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Visit Girona in one day from Barcelona

Travelling alone is what I decided to do. Because after I booked my flight for Barcelona, I thought why not stay in Spain and travel further alone and do a city trip to Girona? So, I went to Girona by train from Barcelona which lasted a little more than an hour and could visit Girona in one day. A very effective day trip.

Let’s start in Girona

In Girona, I booked a hostel, Bed in Girona to be precise. Besides the fact that this was my first vacation alone, was it also my first time in a hostel. I wanted to experience something less luxury than a hotel or apartment and therefore booked this hostel. It may sound weird, because why would I book something less nice if I also have money for something better. The point is that I think when you live your life like that, you are going to take those certain things for granted, and I want to teach myself not to. To appreciate it.

Now talking about it, when I arrived the first funny experience already occurred. The manager came to me to tell me that there was no hot water anymore on our floor. Therefore, we (37 guests) all needed to shower on the first floor where there were two showers. We could only shower every second day and not longer than 2 minutes to also save water for the others.

Furthermore, everyone in the hostel was pretty on themselves, which was fine by me. There was only one woman, 37 years old from California, who also wanted to watch the sunset and therefore we decided to go together. After that, we even went out for dinner together. It was nice to talk to someone, but honestly, it also felt a bit weird. I was so in my own zone/circle that I did not mind when being alone again. 

Visit Girona in one day

Something I really did not expect, is that Girona is actually quite small and therefore you can see the city already in one day. Staying there three whole days, was indeed, a bit too much. But because I did not sleep a lot, due to a snoring neighbour (yeah, that is something you have to deal with when sleeping in a hostel) and I was still very tired from the long nights in Barcelona, I went back to bed during the afternoons.

The streets are very narrow and because the city centre is on a hill, it is up and down, up and down. In addition, because I like to walk, I went hiking up the wall of Girona. It was built many many years ago to protect Girona. Besides the feeling of finally doing something sportive again, it also had an amazing view of the whole city.

Although Girona may be smaller than I expected, the number of restaurants and the quality of the restaurants exceeded my expectations. When travelling alone, I had the freedom to really pick the restaurants I am in the mood for. Beneath, I have listed my favourite ones with a link to either their website or Google Maps.

  1. König – Speciality Hamburgers > Lunch, Dinner
  2. The Unicorner  – Slow street food > Lunch, Dinner
  3. Mos & Art – Bakery > Breakfast, Lunch
  4. Nibble – Slow fast food > Lunch, Dinner (my 100% favourite!!)
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Weekend away around Florence

Pizza and Gelato cooking tour

Oh guys this was so fun. Really, if you are ever around Florence and are interested in a tour like this, take this one. We also got it from a friend of my mother and booked it via Viator with the company Walkaboutflorence and it is called the “pizza and gelato cooking tour”. We did the evening one, from five o’clock and lasted for another four to five hours. In the beginning, we thought; “okay that is a little long”, but, in the end, you do need all that time to prepare, make and eat the food ha-ha.

There were three men teaching us everything, one who talked about the ice-cream and two about the pizza. Together, Christian, Luigi, and Luca. Luca was the funniest one and for the Dutch people reading this, whenever he was talking it felt like we were in Chateau Meiland and I guess by that you know what I mean. We laughed a lot with each other and learned how to make a pizza in an easy and understandable way. Making pizza and ice cream is not very difficult though, you should only make no mistakes in the grams you use for each component.

Lucca for a day

Although mom thought that the train to Lucca would only be 20 minutes, it was one hour and 45 minutes. After we got ourselves some breakfast from a local bakery we jumped into the train and relaxed. We all, besides Fabiënne because she was in mom’s belly at that time, had been to Lucca. However, my brother and I were young, so did not really remember anything. We were all so surprised by how quiet the city was and that there were not so many tourists walking around compared to Siena for example. We mainly walked around, did some shopping (yes shopping is great in Lucca, in my opinion, better than in Florence) and had a nice lunch at a cute restaurant.

Palazzo Pitti, Boboli Garden & Piazzale Michelangelo

Although the others hoped that this was going to be a relaxing day after the hike in Cinque Terre, it was not really going to be like that. After we had a great brunch at Santarosa Bistrot, we went to the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Garden. We liked it, walked around for some time and looked at all the wall paintings inside of Palazzo Pitti, however, in the end, it would be just a once in a lifetime thing for us. 

After that, I took them to Piazalle Michelangelo. One of my favourite spots in Florence. You have to walk up a “little” hill and then when we arrive, you have a very nice view over the whole city. There are also stairs, so what my friends and I usually do is just sit there, play cards, talk or just be quiet and enjoy the view. During the night the sunset can be really beautiful!

Roadtrip to Val D’orcia

Our last full day together. My parents rent a car before and after picking up our Fiat 500 XL we were ready to go. We decided to visit the Val D’orcia. It is a region in the south of Tuscany, a two hours drive from Florence. It was raining a lot that day, therefore, we were happy that we were in the car that day and not walking all around in the city. Since I have been already several times to Greve in Chianti, it was nice to go to another part of Tuscany.

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In the evening, after some serious traffic on the road, we arrived back from our trip around Florence and since it was already late, it was time for dinner. We went straight to the restaurant where I booked a reservation, Fuoco Matto. One of the best pizzas in town!

