Italy travel blog: Rome, Florence and Pisa

italy travel blog

Italy has been on my ‘must-see’ destination list for such a long time; after all it’s the home of pizza, pasta and gelato! Earlier this month I finally got to visit and it completely surpassed my expectations.

italy travel blog

I went with Ellie, would you believe it’s our 3rd trip together in less than a year, for a long weekend. We left early on Thursday morning and spent 4 days there; with 2 days in Rome, one day in Florence and our last day In Pisa before an early flight home on Monday morning.

It was difficult to see everything we wanted to in such a short space of time, especially as one of my favourite parts of travelling is wandering around and not sticking to a schedule, but I feel like we packed in a lot.

10 things you must do in Italy

italy travel blog

Drink with the bohemians in Trastevere

Trastevere is a quirky neighbourhood a short walk away from the busy tourist spots in Rome. It’s a favourite with locals and tourists alike because of its unique coffee shops, bars and restaurants. We were there on Thursday and Friday night and people of all ages gathered in the Piazza di San Calisto (a pretty square with a fountain) to dance and watch live music. This reminded me of watching the people dancing and singing by the Seine River when I visited Paris (post here.)

italy travel blog

Join in with Appertiv

What’s better than enjoying a cocktail while you watch the sun set on piazza navona? Free snacks! Italian bars and restaurants serve you free snacks when you buy a drink between 16.30pm and 7pm (times sometimes vary so be sure to check) and includes a variety of bread, meats, cheeses and olives. Appertiv quickly became our favourite pre-dinner ritual.

italy travel blog

View Florence’s magical skyline

If you climb up a LOT of steps towards the Piazzale Michelangelo you will be rewarded with a stunning view of Florence’s skyline and the river Arno. It’s well worth the walk, we also visited a beautiful church and walked through a very old cemetery.

We went in the day, but I can imagine the view would be even more magical at night.

Italy travel blog

Italy travel blog

Discover hidden streets

Italy is a photographer’s dream, everywhere looks so interesting and beautiful! Wandering down streets and finding places away from the beaten track is something every tourist should do.

Rome’s streets are very narrow and cobbled with ivy cascading from the top and religious pictures featured in the walls. While Florence is much wider and more Venetian in their architecture, featuring big window shutters and washing hanging down. On the other hand, Pisa is more colourful, open and less cobbled.

Italy travel blog

Italy travel blog

Try a negroni

There is one drink you MUST try when you are in Italy, if you dare! A Negroni is a traditional Italian cocktail consisting of one-part gin, one-part vermouth rosso and one-part Campari, garnished with orange peel. Let me tell you, it is not like an Aperol Spritz!

See the sights up close and personal

You can’t visit Italy without seeing some famous landmarks! If you’re in Rome you should definitely visit the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain; we also saw the Spanish Steps, the Vatican and the Pantheon (although I was refused entry because of my white vest top…)

Italy travel blog

Italy travel blog

Italy travel blog

Laugh at tower tourists

Speaking of famous sights, if you visit Pisa you must see the Leaning Tower. Pisa is actually really tiny and although it has lots of gorgeous marble architecture, there isn’t a great deal to do apart from visit the tower and admire the beautiful buildings close by.

Italy travel blog

We had a great time watching all the other tourists try and get the perfect leaning tower picture. I found it quite difficult to get a good shot so just opted for a normal one instead. Could you do better?

Spot 10 sausage dogs

I was surprised and delighted at how many dachshunds I saw during my trip to Italy. Although they are popular in England, I have never seen as many in such a short space of time! There were also lots of poodles, chihuahuas and spaniels (I have no pictures of the puppers!)

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. I would absolutely love to return to Italy, especially Rome, and would highly recommend it to anyone.

 

A weekend in Paris: Day two & three

arc de triomphe

The Louvre

As I’m sitting here typing away on this rainy day, it seems like visiting Paris last month was a distant dream.  Or at least the last blog I wrote about it was….

I mentioned in my last blog that we got a two-day ticket for the Batobus shuttle boat, so we commenced our second day in Paris by heading to the stops we didn’t get to see the previous day which included the Louvre Museum and the Champs Elyse.

The Louvre

Do you have Lorde in your head now? I did the entire time we visited the Louvre ‘But we’re the greatest, they’ll hang us in the Louvre. Down the back, but who cares, still the Louvre’ (it’s a great song, I wasn’t complaining!)

The Louvre is a very famous museum and art gallery, housing all kinds of modern and classic art and treasures from around the world. It’s a beautiful building on its own, crafted from translucent glass that projects different colours as it sparkles in the sun. It was a boiling hot day when we visited and we wanted to make the most of the weather, so we didn’t go inside the Louvre but enjoyed wandering around the courtyard.

Paris

Champs Elyse & The Arc de Triomphe

The Champs Elyse is a huge avenue which is famous for its theatres, cafés, luxury shops and is also the finish of the Tour de France cycle race. It’s possibly the busiest road I have ever seen in my life, and impossible to cross safely, with an array of vehicles circling the Arc de Triomphe, it was interesting to see how all the drivers knew about the motor trade insurance comparison, they were all really into taking care of their vehicles.

Admittedly, I didn’t know much about the Arc de Triomphe before visiting it (although I recognised it from the Olsen Twin’s film Passport to Paris, which is probably the lamest thing I’ve said….) but a quick google informed me that:

“The Arc de Triomphe honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces. Beneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I.”

We couldn’t get very close to it (due to the insane road) but I was amazed by the size and detail of the monument and was pleased I’d seen one of Paris’ most famous landmarks.

