Contiki Day Songs; Travel and feel good music mega mix

Every morning on a Contiki tour when you bored the coach your tour manager will play a “Day Song”. A day song is meant as a welcome the group. It is intended to lift spirits, put you in a great mood and create a bond amongst tourmates. After my Contiki trips when ever I shuffle onto one of my “Day Songs” I immiedatly return to that time and place. Day songs really inspire life long memories.

Every tour has a different “Day Song”. They are choose by the tour managers and vary depending on country, activites, style and taste. But they all have a singular theme “live life”. Contiki’s moto is “No Regrets”. So it’s fitting that their “Day Songs” are about living, travel, love, life and friends.

I’ve reached out across the internet and polled fellow Contiki travelers about the “Day Song” from their tours in order to compile an epic playlist!

Here’s what I have so far:

  • Home for a Rest by Spirit of the West (Great Britain & Ireland May 2010)
  • Runaway by Galantis (Mexico Grande December 2015)
  • What’s Up  by 4 Non Blondes (European Adventurer June 1995)
  • Over & Over by Smallpools (European Escapade June 2015)
  • It’s Nice to Be Alive by Ball Park City (Big Indochina Oct 2014)
  • Best Day of My Life by American Authors (Eastern Road Jul 2014)
  • The Only Place by Best Coast (California Highlights Aug 2013)
  • On Top of the World by Imagine Dragons (European Panorama 2013)
  • Gente Che Spera by Articlo 15 (Simply Italy Dec 2015)
  • Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars (Asian Adventure March 2015)
  • Fly Away by Lenny Kravist (London, Paris, Rome 2010)
  • In Colour by Shapeshifter (NZ Sweet as South 2014)
  • I gotta a Feelin by Black Eyed Peas (European Spirit 2009)
  • Thunderstuck by ACDC (North by Northeast 2010)
  • Hangover by Taoi Cruz (NZ Grand Explorer 2011)
  • Save Tonight by Eagle Eye Cherry (Ultimate European 2013)
  • Rather Be by Clean Bandit (Big Tiki NZ 2014)
  • Life is Beautiful by Time McMorris (Eastern Road 2015)
  • Happy by Pharrell (European Discovery April 2014)
  • Waves by Mr. Probz (European Highlights June 2014)
  • Waka Waka by Shakira (Argentina & Brazil 2012)
  • En Italia by Fabri (Simply Italy Mar 2013)
  • Let’s Live For Today by The Grass Roots (European Escapade 2013)
  • I lived by One Republic (European Experience 2014)
  • Glad You Came by The Wanted (NIGHT SONG) (European Experience 2014)
  • Gypsy by Lady Gaga (Greek Islands 2014)
  • Pompeii by Bastille (Simply Italy June 2013)
  • American by Lana Del Rey (Grand Southern USA 2015)
  • Good Time by Carly Rae Jepsen (California Highlights 2014)
  • Good Life by One Republic (London to Rome April 2013)
  • It’s Time by Imagine Dragons (Berlin, Vienna & Prague 2012)
  • Pursuit of Happiness (NIGHT SONG) (Berlin, Vienna & Prague 2012)
  • We are Young by Fun (Best of Europe 2014)
  • Time of our Lives (NIGHT SONG) (Best of Europe 2014)
  • This is How We Do by Katy Perry (California Highlights 2014)
  • In a World Like This by Backstreet Boys (Wild Western 2015)
  • The Night is Still Young by Niki Manaj (NIGHT SONG) (Wild Western 2015)
  • Mykonos by Fleet Foxes (Greek Island Hopper 2010)
  • Great Day by Lonley Island (Walkabout Aug 2013)
  • Pause by Plain White T’s (Eastern Escapade June 2015)
  • 1901 by Phoenix (Grand Southern July 2011)
  • Running Down a Dream by Tom Petty (NZ 1994)
  • One Life by Hedley (European Inspiration)
  • Mad Caddies by Leavin
  • If Today was your Last Day by Nickle Back
  • Island in the Sun by Weezer (Thai Island Hopper 2010)
  • Pass Out by Tiny Tempah (European Escapade 2011)
  • You Get What you Give by New Radicals (Ult.European 2001)
  • Give me Everything Tongith by Pitbull (Road to Athens 2011)
  • 5 Years Time by Noah and the Whale (2013)
  • You Only Live Once by Strokes (Eastern Escape Dec 2010)
  • Holiday by Dizzee Rascall (European Escapade April 2011)
  • Sandstorm by Darude (Berlin, Vienna, Prague July 2007)
  • Nothing Really Matters by David Guetta (Winter Discovery 2012)
  • Live While We’re Young by One Direction (Eastern Road 2014)
  • I Was Here by Beyonce (Grand Southern June 2013)
  • Victoria by The Kooks (England & Scottland Dec 2010)
  • Show Me Everything You’ve Got by The Rocket Summer (NZ Sweet as South 2009)
  • Brand New Day by Ryan Star (Rome to London Dec 2012)
  • Jump Right In by Zac Brown Band (Grand Southern 2010)
  • Living in The Moment (Thai Island Hopper East 2013)
  • Our Time is Now by Plain White T’s (Eastern Discovery 2010)
  • Slow Down by Selena Gomez (NIGHT SONG) (Road to Rome March 2015)
  • This Moment by Katy Perry (Asian Adventure 2015)
  • YOLO by Lonley Island (USA 2015)
  • Home by Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros (Grand Souther April 2013)
  • Paperplanes by MIA (London, Scottland, Ireland 2009)
  • Born to be Wild by Stepphenwolf (Walkabout AU 1995)
  • Around the World by Red Hot Chili Peppers (West Coast USA 2008)
  • Traveling by Paper Lions (Best of Europe June 2008)
  • Ticket To Ride by The Beatles (London, Paris, Amsterdam 2010)
  • Califonia by Phantom Planet (California Highlights May 2007)
  • One Day Baby We’ll be Old by Asaf Avidan (Spanish Spree April 2015)
  • Trip The Light by Alicia Lemke (Croatian Island Hopper 2012)
  • Machu Pichu by The Strokes (Peru Uncovered  2010)
  • Applejack by The Triangles (Spanish Spree Aug 2012)
  • Viva La Vida by Cold Play (European Encounter November 2009)
  • Stay by James Blunt (Western Adventure June 2012)

