Iceland – Europe – 2014 – Day 16 & 17

112014

We drove back East towards Vik and the area we drove the day before. The fog got really thick that the car behind was tail gating so close and you just couldn’t see in front of you. We were literally driving through the clouds for a bit.

3-4 hour drive from our place to Skaftafell. We arrived at 
Skaftafellsjokull at 1245PM as Ricky sped. Good thing the GPS tells you when a speed trap appears as we were going 140KM in a 90KM highway (so lucky we didn’t get caught). We walked Skaftafell – Vatnajökull National Park Iceland – Skaftafell glacier which in total was a 4KM walk. Ricky climbed on a glacier and got to a point where he had turn back or we might not have seen him again. It’s surreal out there. We drove back to Vik and ate at Halldorskaffi again. I had the 9 inch tramp pizza which was Icelandic cheese, ham and pineapple for 1800kr. The dairy here is so fresh and so good. Ricky continued the drive back which seemed a little gruelling. We went for hot dogs at Bæjarins Beztu and that is a must for anyone who visits. It’s the cheapest food you could purchase in Iceland and is so good and that is probably because unlike the hot dogs back home, these ones are made of lamb making them more flavourful. It’s only 380kr and you need to try it with everything on it. There is one stall open late by the fish market restaurant in downtown Reykjavik.

I enjoyed going to Skaftafell but would it have been worth it to have done geysir, gullfoss and hekla today instead? It was such a drive and I commend Ricky fit driving the whole thing.

NOTE- Better to book multiple locations for accommodation around the island so you don’t waste time back tracking and driving.

112114

9 degrees celsius out. We booked Blue Lagoon and did the experience premium for 92 Euro that includes visitor entry, blue lagoon entry, slippers, robe, towel, meal at lava restaurant (or other option is a massage) plus a skin care trial pack and algae mask.

We arrived to only two coach buses and a few cars so it actually wasn’t too packed. They give you a wristband that acts as your locker lock, credit and whatnot. It opens and closes your locker with a simple tap. It was raining a bit and was quite windy. The water is heated by the power plant. It’s a milky blue water with steam. We got in and in the far left corner there are bins where you can get the silicone mud masks. You scoop it out and smear it on your face and leave for 10-15 minutes. As part of the package we received, we also grabbed a drink from the water bar and i choose a nice gull lager. We also have as part or package the algae mask which is frozen and you activate in by dunking it in the water then rubbing your face with it. The water is very easy to float in but it’s chilly when you step out. There is also a waterfall as well as a steam and sauna room. They also offered massage service in the water. We stayed in for about two hours before we went for lunch at their restaurant. The restaurant is called Lava and our package included the set menu of two courses or you can opt to add at additional cost. I got the Icelandic menu which had torched salmon with apple, horseradish, smoked onion and watercress. The main, I got was the fried rack of lamb and shoulder with sun artichoke, grapes, almonds, pickled red onion and chives. This meal would have been 5100kr outside of our package deal. This meal was phenomenal.

We showered and drove back to our Airbnb to await our host’s brother again to drop us off at the airport for our flight back home to Toronto.

To end off, Prague was the best city because it was perfect weather, cheap but good quality and quantity for food. I regret not going to La Degustation Boheme for that 6-10 course meal. Zurich was beautiful and I would love to live there. But the best day of the entire trip was probably first full day in Iceland – Driving, waterfall, waterfall, glacier, lamb sandwich and 6 course meal.

Iceland – Europe – 2014 – Day 15

111914

Woke up at 630AM and made breakfast before heading out. $7 eggs (aiya) but the Skyr was interesting. it’s actually a soft cheese with texture in between yogurt and cream cheese; I got Apple. We hopped into the car and it was still dark out Around 9AM, the sun started to rise and it was magnificent. There is only one highway – Hwy 1 that goes around entire island.

