Review: Busabout 2013 Part 3


10 European Countries, 59 days, 4 flights, 15 bus trips, 3 long distance train rides & 1 overnight ferry

Welcome to Part 3 of my review of my fantastic time with Busabout 2013!

So at the end of my last post I left you in beautiful Wildschonau Valley in the Austrian Alps.. Today we venture into ITALY! 

Wildschonau Valley to Venice, Italy - 3 nights

View from our Room

Rialto Bridge at Night
The bus trip from Wildschonau to Venice was one of the most picturesque and beautiful sights on my 2 month trip! Most of the trip we were surrounded by the glorious European Alps (which stretch across 8 alpine countries - Austria, Slovenia, France, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Germany, Monaco & Italy). We arrived in Venice (Mainland), where the drop-off point was located (Plus Camping Jolly) and jumped on the shuttle service the campsite offers to the Monorail system which takes you to Piazzale Roma. We chose to stay on the island for a bit of a romance on our trip! We stayed at the Hotel Dalla Mora (recommended to me by a travel agent friend) We had a cute little canal view from our window and a 5 min walk to the Grand Canal & Rialto Bridge. We ate at some amazing restaurants - fresh simple pastas & seafood! What more would you want in Venice?! We made a trip out to Murano & Bruano via the Vaporetto (water taxi)! We had pizza in Murano and purchased some handmade Murano Glass items for souvenirs & then jumped on the vaporetto to Burano. Burano is a VERY colourful island! Each house was painted a different brightly coloured paint! We had some gelato and walked around the island for the afternoon. I found Venice very easy to navigate, we always seemed to end up back near our hotel (very convenient).

Grand Canal at Night
Colour Island of Burano

Venice to Zadar/Pag Isle/Zagreb, Croatia (via Ancona, Italy - optional stop) - 5 nights

The hotels private beach
View from our room
Ancona is an optional stop because its a Port town, they have ferries that depart & return from Croatia & Greece (so you can connect with Busabout's optional adventure tours - Sail Croatia & Greek Islands). We caught an overnight ferry to Zadar from Ancona to make our way to Pag Isle. We were heading to a 3 day music festival called "Hideout" which is run by a UK events company. We had an absolute blast at the festival ran from 10pm to 7am every night plus afternoon pool parties from 2pm to 8pm (not that we attended them - too busy resting by the beach/pool!) After the festival we caught a bus to the capital of Croatia - Zagreb, for our final night in Croatia. We stayed at the Hotel Zagreb Esplanade (the top rated hotel in Zagreb) and boy was it fancy! Marble bathroom, massive king size bed, fluffy bathrobe, it was what we needed after a weekend of partying! I booked this hotel as it was my Boyfriend's last night in Europe with me as he was flying home the next day! 

Laying by the pool at our hotel
Outside our hotel in Zagreb

Of the VERY small amount I saw of Croatia, I loved it, beautiful pristine (rocky) beaches, friendly people & great food! I really wished I could have squeezed in a Sail Croatia week with Busabout, but time & money are unfortunate factors of travelling! I will be definitely returning one day!

Sunset on the Isle of Pag

Zagreb to Rome, Italy (flight via Split) - 2 nights

The Trevi Fountain

Gelato at The Trevi Fountain

Ahh Roma.. You were a little bit of a pain! I enjoyed you but getting around was a tough gig! From the Airport to the Hostel it took me around 3 & ½ hours via public transport & a lot of walking with a heavy backpack! I also may have been a little emotional after saying goodbye to my boyfriend earlier that day, so that could have added to my negativity.. Once I got to the hostel (at 7pm) - Plus Camping Roma (and Busabout pick-up point) it was just a relief to take off my backpack, check in to my private cabin (with A/C - highly recommend paying the extra and getting A/C!) and just relax. I had 2 nights in Rome, with one full day for sight-seeing. So I went off and ventured Rome by myself, on the list for the day was; The Trevi Fountain & The Colosseum, with plenty of Gelato in-between! I'm not a religious person, so the Vatican really didn't interest me that much, so I decided to skip it and just wander around Rome and find some hidden gems. 

Inside the Colosseum
Rome to Florence (via Orvieto & Sienna - optional stops) - 1 night

The View from Orvieto

One the trip to Florence we had two stops one at Orvieto (which is situated on top of a flat summit of volcanic tuff, to get to the top you catch the Funicular for 90 Euro Cents) for lunch, we were informed by our Busabout guide that the town is known for its Wild Boar Sandwiches, unfortunately I chose the wrong cafe and couldn't get such a sandwich, but my lunch was delicious anyway! From Orvieto we had a quick stop in Sienna to do drop-offs & pick-ups on our way to Florence.

The Duomo

The Fake David Statue
My one night is Florence was great, I took advantage of one of the Busabout optional activities and went to a leather-crafters workshop & jewellers and then went to a Bus-Tour favourite bar, where they have a karaoke competition between all the tour companies (Busabout, Contiki & Topdeck). Unfortunately I did not have the best experience with my hostel roomies, who were inconsiderate and borderline a little abusive towards two other female roommates, so not much sleep was had that night. 

Florence to La Spezia, Italy (for Cinque Terre) (via Pisa - optional stop) - 4 nights

Leaning Tower of Pisa

On the trip to La Spezia, we make a quick hour stop at Pisa for a essential photo stop!

The Village of Riomaggiore


I HIGHLY RECOMMEND YOU SPEND AS MUCH TIME AS YOU CAN IN CINQUE TERRE!!!!!! I knew the Cinque Terre was going to be my most favourite destination on my trip, I had been researching it for months, pinned plenty of picture of it on my Pinterest boards, it was just going to be the greatest. And it was! 

Cinque Terre translates to "The Five Lands", its located along the Italian Riviera in northern Italy. The five towns are: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza & Monterosso al Mare. I chose to stay in the first town, Riomaggiore. It was absolutely breathtaking! Located on the side of a cliff, sloping all the way down to the harbour waterline and around the cliff face. I felt I had picked the best town to stay in. Four out of five of the towns are only accessible by train. My hostel was roomy, full of light, it had big windows that opened up to a small balcony overlooking the lower parts of the town & the tiniest bit of the ocean. It had a bar downstairs (where you check in) & had wifi! I had made a friend on the bus trip to La Spezia, and we hung out the whole time. We hired a kayak one morning and paddled past the 2nd town (Manarola) to a deserted beach (roughly 5kms) and snorkelled the crystal clear blue waters. The next day we bought a pass for the ferry that connects four of towns and hopped on & off each town.

Up in the Vernazza Hills on Volutourism
Taking a break during the Volutourism
I had heard about a optional activity that was organised through Busabout, it was called "Voluntourism" where we went up into the hillside of Vernazza & helped local farmers, wine growers, anyone who was affected by the torrential rains, flooding and mudslides that left the town buried in over 4 metres of mud and debris, causing over 100 million euro worth of damage in October of 2011. We payed 25 Euro to help cover costs of buying equipment & keep the Save Vernazza foundation running. It was a great experience and we got fed a wonderful lunch by some local men. We had local mussels steamed with local white wine, garlic & parsley, more mussels tossed through pasta, Local Red & White Wine, Homemade Lemoncello & sweets.

Last Night in Riomaggiore

I could really keep talking about the Cinque Terre area all day, but I think thats enough for this episode. If you do have any questions at all feel free to comment and i'll get back to as soon as possible!

Crystal Clear Waters

As always you can find me on:
Instagram: @loadsoflifestyle
Twitter: @loadsoflifestyl
The Final Part of the series will be coming a little later in the week! I hope you have enjoyed reading so far!! 

Mel x

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