Have one to add? Please comment and I will add it to the epic playlist!

24 Hours in Dublin

Dublin is the bustling capital of Ireland. It is rich in history but famous for its vibrant culture, night life, music and literature. You could spend days exploring this magical city but if you’re tight on time here’s my guide to spending 24 hours in Dublin.

9AM – Spire of Dublin640px-E4324-Spire-of-Dublin

Located in the heart of Dublin on O’Connell Street the Spire of Dublin is a great place to find your bearings. This pin-like statue stands tall and will guide you from where ever you may be back to the city center.

915AM- Arrange transportation

It might seem touristy but in my opinion the best way to see Dublin and get around quickly are the Dublin Hop On – Hop Off Buses.  For a one time payment of $30 you can have a full day pass for tours all around Dublin. City Sightseeing will guide and entertain in addition to highlighting the best of Dublin. Dublin public buses are unionized and often go on strike. The City Sightseeing buses are privately owned and will operate every day.

One Day Bus Ticket: $30

930AM- TRINITY COLLEGE AND THE BOOK OF KELLS LIBRARY

Hop of the bus and stroll through the majestic grounds of Trinity College. Modeled after Oxford and Cambridge the magical architecture will transport you to another world.

Make your way to the 18th century Old Library building which showcases the Book of Kells. The Book of Kells is a medieval manuscript and Ireland’s greatest treasure. If you’re a fan of “Harry Potter” you will feel at home in the monumental Old Library. The library was erected in 1743 and hosts a collection over 200,000 books.

Entry to Book of Kells Exhibit: $11

“I was in the library the other day, in the Restricted Section, and I read something rather odd about a bit of rare magic”- Harry Potter

11AM- Dublin Castle

After a short bus ride hop off at Dublin Castle. Dublin Castle has been a fixture in Dublin since the 13th century. It has acted as a fortress, royal palace, prison, government center and much more. Opt out of the guided tour inside. You will see more impressive castle interiors in other places throughout Ireland or Europe. Instead wander the grounds and snap a few photos. Then hop back on the bus and cruise to St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

1145AM-  ST. PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL

St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the largest church in Ireland and was erected in 1191. It is complied of several architectural styles including medieval and gothic.

