A + A Eurotrip 2015 ~ Rome

Finally the last leg of our journey! Got early bird first class seats on our journey from Pisa to Rome. It took about 2.5 hours as our train departs at 9.30am and we got to Roma termini about 12pm. With our luggages we took the subway to Vatican where our Airbnb was. It was so cosy and nice! The weather was a tad too hot but it was great!

https://instagram.com/p/2lKXp9s5cT/

We rested for awhile before heading out to Vatican Museum as we pre purchased/pre booked the tickets. Highly recommended for you to purchase prior and book the timing of your visit online before you get there. It was so crowded and we are so relieved that we have purchased it online. Its such a good experience, the wall murals and the architecture.  The Sistine chapel cannot be photographed but it was so surreal for us to be there.

DCIM101GOPRO

DSCN5648

The sun was about to set, we didn’t want to queue just to enter the Chapel so we just walked around and take photos! We were so hungry as we only had Breakfast in the morning. So we decided to venture out to grab early dinner and the famous Gelato at Vatican! It was awesome! The Nutella gelato was super good! It was a highlight of our day! We decided to have an early night rest before another big long day the next day at the Colosseum and the Outlet Centre!

DCIM101GOPRO

Woke up early and made our way to the Colosseum via Subway! A bonus when your Airbnb is only about 3 minutes from the Vatican train Station! We wanted to cash out for the day and decided that we shall wait till we get to the Colosseum to do so. When everyone advise you to take care in Rome especially Pickpockets, you have to be alert at all times! We had the same advice in Paris too and thank god nothing happen! So it was so crowded in the train, and we are like a stop away when a group of local teenagers suddenly jumped into our carriage and crowded the entrance. I knew they are up to something as they were moving from one carriage to another. And i try to get Ali’s attention but he was blocked by another lady behind me.

So our stop came and i told myself, I’m just gonna hold on tight to my bag and phone in hand and just push my way out! I’m glad i did, as soon as i got out, i was relieved and continue walking as Ali is usually behind me. So i turned around and he wasn’t there so i walked back quickly to the carriage and he was struggling to get out of the train! i was so pissed that i can see all these teenagers we blocking him intentionally and finally he pushed his way out and carried this girl by the waist to get out of his way. So as he got out i said what happened (by this time, the train already left!) He said that the group of teenagers were blocking him and he stopped and looked down and found his bag that was on his chest the whole time was opened. A kind Italian man came to us and said the kids took Ali’s Wallet! Omg that one time he switched off! It was just so incredible and fast how they did it. He had his wallet at the bottom of his pouch and heaps of items like sunglasses, cases, camera at the top of the pouch. This thieves grab his wallet! We gasped. I was more angry than ever but thank god there was no cash in the wallet but a pain as all his id and bank cards are in there.

DSCN5730

We had to go from one cop to another to report with none knowing how to speak English and at last we are at the Police Station! It took as an hour to report the case, even though we are the only one in there. With the language barrier and all, it was frustrating and at the end of it all, the policeman gave us a report to write! like seriously after all that questions and explanations! We didn’t have the mood to do anything at all, we even missed our Colosseum tour with the 3rd ring underground pass! I was quite devastated and pissed. but things happen! We try to be positive again and continue with our plans to the Colosseum we go!

DCIM101GOPRO

The colosseum was amazing! Such a shame that we didn’t get to go on the tour! But oh wells it was a good experience to be there and learning about heaps of amazing things! Even when the sun is scorching hot!

DCIM101GOPRO

The Palatine Hill is one of the seven Hills of Rome and is one of the most ancient parts of the city. It stands above the Roman Forum. We did a quick sightseeing as it was getting too hot and sweaty! Since we weren’t in the best of moods, we decided to have a perk me up shopping session so we head down to Roma Termini clutching our bags of course as we are just still shaken by the ordeal, We got bus shuttle tickets (15 Euros return) to Castel Romano Designer Outlet! They say Florence is the place to go for Prada and Ferragamo Outlets! The outlet in Roma was okay but they don’t have Prada. So i finally got myself a pair of Ferragamo Varinas! Been dreaming of owning it for years! It wasn’t the best outlet we have ever been to but it can do as it was the only outlet in Italy we are able to visit! Ali tried to get out of taking subways after that but i managed to convince him otherwise! we hold on to each other tight and made sure theres no teenagers, we did saw a group at the platform as we are about to board but we quickly change carriages instead! What a day!