Our first stop off the day was Seljalandsfoss, which is the waterfall you can walk behind. It was an awesome experience and we were midway through before we saw the first signs of tour buses. Next stop was to Eyjafjallajökull volcano which after visiting the centre were told that we can’t access the volcano because there are huge craters. The last time this volcano erupted was 2010. She did say however that when it is around Easter time, when the snow falls then you are most able to access it. Or if we had a really good car and drove the North Eest or North East points, we can access via glaciers.

Skogafoss falls was out next destination. A hike to the top was well worth it but I do recommend proper shoes as it’s muddy. Once you reach the top, climb over the ladder and continue down. If you are adventurous, venture down towards the water. A 10 minute drive East, you can goto Solheimajokull glaciers if you follow an unpaved path in. It’s black sand beaches but there is a sign that said you should not pass… We did. We climbed, jumped and ran through the sand, rocks and glaciers and found a small stream that we all drank from. Too bad we all left our water bottles back the car. As we were leaving around 1PM, the sun was perfect – golden light if i say so myself or at least perfect lighting. NOTE- the sun rises around 930AM and it’s dark by 430PM and rainy/foggy this time year in Iceland. But strange thing is its not pitch black but rather the skies are very dark with an actual sunset. Average temperature is 8 degrees.

We drove towards the town of Vik and had lunch at this little restaurant in a hotel called Halldorskaffi (Víkurbraut, Vík) which has great reviews. They only served everything made from Iceland and it’s land. I got the lamb sandwich 2000isk with fries and it was absolutely delicious and juicy. I also got the homemade ice cream made from a farm in Myrdalur for 1400isk and could definitely taste the freshness of the dairy.

After lunch we drove about 10 minutes away to Reynisfjara beach and cliffs. It’s surreal there. Black sand beach, gnarly waves, caves with rocks that are edged but have corners similar to what people have imagined at the fortress of solitude in Superman or Game of Thrones. There is one side that looks like pillars that can be climbed. If you look up on the mountain, you can see sheep just hanging up there. Across the waters, it’s Iceland’s largest lighthouse but no one is allowed to that island as its a bird sanctuary.

We went to Fish Market – Fiskmarkadurinn (‪Adalstraeti 12, Reykjavik) for dinner and got the tasting menu which was 9900isk – $99CAD. The menu went like this: Tempura Rock shrimp with melon and wakame salad. Whale with horse raddish cream and berries – smoky. Langoustine shrimp with edamame puree and cauliflower. Icelandic mussels in lobster broth with Seward base with seaweed tea. Scallop nigiri and volcano maki with lobster tail. Lightly Salted cod with celery and cranberries with potato puree. Grilled salmon with fennel and Apple chutney with crispy lotus root. Icelandic lamb with beets and mushrooms. Cheesecake, chocolate molten lava with raspberry licorice sauce, passion fruit, strawberry, raspberry, coconut ice cream.

Amsterdam – Iceland – Europe – 2014 – Day 14

111814

Grabbed a quick breakfast at Caffe Belmondo by Zuid station and hopped on the train to Schiphol airport – 2,60 euro. Very quick subway ride. Icelandair offers 1 free check-in baggage on arrival; two on the departure flight. After we checked in, we had to walk 20-30 minutes to get to our gate. Along the way, they have little area such the forest park where there are charging stations that you physically bike in order to charge your phone as well as a huge comfy communal sofa seating area and an outdoor terrace. The weather was perfect the day we left Amsterdam which sucked but at least we missed the flash floods happening in Italy.

I used the bank machine when we arrived at the airport and got 20000kr which is equivalent to $186CAD. Our Airbnb host’s brother picked us up and brought us to our accommodations. 8000kr each way for all 4. We are renting their Lexus for $55CAD/day. Our Airbnb was about 10-15 minute drive outside of Reykjavik. Ricky is our driver this trip. For dinner we went to Snaps ‪(horsgata 1 | ‪Odinstorg, Reykjavik ‪101) for dinner. I got Kir Royal 1200kr and Baccala Provincial which is salted cod with tomato sauce and fingerling potatoes 4100kr. We then ventured to a nearby grocery store – Hagkaup to grab food for breakfast. The hotdog stand unfortunately was closed by the time we arrived. There aren’t any traffic lights but roundabouts instead.

