October 2017
  • Day13

    Day 13 & 14: Monaco the end of money

    October 21, 2017 in Monaco ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    An important lesson I learned somewhere allong this trip :p, give the lady the last words ;-). Here they are :D.
    Our last 1,5 days of our holiday we spent in Monaco. As we drove off from Balestrino ... When we arrived in the hotel we were a bit too early to check in. But we didn't care, as we now had time to figure out our schedule. We decided that we would take a walk first, then use the hotel facilities like the sauna and the pool to relax a bit. In our room we drank a glass or 2 limoncello which we brought from Italy :D. After that we dressed up to have a lovely diner and to end the last night of our holiday we went to the casino. A little insecure if we were allowed into it, because there was a dresscode. Once inside it was looking marvellous. Unfortunately the minimum raise was well over our budget and because we didn't fully understand what they were saying in French we decided not to join the game. Nevertheless we enjoyed just looking at how much money some people spend in a few minutes. After a while we called it a night and walked out of the casino, where we off course had to take some pictures of the unaffordable cars parked there.
    The next morning Daniël went for an early run around the Formule 1 circuit before I woke up. When he came back we had to check out and did walk one last time around the city. This time to the palace up the hill. After this lovely walk we ended at a terrace in the harbour to have a nice cold drink and some crepes before we headed for home. The whole trip was incredible (especially the sunny days) and Monaco (with the relax sunny hours on the terrace) was a very good end off the holiday :D.
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  • Day12

    Day 12: Balestrino Mountain Road Tour

    October 20, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    Waking up in Pink Paradise in Spezia was a good way to start the day, everything we needed was there and nothing more. We had some breakfast vouchers for a cafeteria around the corner and this was actually quite nice. We added some food to the breakfast and moved out to get to Ballestrino before lunch. I accidentally found Ballestrino on the internet in a list of abandoned places of Europe and it looked rather beautiful. When we arrived there it was indeed small and abandoned… also it was closed off ;-). So first we had this amazing lunch ravioli with the best sauce and we got the food in a pan on our table and it was for 3 to 4 persons… We ate it all ;-) and after that we walked to the collapsed group of houses and the castle and wandered allong behind the fence. We got back tot he car and actually did quite a nice roadtrip in this area. It was a suggestion from our guidebook and we aimed to drive untill dark and within this time frame visit some waterfalls. These waterfalls appeared to be to far away since it included also an hour walking. We changed that plan and found a nice village with a bar where we could have some drinks to wait for the restaurant to open, this actually took too long and we decided to drive more in the direction of our overnight stay and ended up toe at in the harbor of Imperia. It was suggested by some app, and probably more customers read those suggestions especially Dutch since half of the restaurant was Dutch ;-).Read more

  • Day11

    Day 11: Cinque Terre all the way

    October 19, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    The second day in Cinque Terre (although it felt as the third) started nice, getting some nice breakfast and walking to Vernazza didn’t take very long. We decided to enjoy the view on the village while having lunch, this was excellent since it was perfect weather and very steep so a good view.
    We had to plan the walk today to make sure we had the boat trip in time to see Manarola and end in Riomaggiore before dark. We also wanted a drink in Monterosso, so after enjoying Vernazza and taking the photo’s that are well known on the internet we walked to our last stop. We were in time to buy the ferry tickets and for me to have a swim in the sea but the drinks became 2 corona’s that we drank while waiting in the queue for the ferry haha. This fell really good, and in Manarola we had one hour so we added some more drinks and got some free small bites with this. We paid and hurried of when we saw the boat approaching, we even had to run and sadly found out that it was a different boat and that ours came within 15minutes. Well we enjoyed every moment anyway so relaxing a bit more staring at waves is a good way to spend your time on holidays I think. When the Ferry brought us to our starting point yesterday we looked at it differently, Riomaggiore has more houses I guess but more compact and lay in this valley shape really close to sea level. The others were smaller and more higher up except for Monterosso which looked like a beach resort ;-). We had to eat and drink in every village so we still owed Rio a diner with drinks. Pizza in the middle of the street was a great idea and after it was even a better idea to get out of there before darkness would make the drive to Spezia a little more difficult ;-). The guest house in Spezia was one of a kind haha, allmost everything was self service, the colour pink and ran on trust in both ways ;-). Excellent and cheap :DRead more

