Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Thessaloniki, the bus to Istanbul and some good news

The highlight of our time in Greece, apart from rest from baroque architecture as most of it burned down in the early 1900s, were the gyros (yes, this is rather a food oriented tour of the world, and no, Ryan still hasn't eaten any vegetables), the citrus trees along every street and also the super helpful owner of our pretty hotel, who didn't even let us put our backpacks down before highlighting good restaurants, which buses to get and where to buy tickets to Istanbul on our map (there's a picture of the hotel too, just to prove Matt and his comment about our cheapskate standards of accomodation wrong :P). We did do a tour of the city and the top near the wall, which had escaped the fire, did look worth exploring if we had had more time, but we hopped onto our luxury bus to Istanbul instead. Compared to flying with Ryanair, the deliciously comfy reclining seats, wifi and gorgeous views of snowy peaks and Mediterranean beaches made us wish we'd driven the whole way. We even made it across the Turkish border without incident, they did grant our visas and Kat did (just) manage to get back on the bus before it left duty free!
We got to our hotel in Istanbul blissfully calm in comparison to our arrivals by plane, only to have our day made even better by our beautiful hotel WITH COMPLIMENTARY SLIPPERS and possibly the nicest receptionist in the world, who not only recommended somewhere for dinner, but when we asked where the closest atm was to get some lira, lent us enough for dinner from his own pocket instead! 
Sadly due to a matching pair of disgusting colds, we don't have many Istanbul photos for you yet, but we're working on it.
As for the good news, Kat got an unconditional offer from Warwick university, so we went off to celebrate in a rather swanky Turkish nargile bar.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Saturday, 26 January 2013

The Sistine Chapel and a piccolosimo problemo

We spent our last day in Rome wandering around St Pauls Basilica and the Vatican Museum before a last Italian meal at Luzzis (we spent hours looking for a trattoria without a terrible tourist menu by counting the Italians eating there and found some of the best food in Rome, so we went back three times). The basilica is truly stunning, even Ryan said wow, but our favourite part of being in the Vatican was watching nuns crossing roads while playing angry birds on their ipods. The museum was huge, literally enormous, with gallery after gallery of increasingly ridiculous decor. We even preferred the bonkers ceiling in the map room to the Sistine Chapel(!).  

Just before take off in our flight to Greece, as all the passengers were starting to get a bit agitated about the delay, a steward came on loudspeaker to announce a "piccolosimo problemo" with the engine, which we found so funny we didn't even freak out. Everything was fixed though, we were only fifteen minutes late landing in Thessaloniki, and found our way to our beautiful hotel in time for gyros and baklava for dinner. 

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Gelato and pickpockets

After a run in with an (unsuccessful) 12 year old pickpocket, it became evident that Kat's bag was in urgent need of a new DIY security system. Not bad for some thread and an old keyring.

We also managed to get into the Colosseum (at last), saw the Trevi fountain, ate our body weight in pizza and gelato and woke up in time for hotel breakfast. Aim for tomorrow: get there before all the good stuff is gone...

Monday, 21 January 2013


Hungary? How about a 10oz bacon cheeseburger?

On our last day in Budapest we found snowy castles, giant icicles, Klimt's The Kiss on a pizza and a Gaddafi babushka doll, but more importantly, we did make it to the airport even after Kat discovered frozen strawberry margaritas during happy hour.

In other news, after a long and strenuous battle, Ryan finally defeated his 10oz bacon cheeseburger at the Hard Rock Cafe, and has the T-shirt to prove it. (Kat has one too, for a valiant effort...)