Netto, Bonus and Hagkaup are the cheap grocery stores, a few stay opened late. Gas is expensive with the lowest being 95 octane at 227.9. No need to tip but if service is good then you can leave a tip of 5-10%. There aren’t many trees here as it’s very windy. The water is so good here that you can drink from the tap BUT if you use hot water, it will smell of sulphur. The staple vegetable here is the potato. After the collapse in 2009 when importing was too expensive and difficult to get, they had to live off the land and cultivate what naturally is provided such of lamb and potatoes which makes for great tasting dairy and lamb (all grass fed).

NOTE:

-To see the aurora borealis – You need it to be really cold and a crisp night where there are no clouds to catch the northern lights.

-When opening a car door; hold the door as the winds will pull it open

-DO NOT SPEED IN ICELAND – IF CAUGHT; WORLD’S MOST EXPENSIVE SPEEDING TICKET

Amsterdam – Netherlands – Europe – 2014 – Day 11-13

111514

The train ride went smoothly but alas it was also raining in Amsterdam upon arrival. The office for tourism was closed so we couldn’t pick up a iamsterdam card for our next two days. We did get a 1 hour ticket for 2,80 euro and hopped on the 13 and got off at the end of the line. About a 20-30 minute tram ride. The tickets are magnetic striped and you need to tap it to get on and off. We are staying at an Airbnb that is pretty big but a little far from everything. We were all starving so we went to the local grocery store Albert Heijn to grab things for breakfast and then saw that there was one restaurant still open. We had Turkish food at Hunkar restaurant (Lambertus Zijlplein, Amsterdam) where the waiter didn’t really understand English so we got the hunkar special plus a Turkish pizza.

Got back and we planned the next day and did laundry. I was about to shower after Ricky who said the shower took a while to drain. I hopped in and turned on the shower to see the drain was backed up and brown and black clumps came up from the drain. The neighbor Victor from below came up to complain about the leaking in his apartment coming from our unit as its the fourth time this week. Good thing about Airbnb is that you can contact the host whenever you need them. Our host was very responsive.

111614

We made sunny side up eggs with bacon and hagelslag which is a Dutch breakfast staple of a slice bread with butter and chocolate sprinkles or flakes. We took the tram back to central to pick up the iamsterdam 48hr city cards which grants us 48 hours unlimited travel as well as admission to certain places and discounts for others. The first thing we did since it wasn’t raining was the canal cruise that took an hour. From there we wandered a bit before hopping onto a tram to Stedelijk Museum which is similar to MOMA.

We caught a late lunch/early dinner at Pompa (Willemsparkweg 6 1071 HD Amsterdam) where I had the fish and chips (14 euro) and a cassis juice (2 euro). The fish was so fresh and the chips were tasty too however took forever to get the table. We went down the street to the iamsterdam sign then hopped back on the tram and venturing the streets and into the red light district. When we originally walked through the red light district it was too early for the prostitutes to be working the windows. We settled for Chipsy King and grabbed a large frites with Belgian mayonnaise. Around 10PM, we went back to the red light and the prostitutes were in full swing working their windows. Prostitution is legal here. For a transaction to go through, the person chooses which woman they want and then open their door. They come to an agreement on what they want and from there pay and finish the transaction. Originally, Aaron wanted Vlaamse Frites but we couldn’t find it until later on and we obviously had to try it.

When we got back to the apartment, Victor the downstairs neighbour had updated us on the status of the apartment and the leaking. There must be a pipe underneath the flooring that had burst because when you step, you can feel how squishy it was and it was the whole apartment. I thought it was the design but each the wood floor paneling has dark marks the edges which is actually water damage. The host whose apartment we rented gave us a full refund as we need to find a new accommodation.

We booked Citizen M for the following night.

111714

We had bought groceries for all three morning so we ended up eating two days worth 14 eggs, bacon and sausage. Then off we went.

