Hallo Deutschland..!

Yesterday was a travelling day. We got the train once again from Milan to Verona and then from Verona to Munich (5 hours!) and found our hostel really quickly, right in the middle of everything which was perfect. The views from the train on the way were beautiful, mountains and rivers, little houses and churches dotted all the way up – so pretty to look at. We were also greeted with a beautiful sunset, which again I was basically becoming a contortionist to see from the train…

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We went to pizza but for dinner, not exactly German but oh well, we were only in Munich for one night. My pizza though, was amazing – macaroni cheese with mushrooms. On pizza! Genius!

I slept really well and had a great shower this morning but Sophia didn’t have as much luck with either; I tried my best not to laugh…

This morning we got the train from Munich to Cologne, with only a slight platform hitch we made it to the train (it might have included a slight jog and a 400m walk to our carriage which was evidently closed but it’s fine. Everything’s fine.).

When we reach Cologne our plan is to have dinner and then meet up with my German best friend Gesa, and go out on the town – Germans know how to party! We’re also seeing her tomorrow to explore Cologne and have a catch-up and then we leave Thursday for our train to Amsterdam. Busy busy!!

Tschuss for now!

In fair Verona where we lay our scene…

Today was magical. We woke at 6.30 was wasn’t magical at all, it was horrendous after getting in at 2am but still, we did it. We got the train to Verona – the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, to see Juliet’s House and that’s where things got magical. Walking through Verona was beautiful, almost like a little toy town – such pretty buildings, little parks with fountains and cute little side streets that we’re filled with people milling around, regardless of the fact that it’s Sunday.

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The street leading down to Juliet’s House, Via Capello, was so lovely – the buildings are so amazing to looks up at, especially against the blue sky we were lucky to get today! The shops were a mix of designer and high street brands but it made me think what might have been there originally – if only we could have gone back in time…

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The street of Juliet’s House was so so busy, packed with tourists cramming to get a view of the infamous balcony and of course the statue of Juliet that stands in the courtyard. Many a visitor would pose next to her, touching her left breast for good luck, so much so that that one is gold, unlike the rest of her.

The atmosphere, apart from being completely hectic and touristy was really lovely – couples writing on the wall, leaving messages of their love as well as the gate covered in padlocks symbolising many relationships from across the globe.

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After wanting to visit Verona for a long long time it lived up to my expectations and the morning we spent there couldn’t have been better!

After sitting in the sun eating ice cream we wandered back to the train to continue our adventure. Next stop was Venice, somewhere I’d also wanted to visit for years. I can’t begin to describe how stunning it was. Walking out of the station you’re met instantly by the canal, adorned with gorgeous little streets on each side; it looks exactly like a postcard and I was in awe of how incredible it was.

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Sophia’s blisters were giving her hell so I left her sunbathing by the canal and I wandered off. My first stop was the bridge – an amazing view of the canal with all the aquataxis and gondolas floating along. So picturesque. After taking in the view for a while I continued down one of the main streets, amazed at all the beautiful Venetian masks and Murano glass. I wish I could have filled a suitcase with all the souvenirs I could manage because they were all so spectacular. Unfortunately we’re carrying our luggage on our backs and have no space for anything so I had to settle for a couple of postcards and a little mask, something I’ll have to be super careful about packing but I just couldn’t resist.

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After a little more wandering in amazement I made my way back to Sophia and we found a little restaurant to have dinner. I had lasagne (my third since being in Italy but it’s my favourite so it doesn’t matter) and Sophia had spaghetti with clams – both were delicious.

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We’re now on the train back to Milan (I’m craning my neck in every direction to see the sunset, it’s so beautiful) for our last night, although I think we’ll be in bed rather than partying since we’ve got a 7 hour train journey to Munich tomorrow…

Ciao for now!

Buongiorno from Milan..!

Buongiorno from Milan! The train journey on Thursday was pretty straightforward and we made it here in one piece. I think we passed through every possible weather condition on our way here but the sun was shining when we arrived which is all we cared about. We arrived at our hostel which is actually pretty nice (this one has one star!!) and after some difficultly with the door to our room (I sought help from our Spanish neighbour who spoke no English and it was more like playing charades than anything else) we got settled in.

