Thursday, 27 August 2009

Ljubljana and Zagreb

I'm in Zagreb after a long day of sight seeing and will be heading to Budapest tomorrow so this is what I've been up to in the mean time.

The train ride to Slovenia was lovely, really picturesque so despite the duration it was really nice to stare out the window! We actually stopped in Austria on route which I didn't even realise until yesterday!

Ljubljana is an absolutely lovely, a really gorgeous, small city. There weren't too many sites except the castle, plenty of art deco buildings (fab!) and museums and galleries which I didn't even bother to go in to. The castle was on the top of a hill and looked over the city, perfect for seeing how Ljubljana is situated in between massive mountains! The architecture was stunning, I loved the style of the buildings and the little bridges were perfect. I did a little bit of shopping and got some awesome harems and a ring, had some yummy ice cream and the biggest burger I've ever seen (Mexican flavour)! Because the city is so small it's extremely enjoyable to walk around without the ability to get (too) lost. The hostel was lovely and the cool temperatures meant I finally got some decent sleep.

The following day I got the train to Zagreb with Emma from the hostel, it was only a short journey but still was nice to have company. For the FIRST time on my adventure I got stamps in my passport. One when we left Slovenia and then when we entered Croatia, very exciting! Went to the hostel for a chilled out evening and listened to a Croatian girl sing and play guitar on the terrace, lovely! I'm supposed to be in a mixed room but I'm the only girl, the snoring is NOT nice! Hung out with a local girl and my room mates and had a really nice evening.

Today I must have walked the whole length and breath of the city. From the top of the hill (old town) to the train station at the other end past the new town! My first impressions of Zagreb weren't great because there was a lot of graffiti everywhere but once I ventured into the centre I suddenly found (to my surprise) much older buildings and less anti social behaviour! The old town was gorgeous. Full of old winding cobbled streets lined with colourful little buildings and churches aplenty. My favourite smell of this trip is probably the inside of a church, they all smell different but there is always a musky incense aroma! I bought a gorgeous necklace and found the international book shop to buy the final twilight instalment, woopie!

In the afternoon I dandered into the new town to have a look at the theatre, fountains, statues and other places a tourist would find interesting! I saw so much today I can barely remember. The city was full of lots of little green parks which were really relaxing to walk around. The flowers were in bloom and the various bars were perfect for a sit down and a drink!

Zagreb is pretty cheap in places but it's a pain not being able to use the Euro. I don't think I would bother to come back but I would like to explore more of the country, the coast and south is meant to be beautiful!

My hostel is next to a chocolate factory and the smell is intoxicating! I bought a bar from the shop and it tastes incredible.

I've got a really long train journey to Budapest tomorrow but fortunately have a new book for company. Tried to learn some local words but was laughed at so don't think i'll bother in Hungry!

Ciao xx

Monday, 24 August 2009

Venice W.O.W

I've just arrived in Ljubljana so I thought I'd let you all know how Venice was.


All the canals made the city seem so romantic and fairy tale like, I absolutely loved it! I went to St Mark's which is definitely my favourite cathedral, it's so Gothic and spooky inside, I loved it! I took the water bus up and down the Grand Canal several times taking in all the scenery and surrounding sights. It was mad arriving in the city because it felt like the train was floating on the water. After a lot of walking about and getting the general feel of the place I went to the Lido AKA THE BEACH!! The sea was gorgeous but I forgot my swimming stuff so couldn't go in :-( but I did enjoy lounging on the sand! Wondered about some more and probably crossed a millions bridges and I DIDN'T get lost which everyone normally does.

The following day I went to Verona to see the Romeo and Juliet sights which was so lovely. I was only there for a few hours so I only saw Juliet's balcony, her tomb and the amphitheatre (third largest in the world). As you walk into Juliet's house there is an arc covered in love graffiti, so romantic, so i wrote a little message (cheesy i hear you say) I also bought the play and wondered around enjoying the delightful little city. Juliet's house had a fantastic little art display by Quinn (I think) it was painting and sculptures of flowers, so vibrant and colourful, I really enjoyed it!

The hostel I stayed at was fab, awesome people, a fab location and breakfast and dinner included! The only bad side was when I was woken up by one of my room mates being sick on the floor, lovely!!

There were so many pigeons in the city, it reminded me of the guy who gave me some random bird food in Milan so they would fly up to my hands, horrid! He took my photo and then had the nerve to ask for 5 Euro, i gave him 20 cent!! I had so much fun the last few days I can barely remember what happened so there isn't much more i can write. Venice was incredible and I really want to go back again. It was bloody expensive but worth it... maybe! I would have like to do a gondola ride but they are super pricey so maybe next time.