Switched over to Citizen M hotel (Prinses Irenestraat 30, 1077 WX Amsterdam) where it’s similar to a capsule hotel but washroom ensuite. It’s tight quarters and no privacy if you are sharing. There is a curtain and cylinder doors to use the toilet or the waterfall shower. We took the 51 train from Guid station and headed over to central and walked to the Library where it has a panoramic view over the harbour. On our way over, the street in front of Central Station was closed off for their Santa Claus parade. Their culture features a blackfaced character. We stopped by the restaurant on the main floor of the Library called Vapiano (Oosterdokskade 145, 1011 DL) where you get a card in the beginning and goto whichever station and tap it. Amsterdam is very tap oriented technology as our bus pass and room key are also tap technology.

After lunch we went across the bridge and went Science Center Nemo. Very kid oriented but interesting to say the least. I prefer Exploratorium in San Francisco much better. It was raining and cold outside so we went back to Citizen M. Mimi and myself watched two movies in the room while the boys took naps. We took the 5 tram back to Chinatown where we ate  at A Fusion (Zeedijk 130, 1012 BC ) run by Cantonese/Dutch/English speaking people. Pineapple fried rice, lamb in black pepper sauce, seafood curry and bubble tea in total around 92 euros.

Prague – Paris – Amsterdam – Europe – 2014 – Day 9 & 10

111314

We went to La Bottega di Finestra (Platnéřská 89/11 110 00 Praha-Staré Město) for lunch. It also serves as a small grocery shop as well a cafe. We got there after breakfast time but we’re still able to get the eggs Benedict. I also got the hot chocolate with chili flakes and the chocolate before you add the flakes was intense and dark. We also grabbed dessert. I went for the millieu flaky and creamy. In total 395kc. Mimi and myself split from the boys and went for a walk ourselves and did a round of the Jewish quarters (Josefov) which technically we walked our first night. We saw through a little peek hole in the door the Jewish cemetery.

Returning to the apartment, we packed and off we went to Mustek station right down the street from us and took the bus to Dejankiv station to board a bus to take us to the airport. 32kc. I came into Prague changing $200USD but got screwed by the exchange booth so technically i had $140USD worth of cash for this leg the trip and left with $5. So strange to think I’ve spent so much but realistically i didn’t.

I regret not going to la degustation du boheme in Prague where it would have been maybe $80 for a 6 course meal which on the Michelin list ranked of the best.

Air France flight was quick. We grabbed the RER B to Gare du Nord station where our hostel for the night was. We booked Smart Place but when we got there, they said we had been upgraded to another hotel just down the street called Vintage Hostel – seemed like a downgrade to be honest. Since we technically didn’t book directly to Vintage, they wouldn’t give us free towels and also the carpet in our room was coming up that we couldn’t open or close the door properly without a little bit of elbow grease.

111414 – Paris – Amsterdam

I woke up early and watched a partial sunrise from the balcony before heading down to the lobby for free breakfast with Mimi. We packed our things and stored our bags at the luggage storage at Gare du Nord. You have to get it scanned first before you can put it into the lockers. 9,50 euro. A rainy day in Paris but we walked the streets. Headed over to Sacre Coeur to see the view from above and tried to find Montmartre cemetery but failed so we walked down to the shopping district to Galleries du Lafayette and onto the main street with high end stores such as E Guyard, Chanel, and Colette. We ate in the Water Bar in the basement of Colette which was Batman comic themed. I had the cheeseburger and a small juice. On the main floor, I purchased a surprise bag for 20 euro. It’s filled with fun things but geared towards kids. We wandered the streets some more before we walked back to the train station and boarded a train enroute to Amsterdam.

