Day 29 – Zagreb

Posted on July 25, 2017

The storm, it’s coming.

A chill day today. In the morning, the others went out shopping while I caught up on yesterday’s blog post/photos and watched latest GoT episode. Then we met up for lunch at the Italian place we went to a couple days ago. I had some lasagne and chocolate mousse for dessert.

From there, we walked around the main square a while, stopped for a coffee at a cafe, before resting back at the hotel. Later in the afternoon we headed back out to go to the Zagreb Eye (observation deck) and see the panoramic views of the city from up high.

It was karaoke night, so the scenic views were accompanied by some terrible singers, but still enjoyable nonetheless. We had a drink, looked out over the city and took some photos.

A storm was rolling in though, so the others were panicking and we left soon after sunset so we could make it back to the hotel before it hit. We almost went back to that Japanese restaurant for a bit of food/dessert, but it was full, so we just called it a night, and made it back as it started raining.

Not a whole lot of excitement today, but a nice relaxing way to finish our trip and say goodbye to Zagreb. We leave for the airport tomorrow at 12pm, so we can take it easy in the morning. From there, a bit of a wait for our flight at 3-ish (which is an eight hour flight?), followed by a ten hour wait in Dubai, followed by another fourteen hour flight… feelsbadman.

Overall, not a bad holiday. In fact, I would go as far as to say it was a good holiday.

Day 19 – Paris

Posted on July 18, 2014

Une baguette, avec du fromage.

Today was a big day. It started with an early rise at about 7:30am (unheard of here…) so we could get to the Eiffel Tower early and not have to wait in line to go to the top. We got ready and left a bit after 8:00am.

By the time we got there (we walked), it was 9:00am. It opens at 9:00am so we thought that would work out perfectly. Turns out everyone gets there early. The line up was pretty big and took us about an hour of waiting before we got in.

When we finally did though, we took the lift up to the second floor (the first was just a restaurant and other nonsense). From there we had a great clear 360 view of Paris and we looked around briefly. We quickly went to the other lift though to take us right to the top (had to pay extra for that). It was worth it when we got up there though.

We’ve seen a few cities from high viewpoints on our trip so far and this was one of the best. It was quite crowded at times and hard navigate around, but tolerable. It’s great to a see a city from that kind of view, since you normally wouldn’t see most of it and you get to appreciate it as a whole.

A view of Paris.

As usual, I took many, many photos, but will only upload a few.

After much gazing, we left the Eiffel Tower (which took almost an hour itself) and started walking back in the direction of our apartment to find a restaurant for lunch. We soon found one and ate. By this point I should mention that it was at a minimum 30 degrees, and only got worse as the day went on.

We had our lunch (and many bottles of water) and just sat in the protective shade of the restaurant for a while. We also got some dessert from there. Crepes with chocolate sauce.



After our meal (and paying the ridiculous prices), we walked back along the path we traversed yesterday, through the gardens. This time we stopped on the way at the Orangerie, to look at the artworks inside.

My favourite thing about that place was the air-conditioning. These weren’t bad either:

Monet's Water Lillies.

Monet’s Water Lillies.

A series of numerous paintings of Monet’s flower garden. The style they’re painted in is quite soft and flowing so it’s especially hard to see the detail and make out everything in a photo, but looking at them is quite remarkable. The longer you look, the more detail you notice and the greater appreciation you have. There were about six of these massive paintings, but photos weren’t allowed (no idea why), so could only sneak this one.

There were some other interesting artworks to see here as well. Here’s a few photos.

After leaving the Orangerie, we continued on our path heading back to our apartment, getting hotter and more dehydrated by the second. We finally made it to the Louvre, signalling that we only had about ten minutes left. But then we noticed the line… it was virtually non-existent. By this point it was about 4:00pm, and the Louvre closed at 5:30pm.

We had to make a difficult decision; do we go in and spend only an hour and a half in there, but not line up at all, or do we try to come back another day and risk a big line up?

We decided to go in and try to see as much as possible before they closed. The problem with the Louvre is it’s huge. It would probably take an hour or two to walk through if you weren’t looking at anything and just trying to travel from one side to the other. Nonetheless, we did our best and went in to see what we could.

Of course most famously the Louvre is where the Mona Lisa is, so we thought we’d see that first. Turns out even that late in the day there are a lot of people who want to see it. Here’s a photo I took trying to show the crowd around it. I can imagine the entire room would be full at peak time.

The crowd at the Mona Lisa.

The crowd at the Mona Lisa.

I did manage to get a somewhat decent photo of it after a while of scrambling and waiting. I have included it in the gallery below, as well as other photos I took of some of the amazing artworks we saw.

After the Louvre closed, we headed home, stopping to get some supplies from the supermarket. By the time we got back, it was after 6:00pm, bringing an end to a ten hour mega-day.

Even as I write this now (about 10:30pm), it’s in the mid-twenty degrees outside. Even inside with the air-conditioning, it’s quite warm.

I complain, but it’s still preferable to miserable rainy weather. But until it starts raining, I’ll keep complaining.

Day 16 – Paris

Posted on July 15, 2014

I am French! Can’t you tell by my outrageous accent you silly king!

Today we travelled from Venice to Paris. I will spare you the mind-numbing details, but suffice to say we arrived at our apartment in Paris at about 5:30pm. After settling in, we got some dinner as we hadn’t eaten since breakfast.

We found a nice restaurant and got some steak. It had been a while since we’d eaten steak (two weeks of pizza, pasta and lasange), so it was nice to have a change. It was quite nice too.

We then rested back at the apartment for a bit and got ready to go back out and walk around. It turns out we arrived on Bastille Day which is pretty cool, though we missed a lot of the events (like the main parade). We did however go to see the fireworks display at the Eiffel Tower.

It was very crowded. Everywhere. There were people covering every inch of the streets around that area, awaiting the fireworks at 11pm. Here are a few photos from the walk there and while waiting for them to start.

It only just got dark at 11 and soon after the fireworks began. They went for about 40 minutes.

They were pretty cool, though as with all fireworks, you kind of get over it after a while. I took a couple of hundred photos, though it was near impossible to get a clear shot without peoples heads or hands in the way. Here are some though.

It’s now 1am and time for sleep. This apartment is quite nice too, so our stay should be very comfortable. Overall, we had a great start to our stay in Paris and we were quite lucky to arrive on the 14th of July.

Day 10 – Tuscany Tour

Posted on July 9, 2014

Siena, San Gimingnano and Pisa, oh my!

Wow, this was the biggest day yet. We booked a Tuscany Tour which took us by bus from Florence to Siena, San Gimingnano and Pisa. It was really nice to see more of the countryside and landscapes after being in cities for so long.

The day started very early (up before 7) as we got ready and made our way to the meeting point for the tour. Once checked in, we boarded the bus and shortly after began our journey.


One thing that was really nice going on this tour (as opposed to just going to places unguided) was the information they tell you about the locations. The history and the culture is all well-explained and it makes the sites more interesting and exciting.

Our first destination was Siena, which was a little over an hour away from Florence. It’s a fairly small city and has some really interesting history and traditions (I won’t bother recounting it here – look it up if you want).

When we arrived, we were shown through the city and given a guided tour of the main church. First, the oldest bank in the world.

The oldest bank in the world.

The oldest bank in the world.

Next we walked to the main city square where the massive horse race (Palio) is held twice a year. An interesting tradition.

Piazza del Campo.

Lastly, we stopped at the main church and took a look around and inside. Another huge and interesting church (Italy has a lot of these). Here’s a few photos.

Fattoria Poggio Alloro

After Siena, we headed to a farm just outside of San Gimignano to look around and have some lunch made from the fresh organic ingredients they produce. It was a huge farm and had a great view of the countryside and of our next destination, San Gimignano.

We were shown where they collect and make their wine, as well as the cows they breed for meat. After a quick look around, we sat down for a nice lunch of breads, pasta, salad and cheese.

San Gimignano

It was only a 10 minute drive from the farm to the city. Unfortunately we didn’t have too long there, but it’s a fairly small city so there isn’t too much to see.

They do have the “worlds best gelato” though, so we had to give that a try. I wouldn’t call it the best, but it was very good. We wanted to climb the town hall tower (tallest in the city) and see the 360 view of the area but the line was taking too long and we had to get back to the bus and move on. A little disappointing. We did start a new game though. It’s “Where’s Wally?”, except with Adam.


Our last stop on the tour was Pisa. We had an hour to look around there and again were hoping to climb the Leaning Tower but it was sold out (apparently you should pre-book). Instead we just looked around at the tower and the church in the area.

At one point shortly before we left, I saw someone who looked a lot like Glen Hansard. So I said to Adam, “Hey look, it’s Glen Hansard”. When he got closer, we noticed it was Glen Hansard.

First of all, that’s awesome. Second of all, that’s ridiculous; what are the odds of that? We were only in Pisa for an hour or so and he just happened to be walking down the street. We didn’t want to bother him, so just said we enjoyed his Brisbane show (which incidentally you can read about here). It was a nice way to end the day.

From there we simply headed back to Florence and to our apartment, stopping for dinner on the way. I had a chicken burger if you’d like to know – nice to have a change from the constant pizza and pasta (not that I’m sick of it, it’s just nice to have some chicken).