Monday, 28 February 2011


At last we reached the last stop of the Kamuka tour Anni and I found ourselves on. The tour actually didn't include any time in Rome, it just dropped us off on the side of the road and continued on it's merry way. Brilliant.
Anni hadn't downloaded the instructions on how to get to the hostel we were staying at (because the last hotel we were staying at didn't have any...?! See, if we were staying in backpackers then there definitely would've been internet! Stupid tour. Seriously!), and so it took us three and a half hours to get to the amazing Hotel Lodi.
Absolute rave here: Hotel Lodi is fantastic. Yes, it's a little out of the way, but the service and friendliness and cleanliness totally make up for it. And they are so accomodating. Anni hadn't booked a second night (stuff up with the airflight booking which could've been rectified had we had the internet...), and so although they didn't have any official rooms left, there was one that was half renovated, and so at a reduced rate they let Anni and two other girls stay there. And they carried Anni's bags up the three flights of stairs, which was incredible, seeings as Anni had four bottles of wine in there! They served you breakfast and there was unlimited internet and it was a nice end to the tour.
Rome was as brilliant as it was last time we visited. This time Anni and I went around with what Anni claims as a very gorgeous trainee blonde Italian firefighter (everyone has different tastes), and so we threw a coin in the Trevi fountain again, so hopefully we will be back there, climbed the Spainish steps, went around the Vatican, saw the incredible Vatican museum including the Sistine Chapel. Now, just on the Sistine Chapel, may I say do not go just to see where David touches God, but instead spend some Euro's and go with a tour guide who will explain the whole Chapel to you, because it is AMAZING! You learn so much more and it makes the whole experience so worth while. But make sure it's a registered tour company also.
So that was the end of the Kamuka tour. I don't know whether I would recommend it, but it fulfilled the purposes of going to Paris and Florence, but we missed out on Pisa, and the tour leader wasn't that nice.
Unfortunately you remember that Anni broke her camera in Florence, so any photos were taken on her blackberry, and they are awful (another reason why we should go back there). So that's why there are no photos attached to this post. Sorry. After this we fly back to London for our last week there before returning to Australia!

Thursday, 24 February 2011

San Gimignano

Our next stop on the Kamuka tour was Roma, the capital city of Italia. But before that we stopped at a little Tuscan town called San Gimignano, where Anni and the gang had the most amazing wine tasting session, which included a huge plate of cheese and salami, a big bowl of bread and bean stew and some beautiful biscotti, along with four huge glasses of wine (the bus from there to Rome was very quiet...). The views from the small walled town were incredible, you could see all across the Siena countryside. Unfortunately Anni's camera was broken, so she borrowed the token kiwi girls camera and downloaded the pictures.
This place was amazing. The town was peaceful and quiet, full of tiny little art galleries. Highly recommend you visiting there.

Thursday, 17 February 2011


Firenze, known to the English-speaking world as Florence, is the city of flowers, and most famous for the leather markets and the David statue.
It is also imfamous for where Anni's camera broke.
Yes, it is true. For some reason her amazing Cybershot no longer takes photos. You can see the picture on the LCD screen, but then when you play back the photo all you see is white. There is an issue with capturing the photo data and transferring it to the memory card. So until Anni buys a new camera (possibly a new Cybershot seeing it did so well previously), most of the photos are taken with her Blackberry. Sadness overcomes us.
But although there was brokenness in our hearts over the loss of our trusty camera, it didn't stop Anni shopping. The leather markets are fantastic. They were a lot smaller than we imagined, but seeings as we were there at the start of February it was probably off-season. Anni managed to grab a fantastic pair of black leather high heels, and a wallet for her little brother.
Again, the Kumuka tour let us down, this time in the choice of walking tour guide. Lovely lady, don't get me wrong, but I think she leads a lot of ESL (english as a second language) tourists, because she spoke really slowly and made silly jokes that don't really make much sense in correct English (because Australians totally use correct language...). However the lady didn't detract from the amazing beauty of the Ponte Vecchio, Uffizi gallery, the locks on the bridge, and the fantastic statues everywhere.
I loved Florence, and hopefully Anni takes me back there again!

Sunday, 13 February 2011


Interlaken means in between lakes, which is where you will find Interlaken, Switzerland. It is situated in between Lake Brienz and Lake Thun, with the Aare River connecting the two lakes running through the town. And it is also where Anni and me found ourselves on the next stop of our Kumuka tour.
The main reason for stopping here was to catch the train to the highest point you can get to without being an Alpenist; The Jungfraujoch. The cog railway is pretty cool, taking you up the steep sides of the mountain to a complex of restaurants and cafes that smell kinda funky and an Ice-sculpture palace that has frozen animals in the walls. The best part is being able to go outside onto the peak where the temperature was about -16 degrees. The sky was incredibly blue and sunny.
Instead of going back down the train all the way to Interlaken, Anni and the gang got off at Grindlewald, from where they hired superfast sleds and went down a fairly scary sled piste that included a blind corner in the midst of trees with a rock wall... eek! I got to ride on the sled a little bit at the bottom when Anni was having gluhwein.
Other than that Interlaken consisted of giant 2L boots of blue alcohol, disgusting cheese fondue and lots of swiss chocolate!
Next stop, Firenze...

Wednesday, 9 February 2011


Bonjour! We finally made it to Paris!
Anni and I went on a Kamuka tour with 15 other people, starting in London, catching the Eurostar to Paris, and then via bus to Interlaken, Florence and Rome. The tour group was an
interesting mix of people; three married couples, a Dad and daughter combo, a thirty-something single guy, five single 20-year old girls and Anni. Throw in a bus driver who brought along his bogan Aussie girlfriend and his sexually frustrated gay brother as our Tour Leader, and you've got a very interesting six days.
But back to Paris, the home of couture, perfumes, and lots of monuments to get photos taken at. We saw most of them in the central area of Paris; the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triumph, Opera House, the Bastille, Notre Dame, Pont des Arts, and of course the Moulin Rouge. Anni went for a show in there and was extremely disappointed. She said it was all just "chicks walking around with their tops of and no actual dancing".
Although we had been warned not to be too excited about making it to the City of Love, it was still slightly disheartening to realise that Paris is just another European city; busy, full of old buildings and rude people. However, the magic of sitting in the middle of the Arc de Triumph whilst all the cars rush around, seeing all the fancy stores down the Champs Elysees, and of course the engineering feat that is the Eiffel Tower, was spectacular.
And now Anni knows how to order une baguette au jambon et fromage s'il vous plaƮt.