Wien is one of those cities which one must visit once during their lifetime. In Finland we have this one popular finnish pop song (often sang in karaoke bars) that starts it’s chorus as below:
“I’ve drinked wine in Wien, plenty of pints in Lübeck..”
So of course we had to drink wine in Wien and cross that one off our to-do list. Nevertheless Wien is much more than just a place to drink as there is much to explore and see first-hand. If you’re a foodie then you better take a seat – traditional dishes are very popular in Wien and literally melt in your mouth *Warm memories of Sachertorte enter*. Ever had Apfelstrudel, traditional applepie with whipped cream?
After stocking your belly full of delights you better burn those calories by walking the city streets. Architecture of Wien will not let you down and there are many fascinating buildings with rich history. Let’s take Schönbrunn castle for example. The 1441-room Baroque palace was once imperial summer residence for the noble monarch family of Habsburg. Even Napoleon spent nights in Schönbrunn after he won wars.
For fashionistas the city centre is filled with luxurious fashion shops and other high valued status merchandise where the knee-deep rich can spend portion of their their bank accounts. The views from the shopping streets are beautiful as the old architecture blends very well to the new buildings. One thing you cannot miss in Wien are the horse carriages which take the tourists for a stroll in the city.
Now we have just arrived to the city of Salzburg and let me tell you folks, this place will be a glorious adventure. Austrian city which is next to the snowy Alps..did we hop into the cable car already? All aboard! Enjoy your thursday!
The journey to Budapest started with a logistical mess. When we first arrived to Budapest the customer service assured us that we don’t have to reserve seats from Zagreb to Budapest. However when we got to train station the train planning had changed.
Luckily we were top on out game and went to check. Turned out that due to construction we had to reserve seats and use train-bus-train connection to Budapest. The traveling was bothersome as we had to jump from transport to other while carrying our luggage. Only relief was the fact that the last train was almost empty so we got an entire cabin of six seats for ourselves.
Budapest seems to share similarities with Finland and with a quick look from window it would be hard to differentiate which country is in question. Only difference is in the landscape – you will probably see mountains/high terrain in the distance.
Spending two days in Budapest gives you good understanding why people in Finland book quick and cheap flights for a weekend here. Eating is quite cheap and the price level in supermarkets are about 40% lower than in Finland. The weather in September is still relativily warm (during our stay about 26′ Celsius) compared to northern countries.
Most of the attractions are among the Tonava-river and the various restaurants are close by to enjoy the view. During our stay we didn’t focus so tightly on sightseeing than experiencing the daily life in Budapest. Perhaps the fatigue of travelling is starting show in us as we have been on the road for over a solid month now. Metro was definately the wisest choice to travel in the city and the busses were also the same quality as in Finland.
I will probably return here for a weekend trip to enjoy the hungarian ambience and enjoy lower price rates. Definitely recommend visiting Budapest with a group of friends!
Now we have arrived to Wien and the climate is turning colder by the destination. Nevertheless I am glad to speak german again for a week or so (next destinations Salzburg, München, Nürnberg). Ach Jawohl! Oktoberfest is around the corner as well..can’t wait. Enjoy your monday night!
Who would have known that it will take some time for your body to adjust to a colder climate. Lesson learned as now I have suffered two days the symptoms of a cold. Runny nose and sore throat is a bitch when you’re trying to explore new places. Hence I will squeeze the city of Split and Zagreb into one journal entry.
We took a bus connection from Dubronivk to Split and it was kind of awesome change to our traveling habits. As you rail for over two months you start to get sick of the procedure of jumping trains all the time. The bus was super comfy to spend 4 hours in and the views from the windows were amazing as most of the roads were mountain/coastal roads.
At first Split felt less tourist-y than Dubronivk and we were thrilled. However during our stay we were actually amazed how many Finns had booked their holiday in Croatia. It got a bit bothersome as we were used to being the only Finns around and speak freely about anything. In a way listening to others speak finnish made me realize that normal 8-4 life is just couple of months away. I hated the familiar feeling in my gut.
That’s when the symptoms of cold kicked in. In Italy we got used to 35′ Celsius weather every single day of the week and Split was the first city we started to feel almost ten degrees less on our skin. The A/C machine in our hotel was cranked too low and my bed was just under the flow of air. Rest is history. I wiped my runny nose and we headed to Zagreb. Weather turned rainy and colder than ever before.
