Venice was just a short stay for us, and we chose Venice because for the next part of our trip we were meeting up with my cousin Gemma and her boyfriend Matia in Trieste, which was about a 2 hour train ride from Venice. Isaac and I came up from Sorrento on the Friday, arriving at night, and we left first thing on Sunday morning. We took a ferry from Sorrento to Naples, and from Naples the train to Venice. It was a bit more expensive to book the direct change but we thought we would prefer this rather then change in Rome, however it wouldn’t have been a big deal if we did. So we sat, watched some tv shows and read our books for the 6 hour journey.
I had booked in to stay at Sarah Sun Island. It was 2 power boats docked together that stay at Sacca Fisola set up like a hotel. Its more of a residential island then other parts of Venice, and it was nice and quiet. It was incredibly easy and quick to get around and to get to more central parts of Venice, so all up this made for a great cheap way to be staying here.
The first night we stayed we had a little wander around and found somewhere for dinner. We were a bit shocked at the prices, which were extremely inflated compared to Sorrento, when we had had some better meals for better prices.
On the Saturday the heat was nearly unbearable, we were shocked that the entire city was so unprepared for the heat. We had planned to do a gondola ride, but we thought that to sit for over an hour in the blasting sun would not be the most pleasant way to spend the afternoon, so we will have to come back one day and do a gondola ride (what a shame).
Here are some tips I got from Matia, who went to uni in venice: eat ‘ciccjetti’ from of the best ‘bacareto in town, Bacareto Da lele, or al Bottegon. Go to the island of Giudecca to walk around and get more of a local feeling. Walk along the ‘fondamenta della zattere’ and you will end up in front of san Marco.
We tried to do as much of this as we could throughout the day, and in the morning we went to the Peggy Guggenheim collection, which was her former home. This took up the whole morning as it was quite extensive, but I definitely wouldn’t miss it if that’s where your interests lie. It was a fantastic gallery.
That night we crossed over to Giudecca to get something for dinner, but we found that this island in particular had a few expensive restaurants. We also struggled for a decent vegetarian option as well. We had a lovely view though, and half way through the dinner we got rained out and had to run inside, with flashes of lightning getting closer and closer. We waited out the rain before calling it a night.
Early on the Sunday we made our way to the station to go to Trieste. From here we were getting picked up by Gem and Matia and were driving down to Mali Losinj in Croatia, for the next part of our holiday.
Welcome to Sorrento! We came from Rome to Naples by train, and Naples to Sorrento by ferry, so we were welcomes with a wonderful view from the water. We stayed at a place called Villa Lubrense. It was about a 15 minute drive from Sorrento, and an awfully expensive taxi ride. The accommodation its self was cheap and suitable, but that was the best we could say about it. While it was a bit of a pain being further out we discovered a bus that went past that would take us into Sorrento. The view from our villa was absolutely incredible, perched right on the top of a cliff over looking Vesuvius and Naples, with Capri to the left and Sorrento to the right. As we arrived we were told of a beach if you walk down the cliff for 5 minutes (walking back taking 15 mins). We made our way down and found the beach over crowded with children running all over the show, so we didn’t make our way down again. They did have a few places to eat and drink along here which would have been nice. We sweated our way back up the hill, and took the bus into Sorrento for our first night. It was a great city to take your time wandering thought the streets and little shops. We chose one of the many restaurants for a pasta meal and a drink at sunset before taking the bus back to our villa. This was the first time, on our ride back, when we got to experience the sun set over the bay, wondering can anyone ever get over this? The 4 nights that we were there we didn’t get over it once, we even endured the mosquitos one night to have a wine and set up the go pro for the sunset.
We were in Sorrento for the Monday to Friday, so we had 3 full days here. The first day we took the train from Sorrento to Pompeii, and made our way through the ruins. We tried to give the audio guide a go but the voice got to us and we couldn’t bear to listen to it after the first 5 minutes. There were many tours available to take you to Pompeii but they were all rather pricey, I’m glad that we did it the way we did.
For one of the other days we joined an under 30’s tour to Capri, a boat with 12 passengers. This turned out to be a lot of fun, doing lots of swimming off the boat and spent a few hours on the island. If you care to plan ahead a little they had specific days when tour similar to this were quite cheap in price so that would have been good to look out for.
Our 3rd day we booked our selves on a boat tour to Amalfi and Positano. While it was a really nice day I found that it wasn’t really worth the money to go around with family tourists. You could have taken public transport to Amalfi, trekked along the ‘gods trail’ to Positano, and gotten a bus back to Sorrento, saving your self a lot of money and making for a much more flexible day. We did have a beautiful day however, we had a few hours in Amalfi to wander the streets, and a shorter time to check out Positano were we had a bit of a swim. Amalfi was fantastic to see, however Positano, while smaller, was much more picturesque.
We managed to find a few beautiful restaurants around purely by luck, where we had the best food from our holiday.
On the Friday it was time for us to move, so we got on the ferry back to Naples, where we caught the train to Venice for the weekend.
This was pretty impromptu trip. I had a week off in January 2015 with no real travel plans, so I put it out there to a few friends to come and join me in Barcelona. I went ahead and booked a room with 4 beds in a hostel, and told people to come and join me if they had any free days. The first night I spent there with a friend Hannah. She was just staying the first 2 nights. We booked our selves onto a city bus tour, so we had a great time getting the history of the city and seeing the tourist sights. We went down to the harbour that night for paella and sangria, with a beautiful sunset for the show.
