A Travellerspoint blog

Croatia

Loving it, Loving it

sunny 40 °C

I had such a palava getting to Croatia. From Pireaus port of Athens I had to go to Patras by rail to then get a overnight ferry to Brindisi. After a night in Brindisi I had an hours train to Bari to then get another overnight ferry to Dubrovnik, after which I had a 4 hour coach journey to Split. Pheww I think that was all of it. I have no idea why there are not ANY flights between Greece and Croatia, a business opportunity if ever there was one.

So as you can imagine i was shattered when I finally got to Split. I found a lady offering a cheap room for the night and after I checked in went to explore for a short while and then had a very early night. I really enjoyed my 1st night in Split as it was so pretty. Split is a large historical city based around a harbor, its very busy with lots of restaurants and cafes and many many tourists. Early the next day I went to find my boat that I would be spending the next week on. I checked in at 12 am and met my fellow travelers and crew. I was suprised to learn that in total there was 28 of us, but little did I know I was about to have the best week of my life and make sooooooooo many friends.

I cant remember an exact day by day log of what we did, but in General breakfast was at 8 am (which no one ever made it to), we sailed til lunch then generally anchored for an hours swim before then heading to which ever port for the evening. During the day we all sun bathed, chatted played cards relaxed etc etc, hard life I know.. The lunches were provided and everyday it was a three course meal, started with soup, then by a meat with salad or veg and fruit or cake for pud! The chef was called happy, he spoke little English but he was so funny and defiantly the best cook we could of had. In the evenings we went out for meals with the whole group. One night we split up into small groups and between us got bits of picnic stuff n wine etc and ate tea on the beach watching the sunset, it was such an amazing night.

Everyone on the boat became really good friends. It wasn't really a big group of nationality's between us, there were 3 Brits, 2 Scots 1 Kiwi and the rest were Ausies. There were a few of us single travelers, there were only 3 couples, one group of 3 people and one group of 6 and the rest single. The only people I felt uncomfortable getting to know was the large group, they mainly kept them selfs to them selfs and it was hard talking to one of them rather then the whole group. I became great friends with my roomy Kate from Auz. We had an up deck cabin, it was very small, but much more airy than the cabins below deck and defiantly worth the upgrade fee.

In the afternoons we docked at ports. Usually we were behind other boats and it was generally a daily routine of climbing over the other boats to reach our own. I had so many near misses of almost falling in and eithern at times when we were all at our drunkenness no one ever fell in. I felt for sure that it would of been me! We went to the Islands of, Brac, Hvar, Korcular and one other (cant remember the name). We also went to Dubrovnik, Omis and finished in split all on the mainland. All the places were so beautiful and so different. Dubrovnik was my favourite as it was so historic and full of natural charm and climbing the wall was a high lite of the trip for me. The lakes of Korcula national park were really spectacular. The lakes had turquoise waters and surrounded by lush green land. I swam in them, it was so clear and warm and I was very lucky to have seen some large fish with my snorkel. Hvar was very big and busy and most peoples favourite but for me I felt the tourists had already ruined it and by that I mean all the tacky gift shops.

Leaving everyone was so hard, we had so many top days and nights as such a big group it was totally amazing. Everything was fantastic, Croatia, the weather, the Crew the Food and not forgetting our boat Providnost!

I will remember this for ever!!

Posted by happy_mel 10:27 Archived in Croatia Tagged boating Comments (2)

Greece

Volos, Skiathos, Skopelos, Mykonos, Ios, Santorini, Athens

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Okay, im tired gona make this entry short and sweet. Just every min of Greece it was totally totally amazing and such crazy fun!

Volos, Skiathos and Skopelos were very quite, preety and beachy places. Met plenty of other people but mainly british holiday couples. Due to the heat there was a forest fire in volos, quite scary but know where near me. I am coming back to Skopelos on 10th Aug to work here in a hotel for the rest of summer, yipppeee!