22 degrees and raining. Oh dear, this is what autumn looks like. Pumpkin spice latte and ugg-boots here we come. It was time to pull the jacket out of my luggage and change shorts for something warmer. Nevertheless Zagreb is cozy town with a entertaining venues and restaurants. We wanted to try local traditional food so our hostel keeper adviced to try strukli. What is strukli you ask?
Basically strukli consists of dough, cottage cheese, eggs, sourcream. Additional fillings are put in by personal choice. It’s hard to describe to someone who has not tasted it but it was kinda like lasagna with other ingredients. Took away our hunger and would love to eat it again.
We did not find any superior must-see sights in Zagreb so we went for our personal ones. There is a museoum of torture and we found it fascinating. You got a free multimedia device with the tour which gave further explanation on the torture devices. Only one conclusion was made after the tour, we humans are painfully creative at inventing ways to hurt each other.
As we only spent two nights at Zagreb, I feel like there would be way more to see here. But perhaps that is a tale for another time. Tomorrow we will continue the journey to Hungary’s well known capital, Budapest. See you there and goodnight!
I’m quite sure the city of Dubronivk and specially the Old Town here will go down as one of the few grand stops on our entire journey through Europe. There has not been anything as remarkable in comparison that we have encountered on our adventure so far than this Croatian gem. Dubrovnivk, also known as Kings Landing for the Game Of Thrones fans, took us by suprise and made us fall in love with its’ charms.
We travelled from Bari to Dubrovnik by a ferry cruise ship that was a keen memento to the 90’s. Old sea biscuit that had seen plenty of years on the open sea. I had ranted earlier about the social culture of Italy and the waiting game to enter the ferry ship was a bittersweet example about it. It took us 5 hours to get through the port terminal to the ferry ship and the departure was delayed by over two hours. The clock was roughly past midnight when we managed to crawl into our cabin for some good ol’ fashioned sleep.
The ferry arrived to Dubronivk at 8 o’clock in the morning so we had plenty of time to seek our wat to our hotel. Unfortunately the port was far away from the Dubrovnik old town so we hopped on a bus and started paying attention to our surroundings. Soon our eyes caught first glimpses of the old town and the massive walls surrounding the city. Ten minutes later we had found our hotel and left our luggage there.
The old town is not on the larger side even though the city has plenty of side-alleys tp choose where you can find restaurants and various shops. You can easily get a bit lost when wandering around the city but you can always route back to the the main street that goes through the middle of the town. However the city itself and the oceanic views everywhere make you plainly forget that time even exists.
As our hotel room was not ready in the morning we decided to take the cable car up the mountain side and see the spectacular views from up there. Departure station was only 10 minute walk away. The ticket price was 140 Kuna (roughly 18,50€) but well worth it. From up there you could see the whole peninsula clearly and your lungs thank you for the fresh air. Truly a mesmerizing place.
I could tell you a lot of more about our visit to Dubrovnik but I don’t want to spoil everything for you. All I can say is that visiting this place is highly recommended. Spending the last two days in Dubrovnik has given me personally a lot of energy to keep on going on this adventure and I can’t wait to see more. Next stop will be the Croatian city of Split!
My advice to anyone to traveling in Italy: if you have already seen the big cities here and their main attractions, relocate asap to the smaller cities. The true italian lifestyle doesn’t really shine in a busy colossal city like Rome but you learn to appreciate it in a city that has a slower pulse rate.
That is why I like Bari far better than the others. You find a lot of good restaurants and they have empty tables to swoop in without reservation. The streets are not too crowded to let pickpockets snatch easy targets. The city is easy to walk as you don’t have to bet your life on the line every time you cross the street (red light means “go but be very careful” to italians rather than “stop”).
What’s better for a northener like me, the coastal city has slighly lower temperatures due to the ocean breeze. Even 31′ degrees celsius (87.8 fahrenheit) feels a lot colder than in the main land. There are some sights to see (couple of churches, castle and other monuments) so you can spend a day or two exploring them. The beach almost fully covers the coastline and you can sit freely on a bench breathing fresh air.
I am rather conflicted do I like Italy or not, as during our stay here we ran into minor trouble, theft, traffic violations, unworkable public transportation, scammers and a lot of unlogical reasons how things work around here in Italy. The quality of restaurants, friendly people, street musicians and general ambience in smaller cities like Bari balance the scales.
Perhaps I have to ponder about my final verdict when I get back home. Tonight we’ll say goodbye to Italy and set sail to Croatia. First stop will be Dubronivk, also known as Kings Landing from hit-series Game of Thrones.