Our first night here was really good! We took a little walk to b:free – a little bar that I’d read decent reviews about and it lived up to the hype. The bartender was so friendly and he showed us juggling tricks with bottles and cocktail shakers that he knew from bar tending competitions. We all swapped life stories and he’d actually been to bristol which was pretty cool. A side note for anyone in/near Milan – the cocktail menu here was insane, and many of them had been created by Mr Bartender and are all well worth a try (although two had us pretty inebriated).

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We also met two funny guys there and we had a little karaoke sesh with a few Queen and Elton John classics thrown in for good measure. Their Italian banter between each other was then partly translated to us which made for many amusing conversations; they even offered to show us the best sights of Milan.

I woke crazy early yesterday morning but I got to watch the sunrise which was really beautiful. Yesterday afternoon we sat in the park and whilst I wrote this Sophia read her book. The weather was lovely, not as hot as Rome but still rather gorgeous.

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Yesterday afternoon our Italian friend gave us a tour of Milan – showing us the cathedral, which was stunning to look, the shopping centre and Rectangle of Gold which smelt like perfume and cigarettes… Italy in a nutshell. We saw La Scala, the theatre where operas are held, and walked through the grounds of the castle which were beautiful.
There was a little lake there filled with ducks and turtles which was so cool! There were also hundreds of pigeons which for those of you that know my hatred of pigeons (and scummy birds in general) was a nightmare for me. By the time we left I’d had one eating out of my hand (literally) and sat on my wrist, which is completely disgusting but I guess it was some kind of weird personal achievement… or something.

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Last night was amazing. Both our Italian friends (Emiliano and Mario) picked us up by car and took us to the most amazing Egyptian restaurant (El Tekkia Milano – they have a Facebook page and many excellent reviews in Trip Advisor). The ceiling had twinkly lights and there were drapes and carpets and beautiful mosaic light shades everywhere, it was like Aladdin’s cave of wonders! I’m pretty much a novice when it comes to eastern food (I’d had a couple of the dishes before but Sophia knows more about it all than me) but everything we ate was so delicious and I’d recommend the restaurant to anyone. Our waitress was Egyptian and she spoke Italian (obviously) but her English was also perfect and she translated each dish for us and was generally lovely. Her name was Sophia too which we all laughed about. Sophia, Sophia and Sophie.

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We finished the night with a quick taste of limoncello and then the car ride back in a torrential downpour and the biggest flashes of lightning I’ve ever seen – pretty cool! There was of course another singalong, this time to Take That’s “Shine” as it was on the radio.

Now we have today and tomorrow to see as much as we can before heading to Munich on Monday..!

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Ciao..!

Ciao! Today was pretty spectacular! We met up with our family friends once more and took the metro to Ottaviano, the closest metro station to St. Peter’s Basilica. The queue was long but it was bearable as the sun was shining and we moved along pretty quickly – the view from outside also took your mind off the wait. After a bag scan and quick wardrobe alternations (no legs or shoulders can be shown) we were soon inside and the wait was well worth it.
The interior was spectacular, almost breathtaking to look at and I marvelled at everything I saw. A statue crafted by Michaelangelo was the first monument we saw – he’d completed it by the time he was 24 which made me feel quite inadequate! We continued walking round, taking in the beautiful mosaics and finely decorated walls. I’ve never seen anything so incredible. If you go to Rome it’s well worth and visit and it’s free to go in.

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After being thoroughly amazed we decided to pay the €7 (kindly paid for by our family friends) to go to the top of the dome and see the view from the top. Climbing the 350 steps (after getting a lift!) to the top did make us second guess our choice but once we reached the last step it was completely worth it. The view across the whole of Rome was amazing and the photos below really don’t do it justice – if you get the chance (and have €7) definitely do it.

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A rest was needed after this excursion so drinks in the sunshine it was and then a nap back at our hostel. We met our friends by the Trevi fountain and then went to dinner (I had lasagne tonight and it was delicious) and then for ice cream before coming back and collapsing before leaving for Milan tomorrow. The weather was beautiful today and hopefully our tans are coming along…
Here’s the sunset from earlier, it wasn’t stunning but I still thought it was rather pretty.

