==When in Rome==
(from my first travel blog 29.09.2013)
There’s nothing like crystal clear waters of a beach, waves of sunshine beating on your flesh, a new culture, new language, new people and a new adventure to reignite that spark you carry deep within you.
After working and saving all of our precious pounds, my bestfriend, (Charline) and I escaped London craving sunshine. Our first stop was the party, paradisical Greek Island of Zakinthos/Zante. After a gruelling 6hour over night wait at Gatwick airport and hour long delay on our flight, we stepped out of the airport and were overcome by a wave of heat. YES!
We mad it to our beautiful hotel, located in the family friendly part of the island Argassi. Wearing nothing more than shorts, singlets and sandals, we explored our surroundings, just so thankful for the beautiful sunshine.
Now, Zante is renowned for its partying to the Poms, and we sure did find a lot of them. Our first night out in Argassi delivered as we figured out how things worked over here. Smoke as much as you like in the clubs, no security, no entry fee, no ID check, cheap shots, cheap cocktails, and if you dance on the bar, free drinks!
This part of our holiday was dedicated purely to relaxing, and that’s exactly what we did. Lazed by the pool, ate heaps of wonderful food, drank heaps of cheap vodka and alcohol and soaked in the sunshine. We had many adventures, cruised around the island diving into picturesque waters, took on Laganas and won, drank waaaaaaaaaaaay too much, took way too many photos, met heaps of unforgettable people, but the highlight of Zante was when we hired a quad bike for 2 days and explored the island beach hopping! I felt so cool. haha. With Charline being the babe on the back of my bike, we uncovered pristine beaches, even a turtle sanctuary, and with the wind in our hair and sun on our faces, we didn’t want it to end.
Sadly, we said goodbye to our lavish lifestlye in Zante and jetted back to London. Now all to save a few pounds, we were traumatised by the following ordeal.
So… 3hour flight from Zante to Gatwick, raining… great, 40 minute train ride to london, 30 minute tube ride to Stratford, food… yes! Bus to Stansted… No… buses are cancelled… dammit, taxi to Stansted with 3 strangers… ok, 20pounds…. dammit, 2hour wait at Stansted, 2hour flight to Oslo, freezing cold… great, 7hour wait… hell, no sleep, zombies, ridiculously expensive airport breakfast due to norwegian currency exchange… just what we need, 2hour flight to Venice, warm… yay, 1hour bus ride to city, lost for an hour trying to find bus, finally found our bus, didn’t know where to get off, thankfully we got off at the right stop, made it to the campsite, beautiful, checked in, hungry, tired, bed, sleep.
After a much needed nanna nap, we headed into the city, not paying bus fares because we wanted to experience Italy like true Italians. We were absolutely breath taken by Venice, it being especially special to Charline as her family is Italian and from Venice. We watched the sunset over the canals whilst eating gelato and were excited as to the adventures that Italy would hold for us. The next day, we wondered through the labyrinth of bridges and canals, loving every minute of it. One of the highlights of Venice was finding a little puzzle store buried amongst the streets where and old man made his dreams come to life. He made 3D puzzles challenging thoughts on perception and expectations. I absolutely loved his concept “that life is in our hands and its how we see our life that matters.” Feeling enlightened, we continued our exploration.
Another highlight this gorgeous city offered was the magnificent coffee. Charline and I sat down by the grand canal in the sunshine, enjoying one of the best cappucino’s I’ve ever had, and a basket of bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. In absolute culinary heaven!
We were both overwhelmed by the magic of Venice, and Charline had a sparkle in her eye the whole time. I was so glad I could share such a special moment with her.
The next day we were off to ROMA! Only a 6hour train ride away. By now Charline could fall asleep anywhere, so she did, as I sat staring out the window letting my mind wonder.
Rome really was incredible! The sheer history is enough to capture your soul let alone the beauty and magic it held. We stayed in a cute little tent in a campsite just outside of the city, an experience in itself.
We got our full tourist on! We went to the Colosseum, The Roman Forum, Spanish Steps, Castel St. Angelo, St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, The Trevi Fountain, Piazza Novana, The Pantheon and many more.
The Vatican City was incredible! Just the power religion has over millions of people was fascinating and how much time and money went into building St. Peters and the Sistine Chapel, however, Michaelangelo nailed the paintwork.
And a quick side story, I lost my wallet for an hour in the city. And let me tell you, that was the worst hour of my life. Thankfully I found it again completely untouched but I guess it makes for a good story. When in Rome.
Personally, my favourite part of Rome was the Trevi Foutain and Piazza Novana because I felt in these places I could experience the real Rome and take in the architecture, food, art and culture of the city.
From Rome, we also did a day trip to Pompeii and Naples which was a definite highlight. Pompeii was incredible! I was completely astonished at how well this entire city has been preserved and how advanced civilisation was back in 79AD! They even had brothels! Naples was a very beautiful city and the Amalfi coast is definitely on my list of place to go in the future.
Sadly, the second part to our holiday had come to an end, and with our funds dried up, sunkissed skin, and a glow in our hearts, we knew we had to head back to reality.
I had such an incredible trip with my girl and learnt so many things. Our 2weeks was an absolute whirlwind of history, beauty, sun, romance, adventure, friendship, knowledge, tolerance, discovery, food, language and magic and by the time we returned to good old Clarendon 9, we wondered what our next adventure would be.
It was a Mediterranean Summer I will never forget.