A Travellerspoint blog

Home again...

I have to apologize to all of my readers....

After Germany, we were exhausted! We spent a couple of days in Bergamo (wish we had planned better and could have spent more time here). We stayed in an adorable bed and breakfast with a quaint courtyard. The funicular was a fun experience for me but Trinity is afraid of heights and didn't think it was all that cool.

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From Bergamo, we headed to Turin for a couple of day with plans to ride down the coast back to Rome to meet Corey. Due to budget and exhaustion, we choose to head back to Rome and relax for the last 6 days of the trip. Turin was also a quaint town. On our second night there, I was lounging in the hotel room and heard an Italian lady singing. It sounded as if it was right outside the building. I had to see if I could find it. There is nothing better than a clear night enjoying an outdoor concert. So, I wandered around outside for about an hour trying to figure out where the music was coming from to no avail. It seemed as if it was possibly on someone's roof-top but I couldn't pin it down....

On our last day while we were wasting time waiting for our train to leave, we were wandering around town and ran across an acrobatic/dance group. We sat on the ground in the center of the piazza and watched them perform (orange shirts in picture). It was a great way to end our time in Turin.

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We spent the last week catching up with Corey and lounging around, doing a lot of nothing. Made it home with just some minor snags in the outgoing flight from our overnight layover in Dublin.

We are all home now. Corey is back to work, Trinity is back in school with a new part time job at Pizza Hut and I am already thinking about the next trip and how I am going to fund it....

All in all, it was a wonderful time spent with the two people that mean the most to me in my life. I hope that the experience left some good impressions on Trinity and Corey, I know that it did me.

Life is good....

Ciao'

Posted by Khandilee 11:16 Comments (0)

Caos and Car Rentals

Germany

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We left Italy and headed for Germany. Flight via Ryanair went smoothly. I was a little disappointed that I didn't get a Germany stamp in my passport...yep, I really am THAT lame....

We arrived into Frankfurt/Hahn late at night and crashed at the hotel and quickly fell asleep. The morning met us just a bit early and we were slow to get moving out of the hotel.

I didn't have a specific appointment time for the interview in Germany, so I called. I was told to get there when-ever and have her phoned from the security gate. Trinity and I headed off to the airport to pick up a car.

I have to say that I wasn't good about planning for this part of the trip. I have no maps, no tourist information (I'm sure that we passed a bunch of interesting stuff), and no pre-booked rental car. This turned out to be quite the hassle. We got to the airport and Budget was with a customer, Hertz was out of cars, the other place (cant think of the name, some german/european car rental) was out of cars. I'm starting to get nervous at this point...

Avis came through for us....kindof! They had cars available but I needed an outgoing flight in order to be able to book a rental....F*#K, I'm already running later than I wanted and really need to get moving...

Trinity and I ran upstairs to the internet cafe and had a shit of a time trying to get ryanair.com to log on. Paid five times as much as I had seen the outgoing flight for two days prior....ran back down to the rental desk and again attempted to book a rental...

I needed a car rental for about 6 hours total...do you think I could get it through their heads! NO! They couldn't understand why I was going to be in Germany for three days and only wanted a car for one....SHiT!! Between nearly breaking down in tears (for fear that I wasn't going to make the interview) and wanting to reach across the counter to strangle the lady working....we finally got it through her head that I ONLY needed the car to go to an interview that I was now going to be LATE for!!

Finally, we have KEYS!! Yeah! Ok, for those that know me, you know how much I hate those stupid talking GPS systems, right? Well, I asked for a MAP, yep, a paper and ink map.....nope....sorry, 'but the car has navigation'. OK great....

We load up in the car and start the engine and neither of us can figure out how to turn on the damned GPS! Yep, looked all over...even in the glove compartment!! So....back to the rental counter. They sent a really nice guy out to help us with the GPS and we were soon on our way. Another problem is that we didn't have the exact address and the guy helping us put the wrong directions in. After driving for about 30 mins, we finally stopped on the side of the highway and re-programed the GPS and figured out that we were about 18km in the wrong direction!!

