Rome Day one

Rome, one of, if not thee most historical and vibrant cities in the modern world. In an average year Rome draws roughly 7 million tourists, and this is just one of their accounts. This was my first holiday destination and its not surprising this is where I caught my travel bug.

 

I was 18, a student, and had a tight budget, the game was set. Flights from Birmingham International (UK) to Fiumicino airport in Rome, including a transfer, baggage, insurance and five nights bed and breakfast, was a not so grand total of £270. A Bargain. Especially considering the hotel. I stayed at the Duke Hotel, situated in Via Archimede, just north of the main attractions. Honestly, this hotel was a true delight, tasteful decor, humbling and helpful staff really made my holiday. The breakfast was as expected, a standard continental. But, the shuttle bus service and the polite greatly helped sightseeing and  made our holiday experience. As, I went in September, I used the shuttle service everyday, but during the busy season they limit this so the service can be used by all guests (for General all round fairness).

Day one

 

I am a major sightseer – so expect a ram packed three days from here on out. After being dropped off by the shuttle service at the Piazza del Popolo, I then made my way towards the Colosseum. Along this road, watch out for men dressed as Roman Soldiers, they will charge you a small fortune for photos, and they’re not actually worth it – so just say no. This is roughly a 30 minute walk, public transport is available, but walking is a great way to soak up the sights and see unexpected delights.

 

I arrived at the Colosseum at 9:45 prompt and quickly brought tickets for an English speaking guided tour. Firstly, I would completely recommend getting there early and beating the queues (when we eventually came out it was heaving). Secondly, the guided tour for 12 euros (18 – 25 price, at this price, you get a guided  tour around the Colosseum as well as entrance to the Roman Forum and the Palentine Hill afterwards.

The tour around the Colosseum opens up the history of the Rome. An immersive experience that you wouldn’t get just by walking around the Colosseum. After the tour, you’re allowed to freely wonder around the Colosseum soaking up its breathtaking views, taking pictures and looking at some of the artifacts inside.

From here I headed for lunch – top tip – if you’re on a Budget like I was, head away from the Colosseum (it can get quite expensive), there should be some deli’s that will be much cheaper e.g. 4 euros for a rather large pot of pasta. Also, carry bottles of water around with you, there a various water fountains dotted about that you can refill them up with and supermarkets where you can buy them cheap!

After Lunch, I headed back to the Roman Forum, seeing as I had free entry! I would advise roughly two to three hours for this site (it depends how much you like your history). By this time, your legs are feeling pretty weary and tired, but carry on, its only 2!

We then headed back into central Rome taking a route behind the back alleys by back alleys I mean the winding cobbled streets, as even these areas have an impressive display of architecture. In this area, I visited the Trevii Fountain (which was on my top five list), and it didn’t disappoint. I tossed a coin into the fountain ensuring my return to Rome someday. It can be quite packed in this area, so watch out for pickpockets, apparently they are rife here – but I was fortunate enough not to experience any!

Then, I set off again towards the Pantheon. Rome’s 2000 year old building, that looks too intact to be true! Marvel at the dome from the inside and the exquisite paintings adoring the walls. At this point I would also recommend popping into local churches – even they boast exquisite architecture and artwork. Inside the ones we went into, I lit candles for my loved ones, a true memory to take away.

 

It was here by the Pantheon were we choose to eat, most restaurants will do set menus, with a starter then a pizza/ pasta and a glass of wine, while in Rome these are the cheapest ways to eat, that promise a hearty dinner after all the walking!

Then we made our way back to the Shuttle stop.

Day One complete.

Piazza Del Popolo.

                                          

                                                             

My love affair with Cardiff!

Ciao Ragazzi,

I have been on computers and laptops so much lately, that I want nothing more to do with them- Dissertation vibes – but, alas my blog is on here. I’m sure my eyes can manage another hour of staring at a computer screen!

This post is all about my love affair with the Welsh capital, Cardiff! I am a firm believer in exploring the UK. I’m a Birmingham girl at heart, but I love wandering the cities of Britain, because they’re all so different and diverse.A true marker of great British culture ~ individuality.