I'm sad to leave Italy and all the nuns (there have been so many!) but I think I've eaten enough pizza and gelati to last a long time so bring on Eastern Europe. I've finished Eclipse so I desperately need to find a book shop to buy the final instalment, until then I'm reading Romeo and Juliet. I also bought the most ridiculous sailor hat in Venice, it's ab fab!

Ciao for now people

Friday, 21 August 2009

When in Rome

Tonight I'm leaving Rome for Venice even though the last two days have been fantastic! Rome is massive compared to any place I've been on my trip yet which in turn means much MUCH more to see! The Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine where incredible especially when you consider they've been around for more than 2000 years, It really is like stepping back in time to another world almost! I particularly enjoyed the forum which is where Roman civilisation' first developed all those years ago. The place is obviously in ruins but the peaceful atmosphere and magnificent architecture allows you to walk around for hours forgetting you are in the middle of a busy city. I took a visit to the Vatican to see St Peters Basilica and the Museum! The Cathedral was beautiful and the museum was extremely impressive, probably the biggest one if been too, i walked around for HOURS! The museum finished with the Sistine chapel which was beautiful!

Today I climbed the Spanish Steps, threw some money in the Fountain de Trevi (which is where La Dolce Vita is filmed, great film) and saw the Pantheon amongst some other churches and ancient buildings! The fountain was lovely but due to the extreme temperatures in Rome I almost jumped in (which IS NOT allowed)! My trainers completely fell apart today from so much walking, so i had to buy a new pair which was a bit lame!

There have been some lovely people at the hostel (which was not so lovely), I have come across quite a lot of Canadians and Scandinavians and everyone is so friendly! I've finished Twilight and New Moon but fortunately there was an international bookshop at the train station so I was able to buy Eclipse, woop!

I think I've seen enough churches to satisfy the Pope for a life time and I'm not sure how much more sight seeing I can stand in this heat, I hear Venice is HOT! So after Italy I'm taking it easy, there's only so many museums one person can take!

I hope everything is well in sunny England (I hear there is a heat wave) and everyone is having a good summer!

Ciao for now.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Home sweet home (if only I lived in Florence)

So I've been in Florence for the last two days and I LOVE it here, the city is amazing! It's quite small but there is still plenty to see and I especially enjoy the tall Renaissance style buildings that shelter me from the sun! I've been to see the 'real' David and the replica, which was pretty breathing taking considering it was carved out of one MASSIVE piece of marble! I saw the big cathedral, the Palazzo Veechio, Basilica de San Lorenzo and other lovely looking building. Today I went to Pisa to see the leaning tower which was pretty cool.... after getting disgusting lost on the way. I made it in the end.... eventually! At sunset I climbed the Piazzale Michalangelo which was incredible, the best views in the city, stunning, despite the millions stairs!

The hostel I'm staying at isn't too bad, met some lovely people and ate goooood food! I really really love Florence and would definitely come back even thought I've pretty much seen all I wanted to. I've discovered i don't really like Renaissance paintings, they're a bit too grand and dark for my liking, but the statues are wonderful! I'm heading to Rome tomorrow morning which will be great even thought I'm starting to get a little fed up of sight seeing, it's pretty exhausting! Looking forward to seeing old Popey!

I best go as I'm using my room mates laptop and they're out of the shower now! Italy is an amazing country but I hate the heat and the mosquitoes, except for that everything is wonderful and I'm having lots of fun!

Sunday, 16 August 2009

A tale of 3 cities

OK, so at the minute I am in Milan but before I get to the excitement of Italy I will fill you in on the last few days.

So on Wednesday night I arrived in Barcelona in the sweltering heat. I stayed at an awesome hostel called Barcelona Dream, it was a bit out the way but the place itself was really great. Thursday was dedicated to sight seeing. I went to Park Guell to have a walk about and enjoy Gaudi's art which was fantastic. I really enjoyed they way his mosaics and sculptures are so colourful and stand out so vibrantly against the natural background. Despite the trek (and it really was a mission) up the hill to visit the park it was totally worth it, the place was beautiful and you could see all around the city, truly magnificent. I had to buy one of those flamenco fans because it was so hot and i don't fare to well in the heat! I did visit the Gaudi museum but to be perfectly honest it was over priced and i wouldn't recommend it. I then went to La Rambla to see all the shops and street entertainment which was a lot of fun. I popped into this amazing food market and the produce was amazing. Thousands of fresh fish (you can imagine the smell) and glorious looking fruit. I decided not to buy anything cos it was all a bit pricey. I walked along the river front by the harbour soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying the tranquillity of the coast. The city is so alive and energetic it was nice to have some peace. The hostel hosted a paella night that evening which was great fun, yummy food and sangria, great times! Unfortunately I didn't get to see half the stuff i wanted to but it's a place i will definitely by visiting again, I loved it!

