Sunday, 22 May 2016

Summer Fun & Sailing – Topdeck Tour

It’s taken me way too long to get around to writing this… but better late than never! This post will definitely be more pictures than words, as I’m trying to keep all the stories from the countries/cities I visited short and sweet.  I’ve also recently started up a travel Instagram @whiskyandboy, which will now go hand in hand with this blog!

You can’t really put into words what it’s like to see the Eiffel Tower for the first time.  As cliché as it sounds, I was speechless and in disbelief that I was actually seeing something that I’ve only ever seen in a million photographs before.  With a massive fear of heights, it took a little while to muster up the courage to go to the top of the tower.  Surprisingly enough this played as a massive advantage – no lines, and getting to watch the sun set over Paris.  Even got to witness a proposal... talk about #goals.

All the sights of Paris are absolutely incredible, from wandering around the Musée du Louvre and eating flower ice-creams in the Tuileries Gardens to walking the lengths of the Avenue des Champs –Élysées and climbing to the top of the Arc De Triomphe,  it is the most wonderful city to explore.


I wasn’t too sure what I was expecting from the little town of Lauterbrunnen, but it would’ve exceed anything I could’ve imagined.  The quaintest little town situated in the alps, with tiny little cottage houses and a big waterfall as a backdrop, what more could you really ask for?  We took the cable car up to another little town, Murren, which had amazing views looking down on Lauterbrunnen.  Quite possibly the most picturesque place I’ve ever been to.

Finally, onto some European sunshine and beaches!  Nice, in the French Rivera a.k.a where everyone’s rich af. Definitely soaked in the sun a little too much as I ended up leaving it too late to give myself proper time to get back to the hostel, couldn’t get the right train, and ended up having to go to Monaco in my beach clothes. Both Nice and Monaco were such amazing places, despite spending most of my time in Monaco at their McDonalds… but hey, the Monte Carlo casino looks just as great from the outside (kind of).

On the way to Florence, we had a stop at the well renowned leaning tower of Pisa.  This was big, we had been photo planning for days.  It may not look like it, though the pose we went for actually took a lot of strength (or maybe I’m just weak?) … but after many, many attempts and angles, we got the shot! A solid effort rewarded with my first of way too many Gelato’s.
Florence – where every building is an architectural masterpiece.  So much attention to detail and so much beauty.  Also incredibly difficult to get around at night time when all you want to do is get back to your hostel, damn language barriers and maps in Italian.  Looking back on it though, it’s all a part of the experience.

Rome/Vatican City
Arrived in Rome all excited to see the Trevi fountain in the flesh, only to come to a completely dry concrete hole surrounded by scaffolding, typical.  Luckily other sights like the Spanish steps, and the phenomenal pizza and gelato made up for it.
The next day it was onto the Vatican City, and boy did it rain.  Completely unprepared, an absolutely drenched self shivered my way through the amazing architecture of the Vatican.  A kind of surreal feeling, walking around and seeing such rich parts of history.

Greek Sailing
Well… this part of the tour definitely was not what I was expecting.  Although I knew I wasn’t going to the same part of Greece that’s home to the icons like Santorini, I thought I was still going to see white buildings with blue dome roofs. But no.  We were sailing around old, smelly fishing towns with not much to it.  Never been happier to stay on a tiny boat in my life.  The best part of this leg of the tour was the Gyros, but I’m sure that honestly would have been the same in any part of Greece… God’s gift to food.

My gosh Croatia, what a slice of heaven.  Both Dubrovnik and Zadar were incredible, however I definitely favoured Dubrovnik.  A little beach was just across the road from our hostel, complete with a mini wipe-out course.  I mean, what else could you want?  Old town made me feel like I was back in medieval times with the stone walkways and buildings.  Little hill alleyways filled with shops and bars, the only issue being the monster of a trek up and down the stairs, made a lot worse with a hangover. 

We took a cable car up 778 metres to a plateau which had incredible views of old town and the Mediterranean waters.


A gondola ride in Venice has been on my bucket list since I can remember and finally being able to live it out was an incredible feeling.  Topped off with a gondola driver who was identical to a young Johnny Depp!  Riding around and seeing the ‘sinking city’ from water the true venetian way was next to none, incredibly lucky to have such a nice day for it as well.  Wandering around the canals of Venice made me feel like a giant in a small person’s world in a sense, little bridge crossings looking into the little houses with flowering plants growing left, right, and centre.  Exactly the same as the dreamlike pictures you see.

We were only in Prague for a very short time, but enough to appreciate the beauty of the city.  Although the main highlight was the Trdelník, and also being able to get a bit of shopping in.  At night, we all went to the best bar ever, the ‘Bed Lounge’.  Yep, it’s exactly what you’re probably thinking it is, a bar with bed lounges.  I’m not too sure why all bars aren’t like this, definitely my style.

The good weather ends here, but the beautiful cities don’t.  Berlin was one of the coolest places I visited, so much history and culture.  Also happened to stumble upon an amazing indie/vintage market – something that I’d been searching for for the entire tour, good food and one of a kind finds.

Rain, rain & more rain.  But Amsterdam, was something else.  A bike tour is the best way to see the city, bikes in Amsterdam > everything.  From the amazing shopping to the “Coffee” shops, there’s never a dull moment.  I couldn’t think of a better spot to finish off this amazing tour!

Along the way I also visited / had lunch & one night stops at Munich, Albania, Postonja Caves (Slovenia), Austria, Montenegro, Bruges (Belgium), Dresden, and also the Dachau Concentration Camp, which made up my 14 countries across 27 days.

An incredible experience with amazing people. 28/08/15 – 23/09/15.