DSCN5725

Finally the finale, to be honest, we can’t wait to go home. Period. Our flight doesn’t leave until 10pm that night so we head down to Roma Termini with our luggage using Uber! It was such a fancy ride, we were surprised! Just like we did in Venice, we dropped off our bags at the Baggage Storage at Roma Termini for 6 hours. I must remind you, please set aside about 45mins to an hour for the whole process as the queue can be really really long! Once our baggages are settled, we went up to Terravision to get Airport Shuttle tickets which costs us 4 Euros one way from Rome Termini to Fiumicino Airport. This place is quite hard to find so you do need to ask around as Rome Termini is HUGE!

DCIM101GOPRO

Our first stop was Trevi Fountain! And to our disappointment, it was undergoing renovations! So upsetting we walked all the way only to see all these scaffoldings! What a day! Oh wells, we did had lunch at this amazing place along the Alley! Still can’t beat the pasta we had in Venice!

DCIM101GOPRO

Our next stop was the Spanish Steps! I’ve seen it in Postcards and always in awe! But….. it was just too crowded and people dipping their feet in the fountain! So disappointed again, so unlike the photos in the postcards! We end up sitting at an overpriced cafe having Gelato! 😦

Spanish Steps

Spanish Steps

We decided to walked back to Roma Termini and of course we try to buy souvenirs along the way. We decided to shop around Roma Termini waiting for time before we depart as our Shuttle leaves at 7pm. Rome was great despite the disappointments and incidents! A journey for once in our life! Yes we love Rome so much we checked in 4 hours before! LOL Omg Tax Refund was so confusing, we were going from one terminal to another, it was just too tiring! We just felt so relieved to be on the way back to Melbourne. It is definitely going to be one hell of a long flight! So long Europe, thank you for the memories!

DCIM101GOPRO

A + A Eurotrip 2015 ~ Pisa

After a great morning discovering Ferrari world, we caught a cab back to Modena Train station before we got on to 2 sets of train rides to Pisa. It wasn’t that bad, we only had an hour to wait in between the train rides from Florence to Pisa. So here we go Modena → Bologna → Florence → Pisa 🙂 The journey takes us altogether about 2.5-3 hours. We caught the train at 3:30pm and got to Pisa at 6pm! It was indeed an experience and a good journey! DSCN5602

Got a cab from Pisa to our hotel; Hotel Pisa Tower. We chose this location due to the proximity of this hotel to the Tower of Pisa! The room was clean and amazing! With 2 large luggages in tow we were very delighted to have been allocated room in the main building and on the first level! Thank god! After a long day on the trains! We can’t be bothered to go up anymore staircases and what nots! The staff are friendly and very helpful too!
DSCN55781 thing to take note was that we discovered, taking a cab to the hotel from Pisa Centrale station is €7.75 and the shuttle that the hotel provided to the station is €5 per person. So you work out the math if you’re traveling more than 2 persons 🙂 Ever since we reached Italy, i was just addicted with fresh bread dipped in Olive oil and Balsamic Vinegar! Its just awesome! Of course after the day we had, we are just famished! We got awesome shots before the Sunsets and off we set foot to have our dinner!

DSCN5596DSCN5591

Pisa was indeed awesome you know one of those places you just want to strike off your bucket list of travel places! And Alhamdulillah i am glad we did it. We had an early night before we set off another train ride the next morning to Rome!

DCIM101GOPRO

A + A Eurotrip 2015 ~ Venice & Maranello

DCIM101GOPRO

It was such a quick change of weather when we landed into Venice via EasyJet. It was super hot! Got a bus ticket from the Marco Polo Airport terminal. Since there is no land transport available direct to Venice. The most affordable and easiest way is to get the ATVO Airport Shuttle to Venice Piazzale Roma (express service). It will cost you €5.50 one way per person.Our plan was to catch the shuttle to Piazzale Roma, from there you have to cross the bridge and just a tip if you have more than one luggage, you can either drag them over the bridge and mind you there are steps! Be warn! It can get pretty full on! Or there are Porters at the foot of the bridge and you can just pay them €10 Euros and they will carry them for you using a Trolley to Venezia Santa Lucia railway station.

DCIM101GOPRO

As we are taking the evening train to Maranello, this was convenient for us and thereafter we deposit our luggage at the station so we are able to sightsee freely. Storing Luggage at St Lucia Station will cost you 6,00 € the first 5 hours! But please do expect a really long queue! That was the case for us in Rome Termini as well before we catch our night flight!

DSCN5350

After that whole hurrah, we’re off on foot in the beautiful Venice. First stop was food! Yes food! We shared a lobster pasta which tasted delicious! The best we had in Italy for sure! Having said that should make them during one of our weekly dinners! :)) Venice is like a maze, a wrong turn and you’re just lost in the little lanes. Every couple would want to ride the Gondola, but €90 is not really worth the price and in the hot scorching weather we decide to skip it! Its beautiful although I must say it was VERY VERY crowded. We walked around and sat on the steps because it was too hot and crowded.

