A Travellerspoint blog

Pompei & Amalfi Coast

sunny 23 °C

Pompeii

Pompeii is yet another magic site in Italia. It is incredible to say the least. We spent hours wondering around the village of ruins checking out the houses, bakeries, libraries, brothels (which had stone penises on the pavement pointing towards them…haha!) stadium’s and everything else you could possible imagine that a 79 AD village would contain.

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Seeing bodies and the village that had literally been frozen in time was astounding.

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My favourite place was Villa of the Mysteries.

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I would definitely recommend checking it out to everyone.

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Amalfi Coast

Sorrento/San Pietro

We arrived at the Amalfi coast and were not really sure of what to expect, but it’s safe to say it’s another one of Italia’s gems.

Our place was stunning, we had a full apartment complete with our own balcony which overlooks the stunning bay of Sorrento.

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Kieran cooked up a storm making gnocchi which was ate watching the sun set (accompanied with a few bottles of vino of course). It was absolute bliss. I think this is the place I want to buy my little shanty :)

On Sunday we ventured into the town of Sorrento which was super cute. It is one of the homes of lemonchello in you can see why when the stores have lemons the size of melons!

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The port of Sorrento looked and felt like it hadn’t changed in fifty years and the water was a brilliant blue and incredibly clear.

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The rest of the arvo was spent sunbaking on the deck again. Perfect :)

We went in search of our next destination which turned out to be a complete shambles. The hotel wasn’t actually anywhere near it was meant to be. So, after a lot of stressful driving around and never even finding where we were meant to go we ended up in Ravolli having a beautiful lunch (with free Wifi of course, so we could cancel the mysterious hotel and re-book at Sorrento). We even scored the same room…ahhh perfecto!

On the way to the alleged hotel we saw an interesting crossing of goats. Funny!

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I think a special mention needs to go out to a piece of Kieran’s work ; the apple swan!!

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Positano

Another little piece of paradise! I don’t think I will ever get enough of Italy.

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We walked in from Sorrento – a 20km round trip along the beautiful cost. I couldn’t stop taking pics – yet again. It was seriously so perfect and soooo beautiful, not to mention the weather was absolutely mint.

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Kieran even stripped off and jumped in the ocean.

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I thought the little houses the made along the roads were super cute too.

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Next stop: Croatia. Wooohhooo!

Posted by JessBeard 00:39 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Venice, Rome & the Vatican City

sunny 21 °C

Venice

We boarded our train from Firenze (Florence) and two hours later we were standing smack bang in the middle of Venice. The gods were on our side and we were lucky enough to have sunshine for the first day. We checked into our hotel which was a story on its own… it had a heap of character…that’s if you like your appliances barely hanging on the wall. It was original in the sense it hadn’t been touched for hundreds of years. Haha.

So, first things first, we strolled into Piazza San Macro. It was beautiful and so was the Grande Canal. We thoroughly enjoyed watching the men selling fake goods run away from the polizia. We ate the biggest pizza imaginable and I couldn’t stop taking photos of all the cute little bridge crossings. I have to say it is an unbelievable place to see.

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We entered Basilica di San Marco (Venices main church) which was completely mosaic. Amazing!

And attempted to find an original Venetian mask, which is not an easy task among the many cheap fakes. Many stores later we walked out with a stunning green one and even an original painting too. Yay!

Day two; the weather decided to not be so friendly! It rained pretty much all day so we decided to board a water taxi and head to Morano Island to check out the glass factories. We managed to get a personal tour into one of the factories and see the chandeliers being made. Unfortunately I couldn’t take any photos but it was unreal.

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We only had two days in Venice, and as we left the weather decided to be perfect again. Below is a little snap shot of the markets early in the morning.

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Vatican City
I don’t even know if any words can really describe it. Over the top, yes, beautiful, yes, but the religious feel, no. Strange really! Every room was glitz and glam with the most beautiful and intricate artwork. The photos don’t do it half the justice it deserves.

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Unfortunately you couldn’t take photos in the Sistine chapel :(and we were to side tracked from the vast array of paintings and sculptures in the museum that we missed the pope doing his regular Wednesday wave.

Rome

Afterwards we went to check out Fontana di Trevi and were hit by a hail and thunder storm. Unusual to say the least… I hope it has nothing to do with visiting the Vatican. Haha. (We went back the next day to have a second look too – while the sun was shining, and I have to say it is the most beautiful sculpture of all, even beats David :)

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Next to the Pantheon

Day two; the weather could not have been any more perfect, especially for site seeing. We checked out Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II, Areo di Tito, Arco di Costantino and the Palatino.

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Along with the Colosseo; along with many cute streets, cafes and more monuments.

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I would definitely go back to Rome any day; I would have to say I was very sad to wave goodbye to the beautiful city.

Posted by JessBeard 11:48 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Pisa and Florence

sunny 20 °C

After a quick detour of La Spezia (a seaside town) we arrived in Pisa which in the normal way of things would be extremely exciting but the stupid banks decided to stop our cards and we were left with a total of 20cents. Kieran had lost his phone the day before so we ended up driving several times around Pisa and as a last attempt we parked with the hazards (as we couldn’t afford parking) and ran around town to get it sorted.

