A Travellerspoint blog

A lesson in Speed touristing

Rome


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Our three days in Rome were a prime example of how to be a speed tourist. There is just so much to do and see and we were determined to fit all in to the time we had.

The first morning was spent going round Vatican City. We were just going to mosey round ourselves but the line to get in was huge so we allowed ourselves to get hawked by one of the guides outside. He was pretty funny and insisted that we looked like students. So we got the whole 3 hour tour for only 10 euors more than the entry fee.

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The Vatican museums are pretty impressive, statues galore and the detail that has gone into everything (floors ceiling and walls) is pretty mind boggiling. We asked why all of the male statues had their wee wees broken off to which Andrei (the guide) replied one of the more ‘conservative’ popes went around knocking them all off because he thought it was pornographic. Anyway, big thumbs up to Andrei (if your going there he’s the 6 ft 4 bald guy).

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So as per our speed tourist plan we walked past the Spanish Steps, they were ok but crammed full of people.

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and then jaime got lost, but no worries soon back on track

We flew passed the Trevi Fountain, which was very cool and again packed full of people

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We threw a coin over our shoulder which apparently means you will return to Rome again

Next on the list was the Pantheon, Oldest and best preserved ancient Roman building in Rome. And surprise surprise it was also packed full of people. Still another thing seen another thing done.

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The next day of speed touristing was spent going around the Colleseum and Roman Forum.

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And of course at the end of each day we were going out for pizza and insanely cheap wine.

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So rome....
lots to do and entriley possible to do it in the time we had.

Posted by jamienrach 07:58 Archived in Italy Comments (1)

Florence and the endless wine glass


View Nov - Dec trip 07 on jamienrach's travel map.

We had 3 days in Florence from the 27th to the 29th. It was probably one of our favorite places in Italy, maybe not so much for the city itself but more for what we did around the region.

First day we got a ‘free’ (forgot to write it on our global pass tickets) train ride to Pisa. It's 1 hour from Florence and there is pretty much only one thing to do there, and it’s a bit wonky. We got our pictures of the leaning tower and the square and then on our way.

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Because we only took the morning in Pisa when we got back to Florence we went to the Gallery where Michelangelo’s Statue of David is. And it’s pretty impressive, over 5 meters tall and it pretty much in perfect condition. Unexpected but cool nonetheless.

Since we’d been in Florence we had been searching for a wine tour of the Tuscan region but all we could find was 60 – 100 euro each. Eventually we came across a tour that was only 15 euros, wow right!! the downside was that the pamphlet was all in Italian and it seemed like it was just gonna be country Italians trying to sell you wine. Anyway we thought we’d give it a go anyway, and it turned out to be awesome. It was sponsored by the Tuscany area council (hence the cheapness), we got to visit a few churches and small museums in the area as well as a lunch stop at a winery with an endless glass of wine and full plates of salami, bread and other Italian niceness. Then onto another little medieval town where a ‘wine professor’ enthusiastically explained the differences between the different wines of the region, of course it was all in Italian so we just nodded, smiled and kept drinking.

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Our final day we spent doing a lazy walk around the city and up a couple of the hills around the city limits, ah lovely.

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rachel being a jewel glutton

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Next stop Rome!!

Posted by jamienrach 08:38 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

First stop Italy

Milan and Venice

sunny -17 °C
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Milan

So our trip started with a flying visit to Milan. First impression of an Italian restaurant was great, but compared to British food that’s not that hard. The pizzas were huge and the wine (vino) is cheap and good, 4 euros a half liter, this quickly became our drink of choice in Italy.

The next days sightseeing had to be quick as we had a train to catch later in the day. As we walked into town Rach couldn’t get over how cool the fashion shops were and cheap compared to the UK. But alas it was the start of the trip and our packs were already heavy enough, although Rach did pick up some boots for trudging through the snow later in the trip.

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view from the top of the Dumo

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Us in the piazza (square) 'something' in front of the dumo (cathedral)

The main attractions in Milan are the Dumo (an impressive gothic style cathedral) and the square (piazza) in front of it. And this mosaic bull which is worn out in the ‘bulls’ area where it is traditions to plant ones heel and spin twice. God knows why but we gave it a go anyway.

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Venice

We got into Venice on the train from Milan. We had no accommodation sorted and it was starting to get pretty late. This obviously showed on our faces and our touristy backpacks made us stand out in a crowd our better prepared tourists and Venetian commuters. “Luckly” we were spotted by an old Italian guy looking to fill one of his ‘rooms’. His cheap prices were hard to say no to after what we had been offered at the tourist office. So we followed him through the winding (pedestrian only) streets of Venice to our ‘room’. Well it wasn’t so much of a room as an attic with a bed above a kitchen (see below for picture) maybe he should have pick some more vertically challenged tourists as Rach and I could only stand up in the middle of the room.

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our attic/room

We drank a lot of vino and walked a lot in our 3 days in Venice. Saw lots of things including Piazza San Marco and the Basilica.

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rach on our 'free' ferry trip home in Venice, I guess we just forgot to pay

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We also started to try out our very limited Italian on some unsuspecting wait staff. I persuaded Rach to order the vino in Italian one night, to which the waitress just laughed and in perfect English asked if we wanted the white wine. But by the end of our time in Venice we were fluent in Italian, well at least how to order cheap wine.

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these creatures "nuns" are frequently spotted in Italy, they come out in groups no less than 3 and travel between local churches. Here we see a group 'congregation' of four specimens, they are incredibly quick for there age.

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Piazza San Marco (one of the only things i knew to say before getting to italy was "Excuse me, Where is Piazza San Marco?")

Posted by jamienrach 11:59 Archived in Italy Comments (1)

Off for a month

how many paris of undies do i need for a month backpacking......Im thinking 3

rain
View Nov - Dec trip 07 on jamienrach's travel map.

Just a quick post to say me and Rach are finally off for our first trip into Europe. And man it could not have come at a better time. The weather in Scotland is not the best at the moment and we are both absolutely sick of working, really itching to get out on the road again.

The rough plan is that we are flying out Friday 23rd to Milan, we have a ferry to catch on the 5th Dec from Bari to Dubrovnik. Then a flight out of Prague to Edinburgh on the 19th Dec. Everything in-between is a bit up in the air.

I’m sure it'll be great

Keep looking for updates and pictures

Posted by jamienrach 08:26 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Hej = Hello, Hej da = Goodbye, Goomp? = Bum

A quick lesson in swedish

sunny 0 °C
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So, from the 15th to the 19th of October I had the opportunity / privilege / dumb luck to score myself a free trip to Sweden through my work. I'm nearing the end of my time on my current contract and I had to go to Malmo (bottom of Sweden) to Show the design of the current product I've designed and tweak so aspects so that they can manufacture it.

Anyway, early morning flight on Monday and an evening flight on Friday from Copenhagen, coupled with the train from Copenhagen to Malmo and working all of the days I was there didn't leave too much time for tourist activates. But I did manage to squeeze in some pictures and walks around the places I was in.

First night in Malmo, (kinda hard to take pictures but I manage)

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The company took me out for dinner a few times , very nice

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On the Friday I left work early and headed over to Denmark on the train (over a big bridge and through a tunnel) to Copenhagen where my flight was leaving back to Edinburgh. And I couldn't go to the design capital of Scandinavia without have a quick peek around. So out of a 2 hour power walk these picture are what I managed to glean.

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And lastly me trying to be arty and take panoramic shots.

The Big Square in Malmo

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Anti violence sculpture in Malmo

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Lake in Copenhagen

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A big Square in Copenhagen

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Posted by jamienrach 00:19 Archived in Sweden Comments (0)

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