And, this is certainly true for Cardiff. I’d been to Cardiff once before, to see the Doctor who exhibition when I was about 10 years old (just over a decade ago). But, hadn’t explored the city at all. This was our time. Cardiff is home to BBC Wales, which means there’s plenty of filming action going on in this capital. At times, Martin Freeman can be seen filming at Cardiff University for the hit TV series Sherlock Holmes ~ fangirls at the ready!

Hotels and hostels in Cardiff were more expensive then I’m used to paying in other European cities. In the end we decided on a travel lodge, between the four of us it was a decent price and in an amazingly central location. After dumping our bags we began to see the sights.

It was a rainy afternoon, but this did not dampen our spirits. First, we wandered through the cafe quarter of the city, ear marking restaurants to eat in later. From there we meandered through Cardiff’s main shopping district heading towards Cardiff’s arcade. These are what can only be described as exquisite alleyways, home to some chic independent shops – definitely worth a browse.

From here we headed to one of Cardiff’s main tourist attractions, Cardiff castle. The entry fee is reasonable, especially considering all of the features inside the museum. After an exhausting afternoon walking we headed back to a restaurant we spotted earlier ~ Bill’s. An original food chain, which opened in the north of England sourcing it’s products from top suppliers. It was simply splendid and a great way to finish the day.

So, my tourist time in Cardiff was short and sweet, as I was actually there for my masters interview so did a lot of prepping and worrying too! But, fear not there will be plenty more Cardiff posts in the autumn. That ticks C off my A-Z challenge list!

Ciao for now,

Hope!

A few thoughts on ~ Pompeii

Ciao Ragazzi!

Pompeii. Every time I hear that word, I think of a line from the BBC television series Doctor Who ‘We’re in Pompeii and it’s volcano day.’ Honestly, I hear David Tennant’s voice and everything too.

But, anyway back to the place itself. Before our first trip to Amalfi  we were warned about the little shade and lack  of coverage during the summer months. And, I warn you to heed this advice, bring a light cardigan, shawl and a hat to cover bits of showing skin. I was honestly, covered from head to toe when I went to Pompeii, as there is absolutely no shade at all. None! My Great Aunt’s nugget of advice was right.  Honestly heed this advice, I may have looked completely embarrassing, but it was worth it not to get burnt. Also keep topping up the sun scream, and take lots of water (the cafe prices in Pompeii and at the surrounding shops are extortionate)!

Pompeii itself is like no other place. A whole town covered by volcanic ash. I enjoy the history and the culture of countries like IMG_0337Italy. There is plenty to see. A small amphitheatre, bath houses, temples and much more. We attempted to follow the map with an audio guide, I’d recommend the audio guide for both here and Herculaneum. The audio guide explains each feature of Pompeii and allows you to tour around Pompeii at your own leisure. It’s an absolute wonder to get lost around, uncovering new finds this way and that. A one for culture and history buffs most certainly! However, Pompeii is rather unnerving at times, so of the artifacts taken from the site remind you that it was just another ordinary day in Pompeii until Vesuvius erupted. It’s harrowing to think of the chaos that ensued that day, but it did.

I’d recommend at least three hours to this attraction, if you’re savvy with your holiday, you can buy entry into the other archaeological sites art a reduced price. Entry to five of the sites is for 20 euros full price and 10 euros for those aged 18-25. Entry includes these five sites: 5 sites: Pompeii, Herculaneum, Oplontis, Stabiae and Boscoreale, which are valid for three consecutive days!

Ciao for now,

Hope!

The A – Z Challenge: Travel Articles!

Ciao Ragazzi!

Now I know I’m a tad late to be jumping on this trend but I simply couldn’t resist. I was tempted to do the A-Z  book challenge, but really felt like Travel posts would be more of a thing! Below is an initial list of posts I’ll be writing up over the coming weeks, let me know if there’s any you fancy reading first!