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Ice creams and thunderstorms…

Hey everyone, me again!

We finished yesterday with the sightseeing bus tour which was incredibly touristy but it had to be done. The weather was perfect, sunny but not overly hot so we got some nice photos. The audio guide was good although the classical music in between the spurts of information became increasingly annoying and were grating on us by the end, so much so that Sophia missed the end of the guide because she’d given up with the headset.

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Today we started off with a laundry run while we had the chance, before we move onto Milan in a couple of days.
If you know any good cafés or general places of interest in Milan (or Venice and Verona as we’re hoping to do day trips there too) do post a comment and let me know!

Walking round rome you’re constantly harassed by street sellers. Yesterday it was water and hats being waved in our faces, today it was ponchos and umbrellas. They’re relentless.

We met up with some family friends who are also staying in Rome for a few days and we visited to colosseum. It was lovely and hot as we walked round and took photos which was perfect as was our walk to the Trevi Fountain. This destination I was looking forward to – getting to throw a coin in and make a wish as well as marvelling at the incredible architecture of the monument because it really is stunning. Well, from what we saw of it. It was covered in scaffolding and was completely dry, so not the most amazing time to visit it. Still we got to walk across a man-made metal bridge to get a slightly better look and some people threw a coin in regardless (I waited until we got to the Triton Fountain to make my wish, that one had water and is still rather beautiful even if it is a little smaller than the Trevi).

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From the Trevi fountain we got gelato, our first one since being in Italy and it was so delicious (not surprising I know)!! I had coconut and watermelon and it was the best ice cream I’ve ever had – we’re going back for more tomorrow. We took a quick trip to the Spanish Steps which were wholly underwhelming, perhaps because of the torrential downpour we were in, and the fact that these were also partly covered in scaffolding. As did the colosseum. Basically, don’t come to Rome this summer. But still, we saw a lot of sights today which was really cool and we took lots of photos – we even got to walk down the most expensive street of shops (Prada, Gucci, Valentino – you name it) wearing super sexy waterproof ponchos so who’s the real winner here?

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We finished with dinner in a little Italian restaurant which was really yummy – pizza finally! It was totally worth the wait and may even keep us going until we leave, it’s sandwiches the rest of the time…

Tomorrow we hope to do The Vatican and Piazza Navona, also with our friends – gives us more oomph to get going in the morning! Anyway, hope you’ve like this little snapshot of our day – please send us back the sunshine!

Day two and half of day three…

So yesterday was our chill out day. We thought that since we’re here for four more days we didn’t want to run out of things to do and so we were quite happy just reading and relaxing by ourselves. We did venture out to the shop only to find it closed because it was Sunday – a tradition us English girls completely forgot about. The evening was not eventful however and we met up with three of Sophia’s friends from home for dinner. We wandered the little back streets of Rome, surrounded only by locals which was really nice. We stopped for dinner at La Bottega Del Café which was next to a pretty fountain and some other little Italian restaurants. Very picturesque – this photo doesn’t do it justice.

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Dinner was lasagne and strawberry daiquiris – perfect combination for our first proper meal since the evening before we left England. The atmosphere was typically Italian, complete with a table of chain smokers – something we have yet to get used to. The two American girls sat behind us were slightly grating with their loud conversation but we didn’t let it affect our evening.

The stroll back to our hostel was just what we needed before heading to bed.

Today we’ve had to move hostels (we extended our stay soon after we booked and couldn’t continue in the place we were). So currently we’re wasting time before check-in, sat on the floor people watching in Termini Station which is the busiest station in Rome – I uploaded a video to Instagram if you’re overly interested, I won’t blame you if not. We would have done something a little more worthwhile with our time instead of looking homeless but carrying 11kg on your back doesn’t make it that easy. We’ll make up for it later I promise but right now it’s snack time…

We made it..!

We made it!! We’re in Rome from now, well yesterday, until Thursday. We have to change accommodation halfway through but a change of scenery might be nice. Our accommodation is basic but has everything we need and feels Italian – stone ceilings and titled floors and such.

