A Travellerspoint blog

Hola

sunny 30 °C

We arrived in S'Agaro in the Costa Brava to our accommodation right on the beach and with a big, super deep pool with wicked views of the coast. We were so excited to be here and spent our days relaxing to the max. A lot of pool time and chilling in the hot, hot sun! We had some tasty Tapas while there as well as a delicious Thai meal which we were craving big time! The prices for everything were pretty cheap so we indulged in the food and drink! We also spent a day in Tossa De Mar wandering around the little streets and up to the castle on the hill with gorgeous views of the coastline.

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I immediately fell in love with Spain which G knew I would Tapas, wine, cocktails, sun, beaches and markets as well as amazing buildings full of history, basically my perfect location!

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Onto Barcelona where we stayed in a very cheap room but a pretty good location right by the metro, we spent our time wandering the streets, going to the zoo and enjoying the food. Also meet up with a friend of mine from Chch who was living in a village just out of Barcelona and nannying 3 kids. We meet up with him and went to the village to meet the family and explore the option of taking over his job as he was leaving in the next few weeks. Was a very cute place but made us realise we weren't ready to settle in one place and wanted to carrying on traveling as we were. We loved walking the main street La Ramba in Barcelona with the markets & street performers leading to the harbour and enjoying food from the markets everyday. I also faced my fears buying seed and feeding the pigeons in the main square, was about an hour process of me screaming like a little girl but eventually got there! Of course the architecture and sights in Barcelona are amazing and we visited and specially liked Sagrada Familia, Casa Batllo and Park Guell that were all designed by the amazing Gaudi. Mind blowing stuff that you really wonder how someone could have come up with such a style so many years ago!

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Onto Valencia with a bargain of a train ticket at 16 euros each down from 50 euros since it was so last minute, yay for being unorganised! We were staying in a apartment in the old town which was a wicked location being only a 5 minute walk to the main square where there was lots to explore. Of course when dropped off on our first night by the taxi we were only 300m away but decided to turn the other direction and 30 minutes later found our accommodation. So much fun carrying heavy bags around lost in the dark in the hot heat at night well we were happy to arrive! We wandered every day around the old town and saw the sights including the old squares, gated walls, food markets & the street art which is everywhere around the town. We also checked out the science building, the main park in the old river way and the Fallas museum with all of the pieces kept from throughout the years of the festival. All of the pieces were made out of Paper-mache and it was pretty amazing to see the detail and the humour of the Spanish art. We really loved wandering through the park which is an old river way that after the floods was instead converted into a park, now being the largest park in the whole of Spain. We were specially big fans of Gulliver playground structured around a human body playing on all the steep slides for a good hour. Due to the hot weather and the black and brown of the slides I seriously burned my behind sliding down the leg of the body haha but was pretty good fun! We made the most of the apartment and made good home made meals with fresh local produce purchase at Mercado Central (food market) the whole time we were there which was so lovely, super cheap and delicious of course!

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LESSONS WE LEARNT: Make the most of the moment; work schmerk we are going to keep traveling!
MEMORABLE MOMENT: Feeding the birds for sure, face your fears! Their little beaks did hurt though.. :)
BEST FOOD: George's home cooked meals!! But following that the Tapas and sangria of course. Amazing combos fell in love with dates wrapped in bacon and spanish chorizo.
AVOID NEXT TIME: Arriving late in Barcelona so to avoid arriving in peak hour of the mad driving and being 3 hours late returning our car. First appointment we've had in 3 months hopefully the time scale doesn't increase as we holiday longer.

Posted by Georgeandkat 16:07 Archived in Spain Tagged barcelona beach spain holiday valencia hot s'agaro tossa_de_mar costa_brava Comments (0)

Bonjour

26 °C

We traveled from San Remo to Nice excited to be changing countries and looking out on the road for some dramatic "WELCOME TO FRANCE" sign/celebration/performance. Instead we just spotted a small signpost as we wizzed by with "France" on one side and "Italy" on the other. WHOOP WHOOP, we had arrived!

