Travel Journal Entry #13: Dubrovnik, Kings Landing

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.

Look at that view. Dubrovnik Old Town and the sea.

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. 

Arrival port at Dubrovnik.
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 main street Stradun in Dubrovnik Old Town.

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.

Cable car wohooo!

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! 

Have a great night!

– George

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Travel Journal Entry #11: The Tasty Tables of Naples


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.

Mmmmm-mouth watering.

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. 

EU thrash. Not going to finals.

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.

Whew, what a view!

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.

Panorama view from Castello dell’Ovo.

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.

Requescat in Pace, young one.

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! 

Have a awesome day!

– George

Travel Journal Entry #9: The Summer Heat in Firenze 

Great news travelers and travel-dreamers alike, Firenze is a quite a charming city and I will reminisce the days spent here. When we arrived to Firenze last Monday we were eager to discover more Italy. Firenze did not hold back as the sun set the temperatures even higher than in Milano and the average day temperature was a rough 34 degrees of Celsius (93 degrees of Fahrenheit for you ‘Mericans).

In order to survive the heat we scrubbed ourselves with sunscreen lotion as best that we could, put some light clothes on and headed out to explore the sights. First things first – apparently you cannot spell Firenze without mentioning the Basilica Di Santa Maria Novella. This huge church sprouts from the middle of a tight plaza and it’s a arduous challenge to get a good photograph of it.

First of many tries to photograph.

A closer inspection revealed a green marble decoration and a lot of detailed paintings and sculptured persons from the Bible. I’ve been wondering the past few weeks how in hell (pun intended) they installed the gigantic doors on all these classical churches? Who gets to walk from them? The Pope?

The devil is in the details. Also, Hodor.
The one thing that pleases me the most in Firenze is the fact that water is near. Yes, there is a river that goes through the city and it makes all the difference. The tight corridors and narrow streets of Firenze mix in splendidly with an open scenery showing the mountain sides in the distance.
Ambience of water, light and beyond.

As we knew that Firenze is close to the leaning city of Pisa, we had to go there to check ourselves how the italians built things in the past. Fun fact – it took three fully built floors of Pisa tower before they noticed something was wrong. After that the general decision was “Eh,  it’s hardly an issue, lets continue. The end result is millions of tourists per year pushing air with their hands at the Pisa plaza.

Leaning Pisa tower and the fix-er-uppers.

Tomorrow we will take the circus back on the road and the destination this time will be the historical jewel, Rome. Our only hope is that we don’t have to whisper the words “Et tu, Brutus” during our four day stay there. As Julius Ceasar once said, alea iacta est! Sleep well!

– George

Travel Journal Entry #8: Ciao, Milan

After spending over the normal budget in Switzerland I was keen on traveling to the wineyard of Europe, Italy. Our first stop took us to the glamorous city of Milan. 

Truthfully I believe one gains a more truthful picture about the city one travels in when you are not spending nights in four/five star hotels that only show you the surface of the city. The image the ad companies have spent millions to build for the business we call tourism.

Our lodgins this time were at a three star hotel in the Citta Studi-district (Cìtta Study means city of studies) which holds the most of scientific branch buildings from the university of Milan. One could think the district would be a urban student aparment-area but not really. The scenery there gave a lot of mixed feelings.

Every facade smudged with shitty graffitis.

I am not sure what happened here, but the ambience of the district was rather getto-ish and every single small shop was barred up with steel doors as if they had gone bankrupt. I noticed that the neigbourhood had also tram-tracks built but now they were deserted. Economic downfall? 

Without making any second-guesses we left our luggage and went to scavenge late dinner. Luckily we found a restaurant and got our first taste of italian pizza. Absolutely delicious. Not even kidding, our mouths watered for pizza again the next day.

Grade A italian proscioutto crudo pizzas.

The next day we headed to the center of Milan to scout the majority of attractions. The Duomo church of Milan was absolute masterpiece with the delicate white stonework. The plaza was crowded with tourists, tourist scammers and of course a lot of local law enforcement. 

Duomo Di Milan.