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  • Alberobello
  • Bari
  • Cardiff
  • Dubrovnik
  • Edinbugh
  • Finland
  • Greek temples
  • Herculaneum
  • Ireland
  • J
  • Kittila
  • London
  • Milan
  • Naples
  • Ostuni
  • Pisa
  • Q
  • Ruins and why I love them!
  • Sicily
  • Tuscany
  • U
  • Venice
  • What’s in my travel bag?
  • X
  • Y
  • Zzzzzz – the art of sleeping on long coach journey’s

There are still some gaps, but hopefully I will those in soon with some trips that I’m in the process of planning!

Ciao for now,

Hope

xoxo

Nightmare in Naples

Ciao Ragazzi!

Normally, I have nothing but complimentary travel posts, this one is a bit different! If you have a different opinion to me then feel free to comment and persuade me otherwise!

See Naples and die. A phrase stuck in many travellers’ minds, including my own. This phrase originated in the 16th century and that’s where it should stay. Many travel sites describe Naples as ‘gritty’ and ‘chaotic’. And that’s the best compliment Naples could ever hope for.

DSCN0297My harrowing journey began in Sorrento on a sweaty train, with windows that just simply would not open. Then there were the buskers who wouldn’t stop busking on their untuned accordions, hoping to have money thrown into their polystyrene coffee cup on every repeat. After the two hour train journey that, according to the timetable, should only take 40 minutes, we arrived in Naples, expecting all the glamour and history that Rome has to offer. Walking through the busy station we emerged outside, still the ever-hopeful tourists with cameras slung around our necks and sunburn etched on the corners of our skin.

DSCN0329Needless to say, we were shocked. The streets surrounding made Selly Oak look like the grounds of Buckingham Palace. Yes- they were that bad; dirt, graffiti and yet more highly annoying buskers and street sellers, lined the streets. Regardless, we decided to press on and head to the national archaeological museum, home to some of Pompeii and Herculaneum’s most desirable relics. After a long hour or so walk through the grime and many unsuccessful trips to not-so-nice toilets – which you have to pay for?! – we arrived, and after inspecting the perimeter to find a grand entrance we were well and truly shocked to find it closed. Eventually, we found one bumbling old security guard. Who told us the museum was not opening today. It was a Tuesday. A Tuesday. This frustrated us all greatly – who shuts a museum on a Tuesday, during peak season? The logic is clearly beyond me. Not only was the museum closed, it took us an hour on foot to get to, away from the port where all the other attractions where situated.

Thus ensued another hour or so walk through the back streets of Naples. Everywhere we looked the streets where covered in grime, bin bags lined the streets and graffiti tags submerged buildings. Family members were insistent we tucked all valuables into a tightly zipped rucksack, but whilst the streets seemed filthy, the people seemed friendly. I knew very few Italian phrases and many Italians knew little English but where happy to help as much as possible Eventually, we stumbled across a piazza that led onto a main road. This was not like other bustling Italian piazzas, but was rather lined with newspaper shops and one small cafe. In Italy, even paying customers of restaurants have to pay to use the toilets – I wouldn’t mind if they were nice and had commodities like loo roll, hand soap and a lavender scent. Many times I just simply refused to go.

DSCN1169From here we carried on again. After hours of harrowing quiet followed by short bursts of mopeds trying to run us over, we found the Naples we expected. Well the ‘busy,’ and ‘chaotic,’ part at least in the form of a bustling high street lined with designer, high-end shops. A completely different Naples to the one we had just experienced. But the family spirits had already been damped and tempers were running high after all the walking in the midday sun. Nevertheless, I was determined to make a day of it yet. Ok yes, the phrase ‘see Naples and die,’ was not all it was cracked up to be, but I was still determined to have a pizza there. Naples is famous for its glorious stonebaked pizza and I was determined to try some. A perk that the Italians offer many tourists unknowingly is cheap, good food; in this case it did not disappoint. After being fed and watered for a princely sum of 5 euros, we carried on.