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Arriving in Monte Carlo we quickly redressed in the car park from our trackies and jandals to something a little classier. Monte Carlo seriously blew us away with every person covered in designer plus, the gold boats & the boobs on the beach, well there was definitely a lot to look at. We knew the Grand Pris was taking place that weekend so walked around to scope out where the track would be while doing so walked through a shopping mall decked out with designer stores, only a few hundred for a tshirt scaling up to thousands if you dared look at any dresses. Thankfully window shopping and taking pictures of the chandeliers around every corner was free. Onto Nice we were amazed by the hundreds of people on the streets and beaches, we quickly took to our hotel for some peace. 3 days there was definitely enough spending most of our time cruising round the coastline to some little towns and taking in the amazing houses. Enjoyed some delicious Paella and Seafood but after spending 8 euros on water we were ready to leave. George was definitely stoked to have had an extra day of me stating "Lets just drive around" and quickly falling asleep only to find we were back in Monte Carlo on the day of the Grand Pris final, well played George, very well played!

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Arriving in Provence to our gorgeous town Fontvielle which was exactly the peace and quiet we were looking for. Our little town had around 8 restaurants where we had to search hard to find anything open but managed to have some delicious meals in gorgeous little restaurants. Almost ordered raw meat plate which I had thought was steak. Thankfully the waitress assumed this wasn't what I was after and after many attempts at trying to explain to me sign language style resorted to asking another patron if they could explain in English. Phew close call. We visted many gorgeous towns around the region with running rivers through the towns run by old watermills. There was also a strong influence of vintage stores and style which was awesome to look through & admire. Avignon was a wicked town as well and we spent a day wandering around the old town and visting the historical bridge that had fallen away due to floods in the area.

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Next up was Lyon, which is a pretty big city with a strong student vibe. We actually were not fans of this city so much and spent the 3 rainy nights we were there chilling out basically and just taking the busy drive through the traffic into the city for the evenings. We were very disappointed to have missed out on the opportunity to have a Bouchon meal but was all booked out at every restaurant we tried on our last evening, basically summed up our experience of Lyon. Of course we know there is probably other things we missed out on and I am sure there were things we could do however at this stage we were over the crazy busyness of a city and just wanted to be in a little town exploring, doing what we love!

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After our 3 days of chilling out we headed for the Dordogne and stopped off in the gorgeous Rocamadour on the way. The village is built into the full cliffside with a church at the very top looking down over the village and the main street at the bottom with restaurants and shops. We wandered around and brought 5 delicious salami rolls (truffle, mushroom, duck, walnut & goose) for 15 euros, BARGAIN! We drove on to our accommodation in Beynac which was a little home-stay near a vineyard. Was lovely and we felt very happy and relaxed to be there!! While there we explored near by towns which were of course all gorgeous. We also went to some caves back near Rocamadour where you can down 100s of stairs or 3 lifts to the underground and have a guide take you in a boat through the caves leading to the other end where we wandered around and took in the amazing formations the rocks had made from a mere drop of water. While out exploring our next town recommended was Beynac that we drove 20 minutes to reach only once there did we realise this was the town we were staying in. I have finally learnt that names, dates, days and towns obviously are quickly forgotten while traveling. We had some tasty meals while here, all enjoyed with a stunning river view. Including on my first night when I ordered the ham and salad meal receiving an entire wheel of camembert melted in a dish with a little prosciutto and green leaves. Is it possible I am sick of cheese?

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After 3 days taking in the East of the Dordogne we drove further onto the West where G's mum was staying in a campground and where his grandparents were also staying for there upcoming Diamond Anniversary (AMAZING) celebration. We had planned to stay for 3 nights but ended up staying for 5 as we had such a good time catching up with everyone and enjoying the sunny weather by the pool with little visits to near by towns every day or so. We were very spoilt while we were there and had such a great time seeing everyone. Also worked out well staying on the 5th night as we got the chance to see G's Aunty and cousin who also came out for the celebration! Also went to a town near by which was renowned as a strong wine region where G of course wandered into a high class wine shop and quickly bolted out of there after reading the top bottle was only 250,000 euros. BARGAIN!

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We then did the big drive from the Dordogne to S'Agaro on the Costa Brava in Spain. A long day but went well in Clouse our beauty which went smoothly and we both took turns cruising on the highway.

