My trip to Turkey
Belgium & Holland
01.02.2007 - 31.12.2007 18 °C
In search of the perfect Pizza
Well I arrived safe and sound in Palermo last night, if not a little drunk, met two girls from Manchester on the plane, and we all decided that due to the flight being bumpy we could settle our nerves with a few vodka and cokes. Arrived at my hotel in the dark so this morning woke up to the most amazing views of palermo. I can see across to the mountains and over to the harbour. Took pictures, which i will post as soon as i can. Found this place for free internet for an hour. Not bad for someone that can speak no Italian, im sitting in a beautiful old building, with marble staircases and painted ceilings. I’m now off to explore the old town. Its warm, its sunny, and im feeling good.
Well its been a week since i posted, Spent a happy day walking around palermo, many of the places i wanted to see were shut unfortunately. But i was happy to look at things from the outside, found a German tour group and followed them for awhile so that i could get my bearings and didn’t have to keep getting out my map. Walked till my legs felt like they were goner fall off and returned to my hotel late after enjoying a pizza, and slepted really well. The hotel room was no bigger then a store cupboard but the views were incredible.
Left the next day for Cantina, which i didn’t really like so moved on to Taormina, which was outstanding, its the rich and glitz resort for Sicily. Met some sweet old lady who offered me a room for the night, which i accepted, and she went and got oranges of her tree in her back garden for me to eat. Spent the evening walking around the town and enjoying the views of mount Etna. Spent time in a local cafe and met Stuart and Debs from England and we had an interesting chat, she worked for a subsidiary of EMI so you can guess how long it took me to steer the conversation onto Mr R Williams. Ha-ha. The room i rented was very damp so i went looking for a different room, met a Italian called Christmas, who i think ended up trying to sell me his house so i moved on to enough hotel. The next day I spent the entire day hoping not to run into him and the sweet old lady. The buildings, squares and friendliness of Sicily and the Sicilians have made me feel incredibly welcome and there has always been someone to help me when my Italian failed me.
04.03.2007 - 06.03.2007 22 °C
After spending a couple of days in Taormina I moved onto Syracuse on the east coast. I treated myself to a lovely hotel, set next to the harbour wall with views of the town. The best thing was the Fruit salad for breakfast, and tea with milk. The island of original is situated on the southern tip of the town and takes about 1 hour to walk around. It’s kind of of like a mini Venice without the canals. Every street is like a little wonderland of beautiful architecture. I thought a lot of the two Julies while i was hear i think you would both love it. After my first night i went into the town and went to the Greek and roman ruins also saw the most amazing quarry where the stone came from, with strange caves left behind. Spent the evening walking along the pier and watching the sunset, Sunday night and sunset seem to be big deals in Italy as there were loads of people about.
Back in Palarmo
14.03.2007 21 °C
Well back in Palermo, for a night, met up with my godmother’s sister who took me for a quick tour of the city, in her car, and then we had a delicious lunch in her faviote cafe. After I spent the evening walking around the city and sorting out my blog.
Next morning, I had breakfast brought to me in bed by a very cute Italian staff member of the hotel, Lovely way to wake up I must say. I then set off to see the Palace, and then tried to get money out of the bank machine which proved to be difficult. I then had lunch and met an English guy and his Russian wife. A lovely Italian family who were wonderfully friendly ran the cafe and the food was great.
I then boarded the ferry to Naples, I only ended up sharing my 4 bed shared cabin with one other girl from Canada, her name is Danielle and we ended up hanging out for the entire time in Naples and plan to met up in Nice. Well the trip to Naples was eventful to say the least, We decided to Buy a bottle of wine, which as we both smoke we sat on the deck and chatted loads drinking wine, smoking and watching Palermo shrink into the distance. We then went on a search for food, and discovered due to it being off season, there was no cafe or restaurant open so I found the chef, A little bit of flirting and soon we had chicken sandwiches and a free bottle wine for out troubles, don’t ever try and separate me from food I get deadly. We then started talking to 2 Italians and practicing my Italian. Not sure how well I did but they laughed loads, until i started to teach them English. Went to bed at 2am. Got woken at 5.30 as we arrived in Naples. On a cold wet day.