DSCN1179We were now approaching the port, which homed some of the most glorious castles I have ever laid my eyes upon. One of these was Castle Nuovo, an exquisite 13th century castle on the Port of Naples. The entry fee is a small sum of 6 Euros and in my opinion is well worth it, as underneath the castle is a Roman villa visible through a glass floor. The second castle we visited was where disaster struck. On route along the harbour walls I was stung by a monstrous insect, and keeping to my pale British name, my skin didn’t take too nicely to it. At first, I just thought it was a small bite and carried on walking, but after a while it formed into a horrific pus-filled blister that just would not stop growing and started restricting the movement in my ankles. But, I still wouldn’t let this overcome me. No; I soldiered on. And, in the blistering heat, we made it to the second castle on our itinerary, this time much closer to the port. It had a terrific sea view of the sparkling blue waters and a triumphant Vesuvius stood tall in the background. The sunlight was bouncing off the walls so that the castle looked like it was covered all over in crystals. Below the castle’s towering walls we sat and had a drink in the shade of a parasol and admired the view, for the first time on that long day.

We decided to call it quits, and checked our train schedule – something I did not rely on in the UK, let alone Italy. A power-walk to the train station thus ensued, as we were worried that if we missed this train there would be another hour’s wait – a wait no one was prepared to make. Arriving in the nick of time – I was not shocked by the fact that the train was late; the platform was heaving and when we eventually made it onto the right train, we had to stand – injured leg and all.

Naples was a horror, in a country full of wonders. But looking back, the pizza wasn’t all that bad.

Finland, Finland, Finland!

 

Finland is one of Europe’s best kept secrets. Fact. Winter Holidaymakers have a tendency to flock to the Alps, New York or the Southern hemisphere for a winter break, but Finland as all the allure and charm of the above destinations combined. Notoriously famous for: Lapland (home of Father Christmas), Saunas, Arctic berries and er Moomins?  That’s right folks Finland’s claim to fame is the popular children’s cartoon character that dominated many TV screens in the 90’s, but there is more to Finland than just that. Being bordered by three other countries (Norway, Sweden and Russia), a deep political history only adds to Finland’s cultural melting pot, making it a truly unique destination by any stretch.

Many budding travellers are under the impression that Lapland is actually a country, in fact it is Finland’s northernmost region situated in the Arctic Circle. In the summer, 24 hours of daylight reign supreme, but in the winter the sun doesn’t rise at all, instead the sky is full of colours, purple and pink hues occupy the horizon, just before darkness descends.

Despite this life carries on, with one of the most popular ways to get around being cross country skiing. The sport itself requires plenty of physical effort to ski across flat surfaces, and can prove to be highly embarrassing when five year olds whizz past a group of amateur twenty something’s (but let’s keep that between you and me). There are many ski paths and routes to follow in this region with quaint little coffee shops dotted along the way. If you find yourself in one be sure to try a classic Finnish drink, Minttukaakao, which literally means mint chocolate in English. It’s a winter warmer if there ever was one (be warned it’s a combination of hot chocolate and mint vodka). Fire pits are also found on the way, with many locals roasting sausages and marshmallows, before donning their skis once more and moving on. The likely story is that they are heading home to heat up the sauna and sit back and relax. Most homes in Finland’s northern regions have built in saunas. The large majority start at about 70 degrees and just keep going up, Sauna’s give an instant fresh feeling whilst sweating all of the toxins. So after a long hard day skiing could you possibly think of a better way to relax?

By this point in the afternoon the Northern Lights are the high in the sky. Remember that the best time to go and see the Northern Lights is in January and February and so seeing them is not a 100% guaranteed in any package deal! But, it’s a wonderful site to behold and on everyone’s bucket lists. The golden green swirls will dominate the skyline. The Arctic Circle is a wondrous place to take in the Earth’s most famous natural phenomenon. Ice Hotels are a classic and chic way to take in the night’s sky. Can’t afford the extortionate prices that Ice hotels offer? Then don’t worry for a small fee of just 12 euros you gain access the hotel as a visitor and look at the ice carvings inside a large majority of the bed rooms and other guest areas.

