Wednesday, May 30, 2007

5 Lands

Today we hiked through the 5 towns of cinque terre - absolutly beautiful hike and not as difficult as I had imagined

Love it, must run


Tuesday, May 29, 2007


This morning I saw every shade of blue ever imagined, watching the the ocean grow light on the shore of Monterosso, one of the five small fishing villages that make up Cinque Terre. We took the night train from Roma last night and got in around 5am, as we stepped off the train we were immediatly greated with a view of one of the most magnificent and peaceful beaches I have ever seen. Until the shops and hotels opened up at around 8am, we sat and stared at the ocean - and have done nothing more the rest of the day! An entire day of nothing but soaking up the beauty around us and trying to order food in a town where no one speaks a lick of English. Its really incredible. We are staying at the most wonderful hotel as well, it was recommended to us by some fellow backpackers and after hiking our way up to the old town we saw that it was entirely perfect, a lovely courtyard with every kind of flower and lemon trees, a beautiful cafe where they serve breakfast in the mornings, and pristine rooms with the cleanest bathrooms I have seen this whole trip! Even though the weather has been chilly and cloudy, it has still been the most wonderful day, doing absolutly nothing in paradise. Dinner was at a beautiful restraunt having gnocchi with pesto (this is where pesto was created!) overlooking the ocean. I have never been so relaxed, I love this place.

Tomorrow we attempt the 5 hour hike through the length of Cinque Terre and then take the train back tomorrow evening. Hopefully the weather will cooperate, I am very glad I bought jeans and sneakers in Rome, I heard the first section of the hike is really difficult (but sooo beautiful!)

Sunday, May 27, 2007

La Vita Dolce

Last night after we got accomidations sorted out (we're staying in an apartment that The Beehive hostel rents out) and taking a night train to Cinque Terre tomorrow night. Yesterday we saw much more of Rome than we anticipated we would have time for - started at Piazza de Populo (where there was a surprise major concert going on), popped into Santa Maria de Populo, got some of Rome's finest pizza, walked through the restidental area of Rome, went to my favorite gelatoria (best moment of the day - the owner, Nicoli, remembered me and we got to catch up in our broken Italian-English mix that I miss so much!), then went to Saint Peter's Square and Basilica - i had forgotten just how amazing it is, then to Castle St Angelo and Pont St Angelo, then Piazza Novona, then the Pantheon and then the Trevi Fountain (dont worry, I tossed a coin into it to make sure I return!) with a side trip to the best gelato in Rome and probably the world, San Crispino. Very very very good day after all!

Today we got up verrry early to go to Rome's huge incredible flea market, Porta Portese (so glad we were here on a Sunday!) where for 40 euro I got an almost new pair of Dolce and Gabbana beauuuutiful shoes, a pair of sneakers (for hiking the Cinque Terre), 1 pair of jeans, 1 pair of kaikis, a long skit, and a button up shirt, and a beautiful purse. For 40 euros! The D&G shoes themselves retail at over $400. Now I'm just going to have to figure out how to fit it all in my pack - yikes! :) Its a good thing I left a bunch of room in there when I packed to come over (and threw away a bunch of stuff in Nice that I realized I didnt need). Va Bene - off to spend more quality time with my favorite city!

Saturday, May 26, 2007


We made it to Rome, safe and sound. Got about 8 minutes of sleep in the airport along with the 100 other people with the same idea! Now we have spent the past 3 hours in Rome trying to convince the hostel that we made reservations at that they couldnt leave us with no place to stay just because they overbooked (its nearly impossible to find a place to sleep on saturday nights) so I spent an hour on the phone in broken italian-english with the owner practicing my new negotiation skills and the rest of the time trying to find a different hostel for sunday and monday nights! So hopefully soon we will be able to get out and enjoy my favorite city!


