A Travellerspoint blog

Interlaken

Switzerland


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Ouch! €300 to get to Interlaken from Venice. It was already too expensive and we weren't even there yet! We were so excited about getting to Interlaken but unfortunately it was raining and very very cold the whole time. We were planning on either going parasailing or canyoning but the weather was no good and it was too expensive to not have a totally awesome time. 

On the first full day, we caught the funicular train thingy to the top of the mountain closest to the town to check out the views... Pretty amazing! Then we caught a train to a little town called  Lauterbrunnen, so we could do the walk along the bottom of the cliff face where the base jumpers jump off and over 100 waterfalls! This was really lovely, a tad fresh, but very nice scenery and we saw a base jumper landing. Bummed that we missed out on seeing her jump. It was really funny seeing her walk out from behind the bushes and say 'Hi!' and walk off! So casual!! We caught the gondola up to a tiny town called Mürren which had lots of really beautiful chalets. We stopped for a cuppa tea to warm up because Brad was wearing shorts, and it was single digit temp up there! (1800m above sea level). This cost us about 8 Aussie dollars...for two Lipton teas. Hmmmmm. But the views from up here were breathtaking. Green mountains with snow capped mountains behind. Never seen such a sight. 

The second day was especially rainy and cold so we explored the town of Interlaken, browsing all the Swiss Army knives, Swiss chocolate and souvenirs. Then decided to go back to the hostel and watch a movie and have some drinks at the hostel. Our hostel was above a pub so we were on 'just the usual' terms by the end of our stay... 

The third day was the funnest and we hired a tandem pushie. Brad was the driver at first, and he was not very impressed with my skills on the back. Mainly cornering.... Brads exact words were, 'what did you do on that corner? What ever it was, don't do it again' hahaha it was so much fun and I haven't laughed this hard in a long time. We rode down to the lake, parked the rig and walked along a shady track along the lake, heard some swans making a commotion so we went to check it what the noise was about...the swans started to slowly and casually approach us and Brad says 'are they going to attack us!', I replied 'possibly! RUN!' They look so nice and swan like but we could see that they were just devising a plan to peck our hearts out or similar. 
After this I got to have a go of being the driver! Pay back! Brad quickly realized that it wasn't so easy on the back and he was like an old drunk back there. Kept yelling 'watch out for the bushes!', 'watch out for the fence!', 'arrgghh you're all over the place!'...but really he was squirming so much that it was him that was making me drive bad! Haha I told him to 'shut up, I can do this!' haha and then he settled in and we were golden! I got to drive the rest of the time which I loved!  This was our last day and Wednesdays were really busy at the pub with the soccer game so we joined in on all the excitement before hitting the hay because we're on our way to Salzburg, Austria tomorrow! 

No photos from here till we get our laptop fixed........

Posted by KPad 15:16 Archived in Switzerland Comments (0)

Venice


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Wow! Venice should be on everyone's bucket list. It's another world and a refreshing change after all the other very similar looking cities. We bought a map straight away because its pretty hard to navigate around the maze of streets. Our apartment wasn't ready at check in time so the manager took us to his fav bar and shouted us a Spritz. This was to become our drink of choice, the official drink of the trip! Haha We thought we were just going to be in a hostel but it ended up being an apartment so we were stoked! We planned to get some wine and drink it by the canal but on the way we stumbled upon a van which served frozen fresh fruit cocktails...who can go past frozen cocktails! We started chatting to two guys from Switzerland and they were really funny. One was an artist with a funny lisp and the other a doctor who looked like he was bullshitting us the whole time. But we had a great time with them so we were happy that we stopped here.  Not sure what their names were, but we couldn't even pronounce them at the time so no chance of remembering. 