From the church we turned our heads lefr and went to wonder the arhictecture of Galleria Vittoriono Emanuele II, a grand ol’ shopping centre. The floor decoration there alone must’ve took years to build. Expensive fashion brands like Versace were highly represented in the shopping centre and the restaurants were top notch quality. If you have the money..this is the place.

From walls to the ceiling, decorative and expensive.

One more attraction I must mention is the Arco Della Pace, the arc of Peace. It reminded me of good times in Paris as we were hanging out near the Arc De Triumph and eating icecream. Arco Della Pace was built in 1807 under the Napoleonic rule and road from it connects Milan to Paris through the Alps. Neat huh?

Arco Della Pace.
There would be a lot more to be told about Milan but I have to leave some stories to be told face to face. Feel free to ask me when you see me! Tomorrow we will travel to Firenze, can’t wait! Hope you have a great night!
– George

Travel Journal Entry #7: Co$y in $witzerland

Here is a quote you can pass on to the future generations.

No man has lived to the fullest before paying 15,00€ for a happy meal that makes the poor generation sad.

– George Carcain

 If you were wise enough to read between the lines, Switzerland is ugh.. well.. not cheap for common traveler. Hence we decided to spend two nights in Bern.

However if I was a retired CEO I’d might pack my bags and move here. The views are spectacular all around the city of Bern and the Swiss people more than friendly. Various restaurants sprout from the plazas and the architecture reminds of medieval times. There are also bears.

Bern bear saying what’s up.

Yeah, this place has everything. A vibrant city centre that has all necessary services for the citizens and if you’re growing tired of the masses, take a quick metro-train from Bern railway station and you can watch a cornfield grow in peace.

Corn growing next to the Deisswil station.

Just when you thought there might not be anything else to see, perhaps I can mention the turquise-blue river that runs through the city? Oh yes. Heights, camera, action.

Aare river captured from a bridge.

Truthfully it takes about 2-3 hours to scout the city but if you happen to find a captivating spot you can easily forget where you were going in the first place. That is why you need to go to see the Berns famous Zytglogge-clock tower at the town centre.

The clock is ticking..

Before you know it.. it’s time to catch the next train. Tomorrow we happily start the Italy-leg of our Europe tour! Milan, Firenze, Roma, Bologna and other great cities await us! Have a amazing night and stay tuned for Italy!

– George

Travel Journal Entry #6: Merci et Au Revoir, Paris

I will state it as it is my dear readers, Paris is kept in a high regard in Europe for a reason. Visit the city for at least three days and you will adjust to the rhythm it speaks out loud. Liberté, Égalité, Fraternite – these are the virtues the people of France hold dear.

The architecture everywhere in the city is stunning and the people living here complement the very ambiance of Paris. The way of life here is not the way of life we Finns tend to live in the north but there surely is a certain kind of charm to it. 

I am now obliged to tell you I’m writing this piece while holding a red wine bottle in my other hand and a belly full of croissants mixed with appetizer cold cuts. I call it the French Night Delight. So my current opinion on Paris might be biased at the moment.

Yesterday we woke up early to get breakfest and set afoot to see the Eiffel tower in all of its glory. It’s never a challenging task to find a suitable breakfast place in Paris as the streets are full of restaurants, créperies and coffee shops. However if you’re on a tight budget you’ll soon find out that the global fastfood restaurants here have the best value for money menus. You’ll be amazed what you can get with 5,00 EUR.

After finishing our breakfast we hopped on a bus near the Paris latin quarter and watched the street signs change for a good 15 minutes. Soon enough our eyes gazed on the majestic Eiffel tower from the ground up. To see the whole building as one we had to walk roughly 200 meters away from the monument. The lush park around Eiffel tower smelled wonderful and the amount of tourists wandering around the monument was not too bad considering the popularity of Eiffel tower.

Le Pointy Thing, Eiffel Tower.

The only thing that was a nuisance was the street merchants that were a bit of aggressive in selling Eiffel tower merchandise around the park. We soon found out that best way to avoid scammers, pickpockets and desperate merchants was to inform them we do not speak english.