07.03.2007 - 10.03.2007 20 °C
I have to say, Naples is scary they say you either love it or you hate it, and whilst i tried my hardest to like it despite the rain, i found after three days i could not wait to leave. You are on constant alert for bag snatches, and i found it quite tiring. Saw someone’s bag get taken and met a couple of people who had there wallets lifted. It’s a shame because i think Naples could have a lot of potential.
But first, after i checked into the hostel, i was told that no bed would be available until 12 midday. It was about 7.30 in the morning, so i took myself off for a walk, around the shops. Walking slowly towards the castle. Once i reached the castle which was interesting and also free always a bonus, i got caught in a thunderstorm and ended up taking shelter, under one of the arches inside the castle, which wasn’t very well protected for about half an hour, then decided i was from England, and what was a bit of rain to me, so took off towards the centre of town, once I’d crossed the drawbridge i was sodden. I continued on towards the other castle, which was not free, and they kept telling me to go to the top to see the fantastic views. Didn’t they think i was wet enough already?
Whilst there i met an American called Amy who had taken the boat in from Sorrento for the day. We decided to hang out, and went to get some lunch. We then made our way slowly towards the Archaeology museum, but it started to rain again and as i passed my hostel i was totally wet through, cold and miserable, I begged off and went to claim my bed. I never saw the museum, which is shame as i heard it’s excellent. Ended up after a lovely long shower watching some oz movie, which was so bad, all you could do was laugh. Then i chatted with some roommates and went to sleep. Felt strange to be in hostel after being in a hotel room for long.
Woke the next day and the sun was shinning. Met up with Danielle and we went off to Pompeii. Bus took about 30 minutes and there we were, the city is huge, it took us about 5 hours to walk round and we still missed stuff. I loved it, you get a real sense of the damage that was caused, and a look at what life was like. Strongly the brothel seemed to be the most complete building there, pictures and all!! Well worth the visit, its hard to describe it on here, but enough to say that i left with a really idea of how the Pompeii’s had lived there lives.
After getting a local bus back to Naples, 2 hrs uhhhh we went out to dinner Naples Pizza is lovely, met up with a couple of Irish lads and went out drinking, got back about 2am.
Next day after ordering mine and Danielle’s lunch in Italian from deli, We went off to the lovely island of Capri, ferry took about an hr to reach the island, and as soon as we arrived, we went on a boat ride around the island we saw lots of inlets and rich peoples houses, the sea was too rough for us to go to the blue grotto, which on the postcards looks stunning. After arriving back on the island we took the bus up into town and just wondered around these narrow little alleyways, which offered fantastic views and the odd glance into peoples gardens. We then watched the sunset from the top of the piazza.
The end to a lovely day.
Next day we left our luggage at the station and took the train to Eurcolana. Were we took the bus up to Mt Vesuvius. We were let off to walk the last km. My god was it cold; it was cloudy with icy rain and extremely windy. I forgot to bring a coat. After a very steep climb we made it to the top, where we celebrated with hot chocolate and coffees. I had a ciggie and asked the mountain for a light and some tourist said i don’t think that’s very funny do u? I thought she needed a sense of humour transplant.
After climbing back down we took the bus to the ruins. They are a lot smaller then Pompeii only take about 1 hr to get round. We couldn’t find anyone that spoke English or a guidebook in English so we were left to figure it all out for ourselves. It looked to us like they were trying to reconstruct the site to how it must have looked before the mud slides. If this is what they are trying to achieve then It could be well worth a visit again in 10 years or more.
We then went back to Naples and took the train to Roma. Arriving about 8 pm. Danielle left me to continue on her way to Nice.
11.03.2007 - 15.03.2007 22 °C
Arrived at the hostel, and checked in, just had a pizza near the train station, where everyone told me to be careful. To be honest, Rome felt like a walk in the park after Naples. Woke early the next morning and headed out to the city with Nick, New Zealand guy i had met the night before.