On the first full day, we just went wandering to explore this amazing place. We circumnavigated the central part of the town and came across a lady doing these amazing wall signs for kids so we picked up a few for Timmy, Mags and little Will. As the paint was wet, we had to sit and relax while the paint dried which wasn't as boring as it sounds... Haha After more walking, we thought we deserved a drink. One bar was called the 'RAGING BAR' which was pretty funny because a group of old ladies were sitting under the sign, and we couldn't see much raging going on. We heard this area was a common hang out place for students so we thought it would be good for us because it must be cheap! 
Prices were still expensive as everywhere else but at least there was some good vibes and atmosphere. We went home for some dinner and wine that we'd bought in Tuscany before heading out again. As Venice is rather confusing, we thought the club that we'd seen earlier wasn't far away... But it was miles away and turned out to be a restaurant. So we rewalked almost the same route as the day time to find somewhere to drink. Ended up back at the students area, got one drink, then they closed because their only allowed to stay open until 12am. Damn it! Unsuccessful night out, but it was still cool to walk around Venice at night too. 

The last day we jumped on a water taxi to the other side and explored areas of Venice that we'd missed on the previous day. We did stop in at the St Marks basilica to check it out but this was the only monument that we did because everything is so interesting that we didn't need to. We went back to the bar that old mate shouted us a Spritz on our first day and spent the afternoon here because it was right next to a bridge, and a canal with gondolas so we sat outside and did some quality people watching. We encountered many bucks parties too which were very very entertaining. 

Interlaken Switzerland tomorrow! 

Photos of VENICE

Posted by KPad 15:14 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Rome

Dont you know it wasn't built in a day...

While we were in Florence, we worked out that we were staying at the same hostel as the Canadian boys so we were all pretty happy that we'd get to party together again. We arrived at the hostel in Rome with a message delivered by the receptionist... "Perry's! Ah yes, your friends wanted me to pass on a message. You're getting drunk tonight!" hahaha crazy boys.  We hit up the supermarket and picked up some dinner and drinks and chilled until we crossed paths with the guys. We headed out to an area recommended by the receptionist where all the bars were located. We had to catch the bus and these two chicks seemed interested in our random conversations so we started talking to them and they were heading to their fav bar before going home so we could tag along with them. Awesome! The bar was pretty cool, we stayed for a while then decided to go to another. On the way the clock struck 2am. And everywhere closed. Bummer! Some other girls said they could take us to a club which was open much later so we decided to go have a quick look. The guys had a 8am train the next day so didn't want to be home too late...even though we were well past too late. We walked into the club and they scrambled to turn on the music, we were the only ones there! We had to give them all our details and pay a membership fee...we all thought this was dodgy mcdodge so we bailed. Turns out that the liquor license to run a club is very expensive so people run private clubs and patrons must be members and this is much cheaper for them. So turns out that it wasn't dodgy, but we had to trust out instincts, plus the guys had to get to bed! After fartarsing around for 2 hours getting kebabs and taking the most hectic bus ride of our lives, what felt like 100klm/hour down bumpy cobble stone streets and having the shit shaken out of us, we finally got home at 4am. No surprise that the guys missed their train and slept in until 9.30am. 

The next day we went to check out the Sistine Chapel... Amazing! And also St Peters Basilica. We were pretty tired from our night out so we went home to chill. 

On the second full day we had a 5 hour private tour courtesy of the lovely Mez. She'd organized for us to have a tour of Rome which was fantastic! On the way to meet Evan, the tour guide, we stopped at Trevvie Fountain to throw in some coins to ensure that we come back to Rome someday. We also stopped at a little coffee shop to grab a cafe macchiato, our new fav coffee which is an espresso with a little tiny dash of milk to take the edge off. Yummo! Evan took us to see the Colosseum, surrounding Roman ruins which we are fascinated with, a cathedral where the roof was painted by art students which was incredible! We stopped at a coffee shop and were treated to a coffee... But not just any coffee! It was coffee sorbet with whipped cream. It was sooooo good and very un-Kate friendly but, when in Rome! We stopped at a fancy hotel. to use the restrooms and went to the rooftop to check out the Pantheon from the outside... And grab a refreshing but very strong drink. We were greeted at the Pantheon entrance by an orchestra, wasn't that nice of them! It made the Pantheon seem even more epic than it already is. Evan recommended a place to eat and also a great wine bar. We parted ways and we went to grab some dinner. This was the first time that Brad had steak tartar and it didn't disappoint. It was delicious! Luckily the wine bar was literally next door to our hostel so this was handy!!