  • Day10

    Day 10: Cinque Terre

    October 18, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    Cinque Terre; we looked forward to this trip. Also had to look forward since there was a text that we received on Mariska her phone that we needed to check in before 15:00. This was early and we checked Maps and our little GuideBook. It was 1hour 15 drive to Riomaggiore and 1hour 30 to Monterosso. These 2 should be the only 2 that you could get to by car and were the outermost 2. From South to North it was Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza & Monterosso that made Cinque Terre. The 2 walking routes from Rio to Corni should take 30 minutes each and the other 2 would be 1:45 each. However, the route between Mana & Corni was destroyed so you had to walk through Volastra and would take 3 hours instead of 30 minutes. Therefore, we chose the fastest route coming from Riomaggiore with the sun in our backs. It should take us 5 hours without breaks so we had to wake up early and leave around 9:00. We did and when we parked the car we noticed that this was a beautiful area with steep rock formations and wonderful views at sea. We asked a map at the tourist office for the walking routes and here we heard that also the first track was jammed and under construction. We asked directions and she said to go down and find the path there… this was messed up since all the way down you could see that the path was all the way up… so adding this delay with the start of walking up and down for nothing made our next decision an adventurous one ;-). We walked from the centre up and 2 other dutchies walked up the road also looking for the way to Corniglia. They had an app with the routes and where still doubting where to go. We were in a slightly rush so we started walking the way up, not going back since this was quite a bit and not going where they came from since that was the blocked route. We found out within 10 minutes that this road also was a dead end…. for most people… but I figured that the locals would never go all the way back and would use some sort of path… well there was one. We tried it and found our way through thorn bushes and steep edges but our goal was to skip the big bridge and end on the other side of the valley. We ended up through a fence on an abandoned soccerfield. Looking on google maps we were in the middle of nowhere but there was a little road on maps that should show up somewhere on the other side.. but mean thorn bushes grew over the fence and were in our way. Going over the fence was no option so we searched and luckily, we found a quite wide way through and so we came on the road up to the bridge. At first this felt like a bad start with all the scratches and the loss of time… but when we walked through the tunnel and saw Manarola, we guessed we skipped 1 hour of the original advised route that went around the bridge & tunnel more up high.
    We pushed past Manarola since walking down to it would costs us time and energy and we didn’t know jet if we would make it. I also did send a message to the lady from the accommodation that, since this was too much guessing and stressing for us, I couldn’t promise an arrival before 15:00 and would pay the fine that apparently was something they charged here. We could have done Manarola time wise… but energy wise it was good we didn’t. The steep climb to Volastra was fun and tough in the sun, we noticed that even the locals used a tractor to move stuff down from there. We passed some Americans and logically we met more people going the other direction, some saying encouraging stuff and others the opposite haha ;-). In Volastra we were sure we had all the time we needed since the signs said how far Corniglia was. Eventually we arrived 1 hour early and with this we had time for a little siesta. Wonderfull since after that little rest we could enjoy the area and have some drinks with an amazing sunset. Finish off with some more drinks and a well-deserved diner with view on the Corniglia and on the edge of being drunk we walked back and off course bumped in to the other dutchies who eventually did take the long way round and took longer with less nice views (nice to hear that it was good that we didn’t take the suggested route ;-) ). Mission accomplished, lots of fun and many adventures :D.
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  • Day9