Friday, May 25, 2007


The weather here has been shockingly bad - its been rainy and cold the past two days which is very unsual for Madrid. Even with the weather, Madrid has still been wonderful, and I can tell it is a lovely city. Somehow it seems to simmer with energy, people out and about 24-7 (except for their daily seista, of course) and so much vibrancy. Our hostel has been fun though, we´ve made many friends - an Austrian, an Australian, and an American - who we have hung out with. The first day here I braved the weather to go to the Prado Museum which was an excellent rain choice and then luckily before dinner the rain let up, so we wandered around the city a bit and found a great tavern to have dinner. I had an exceptional dish of eggplant with a honey sauce. Everyone here has been so incredably helpful and friendly I can hardly believe it. If we look lost Spainards will come up and help us find where we are going, in restraunts they go out of their way to accomindate our poor Spanish and knowledge of the food. After dinner we ventured over to the middle of the city to churros con chocolat, a Spain specialty dessert that was delicious.

Today it rained again, we got caught in it as soon as we got to the big park in Madrid, sort of like the central park in NYC, so instead went and toured the royal palace, which was ridiculously beautiful. Afterwards we went to a restraunt one of my friends recommended for Spanish tortillas (a thick dish of potateos and eggs, nothing like Mexican tortillas!) but as it was 4:30p it was closed for seista, so we decided to go to the place next door instead where we got the royal treatment and had the best food experience of our trip! The one-man-show who ran the restraunt was so nice and friendly. We just ordered a Spanish tortilla to split and a glass of Sangria, but he brought out bread with spanish cheese and olive oil that he makes himself, then our food, and then anchovies (another Spain specialty nothing like the ones in America!) and thena mushroom dish when he found out I was a vegetarian, and then to finish the meal off, a peach digestive - all was so incredible it blew our minds. Overall an unexpected, wonderful taste of Spanish food and culture and people.

We fly out of Madrid to Rome tomorrow morning at 7:35am and unfortunatly realized when we got to Madrid that there is no way (except for very expensive taxi) to get to the airport that early. So instead we are going to the airport at 2am right before the metro closes and waiting it out! Luckily our hostel let us keep our stuff here (and use the internet :) until we head out.

I am so excited for Roma, my beautiful city I love so much! I cant believe I will be back in 12 hours!

Thursday, May 24, 2007


I´m about to run off and see Madrid!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


So we've been trying to plan ahead a little bit and looking at travel to Greece we've noticed that it is really expensive and difficult to get to and from there. And the more time elapses, the more expensive the country is getting. Especially with dates that we're not flexible with (such as getting back to London for our flight home) flights are a couple hundred euros and increasing daily. Even getting to Greece is difficult because most airlines dont have regular flights into Greece, so it would mean taking a ferry from Italy, which means taking a train from Cinque Terre to the eastern coast wherever theres a port, and since we cannot arrange ferry tickets ahead of time, just figuring it out at that point.
As I was exploring options, though, I found a ton of cheap (15 euro!) flights from Croatia to London on the date we need to go, and since Croatia is further north, its just east of Italy instead of east and waaay far south like Greece, so the ferry over would be a lot quicker (and I assume, then, cheaper) as well as the train to the coast.
Everyone I've talked to at our hostel says Croatia is an amazing place to go, similar to Greece in that it has tons and tons of islands with beautiful beaches that you can hop around, gorgeous cliffs running up to the water, and lovely cities that have some tourists but arnt as touristy as the Greek Isles.
Justin is still pretty stuck on going to Greece, so we're exploring options of ways to get there and back to London, but I just keep seeing the prices go up each day so we're hoping to decide soon!

Do any of you have any advice or knowledge about Croatia or the decision?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Nice is nice

We spent the day in Nice today, did the Rick Steves self-guided tour through the old town of Nice, taking us through the main Promendade where we got Socca, a Nicose specialty, which is a deliscious chickpea crepe. Then after getting a little lost, we found the famous gellateria we had heard so much about with many many crazy flavors of gellato. I got 1 boule - scoop - of blackberry and 1 boule of lavender, which was amazing. Then we lounged on the beach for awhile, it was a pebble beach which is slightly less comfortable than sand beaches but still near the lovely Mediterranian azur water. Next we climbed up to Castle Hill - which, of course, doesnt have a castle, but beautiful panaramic views of the city. Castle Hill is where the Greeks founded the city in 400 BC so all of the murals and ruins were beautiful examples of Greek architecture and art and mythology.