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LESSON WE HAVE LEARNT: Don't take all reviews as gospel, travel with an open mind as we have found our views on something that was raved about on good old Tripadvisor could be completely different to others.
Also it's okay to have some down time and not make the most of every minute as you had planned previously. Everyone needs to relax!
TOP EXPERIENCE: Going deep down underground to the caves in Rocamadour, a wicked site and only 9 euros!
MUST DO RECOMMENDATION: Rocamadour in the Dordogne really amazed us and we enjoyed wandering through the town so much
BEST FOOD: Our meal in the little town of Fontvielle, Mozzarella pastry for Entree and Chicken and Salmon with herb cakes and mash for main. I think we were just happy to have anything that wasn't pizza, pasta or rice based but either way we left with a very happy belly.
AVOID NEXT TIME: Lyon most definitely, it just wasn't for us. Also less time in Nice as we feel 1 day would have been enough to experience the main vibe of this place.

Posted by Georgeandkat 16:03 Archived in France Tagged france nice avignon provence monte_carlo lyon dordogne_valley Comments (0)

Buongiorno

sunny 24 °C

We arrived in Rome to rain but full of excitement! We made our way on the train & metro to our accommodation after taking a lift up and down about 6 times to find the correct floor, maybe should have gotten our translation book out slightly earlier. Our accommodation was gorgeous, we had a massive room with shutter windows (all I wanted) and marble floors we really felt like we had arrived in Italy. We went for a quick stroll around the area and were gobsmacked to see the Colosseum at the end of the street of the first corner we turned. While there we went on a mad tourist sprint walking a good amount (nothing compared to George and Jill I am sure ;)) of kilometres everyday to get in as much as possible. As well as taking photos of every Gelato (which was about 2 a day), colourful building and group of old men playing checkers together. Our highlights would definitely have to be strolling into the Vatican just as the Pope passed by and watching the crowds go wild. The Colosseum, however it would have been great if we had remembered to charge our camera & of course just the detail & architecture of the buildings, especially the churches. Our host at the accommodation recommended a restaurant for us every night and we experienced the most amazing food. This is where we both had the BEST pasta we have ever had and our love for anything truffle began. Rome had amazed us and we were excited for what was next! I however could not get over the blossom everywhere, it was Fluff city with it constantly floating around.

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Leaving Rome we went to pick up our gorgeous sporty Citreon which surprise, surprise George immediately fell in love with. We managed pretty well with driving and I am sure George felt it really helped when I screamed every time someone came by on the 'right side of the road'.

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We arrived in Siena to our little cabin in a campground which was lovely and since we were already experiencing great weather we spent a lot of time outside chilling and playing cards. Siena was gorgeous and just a short bus ride or even a stroll we were in the centre. We spent a day visiting the sites and spent a few hours looking at all of the sections of the Duomo marble cathedral and taking in the panoramic view of Siena at the top of the Giotto's tower!

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The next day we went through the Tuscan Hills to a couple of villages, no surprise here but everything was beautiful in Tuscany and there was so much to see & admire. We really enjoyed the village San Gimignano strolling through the tiny streets to the main square and purchasing some taster local wine and honey.

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On our way to Florence we stopped off in Pisa for the touristy photo shoot which was pretty fun and entertaining to see some of the poses that people pulled out. We wanted to do photos holding the tower up with our butts but got a few too many funny stares as we started to line it up so bailed on the idea. Walking back to the car we went through some street markets where George spotted a number of stalls selling records and he ended up scoring some awesome records for only 5 Euro each!

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I was so excited to arrive in Florence and to show George around after falling in love with it on my previous trip. We were staying in the Tuscan hills just a quick train ride away from Florence itself. Our accommodation was gorgeous sitting right in the hills where we could sit on our balcony in the evening and watch the sun set, even catching a (half?) solar eclipse on last night there. We had a great time in Florence seeing all of the sites, strolling through the markets and climbing the 468 steps to the top of the tower to enjoy the amazing views. We loved the food market and indulged while there as well as making a few too many purchases through all of the main markets.

