A Travellerspoint blog

Rome - Italy and The Vatican City

Not lovin' Ryanair quite so much now they left me and Chaz in an airport for hours! >:-I

sunny 34 °C
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Well another weekend and off again on a Ryanair bargain flight...this time to Rome to visit the Pope amoungst other things :)

We made it there bright and early on the saturday and decided to head straight to the Colosseum and nearby palace ruins to do the touristy thing and view the sights and take the tour. When we got there we realised that the tour was very expensive so we would make up our own tour and do it at our own pace. One thing that did annoy me although I was prepared for is that you can;t get a discounted concession rate unless you are under 25 so my student card was useless for the combined ticket for the entry to the Colosseum and the Palace ruins. It worked out at €12 for me to get in but I guess this was pretty reasonible. concession was half that price.
The photos really don't do this place justice and every evening Chaz and I spent resting near the Colosseum just watching how it changed colour as the sun set. Inside it was MASSIVE and they had reconstructed part of the floor at one end to give an impression of what it would have been like at the time of the gladiators :) This was really good and didn't in my opinion spoil the overall view. This took a whole day to do and was a day well spent even though we were dragging all our luggage around with us!

We went back to our hotel to check in which was called hotel Urbis near Termini station. Being near Termini is ideal as the lines for the metro cross here to you can get about well quickly. The hotel wasn;t great but it was a good price and even though it was a shared bathroom we didnt have any issues once. The beds looked a bit dodgie and soft but as a suffered of bad backs I have to say I am none the worse for wear from my experiance! I would recommend however that you take your own towel! As theirs were not exactly white clean and they were rough as cardboard!

From the Lonely planet manual we had worked out that we wanted to go to the popular camp del flori to eat as there were a lot of resturants based there and it came recommended. So we got the metro to Colosseum and walked there which was a nice 15minute walk in the evening sunshine. I found the meals to be fairly priced at most of the places we went to and I was overall impressed witht eh food in Rome. During the meal there was quite a commotion as the Roma Gay Pride parade started up (we didn;t know what it was at first) the streets were litered with people singing and dancing on the floats it was really good fun :)
The next day we decided to do the sights around the vatican and the vatican itself. We attended mass in the vatican city and a word of warning to ladies make sure you take a shaw or have a good friend to lend you a tshirt as you are not allowed to have you shoulders exposed in the city! I borrowed chaz's and took a pair of trousers to put on instead of my shorts. The service was delivered in Italian but it was an experiance all the same and afterwards a real treat we were not expecting the pope showed himself! This apparently is normal if he is in town on a Sunday but it made us really glad we went then and was very unexpected!
We walked from here back to the Colosseum passing the Panthelon and Trevi fountain amongst other sights highlighted on the map. The Trevi fountain was one of my favourite things there although it was REALLY crowded and I couldn't help but think this did spoil it a bit as there was no room to get a decent picture which was a shame.
All of these things were free though which was great and helped save the pennies in the euro zone whch is proving quite costly for us Brits at the moment. We went back to the square for food this time to a restaurant called magnolia...highly recommended for evening food although wasn't so good when we went back the next day for lunch! After this another walk back to the Colosseum to watch the sunset.
On our final day we headed back to the Vatican and went to the Museums and sistine chapel. I could use my student card here to gain concession entry which was a result :) I would highly recommend purchasing the vatican city and museums guide book before you enter! €10. this is for two reasons firstly its pretty damn good and has information on all the improtant bits and pieces and secondly signage inside is terrible with no maps and to some extent you can't go backwards if you miss something! You are allowed to take photos inside although they do ask for some areas you turn you flash off which I did. You are not allowed to take photos inside the Sistine chapel for obvious reasons that its a religious building and to preserve the paintings for future generations but some disrespectful SKUM were and I think these people should have had their films ripped up or memory cards wiped as its terrible and could ruin the work for others to see in the future. There are lots of other ceilings you can take photos of whilst you are there but not so impressive as the Sistine chapel.

The trip home was not ideal Ryanair messed up in general and the lack of information was tire some but 1 bad experiance out of 8 flights I guess is not too bad :)

Well I am clocking up the countries on this ere map :D

Posted by LizaBrooks 13:22 Archived in Italy Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Prague - Czech Republic

Still Lovin Ryanair and their Cheap flights!

semi-overcast 17 °C
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This was to be the second mission for Dale and I taking libertys and full advantage of Ryanair's cheap flights. Our hotel was also a bargain price at just £26 for the three nights per person! We were out in the sticks a bit in Prague 17 by Kremitorum Motol but it was very easy to find the 'comfort hotel' and getting there from the airport was very easy as well even loaded up with luggage and drunk the next night!