We did finally make it to the interview and the DON that conducted the interview was great..... The hospital is in great shape for being as old as it is and it's got all the latest equipment and looks quite well organized.

After the interview, we headed back and dropped off the rental car. Grabbed a bus to Frankfurt-main and have spent two very lazy (and rainy) days lounging around in the hotel room. I fear that I have nothing interesting to tell about our time here in Frankfurt-main.....

Here are some of the unique buildings and a show of architecture in Frankfurt

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....and the bridge where we tipped the musician

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....and Trinity and I playing around along the River.
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We are off to Bergamo/Milan tomorrow (although only a short pit-stop in route to Turino)

Ciao!!

Posted by Khandilee 15:05 Archived in Germany Tagged business_travel Comments (3)

Bologna and Beyond

Wasted days in Ravenna....

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Note: I realized when looking back through my blog that somehow I missed writing about Bologna. We really didn't do a lot there but I liked the city and thought I should at least put a short blurb about it and some pictures.

Our hotel in Bologna was nice. It was near the University and there were several restaurants and cafe's close-by. Our first day in Bologna was spend as usual just wandering around. The one thing that struck me as unique to Bologna is that a large portion of the city has covered walkway's. These were a nice break from the sun and on our second day...the RAIN. There were some small piazza's and the usual statues. The one below was one of my favorites.

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As we were walking around on our second day, the sky's opened up and a torential downpour ensued. Of course, we were not under one of the many walkways and ended up soaked before we found refuge at a small cafe to wait out the rain. As I was sipping my coffee at a patio table under the walkway covering....Trinity and I realized that we were a mere block and half from our hotel and we had literally walked/ran in the rain within 500 feet of the front door!! While I finished my coffee, I caught some photos of the rain and the surroundings.

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Now, Ravenna...

I'll try to be nice. It really does seem like a nice town. Quiet. Calming. Quaint. These would be some words that I would use to describe the town of Ravenna Italy. The problem was that I had my mind set on bikes. Yes, bikes. I had decided that a day off my feet and riding a bike would be good. We had been walking everywhere since our arrival in Rome nearly two weeks ago and I was tired! Bikes didn't happen....

On our arrival we were able to find the hotel without any difficulty. It was located conveniently between the rail station and the 'Old Town' center. I had read everywhere that tourists could have free use of bikes in Ravenna and it was just the right size town to traverse on two wheels. I had even contemplated taking the 9km ride out to the beach....

Trinity and I headed out to the tourist office to get our bikes after we had freshened up from the train commute from Bologna. It was a pretty simple walk, only about 15 min and we found it easily. Stopping for a juicy apricot at the local market on the way. When we requested bikes at the tourist office, the lady immediately asked Trinity how old she was. Well....it would seem that 'free' bikes in Ravenna have an age requirement of 18. 'No problem'. I thought. We will just go to the bike rental place tomorrow and rent Trinity one and I will get a free one, right? Wrong.....

The next day, Trinity and I thought that we would go to the other tourist office. Which is listed as the “main” tourist office in Lonely Planet. We would just tell them that Trin is 18, get free bikes and be on our way.... I should have known that bad karma would follow when I had intentions of lying! The 'main' tourist office is not really the main office (the main one is the one in 'old town' which we had been to the previous day), and they don't have bikes at this office. My plans are not completely bashed yet. I figured that I would just bite the bullet and pay for both of us to rent bikes for the day. Off we go to the rental office at the train station.

When we arrive, it's closed. I cant read anything that is posted on the windows, it's all in Italian. At this point, I am aggravated and fed up. All I really wanted to do was take a nice enjoyable bike ride. Is that too much to ask? I didn't think so....so back to the hotel we go.

At the hotel, we inquire at the reception desk if there is anyone else that will rent bikes. We explained what had happened and the lady at reception was kind and helpful and was able to make a couple of phone calls to attempt to find us bikes to rent. She failed....but certainly not due to not attempting to help us. I think she was just as discouraged as we were.

Ciao'

ETA: We were able to view some of the sites in Ravenna sans bikes. It really is a pretty city and worth a visit.