Prague – Czech Republic – Europe – 2014 – Day 7 & 8

111114

We walked over to Charles bridge area and walked along the river as its a better view the bridge. We continued on to the John Lennon wall and part of Kampa Park with strange sculptures – we should’ve went back to finish. We had lunch at Bistro De France where we all had the set menu. Squash soup, salad, Quiche Lorraine (they had the Croquemonsier) and a fresh vanilla creme brulee for 249KC. We continued walking and decided to walk through this park with a steep incline to Petrin Tower to go above and peer over the city. Such a tiring walk up after a heavy meal. 120KC to climb. There are two levels to the tower and the view is beautiful. From outside, it’s similar but a smaller version of the Eiffel tower. After we descended, we continued onward to Prague castle. The area was beautiful but while we were there we were unsure if we actually made it to the castle. We actually made it to Schwarzenberg Palace / Lobkowicz Palace instead of the castle. We then walked down on the west side of Charles bridge down to Vitezna to Cafe Savoy (Vítězná 124/5 150 00 Praha 5) which was only suppose to be a light snack which ended up being a full meal. The interior features original finishing and is gorgeous. I got the baked ham brioche with gruyere cheese and poached egg 168 czk as well as the Dessert hot chocolate savoy 85 czk.

We all took a nap when we returned home.  We got up around 7-8PM and ate at Pho Vietnam (Anglická, 120 00 Praha 2, Czech Republic) for a late dinner which is this cafeteria style restaurant where you order and pay at the front. Fresh spring roll 30kc and chicken soup 99kc. We wanted dessert and walked to Cafe Lovre (Národní 22 110 00 Praha 1). Cafe Lovre has been opened since 1902 and Albert Einstein was once a patron. I had the homemade lime and pistachio ice cream that was delicious and only 16kc each. The walk home was very quiet minus seeing old Japanese business men going to the sexy sauna.

 

111214

Since we ended early yesterday, they wanted to sleep in today. Walked over to Cafe Lovre for lunch. I had the pork tenderloin with potato dumplings and fresh orange juice with strawberries 199 & 62kc. We sat in the smoking section, which still boggles my mind as I’ve been spoiled by Toronto and no smoking indoors regulations. We walked over to Havelska Trznice an outdoor market and then walked to Prazska Trznice the biggest outdoor market run by Vietnamese stalls of well useless tourist stuff such as pepper spray, ninja stars, tasers, bags, and clothes. Havelska Trznice was much better and well worth the visit over Prazska Trznice.

For a late dinner, we went to Kolkovna Savarin where I had the goose leg, a small mixed light dark lager and ice cream which was homemade with real chunks of everything in each the strawberry, chocolate and vanilla butterscotch? For 321kc.

Milan – Zurich – Prague – Europe – 2014 – Day 4-6

110914

We walked to Zara station to head back to Central to catch our train to Zurich.

We grabbed a little snack at the station from Bistrot Centrale before boarding our train since we got there a bit early. Crema croissant and a fruit shake (frullati – frullato misto)- 6.50 Euro. We took the Trenitalia train to Zurich but they have tickets where the seating is 3 & 3 but luckily train wasn’t full so Mimi and myself shifted to the empty seats. When we finally arrived, we exchanged some of our Euros for Franc coins and stored our luggage. We then walked the town with a walking tour map. Walked all over and in total, walked 12KM before heading back the station for dinner. Pretty much everything is closed on Sundays. We ended up at Brasserie Federal for dinner and I got the Muotatatler delicious which is Air dried beef, raw ham and bacon which really meant a huge slab smoked ham with potato salad and came with tubes of different mustard. 19,80 francs. NOTE – You can pay in euro /francs but will receive francs for change.

NOTE – Zurich, Switzerland is one of the cleanest cities that you could drink the water straight from the hundreds of beautiful water fountains all over.

We finished eating and walked over to the train board to see no status of our train so we lined up at the check-in desk to see if we needed to get printed tickets but were told that our train wasn’t running as Germany went strike. We went next door to customer service where we waited for a bit and luckily Sandra Buchanan saved us. Apparently this is the third strike Germany had done and it’s usually without warning. Sandra was able to find us an alternate route that left the same night but our route leaves to Salzburg on a sleeper train in which we transfer from Salzburg to Munich then to a bus from Munich to Prague that get to Prague only hours later. Such a complicated journey than expected. Should’ve just booked a plane ticket for 25-50 Euro from the beginning. We ended up wasting time at MacDonalds.