The next day, we were pretty keen to off load some stuff and send a package home. Took us about 2 hours all up so it was a bit of a mission... So we pretty much just grabbed some lunch and want to the hostel to chill and do some organizing for our next stop, Venice!

Photos of ROME

Posted by KPad 15:11 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Florence/Tuscany

After the very unimpressive customer service at our accommodation in Cinque Terre, we were so happy to arrive at our hostel with people who were happy to see us and made us feel at home. The outdoor common area was very inviting so we went straight to the supermarket to grab some drinks... Oh and food...
We started chatting to four Canadian guys, Jeff, Mickey, Mike and Mike and we all hit it off straight away! We ended up going out to a bar called 'The Joshua Tree' which was packed at first but then cleared out and ended up being awesome. Especially the lady that had her Pitbull dog in the pub which was very cute, but couldn't help but be a little scared that he'd get pissed off and bite someone's leg off... She seemed pretty confident to have him there and we all left in tact so it was all good. And like usual, it closed at 2am so we got kicked  out. The guys invited us to go to go to the Duomo at the Cathedral the next day at 9am. The view from up here was amazing! Bit of a mission to get up there, and poor Mike who drank a bottle of €5 Spanish Whiskey didn't have much fun on the way up through the tight spiral staircase. Haha
After this Brad and I headed for the walking tour. The tour was ok, not as good as others. The best part was on the way stopping at the H&M store to pick up some bargains... Hehe  From the tour Brad and I walked across the very old bridge covered end to end in gold jewelry shops and up to the Michelangelo Piazza which overlooked Florence as recommended by the guys. Doing the 500+ stair Duomo tower, walking tour and mission up the hill in pluggers and very very uneven cobble stone streets is not ideal. From this point, Kate's knee and hip will never be the same :o(

On the second day we went to visit the very impressive Statue of David. Yep! Its definately impressive! You're not allowed to take photos but we couldnt not! Snuck in a sneaky selfie which was well worth the risk. After admiring David's package, we just wandered around the shops and checking out the markets, bought some dip and crackers to have a little picnic on the old bridge and went back to the hostel for some drinks before bed. 

'The Best of Tuscany Tour' was our last day and boy, what a day! 12 hour tour, first stop Sienna. We had an Italian lady give us a walking tour of Sienna and we thought it was pretty nice. Learnt about the Palio horse race. Where they race around the central plaza and no one cares about the jockey that wins, but the horse. It's a very tight course and we watch a video of the race and the jockey in first place got taken out by a wall and the horse started running the other way! Bit of a shambles. Sienna also has the oldest and still operating bank, and next to the bank is the original highway from northern Italy to Rome! It's just a street with expensive shops now.
Then it was lunchtime! We went to an Organic Farm where they made their own wine, grew wheat to make their own bread and pasta, cows for the meat, and olive oil. The only thing they didn't make was the sheeps cheese for the pasta. Lunch was delicious with ample wine for us all to sample. The farm was overlooking the beautiful rolling Tuscan hills and a little town in the background called San Gimignano which was our next stop! As you can imagine, the bus trip was a little louder on the way to our next stop with everyone a little tipsy from lunch... We had free time to explore San Gimignano so we climbed up a tower to take in more of the stunning views and then stop for some gelato. Dairy free dark chocolate for Kate, who was skipping in the streets with joy. 
Pisa was out last stop to of course, see the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Man, it does have a solid lean! It's a nice looking building and very clean. We just layed down in the grass and had a rest before heading home. Funniest thing was seeing a lady doing the funny 'look I'm holding up the tower' pic and another younger chick ran past and high fived her. Lol! The lady was so shocked! It was hilarious.

photos of FLORENCE

photos of TUSCANY

Posted by KPad 15:08 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Cinque Terre, Italy


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Cinque Terre is a series of five (Cinque in Italian) villages along the northwest coastline of Italy. They are all only a few Klms apart but set into some serious terrain. People come here to hike between the five villages and check each one out, though the middle two coast tracks are currently closed due to land slides last October.
We chose to stay in Riomaggiore, which is the furthest south of the five. We were excited about a five-day stay here to relax a little.