Yesterday was mostly travelling and getting our bearings. After the aeroplane we got a coach to Termini station, the biggest train station in Rome, and our hostel was near there. Whilst waiting for the coach Sophia got out her deodorant (we we’re hot and sweaty, no explanation needed!) and as she took the lid off it fell apart which made me cry with laughter, possibly from travelling hysteria and tiredness but it made us both laugh.
From the coach we took a coupe of wrong turns getting to our hostel but we found it eventually, I don’t think we’d be proper travellers if we didn’t make a few mistakes.

Rome itself is incredible. It’s unlike anywhere I’ve been before, all the architecture is beautiful and stunning to look at.

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This is Trajan’s column which commemorates emperor Trajan’s victory in the Dacian wars. It was completed in AD 113, so it’s pretty old, making it even more amazing. The engravings are what really make it stunning to look at and they tell the story of the wars between the Romans and the Dacian’s.

Despite the free wifi and countless Vespas racing round it feels like going back in time whilst wandering round this ancient city.

On our way to the colosseum we met two Romanian Italians dressed as roman soldiers who we had photos with (see below) and they became our friends for the hour we stood and chatted with them, such funny guys!

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We walked down to the colosseum to have a quick look but we’re doing the bus sightseeing tour (possibly tomorrow) so we’ll get off and look around the colosseum properly then.

We also want to see the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps and the Vatican so that might be early next week. A successful first day in Rome though it has to be said – and hopefully some new tan lines to show for it!

Four days..!

So in four days time we’ll in Rome! How exciting! I packed most of my bag last night, as i’m not home for a few days because of graduation, and it’s pretty heavy… I need to put a few more things in but I don’t think it’ll be too bad to carry.
I packed each section of clothes in separate bags within the big bag, for example, trousers, leggings and shorts in one bag, t-shirts in another and beachwear in another but we’ll see how long that system lasts. Deciding what to pack and what I could live without was hard! Hopefully I’ve made the right choices…

I’ve sorted out euros etc now too and the post office have a really cool “travel money card”. You use it like a debit card in the currency of your destination and you’re able to top it up and check your balance online or on their app. So we did that rather than carrying loads of cash around.
Here’s the link if you’re interested:
http://www.postoffice.co.uk/travel-money-card

We’re getting excited now, I just hope I remember to tell you about each place!

So, it turns out…

Hi everyone, hope you’re all okay!

So, it turns out that travel bag shopping wasn’t nearly as hilarious as we thought it would be. It just emphasised my weakness when I failed to tighten the straps which if anything, was slightly embarrassing. But still, the two assistants in the shop (Trespass in Bristol – highly recommended!) were both really funny and helpful which made us feel less like travel novices, regardless of how much stuff Sophia knocked on the floor…

Apart from buying a bag and a really cool towel that dries almost instantly (I might have got slightly over excited about that in the shop…) I didn’t get much, only some hand sanitizer (yes, I’m that girl) and the necessary travel pills. We also ate delicious Chinese noodles and drank bubble tea and had a lovely day in the sunshine, oh and we fawned over £500 Louboutins in Harvey Nichols; something we obviously won’t need but still, I can dream.

One thing I do need your help with! Anyone who’s been away for more than two weeks – what did you do about phones with regards to internet/texting/etc? Did you get a different sim card? The woman in Vodaphone was completely unhelpful but did suggest getting a Lyca or Lebara sim card… Any help or advice about this would be much appreciated, thank you! 

Stay with me..!

Hey everyone! Things have gone a bit quiet on the travelling front at the moment because everything is booked and it’s been a little hectic moving back home. Trying to fit three years’ worth of stuff in an already full room is quite a task let me tell you (although I’m sure a lot of you know that first hand). I’ve been rearranging my bedroom and attempting to decorate it at the same time and personally, I think I’m DIY queen now – I even got a slight thumb laceration to prove it (maybe laceration is a slightly strong word but I have a cut anyhow… no pain no gain).

So there’s not much to report at the moment although Sophia and I are going shopping at the weekend for travel essentials, although I doubt we’ll pack loads – we managed in Disneyland with one outfit for three days (no judgement please) so I think we’ll be okay just taking necessities. Perhaps that outing will lend itself to a blog post, i mean trying on bags almost the same size as us has to be funny right?

Hope you’re all doing okay, stay tuned for more interesting posts in the next few weeks!