Not one for the beyond freezing temperatures that is the Arctic Circle in the winter, then head south to Finland’s Capital Helsinki. Helsinki sits on the gulf’s peninsula with some of the city’s top sights like: the national museum, Suomenlinna fortress, Helsinki’s cathedrals and other churches.

During the winter months some of Helsinki’s top attractions either aren’t open to tourists or are undergoing renovations. But, still makes for an exceptional and different city break nonetheless. Arguably Helsinki’s top attraction is Finland’s only sea fortress, Suomenlinna. The fortress is just off the coast of Helsinki, and sits amongst some of Finland’s 300 islands. Ferries head to the sea fortress regularly (roughly every twenty minutes). The fortress is a great amalgamation of both Swedish and Russian history. Finland’s history is rife with wars and historical disputes being fought over by both Sweden and Russia. The fortress has four museums and each of which explain a different aspect about the fortress’s history, and in turn Helsinki’s history. It’s not just the museums that are impressive on the island, but the reach of the quaint Scandinavia culture. Colourful wooden houses are dotted about, these are home to some of the islands 800 inhabitants. Feel free to have a wonder, guided tours in a mixture of languages encourage tourists to roam around and stop for a coffee in the traditional tea shop (be warned filter coffee is everywhere).

Another museum which may be of interest to the history buffs out there is the National museum. The area surrounding the national museum is full of cultural landmarks, with Helsinki’s famous Evangelical Lutheran Cathedral possibly being the most famous of these. The cathedral stands impressively over the Helsinki skyline, entry is free and is a great place to warm up your fingers and toes. The cathedral itself is very minimalistic in comparison to other cathedrals across Europe. But, it’s a reminder of the Art Nouveau architecture that Finland is famous for.

After all the sightseeing be sure to stop for a bite to eat and sample some of the classic Finnish cuisine. In the Lapland that delicacy is Reindeer, which can be brought at the supermarkets and meat counters and leaves a rather salty taste on the tongue. If you do fancy braving the supermarkets be sure to take google translate with you, Finnish is very different to English.  Luckily the large majority of restaurant menus give an English translation. Seafood is another Finnish delicacy, with a few varieties of fish on every menu. Salmon soup is considered a Finnish must, different restaurants add a twist every time, so no matter how many times you’ll have it, you’ll always want more. Even the traditional Finnish markets found in the Helsinki’s docklands will tempt you into buying freshly fried fish complete with a garlic mayonnaise sauce to boot Savoury not your thing? Any pastry with an arctic berry in is worth a try, the most notorious berry is the blueberry. It’s both naughty and nice.

So if you’re thinking of booking a last minute winter break for reading week and beyond, why not consider Finland the next time skyscanner appears in your browser.

Capri

Ciao Ragazzi!

The Amalfi coast boasts spectacular views of Mt.Vesuvius from any and every angle. And, whilst you get used to seeing this huge volcano on your doorstep day in day out, nothing at all will prepare you for Capri.DSCN0403

Capri is probably the most well known island in the bay of Naples. And is a popular tourist destination for many celebrities. Boats are available from the mainland, but can get quite costly, especially from Sorrento, water taxi’s cost nearly 30 euros and will only drop you off at the Marina Piccola on the island of Capri. However, we paid slightly more at 40 euros and went with Soc.Coop Marina della Lobra. The ferry departs from the Marina Lobra at roughly 9 o’clock and allows for a 5 to 6 hour visit on the island, as well as giving you a tour of the island. Sights around the island include, The blue and green grotto, Faraglione di mezzo, Grotta di Masullo, Punta Carena and many more.

On the boat is another rep who will offer you a tour of the island for roughly 15 euros, which is well worth it, the public transport was not very good and looked small and congested. The rep ensured everyone a seat and ease of navigating the island.

The first stop, was Capri itself (the  island’s capital). Once given a tour of the main places and a meeting point is located, you are allowed to freely wonder Capri at your own pace. We decided to visit Augustus’ gardens for a small fee. The Garden had breathtaking views, of mountainsides, luxurious waters clear and blue. After a short walk we grabbed an ice cream. And slowly started making our way to the coach, as they do not wait.The next stop was Anacapri. On the tour, the first stop was the church, where the bell tower inspires stories . And, for just five euros I picked up a sterling silver charm of the bell. It was in Anacapri that we stopped for Lunch, I would recommend bringing plenty of spending money, as Capri is by no means a cheap excursion.