We decided on the first day to head off into the city and explore the national Museum...you can never go wrong with these things can you? Well the first area we went into was the Obstetrics section and I must say it was rather trumatising and NOT to be recommended for those with a weak stomach or small children! No No NO! but it was all good fun and made for amusing viewing at times. The other exhibits included some information of early settlers and ancient stone and iron wear. There were a huge amount of stuffed animals probably the biggest collection I have ever seen!
We decided as it was hte first night there we were going to take it easy and not go all out drinking and thought that a friendly Tesco would be the way to go. We were delighted to find that beer an lagar was VERY cheap at just 30p per can even for the strong lagar which we decided to purchase. We couldn't help but wonder what teh value lagar tasted like though!
The next day was the time to explore the rest of the city including the Castle and Charles Bridge. This was really good and the castle is free if you don;t want to go fully inside which was nice as neither Dale and I are loaded! We really enjoyed the walk down to Charles bridge even if it did include a minor detor on our parts down by the river to a dead end!
We found the bridge band amusing especially the man we named whisk man. He played the whisk and it was a sight to watch! We were mesmerised by it! He seemed to have more passion for his humble whisk than the rest of the band put together...Whisk man we love you!

After we had amused oursevles for long enough on the bridge we decided that the time had finally come to do some serious drinking and I mean serious! We found a nice south american resturant in the city which served cheap lagar by the litre and went for it. By the time we had finished our meals both of us felt a little on the tipsy side and were really excited when we saw a woman trying to get people to go to the local irish bar on STUBANSKA...so we decided in our drunken state to find it. There was a man that walked by with some wild wolves on a chain which caused quite a disturbance and Dale and I gave chase to get a photo of the wild beasts this we did but then found ourselves somewhat disorientated so Dale asked the 'Sausage girl' where was stubanska. She replied its over there sausage boy. So was all in good fun.
when we got to the Irish bar I was delighted that they had Guiness and continued to drink...heavily. The place was full of stags and I ended up swapping my Tshirt with one in the pub...I then decided my Tshirt was better than his and asked for mine back so stripped again but it was worth it.
Dale and i soon realised that it was getting late being 10 O'clock and all so decided to make our way home...several sick stops later I woke up the next morning without a hangover and not really remembering entirely how we got home but we did hurrah! :D

I would recommend Prague to all those wanting to enjoy the finer thing in life!

Posted by LizaBrooks 12:34 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged backpacking Comments (3)

Oslo - Norway


sunny 31 °C
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My friend Dale and I went on a weekend away mission to Oslo in Norway. The flights were a bargain with Ryanair offering them at £1 one way and £10 the other! Awesomeness! We stayed at the Thon Hotel Astoria which was a nice hotel reasonibly priced near the city centre.

The best value thing we found was the daily travel cards, especially if you were using the ferrys which would otherwise be 35Kr each. The card was 65Kr for the day which was good value we thought.

It was not at all like I thought though from a weather perspective. I was expecting to see dark clouds rain and cold from this Scandinavian country but in fact it was very hot! The forecast before we left said it was going to be 26DEG but this was the iPhones terribly unreliable forecast values and not really the true heat which was over 30Deg according to a local we were chatting to on the Tube.

Student discount cards come in very handy in Oslo with most of the museums offer student discount and I have a sneaky suspicion that I could have got a cheaper travel card as well but not speaking Norwegian I didn't want to chance it from the machine and then end up with a 75Kr fine from not having the right ticket!

We went to the Museum island which had the famous viking ship museum and the FRAM museum. These were both well worth the visit with the Fram museum having lots of details about Arctic and Antarctic exploration by the Norwegians. Not to mention housing the highly impressive Fram boat.

My favorite sight in Norway was the Park filled with sculptures. It was really nice and made better by the fantastic weather. There were skatboarders and young men doing Parkou on the statues and railings. We had a laugh doing some poses with the statues which they dont seem to mind you climbing over. There was also a large fountain filled with freezing water. This made a nice refreshing dip during the extreme heat.

Dale and I decided to set a challenge up to see who could hold their feet into the cold water for longest. I managed a solid 10mins (the max time) sadly Dale was not quite as successful and managed a 4 minute record. Dale did however redeem himself when it came to the plunging exercise. Day two and it was even hotter! The sky was totally clear and after finishing off the last of our sightseeing we decided to head back to the park as it was our favourite place. We deicded to challenge ourselves to plunge our bodies into the water up to neck deep. This was REALLY cold and we both succedded in doing the plunge twice once for the camera and once for personal amusement.

The flights were all on time and I managed to get my passport stamped both ends of Norway!

Posted by LizaBrooks 09:47 Archived in Norway Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Missions to the Channel Islands

Guernsey and Jersey

sunny 18 °C
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Well I have decided this year to make the most of my weekends and have been booking various weekend trips many curtosey of Ryanair - not this one. I have not updated this thing for ages as I have been busy doing other things but I have been to other places including various trips back to France and also a lovely trip to India where I landed in Mumbia and spent a week in Goa at a luxury hotel.

So my trip to Guernsey. Well this was on the first bank holiday weekend in May this year. Owain and I got the Ferry from Weymouth for the handsome some of £27.50 with Condor Ferries. The early morning was not ideal but we made the best of the bad situation and tried to have a bit of a sleep on the ferry on the way over there.

because it was bank holiday there were various things happening over there including a walk around the island which we sadly would not have had time to complete. Horse racing and a hill climb event with cars and motorcycles.

The weather was pleasant and much nicer than it had been over in England that weekend. The beaches were white sand with clear waters and although warm weather, I didn't feel the desire to dip my toe in.