We decided to use the hop on hop off buses to get across the city, there was one waiting at the train station, and We headed for the Vatican. St Peters square is amazing but smaller then i thought it was going to be, As we walked into the square we realilised there was lots of people standing around with banners. All of a sudden, there was a voice coming out of a loud speaker, so we looked around and couldn’t see who was talking, by now we were really confused. Then Nick noticed some guy standing at an open window, and we put 2 and 2 together. Sunday 12 midday lots of nuns standing around could this be the pope, what convinced us was when everyone starting praying. Even then we discussed whether or not it was really the pope or not. After about half an hour the pope went back indoors, and we left for the second part of our trip. We ended going to the catacombs even though i had been told that they were not worth seeing. I really should listen sometimes. Then we headed back to the hostel.
The following day, i got up really early and Aldo (Honduran) guy i met at the hostel and I headed out for the Vatican museum. We had to wait over an hour to get in. It felt weird watching all these people handing over their money, and we wondered how much the Vatican makes from tourists each year, and why the churches still have to ask their local people for cash! Sistine chapel was beautiful; we weren’t allowed to take any pictures unfortunately. But I feel like im pleased to have seen it. You also get to walk through the papal apartments, and various museums. It all takes about 2 half hrs. I had lost aldo by this time, so left the Vatican and went to St peters church, which is awesome, and leaves you feeling quite speechless and full of emotions. I then walked very slowly back to my hostel, just sticking my head into churches, window shopping, and took in the Spanish steps, Ran into a newly wedded couple at the Spanish steps and the bride throw her bouquet into the crowd. Everyone was cheering and clapping. Then went to the Trivia fountain and Pantheon and lots of other things. Got back to the hostel had dinner then went for a midnight stroll through the city with nick, tried to learn how best to use my camera at night.
Got home about 1am. I was completely exhausted.
The next day i was tired and my legs felt like they were goner fall off. After getting up very late I went to the Coliseum and Palatine hill. Spent a very happy day just wandering around. The sites are so massive, and close together you get a really sense in Rome of what it could have been like back in the day. It’s weird to hear stories about Julius Ceaser etc and realise that you are standing in the spot where he was cremated.
I was really pleased to have seen Palatine Hill. After walking around I went back to the hostel and went to catch up on my blog then after a lovely local supper went to bed.
22.03.2007 20 °C
Well ive arrived in Florence after a two-hour train journey. After getting hopelessly lost i eventually found my hostel. It was about 5 minutes from the centre of town, and for the first night i had the entire room to myself. Spent the afternoon walking around Florence, and walled up to Michelangelo’s piazza. Where I saw the fake David. The Piazza had lovely views over the city. Then with ice cream in hand i walked back into town, for supper. Florence is surprisingly expensive, considering its still early in the season. There were thousands upon thousands of Americans there; At times i don’t think i heard any Italian being spoken.
After a good nights sleep i went to Bologna, which someone had recommended seeing. And it is worth seeing. The historical part of the town is about 20 minutes from the station, and is gorgeous. Most of the buildings are various shades of red, with these lovely covered walked ways. Some of the buildings that the university gets to use are wonderful; I kept thinking that they must be museums. What a place to study. I met someone later who was studying there for a year and they said it was very special. I tried the Bolognese sauce and it was good. Too the train back to Florence. When i arrived I had three new room mates and they were all lovely.
Took the train to Venice, which took about 3 hrs. Only had 6 hours there but was very happy to be there. Took the boat down to St Marks square, then found an excellent map and then just wandered over the city trying to find all the places that the tourists hadn’t found. Venice is so lovely, had supper in a restaurant by the grand canal, and then took the train back to Florence.