DSCN5368

Even though we got lost at one point, it was great to explore and seeing little kids playing soccer and smell the delicious cooking of the locals through their kitchen windows. We had great smoothies and ice cream to cool us down.

DSCN5394

Caught the evening train to Maranello but first has to change at Bologna Station before we get to our destination which is Modena train station. It wasn’t too bad as a whole especially if you have a partner to help you carry up and down your luggage off the train steps. Maranello is a dream destination for the Husband as he is a big Ferrari fan and Kimi Raikkonen’s too! So got the hotel to arrange for us a pick up at Modena train station to the Hotel which cost us about 25 Euros and took us about 30-40minutes from Modena train station to the Hotel!

DSCN5399 DSCN5408

And boy were we in for a treat! The reception was so elaborate yup with the F1 vehicle above, thats the hotel reception desk! How remarkable! Everything was F1 Ferrari related from the name of the hotel buildings and rooms to the decor and design! It was pretty awesome i must say! Of course we woke up bright and early taking advantage of the free shuttle to the Ferrari Museum and also the Factory tour that we booked beforehand. And like a boy in a candy store, Ali was in awe and tried the stimulator and snapping endless photos although we are not allowed to during the Factory Tour.

DSCN5436DSCN5454

It was indeed a really good experience and never be forgotten!

A + A Eurotrip 2015 ~ Paris Disneyland

As you can tell, we hardly use Taxis in our EuroTrip. We mostly Uber it through or use Mozio for any airport transfers! But I’ve heard some European countries are taking a stand on Uber so please do be careful. So we had a splendid Uber Ride from our Paris Hotel to our Kyriad Hotel in Disneyland. It takes about 40-45minutes from Paris. As we reached the Hotel, we knew that our room wasn’t ready as our check in time was at 3pm. So thankful that they have giant lockers for us to store our luggage and also for the free shuttle service to Disneyland too! As Disney lovers, we hopped on the free shuttle and began our day at the Walt Disney Studios Park.

DSCN5197

Unfortunately it was such a waste of time. There’s not much to do as most of the rides are closed or maintained. You can even finish everything in less than a day, just make sure to fit in Animagic and Cinemagic in your itinerary for the day! As for Ali, he seems to think that the Studio’s Fish Burger is the best Fish burger he ever had!! So that was the highlight of his day! If you get the park hopper tickets, definitely recommend visitors to spend the other half of the day at Disneyland instead! We decided to do “some” retail therapy at La Vallée Village which is known to be filled with outlets of famous designers like, LV, Givency, Longchamp and etc… What a good bargain day, especially for your Longchamp needs!

DCIM101GOPRO

We got back to a double room that we booked for the weekend! The rooms are clean and spacious and another good thing is the free shuttle to Disneyland which was awesome! However, the walls are really thin that we can hear heaps of noises from the corridors. In addition,this is the first family Disneyland hotel that doesn’t offer laundry service or even a laundry room! Its really hard to find a Laundromat too! I find that European hotels never provide ironing facilities in the room. Just an observation I found. Maybe they think that tourists are equipped with crease free luggage bags! We stayed on the first floor and thank god the lifts was working. Was reading reviews from the week before that the lifts wasn’t working! Alhamdulillah lucky us!

DCIM101GOPRO

As you know anything and everything within Disneyland compounds are super expensive! Trying to scout for a good place to eat around Disney Village and finally after 45minutes wait we got into this American diner. The food was okay despite the high price we paid for the meal!
The next day we head to Disneyland Paris which was awesome. We love it! We were both like kids in an amusement park! We finally manage to take a photo of the Castle! It was fantastic Despite people smoking everywhere in the park and the fact that people actually stand up during the Parades! Which came as a big Disney culture shock! We managed to enjoy ourselves! The highlight for me would be Disney Dreams Finale show with spectacular fireworks! It was such a magical day for me. 3 parks down 2 to go! Of course I can’t help myself buying all the Disney collectibles for Home! I can’t wait to use everything once we got our house in the future!DSCN5322
Everyone has been asking about the discounted Disneyland Paris tickets that I got. I signed up with Ce Multiadvantages and got great discounts! They even send the tickets straight to our Hotel in Paris! It was awesome but you do need to sign up with them. Last I heard Disneyland Paris clamped down on these tickets sadly. We got such a bargain for 3 days 2 Park Hoppers Ticket (€119) , Arc De Triomphe (€10) and Seine River (€10) tickets for less than €300 for the 2 of us! Bargain!

Insurance ✓ SIM Card ✓ Tickets ✓

So we packed our bags yesterday. Was quite surprise that I did not overpack this time like how I usually do! Was quite surprise myself! And finally my Ripcurl softcase luggage got to retire! The Ripcurl luggage did lasts me for 8 years! It was just the time to replace. Alhamdulillah, American Tourister was on sale so got the Large Suitcase (75cm) for $160! Really wanted the white one! But I chose practicality over fashion and got the black one instead!