    Day 9: Apuan Alps

    October 17, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 9 °C

    We had planned our stay in Cinque Terre a few days in advance to be sure we had a nice spot in Corniglia and somewhere last week we gained 1 day in the plan. We figured that we could spend this perfectly in the Apuan Alps and this appeared a great idea. The road to the furtest point in these mountains gave us beautifull views already. From that point we walked almost 2 hours up the mountain through a beautiful forest with nice views. At the end we found that we could take 3 routes back (1 going higher, 1 going lower, and the same route as we came. Thankfully we checked online that both routes forward would take us the long way round and would take up to 4 hours to get back, maybe next time but we head back the same way and had time left for checking out some villages and get some sandwiches with view on the Marble Miners. It was past 17:00 when we found out that we could have done a Marble tour, it could have been interesting so maybe next time ;-).
    We headed back and did a romantic sunset walk on the beach. On the way back we did some shopping and brought this to the room. We changed in to clean clothes and moved out for a nice diner in Viareggio. Good times need to be celebrated with good diners ;-).
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  • Day8

    Day 8: Pisa & Lucca

    October 16, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    After these past days in cities it was time for less busy area’s. On our way to the coast with destination Lido (near Viareggio) we had to stop at Pisa and take some typical touristic shots.
    We made a lot in the hope of being original or better and had a lot of fun doing this. The tower is famous for standing in this angle and I also tried to make this a bigger angle in some ways ;-).
    With seeing this highlight we didn’t stay longer in Pisa, Lucca was our next stop and is less touristic and less busy. For this time of year it wasn’t that busy anyway and in Lucca we parked inside the walled city and rented some bikes to bike over the Wall.
    This reminded me of the Wall of Xi-an in China where I also rented a bike to bike on the wall around the city. Also this time we rode the track twice, one clock wise and one counter clock wise :-D. We brought the bikes back and went for diner in the centre of Lucca.
    On a nice square, we enjoyed some food & drinks outside and moved to our accommodation in Lido.
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  • Day7

    Day 7: The Duomo, Florence

    October 15, 2017 in Italy ⋅ 🌫 17 °C

    On day 5 we already seen the outsides of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and did a walk through the centre over Ponte Vecchio, through the Boboli gardens and up the hill to see the sun set from Piazza Michelangelo. On day 6 we enjoyed a few more outdoors and did the museum at the Duomo and went in theTower. From 15:00 onwards we did the wine tour untill we came back 5 hours later. So today we had to finish it off with seeing the insides of the Duomo. So we did wait in the qeue but this time the qeue was a bit longer with the important differenc that the Duomo would open in 20 minutes. So after 20 minutes almost the whole qeue went inside and we could enjoy the beautifull cathedral. After this we had a nice lunch near the accomodation and got the car back with everything inside and all in tact :-D. We could continue our road trip to.... PisaRead more

  • Day6

    Day 6: Florence & Tuscan wine

    October 14, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    What a wonderfull beginning, the view, in this city and the awesome breakfast in the sun on the street. Better even tht we stayed one more night here, ideal since you can leave your stuff and have no deadlines at all. Well we had this wine tour booked and planned today. So after seeing a few wonderufll sights in Florence we moved on the the train station where the bus would be leaving for a few stops in Tuscany. The stops would include tasting some wines, something to look out for since it could be tasty ;-). We visited 2 wineries on beautifull farms and we tasted (I would say countless) but I guess 4 wines every time. Every taste was almost a glass half full, that became very gezellig (funny also). I am a very shy person normally :p and after the first winery there were no boundaries anymore ;-). The gate was from the dam :p and the group from the bus picked it up equally. So with this mood we finished the tour and went for diner. Needless to say this was a lot of fun walking back to the centre and on the same pace as those cool Canadian's. When we found the restaurant and ordered more wine the waiter already felt the mood and helped out wonderfull. It could be the wine but I ate the best F..ing Pizza ever that night. It was just perfect the 'Il Duomo' and with that this day couldn't be better thanks to Mariska since this was her idea... off course.... it was the wine.Read more