The next day I caught a train to Nice. I was originally going to get a direct fast train but the reservations were full so after the panic (Greg and Dom will understand) I found a way, much longer with 4 changes, where reservations were not needed (phew!). This route turned out to be extremely enjoyable and was only an hour longer than the original (a breath taking 11 hours in total)! I made friends with 2 American girls which kept me occupied for the first 3 hours and after that I had some glorious alone time with Edward Cullen!!! To say the route was scenic is a massive understatement. I am no stranger to the sea but seeing it for the first time as we crossed the Spain-France border was breath taking. I don't think I've ever seen the sea so blue and perfect, amazing! We coasted through little French villages where the colours of the terracotta roofs, vivid green foliage and cloudless blue skies stood out against each other like you wouldn't believe it! Looking out the train window was seriously amazing. At one point there was this perfectly situated sail boat all alone in the middle of the ocean, it was like a postcard. The South of France is truly amazing, I would love to live there!

I arrived in Nice late and because I originally thought I wouldn't make it I cancelled my hostel booking, bad idea! Every single place was fully booked and any rooms available costed €150, mad! Fortunately I found Maya, a lovely Canadian girl, who was also stuck! We considered sleeping on the beach, breaking into a hostel to sleep on someone's floor (this we were actually in the process of doing) until Emily came to the rescue and said we could sleep at her apartment in Monte Carlo. After walking around for hours with are luggage, Maya and I boarded a train to Monaco, almost missing it (the last one as well) but spent another hour getting lost until we found Emily. We got to bed after 2 and were relieved to say the very least. What a palava but of course looking back it was all a bit fun!

Whilst running around Nice we got to see a bit of the place but I wasn't impressed! It wasn't as glamorous as I'd expected it to be but maybe this was due to all situation, anyway i wasn't sad to leave it behind. The following day Emily showed us around Monte Carlo which was super amazing, so fancy and perfect, I want to live there, but also was too expensive. We ate croissants and ogled at the €70 millions plus super yachts. We went to the casino and generally fell in love with the place!

That afternoon I got a train to Milan and spent bloody ages finding my hostel! I'm sharing a room with English people which is nice because I haven't come across any yet, but thankfully everyone speaks English anyway! Today I have wondered the city visiting the Duomo which is beautiful (you need to be dressed in certain way to get in and luckily I fitted the bill)! I went to the fancy shopping centre and naturally ogled the Prada and Gucci, wondered around the Opera house (amazing) and went to the Casello Sforzesco which had a really good museum. I chilled out eating ice cream with my feet in a fountain and listened to Italian music outside the castle grounds, lovely!

Not sure what the plan is for tonight but I'm off to Florence tomorrow and looking forward to precious reading time on the train as I'm about to start New Moon, I never imagined I'd love Twilight so much!

The travelling is great, but the weather is vile, too hot for me I feel like melting! Hopefully I'll get back on the net in a few days and PS the Italian as sleazy to say the very least!


Tuesday, 11 August 2009

The day before I go...

I fly to Barcelona tomorrow afternoon and to say I’m nervous is a MASSIVE understatement! Don't get me wrong, I am extremely excited about inter railing this summer but the fact I’m doing it on my own is a little scary but hopefully I'll stay safe and meet lots of lovely people! At this moment in time I have done literally no packing, bought zero Euro and can't find my rucksack! Despite these small disasters I am actually prepared for the important stuff, I have booked all my hostels, decided which trains I’m going to catch and started to make a pile of clothes!

Brace yourself for my route...

The first stop is Barcelona followed by Nice and then ITALY where I will be visiting Milan, Florence, Pisa, Rome, Naples, Venice and Verona. Them on to Ljubljana, Zagreb, Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, Krakow, Berlin, Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm and finally Helsinki!

I am really excited about spending a whole week in Italy, as there is so much to see, especially in Rome and Venice. I’m also looking forward to Eastern Europe and Scandinavia, as I have never been to any of these countries so this trip is really going to be a lot of new experiences.

I hope you all enjoy this blog as it is going to me my main source of communication for the next 6 weeks. I am going to update it as often as I can so you all know where I am and what I’m up too. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you when I'm back on 16th September.