I’ve noticed over here, it is so common for couples to display PDA whether it be hugging, holding one another, sitting on each other’s laps to making out. It’s different. More carefree.

We got into the sleeper train from Zurich Hauptbahnhof to head over to Salzburg.  From Salzburg, we will connect to another train in Munich then a bus from Munich to Prague.

The sleeper train are segregated into small rooms with 6 chairs that can recline all the way down. At the beginning, we had the 4 of us plus one lady then the remainder of the ride had a full 6 with one girl beside me who tiny enough to curl up a ball and sleep perfectly. The train filled with soldiers from the Military who were going home so it was loud as they were celebrating. Definitely not a restful sleep at all. We had to change trains at 430AM but luckily we made it on time and the next train was on the platform next to us. We also took a 6 person sleeper train and had a somewhat restful sleeping moment with only two hours on this train and no one joining us. If we kept sleeping, we could’ve missed our stop and ended up in Budapest but Ricky was awake the whole time.

We arrived at Munchen station in Munich and found glorious food. We ate from Rischart bakery where I paid 3,70 Euro for a pretzel with cream cheese and chives in it (breze). Delicious. We then had to walk out of the train station about 10 minutes over to ZOB which is their Train station with a waiting area upstairs with shops and stores. We got into the DB Bahn Icb double decker bus similar to Megabus. I think this ride was probably the most restful of sleep for all. Plus there was free WiFi! Everywhere else you need to send your mobile number and receive an sms code to use it and for people not using data, it’s impossible to receive it unless you get online.  First world problems I know but how did we survive before this? When I did get internet access I received an email about the delay of the original train…

111014

NOTE – just take money out of the bank (Debit) as the exchange places rip you off. I learnt the hard way. The rate I exchanged at, I already lost $50.

We stayed in an Airbnb in Prague 1 district. We were greeted by Akan who is this lovely Turkish French man who works the medical industry. The apartment itself is astounding. It smells amazing and the look and feel one ups the Milano apartment. It’s a safe street that has a police station beside the sexy sauna. It’s a one way and cars aren’t allowed in after a certain time. It features the original wooden doors and locks but modernized. The kitchen is beautiful however we most likely won’t use it. There are two huge bedrooms plus a living room which Ricky claimed. The toilet and shower are in separate rooms. I could live here.

If you haven’t joined and booked with Airbnb yet, follow the link and get credits for your first booking. www.airbnb.ca/c/ruu

We finally had a chance to shower and freshen up then we finally left the apartment at 4PM. The sun was actually already setting. We walked down to the main street which led us the old city buildings. We walked around and went to dinner at V Kolkovne (8 – 110 00 Praha 1-Staré Město, Czech Republic) in the Jewish quarter that is on the Michelin star list and it was amazing for traditional Czech German dishes. I got the goulash soup, pork hock and the mixed light and dark lager which in the end cost 400cCZ which is approximately $20CAD or under. We walked in the square/old town city hall area. We pretty much walked everywhere the Prague 1 area. Average temperature this time of year was 9 degrees throughout the day. They also are allowed to smoke indoors at bars still. Everyone speaks English here so there is much better communication than Milan.

Milan – Italy – Europe – 2014 – Day 3

110814

We left around 9AM and went to Piazza del Duomo; one of the popular tourist attractions. The inside wasn’t anything too special but we truly came for the Tower terrace which was 7 euros to climb up stairs. So beautiful and it wasn’t too busy when we were heading up. So much detail put into this cathedral but the top the view is spectacular at least the side of it as the other side was under construction. When we got down, the line was much larger than when we arrived.