Had a ten hour ferry to Mykonos, yes the gay island and very true at that, but this was my fav island. So characteristic, the town is very charming with millions of cobbled streets that everyone gets lost on. Met a swiz guy called Daniel and we stayed a beautiful apartment about 10 mins from the town together, it had a pool and was on a cliff overlooking this white sandy beach, fab ey! Went to a great party all night long at Paradise beach but some of the guys were a bit to full on shall we say which slightly ruined it. In the town i had sword fish for lunch, saw the famous pelicans and took pics of the landmark windmills.

The ferrys in greece are so easy to use so again I got one to Ios. I had not heard of this island before so being a bit septicle only booked for 1 night. I have to say I changed my booking to three nights because it was a mega mega party island. I met hundreds of travellers from everywhere. At night the streets are filled with music, beer and dancing. The first night was an early one at 5 am but stayed partying til 7 the next day the third day I was well - felt dead! But it was so much fun, you wouldnt recgonise me, I was drinking ouzo and beer and dancing all night to dance and trance music, so so crazy! I was very sad to leave but had to because I couldnt handle anymore!!

I just wanted to sight see and sleep in Santorini, this was not to be. I arrived at my hotel and met two american guys and a british guy all travelling together. I dont remember much about this night other than I slept in a jeep on the beach about one hour drive from my apartment, so crazy I know. The next day I went to the black sand beach to sleep and the day after did a tour of the famous volcano and hot spring spa's. This was a nice island and very different, glad I saw it but I wont be back.

Okay so where Im at now.... Arrived in Pireaus the port of athens at 1 am this morning, checked into a hotel which looked like a motel out of the blues brothers film. It was quite and the room had aircon but it was not worth 60 euros but I Just needed sleep so I didnt care. I got a taxi to the bus station, I was petrified I didnt think the driver understood me and thought he was taking me to patras my end destination, luckily however he didnt, but i know he riped me off, all part of the experience I guess! So right now iv just had a chicken roast dinner with greek salad and have a 18 hour ferry overnight back to italy. Tomorrow I have a night in Brindisi again and the day after an over night ferry to Croatia, phew blimy sounds alot ey!

Anyway must dash, sorry for amy grammer, spelling for whatever mistakes (im rushing) miss you all loads, speak to you soon byeeeeee xxxx

Posted by happy_mel 04:11 Archived in Greece Comments (4)

Volos, Sikathos and Skopleos

My holiday - Some Greek Islands -

sunny 42 °C

Its 43 deg and too hot to write, but at the mo im in Skiathos, so Preety but full of brits so im heading to Skoplos at the end of the week. Will up date this soon, on my own now, James annoyed me too much and I needed to be by myself again. Missing you all really really much, speak to you soon xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Posted by happy_mel 06:05 Archived in Greece Comments (4)

Athens

Loving it, Loving It

sunny 40 °C

There are a few worlds that I would like to describe Athens as:

VERY HOT, SMELLY, BUSY IN TOURSITS, EXTREMLY BUSY IN TRAFFIC BUT TOTALLY AMAZING........ I cant say Athens is beautiful but very historic, my hostel (although pricey) was full of like minded travellers and situated so close to the acroplolis you could almost touch it, whats more is that it had a roof bar with the cheapest drinks in town, what more could I want!

The first day was spent travelling was Patras to Athens so really a wasted day, I spent the second day exploring on my own, craziliy I headed for the Acroplols at 12.00 noon it 40 deg heat, this I discovered was sucide because there were millions of steps and It was such hard work. I made the top, it was unbeliveble and definatly one of the true wonders of the world. I felt like I had reached the gate of heaven, so so so amazing and the views... well where do I begin. I did see Zeus, Olympia and the other main sights but nothig was as good compared to the Acropolis.

I had adopted James that I met in Brindisi as my travell companion for Greece. After a few nights in Athens we both decided to head north

Posted by happy_mel 05:53 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

Brindisi

South Italy

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Iv had three changes and in total a 9.5 hour train journey to the very south of Italy where I planned to spend a few nights before heading to Greece.

As you can guess, for most of the journey I was sat in carriages with young kids arrrggghhhhh!!! Luckily I just made all of my connections and I arrived late in Brindisi The people in the hostel were so amazing, I was handed a drink straight away and I apologised for talking non stop because I was talking English to an English person for the first time in ages.

