Thursday, 8 August 2013

Heating Up in Italy

Bonjourno from Italy,

We have been in Italy for a few days now and have managed to not gain weight from the heaps of pasta and gelato we have consumed. This is because we have sweated it off or so we hope! It is boiling hot. It is just about 5PM and it is 36 degrees feeling like 39 with the humidity. Last night at just after 8 it was 38 degrees! We are off to Rome tomorrow and it will be slightly cooler but still in the 30s. Despite this heat we are enjoying the sites of Italy.

Venice was our introduction to Italy and our first try of true gelato. I am making it my goal to try as many different flavours as possible. We are working hard on my goal as my travel mate and I have had it everyday in Italy. Venice was a lovely city despite the heat. We went on a gondola ride through the city. During our walking tour we saw many different churches and bridges including the Bridge of Sighs and the Rialto Bridge. We then went to a glass blowing factory for a live demonstration. There were lots of interesting but pricey pieces. We then had an awesome pizza lunch with some people from the tour before exploring Venice on our own. Later on we had a demonstration at a lace factory before going out to our Venetian dinner. We had the chance to try various pastas including my favourite-gnocchi as well as hear great accordion music

Yesterday we drove to Florence but stopped at Pisa to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Unfortunately, we weren't able to straightened it up. Today, we went to a leather factory shop and saw how they make the leather products. It was an interesting demonstration. We then went on a walking tour and saw many of the famous statues before walking around our own. Tonight we are off to a Tuscan feast. The food is supposed to be quite good so I am looking forward to it.

A few observations and stories before I go get ready for dinner. We are finding that a lot of the rooms have mold in them especially this current one-gross. Other than that most hotels have been decent. We had an issue yesterday with a lack of a second top sheet. I thought the receptionist understood me but then he sent the porter up with me and it led to an awkward conversation and moving situation with the non-English speaking porter. Then this morning my travel partner put out the electricity with her hair dryer so she had to go and speak to the front desk. Luckily, it was fixed easily. The porter guy just came up to me and pointed at my me and my wallet and asked me something. I just nodded as I had no clue what was going on. Odd!  I forgot to mention how my travel buddy and I got caught in a hail storm in Austria. It was quite an experience running to find shelter in the hail. Luckily, it didn't hail for long and we were able to run back to our hotel which wasn't far away. I best go get ready now.


Sunday, 4 August 2013

Italy Calling

Hello from warm Austria. We are in the middle of what appears to be a heat wave in Europe. We just can't seem to escape the heat. Despite the crazy heat we are enjoying the sites of Europe on our tour. Paris led to Lucern, Switzerland for one night. We went on a beautiful cruise of Lake Lucerne. It was a beautiful town that I'd love to go back to one day. We then went onto Munich after going up the stunning Mount Stanserhorn. Our main highlight of the short time in Munich was our bike ride through the city. The tour guides for the cycle were quite entertaining and had great ways to energize the tourists. Yesterday, on our way to the Austrian Tyrol we stopped at a concentration camped called Dachu. It was such a sad experience to see what the people in the camp went through. It was so eye opening to see all of what went on besides what I already knew. We then continued on to Austria. There was a lunch stop in Lichtenstein in their capital city (very small). Last night in this Austrian village there was a local festival going on. It was neat to see some locals in traditional Austrian clothes and  to hear Austrian music. Today we went on a gruelling 25 km mountain bike ride. I want to say that it was worth it but I am not sure yet. Tomorrow we are off to Venice where at 9PM this evening it is 43 degrees with the humidity (30 something without it).

The tour has been interesting. Our tour guide is quite energetic and eccentric in a good way. He actually reminds me of my VP from school-full of life and spirit!

Well bed is calling me because our adventure to Italy will come soon.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Paris Called

London called, Paris called and now Lucerne is about to call. My travel buddy and I had a a great time in London but I was too busy to blog. We have now finished day 2 of our tour. Day 1 was our drive to Paris. We took a ferry to France and then drove to Paris. We met our tour mates during the drive to Paris. We arrived around supper time. After supper we did a night time tour of Paris. Our tour guide provided great information on the city. The tour ended at the Eiffel Tour. We were lucky enough to have backstage passes to the Eiffel Tower so we didn't have to wait in line to get in. We took an elevator to the second floor before going on up to the top. The view of the city was breath taking. The Eiffel Tower just blew me a way. It was a great experience. Today we went into the city with our tour group to tour a perfumery before getting to explore the city on our own. My friend and I had a great time walking the streets of Paris. We went to the Louvre before strolling along the river Seine. At lunch time I tried chocolate crepes for the first time. They weren't the greatest but it was an experience not to miss. We then went to the Notre Dame before returning back to our hotel on the metro to get ready to go to the cabaret in Montmarte with our tour group. The show was magnificent. It was well worthy the euros spent on it. Tomorrow we board the coach for a long drive to Lucerne. I will end this now as my bed is calling me to go to sleep in preparation for tomorrow's journey.