Thursday, May 8, 2014

Selfies and Scaffolding. Part 1.

Writers block.
I completely understand it now.
It's not always when you have nothing to say, but like now, when you have TOO MUCH to say and have no idea where to start.
My 24 day topdeck tour has been officially finished for about a month and it feels like a part of me is missing.
It was the time of my life.
I never knew just how much I would love every single place. Too much to put into words. 
But here is me attempting to do so.

Part 1; France, Switzerland, and Italy

We parted with London early morning, on a bus with a bunch of strangers who would soon become our best friends, and made our way to Paris on the Dover ferry.
This first drive day was MASSIVE, but arriving in Paris made it obvious that it was so worth it.
We started our visit to 'the city of love' with an incredible 'city of lights tour' and it didn't take long before I received a reputation for my group selfie obsession.
I'm not embarrased.

We spent the day next day walking around the city and the MANY monuments it has to offer! Visiting, of course, The Arch de Triomphe and the Eifle Tower, just to name a couple of obvious ones.
I'll have to come back to this crazy busy city.
I didn't even climb the freaking Eifle Tower.
There just never seems to be enough time for everything, anywhere.

The 10 hour trip to Switzerland the next day was not so pleasant after a night of french wine and cabaret shows. My weak stomach struggled through the snow-capped mountains of Swiss Alps, but I miraculously made it through, unscathed!
We spent 2 wonderful, freezing nights in the beautiful, tiny town of Lauterbrunnen, and I had the time of my life. This has to be one of my top 5 favourite places!
(But I'm sure you'll hear me say that about everywhere. Don't ask me to name all 5, I can't, I've tried)

After a few beers, quality bonding time, a few "cheesy" jokes, and a much needed sleep in a cute wee cabin room, we ventured outside to find the ground ABSOLUTELY COVERED in snow!! Those mountains were no longer snow-capped, they were blanketed in the stuff.
And it was AMAZING.

We made a journey up the Jangfrau rail line to "The Top of Europe", or as we liked to call it, THE TOP OF THE WORLD!!!! Which is supposed to be beautiful with the most stunning views of the Swiss Alps!
We were incredibly lucky with our experience where we couldn't see a freaking thing, but pretty much experienced a BLIZZARD in -18°C temperatures, at the freaking TOP OF EUROPE!!!! Probably my FAVOURITE experience of the whole trip and possibly OF MY LIFE!!!!
If the capitals aren't enough to explain my excitement I'm sure these photos will do the trick.

This is another place where, if I can afford it, I'm definitely coming back. Even though I just adored the snowey experience we had (and I wouldn't trade it for the world), I am just itching to see what all the fuss is about on a clear day.
Come with me?!

We made our way out of the snow on another LONG bus trip through the stunning Switzerland landscape through to Italy, stopping for a short visit to the famous leaning tower of Pisa.
This was a token touristy, tick-off-the-busket-list adventure and photo opportunity,
and yea,
I held up the leaning tower,
no big deal.
(It's actually a huge deal and I was far too excited about it)

Florence was our first stay in Italy.
This has got to be in my top 2 favourite places. It might even be number 1. I had such a perfect day here. Climbed the 400 something stairs to the top of the Dome, walked along the river to the Michaelangelo Park and absolutely fell in love with the place. There is nothing quite like seeing a city from above, and this one took my breath away!!
We finished the day with a hilarious group dinner and karaoke night where I drank far too many cocktails and sang only a couple too many songs!
Yea, only a couple.
(I refuse to admit that there are photos from this night)

And as to be expected, the bus ride the next day was filled with attempts to cure the hangover. Meaning plenty of junkfood and a good dosage of sleep, while making our way to the city of ruins.
We had a mini stop over at the beautiful wee town of Orvieto. Absolutely stunning place full of Italian boutique stores and beautiful Italian street facades.
What hangover?!

And then we arrived in Rome.
 We started our visit off with a walking tour around the main sights.
There is soooo much to see and it is all just incredible.
It was so much more than I could have imagined.
If you know me at all then I'm sure you'll know how much I become easily obsessed with architectural history and ruins and I'm sure you can imagine my excitement here.

We spent the morning of the following day wandering through the Colosseum and Roman Forum, and visited the Vatican City in the afternoon.
Words can't describe these places. The history here is so immense it just takes over. You can just imagine the events taking place in the massive areana, the fighting, the crowds, the emperor enjoying the 'show'. As you walk from the Colosseum to the Roman Forum the place presents itself as a true ancient city, where people lived and worked and socalised and fought. The buildings come together before your eyes and the history unravels itself, telling the stories of ancient generations who lived within the ruins that are presented before you.
I could spend hours here.
Days even.
And don't even get me started on the Vatican City and all it's magnificent artwork.
There is too much to see here for one day.
I'll be back.
(I even threw a coin in the Trevi Fountain to make sure of it)

And before we know it we are off on the road again, leaving the beautiful city of Rome to begin our Venetian adventure.
Ah Venice.
You took all my money.
I guess thats what love does.
I can't even find the words to describe this place.
It's just a feeling you get.
Go there!!
After a stunning lace demonstration, an entertaining glass and crystal demonstration, and an hour or so of buying pretty things, we found ourselves floating down the canals of Venice.
Sun shining, so relaxed, not a care in the world.
This is what true holiday's are made of!!
Another favourite, chuck it up into the top 5 there somewhere!

And then we are on the road again.
Part 2; Salzburg, the Sound of Music, and Vienna

But that stories for another post. Theres no way I can subject you to that much excitement in one sitting.

I look back at these first 10 or so days and I have absolutely no idea how we managed to fit it all in. It was so jam packed there was no time for rest,
and it was just perfect.
What I failed to mention is how every city has had some form of scaffolding on the main monuments and buildings. I guess thats what happens when you travel off peak.
I'm not going to complain!!
Looking back, I look straight past the scaffolding, I'm almost disappointed if there wasn't any. It's just become another thing to love in my travels.

Also, just thought I'd add that I have found a job AND a flat!
Settled in London.
Things are looking positive for some more travel in the not too distant future.

I'll keep ya posted!

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