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Stunning St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Entry: $6

1PM- Lunch on Thomas St

Get off the bus on Thomas Street and choose from several pubs and artisan restaurants. Why not try and get a seat at the oldest pub in Ireland; the Brazen Head Pub. Sample traditional Irish pub food and beers. But save room for Guinness at your next stop!

230PM- Guinness storehouse

Book your tickets in advance for your guided tour of The Guinness Storehouse, brewery and factory. Learn the history of Irish Brewing, some secrets to making Guinness, beer sampling and much more. Then browse the gift shop for the perfect souvenir!

4PM- SHOP!

Hop on the red line of the City Sightseeing Bus and cruise down Bachelor’s Walk and back up O’Connell St. Jump off at the Moore Street Market and head down Parnell St. Turn left on Capel and again onto Mary Street for an array of shops, bars and markets.

530PM- CHECK IN TO YOUR HOTEL

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Drop your souvenirs and bags at your hotel or hostel and get ready for a night out.

If you’re looking for a cozy, cheap and great location why not try the Abbey Court Hostel.

630PM DINNER

Take your pick from the plethora of pubs and restaurants near your hostel or walk down to College Green St. Which is near your next destination.

745PM GRAVE DIGGER’S GHOST BUS TOUR

Possibly my favorite tour in Dublin was the Grave Digger’s Tour! Your ghoulish guide will transport you back to plaque times and escort you via creepy coach around Dublin. Visit Dublin Castle at night, Christ Church, Cork Hill, Kilmainham Jail and more!

The tour concludes at The Gravediggers Pub. A famous pub located next to the historic Dublin cemetery. Down your free drink and then relax with a Guinness before heading back to Trinity College.

Jenny enjoying her Guinness at the Gravedigger’s Pub

Cost: $30

10PM- bar hop in temple bar DISTRICT

Possibly the most famous area of Dublin; Temple Bar District is a collection of pubs and Bars on the South Bank of the Liffey River. Lively nightlight, music, performers and tons of bars makes for endless fun! Check out The Temple Bar Pub, The Porterhouse, Stag Head and much more. The best part of Temple Bar is drinking is aloud in the street and public intoxication? Well that’s just being Irish!

Most pubs will stay open until 1AM and some clubs will stay open later. What ever you decided to do, you’ll be surrounded by culture, history and friendship.

8AM- BREAKFAST

Irish Breakfast

After your big night out you might need to sleep in but if you’re up early then grab breakfast near your hotel. The best place near The Abbey Court is The Bakehouse. This charming little eatery serves traditional foods on homemade breads. Everything is absolutely delicious and fresh. You will not be disappointed.

24 hours done

Hopefully you can find more than 24 hours to explore amazing Dublin. But if not I hope this guide helps you plan your adventure.

Have more time?

Here are some other options if you have more time in Dublin:

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Dublin Hop on Hop Off Map

More about my trip to Ireland and europe:

Ireland   Europe

What I ate in South East Asia; The Good, the Bad and The Ugly

THE GOOD

I never felt healthier than while traveling through Indochina. Every meal was colorful, fresh, and delicious. I sampled every local deliciously and tried many dishes I would have never picked in the states. My favorite temptation throughout South East Asia were freshly juiced drinks. I had one at every meal. I tried watermelon juice in every country and for most breakfasts. The best was at a tiny cafe in Luang Prabang, Laos.

JUICES

THE BAD

Personally some of the worst foods I ate were fish dishes. However many of my tour mates loved these meals. I do not like fish. I did try everything. But I did not enjoy any of them. Plus the way fish was presented (with its eyes and scales) was not appetizing.

THE UGLY

In Indochina you have to try the weird stuff. Sometimes you just need to close your eyes and eat. I sampled a couple of weird delicacies that turned out not bad! I tried several different fried bugs in Thailand. They were crunchy and had weird textures, but for the most part tasted like popcorn. I also sampled rat in Laos. Honestly if I didn’t know it was rat I would have just that it was BBQ beef skewers. Snake whiskey was the weirdest thing I tried that I actually enjoyed! I did a shot once in Laos and again in Vietnam. It tastes like tequila.

FOOD PORN PHOTOS

RECOMMENDATIONS

You have to take a cooking class in Thailand. I learned tricks that I implement today at home. The class took me through the Asia markets. It taught me how to shop for ripe vegetables, eggs and the perfect meats. I learned how to make Pad Thai, Pumpkin Curry and Sticky Rice. I absolutely loved learning to cook in Chiang Mai.