19.03.2007 - 21.03.2007 10 °C
Up on the Northern west side of Italy is a little place called Cinque Terre, its a world heritage site and contains 5 villages and lots of hill walking. I was there for only two days and wished i had stayed for a week. Train connects the five villages, or you can hike between them or take pony treks across the mountains. With stunning views over the sea. The weather was bad at the time; storm came in from Iceland or something? The sea was incredibly rough, and crashing over the harbour wall. My hostel was about 30 steps from the harbour. i only shared it with one other person what luxury; Sorry if my typing is off; yes i am sitting in a bar in nice, with a pint but im using a computer that does not have a querkykeyboard honest: It has nothing to do with happy hour. Im also on msn, which doesn’t help!!!
Ok, it’s strange reading this because i am now in Spain. Each village had a different feel, and many different qualities about them. I started off in Riomaggiore where my hostel was located, tiny little village, with one road leading up into the mountains. My hotel was just up from this harbour.
I then took a train to Monterosso al Mare, which is the furthest village; this one is more build up and has the majority of the hotels. Very pleasant beach, with a lovely house at the end, with a stone man holding up the garden.
I then took the train back to Manarola then walked along lovers walk back to riomaggiore. Where i had supper and went back to my hostel. Where I met my new room mate. Her name is Amy and she was an American. We both went to sleep early. In the morning we decided to hang out together and we went and got breakfast, which consisted of fruit, melon and strawberries to be exact. We then set off for Vernazza. This was my faviote village, beautiful harbour area, great views from the cliffs, and great pizza and ice cream. She then decided to walk to the next town, me being of slightly lazy nature, decided to take the train to Corniglia. Once i got there i figured i should have walked, because i had to walk up to the top of the mountain to get to the village, sorry to say that though very pleasant, there wasn’t a whole lot going on. So i left again. I then took the train back to manarola and walked back from to my hostel from there.
The next morning i had to leave for Nice, i was sad to leave and would one day love to return.
I’ve sent all my pictures home now please just Google if your interested.
21.03.2007 - 23.03.2007 10 °C
So after a 5 hour train journey, i did stop in Genova for a couple of hours, and had a quick look around, Looked like quite a nice place which surprised me. I arrived in Nice; at about 7pm. Caught the last bus out to my where my niece is working at the Radisson hotel. It took about 20 mins she is a long way from the centre of nice. Anyway found the hotel and there was Billie looking very smart in her uniform waiting in reception. I never thought id see my niece work for a living, anyway, after drawing a very dubious map i made my way to her apartment. I wish i could scan it in because with no road names, im amazed that i found it. I dumped my stuff and Billie texted me to say that she could leave work early so her lovely room mates made me some food, and then i shot back to the hotel. We then went to an Irish band to watch a live band and did lots of catching up.
Woke the next morning about midday, and went off to see eze which is a village castle like place in the mountains. Full of gift shops and a lovely garden. The location is quite stunning, and when u looks at the village from a distance it looks like it has grown out of the mountain. I then went on to Monaco. I only had a few hours there but managed to see most of it, also to get totally lost in some very expensive hotel trying to find the exit, I don’t even now how i got there, i started off in a shopping area, and after walking down endless corridors and taking a couple of lifts up and down I found my self in one of the corridors of the Hotel de Paris. Eventually found someone who showed me the way out. All i was trying to get to was the harbour.
I mean it looks like the sort of place i can afford to be. !!
Anyway, then i went to go look at the boats in the harbour, they are insane. With their poshers and Mercedes parked out front, after looking at couple i realised that these are the sorts of boats u seen in Hello magazine. I want one in the future!
I then had a quick look at Monaco, very relaxing place to see, even though some very famous people live there u don’t get a sense of vast amounts of money being floated around, though i did want to try and get money out of the cash point to see if it only offered me thousands rather then hundreds of Euros. Had a te con leche in a cafe overlooking the harbour then made my way to the train station. Once I arrived back in Nice I went to a different Irish bar and met my friend Danielle, from Naples and we proceed to drink long island ice teas until about 2 in the morning. I decided that Bille lived to far out of town and crashed at Danielle’s. The next morning feeling only slightly hangover, i made my way back to Billies, were we spent a very pleasant morning on her balcony, eating, reading and chatting. We then went to go to the post office, to collect a parcel from dad, and had lunch in some weird old-fashioned cafe; Billie thought it was the sort of place u would find in a desert of some small town in the use. Took us ages to get served, but once the sandwiches arrived, we were hungry and the were delious. Billie then went to work.