Walking around in 32 degree heat calls for one thing; gelato! We tracked down one of the most highly recommended gelato places, Armino, and the mix of fruity flavours hit the spot. Mango, passionfruit and lemon; we were not disappointed!

A post shared by Hannah Louise (@hannahgetshench) on

Rooftop terrace

Later in the evening we decided to check out the views from one of the tallest buildings in Paris. We went all the way up to the top floor and realised that while the views were amazing, the temperature of the bar was not as there were no open windows or air con, and quickly decided to make our exit.

We had heard about a bar with a rooftop terrace that seemed more suitable in the heat. The terrace was located on top of a hotel and had the most amazing views of Paris. It was so lovely watching the Eiffel tower sparkle while the sun went down, putting the world to rights with my bestie. However, if you decide to go there, make sure you bring cash because they do not take card and it was 8 euros for a glass of white wine!

Day 3

We didn’t have much time on our last day before we had to catch our flight so we made two stops before heading to the airport.

sacre coeur

Sacré-Cœur

The first was the Sacré-Cœur, which is also called the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, which is a Roman Catholic church dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. How nice is the name sacred heart? It is located at the summit of the butte Montmartre, the highest point in the city, and provides amazing views across Paris. It was one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen and truly looked like a palace in heaven.

Moulin rouge

Our last stop was to see the famous Moulin Rouge, which is a musical dance theater and tourist attraction. The original building burnt down in 1915 but the interior consists lots of the original décor. I have to admit I was a little disappointed when seeing it from the outside, I was imagining a huge windmill that took up the entire street, but perhaps it is more spectacular at night (and after a few Aperol spritz!)

Paris was an amazing city and I would love to go back and spend more time getting to know its beautiful streets and culture. As it’s just an hour’s flight away from Manchester, I’m sure I will be returning soon.

A Weekend in Paris: Day One

Paris Seine river at sunset

Paris Seine river at sunset

Paris is one of those cities I’ve always wanted to visit but haven’t got around to – despite it being a stone’s throw away from the UK. Last week I finally got to see what all the fuss was about, as myself and my best girl Ellie, spent 3 days in the amazing city.

We caught a mid-morning flight from Manchester airport and arrived in Paris at midday (Paris time). I knew Paris was close, but I didn’t realise the flight was only one hour – it’s quicker for me to fly to Paris than to travel back home to Harrogate!

Even though we were on the 10 am flight, there was a couple next to us who had drank a whole bottle of champagne, and several beers, who were telling people they were going to the Eifel tower tomorrow night– definite proposal on the cards, the smug bastards.

street in Paris

river seine paris

After landing we hopped on the train from the airport and headed into the city. The trains and metros are really easy to navigate and it didn’t take us long to get our bearings. Although admittedly, Ellie took the lead and told me where to go and which trains to get on, but if I hadn’t have chosen such an organised travelling buddy I’m sure I would have been fine. We purchased a 10-day ticket for the metro (which actually came as 10 tiny tickets) as it was the best option for multiple trips and cost us 14.50 euros.

Eiffel tower

Eiffel Tower

What’s the first thing you think of when you imagine Paris? The Eiffel Tower! We decided to visit the famous landmark on our first day (after stopping to eat some French bread and meat of course!) All I can say is that the tower is SO much bigger than I expected! When you get up close to it you can’t believe how much space it takes up and it can be seen from almost anywhere in Paris. It looks amazing in the day and even better when it’s lit up at night.

eleanor graceful hannah gets hench paris

Paris was a scorching 30 degrees the entire trip, and as the hot metro station is no place to be in a heatwave, we decided to catch a ride on one of the river boats. The ‘Batobus’ is a boat shuttle service that travels on the river Seine to different tourist attractions including Notre dame, The Louvre, Champs Elysee and more. The boat was 19 euros for two days of unlimited travel which is very reasonable considering how far it goes. It was so lovely being on a boat on the Seine and watching all the beautiful French architecture going by.

Notre Dame

We jumped on at the Eiffel Tower and floated down the river to Notre Dame, which is breath-taking medieval Catholic cathedral on the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement of Paris. The cathedral lies within a square, which due to the weather was buzzing with tourists, performers and Parisians, which was great to watch. However, the queue to get inside Notre Dame went on forever so we chose to admire the view from outside instead of queuing.

paris river seine

notre dame paris

Next stop on the Batobus was Jardin des Plantes, which is a huge botanical garden by the river. It was around 7pm by this time and there were loads of people sat along the riverside dangling their legs over the side and enjoying a few beers.

There were also groups of people dancing to different styles of music, with young and old folk joining in. Of course, we wanted to get involved too, so we bought some beers and perched nearby overlooking the river. Top tip, the men selling cheap beers by the river are selling them for 1 euro for a reason, because they are watered down beers! We learnt this the hard way, but still had a lovely time.

Eiffel tower

We returned to the Batobus and watched the sun go down as we sailed along the river Seine with the Eiffel Tower lighting up the background. It was a magical way to end our first day in Paris.

Part two will be up soon, so keep checking back 🙂

Hannah Goes To Hamburg | Travel Blog

Hannah goes to Hamburg

Hannah goes to Hamburg

Last weekend I jetted off to Hamburg to spend 3 days eating, drinking and being merry with one of my favourite people Ellie.

I say jetted, we Ryanaired it. So at 6.40 am we took off surrounded by the standard passengers, plus a group of drunken lads in Christmas fancy dress. Lucky us, we got to sit behind a guy dressed as Santa while he ordered cans of cider and tried to win Ellie over for 60p.

And so our adventure began…

Continue Reading