The last two cities in Europe. The end of one chapter, the start of another!
Sunday, 10 November 2013
12th, 13th, 14th of October
Today Bridge and I went for a walk and did lots of talking. We enjoyed each other's company and then jumped on a bus to the airport. Goodbyes. Wa. New Adventures. Yay!
I hung out until my plane, a bit later in the afternoon/evening, and then flew to PARISSSSSS (again). No problems with my flight or getting to my hostel. I made pasta for dinner and had an early night.
The next day I had breakfast (i love you free breakfast) and headed out to the cit! I accidentally missed my stop on the train which was the last train stop so the train then pulled into a tunnel and turned off and I sat there in the dark for 20 minutes thinking this is it this is where I die. Luckily, it turned on and went back in the other direction. Ah, what an adventure.
Eventually I got to the Paris Catacombes! The line was two hours long, but it was worth it! There are about 2 kms of tunnels that you walk through, with about 700m of the bones. Very cool. A little creepy.
After the Catacombes, I got outstandingly lost but eventually found the subway and went for a walk along the river! The bridge of love was a highlight. Walking solo on the bridge of love; this is what dreams are made of.
Then I walked over to the Musee d'Orsay but the 2 hour line changed my mind.
More wanderings, and fiddling with my camera.
I headed back to the hostel and had some dinner with a few other backpackers. In the late evening essentially our entire hostel went to the city to see the Eiffel Tower at night. I'll never get over how beautiful it is. Paris was hyped for me SO MUCH so I don't think it was ever going to live up the expectations I had for it, and I was just a little underwhelmed. But at night, Paris really comes alive. I really do love Paris at night.
The next day, I jumped on a train out to Versailles. Fun fact, the palace is closed on Mondays. Would have been nice if the lady at my hostel had told me that when she gave me directions.... However the gardens were still open so I got to wander around them which was beautiful! I made friends with some American and walked until my feet hurt so much that I had to go sit in a cafe, drink tea and write.
I think this fountain was my favourite part.
In the evening I hung out with a big group of Canadians and Aussies from my hotel and played cards and laughed. A wonderful final night in Europe!!
Thursday, 7 November 2013
10th and 11th of October
Today, we had a lazy morning in Cinque Terre, before heading out to La Spezia to meet our final busabout bus! It's crazy that this was our last bus! We have both really loved busabout. It gave us a bit of structure for our Europe leg, without being a 'tour'. The people that we have met along the way have just been so wonderful and I have loved having friendly faces at different hostels, as our individual travel paths intertwine. Paris, Jay, Matt, Alex, Clancey, Alana, Mandy, Hayley, Emily, Pip, Matt, Robbie, Jessi, Vanessa, Amanda, Caitlin, Taylor, Molly, Mitch, Matty, Sam, Paul, Anika and everyone else in between, its been too fun.
We bid farewell to busabout, the random films, vaugley connected to the cities we were headed, that one time they made us watch a documentry about the Vadican that put the entire bus to sleep, that time Clancey almost missed the bus from Florence and left her ipad under her pillow, that time i got robbed and almost missed our bus, that time we slept in in Paris and had to sprint across the city to make our very first bus, Matt perfecting the art of bus seat sleeping, the random photo stops, stopping the whole bus cause Paris has to pee, buying totally unnecessary food at service stops, those squealing pigs at Italian service stops, PAYING TO PEE, watching the same 5 episodes of modern family and Hamish and Andy's Euro gap year from the stuck in traffic folder, hung over bus rides, lack of wifi and the adventure that is BUSABOUT. We well and truly freestyle Europe!
Back to Nice, we all trekked to our hostel and had a little wander.
Paris and I cooked up a FEAST in out hostel kitchen for me, Paris, Bridg, Clancey, Matt and Jay and boy was it magnificent! Burritos, I missed you! We spent the evening watching movies and I booked flights and buses and planned planned planned!
The next day the team headed out in Nice to explore. We walked along the shore line and up to Parc du Chateau, which had awesome views!
Then we walked through the Old Town, the stores and markets there. Beautiful chocolates and marzipan fruits! We went back to the hostel and had some lunch.
Then we all gathered our supplies and headed down to the waterfront! We lay in the sunshine and listened to music and read our books. Sun! Jay and I were adventurous and went swimming in the ocean! Boy was it cold to get into but warmed up as soon as you were in! Like Cinque Terre the high salt content in the ocean made it easy to float in! It was SO beautiful but kinda scary cause the water gets SUPER deep super fast! The current was pretty strong too and the waters edge was a steep hill so getting out was a bit of a challenge, especially because it really hurt to walk on the stones! Aussies have it pretty good with our beaches!
In the evening we had some dinner and pre-drinks at our hostel and then we went out to a club and danced all night and enjoyed our time together! It was Bridget and I's last night travelling together!! Love this girly girl more than most things.
Wednesday, 6 November 2013
Best. Place. Ever.
8th and 9th of October
After our little detour to Pisa, we were on course to La Spezia, our drop off point for Cinque Terre (you can't actually drive into the town!) We arrived around midday and caught a cute train out to the first town, Riomaggiore where our hostel was. When we arrived we climbed a ridiculous hill. These towns are all built on ridiculous hills.
We checked into our hostel, one we had been dreading because it had super dooper mixed reviews online (either terrible or awesome!) The guy who owned it was kinda cold but warmed us as he made fun of how huge our packs are and said that we weren't like Italian girls who would just get a boy to carry their bags up the hill! Believe me buddy, if I had an Italian man, you can bet he'd be carrying my bag!!
We settled into our hostel, which was actually an apartment, and we had it all to ourselves!! We went exploring, and then we went swimming of the dock!!
We jumped in straight off the rocks and oh my goodness it's magic! The water is crystal clear and so pretty! It's super salty so you can float really easily!
We had seafood (of course) for dinner YUM!
With no internet to amuse us, we spent the evening reading and painting our nails before getting an early night!
The next day, it was adventure time! We jumped on a train out to the fifth Cinque Terre town. It was SO cute! We wandered and found ourselves at the beach! We spotted a paddle boat with a slide attached, so of course, we just had to have a turn!
After our adventure, we set off on the hike over to the fourth town! It was basically vertical stairs for like an hour, and then walking through mud and then super steep down stairs and just down bits that had me falling on my butt!! The views were worth it, especially the views into Vernazza!
We had lunch in Vernazza and I had ricotta and burnt fig gelato and it was THE BEST! Bridget and Clancey hiked to the next town, which they tell me was 100% not as bad as the last one but I was not about to face another hike so I bought some postcards and sat in the sunshine writing them before attempting to get a train back to Ripmaggiore. Alas, Italian transport is not exactly known for its reliability, so i waited and hour and a half for a train!! I met an Aussie family and some American tourists. There are so many retired American tourists who come here to hike! It's crazy!
I got off the train (the girls caught the same one from the third town) and we made it to the dock just in time for the sunset!
In the evening we'd gained three new house mates in our flat and our friend Hayley who we met in Florence came over and I cooked a pesto pasta feast and red wine poached pears, figs and peaches for dessert! Such fun!
Cinque Terre is so beautiful. I could spend two months here and be totally okay with it. seriously this is my happy place.