  • Day4

    Day 4 & 5: Bologna

    October 12, 2017 in Italy ⋅ 🌙 18 °C

    Day 4
    Waking up nicely in Switzerland means to open a window or step outside and breath the fresh air with view on mountains everywhere. Waking up in Bologna has to give you that romantic vibe of being in a ‘pittoresque’ (also picturesque from latin Pictor) cultural city. Waking up in this hotel certainly didn’t so we booked a more modest but wonderful looking guesthouse in the center for the same price. When we arrived there is was even better than we hoped for, we settled and moved to do some sight seeing. The Two Towers are a must see and certainly go in, before you can enter you have to walk to one off the squares to get tickets for it but that’s fine. We enjoyed the walks and the views and especially the lunch in the middle of the street. Finally some sunny outdoor activities ;-).
    Day 5
    Waking up was just perfect, we took it easy packed the car and had the morning in Bologna, we visited some left over that we wanted to see yesterday and when done we went for Florence (our main attraction of the Holiday). We learned from the traffic jams in Italy so we moved out earlier and we managed to almost drive through the whole city due to road blocks and end up in the middle where we needed to be within a reasonable time for the amount of traffic that drives around. But now the hard part: Parking. Actually it was easy, we drove the car into a Car park 30meters next to our accommodation and I noticed that there were only 10 cars parked and no spots left. But some cars where on bridges and there was this guy asking me how long I needed to park and when I said 48 hours he asked for my key. I gave it and a girl drove off with my car directly after we took our luggage from it. Ok….. that’s one way to do it, if you have a little bit of faith ;-).
    The place we stayed this time couldn’t be better, friendly staff took all the time (and a bit more also ;-) ), but our room had a view on the Duomo itself and a square below. Just perfect. We would drink some wine on that when we would be back from seeing Florence up close.
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  • Day3

    Day 2 & 3: Mountains is what we love.

    October 11, 2017 in Switzerland ⋅ ☀️ 9 °C

    Day 2
    After our long hike yesterday we figured that we should take it easy, so after a breakfast that we assembled in front of the supermarket we when sight seeing by car. We found a gloriously beautiful via ferrata (klettersteig) but this one was high up and way to difficult to start with for Mariska. Her first klettersteig was a short course in the Netherlands and the second was a high rope parcour in Finland so we looked fort he next best thing to do, a very long zip line on the other side of the Jungfrau area. We tried to get there by car, but to get to the start of the zip- line we needed to walk a few hours also. We enjoyed the area and went to a via ferrata i found on the internet (hurray for fast mobile internet in all off Europe). We started walking up a beautifull mountain and it was an easy via ferrata and good to practise with since there is always more to learn about safety.
    The view was beautifull and after 1,5 hours we reached the top where a small restuarant was situated. So after a well deserved drink we went back to the car and this time we reached it with enough time left before dark. We drove to our next accomodation just behind the Gotthard Tunnel. It almost felt like italy with all these Italian speakers around here. We went for dinner at this Hamburger place and it said: create you own legend. Well we did that, the best burger I ever ate… And the restaurant was what we call very gezellig. Nice atmossphere very friendly staff and good music :D.
    Day 3
    The last day of Switzerland we drove back along the pass next to the Gotthard to Andermatt, where our final klettersteig would be beginning at the Devills bridge.
    It was a very steep climb and eventually quite long. It was marked as “ a little difficult” so with Mariska climbing in front I was amazed of her speed the first part. I said” don’t forget to enjoy the view” and she said: yes when this steep part is over. Her fear off heights played some part in this and honestly I have to say that she did an amazing job climbing this track without any hesitations or complaints. I am proud on the way she handled every obstacle and trusts me every time I say she can do it. Actually I think Mariska is now cured from this fear. So after our victory moment at the top and the way down, it was already 15:00.
    We needed to go to Bologna and the way to get there was taking the pass above the Gotthard and then to Italy, apparently this is a very busy road because we went from traffic jam to traffic jam. Around 21:00 we arrived in Bologna, settled the accommodation and walked to the nearest restaurant that would serve us at this late hour. Snoopy 2 was there for us ;-) we had well deserved pasta and pizza. The best tortellini if I must say.
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