The hill climb event was something that I had never seen before but my friend Owain regularly competes in them in the UK so he was really keen to see what was going on and quite interested in the vehicles.

We had some lovely lunches and snacks there with the crepes being particularly pleasant. We both had a fresh lemon and sugar crepe in the harbour and then went to one of the nearby pubs for tea.

One of the best parts about Guernsey was how cheap the transport was! It was 60p per bus ride any length you could go around the whole island if you wish although a word of warning make sure you make it entirely clean to the up coming rider that you intend on boarding as Owain and I were abandoned at the roadside by one driver that did not this us walking towards the kerbside was assertion enough to indicate that we wanted him to stop.

Jersey was to be the trip for the second bank holiday in May again for the handsome sum of £27.50 for the return ferry from Weymouth. Rain had been forecast, no scratch that torrential rain had been forecast and I was armed with my waterproof jacket and thick jumper (something I was glad of in the ferry as it was freezing!). As we headed across the channel towards Guernsey and Jersey the clouds began to lift and the rain stopped. We arrived at Elizabeth port and it was scorchingly hot! The sun was shining and the sky was blue without a cloud in site.

We first went for bread and Jersey butter, at the crab shack restaurant by the sea. The view was just beautiful and the sea was clear and blue like Guernsey. We then went for a walk in some nearby rocky outcrops and the views just got even better and reveled some sheltered rock pools and lush blue waters.

After our walk we took the bus over to the Quiksilver surf school at Watersplash. The beach was really big but sadly the waves were not and since we had not packed for the sun we decided not to dip into the water despite the sun.

The rain eventually did catch up with us at about 4pm but we still made the most of the trip and played on the sands and the parks near to the port where we needed to catch our return ferry from.

Posted by LizaBrooks 09:54 Archived in Guernsey Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

International Congress on Science and Skiing in St Christoph

AUSTRIA...took 15hrs GRRR

snow -30 °C

Ok so despite the mamoth mission to get here the massive amounts of snow made it all worth the wait.

There have been loads of really interesting presentations and I have learned a lot and met loads of well cool people the USA team ski and Snowboarding coaches for one!

In the village there is around 2m of snow but is bloody cold here like -25deg cold!

On the saturday we had guided skiing of the St Anton area it was really good but the snow was very hard as it was so cold even the instructors were slipping a bit at times. We had a good group though and everyone was about the same level. the thing that has suprised me here is it seems to be very anti snowboarding. There are only a handful of snowboarders here and people look at you like you have some kind of disease or something its a bit strange. On teh sunday i really wanted to ride but not wanting to pay for the lift pass i went for a hike and did a nice powder run behind the hotel. After that i decided to build a kicker on the side of the piste and practice my 180s, it was all going well till some wanker shouted at me and told me off. GRRRR.

So yesterday i went snowboarding as well but this time i had a snowboard instructor and we went on a right mission it was one to one and we built a step up kicker in the powder but the run up was too slow event flat liniing for me which was a shame. We went through this massive natural pipe it was well good a little chopped up s hard work but so much fun. We continued with the powder riding and i saw the instructor disapear off what i thought was a small lciff so i followed and knew it was a long way down when i almost smashed my knee on my chin, i turned back and realised we'd jumped off a roof! it was so cool! We carried on riding the powder and then went into the park and hit a few rails but the landings were bullet proof and it didn;t take long before i bashed myself up pretty bad on one of the rails.

Hurts pretty bad...ok really bad but i hope it will be ok as i am going to avoriaz in a few days which will be a million times more fun!

This evening we went on a sleigh ride for about 5km it was really nice and the snow was so deep. but it was very very cold my eyes were watering and i got ice on my face and eye lashes and inside my nose - gross i know but thats what happened! Me and this japanese guy were huddled up in a heap on the back of the sleigh it was well funny. he then remembered he had left his hat somewhere so i dunno what happened to him after that.

Tomorrow is the last day of the conference and has a few more interesting lectures. I am looking forward to them but in some ways can;t wait to get home and have some real food - they don;t do chicken here nor to they understand what veggie means, i was presented with 3 disgusing tasting mushrooms the other night for tea what i said no meat. Today i munched hard ont eh chocolate moose probably the most i have eaten since i arrived here. It seems there is not much point in getting up early for breakfast tomorrow as they have run out of bread aswell GRRRR so think i will steal about 3 chocolate crossants at break time like i did today haha.

On thursday i have to fly home to gatwick which is a pain in the arse but thankfully gwyn has offered to pick me up which is very kind of him.

I think then i will have a bit of a rest before christmas although i have so much stuff to think about from the conference its strange seeing all the different reasech routes people are taking - some of it is very simplistic some very complex. For me other than the snowboarding the highlight of the week was having an italian researcher come up and introduce himself to me saying he knew about my work and it was an honour to meet me! For me it was an honour to meet him as he is one of the world experts in the field and he has asked me to help with his future work into snowboards and their dynamic paths of travel on the slope as we were discussing the no carved turn theory.

anyways i am off to bed getting tired.

Posted by LizaBrooks 13:51 Archived in Austria Tagged educational Comments (0)

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