As Hannah was leaving, my housemate Caroline arrived. We hired bikes for the day and rode along the coast all day, terrified of being killed in Barcelona, stopping for lunch before turning back. For January we had lovely weather, a big relief from our first winter in London. Caris and Dan arrived that night, and we stayed at the hostel for dinner as they had some flamenco dancers performing that night, which was great fun to see. We went out afterwards to a cocktail bar named after some famous rehab clinic in America, which we were told had great cocktails. Unfortunately the ones that we ordered tasted how band aids smell (plasters), but it made for a fun night anyway.
Again we spent the next day wandering by the harbour and the beach, and walking along the streets and shopping a little. We found a great place for tapas that night and continued with the sangria theme. The culture and the food were amazing and it made for a very social week, I cannot wait until I can go back and do more of Spain, Ideally incorporating it with a road trip through Portugal. That will have to go on the list of places where to travel! I only got a taster of Spain.
Time for a girl’s trip to Paris! I have been before and while I had a fantastic time I had a very different experience. I didn’t expect to be heading back anytime soon, but when you have travel buddies, why not. I will go into my first trip to Paris sometime to come, but for now I will tell you about our time in March. We decided that a girls trip was in order, and finding that a lot of my close friends had the same days off, we decided to head to champagne. We looked into options for staying up near champagne, however as none of us were willing you drive (you can imagine why) we decided to stay in Paris and make our trip to Champagne a day trip.
To start our trip myself, Caris and Mel took the Eurostar up together. As a few of us had just landed from work that day, this was our nap time! The Eurostar is an excellent way to travel as anyone can tell you, it can be cheap if you book a little ahead and it is extremely easy to get to St Pancras in London as it is very central and drops you off at Gare du Nord in Paris after a 2 hour train journey where you can get a taxi or trains around the city from there. After enjoying the scenery through France we decided to get a taxi to our accommodation. It would have been just as easy to get the train but we thought that to save us mucking around we would just get dropped off right outside. We stayed in Bastille, booked an airbnb, which was very reasonably priced and comfortably slept the 5 of us. We had a few communication issues on how to get into the apartment, but once we sorted that out it was a lovely place to stay. From here the three of us set out to explore the area and grab some dinner before Caroline and Hannah were due to join us that evening. Bastille has excellent shopping and we thoroughly enjoyed wandering around the neighborhood. While we tried to get something to eat around here at 4pm, we could not find anything except MacDonald’s. It was siesta time. We headed to the loving hut for dinner, a vegan restaurant what we really enjoyed. We had a waiter who was excellent and serving the entire restaurant on his own, and it was obviously a local favorite for some. This was just a few stops on the train from Bastille.
When you are in Paris I would recommend getting a day pass on the train, or even a 3 or 5 day pass depending on how long you are staying. We were getting the day passes for 1-3 zones, which we found was all we needed and was a bit cheaper then the day pass. The girls arrived in the evening, and after a wine we decided on an early night before our champagne day the next day.
To get to champagne we got the train to Gare de Lest, and from there onto Reims. Once arriving in Reims we had a hard time getting a taxi for the 5 of us, but after some waiting around we managed to get one. They took us straight to Duval Leroy, who we had previously emailed saying that we serve their champagne on board at work and would be honored to come and join them to see how they run their business and to taste the champagne (of course). They welcomed us beautifully with Australian flags outside. They took as on a wonderful guide through the champagne process. Everyone was so honored to work for a family owned company, and it was a real source of pride that Carol was the CEO after she was widowed, and how she managed to turn the company around. After the tour we were treated to a tasting, where it was quite obvious that they went above and beyond and brought out some champagnes that they would not usually have brought out. At the end of this they arranged our taxi back to Reims and recommended us to go to Moet on a tour to see there cellars.
While the cellars were fantastic to see and I would absolutely recommend this anyone, we were put into a large tour group and taken around on a very well rehearsed tour. At the end came the tasting of a few standard selections of their champagnes. After this it called for our train back to Paris as our tired and slightly hung over selves were starting to drop. When we arrived back, we stopped for a spot to eat at an Italian near Gare de Lest and then went to enjoy the view of the Eifel tower at night.
The next day we were headed to Champs Elysees to enjoy the view from the arc de triumph. While this was shut due to maintenance on this day we still enjoyed a walk down the street and a tea break at Laduree, where we got very excited about the macaroons and the pretty pink bathrooms. We made our way back to Bastille and went shopping, while stopping at the best falafel place in Paris (rated by us, and trip adviser). While we all got ready to split up tonight, my self and Caris went to Moulin Rouge. It was our first time (and probably last time) to be able to go to this. While having a few champagnes we tried to spot out Caris’ old ballet friend on stage. We had such a great time here, the company just fantastic as Caris listened to my complaining about my blistered feet the poor chook. Maybe it was from us ‘can-can’ing down the street. So after a great view of women dancing in a glass swimming pool with snakes we went to go meet up with the rest of our group and having a few more drinks before the night was over.
Then next day Caris was leaving today the rest of us still had one more day to enjoy. We went to the café across the road from where we were staying, Mokonuts café, for a beautiful and fresh breakfast, and then went out to her recommendation of the best croissants in Paris at Ble Sucre. While you can get croissants everywhere, this truly was the best and we made many visits. After we made a quick stop back at Laduree (because why not), went out to Sainte Chappelle and had a look inside, had a walk by Notre Dame and jumped on a river cruise from here to enjoy the sites of Paris by river, our last night together before heading back to London on the Eurostar the next day.