If you’re desperately hungry for a culinary orgasm, Naples will accordingly set you a meal you cannot forget. Apologies for the choice of words, kids. I can only assure you that I won’t order a sloppy pizza in Finland after this adventure. Because just like any breathtaking and luscious relationship that ended too swiftly, you will be comparing the next one against the latter. You shall be disappointed surely.
The Naples is notoriously famous for the pizza which is heated to perfection in special made napolian oven. The topping ingredients and the menú choices are carefully designed to bake a flavourful combination which makes you doubt the culinary standards in your home country.
As a city Naples has a rough center. The collection of thrashes and current behavior regarding waste is to let it lay in the gutter. It makes a traveller sad to see thrashed streets in a city like Naples. The flood of immigrants from Africa (my guess, I could be wrong) have a visible effect on the city as well. A lot of police patrols everywhere and the street merchants have stands on almost every corner.
My first advice is to leave the city center next to the railway station and go a bit further to see mesmerizing views of the city. You can do this by traveling with metro to Castello Sant’Elmo. A enourmous castle on top of a hill with a breathaking view. If you don’t want to pay the entrance fee you can still gaze the city from the platform next to it.
If your soul wants to wander to the ocean, another spectacular view can be obtained from the coast of Napoli. Free entrance to the Castell dell’Ovo is a big plus and you can easily spend hours there to scout the wonderful coast and the boats in action.
Since you’re in Naples you might want to visit the famous Pompeii city that was buried with it’s inhabitants in volcanic ashes in 79 AD due to the eruption of Vesuvius volcano. It’s a cruel reminder that we humans are sometimes powerless in the hands of nature. As the citizens of Pompeii were buried in the volcanic ashes, reserchers were able to fill the gaps in the ash with plaster. As a result we have now detailed molds of the very body positions of Pompeii citizens when they died in the disaster.
Tomorrow morning we will say our goodbyes to Naples and do a quick one day tour in the northern coast of Italy, Bari. Then we will set sail and arrive to the Kings Landing to play a little Game Of Thrones! Croatia ahoy!
You are going to hate me for this travel entry the same way I will hate myself for writing this. This will be a bit of an angry rant my beloved readers. Blame it on the heat.
My two day experience of Rome is a bit of an homage to the negative history of the once grandiose city. Unfortunately it seems that Rome has not been able to amend the defective mentality and social constructs of the society that enabled its fall to ruins in the first place.
Before I continue any further I want to make myself clear that my homeland is not perfect in any way imaginable. We have many current flaws in our current society and we have no shame in admitting that. But we do our damn best to fix the issues at hand.
As per my experience as a traveller I feel like the people in Rome just let things be broken. Then everybody clears their conscious by pretending it’s “the way of things just work around here”.
My visit to Rome started with a way too crowded bus to our hotel and a sloppy but oppressive pickpocket attempt. An old man right behind me started to feel me up and search my empty pockets. I immediately slapped away his hands and watched him crawl further away in the bus. We exited the bus on the next stop and took the metro instead. Jeez.
The incident got me paranoid of other strangers pretty quickly. I had to abandon my cosy shorts because the front pockets were too easy to pickpocket and to change into heavier capri shorts which had more secure pockets. Have you ever wore jean-fabric in 35′ Celsius heat? Not pleasant at all.
First off the public transportation in Rome is laughable at best. I had heard the tales that one cannot trust the timetables in Italy but in Rome the timetables are literally non-existent. The busses arrive to your stop when they feel like it. You might wait 45 minutes and still see zero busses coming your way. It’s depressing when you see even the locals give up and just walk away from the bus stop.
The old history, architecture and monuments of Rome and the Vatican city are fascinating but the general loss of logic in supermarkets, elevators, buildings and the people itself eat away the experience.
Quick example: How many doors one elevator should need to be efficient and easy to use? The correct answer apparently in Italy is three. A door that opens the elevator shaft and two more doors that slide open inside the elevator. If even one of the doors is not 100% in place, the elevator will not work.
If something has hit the sweet spot in Rome it’s definitely the food. The restaurants serve amazing delicasies and even a simple pasta carbonara will make you miss the chefs that prepared that heaven for you. Cafeterias will serve you fresh cappucino and tasty pastries for couple of bucks. If you are thinking about food-traveling, please do keep Rome in mind.
Tomorrow will be our last full day in Rome and we will spend it by exploring the historical amphiteather Colosseum and Forum Romanum. Oh and shopping for a new mens shoulder bag as my “old” one broke down today. Never buy anything from Zalando kids.
On Tuesday we will continue our journey and travel to Naples! Summon positive vibes and stay cool y’all! Good night!