Day two was much more successful. We checked out the leaning tower and did all the appropriate poses:

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We also saw the Battistero di San Giovanni, Cathedral of Pisa, Camposanto Monumentale and a museum to boot and lets not forget the town of Pisa too.

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I have to say Pisa albeit touristy and very cliché Italy was absolutely amazing. And I even scored a super sweet leaning tower mug :)

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Florence

I have to say watching Kieran drive through Italy is scary to say the least and Florence was no exception. It’s a little like Egypt; as many cars that can fit on the lane will, motorbikes/scooters (along with the little cars you can see below...funny!) just cut in and out of lanes and there is always the slow cyclist in the mix. Twelve heart attacks later we parked and found our beautiful hotel. We were even lucky enough to score our own terrace but the toilet in the shower was quite unusual to say the least!

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Florence is another beauty (I recommend Italy to everyone). The town is full of character, charm and is overall very vibrant. We headed to the top of Cathedral Duomo Di Santa Maria Del Fiore up 462 stairs and the view was breathtaking.

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A close second is the view from Piazzale Michelangelo (below). I have to say that that a smaller church/monastery just up to hill was beautiful too, not as ritzy as some but definitely just as good.

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We strolled along the streets eating Gelato, tasty sandwiches, pizza and sweets – although I have to say I was massively disappointed by the local cannoli.

The Ponte Vecchio was unreal. I wanted to buy everything in the glitzy shop windows however, the price was not so spectacular so window shopping was my only option.

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Day three we visited Galleria dell’Accademia which was filled with beautiful religious paintings and sculptures and most importantly Michel Angelo’s “David”. I have to say it is probably the most perfect object I have ever seen. Amazing!

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We found the local markets (Mercato Central) which was brimming with different goods and even managed to stumble across the fresh food market, so we sampled some homemade pasta. It was delish.

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Posted by JessBeard 12:43 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Montpellier, Nimes, Nice & Monaco

sunny 21 °C

Finally after hours of driving through crazy weather conditions we reached Montpellier. It turned out to be one of those towns albeit pretty I wouldn’t really recommend staying longer than a day. We wondered the streets and did some shopping but that about covers it.

Nimes on the other hand was an absolute gem. It had ancient roman ruins strewn all over the town. We visited the most well preserved coliseum in Europe; Arenes de Nimes.

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Checked out the town’s main temple; Maison Carrée.

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The Tourmagne…

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And lastly, strolled through the Mémoire de garrigues, marvelling at the amazing roman baths (Jardins de la Fontaine).

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Nice

“Well the name pretty much sums it up” (Kieran)

A place really after my own heart; beautiful beaches, sunny weather and great shopping… :)We were even lucky enough to find pistachio croissants, yumm.

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Kieran enjoyed the art of making “rock castles”

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Nice, like all towns along the French Riviera is absolutely stunning. A definite must see. Especially as it is now leader in the sausage dog tally; 9 in total - so it must be a great place :)

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Monaco

Driving into Monaco was surreal as we headed along the windy Grand Prix track…Kieran attempted to drive the Focus like it was a sports car but it looked a tad unusual amongst the many Porches, Ferrari and Lamborghinis.

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A snap shot outside Casino Royale (which is truly the playground of the rich and famous!).

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Monaco was amazing! It was everything it had been made out to be. Money everywhere and boats the sizes of mansions e.g. we saw one 344ft boat (Lady Moura) owned by a single Saudi Arabian. Crazy!

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I think in a few years I will head back to spend all my millions!! Haha.

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Posted by JessBeard 14:05 Archived in France Comments (0)

Valencia to Barcelona

all seasons in one day 21 °C

Sadly, our time was up in Pego, so after numerous tearful goodbyes we hit the road in search of Valencia. We were lucky enough to arrive right when they were in the middle of a week-long Fiesta. We checked into the hotel and went straight into the town centre and bought up all the bunyols and churros. Yummm :)

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The Fire Fiestival was rather unusual… all over the Valencia region they work on massive papier mache structures for a year (which cost a mint) and then set them all alight on the same night. Rather impressive to say the least.

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MTV Winter was also on so we checked out My Chemical Romance and Groove Armada

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Barcelona

A beautiful and vibrant city; well that’s if you can pay for anything!! HSBC decided to cancel our cards and reissue new ones (to our UK address) while we were away so we officially had access to zero funds. Not impressed!! We were literally down to our last 20c when we finally had access money again. Lucky!!

We strolled around the streets and checked out the impressive Gaudi creations.

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Casa Batllo was unbelievable. It felt like you were in another world walking through the numerous rooms each different and just as remarkable.

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Afterwards the heavens decided to open and we got drenched! At least this time we could afford to sit in a café and drink espressos.

This is our last stop in Spain. Can’t wait to come back again :)

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Posted by JessBeard 14:34 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

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