Sunday, 17 December 2017

Venetian Vistas

Okay this time it's not me trying to come up with a fun blog title, this was actually the name of our itinerary

I went through a stage a while ago where I was uploading Instagrams from all sorts of fun places for a week straight and in case you didn't know, that's because I went on a cruise with my best friend. The cruise itself is going to have its own separate post because that was An Experience, but I thought I would do a post first about the actual places we went to.

Dubrovnik, Croatia:
We flew into Dubrovnik after a 6am flight which means I left my house at about 2am to make sure I was at the airport in time... Safe to say, we were feeling a little worse for wear by the time we reached the boat at 11am and could go and explore. However, we threw our luggage in our rooms, grabbed a quick bite to eat, and went out to make the most of Dubrovnik. We went on a really warm, sunny day which made everything even more beautiful. We got a bus down into town and started off the day by walking the walls. We went around the entire walls and let me just tell you, I'll be happy if I never have to see another step again in my life. There were SO many sets of stairs around the walk and to be fair we were doing it at quite a pace, but maybe something to consider if you're less mobile. The views from the walls were spectacular and the city is actually where they film Kings Landing in Game of Thrones (something you can't forget while you're there as there is GoT memorabilia EVERYWHERE), so as you can imagine, it was stunning.

After the walls, we went up to the Cable Car. From memory, the cable car was a similar price to the walls, but we really didn't think it was comparable at all. By the time we got up there, it had become quite cloudy but was still bright, which meant visibility was not great. At the top, there's a restaurant and a gift shop, but nowhere you can just buy an ice cream and sit on a bench and enjoy the view or anything casual like that. All in all, I think we were only up the top for about 20 minutes, compared to the hour and a half we spent walking around the walls!

Once we were back down in the town, we went to Dolce Vita ice cream parlour, which I'd read lots of positive reviews of online and it didn't disappoint. The ice cream was really lovely and gave us a good sugar rush after a lack of sleep and a lot of walking. After that, we had a little mooch through the town and got the bus back to the boat in order to be back in time for a safety drill.

Instagram of the day: a view off the walls

Rijeka, Croatia:

I should probably preface this by saying that the night before Rijeka, we went 'out' (as much as you can do that on a cruise ship) and drank a little bit too much Rose, so we weren't feeling too fresh for the day. We weren't overly in love with Rijeka although it was nice having a wander around and experiencing the town. There was an underground tunnel system which ran under the town which was interesting to see but that's about all I remember from it, if I'm honest!

Instagram of the day: we found a museum which had a collection of stone gnomes in the gardens, so there's a picture of me prancing about with them

Trieste, Italy:

I had never been to Italy before this trip so I fell in love with Trieste as soon as we arrived. The architecture was incredible (an interesting mix between the Croatian tiling we'd seen in Dubrovnik and the classic Italian detailing) and I just loved the vibe of the place. We walked through the square, the largest waterfront square in Italy, and up through the memorial gardens to the ruins of the castle, where you could get a lovely view of the town from above.

We didn't really do much in Trieste as it was storming on the day we were there so we didn't leave the boat for too long, but from what I did see, it was a really lovely little town with some amazing buildings and structures.

Instagram of the day: The view of the town from the castle

Venice, Italy:

Along with Dubrovnik, Venice was the main reason we picked the itinerary that we did. It's an incredibly beautiful city which in case you didn't realise, can only be navigated by foot or on water. As someone who is quite scared of boats, this was a bit of a daunting prospect, but it was actually the best way to see the city. 

We started the day by walking from the port to St Mark's Square. This gave us a chance to get a feel for the windy passages of the city and cross many, many bridges. It was still quite early when we got there so it was beautiful to see and take in the enormity of it, but the square definitely got more and more busy throughout the day, so I'd definitely recommend going early if you want to see it.

After that, we wandered aimlessly for a while and went for a wander through the park, before getting a recommendation from my dad to go find a hot chocolate place near the Rialto bridge. By the time we got down to the Rialto, it appeared to be prime tourist time as there were rows 3 people deep waiting to take pictures of the view, so we thought screw that and wandered back through the side streets until we found a cute little restaurant to have some good old fashioned spaghetti bolognese for lunch, and an Italian hot chocolate. 

By this time, we were really quite fed up with all of the tourists everywhere, so we decided to get a water taxi back to the port. We purposefully picked a long route to go back so that we could experience more of the city, and this was definitely my favourite view of Venice. I wouldn't say you need to go on a gondola ride to get the full experience, but you definitely need to see the city from a boat of some sort!

Instagram of the day: the view from our water taxi, with a reflective (mildly cheesy) caption about mine and my best friend Abi's friendship

Pula, Croatia:
We were originally meant to stop at Hvar but due to the storm we'd hit in Trieste, the captain decided to change our itinerary to avoid it and we ended up in Pula. As with Rijeka, we weren't overly in love with Pula, however it is home to some of the coolest ruins we saw on the trip. The Pula Arena is one of the best preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world (better than the Colosseum apparently) and it was great to get to walk around it. However that seemed to exert most of our energy for the day, because once again we were a bit hungover and decided we needed to hunt down a McDonalds ASAP. On our wander back to the boat, we also stumbled upon a number of other beautiful ruins, but we didn't really find out much about them other than to appreciate how well they looked after all of these years, and how impressive the structures were.

Instagram of the day: a photo of me and Abi from the night before

Bar, Montenegro:
Neither of us really knew what to expect from Bar but it actually ended up being quite like the smaller towns we'd visited from Croatia, so there's clearly a lot of influences spread there. We weren't overly impressed with Bar to begin with but then we stumbled upon St Vladimir's church. From the outside, it's a beautiful white building with golden domes that you can see from a mile off. However, it was inside that impressed us the most. Every available surface had images hand painted on of various saints and other religious icons, giving the most over whelming view. It's not very big inside, but we took quite a while walking around, taking in as much of the sight as we could. There was also a cute market by the port and an I <3 Bar sign which I just had to take a picture of!

Instagram of the day: I couldn't decide between one of the church or the I <3 Bar sign and ended up posting neither, whoops

So that was the trip! It was a really amazing opportunity to see so many different places in such a short space of time. A lot of the smaller towns I would never have planned to go to independently, and it was nice to pop into them for a few hours and then go back to the boat to do something else once we'd finished exploring.

Of the places we visited, I'd highly recommend Dubrovnik and Venice (although I'm sure they're on the radar of everyone's travel bucket lists), and Trieste was probably the place which surprised me the most.

No comments

Post a Comment

© Meguana
Maira Gall