The final stop was the start the Marina Piccola, where we stayed for the remainder of the day for a swim on the overcrowded public  beach. During the journey back to the mainland, you’ll be offered a chance to take a tour of the Blue grotto. Entry to the Blue Grotto is roughly 13 euros, and then you’ll have to tip the boatmen roughly 5 euros each. As such, the Blue grotto can get rather busy and it is for this reason the over an hour wait to see the Grotto did not seem rather appealing.DSCN0470

Capri is an expensive excursion, particularly if you’re travelling from Sorrento. But is is so worth it, and the tour guides were very understanding of the older members in our party, which made it all the more enjoyable.

Ciao for now!

Hope

XX

Birmingham off the beaten track….

Ciao Ragazzi!

I’d be a Brummie, born and bred. I thought I’d spice things up on my blog and talk about (in my opinion) one of the greatest cities in the world. So here’s a short list of my top five favourite unknown restaurants in Birmingham!

I’ve avoided talking about all those generic chain restaurants like: pizza hut, zizzi, ask Italia, Nandos etc and have focused on the independent ones instead. By the way, these are in no particular order, just five of my favourites!

  1. Monsoon –

No not the clothing shop, but a curry house. First and foremost, Birmingham is the home of the Balti. Monsoon is a curry house based in Wythall and admittedly just outside Birmingham but the food is fantastic none the less. On Mondays and Tuesdays they offer a fab £8.95 deal for three courses, and it’s always heaving so I’d recommend booking in advance! The staff are friendly and very welcoming, not to mention the tantalizing smell and lively buzz to the place. And, it’s just undergone a brand new refurbishment.

2) Kitchen Gardens Cafe

Situated in Moseley, just off the main high street, this is a case of don’t judge a book by it’s cover. The outside looks slightly dilapidated and not very welcoming. But, get past the flower shop and you’ll see a lovely little cafe. We found this one Sunday, as we really really wanted a Sunday lunch without doing the cooking and stumbled upon this. And oh boy, was it heaven on my plate! The vegetables were all organic and in season and gave the meal a lovely seasonal touch. It’s slightly expensive for one meal at about £10 but sit back with a glass of wine and enjoy.

3) Paprika Grill

Now this one, was a Groupon find and has definitely brought me back for more. It’s in Selly Oak and is again a bit off the beaten track, but well worth the find. Do you crave a Mediterranean diet? Can’t find enough restaurants to accommodate your needs? Look no further than here. The kebab skewers, are in a range of flavours and meats, and also have Vegetarian options such as stuffed peppers. The starters are also tantalizing my favourite being the mozzarella and tomato. They also have a nice touch of Olives on the table upon arrival. (It’s the little things in my mind!)

4) The Lord Clifden – 

A pub, just had to make the list, am I right? This is what I’d call a proper pub, situated in the Jewelry quarter near the Blue Orange theatre, on a main road is a seemingly oblivious pub. The Lord Clifden doesn’t take bookings and always promises to be busy, I’d recommend the Thatchers Ice Cider, it’s beyond nice trust me.

5) The fountain – 

This is a recent find of mine and wow is it good. Again, I’m being cheeky, because it’s actually outside of Birmingham and is in actual fact located in Clent. We went here recently for my mum’s 50th and they personalised a paper menu just for her big day. Again, this was another Sunday Lunch moment and the Veg was brought out in lovely wicker baskets – a beautiful touch!

So here you have it, a few of my favourite off the beaten restaurants in Birmingham, enjoy and let me know if you end up going to one!

Ciao for now,

Hope

xxx

A few thoughts on Mt Vesuvius

Ciao Ragazzi!