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT MY TRIP THROUGH SOUTH EAST ASIA? CHECK OUT:

Destinations1

Best Wanderlust Inducing Movies

  • Wild Wild (2014) Poster

Academy Award Winner Reese Witherspoon stars in this extraordinary true story chronicling one woman’s solo thousand mile hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. Wild is a story of self discovery, adventure and atonement.

  • a map for saturdayA Map for Saturday Movie

This travel documentary follows a man as he quits his job and travels around the world for a year. This film shows the ups and down of one man’s real travel adventure.

  • The Motorcycle DiariesThe Motorcycle Diaries (2004) Poster

This road movie follows Che Guevara and his friend’s 8000 mile road trip from Buenos Aires to Venezuela. Their quest is to see things they’ve only read about in books.  The journey tests their friendship, bodies, minds and reroutes their futures.

  • The Darjeeling Limited (2007) PosterThe darjeeling limited

A year after their father’s funeral, three brothers travel across India by train in an attempt to bond with each other.

  • EurotripEuroTrip (2004) Poster

Dumped by his girlfriend, a high school grad decides to embark on an overseas adventure in Europe with his friends.

  • The secret life of walter MittySecret Life of Walter Mitty Movie

Walter has a boring real life but an exciting and active imagination. A struggle at work send him on the adventure of a lifetime around the world.

  • the wayThe Way Movie

The way is a touching and inspiring film about a father who treks through Spain in honor of his recently deceased son.

  • Land ho!Land Ho! (2014) Poster

Two old friends road trip through Iceland during the prime of their lives.

  • under the tuscan sunUnder the Tuscan Sun (2003) Poster

A writer impulsively buys a villa in Tuscany in order to change her life.

  • My Life in RuinsMy Life in Ruins (2009) Poster

A travel guide rediscovers her romantic side on a trip around Greece.

  • Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008) Postervicky christan barcelona

Two girlfriends on a summer holiday in Spain become enamored with the same painter, unaware that his ex-wife, with whom he has a tempestuous relationship, is about to re-enter the picture.

  • the beach

The Beach (2000) PosterTwenty-something Richard travels to Thailand and finds himself in possession of a strange map. Rumours state that it leads to a solitary beach paradise, a tropical bliss – excited and intrigued, he sets out to find it.

  • up!Up (2009) Poster

To avoid being taken away to a nursing home, an old widower tries to fly his home to Paradise Falls, South America, along with a boy scout who accidentally lifted off with him

  • The Art of TravelThe Art of Travel (2008) Poster

When wedding plans fail Conner goes solo on his honeymoon to Central America.

  • Craigslist JoeCraigslist Joe (2012) Poster

In a time when America’s economy was crumbling and sense of community was in question, one guy left everything behind to see if he could survive solely on the support and goodwill of the 21st century’s new town square: Craigslist.

  • MonstersMonsters (2010) Poster

Six years after Earth has suffered an alien invasion a cynical journalist agrees to escort a shaken American tourist through an infected zone in Mexico to the safety of the US border.

  • The Best Exotic MarigoldThe Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011) Poster Hotel

British retirees travel to India to take up residence in what they believe is a newly restored hotel. Less luxurious than advertised, the Marigold Hotel nevertheless slowly begins to charm in unexpected ways.

  • The Ramen GirlThe Ramen Girl (2008) Poster

An American woman is stranded in Tokyo after breaking up with her boyfriend. Searching for direction in life, she trains to be a râmen chef under a tyrannical Japanese master.

  • Catch me if you canCatch Me If You Can (2002) Poster

A true story about Frank Abagnale Jr., who, before his 19th birthday, successfully conned millions of dollars’ worth of checks as a Pan Am pilot, doctor, and legal prosecutor.

  • Away We GoAway We Go (2009) Poster

A few months before their baby is due, Verona (Maya Rudolph) and Burt (John Krasinski) decide to take a road trip to find the perfect location to raise their family.

  • Out of AfricaOut of Africa (1985) Poster

In 20th-century colonial Kenya, a Danish baroness/plantation owner has a passionate love affair with a free-spirited big-game hunter.