That night the mosquitos made friends with me, against my wishes. No matter what sprays, lotions and potions I put on they still loved me.

In the morning I went to explore Brindisi, it was a very small town, I hit the shops, sent a parcel home. In the parcel was a dog te-shirt which I bought in Bergamo for Freya. " I thought you would like it Freya and I really miss you very much too."

I made a few new freinds at the hostel and I will see them again beause I have to return to get my ferry to Croatia from there.

There was 7 of us on the over night ferry to Patras, Greece. I was the only one who had bought a cabin. We all got very drunk drinking very expensive wine at 15.00 euros a bottle it was fun, my cabin was empty so we crept everyone in for the night, it was hillarious, but we almost got caught!

Posted by happy_mel 05:37 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Verona and Venice

sunny 37 °C

Verona
I stayed here for two nights, My hotel was really nice but same story on the outskirts, luckily Verona has a really good bus service which is easy to use. The buses are werid in Italy, you buy a ticket for 1 euro from the tabaconist shop, you then get on from the back of the bus and validate your ticket in the machine. Apparently if you get caught without a ticket by an inspector you get on the spot fines, I have never seen any inspectors and it makes me wonder if this system works, anyway.... During the day I visited all the main sights, the castle, numerous churches and squares, Romeo and Juliets Balcony, Juliets House and Juliets Tomb. I tried to find the post office but soon realised it had closed down! I ended up at the main Opera arena, this was spectacular, it is stull used every summer to host main events yet it is so old and historic, Dad next August you are taking me to the Opera, it looks like it will be amazing! Loved Verona very much, it was very small and dainty and very pretty.

Venice
I didn't seem to fall fall in love with Venice like most people do, maybe it was beacause it was so hot, maybe there were to many tourists who knows. Dont get me wrong I thought it was a lovley city to see, the canals are really beautiful and st Marcos square is definatly an amazing sight. I saw all the main sights in one day and as I was staying on Lido island I headed to what I called shell beach, its full of hundreds of shells and white sand and most bars alog the sea front have live bands til 3 am! I would like to return in early spring when its colder and make a trip to the glass factory that I missed.

Posted by happy_mel 14:07 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Boario, Lake Iseo

Days six to nine

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Day six
My bus arrived in Bergamo bus station and lots of passengers rushed forward pushing me over, the driver saw me, helped me up and shouted a few naughty phrases at these passengers. I was now quite embarrased so I quickly found my seat and we set off, 90 mins later after a very scenic journey I arrived in Boario. On arriving as always it seemed in the middle of know where so I had to ask for directions to my hotel, I vagley understood and soon enough I arrived.

The hotel was located at the bottom of the lower Italien Alps, in a very small town near the local church. The hotel owner checked me in, I found my room and had a siesta. By the time I woke it was time for tea, the hotel was amazing so I had dinner here, a four course meal, but i only managed three. Somehow in the heat I have really lost my appetite.

Day seven
The travel agent arranged for me to go to the Aqua Center today, to the Italiens it seems it was an amazing place but to me it was just the average swimming pool with a view pool kiddies pools and tiny slides. I did have a fun day though, taking the time out to relax. It was a cloudy day and it didnt seem very hot but later I realised the sun was there as I was very red and sore, eithern after my factor 30! I made it back to the hotel just in time before we had a 3 hour heavy rain and thunderstorm session. I had lunch and made friends with a 70 year old Italien man called Salvador! Somehow eithen though we didn't speak the same language we both taught each other new card games, which was funny. I later reaised that this hotel is used as a holiday destination for OAP Italiens, so how great is that, don't think i'll meet anyone here then!

Day Eight
After breakfast I met with the travel agent who arranged for me to do two more trips. Today I went to a place called sport action, i had the choice of hiring a bike, kayak or wind surf for the day, and yes wisly I chose the wind surf, only kidding. I got on my bike and had a fun but very tiring day cyclying round lake iseo. I stopped for lunch in a very pretty town called Lourve, a tiny unspolit town loacted on the lake front. I made it back for about 4pm and we worked out I had cycled about 38 km, wow no wonder I was knackered. The bike ride went well although I almost killed myself following a car into this extremley dark tunnel, shitting my self I imediatly turned back. I had dinner in the hotel again as restaurents in the area were limited to mainly hotels.