I went back to her apartment, and had a shower, and even though it was bitterly cold, decided to walk into nice, only the promade with wet hair, i decision i was later to regret. I walked around old town nice for a while, and then went to the bar to met Danielle. I had an hour to kill so jumped on the net, and spoke to a friend on msn. Danielle arrived and we started drinking, Billie joined us later that evening, got home about 2am. Billie friends arrived, and she went back out clubbing, I went to bed.
Next morning I woke still drunk, and took my stuff over to Danielle’s as it was closer to the train station, kissed my niece goodbye and spent a very hangover day in Cannes. Cannes is great i saw them getting ready for this years show, the day was sunny, and not so cold, Waked along the shopping streets, where i reckon if u blinded folded me, i would still be able to tell u which area the rich do there shopping.
I then went back to nice and took the night train to Barcelona.
24.03.2007 - 27.03.2007 15 °C
Well I stayed in Barcelona and all I saw was my hotel room, a bottle of anti biotics, and hundreds of tissues. I had a really bad ear infection that im still trying to shake off. I did manage to walk down the Rambles and sit and read at the harbour for a couple of hours. I will return to this lovely city one day.
27.03.2007 - 29.03.2007 13 °C
Well I arrived in Tarragona, it was getting to expensive for me to stay in Barcelona and be ill. Even though it’s raining the town looks beautiful and I look forward to having a good look round tomorrow.
Beautiful city I want to return
02.04.2007 - 04.04.2007 22 °C
Nearing the end of my trip now, I have arrived in Servile. And the people say about are so true, the place is incredible. It makes it extra special to be here during Easter week. Grabbed a taxi from the station because i could not for the life of me work out where my hostel was, And the first thing (person) i see out of the window is dressed in white with there faces covered over, and wearing a long pointy hat. I really thought id jumped into an alternate reality, and i was looking at a member of the KKK. The taxi driver assured me this was not the case, and that it was part of a festival held here over Easter week.
The hostel is amazing; my room is on the top floor, which is an open veranda with one room being shared by 4 of us. I look out over the rooftops and a church squire. First thing i did was go looking for a map then found myself outside the bullring. So i went in for the tour, it was very interesting, they had a museum located within it, looking at the last 2 centuries, and i learnt that bull fighting originally evolved from jousting. I then went and had lunch by the river, then came back to the hostel, where i met an Australian girl and we went out to watch the parade. It was quite emotional to see the respect, belief and passion that people held for the parade, The amount of people that turned out was incredible, it took Claire and I about 2 hrs just to walk a couple of streets. Lots of people in pointy hats, of various colours, a band, and some of the best floats ive ever seen. We think it took about 30 people to carry each float. The parade starts from each of the churches in the city, and makes it way towards the cathedral. After being in the cathedral they make there way back to their respective churches. The band music is very sombre and serious. Made me realise how commercial Easter has become in the UK. The reason the people cover their faces are they believe that god will recognise them and their journey to heaven is assured. Got back to the hostel about midnight cooked pasta drank some wine and went to bed.
Today I went to see the alcazar, which is the palace where the princes and kings used to live. Oh boy, the beauty of the buildings and the gardens blow me away. I spent a very happy three hours walking around, deciding what i would do with the place if i owned it. Ha-ha.
Its just started raining so i doubt im going to go out again to watch any more of the parade. Tomorrow i head for the beach, to wait out Easter week.
20.04.2006 - 12.06.2007 31 °C
Well I was in the beautiful city of Granada for a total of 2 mouths. I got to live in the wonderful sedate intriguing barrio of the Albaicin. Nearly all the houses are white, and you need to use a map for aleast a week to find your way around, but maybe its best to get lost down the narrow cobblestone streets to really get a feel for the place. I would often sit in San Nicholas and listen to impromptu flamenco guitar players or maybe over dinner there would be a group of gypsies who would sing and play whilst you ate some of the best food at the cheapest prices.