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We arrived in Venice late in the afternoon but got a quick bus into the town to see the sights. George was super excited as we arrived in seeing the absolute beauty of Italy. I also fell back in love with this place, especially in the evening it is just stunning. We promptly got lost through the streets and eventually made our way to St Marks Square and stood with the crowds watching the classical bands perform! After dinner we could not go pass Snickers gelato for me and Smurf (?) flavoured gelato for George. We were buggered and it was pretty late so were pretty keen to make it back to our bed. Unfortunately that wasn't as easy as we hoped as we watched our bus go in the opposite direction of our accommodation while on it. We jumped off and George recognised the motor way so began the trek back to the accommodation thanks to George's amazing memory. 40 minutes later and after meeting a number of prostitues we made it home! Back into Venice the following day prepared for the 20 degrees temps to find ourselves scorching in 30 degrees, it was so hot in our jeans and long sleeves that after wandering and seeing a few of the sites for a few hours we found a lovely little bar to relax in for a while. Much to Geroge's happiness we went and saw the church where Indiana Jones was filmed and George pulled out his best poses for the photos. We had passed a courtyard restaurant while getting lost the previous night so went on a hunt for this same restaurant and thankfully after almost giving up we found it and had some of the most amazing shrimps, mussels and cheese. I fell in love here with procuitto and melon Mhmm!!! Bussed home and to my extreme happiness got on the wrong bus once again so please read above to find out how our night ended! We were very pleased to lear there are 2 bus lines running just with the same number, very confusing!

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Today we made the drive to Levante where we going to leave our car for the next 4 days and train into our accommodation in Cinque Terre! After searching for this car park for an hour we were informed it was actually Levanto we wanted to be at not Levante which was an hour back from where we had came from. Thankfully it was the websites incorrect spelling not ours. Either way we eventually made it to Vernazza in Cinque Terre.. OH MY GOSH this place was amazing!! The Cinuque Terre is made of 5 villages built in along the coast line, the roads are so windy and small no one reccommends driving to the villages which is a great advantage as everyone is on foot. As it was late in the evening after wandering around we grabbed a bottle of wine (4 euros) and sat on the rocks watching the waves crash on the break point as the sun set. We then had a delicious dinner on the waterfront. We were truly in love!! The next few days we explored all the towns, ate the most amazing food and enjoyed the lovely people. We were happy to say Vernazza was our favourite village of the 5 but every bit of them is stunning so it was a definite hard pick. On the Sunday we were relaxing in our room and could hear all this music and cheering so went to explore and found out the first Coop (corner store) was being opened and there was a big celebration in the middle of the street taking place. Everyone was dancing all the traditional Italian dances and everyone joined in. Amazing! While here we also experienced the best Ravioli we have ever eaten in our life, ever!!! Served with prawns it was just divine. On our last night in Cinque Terre we made our way up the hill and found a little patch down the side to sit and enjoy another bottle of wine while taking in the view of the village one last time. Needless to say we were very sad to be leaving!

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We arrived in San Remo where we were staying in little studio right on the beach. I was so excited to have a kitchen and eat some of George's home cooked food that I had been craving! San Remo was super relaxed we strolled, sat on our balcony, drove around the coast and bathed on the beach in the goregous sun. Was so lovely to relax and feel a little at home with some space in our accommodation.

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We couldnt believe our time in Italy was over, we were pretty sad as we really fell in love with this place but of course so excited to head on and see France!!

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LESSON WE HAVE LEARNT: To drive on the right side of the road and to honk at every possible thing

TOP EXPERIENCE: Seeing the pope was one of those 'is this really happening moments' and feeling the love and respect in the crowd was pretty special
MUST DO RECOMMENDATION: Cinque Terre no doubt about it! We spent the longest amount of time here but is still the place we can't wait to go back to... AMAZING!
BEST FOOD: So many choices!! Ravioli in Vernazza, pasta in Rome and blue cheese and Tuscan honey combo! Mhmm!!
AVOID NEXT TIME: Bologna! A little town recommended in the Lonely planet and we stopped by on our drive one day. All we saw was rubbish, warn down old buildings and haunted churches. Did we miss the beauty?

Posted by Georgeandkat 15:53 Archived in Italy Tagged venice italy florence rome europe cinque_terre siena san_remo Comments (0)

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