Day Nine
I had pre-planned to go in to the mountain today to play in the woods at adventure land. I arrived at adventure land by private transfer at about 10 am. I was met by this gorgeous italien (whoops forgot his name, anyway who cares he was married) He put me in a harness and began to explain all safety information. Adventureland is basically a rope, swings and bridge park that are all built into the trees on different hights and difficulties. We started on level one, easy ey? No way I hated it, wibbly bridges in the air, netting to climb in the air etc etc. I really embarassed my self when I soon discovered I couldn't lift my own body weight. I had to hold on to a bar and swing to the other side with my legs hanging, then somehow pull my legs up and pull myself up onto the new platform. The guy had to get a ladder and push me up, I must of been so red with emabassement! I decided to give level 1 one more try and decided it definatly wasn't my thing. I was also with this sweet 12 yr old lad and of course he completed all the levels just to make me look eithern more stupid!
In the afternoon I went for a walk to find the train station and found a few shops but didn't buy anything exciting.

Day ten
It was an early start as I decided to get the bus at 8.00 am to Brescia, which from the outskirts looks really nice but I didn't stay here. I missed my train conection to Verona so I had a long three hour wait on the platform for the next one.
TBC

Posted by happy_mel 00:23 Archived in Italy Comments (7)

Bergamo

Days 5 and 6

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Days 5 and 6

I flew from Rome to Bergamo, a small town, about an hours drive from Milan. I seemed to be the only non Italien on this flight, I sat next to a lady about my age called Silvia, soon enough we were chatting away and after an hour we landed. Silvia was lovely she gave me her number and said to meet her in the morning and she would show me her town, Bergamo.

I went to find the bus to my hostel but I had a few guys that wouldn,t leave me alone and it was 10pm and dark and I was a bit scared. On the bus from the airport I remembered seeing the train station so I quickly walked there and got a taxi, it seemed like it took ages but I did arrive safely and 17 euros poorer! The hostel was lovely but in the middle of know where. I checked into my 8 bed dorm for the one night and fell asleep instantly.

At 10 am the next day I met Silvia at the Funicolour in Citi Alter, which was very easy from my hostel. Silvia was brilliant she showed me all the sights, ranging from the main medievil church in the sqaure up to the military castle overy looking the entire town of Bergamo. Bergamo is split into two parts. The upper and lower, both are nice but the upper is very medievil looking and un spolit, with lots of little cobbled streets filled with tiny shops, bakeries etc The funicolur is a chair lift railway which transfers people between upper and lower town, it was funny to see as it looked so ancient. I found Bergamo so beautiful and I hope to return someday before the tourists find it and ruin it. We had lunch in a bar at the Funicolour, this bar had full views of Bergamo and Milan in the distance. I had appertisers (Italien starters, little nibbles) and tried Silvias fav drink Apoleto. I thought it tasted of sweeter fizzy whisky, if that makes sence!

Sadly it was time for me to go, I thanked Silvia and she took me to the coach station to go to Boario, Lake Iseo.

Posted by happy_mel 05:38 Archived in Italy Comments (1)

Rome

Days one to five

sunny 33 °C

Day One
I stepped off the plane at 10.30 am tuesday morning in Rome the heat hit me straight away as it was already 28deg. I was dreading this next bit, getting to the hostel, but it all was very easy, a bus to the train station and a short walk to my hostel which was litterally up the road.

I arrived at the hostel and went to check in but was told to come back at 3pm, so I left my bags hired a small safe to lock my valubles, grabbed my map and went to go play getting lost! I decided not to go far I had forgot sun block on and was already burning to I found a cafe relaxed for while. I went back to the hostel to check in. I was given my card and told the TOP floor. Unfortunatly the stupid guy had told me the wrong number so I had to walk back down 4 flights of stairs to reception to get the right number, let me tell you this was not fun. I spent the first night in chatting to numerous other travellers in the kitchen. At around 10 pm we were told one of the in things to do was to drink n chat at the spanish steps, so a group of about 8 of us headed there. I decided to be wise so I stayed off the wine, but it was really good having a laugh outside til 3am.