The office of the accommodation we were going to stay at was easy enough to find in the main street but then we had to cart our bags up millions of stairs to the top of the town. We had a nice little patio area, which looked over the ocean but the whole place was over grown. Our room was little, which was fine but had none of the facilities the website had said – mainly being a kitchen and wifi. As the room wasn’t what we’d expected, we decided that we’d just stay for three nights and find other accommodation for the remaining two. It’s too expensive to eat out for that many days. We went to let the owner know that we were going to cancel two nights and he was a total jerk off. When we said that the room wasn’t what we expected, i.e. no kitchen, he said the kitchen is in the dorm (which is located elsewhere within the town!) and we had to go there to use it. We’re not paying 90 euro a night for a bed and walk across town to use a kitchen. Poxy. He told us we were rude and not intelligent about how we asked so he wouldn’t do anything about it. He didn’t have any private rooms with kitchen anyways so not sure who he’s calling “not intelligent”. We re-iterated that we were cutting our stay short by two nights and took off while he was still mid sentence about who dumb we were. We checked out the town but were still generally pissed off, not even the beautiful views and crystal clear waters could totally calm us. A few drinks, gnocchi and organising two nights in one of the other towns did! Oh, and checking out reviews on his accommodation made us feel a heap better because it sounds like he’s notorious for being extremely rude. We added to his list of terrible reviews by the way. Cinque Terre Holidays – NEVER STAY WITH THEM!

We went to the other end of the villages the next day. Monterosso is the biggest, most touristy of the five and has a big beach. We swam, ate and drank cocktails here and had a great day in the sun.

Sunday we put on our joggers so we could tackle at least the coastal paths that were still open. The path from Riomaggiore to Manorola is a quite easy paved path that is referred to as the Lovers Path. People attach locks to various spots along the way to signify their eternal love. We stopped for a coffee and sat on a ledge over the cliff, which was a little off putting. Beats Ballina’s, “Shellys At The Beach”!

We jumped on the train to bypass the two closed tracks. Looking for the track, we went into Vernassa, we stepped into what must’ve seemed like a dream for Kate. People were throwing armfuls of lollies and chocolates out there second story window for some reason. The choccies kept raining down, and we were glad to join in. It was classic watching people going for one and getting struck on the head with others! Given the relative ease of the first track, we were kinda unprepared to start with on the last track. It seemed to go up forever on a narrow rocky track, and even harder to navigate with the millions of American kids on Spring Break taking up the whole track. We got into a rhythm and over took the slower groups. It was about one and a half hours of some pretty solid trekking but was so worth it, with priceless view and ended up being pretty fun!

We got into Monterosso just after 2pm so we could watch the Monaco GP race in a cool little bar that we’d found earlier. Being that we had been at Monaco on Thursday, it seemed a no brainer to have a few drinks and watch the race. The bar was right across from the beach and unfortunately all the American kids were a steady flow in front of the TV lining up for their frozen cocktails to take back over to the beach. It was a little frustrating, but we still got to see Webber win wearing my Red Bull shirt I bought from the track!

The next day we got to move our gear to our new digs to the middle, and smallest town of Corniglia. Unlike the others which a based around the ocean and stretch up the cliffs, Corniglia is perch right up the top of a huge headland. There is nearly 400 steps up from the train station or a shuttle bus, which we took with our bags. The new room had a kitchen and also had access to the roof top patio of the building next door. The lady that ran the show seemed pretty nice to start with, but then turned out to be a crazy lady…. always yelling and walking around town smokin’ ciggies with old men and being generally pretty unfriendly. Seems we didn’t have much luck with our hosts in Cinque Terre, compared to our many great experiences at previous places.

It was rainy and we checked out the only town we hadn’t actually been to called Manorola. It was amazingly beautiful but not a lot to do there with the rain so we headed home. The sun came out as we got back so we took drinks and snacks to the rooftop. Not many things could beat the view from up there. You could see both ways up the coastline to the other villages and we watched the sun set over Monterosso with a few Peroni’s and a bottle of Chianti.

Our last day was super relaxing. We pretty much sat on the beach all day in the sun at Monterosso. We made some kickass burgers for dinner too! Heading to Florence in the morning via train. Hopefully we can get to this one on time, for once!

LINK TO THE PHOTOS

Posted by KPad 23:43 Archived in Italy Comments (4)

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