  • Midnight In ParisMidnight in Paris (2011) Poster

While on a trip to Paris with his fiancée’s family, a nostalgic screenwriter finds himself mysteriously going back to the 1920s every day at midnight.

  • Paris, je t’aimeParis, je t'aime (2006) Poster

Through the neighborhoods of Paris, love is veiled, revealed, imitated, sucked dry, reinvented and awakened.

  • Image of OutsourcedOutsourced

    After his entire department is outsourced, an American novelty products salesman heads to India to train his replacement.

  • Into the wildImage of Into the Wild

After graduating from Emory University, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless abandons his possessions, gives his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wilderness. Along the way, Christopher encounters a series of characters that shape his life.

Where do I want to go in 2015?

1. Peru

Peru is number one on my list of places to visit in 2015 because it features diverse landscapes, friendly people, colorful food and tons of adventure. I want to hike to Machu Pichu, white water raft on the Urubamba River and meet some Alpacas! I’m also going to try to convince a couple of friends to go. I want to share my adventure with others!

Hassle free trips I could take:

– Contiki’s Peru Uncovered

2. Eastern Europe for Christmas

I imagine visiting Eastern Europe’s capital cities of Budapest, Prague and Krakow in the winter will be like visiting the kingdom from Frozen or any other winter fairy tale. I want to visit Christmas markets, snow covered castles and ice skate on real ice! I might even like to do a week of skiing in Austria.

Hassle free trips I could take:

– Top Deck’s Spires in the Snow

– Contiki’s Berlin to Budapest

– Contiki’s Austria Ski

3. Camping in the Blue Ridge Mountains

I want to go camping with my family in the Virginia Blue Ridge mountains or the Harper’s Ferry region. We can take out my brother’s new Sylvan Sport Go Camper, go tubing or kayaking, hike and roast marshmallows.

4. Los Angeles

Since I work in Film and TV I think it’s about time to make the pilgrimage to Hollywood. I want to crash some celebrity parties, shop on Rodeo drive, take pictures with the crazy costume people at the Chinese Theater and hike past the Hollywood sign. Plus I’d love to catch up with my many friends who’ve made the move to the sunshine state!

5. Hampshire, Southern England

I want to dedicate a week or two of my year discovering Jane Austen’s England. But most specifically visiting my friend Becky in Petersfield! I want to rent a car and try driving on the wrong side of the road. I want to drink a pint of beer in a proper pub. I want visit the Downton Abbey castle, take in the English countryside and just relax with a proper holiday.

What Italy Taught Me

My second solo trip aboard gave me another opportunity to reflect on myself and life aspirations. Here’s what I learned:

1. I don’t need other people to agree with me

  • In Sorrento for New Years Eve all of the people I was with were going home at 115AM and I wanted to stay out. I tried to convince them to “stay out, seize the day, YOLO!” But they wouldn’t budge. Everyone “was tired”. As I followed them back to our coach I got really sad. I even started to cry. With all my heart I wanted to stay out, dance and be with the locals. That’s when I punched myself in the gut and asked “why do I need these people to be with me? I don’t even really know them! Why do I need them as a safety blanket?” I told myself “if you want to stay out here’s your chance! You don’t need them. Go back to the city square and dance the night away!” That’s when I found myself running back to the party alone and I am so happy I did.

2. I like to dance

  • When I am traveling I suddenly become a dancing queen. I transform into a sexy vixen with dance moves to kill for! When I go to my hometown clubs I’m more reserved. I’m with people I know or around people I’ll probably see again. So I tend to be more self-conscious. But when I’m abroad I let my guard down and dance like there’s no tomorrow. I defiantly want to adopt my new-found dance confidence the next time I go out in the states.

3. Italian food is good but Asian food is better

  • I’ll probably get some slack from this. But I honestly sampled more “life-changing” cuisine while in Asia. I think that American Italian food killed any ingenuity of real Italian food. I actually left Italy being kind of disappointed. Before my trip every told me “you’re going to eat amazing things.” I tried the local cuisine everywhere I went. I had focaccia, black squid pasta, pesto, meatballs, lasagna, cold cuts and mozzarella but nothing really stood out. In Asia one meal was always better than the last. I went home craving pad Thai, fresh spring rolls, noodle soup and screwers.

4. Always pack more underwear then you think you need

5. I can survive without my laptop or ipad

  • This is the first trip I took without bringing a computer.