Day Two
I didn't sleep well last night. The beds were really uncomfortable and some one was snoring. I discovered this morning how cheap a hostel it was. I would not wash a dog in the shower rooms, that bad! They are disgusting and we have noticed that apparently 28 people are suposed to share 2 toilets, well thats if they are full anyway. This morning I met a fellow traveller called Zita from the uk and two other people from Auz and we left to get the train to Vatican City about 30 mins away. It was a totally amzing day, I saw the Pope do mass, he went by me in his Pope car waving to us. Someone in the crowd tried to Jump at the Pope (stupid crazy guy, as the police punched him to the ground and took him away instantly). The ques to the Vatican museam was a 4 hour wait so we headed to the Castle on the river then had lunch. The que was then only 1/2 hour, not so bad. This was defiantly the most amazing place ever. You first go through corridors of really beautiful paintings, canvases and artwork which tells you various stories of the bible etc etc I was totally gobsmaked at the Sistene Chapel, the walls and ceilings are all just fantastic, I was totally blown away. We finished our visit with a stop at St Peters Basillica, again, wow words cannot explain it, totally gorgeous. It was definatly an amazing day, one I shall never forget. We were knackered so we decided to eat in the hostel and made pasta between the four of us. I chatted until 2 am when I couldnt keep my eyes open anymore.

Day Three
I had a long sleep and didn't wake until the cleaner woke me up at 10.30. Me and Zita had breakfast and decided to have a slow day, we first went to the Pantheon, the largest Dome in the world to be man made. Then to the Trevi fountain, I left her then to explore on my own. I went to numerous sqaures with many different fountains, can't possibly name them all and then hit the shops. Sadly I didn't buy anything other than jewelery but I could of spent a fortune, some of the designer clothes are half our prices! Zita had left for Florence by now so I met a new Traveller from Auz and we soon enough got chatting. We both wanted nice food so we found a small Italian restaurent. I had veal with mushrooms, yum yum.

Day Four
I cant Believe its day four already. The hostel is full of new travellers now, I dont really know any of them yet, they all seem to be Spanish. I woke up early to visit the Colesseum and Palatine Hill. This was definatly my favourite thing, you really got a a feel for how the romans and gladiators lived. I learnt lots about the roman past times and took millions of photos. For lunch I had my first real italian pizza which was massive and I discovered I hated anchovies too! I then went to the Little Solider Museam, which is all about Italy and the 1st World War, there were hundreds of steps as it is one of Rome's tallest buildings. Behind this there is a lift which takes you into the sky to the highest point in Rome. (Its was very, very high and Dad you would of hated it, it was was higher than the one in Barcelona) The views of Rome are spectacular, every building is brown, all very old style and you could see everything for miles and miles, I really couldn't take it all in, it was stunning. I then got on a bus and went bus hoping, but got lost and ended up in a poor town outside Rome, luckily some how In everntully made it back to the hostel. That night everyone had gone to bed by 11 pm, how sad is that, so I sat reading until I feel asleep.

Day Five Saturday
Iv had a lazy day at a park today and have booked my next 7 nights accommodation for Milan, Verona, Venice and Brindisi. I leave Rome at 5pm tonight and fly to Bergamo near Milan for one night. On Sunday I will be at Lake Iseo for 2 nights.

Thoughts on Rome:
All the ladies seem to wear stiletoes and I am still puzzled how they walk on the cobbled streets. The men and very tasty and mostly wear fitted designer shirts and suits eithern in the very hot temperatures. Rome is so beautiful, everywhere you go there is something to see but the city is massive so your legs get plenty of excercise. Next time I will wear a wig because I must be the only blonde in Italy and I really stand out, people seem to stare at me like im an alien, no comments please! Next time I will stay in a nicer, cleaner and more central hotel. Finally I think everyone should visit Rome if they can, it really is brilliant.

Posted by happy_mel 11:47 Archived in Italy Comments (3)

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