American Tourister Bon Air Spinner

And how great that the Global Gig Sim Card arrives in the mail on time! It’s awesome, so far our research goes, we hardly use text or call credits when we are overseas as we mostly use Skype to call, Whatsapp to text and Social Media. So after comparing a couple of the global sims (which are ridiculously expensive!) We decided to go with GlobalGig! 3Gb for $50/Mth or 5Gb for $70/Mth for anywhere in Europe and USA. I remembered I paid for 3Gb for $40 with AT&T when I went to the US. I purchases the AT&T new sim card from Ebay and just top it up online before I leave! That was great and very convenient! Cuz we needed a US number as soon as we touch down to call our AirBnB Host! Overall the best thing about Global Gig and AT&T you can even use it as a hotspot and share the data with your partner! So you don’t have to get 2 sim cards! Well at least that’s what I did!

I usually use and recommend comparethemarket.com.au for my insurance needs. Be it health or travel insurance. Indeed they are great and suits every traveller’s budget! So we got the Travel Insuranz Premiere for $136 for us, couple!  I can’t default it. It did save us a lot of money.  

It was a nightmare exchanging money in Melbourne. Wanted to head down to KVB as they are trusted to have good rates, however, they ran out of Euros! Booo so I headed to my next trusted and best rates United Currency Exchange! And they ran out of Euros too! Nonetheless, I manage to haggle and negotiate with one of the Stores and got my Euros! So lesson learnt, exchange your money to Euros at least a week before you depart! Guess it was just my luck but Alhamdulillah!

It is definitely going to be a long day at work today. And we are finally leaving tonight! Too excited 🙂

A+A EuroTrip 2015

The husband was half hearted when i mentioned that we should carry forward our EuroTrip to April instead of September. But Alhamdulillah we did! Since we missed the Europe Travel Expo last November, we were lucky that the Global Travel Expo was on in February. We did thorough research on the prices of flights prior to the Expo and had our minds made up on a budget.

te16-homepage-small-banner

This was our second flight purchase from the Travel expos that were organised by Flight Centre Group. You do need to look around and know where your budget is. So far the prices were cheaper than what we expected. Europe is by far the trip that scares us the most, the expenses, the people, the language barrier, we just don’t know what to expect!

We got Emirates flight going from Mel ✈️ Madrid 🚆 Barcelona ✈️ Manchester 🚌 London 🚆 Paris ✈️ Venice 🚆 Maranello 🚆 Pisa 🚆 Rome ✈️ Mel. This is definitely going to be interesting! We booked our Trains in Spain (Renfe) and Italy (Trenitalia) in January/February and got really cheap early bird fares! They usually open 120 days prior to your travel dates. However Virgin Trains and EuroStar opens 90 days in advance! We missed out on Virgin Trains as Manchester – London earlybird train fares was sold out pretty quickly. I guess it was due to the soccer match that weekend! Of course everyone will be rushing to get £15 tickets as compared to £80.60! Oh wells!

I highly recommend the app/website GoEuro to get the cheapest transportation fares in UK and Europe! And what i did was to go on the train/airline/bus website and book it directly. If you book it from GoEuro, you couldn’t choose your seats. We learnt it the hard way! Let’s see if we can negotiate with the train conductor if we can swap seats! lol

Seat 61 will be another website you would want to bookmark! A guide to travelling around Europe/UK (worldwide actually!) by train, including how to buy cheap train tickets! A site worth to visit! Another site worth looking at is Mozio it helps you with Airport transfers! Going to and from Airports is a breeze with Mozio, I’ve got quotes from quite a number of Operators (Cheapest, €65) for my transport from Kyriad Disneyland Hotel to Paris Orly Airport early morning. So far Mozio has been the cheapest (€51). The same for our Madrid Airport to AirBNB apartment in Madrid City. Taxi Fares are €30. At Mozio, I am paying about €21. Well, we shall see how reliable they are in a few days!

Once we got the transportation settled, we started looking at hotels/airbnb! Our budget for accommodations are $100 a day maximum! Alhamdulillah we manage to keep it all under budget! Besides AirBNB, We looked at Hotels combined, Trivago and Expedia. If you found any accommodations listed cheaper (on the sites) as compared to Expedia, they will be able to price match and in return put $50 forward to your next hotel booking! I did that for a couple hotels and its worth it! For hotels in Spain and Italy, you are better off booking directly through the hotel as they do more discounts/freebies as compared to the websites above! Usually, you’ll pay for the rooms upon checkout! So its pretty great! I reckon!

YouMeEurope