6. Australians are not all party monsters

  • The last trip I took was filled with a ton of young Aussies who were perpetually drunk the entire trip. Italy attracted an older and more mature crowd. They surely changed some of the misconceptions I made of those from “down under”.

7. I want to take a trip with my best friends

  • Traveling alone is great. But it would be nice to come home and have other people to reminisce with. I feel rude when I’m talking to my roommates and I interject with “one time in Italy or once in Thailand”. I wish I had other people to revel in the glory I my ventures with. I think my girls and I could totally concur South America. I hope I can convince someone to go with me new time.

8. I prefer adventure tourism to historical tourism

  • Italy is beautiful. The history is fascinating and the sites are bucket-list worthy. My tour focused on seeing the ruins, churches and then shopping. After the third city it got a bit repetitive. I now know I prefer holidays where I can trek, swim, kayak, sky dive, ect. I want to experience the land, people and only a little bit of the history. I would love to go back to the Island of Capri or the Cinque Terre to go sailing or hiking. I defiantly need to visit Italy in the summer. I think it would be a completely different trip.

9. I do not like coffee

  • In Italy I did as the Italian do. I drank cappuccino and did an espresso shot. Each time I asked myself “why did I waste money on this?” Gross.

10. I love wine

  • After wine tasting in Tuscany how can you not love wine? I’m now a connoisseur!

Charming Cinque Terre

This morning we headed south toward La Spezia and the Cinque Terre region of Italy. The Cinque Terre is a UNESCO World Heritage sites famous for its coastal villages, scenic vistas, rugged cliffs and colorful villages.

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Today we had the whole day free to ourselves so it quickly became my favorite days of the trip. I hung out with two super fun guys. We had a great time drinking tons of wine, eating delicious food and exploring the quiet streets of the different Cinque Terre towns.

We started our food tour of the Cinque Terre with pesto focaccia pizza. We chowed down before exploring a breathtaking castle in La Spezia. At the top of the castle there was a harp player! 10906113_10152893621355813_7806844916176866695_n

Afterwards we checked into our tiny hotel.

Where did I stay? Hotel Firenze Continentale

Then we took the train to Monterosso al Mare where the boys and I decided to sit back, relax and treat ourselves to wine and aperitifs. 10407261_10152893619320813_8236156655788437128_n

Afterwards we traveled to Manarola. There we saw the Befana! The Befana is a witch who delivers gifts to children throughout Italy on Epiphany Eve (the night of January 5). It was so neat to see the old woman parading down the street with hoards of children following and singing. What a special time to be in Italy! After the celebration I grabbed gelato and strolled down to the coast where I watched the sunset. 10922616_10152893619450813_6628597561072186127_n

Then we traveled to Riomaggiore for dinner. Our group filled a tiny restaurant. I tried pesto pasta and we had two bottles of local wine! Feeling happy we caught the train back to La Spezia where we hung out at the hotel bar and chatted the night away.

I truly had an amazing, cinematic, life-affirming day today. I will cherish the Cinque Terre for the rest of my life.

Tranquile Sirminone, Italy

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Today we traveled north to the commune of Sirmione in Lombardy, Italy. Sirmione is a beautiful peninsula on famous Lake Garda. Entering Sirmione you’re greeted by a stunning castle and historical villas. If you venture further into town you will discover Roman ruins, peaceful gardens, orange trees and serene vistas.

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We had a bit of free time so I explored the town on my own. I stopped for gelato in a croissant a traditional Sirmonie desert. It was delicious but very messy. DSC00963

I wandered up a tiny cobblestone street and discovered a beautiful overlook of Lake Garda. It was nice and sunny so I relaxed on a park bench and took in the view. I even discovered a lagoon with two picturesque swans. Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 1.46.36 PM

Later our amazing tour manager Enzo was able to organize a special boat tour of the lake for us! So we piled into two high speed boats for a panoramic views of the town and Dolomite Mountains. The boat ride was by far my favorite thing I’ve done so far on the trip. I truly love Sirmione. I will come back some day.

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Caio, Florence

Our group decided to start late because of the New Years Eve celebrations so we set out at 11AM today.

I found out that some people did stay out and party last night. So I am kind of bummed that I didn’t find them. It would have been fun to party with other people.