A day trip to Cinque Terre

We started the day trip to Cinque Terre with a bus ride for around two hours, ended up at La Spezia. From there we took the train to Manarola. The weather was amazing with a high temperature so we were lucky, especially because they said it had been pouring rain the day before. To give you some extra information, Cinque Terre means 5 villages in English (Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore). We only visited four of them and left Corniglia behind.

Vernazza

We also did a hike. So instead of taking the train you can also hike. You hike from Manarola to Vernazza. The hike was around 4,4 km and we finished it in one hour and fifteen minutes. Since it was so warm, the sweat was definitely around and also since we were off-road we had to pay good attention to where we walked. When we wanted to enjoy the view, we stopped and just looked at the beautiful landscape. When we arrived in Vernazza, we all really craved for an ice-cream. It was the best we ever had. I don’t know if it because we had such a heavy hike or just because it was the best ha-ha.

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The best lunch and wine in Greve in Chianti

Last week one of my friends, who I met here, Frederique and I decided that we would like to rent a car and explore Tuscany a little more. A lunch and wine in Greve in Chianti seemed like a good idea to us. We decided to do this with Car2go, a car sharing company of Smarts. After driving for a while, we thought it would be nice to just stop at a random place and have breakfast. It was so calm and peaceful. A great start of the day!

After we finished our breakfast, we continued and ended up at Montefioralle, a (very) small town where no souvenirs shop can be found. As many of you know, have I been collecting magnets for already a long time. I told Fre that we shouldn’t forget that I buy them. In the end, none of the villages where we went to had a souvenir shop. I guess, this says already enough of how “not” touristic it all was.

Lunch in Montefioralle

After a little walk through Montefioralle, we found a hidden restaurant, Il Guerrino, with a beautiful view over the wine yards.

Wine at the Vignamaggio Villa

Since I was the driver that day, which I liked very much, and Fre mainly took charge of the music in the car. We enjoyed it so much to talk, sing along with the songs (or you could also call it screaming ha-ha), and look out of the windows. At last, we went to a wine farm, Vignamaggio Villa. Besides that they produce their own wines, they also have hotel rooms and organize events, like weddings. Yes, here you can have your real Tuscan wedding! Maybe, in the end, I do want to get married one day…

The lunch and wine in Greve in Chianti was amazing and of course, we couldn’t leave without buying a bottle. Oh, and the mosquitos couldn’t leave us both, too. Only because I’m a little allergic, I ended up with huge circles on my both legs which wasn’t very convenient since I walk so much everyday (average of 13km a day).

My favorite hotspots around Florence

My first visitor arrived! One of the best friends since we are young, Claire. We did a day trip through Tuscany from Florence. We packed our bags, rent a car, bought two cappucino´s and bread for on the way. We were so excited! The other days, we took many walks and chewed a lot on food. Eventually, we went to all my favorite hotspots around Florence! 🙂 Happy woman.

Claire and Ies on the road to Greve in Chianti

On Saturday we rent a car with car2go and drove to Greve in Chianti to start of with one my favorite hotspots around Florence It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and the sky was blue with just some little clouds. And yeah, we had a lot of fun and really enjoyed the day. Below some pictures and explanations about what we did.

  • Monteriggioni

This cutie little town is definitely one I will go back to. The city is between a wall and to have a better view of the surroundings you can walk on the wall all around the city. We had some coffee there, me my first cappuccino in Italy, only after ten (I am sorry), but I liked it.

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  • Montefioralle

If you paid a little attention in my last blog, you know that it was not my first time here. Montefioralle is a little town where l also went with Fre the last time. This is an example of a town where no souvenir shop can be found, but where we did find that amazing restaurant Il Guerrino on the hill with a view over the wine yards. Of course, I showed Claire and did we enjoy an amazing and again, delicious lunch. I had gnocchi for the first time in my life. It never really attracted me because of the way it looks but by eating this gnocchi pesto I learned that the way something looks can be different than the way it tastes (sort of cliché, I know). Oh, it was so goooood.

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At this castle, we did a wine tour. The landscape around the castle was beautiful and it took us a while before we arrived there. It was only one road if I could call it a proper road because it was more like an unpaved road with little rocks. Yes, we were a little scared of a flat tire, in the end, everything was alright, gladly!

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Because we just like fooood

Before Claire came to Florence I already tried some different restaurants, so that when she would come, I would know where to take her. We usually had breakfast at my place or otherwise bought something along the way in the supermarket. For lunch and dinner we went to the restaurants.

The first picture is from Obicá, the mozzarella bar. We both had a delicious Buffola and shared the rest.

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Indeed, loves goes through the stomach. Below the delicious heart pizza’s from Napoli 1955 

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At last, Trattoria Zà Zà. We went there for dinner the first time and lunch the second. Even though, I made a reservation for dinner we needed to wait half an hour before we could have a table. No worries, because while we waited we could enjoy the Italian chaos that was happening over there.

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Yes, I know, we can just continue eating here. Everything looks delicious and is delicious. There is no way you can go around that. Between the meals, we liked to play some cards and asked each other questions. Because we thought that even after knowing each other for so long, there would still be some things that we wouldn’t know about each other. It was great to have some time together and embrace our friendship.

Oh yes, last thing. We also went out on Saturday night. Slept for three hours and as diehards enjoyed, walked around in the city (walked 25km that day), came back home at 21:00 and were obviously very tired afterwards, but with a satisfied feeling. I still look back at this weekend with a big smile, because great and hilarious memories were made!

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