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Cinque Terre-ravels | An Italian Thursday ~ Part 2

Thursday in Cinque Terre ~ Part 2 of 2 After taking a slightly wrong path and losing even more time, arriving into the town of Manarola extremely later expected, I was exhausted. My legs trembled. Clearly, my muscles were trying to tell me to lie down or jump into a jacuzzi to chill the heck out. I had had a short break in Corniglia, the third town after the first hike from Vernazza, but even then I was walking and exploring. It was super cute on the inside, maybe not the most beautiful of all the towns from the outside, but of course worth spending time in. My breakfast had surely burned off by that point and I took shelter at a cafe to have a glass of freshly squeezed orange and lemon juice (to soothe my looming illness) and some bruschetta – a classic Italian dish ;sliced toasted bread, drizzled with olive oil, garnished with tiny pieces of mozzarella, fresh chopped garlicky tomatoes and pesto, respectively, so as to create an Italian flag with …

Cinque Terre-Dreaming | An Italian Thursday ~ Part 1

Thursday in Cinque Terre ~ Part 1 of 2 Day broke and I was up and out the hostel before you could say “breakfast”. Strapped into the shuttle bus, hurtling far too quickly through Bassia, down the hills and into Cinque Terre, I arrived nice and early into Riomaggiore before the tourists flocked. I tiredly strolled to the rocky shore and climbed onto the rocks for a moment to breathe, listening to the sea waves bump against the tiny wooden boats parked in rows against the cliff faces and getting an amazing view of the whole town. Early wake-up calls, constant walking and a lack of vegetables started to run me down after a couple of days; my body ached, my throat scratched and my nose was bunged up. I hunted down a cafe on the main road in Riomaggiore and made sure to down a large glass of freshly squeezed orange juice before drinking a macchiato and small piece of freshly baked cheesecake and Riomaggiorian lemon pie (don’t judge). I felt super crispy, drinking …

Genoa Dreaming | An Italian Tuesday ~ Part 2

Tuesday in Genoa ~ Part 2 of 2 Late-afternoon hit and I jumped on a small yellow rickety bus to a nearby former fishing village called Boccadasse. Only a 30 minutes away, the exceptionally charming village has a small enclosed bay and a rocky shore, being the perfect spot to have a quiet moment amidst the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s a small place to explore, great for an hour or two max for those on the go. There’s an amazing view on a sort of “balcony” next to a church that overlooks the sea and village just at its edge, located at the end main promenade in the area and where you’ll likely come from when getting the bus from Genoa. When you take the rocky main path down, you can walk up and down paths around the surrounding tiny coloured houses or just lay on the beach and enjoy the sound of the waves licking the rocks. Impatient to wait for the sunset, having initially thought to see it at Boccadasse …

Genevan Joy | An Italian Tuesday ~ Part 1

Tuesday in Genoa ~ Part 1 of 2 Plans to explore a bit of the city when I had arrived the previous evening went swiftly out the window as I reached my hostel and rested my poor legs. In no time at all, I had to search for dinner and then night had fallen (alongside my eyelids). After the deepest of deep sleeps I awoke to climb up to Spinata Castelletto through the city’s steep and winding paths. Once a fortress of Castelletto, this ‘balcony’ offers a 360 view where one can admire the multicoloured terraced buildings, medieval towers and Baroque peaks and domes of the city. The early morning sun brought about a haze on Genoa’s skyline, and so I decided to make a later return to see the sunset and the city’s beauty in a different light. Meanwhile, caffeine was in order. Slowly stepping back down the steep trail up, I embedded myself into the winding spaghetti of Genevan streets, the buzzing arteries of the old part of the city. Whilst looking for …

Yamas!

My last day in Athens was sadly spent solo, and what remained was to hit up the rest of the tourist sights and do everything left on the list. First up, however, was to get a couple of boxes of that amazing baklava from our first full day. Gesturing again like a mad woman inside the pan-pastry bakery, speaking in English slowly but receiving only Greek replies, I left with about a kilogram of sugary treats in my bag and probably a couple of cavities in my teeth. I attempted to wait for the sun to creep our behind the thick white clouds, the weather having dramatically changed toward the end of the holiday, so I found a nearby cafe and sat outside with an iced coffee and a few pieces of ice-cream baklava. The Chelsea Hotel was the cafe I visited, located just opposite the bakery on a street corner. Inside, there’s a bar, serving up hot drinks in the day and cocktails in the evening, being clearly a great hit with local young …

First Aid Mondays

Monday became a day of recovery from a little too much wine at Cinque, slowly meandering through the centre of the city, having seen nearly all the ruins and now in need of souvenirs (and rest). To nurse our hangovers, we discovered Klimataria, a tiny tucked away authentic Greek restaurant, dishing up homey Greek dishes with generous portions. It’s located in a kind of random part of the city, not next to the usual tourist restaurants in Monastiraki. If you get lost, look for the shrubs and leaves sticking out of the building and the vibrant yellow interior glowing from the inside. On the menu for us was an uplifting and delicately delicious pan of scrambled eggs with mixed veggies, like tomatoes, peppers and even some shards of bacon (not a vegetable, I know). To follow, I had a dish with Aubergine “cream” (silky, creamy pureed aubergine) with tender chunks of beef in a rich tomato sauce. The view from our Airbnb. Fresh sesame bread popularly sold on the streets of Greece. For souvenirs the …

A Slice of Pie & History ~ Sunday

This morning we hit up a renown local cafe in the city, it having been around since 1931 as a family business. It began by distributing milk and later producing puddings, creams, yoghurts, butter honey and pan pastries, all made according to traditional recipes of course. They also make sure to carefully source their ingredients from select producers in Greece, making the food is more delicious than it already is. Hidden under vines and leaves that ripple across and over two buildings on wooden structures, cafe furniture is spread out in front of the cafe, illuminated by warm yellow lights inside and green neon in-front boasting its name “Stani”. We had to try multiple things, of course, ordering the famous traditional sheep milk yoghurt served with thick fresh honey and crunchy walnuts, a filo cream-pie and famous Greek cheese-pie, with hot coffee on the side to wash it all down with. The yoghurt was exquisite; delightfully creamy and sour with a traditional “crust” atop, the sweetness of the honey cutting through the sharpness of the …

An Athenian’s Agenda ~ Part 2

Filled with sustenance once more, we continued on, up countless stairs and roads in Anafiotika, toward the Acropolis. Briefly, we stopped at Philopappos hill, for a stunning panoramic view of the city, before downing several bottles of ice cold water and marching on. Mount Lycabettus. The sun beat down on our poor scalps and shoulders before sizzling the rest of our skin as we bore onward up Acropolis, frequently pausing to glug ice cold water. Athens’ famous Acropolis sits at the top of a hill in the centre of the city, so one has to muster up a fair amount of energy for 20 minutes or so to reach the ruins. Upon arrival, it’s well worth it: with a 360 view of the city, 150 meters up in the air and history at your fingertips, this is what you imagine when you think of Ancient Greece. This ancient citadel contains the remains of several of most ancient buildings in Greece, those of which holding great architectural and historic significance – the Parthenon being the most …

An Athenian’s Agenda ~ Part 1

Awaking in our beautiful Airbnb was bliss, hazily pouring fresh filter coffee into mugs, sitting on the balcony and nibbling and orange-scented butter cookies (it was all we could find in the cupboards, but by God they were tasty). Rather last minute, we planned out our day, attempting to visit most of the historical sights in the city, but leisurely – we had four days in the city and so more than enough time to explore without excess stress. We stepped out, armed with sun cream and bug repellent (I had been bitten at least thrice since stepping out of the metro), into Kaisarini and walked through the streets lined with orange trees, up and down hills packed with tall apartment blocks, all quite uniform in style and colour. We were en-route to locate the Panathenaic Stadium when we stumbled across a baklava bakery – it could have been a scene from a movie; our heads turned in sync at the shop-front window, lined with shelves adorned with trays of oozing slices of baklava. No …

A Greek Adventure

The second I clambered out of the aeroplane door the bright white sun and intense heat hit instantly; we had finally arrived in Athens. Forgetting that Athens was a busy and hectic city, and it being Summer and overflowing with fellow tourists, being squished in the corner of a metro en route to our Airbnb shouldn’t have come at any surprise. Consulting google maps on a regular basis, struggling to carry all our gear and wiping our brows in the blistering heat, our accommodation drew nearer, until we finally could plop on the sofa and breathe for just a few minutes – shortly, we left to explore. It was a struggle to figure out the ticketing system for the public transport, of which seemed pointless as it seemed no one checks them anyway. To get a ticket we had to find a kiosk located randomly on any street, like an outdoor newsagent filled with magazines, candy and god knows what else. The rickety buses seemed also to be a bit precarious, arriving whenever and stopping …