After a long coach ride we arrived in Florence. Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 12.59.27 PM

Where did I stay? Hotel Raffaello Florence 

We went to dinner and then to a karaoke bar where I sang Grease with this guy named Russel. Everyone said we did really good! DSC00833

The next day we started bright and early.

Our first stop was Leonardo’s Leather for a leather demonstration. Honestly there wasn’t much demonstrating. It wasn’t very informative. I think it was a waste of time. A lot of people spent a ton of money there and I don’t really see the appeal. I found things there to be over priced. But what ever floats your boat…DSC00837

Afterwards we met by the David replica and began a walking tour of Florence. We saw Ponte Vecchio, the Medici Palace and more. It was more talking then walking and I couldn’t really hear our guide. Some how I ended up loosing everyone. Then as I was standing on a bridge trying to figure out what to do I spotted Mollie!

The rest of the day Mollie and I wandered aimlessly around Florence. We had a great time laughing, chatting, gossiping and making fun of ourselves and everyone around us. We had lunch right outside of the Duomo. We hung out, I sipped wine and we devoured our amazing lunches.

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 12.59.37 PMI think that Mollie and I walked around the whole city. We saw tons of beautiful buildings, fascinating people, and lovely churches.

We even had delicious Gelato in a piazza where a lady was singing opera. It was very cinematic. 10915323_10152891603040813_6201928678578607055_n

Afterwards we went back to the hotel for naps before our big night out. I no longer have a roommate. Alex has decided to move in with a guy from our tour. So now I’ve been upgraded from a triple share to a single room. It’s nice to have more space and not worry about other people’s needs, but it is also kind of lonely.

Tonight we went to Space Electronic Disco. I had a great time dancing and had a few to many drinks. All was going well until I somehow wound up in charge of a very drunk guy on our tour. I had to wrestle him into a cab and get him back to the hotel. Before that I ended up having to pay for his lost drink and coat check cards and then apologize to everyone at the club on his behalf. Once in the cab he began acting strange and then he vomited everywhere! Our taxi driver was furious! He didn’t speak english but he just started reaming me in Italian. He was very intimidating. I finally convinced us to take us all the way to the hotel. Once there he continued to yell at me while my new friend was drunkenly slumped over in the hotel lobby. I ended up having to pay 200 Euro for trip and vomit. He yelled at me so much I started crying. The situation was awful but also kind of hilarious. I went to bed in tears but giggling. What a weird night.

New Years in Sorrento

Tonight in Sorrento we celebrated New Years with drinks and dancing.

I was upset when everyone in my group decided to leave at 115AM even though our local guide told us Italy didn’t come alive until 2AM! I tried to convince a bunch of people stay but they wouldn’t listen. So I started walking back to the coach with them. As I walked back to the coach I started to get really sad. I really wanted to stay out and keep partying with the locals. But instead I was folding to peer pressure and going back to the hotel. Then I begun to cry a little. That when I turned around. I decided I would rather stay out by myself then go back to the hotel. I realized I don’t need other people to have a good time. I don’t need a safety blanket.

So I rushed back to the main square and continued dancing with my new Argentinean friends. I walked around the town for a bit. I loved people watching and interacting with the locals. The Italians were all dressed to the nines and the young people were so beautiful. The town was lit up with sprakling lights and fire works went off throughout the night.

Around 3AM I decided it was time to go home. But then I realized I lost the paper with my hotel’s address on it. I asked a taxi if he could take me to “Sister’s Hostel”. He had never heard of it. We googled it…nothing. He called his friend…nothing. With no other options I ask if he could drive me around and I’d pay him for however long it would take. So we headed out of town. I described my hotel to him. On the coast, with a garden, orange trees all around, nuns live in it…he said “that describes almost every hotel in Sorrento”. I was very lucky that my driver Rafael spoke english really well. We had a lot of laughs and even flirted a bit. We drove all around Sorrento and I think even Napoli. It was adventurous, hilarious and only a little worrisome. Eventually I saw a few things that triggered my memory and I was able to guide us to my hotel! Once we found it he offered to keep me out and show me more of the town… after assuring him my night was over Rafael invited me to brunch tomorrow with his family. He said they needed to meet the giggling American. It was a crazy night that I’ll never forget. I’ve never felt so brave or alive. Italy is an amazing, friendly, beautiful place full of life and culture. I can’t believe my luck and blessing to be able to celebrate the new year here.