Student housing was basic, the house consisted of 5 flats all of which could hold up to 3 to 5 people. So each week there was always a good crowd up on the terrace, drinking wine, having dinner, or studying Spanish, with a mix of compass and flamenco dancing to wile away the evenings. The house had two main terraces, the roof terrace was small and had a table and two chairs, this is where i spent my mornings drinking PG Tips (found in a supermarket in the coast) and eating fresh bread with marmite whilst looking out over the sierra Nevada’s and the Alhambra Palace. I also spent many evenings up there too.
I went to various places to watch flamenco my faviote being the La Pena la Platería followed closely by the Upsetter, thou the seats are so uncomfortable. I also went to LA CHUMBERA twice the first time was amazing and after realalising that the singer drummer was not drunk but blind i really enjoyed the show. The view behind the singer was amazing, Granada and the Alhambra lit up at night. The second was not so good as we had the worst seats in the house. Though before we went in we got to watch a watch a wedding couple cut their cake. I think some of my fav though proberly not the best choices was just seeing people playing on the streets and in the plazas.
I went gambling with my friends Gudryn, Jake and Chris and won 42 Euros, seeing the Alhambra at night was amazing, the colours that are only the ceiling are nicely lit up and cannot really be seen during the daytime. The school was in a fantastic location and the teachers were brilliant. http://www.carmencuevas.com/en/index.php I would recommend this school to anyone.
Walking down to Plaza Largo to buy my fruit and veg in the mornings before school, (school didn’t start till 10am) or finding shortcuts to school and developing Albaicin legs, thighs & calves have never looked so good after walking up and down hills for 6 weeks. Going to the largest Fiera ive ever seen, and totally destroying Chris (ex army tank driver) on the bumper cars, I & gudrym laughed so hard in those five minutes. Watching people go on totally mental rides that i have never seen before. Playing cards & eating very greasy churrios (spelt in correctly im sure) at 4 in the morning.
Im sure there is more to tell, but for now that is all.
Cordoba, Segovia & Madrid
Being a tourist again
13.06.2007 - 20.06.2007 20 °C
After leaving Granada, I travelled by bus to Cordoba, took an agonising 3 hours, especially needing the toilet for at least 2 hours of the journey. Cordoba is a small town with a medieval heart. My hotel was 1 min from the Mesquite, a stunning building build originally by the moors and then later had a cathedral built right into the middle of it. It is one huge room with pillars stretching away into the distance. It was also free to get into before 10am. http://www.andalucia.com/cities/image/cordobamosqueinterio150954.jpg
To give you some idea. The weather was scorching hot, at 35 degrees when it was still 6pm at night. So I only did a small amount of walking around. I saw the Jewish quarter, which had some very interesting museos. I also saw the Alcazar (of the Christian Kings), which had the most amazing gardens. The next day i went to the Medina Azahara which is located about 8 miles outside Cordoba and was a huge Moorish site, set in lovely quiet countryside. On my last evening i treated myself to a Arab bath, which involves warm, hot and cold baths followed by a massage. It was a great experience.
My hotel was very comfortable, with air-conditioning, and a balcony that looked out over the restaurant terrace. The food there was quite good as well.
I know I haven’t updated this blog for ages. Is there still anyone still reading it i wonder? I have now been in the canary islands for the last two months. Tenerife was miserable, and i could not wait to leave, i will not go on about how unhappy i was incase i bore potential readers. But i have now discovered Fuerteventura and what a lovely little island it is. For those of you out there wishing for good beaches pure sunshine, and nothing else to do but walk slowly eat and sunbath this is the place to come. Im staying a small old pirates village on the west coast called El Cotillo, which means to gossip apparently in English. The last two weeks have been fully of Spanish enjoying their holidays with all night fiestas taking place nearly every night. I wonder where they get the energy. Tonight is fireworks and from what ive been told will be quite spectacle. I have managed to get an invitation onto one of the boats so im feeling very excited.