Beside the Duomo is a very high-end mall called Vittorio Emmanuele II that looked spectacular. We just kept walking around into a pedestrian only zone trying to find this calzone place Aaron’s friend had recommended but no luck. We ended up on Via Alla Porta / Via Magenta area and had lunch at Osteria al 29 Pizzeria (Corso Magenta, 29, 20123 Milano). I got a coke and gnocchi Stran-something for 7 Euro – 16.50 euros in total. We wanted to walk to Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio which is right beside a Catholic university. We ended up touring the university and it’s courtyard. We couldn’t find a way out of the church instead made it into the churches courtyard to find it was closed. We continued to walk to San Lorenzo. We continued walking down this one street which led us to the border of Chinatown and Navigli (area with canals). The Navigli area was under construction for the world expo and the other part had low water. There were little booths like the swap meet in Hawaii or the night markets back home.

For dinner, we wanted to goto Giacomo which was 30-40 minutes away but was a little too pricey for our budget. We looked for other options and decided on Da Oscar which was at Porta Venezia station on the S1 line. We walked there only to be told that their night was fully booked so we sauntered over to Osteria Luna Piena (Via Lazzaro Palazzi, 9, 20124 Milano) owned by Pepperino – a movie director turned chef. The food was good but service took forever. We got a prosciutto dish to start and Aaron, Ricky and myself all got the troccolli alla marinara con tagliatta di seppioline de gambero – cuttlefish and shrimp pasta and I got this weird chocolate and ammaretto shot – mandorlino which was too chocolatey for me. 20.50 Euro. Very slow service even with a bell to get their attentions.

From there, we hopped back on the train line to Garibaldi and walked to Il Massimo del gelato in Chinatown area (Via Lodovico Castelvetro, 18, 20154 Milano MI, Italy) for the best gelato town according to the internet. 5.60 Euro for two cones with two flavors. I got cachi – they said it was Italy’s national fruit (similar to persimmons) something which tastes like a tropical fruit i can’t put my finger on. We walked 21KM this day. It’s been a constant 12 degrees celsius for majority of the time we’ve been here.

Milan – Italy – Europe – 2014 – Day 1 & 2

110614

The flight deal we found was so amazing. $177USD for a one way from New York to Milan, you have a week to get to Prague. From Prague, you fly to Paris then Paris to Hong Kong. We adjusted and went to Amsterdam and then a layover in Iceland before returning to Toronto. We (Ricky & myself) flew Air Canada to New York then flew onward to Milan with Alitalia Airlines. They have a camera attached to the outside of the plane so you can watch the takeoff and landing. Mimi and Aaron purchased the same deal but their flight was about an hour or two ahead of us.

 

110714

Landed with ease and on time in Milan. The customs was so fast as they just stamped and let us through. Mimi met us at the exit and finally we were together to start this two week epic trip. We went downstairs and bought train tickets to Garibaldi station (12 euros ea). The train ended at Milano then we had to go underground to take the metro two stops.

We bought a 48HR pass for 8.50 Euro. Some guy tried to jip me off by pressing all the buttons and claiming my change from a 10 as tip. I got my money back. We hopped on the train two stops to Garibaldi and walked to our home for the next two nights. We booked an Airbnb. Once settled in, we started our day with food at Piazza Fidia just on the corner and shared two pizzas – one with prosciutto and one with ham. Each pizza was 7 Euro each; thin crust. We walked over to Corso Como and went to 10 Corso Como (Corso Como, 10, 20154 Milano) which is this high end boutique that also has stores in Japan & China. We walked around a bit more and found ourselves in the Brera area that is very hip. I love the old architecture and how it’s been repurposed but mainly love the window shutters here whether it be a wooden sliding panel or old metal grand where length can be adjusted but also curved out.

We then made our way to Eataly (Piazza XXV Aprile, 10, 20124 Milano) for dinner and shared a calamari 13.95 Euro and I personally got the fish and chips which literally meant fresh fish deep fried with light batter and homemade chips with tartar. We did some grocery shopping as well as grabbing some gelato which is a must in Italy. In-store they had Lait Gelateria Alpine for gelato. A small cone with two flavours only 2 Euro! I had the fresh milk gelato and pistachio and man so flavourful and fresh. It just tastes better.

