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Monday, 25 February 2013

Buon Giorno Venezia

I think it is every girl's dream to go to Venice. Coming from a country that boasts 4 million people and is stuck in the middle of nowhere, it has certainly been mine.

After taking some time off travelling to hibernate for the winter, It dawned on me a few weeks ago, that my travel blog had become thin, and my travel adventures -non existent. After enduring yet another stressful day at work and looking out the window to see even more doom and gloom, I decided that I had had enough and that it was time to get out. I mean, do not get me wrong. I love London to bits, but frankly, she has been getting on my nerves lately and I needed a weekend away.

Enter Venezia.....

Packing my favourite things, I boarded a Ryan Air flight and jetted off without a second glance. Two hours later, I was not only in a different country, I was in a different world. And I was being seduced by this new world. Falling fast. 

This was a world where people would begin their day with a spiritz aperol (a delicious cocktail and a must have if in Italy) and end it with fresh pasta and seafood. A city floating on water and surrounded by history. 

Without harping on too much, I will say the following. Venice is more than you can imagine and it is quite possibly the most beautiful city in the world. It is full of life and rich culture and the food is divine. Here are a few tips and recommendations to help those who want it, if planning a weekend away and an escape from reality....

1. Accommodation.

We stayed at the Domina Home in Guidecca. Guidecca is literally opposite Saint Marcos Square across the Grand Canal and I for one thought it was a great location. Beautiful views and friendly staff. Affordable accommodation with free breakfast to start your day!

2. Pizza

Go to Conca D'oro- Quite possibly the best pizza in the world. Well worth a taste if you can find it. Ask for Max...

3. Meatballs

I know this seems strange, but people literally cannot get enough of these meatballs served at the trendy Alla Vedova. After reading about them, Anthony and I were only to eager to see what all the fuss was about. We were not disappointed. Delicious. 

4. Try a spritz aperol (or two)

These drinks are addictive! After a solid morning of seeing the sights, Anthony and I cooled off with a spritz aperol at both  Naranzaria and Bancogiro. Both are very cool and slightly hidden away bars, perfect for an afternoon refreshment.

5. Gelato gelato gelato!

It is safe to say that I ate my weight in gelato. At one point I lost count of exactly how many scoops of the stuff I had devoured. It was a lot. However, it led me to find the greatest gelato of all time at a little place called Alaska. A man called Carlo owns the joint and true to form, he is a friendly man who is only too eager to recommend a flavour of his exotic gelato.

6. Travel card (youth card)

One handy tip I picked up before travelling to Venice was that if you are under 29, you can save a great deal of money on travel by buying a youth card and then buying a travel card. Honestly, this saved us 15 quid each and was well worth it. Simply go in to any ticket office and ask the person behind the desk about the youth card. Although it costs 4 euro to purchase, you more than get your money back- particularly with how expensive it is to get around.

I have realised as I have  come to the end of my list, that I have only really talked about food, alcohol and gelato. Of course it goes without saying that Venice has a lot more to offer in terms of history and sights. However, Anthony and I really did not have a plan when we landed in Venice and instead, we spent 48 hours literally walking from one end to the other, and back again.

 I finally got  lost in Europe and would not have had it any other way.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

New Year Resolutions

Sitting here tonight and looking through my blog, I realised that I began writing my blog about this time last year. I cannot help but reminisce on my earlier entries. I can still remember the anticipation and nerves I had all the way back then. I really had no idea what I was in for, everything was so uncertain. 

As I read through my old entries, I stumbled across my 2012 New Year resolutions and could not help but laugh. You see after years of failing my standard ones, the one year that I decide to uproot my life, leave my job and move to a new country, all of the sudden, my life begins to fall into place.  Here, take a look:

I won't burden you with the highs and lows of 2011 but with such an exciting and nerve racking year ahead of me, I was eager to tell anyone who would listen, my goals and plans for 2012. I mean, they sure beat my normal annual goals (lose weight, meet the love of my life, stop drinking so much, pay off my credit card)... No- not this time. My goals are all to do with visiting as many countries as I can, to find the best espresso in Europe, to trace  my Irish heritage (turns out I have relatives in Waterford)  and ..well.. I suppose the other goals wouldn't go totally amiss.

I think I have done pretty well with my resolutions, but there is always room for improvement. I must go to Ireland this year, I must continue to travel and I must find the best espresso in Europe. 

Apart from that, I am pretty happy. More than that. I am ecstatic.  If only I had known back then that I was about to tick off one long standing resolution in London. It was almost as though it had been waiting for me this whole time.

Anyway, enough reflection, it is time to look ahead! Time to get my wallet out and start planning my next trip. Did some one say Morocco? 

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Tis the season

I have never seen a city come to life like London in Christmas.

I have to admit, I was weary at first as to how I would feel spending Christmas in the cold without my family.. I mean last Christmas, I sat outside in the glaring sun, with a big sun hat, my favourite sun dress and a glass of cool crisp champagne in my hand (well I guess that last thing made its way to London).

This year, I watched as London transformed itself in to (and quite literally) a winter wonderland.

As the big day arrived, I was pleased to see that Santa had received my forwarding address (thanks mum) and I would not be without presents on the day. Luckily for me, I was invited to spend Christmas with my British family; Jamie Oliver Anthony and his mum. This was to be like no other Christmas.... Not with Chef Anthony in charge...

As acting sous chef, I was in charge of nibbles and dessert, both of which went down a treat if I may say so my self.

 The food was absolutely incredible. I had my first yorkshire pudding and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The mulled wine was flowing all day and when that ran out, the bubbles were cracked open. It truly was a special day which could have only been made better if I had been able to magically transport my family over. A girl can dream right? Still, I cannot complain. I was treated with amazing food, wine and of course, company.

The days flew between Christmas and New Year and suddenly 2013 was on my doorstep. As I welcomed 2013 into my life with friends, I could not help but wonder how 2013 could possibly match up to 2012. To me, 2013 is going to be a unpredictable and challenging year, for I now know how quickly my trip in London is going by and how very soon, 2014 will be trying to sneak into my life.  This time next year, I may be getting ready to pack my bag and starting a new adventure. I secretly hope not. Still, as always, I leave it to fate. 

My New Years kiss!

For now I make the following resolutions.

To travel through Europe as much as I can 
To continue to meet new people
To enjoy every second of London (not so tough) 

To work out how I can stay. 14 months... not that I am counting

Happy New Year to all!!