I am three weeks into the academic year and I am already inundated with work, but I am trying really hard to keep up with this Blog! I have some quirky travel posts that I have planned and will be up over the coming weeks (tips, food, comparison etc), as well as some more beauty lifestyle posts (first impressions of products, product empties and a vegan food festival).

But, for today’s post I want to talk about Mt. Vesuvius and my next post (hopefully tomorrow or Friday, will be a comparison piece to Etna). So, let’s get cracking…..DSCN0051

Whilst on a family holiday to the Amalfi coast, Mt.Vesuvius made it onto our wish list. Mt Vesuvius is one of the most famous volcanoes in the world, it completely buried Pompeii and Herculaneum in 79 AD (more to come on these later). From Sorrento, a town on the Amalfi coast often used as a hub for travel over, we took the circumvesuviana line – the locals call it vesuviana –  and got a train to Ercolano. But, be prepared for a long journey though, some are high speed trains (get that if you can), but most will stop at every stop – a real inconvenience as there are many! I’d recommend bringing plenty of water and snacks as it will be a long day. And, that is just for the train itself!

Once you disembark from the train, you will have to pay about 10 euros to a coach company in order to reach the summit (here I would like to take the time to disclose a warning, not all of the prices I will give are 100% accurate, but where I can they will be). The coach journey takes roughly 20 minutes, and you will be sure to have your life in your hands every second, with narrow winding roads, a huge coach and a big drop down the other side. The coach will then drop you in what they will say is a ‘gradual up-hill 15 minute walk to the crater.’ I would’t call it gradual by any stretch of the imagination. But, before you can begin climbing, it’s 10 euros entry, a bit less for children, students and OAP’s. This is quite a pricey excursion, but it is a must for any visit to this reason. The coach will give you only roughly 90 minutes to climb to the ‘peak,’ and get back down again – so you’ll have to be quick! To get to the summit itself, doesn’t take to long, but it allows you to walk around the crater fully, around the crater there are little shops where you can pick up a souvenir and an ice-cold drink! The walk itself can be agonizing on a hot day and for those of you who are not fit enough for the climb, then sit back, relax and enjoy these views. The view inside the crater can be disappointing for some tourists, but if I saw lava spewing out the sides, I’d be running the other way.

My next post, will be a comparison to Vesuvius and Etna, as well as a comparison of Pompeii and Herculaneum itself. Let me know what you thought of Vesuvius or any if you’re planning on going.

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Ciao for now,

Hope

Life Update #2: University, Jobs, year abroad and other such things!

Ciao Ragazzi!

So, here is my second life update post and since the last one, which was nearly a month ago, a lot has happened! The first ‘big,’ thing is travel related. On the 13th of September I headed down to London for the day to visit my Italian friend. She was completing an internship in the area and I wanted to see her before she want back to Italy. It was such a nice day and I just wanted to spotlight a quirky restaurant we ate at, Poppies in Spitalfields. It is what I can only describe as a classic fish and chip shop, the wall was lined with cockney rhyming slang, a nice touch. I’ve linked the website here: http://poppiesfishandchips.co.uk/IMG_2910

Secondly, as I mentioned previously I started back at university. This will be my final year at university and is rather daunting thought to consider, but nevertheless I am diving in the deep end, hence my sporadic posts of late.

Thirdly, I got a job! I know this doesn’t sound like such a major achievement, but to me it is. I wanted a part time job that I could manage around my university commitments, but still have time for. I have successfully obtained the role as a sales advisor in Warehouse. I am already in love with the job and I can assure that some clothes and fashion related posts will follow shortly.

And, the final update I wanted to write about, is the fact that it has officially been a year since I started out on my year abroad. So, this time last year on the 27/09/2014 I flew out on my year abroad. I remember vividly, how the first few weeks were so difficult, adapting to the new culture, homesickness and crucially making friends. I look back on this year abroad with fond memories and I am so proud to have done it. I know lots of people say that it is a life changing experience, but it truly is.

I realise this post was exceedingly choppy, but hopefully my writing style will improve as the weeks move on. Let me know if any of the above have happened to you!

Until next time!

Ciao!