holiday

#106 – Visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa

‘I’ve been to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It’s a tower, and it’s leaning.
You look at it, but nothing happens,
so then you look for someplace to get a sandwich’
 – Danny DeVito

Truth be told, Danny DeVito hits the nail on the head with this one. In fact, the accuracy can be acknowledged by the fact that the second time I ended up in Pisa I didn’t even want to bother visiting the tower, however I made my way there with my then-girlfriend so she could experience what all the fuss was about – and I mean “fuss” in the most sarcastic of ways.

Anyway, you’d have to go all the way back to 2010 and a day trip from Florence to Pisa for the first time I visited the Leaning Tower and its Duomo. Apparently either during – or perhaps after – construction, the tower began to sink due to the ground being unable (more…)

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Callum’s 2016 Adventures: Paris, France

‘Paris is the only city in the world
where starving to death is still considered an art’
– Carlos Ruiz Zafón

If you haven’t done so already, I would really encourage you to take the Eurostar. Not only does it visit plenty of destinations, if you pick the right trains it can be very inexpensive. For example, my return trip to Paris cost a grand total of £61 – and that includes a £3 booking fee.

The purpose of my visit to Paris was to see a friend of mine – Heather – who I had met in my hostel in Edinburgh. As I had mentioned in that earlier post, I had just clicked with everyone I met in that hostel and – with my upcoming trip to the other side of the world – it felt like an opportunity to good to turn down.

Rather than stay in Paris, I booked an Air BnB in Fourqueux, which can be reached via Saint Germain-En-Laye. I’d 110% recommend staying here as not only is it affordable, but the host is just one of the loveliest people you will meet.

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Callum’s 2015 Adventures: Interrailing pt.12 Salzburg, Austria

‘Salzburg is storybook Austria. Standing beside the fast-flowing Salzach River, your gaze is raised inch by inch to the Altstadt’s mosaic of graceful domes and spires, the formidable cliff-top fortress and the mountains beyond.’ – Unknown

Day 25: Salzburg 09.09.15

Plan of Action:

  • Explore Salzburg
  • The Glacier Hike
  • Watch the Sound of Music in the evening at the Hostel

The great thing about Yoho Hostel is that it has a pre-organised service allowing you to book day trips with them – and they have quite a heft catalogue to choose from. Amongst the options  (which are available all year round) are a Glacier Hike, a Bavarian Mountains and Salt Mines tour and – of course – the effervescent Sound of Music tour. Unfortunately when we turned up at reception in the morning, we learnt that the Glacier Hike was fully booked. Inexplicably, we opted against the Sound of Music tour (I will go back to do this though) and instead decided to take part in the afternoon Bavarian Mountain and Salt Mine tour. As we had risen quite early to book something via reception, the fact that the tour as taking place in the afternoon meant that we had the whole morning in which to explore.

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Callum’s 2015 Adventures: Interrailing pt.6 Vienna, Austria

“Vienna is a handsome, lively city,
and pleases me exceedingly”
– Frederic Chopin

Day 14: Austria 29.08.15

Plan of Action:

  • Explore Vienna
  • Visit the Hofburg Palace
  • Visit St. Stephens Cathedral

Vienna. Mighty Vienna. A place whose beauty is renowned throughout Europe. After a lovely time in Prague, I was really looking forward to being spoilt by what Vienna had to offer and, during the day at least, I was not let down.

We arrived in the midst of a heatwave and, what do heatwaves mean? Mosquitoes. Mosquitoes everywhere. It wasn’t long before I found myself covered in bites from head to toe. Honestly, I felt like I was an all-you-can-eat-buffet.

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Callum’s 2015 Adventures: Interrailing pt. 4 Krakow, Poland

‘Krakow, the city of Kings’ – Pam Jenoff

Day 8: Warsaw – Krakow 23.08.15

Plan of Action:

  • Travel from Warsaw to Krakow
  • Find the hostel
  • Explore the area surrounding our hostel

Without doubt, the strangest thing about travelling is starting the day in one place and finishing it in another. It doesn’t matter whether or not it is a different city or a different country, it is a strange experience.

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Callum’s 2015 Adventures: Portes Du Soleil, France Pt.2

For part 1 of my Portes Du Soleil adventure please click here

Day 3: Morzine – Avoriaz 16.01.2015

The Route
Morzine -> Avoriaz ->  Les Brouchaux –> Pointe des Mosettes –> Les Crosets –> Croix du Culet -> Lechereuse -> Les Crosets -> Pointe des Mosettes -> Les Brouchaux -> Pointe des Mosettes -> Pointe de Voriaz -> Avoiraz -> Les Prodains (via Prodains Express) -> Morzine (via coach)
Total Time up Mountain c. 2.5-3hrs

Feeling fresh as a daisy after the previous nights activities – although a little creaky – we followed the same routine as the previous morning; breakfast, a short walk to get our gear and up the Super-Morzine. There hadn’t been any snow over night and the lack of snow was causing a few issues on the slopes, but the real issue was the weather. Diabolical.

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Callum’s 2015 Adventures: Portes Du Soleil, France pt.1

Author’s Note

I’m not really sure how you’d talk about a days skiing because, in reality, all you’re really doing is going up and down a snow covered mountain over and over again with two long things attached to your feet. Still, it’s something I love and enjoy very much so I will give it a go.

The easiest way  for me to describe how skiing feels is for you, the reader, to imagine an activity in which you feel at home. Something that seems like second nature. With skiing, no matter how many people you go with, once you set off down the mountain you’re on your own. It’s just you and the piste. And it’s beautiful. When talking about skiing I have always told those interested that I have never felt more at home than I do on the snow, attacking a nice run down the mountain and this most recent trip to France just reinforced that concept for me. It relaxes me, calms me. Everything seems to slow down and I have all the time in the world. Even the feeling of performing on-stage pales in comparison! I mean, they both give me that rush of adrenaline, but the fresh air, the bite of the cold and the feelings of peace and calm that wash over me definitely tip the scales in skiing’s favour. It’s special. Unique. Something I am sure I will never tire of.

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