At last, here it is, the first of what will no doubt be many blog posts inspired by our recent trip to Europe 😉 .
For the uninitiated, the hubster and I have just marked our 25th wedding anniversary and to celebrate, we booked a two week cruise of the Mediterranean, plus a few days in Venice, Pisa, London and Singapore. It was our first trip to Europe.
Let’s start with the food shall we?!
Europe Trip 2015: Food
Best Cappuccino: Not surprisingly, the award goes to Italy in general; and Venice in particular. Although they did kinda smirk at my request for a decaf. Humph. Just because I wanted to sleep that night!
Best Pizza: Venice, Italy, with the cruise ship a close second. Aussie takeaway is ruined for me forever …
Best Gelato: Venice – so many flavours, so little time.
Worst Pasta: Pisa, Italy. We must have picked a dud restaurant because we both thought that our mains weren’t any better than frozen meals.
Best Cheese Board: Marseilles, France. At a busy harbour front cafe, we found not only the most wonderful cheese board, but also the loveliest waiter. Garçon!
Worst Cup of Tea: On the cruise ship. I love a strong, sweet, milky cup of tea; dirty dishwater just doesn’t do it for me. I’d never seen the brand before that the cruise ship used, but it didn’t take me long to work out that THREE teabags were required to make a cuppa that was passable.
Best Devonshire Tea: Kensington Palace. Sadly, Kate and Wills were at their country estate, cocooning with their new daughter, but we did enjoy a lovely devonshire tea (or what the English call a “cream tea”) at their London abode.
Favourite New Food: I’m a cereal girl from way back, as my best friend revealed when she posted here recently, so this might come as a bit of a surprise. Cereal was almost impossible to find in Singapore, like searching for a
needle noodle in a haystack, so I braved a traditional Singaporean breakfast – kaya toast – brown bread, toasted and with the crusts cut off, and spread with a delicious coconut jam. And I was converted! Just need to find a stockist here in Brisbane now.
The recommended way to eat it is by dipping into a dish of soft boiled eggs mixed with soy sauce – THAT part I wasn’t so fond of …
Best Accommodation: Being
cheapskates budget-minded, we didn’t book the most luxurious of accommodation along the way – but let’s face it, we were out and about most of the time so all we really needed was somewhere to crash at night. All of the places we stayed had very comfy beds although they might have been not exactly 5 star; and most were full of character. I loved our quaint little hotel in Venice even if our room was fairly spartan (no TV, mini bar, or coffee or tea making facilities).
So my vote for best accommodation goes to the balcony cabin we upgraded to on the second week of our Mediterranean cruise .
Worst Shower: At the same time, the worst shower award also goes to … the cruise ship! Imagine the smallest square shower cubicle you’ve ever been in, then cut it in half diagonally. The result is a shower space so tiny, that with every move the cold shower curtain clings to your bare bottom, and it is a struggle to even get your hands up to your head to wash your hair!
Best Shower: Our hotel in Singapore had a lovely gleaming new bathroom, with a roomy double shower with the option of a rainwater style or hand held shower.
Favourite Sights/Attractions: Too many to mention! But highlights definitely included Venice, Santorini, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Stonehenge, Madame Tussaud’s, the Tower of London, and London itself.
Most Repetitive Sights: Churches and cathedrals. Maybe I’m a philistine, but seen one, seen ’em all … and steps. Hundreds of thousands of steps, everywhere we went. I don’t care if I never see another step again. Thank goodness we live in a lowset house!
Biggest Queue: One of the joys of being a tourist (not) is the queues. Tie for biggest queue award goes to Heathrow customs (standing in line for an hour), and the line to see the inside of the basilica (another church!) in Piazza San Marco, Venice. Needless to say we did NOT join it (given our love of churches) …
Best Public Transport: Anywhere but Brisbane … special mentions to London and Singapore where we availed ourselves of the bus and tube services.
Most Posh Cars: London, hands down. Especially Mayfair and Belgravia. Aston Martin, BMW, Lamborghini, Mercedes, Rolls Royce, Porsche, Ferrari, Bentley, plus others I’d never even heard of before – but had the hubster grabbing for his camera!
Weirdest Weather: London. We experienced sunshine and mild temperatures, rain and showers, chilly winds, storms and even hail – and almost all of them in the same day!
Hardest Thing to Get Used To: Being late spring in the northern hemisphere, it didn’t get dark til about 9.30 or 10pm – we often didn’t have dinner until quite late (and don’t forget we come from Queensland, practically the only non-daylight saving state in Australia …). Mind you, it *did* allow extra time for sight seeing .
Have you ever been to any of these places, or do you dream of going one day? It only took me 48 years to get to Europe so there’s hope for you yet!
Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT.