• Europe,  Italy

    Lago di Garda: east side

      The west side of Lago di Garda is done, it’s time for the east side. Is it better/more interesting/cooler? Spoiler alert: it is. The landscape is totally different. The road goes next to the beach and water, not high in the mountains. It feels more like a seaside. Of course if you ignore the mountains on the other shore. And the ones behind you. Unfortunately the weather forces us to change our plans and we haven’t seen much of the east side. But the things we saw… Well, I have to go back! Peschiera del Garda   Our “Italian Lakes” guidebook ignores Peschiera. Really, Lonely Planet? We went there…

  • Europe,  Italy

    Lago di Garda: west side

    Lago di Garda is 55 km long. Between 4 and 12 km wide. It covers the area of 370 km2. Why am I even bringing that up? Well, to enlighten you how big it is and how impossible it is to see everything in one day. So here’s what you should do and what we should have done. Divide it to east side and west side. Let’s start with the west side – more popular, more crowded. More interesting? We’ll see in the next post. Sirmione THE place to be, so you can expect EVERYONE there. Literally everyone. Our first attempt to visit Sirmione ended with a big escape from…

  • Europe,  Italy

    Lago di Garda

    Question: a typical holiday destination? Answer: Lago di Garda. Hesitation: what? Why? Answer: it has been a holiday destination ever since Roman times – Roman senators had their holiday homes there. Well, not really homes. Villas. Luxurious, located on hills and with stunning views. They even had spas. Seriously. Even today in Sirmione you can take a stinky, beautifying sulfide bath.   So what was after the Roman times? It’s belived that Saint Francis of Assisi established an hermitage on Isola del Garda. Now, you’ll find a private villa there. Once a week its doors open for average citizens to take a tour around it. In Sirmione, Maria Callas had…

  • Europe,  Italy

    Verona – more than Romeo and Juliet

    Verona. The city of Romeo and Juliet. Ok, we’re done with that, can I move on? Verona, a city hurt by Romeo and Juliet. A city which is so associated with this couple that no one is looking for anything else there. Poor Verona is a victim of a Shakespeare related marketing. Btw, not a bad marketing if you ask me. Juliet’s house with Juliet’s dress and Juliet’s bed and, my favourite, Juliet’s tomb. Cool, but she DIDN’T EXIST. And hundreds of people are going crazy under her balcony and are sending her letter. From what I’ve heard – she’s replying. Ok, guilty as charged, I went to Juliet’s house.…

  • Europe,  Italy

    Lago di Garda – expectations vs. reality

      Oh how I love doing this! Writing down my expectations before the trip and confronting them with reality once I’m on the trip or back at home. This time I decided to make it even more fun to everyone (I hope). There were 4 of us on our trip to Lago di Garda and around (like far away around, like 150km to the east and to the south). It took us 11,5h to get to our destination and you have to do something in the car, right? So I asked everyone to share their expectations on the way to Italy and their reality on our way back. Our plan…

  • Asia,  Vietnam

    Sa Pa: what if

    We were supposed to see rice terraces, hills, lots of green and we were supposed to walk a lot. Instead, there was lots of coffee and even more rain. We arrived in Sa Pa in the middle of the night by a sleeping bus. It was raining. We could sleep inside till 6am. At 6am it was raining a little less, but on our way to the hotel it started raining heavily. Few hours later we put on water shoes and went for a walk. Or swam. We swam for a coffee. The first coffee. Sa Pa is a typical touristic town in the mountains. Everyone goes there for trekking…

  • Asia,  Vietnam

    Postcards from the seaside: Mui Ne

    I have an issue with Mui Ne. Mui Ne is weird. A town, that stretches along the coast for 16 km and has over 100 beach resorts. Full of Russians, with Cyrillic alphabet everywhere. Kitesurfing. Fishing village. More holes than pavements. And lots and lots of sand. Postcard 1: the beach   We’re arriving in Mui Ne in the evening, after a heavy rain. The next day it’s mostly raining and there’s no electricity, but each day it’s getting better. Each day the sky is less cloudy and when clouds disappear, we miss them a bit. If there were no clouds on our first day, we would be totally fried.…

  • Asia,  Vietnam

    Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh City

    It started with an earthquake and then it only got better. Well, not literally with an earthquake, but “Southern Vietnam” chapter started with a bang. Our trip to the South started at Hanoi Airport, were we met a couple from Poland. People with whom it simply clicks. Especially when you discover that the guy took his friend and a swan-shaped pedal boat and pedaled the Vistula river from Cracow to Gdansk. It’s about 1000 km. We met them and we knew that upcoming 2 days simply couldn’t be ordinary. Few hours later we landed in Ho Chi Minh City and while waiting for our backpacks, we discovered that in a…

  • Asia,  Vietnam

    Unexpected 24h in Hoi An

    Ha Long Bay. I’m lying in the sun. In just a few hours I’ll be back in Hanoi and the next morning I’ll be on my way to Ninh Binh. And it will be exactly like in Ha Long, but with rice fields instead of water and bikes instead of a boat. I’m lying in the sun, daydreaming about these rice fields and I’m checking my mailbox. Long story short: our hotel cancelled the reservation, there’ heavy flooding in Ninh Binh, actually it’s a natural disaster, our hotel in Hanoi forbids us to go to Ninh Binh, it’s serious, over 40 people died. October is perfect for Northern Vietnam, they…

  • Asia,  Vietnam

    Vietnam: Ha Long Bay

    You can’t go to Vietnam and skip Ha Long Bay. You just can’t. Maybe I’ll forgive you if you’re going only to the south. Maybe. “Ha Long Bay” translates to: the bay where the dragon descends into. How romantic. Because Internet is full of “where a dragon descends” titles, I will stick to Ha Long. It’s shorter. But why is this dragon descending? Of course there’s a story. There always is (remember the one about Three Sisters? Click here). And it goes more or less like this: long, long time ago, Vietnamese people where fighting with an invader and gods sent dragons to help them. Dragons which were spitting jewels…