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Posted by Khandilee 09:57 Archived in Italy Tagged family_travel Comments (1)

Too many words already said....

Venice Italy

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Many people have written about Venice. You can google search and I'm sure that you'll find thousands of descriptions of this lovely 'water-world' of a city. I have been in Venice for just 24 hours now and I can say that it is everything you have read and more.

I totally love it here.

It reminds me of the feelings that I have sitting at Mom's next to the water with the sound of the waves hitting the sea-wall, and the soft hum of the boats as they pass through. The sounds that I imagine must have been all around me as I was growing up in my younger years living at the lake.

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I have always loved being near the water. It calms and relaxes me and makes me feel at 'home' more than anything. I felt the same way in Hoi An Vietnam.
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Venice is also a photographers dream.... I don't think that you could take a bad picture in Venice if you wanted to. The charm of the canals, the moss lined foundations, slight fishy smells mixed with Italian bakeries and pasta's, paint chipping of of the buildings exposing bare bricks with small splashes of color from a lonley planter placed in a random window, shutters closed or open with rusted hinges and exposed wood, colors of muted coral, mustard yellow, dingy gray or sunset orange, all with red spanish tiled roofs. Each in themselves would be drab and uninteresting. When you combine them with a splash of sunlight at just the right angle, the glimmer of the canal alongside and the vibrant colored boats....it's like a dream.

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As I am writing this, I am sitting at the caffe' right next to our hotel sipping on a glass of wine, facing the water and watching the world pass by. It's about 4:30 in the afternoon and the scene is one that I want to take with me and hold onto forever....

Posted by Khandilee 09:56 Archived in Italy Tagged family_travel Comments (1)

Hostel and Hotel Reviews

Boring stuff to do while on the train....


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Just a quick review of the hotels/hostels we have stayed at. I will update as the trip goes along....

(Ratings based on 1-5 scale)

Hard Rock Hotel, Chicago IL USA
Cleanliness: 5
Helpful Staff: 5
Room Quality: 3 (would not pay $300+ rate for this room)
Location: 5
Overall: 4

Avalon House Hostel, Dublin Ireland
Cleanliness: 4
Helpful Staff: 3
Room Quality: 3
Location: 4
Overall: 3.5

Nazionale Flat (private apartment rental), Rome Italy
Cleanliness: 5
Helpful Staff: 5
Room Quality: 5
Location: 5
Overall: 5

Bella Capri Hotel/Hostel, Naples Italy
Cleanliness: 4
Helpful Staff: 5
Room Quality: 4
Location: 5
Overall: 3
** Total score decreased due to over-charging me from the rate that I had booked the room at initially. Partly my fault for not having print-out proving the reservation rate.

Ciao Hostel, Florence Italy
Cleanliness: 5
Helpful Staff: 4
Room Quality: 4
Location: 3
Overall: 4

University Hotel, Bologna Italy
Cleanliness: 5
Helpful Staff: 5
Room Quality: 5
Location: 3
Overall: 4.5

Al Giaciglio Hotel, Ravenna Italy
Cleanliness: 3
Helpful Staff: 5+++
Room Quality: 2.5
Location: 4
Overall: 4 (due to helpful staff)

Marte Baisen, Venice Italy
Cleanliness: 3
Helpful Staff: 2
Room Quality: 1
Location: 4
Overall: 3 (price gives +1)

Hotel Fortuna, Frankfurt/Hahn Airport, Germany
Cleanliness: 5
Helpful Staff: 5
Room Quality: 5
Location: 4
Overall: 5 (Great stay, but a little pricey for just one night. Walter, who I think owns the place, is WONDERFUL)

Everest Hotel, Frankfurt-Main, Germany
Cleanliness: 5
Helpful Staff: 4
Room Quality: 4
Location: 4
Overall: 4

Entro Le Mura, Bergamo Italy
Cleanliness:
Helpful Staff:
Room Quality:
Location:
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Hotel San Carlo, Turino Italy
Cleanliness:
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Posted by Khandilee 03:19 Archived in Italy Tagged lodging Comments (0)

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