If you haven’t joined and booked with Airbnb yet, follow the link and get credits for your first booking. www.airbnb.ca/c/ruu

Itinerary – Europe – 2014

1106-2014 Europe – Milan, Zurich, (enroute via Salzburg & Munich) Prague, Paris, Amsterdam, Iceland

 

My friends (Mimi, Ricky & Aaron) found the crazy one-way flight deal for $177USD (From New York-Milan; a week to get to Prague-Paris-Hong Kong). We did however alter it so we would goto Amsterdam and then a layover in Iceland before returning back to Toronto. In total, we travelled for 2 weeks.

If you haven’t joined and booked with Airbnb yet, follow the link and get credits for your first booking. www.airbnb.ca/c/ruu

Here is the itinerary.

 

11/06 – Toronto – New York – Milan

FLY – YYZ-JFK; JFK-MXP

 

11/07 – Milan

AIRBNB – District 13 – Milan

-Meet Mimi & Aaron at MXP Airport

-Malpensa Express train to Milan Cadorna Station

-Walk around Corso Como

-Dinner – Eataly

 

11/08 – Milan

-Piazza Del Duomo

-Lunch – Osteria al 29 Pizzeria

-Basilica di Sant’ Ambrogio

-San Lorenzo

-Chinatown & Navigli

-Dinner – Gia Como OR Da Oscar OR Osteria Luna Piena

-Chinatown – Massimo del Gelato

 

11/09 – Milan – Zurich – enroute to Prague

TRAIN (Trenitalia)– Milan – Zurich – Prague (Train went on strike) – DETOUR

-walk around Zurich

-Lunch – Brasserie Federal

TRAIN – Zurich – Salzburg – Munich (detour)

 

11/10 – Enroute to Prague

BUS – Munich – Prague (detour)

AIRBNB – Prague 1

-walk old city

-Dinner – V Kolkovne

 

11/11 – Prague

-Charles Bridge

-Kampa Park

-Lunch – Bistro De France

-John Lennon Wall

-Petrin Tower

-Midday snack – Café Savoy

-Dinner – Pho Vietnam

-Dessert – Café Louvre

 

11/12 – Prague

-Lunch – Café Lovre

-Havelske Trzsnice

-Prazska Trzsnice

-Dinner – Kolkovna Salavran

 

11/13 – Prague – Paris

FLY – PRG- CDG

-Breakfast – La Bottega Di Finestra

-walking the Jewish Quarters

TRAIN – RER – Gare Du Nord

HOSTEL – Vintage Hostel

 

11/14 – Paris – Amsterdam

TRAIN – Paris – Amsterdam

-Store luggage at Gare du Nord

-Lunch – Collette

-Sacre Coeur

-Montmartre

-Galleries du Lafayette

 

11/15 – Amsterdam

AIRBNB – Amsterdam Nieuw-West

-Dinner – Hunkar Restaurant

 

11/16 – Amsterdam

-Central Station – Pick up iamsterdam card (2 day pass)

-canal cruise (iamsterdam card)

-Stedelijk Museum

-Lunch/Dinner – Pompa

-iamsterdam sign

-Red Light District

 

11/17 – Amsterdam

HOTEL – Citizen M

-Library

-Lunch – Vapiano

-Science Centre Nemo

-Dinner – Chinatown – A Fusion

-Hartman et Hartman

 

11/18 – Amsterdam – Reykjavik, Iceland

FLY – AMS-KEF

AIRBNB – Reykjavik

-Dinner – Snaps

-grocery shop – Hagkaup

 

11/19 – Iceland

DRIVE

-Seljalandsfoss

-Skogafoss falls

-Solheimajokull glaciers

-Lunch – Halldorskaffi

-Vik

-Reynisfjara Beach

-Dinner – Fish Market – Fiskmarkadurinn

 

11/20 – Iceland

DRIVE

-Skaftafellsjokull – Skaftafell – Vatnajökull National Park Iceland

-Lunch – Halldorskaffi

-Dinner – Bæjarins Beztu

 

11/21 – Iceland – Toronto

FLY – KEF-YYZ

-Blue Lagoon

-HOMETIME

 

Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 11.21.34 AM