basil ~ absolutely delicious.
5 July 2017
Full day in Rome!!
Started by going to visit the Trevi Fountain, which was really magical!
Then made my way to the Pantheon stopping off at Venchi for a Gelato (first one of the day).
The streets are very hot with tourists and the sun that everyone is fighting for shade.
The Pantheon has a massive whole in the center of its ceiling so that when it rains - no one can be inside and once a year they rain down petals into the center of the Pantheon from the whole.
I had lunch (sandwich) in the shade of the Pantheon.
I had to go to Tazza D'oro which serves granita café di con panna (hmmmm).
I carried on walking through the streets and found some beautiful churches! Just before I went back to the train station, I sat at a street store and had my first Suppli (in love - rice ball with melted mozzarella inside) and a peroni.
Took the 8 o'clock train home.
3 July 2017
Woke up and did some stretches and exercises- stiff from flying and new bed!
Federica was in Rome, so I spent some time on my computer , had some breakfast and chilled.
When she got back, I walked around the garden, it is so incredibly hot!
We had some lunch of tomato rice, salad and mozzarella (hmmm cheese)!
She then took me, Amaya and her mom to a gorgeous little town, Trevignano on the second largest lake in Italy. We swam and cooled off in the lake for the rest of the afternoon, went to get Gelato and explore the old part of the city.
It is extremely quaint and old!
I play with Amaya while Federica cooks - we had tacos and sardines for dinner! Healthy eating for the win!
2 July 2017
I landed in Rome at 6:20, getting through the airport was quick and easy. I bought a train ticket to Rome Termini so that I could get the metro to Montebello.
Montebello is the last stop for line A going north of Rome.
Federica came to fetch me and take me to their house, just outside of Sacrofano.
They have a beautiful house that has a open view of Rome in the distance. In their garden they have many fruit trees! Lemon, orange, plum, peaches, apricot, olives, pears, and strawberry bushes. They eat all the fruit that is harvested.
The 4 olive trees they have only makes 1l of olive oil! That's why it's so expensive!
We had tea and got acquainted- I needed a shower after 16 hours of traveling!
Lunch Italian style is lunch at 14:00 and dinner is at 20:00.
Lunch was tuna pasta and salad!
Federica then took us for Gelato ( in love) and to look at the old town of Sacrofano. Everything is medieval.
Dinner was legume soup and salad, such simple delicious food!