Friday, October 19, 2012

OH HEY!

Wow I really have not posted in a while. You see, life has been kinda weird. Since we've been back I've been through a whirlwind of emotions. Europe was amazing and made me think 'When I get back, I really need to make my life bigger!". But what happened was pretty much the opposite - I just settled. I thrived on getting up, getting ready, going to work, coming home, cooking dinner, watching TV, then bed. It was the oddest thing. I didnt want to see anyone, speak to anyone, all I wanted to do was nothing. I guess it was the big wedding/travel comedown everyone tells you about. And, fortunately for us, we had just done both.

So here I am a few months later and Im starting to feel a little more normal again. Although I've been sick (3 times in 7 weeks - enough already please), I have been working really hard at the gym, trying to stick to the whole 'clean eating' way of life, taking printmaking and painting classes and hopefully, from here on in, taking a few more photos. I've even actually been enjoying work.. kind of.

Well heres hoping this post will be the start of lots more to come.

XO

   
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Monday, June 18, 2012

Firenze

Although it's the second biggest tourist destination in Italy we actually didn't know too much about Florence so we went with no expectations. We did a guided tour on our TripAdvisor app (a bit lame but free and interesting) and saw the Duomo Cathedral, walked through Uffizi and saw some other interesting old buildings. We went to see the Statue of David and walked up to the Piazzale Michaelangelo which had gorgeous views of the city and countryside.

We decided to go to Pisa on the train to see the leaning tower for some comic relief and literally got off the train, went to the tower for 30 minutes then got back on the train to Florence which was funny.

We found it impossible to find decent, reasonably priced restaurants near our hotel and were really disappointed with our food experience here, although we went to the controversial Grom Gelateria which is supposed to be a over hyped tourist place. Nevertheless, the gelato was the best I've ever had - authentic or not. We also stumbled upon a bookstore which was entirely full of English books so we replenished our supplies. New releases are $11. No wonder Borders closed.

From Florence, we got the train to Rome. We were only staying a night as we flew out to Santorini the next morning so decided to get a hotel near the airport which was in a place called Fregene. This was the most bizarre experience ever. After getting a train to some random place where no one spoke English, we got on a bus driven by a complete psycho and finally found our way to our gorgeous 70's modernist style mansion of a hotel with it's own private beach, but the entire place was deserted. It was like being stuck in time. Very odd, but we made it through the night and had an awesome breakfast in their amazing retro dining room before heading to the airport.


The weird place that is Fregene -

Venezia

Getting off the train at Venice is a bit surreal. We knew there would be water but it's kind of bizarre stepping out to what would normally be a main road and seeing the Grande canal. I am no photographer, but this place is a photographers dream. The buildings and the overall vibe is awesome. It's only downfall is the fact the place is swarmed with tourists - oh and freaking expensive.

We decided against a gondola ride and instead hung out on the vaporetto - no one even checks your ticket. On the second night I had the best gnocchi of my life (sorry mama) at this little place called Trattoria Alla Rivetta, which was run by a bunch of guys probably in their 60's. There was a line up out the door when we left. We ended up at this little bar (forget the name) which had bra's hung all over the roof, and their happy hour special was 2x heinikens for 4.50 euro (that is reaaaaaalllly cheap especially for Venice).

We wandered the streets and watched disgusting people let pigeons climb all over them, and ate gelato and had a few domestics (hey, we've been together 24 hours a day for 4 weeks at this point). But we had a great time and loved this beautiful place.

Nice

We stayed in Nice for 3 nights but didn't do too much other than wash our clothes, watch people sun bake on the pebbled beaches and go out for dinner. Although we went on a day tour along the French Riviera to Cannes, Monte Carlo, St Paul, Monaco and Eze. It was nice to see how the other half live but it wasn't really our kind of scene... We felt dirty and under dressed and there were tourists everywhere. We did go to some cool markets where they sold everything from herbs and spices to plastic dolls (?).

St Paul was a cute little place with cobblestone paths and heaps of art galleries. We have mastered the travelers sandwich which is sometimes more difficult than you realize without a fridge.

Monaco was just gorgeous. I had no idea it is a singular country. A fun fact - only 600 people are citizens of Monaco and they pay no tax or health care. And to become a citizen you must either be the third generation born in Monaco, or to become just a resident you have to donate a million dollars to the country, which goes in the bank and the interest basically pays for the actual citizens healthcare.

As for Monte Carlo - wow. Mum you would have absolutely loved this place. We saw about 6 SUV's packed with security personally deliver a very rich lady and her son the the door step of the Hotel de Paris, which has all kinds of fancy cars lined up out the front. Another world!

Oh and the sex pic is for you Bec - I couldnt resist.

Barcelona

Barcelona = amazing.

Awesome little bars and cafes everywhere, especially through the Gothic Quarter where you could wander around aimlessly for hours. We started with a bike tour through this company called Fat Bike Tours, where Dave and the American guide became BFF's. We ended up getting rather intoxicated with him and his Adelaide buddies (random) that evening which was fun.

We spent a day basically dedicated to seeing Antoni Gaudi's buildings. He built 3 houses at Guell Park, which is out of the city on a huge hill looking out over all of Barcelona, and there are a couple around on the walk up there. The most significant and astonishing one though being Sagrada Famiglia - the church which began construction in the 1800's and is still not complete. I don't normally get blown away with building construction but this is out of this world. The details and principals behind the build are mind blowing. Dave was in his element.

We had probably the best dinner of our life at a place called Las Fernandez which we found on my beloved TripAdvisor. Omg wow.

Bordeaux

So Bordeaux was a little out of the way and to be honest I had never really heard of the place, but with Dave being such a wine lover, he really wanted to go. I'm so glad we did, what a gorgeous town. If we go to France again this will definitely be on the itinerary. The people were so much nicer than in Paris. There was a cruise ship docked along the harbor and people out and about everywhere, even a local music show outside on a random Tuesday night.

We went on a wine tour out to two different Chateau's where they actually showed us how they make and store the wine. At one place the winery owner was extremely tanned and good looking - mum you would have died - who was perfectly fluent in french and english - even Dave commented on his charm.

We strolled around for hours through the gorgeous backstreets amongst studios and cafes. Such a great little place.

 

Paris

Paris was our first non English speaking country and we did get off to a rough start (both of us being stupidly awkward in these situations ha) but we got there in the end. I perfected a few words and phrases and Dave just pushed me forward in times of trouble! We absolutely adored the Louvre. I love the photo of Dave grinning amongst the crowd of stupid tourists - what are they actually going to do with those photos of the Mona Lisa?!

We climbed up the Eiffel Tour and there was a riot below us which was kind of funny. We spent most nights eating baguettes and croissants by the Tour as the sun set at about 11pm. We also realized shortly after Paris that you can't actually fit into your clothes if you eat croissants and baguettes every night for dinner.

We met up with Nick's friend Lesley who took us to Montmartre where we sat and drank lovey wine looking out over the city and listened to people talk in French. There was a church at the top of the hill and a gazillion restaurants and stalls.

And most importantly we locked our lock to the Ponte des Arts and through the key into the Seine. Now we are locked toghether forever.. God help me! X