After we had made our peace with the Eiffel tower we headed out to see the Arc De Triumph. Man the monument was larger in real life than I was expecting it to be. My biggest worry was the car traffic around it and the careless tourists that wandered fearlessly in it to get the perfect vacation picture. 

Joanne D’ Arc De Triumph. Oh, wait, no.

The monument is located on the Champs-Elysee road which is filled with restaurants, fashion shops and bars. We even found an event celebrating the transfer of famous football player Neymar Jr. to the team PSG. If I understood correctly the star player was giving out signed team shirts to fans. We settled for an icecream in nearby shop.

Football hype that I wish I’d understand.

Finishing the Paris experience with some slightly guessed statistics:

  • The amount of croissants eaten: 12
  • The amount of wine bottles enjoyed: 5
  • The amount of Bonjours: ~ 74
  • The amount of Merci’s: ~ 63
  • The amount of trying to act like you understood what the cashier told you: ~ infinite

Paris, you are alright. Next time I will come to visit you will be with the love of my life. Tomorrow we have to pack our bags and the planned destination will be Bern in Switzerland! Have a great night everybody! 

– George

Travel Journal Entry #5: Bonjour, Paris


As Brussels did not leave such a great memory in my mind, I was keen on traveling to Paris. We have seen now second class train couches from three different countries (Germany, Amsterdam and Belgium) and god damn the train was sweet this time from Brussels to Paris. 

Even though one has purchased interrail-ticket it does not mean that additional charges do not apply depending on the country you are traveling to/from. Belgium, France and Switzerland at least in our experience are countries which demand mandatory seat reservations. 

This means you have to pay from 9,00 EUR to 35,00 EUR additional to get on the train. We had to pay 20,00 EUR each this time to get our seats. However there is a plus side to mandatory seat reservation as you don’t have to change seats during the train ride (if someone has reserved the seat you’re sitting in, you have to move to somewhere else) which can bothersome if the coach is full.

The train from Brussels to Paris was operated by company Thalys which is known for international high-speed trains. The seats were large and comfy, we got a sweet durable folding table and charger-slots for mobile phones. Best train we’ve seen so far! Probably explains the higher seat reservation charge.

We reached Paris in two hours and the train station was buzzing with people! To keep up with our travel plan, we went straight ahead to book seats to our train to Bern, Switzerland next week. Then off to our hotel to take a small rest and make plans for the first evening in Paris.

We booked a two star hotel for four nights in the Luxembourg-region in Paris, as it was close to church of Notre Dame. The rate per night was also ridiculously cheap. Roughly 500 meters and there it was, Notre Dame! 

Notre Dame + tourists. Photoshoot 247.

After witnessing Notre Dame from all possible sides we went for a dinner and found a pretty swell indian restaurant. Korma chicken and naan bread never disappoints a hungry traveller.

Next morning started with a lengthy stroll through the Luxembourg Park which was built by the Medici family. The park was simply breathtaking due to the variety of plants and trees. In the middle of the park was also a enormous water fountain where the kids could steer toy boats. The air in the park was so fresh and really woke us up! 

Panorama picture of Luxembourg Park.

The exploration day continued with the French version of Pantheon. Basically the french people wanted to have a Pantheon that would outshine the one in Rome. So the architect Soufflot was given free hands and the result was le magnifique. The level of detail in the marble carvings were incredible. I have to compare this Pantheon to the original one when we get to Rome.

Pantheon, Paris version.

To top the day off we decided to head to the Louvre museum and check out the surroundings. There were so many people trying to imitate the Pisa-leaning-picture with the Louvre triangle. Ughh. Get creative people. In the end we decided to mess with the people and shoot photos where my friend was holding the tourists by their head while they were holding Louvre. Enticing.

Louvre. The place where Mona Lisa hides.

The kilometer counter after these local Paris attractions was already over five kilometers and our legs started to send signals to relax, so we headed to hotel and did just that. 

Tomorrow we have a date with the big F tower so I am sleeping like a baby tonight. Have a great one and see you later!

– George