Monday, May 21, 2007


Yesterday we went to Cannes for the day after booking some flights and hostels (I love that our hostel here has a computer room with free internet!). Cannes was crazy because of the Film Festival, but really exciting. We got a tip from someone in our hostel to go to the beaches west of the harbor to get away from the tourists, and it was really nice! They had sand beaches (most are pebble beaches) and it wasnt very crowded there. We only stayed on the beach a bit so we didnt get too much sun, and did a lot of walking around exploring. I wandered into a tent and we ended up getting free tickets to a cinema on the beach - that was def the highlight of the trip. It started right after sunset and we got free (nice) blankets and to sit in really comfy beach chairs. It was actually not a movie that night, but a live quartet playing music inspired by the films at the festival, and they showed clips of the movies while they played. Very cool.

Today we're going to explore the old town of Nice, have a legit french meal, and then go into Monaco for the evening

Saturday, May 19, 2007

French Rivera

I dont have much time, I'm at the computer at the hostel we're staying at in Nice, but we just got here, safe and sound. Our hostel overbooked so we're at the one next door, which seems just as nice and 4 euro cheaper a night, so we're not complaining! We plan to be here for about 2 full days, using Nice as our home base and travelling to Monaco, Cannes, and maybe another little town on the Riveria. On the 5 hour train ride here, we read through Rick Steves for the rivera and for spain, and we're not quite sure where in Spain we're going to end up. Nothing really appeals to us particularly at the moment, probably Sevilla sounds like our best option, and then trying to go to some of the smaller towns in Spain before we fly to Italy! Spain is probably where I would choose to spend the least time, Justin wants to spend more time there mostly because he knows the language a bit, which will be a huge help! I have begun trying my best to learn some French. I absolutely love the way it sounds and feels to speak it. On the train I was being a typical American (too loud) practicing my french "I would like a coffee with milk" and got laughed at by the French people sitting near us :)

Today before we left we got in to see the Louve, specifically I wanted to see the famous Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo (sp?). We thought the line would be crazy long but it only took a few minutes! Afterwards we picniced and I got ice cream in the nearby park, Tulieres Gardens (sp?) which were amazingly beautiful and very typical of French gardening - loved it!



Im in paris! we went straight from london to paris - im not a huge london fan, way too expensive and too luch like nyc - but paris is wonderful! i had never been here before, but its really lovely. the biggest surprise is def how friendly everyone is! the french have been so wonderfully nice! yesterday we saw the louve - didnt get to go in - and notre dame, we went to the rodin museum gardens and saw the thinker, went alll the way up the eiffel tower - walked up to 400 meters and then took the elevator up to 900 meters - i timed it so we were up there for sunset, so beautiful! for dinner, we got take out from a little cafe and picniced in front of the glowing, charming eiffel tower - tres magnifique!

today we have a 5pm train to Nice, in the south of france, and a hostel there, so tomorrow we can go into cannes for the film festival! i have a friend working at it but so far i dont think hell be able to get us in... all the hostel and cheap hotels have been booked in paris and deeeefinately in cannes, so weve been scrambling trying to find places to stay and trying to balance not having everything out ahead of ti,ing with booking good, cheap places to stay. i hope to start booking things a little sooner now - yes im a butler - so we can stay in cooler, cheaper places.

times up at the internet cafe, got to run!


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Our flying plans were very up in the air until this morning because Justin's passport hadnt come in. But just a few minutes ago I got the call that it came in and we are all set to go! Luckily I finished packing last night. I'm bringing a really great backpack and even managed to fit all of my stuff in on the first try! It weighs 15 pounds all loaded up so shouldnt be too heavy to carry around. Flight plans are that we fly into London via Detroit. It'll be really nice to fly into a place where they speak English for step 1! From there we're going to France (probably Paris and then the South of France) and I'm really hoping to be in Canne for the Canne's Film Festival. The second week is Spain - no idea where yet except for Madrid. Third week we'll be in Italy, I've been dying to go to Cinque Terre for ages! Last week we're going to spend in Greece and going to the Greek Isles, then flying back out of London.

I'm so excited!