A Travellerspoint blog

Chapter 55: Tur-in down for what!??

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We arrived in another city that did not widely host hostels but with luck we had been accepted to our first couch-surfing host!
Vittorio was a lovely guy, living just outside the city centre with his crazy dog Ghenky. Vittorio was even generous enough to invite us to dinner with his work friends our first night! He cooked us a meal of pasta and beans, a dish that him and his friend wanted to go viral and open a restaurant for (wasn't bad but wasn't as special as they thought haha) and enjoyed Italian humour and wine. We were pretty sure after that evening that Ghenky is only attracted to men as he would only hump their legs...haha.

Our only full day was spent doing a lot of walking around the city enjoying the old buildings, Roman walls (combined as dog park), viewpoints, and of course, churches. We found a good buffet for dinner with strong drinks for 5euro and then met Vittorio and his friends at a local bar. To our surprise we found ourselves dancing inbetween beers as they were apart of a dance class who met there and taught some tango-esque dance moves!
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Before flying off to Spain that evening we were able to squeeze in the Movie Museum which was very enjoyable and interactive- from many images from the Lumiere Brothers and original “magic boxes” to comfy seats and screenings of varying movie clips.
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Posted by Kev n' Ariel 04:22 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Chapter 55: Out of the city and into the woods

Sadly our hostel was booked up so we had to relocate to another one further outside the city. This was was in a full house, still lived in by it's owner and his sons. A huge park was nearby so we decided to explore nature! A Sisi theme emerged as this was the grounds where Hermesvilla had been built as a relaxing get-away for the Queen. A very extravagant life to have your own park, indeed! We saw deer in an enclosure being fed acorns by old ladies and climbed up a tower at the highest viewpoint but were disappointed to not see anymore wild-life in the immense park. At dinner we made friends with the other guests and the owner who took over the kitchen to feed his younger sons (very strange to live within a hostel atmosphere). We had a few drinks and watched a movie with some new friends and called it a night.

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Posted by Kev n' Ariel 10:14 Archived in Austria Comments (0)

Chapter 54: Lost and Lovin' it

Venice

sunny 15 °C

The beautiful sunshine and warm temperatures of Italy were a welcome change from the quickly declining winter weather in Switzerland. Once we got settled in our campsite, we caught a bus the “main-island”, grabbed some dinner (pizza and wine...duh!) and eagerly began exploring. The majority of our evening was spent wandering and getting lost amidst the narrow, winding streets and canals of the gorgeous and historic city.

After happening upon a number of unique and intricate works of art, we realized that there was an international art festival going on with hundreds of installations scattered around the city. We also spent a day exploring the surrounding islands via the vapperretos or water taxis. We found many cats, churches and more art exhibits along the way. It was a great time to visit Venice as many old buildings that were not normally open to the public, opened their doors to artists and patrons to enjoy the exhibits as well as architecture and it was easy to escape the main streets and the thrull of tourists. We even “spotted” the house they blow up at the end of James Bond's Casino Royal!

We also happily celebrated the defeat of the Harper government as we had been starting to plan for the alternative which was to stay abroad for the next 4yrs...

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Posted by Kev n' Ariel 07:58 Archived in Italy Comments (1)

Chapter 53: Simply Swiss!

All around Switzerland

overcast 6 °C

Off to see the Luthi family finally, we first met up with Elia and Isabelle in Schaffhausen (daughter of Andy and Jeannine Luthi, longtime friends of Ariel's family). We had just missed their wedding but were happy to see them since the last time was in Vancouver just before they departed for their Panamerica trip! We had just finished dinner at their old apartment (built in 1600's!) and Guy (Isabelle's younger bro) picked us up and drove us to Zurich where Pauline (middle sister) was hosting a house party for a new room-mate. Free drinks and nice friends and catching up with old friends was a great way to start our visit in the land of the Swiss!

We stayed the rest of our time at Andy and Jeannine's across the river in Fluringen, who were lovely hosts, fed us delicious pizza, fondu and other meals. With Elia and Guy we jumped into the Rhine for a quick swim our first night there as their house ends on the banks. Very....refreshing! For Thanksgiving we went to a popular punk bar Elia used to manage and listened to a weird local band and another from Croatia.

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One day Andy organized a hiking trip in Apperzellerland (super lucky with the weather as it only got colder and cloudier) where we saw spectacular views, bought local mountain cheese and ate a restaurant built around 200yrs ago in the mountainside!

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Another night Elia and his friend took us to a hockey game where we experienced standing seats for the first time. It was really enjoyable and lively as it was the FC Flyers vs. Ambri-Piotta. We were in the A-P crowd who were from a tiny part of Switz. and avid hockey fans who brought all their fans and were set up with endless flags, chants and songs!

Of course we walked down to the Rhine falls but the cold spray kept up from taking the boat ride into the central rock. And to make it really Swiss, we bought a swiss-army knife and ate toblerone in town. We also visited Isabelle's work where she helps integrate refugees and Andy brought us to a VV so we could stoke up on more layers (getting freakin' cold!). We also met Ilya's parents who were lovely and they cooked us a delicious meal.

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Took a train into Zurich for the weekend to see Pauline. We walked around a very foggy and cold city and ate mussels for lunch, listened to records, and saw the shop she worked at and even got a free water bottle! Later we played so much Skip-Bo and ate delicious pizza we missed the movie we had planned on seeing earlier! So we kept playing Skip-Bo.
I&E picked us up next day so we could check out a new art exhibit in Bern. It was quite interesting and featured many works by cubist and surrealist Russians as well as a massive black circle that upon closer inspection (and reading the info plaque) was made entirely of dead flies...!

Near the end of our visit many hours we spent planning/trying to organize transportation and accommodation for our upcoming time in Italy as the bus/trains aren't quite as well connected and the hostels not quite as cheap or readily available as most of the cities we had visited so far. Our time in Switzerland concluded with a get-together with the political party that Isabel was involved with as they wrapped up their campaign and voting results for local elections were revealed. Though we could not really understand the live winner announcements on TV we could definitely gauge whether they were the “good guys or bad guys” by the crowd reactions. Despite not winning a seat, Isa's work on the campaign helped another member gain a seat which was very positive for their 'alternative' party :)

Posted by Kev n' Ariel 07:52 Archived in Switzerland Comments (0)

Chapter 53: Stuttgart in a nutshell

These are the highlights of Stuttgart as many hours were spent realaxing/sleeping/de-toxing our livers.
Marc found us at the train station the next day and took great care of us, such as giving us delicious local beers from his well stocked basement- he is a CEO of a local golf club so was very busy most of the day. He did find time to take us to the local 2nd largest Oktoberfest. Apparently Munich pays Stuttgart every year so their Oktoberfest does not out-size their own, which they accept happily. He also took us on a driven tour of the area and the university, a viewpoint and an old royal pavilion.
One day in the city (Marc's house was a 20min train outside) we went in the Mayors office which has a elevator which circulates continuously! You just jump on and off! A big freaky actually. We spent the afternoon in the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, which homes a long history of artwork as well as great collections of post war art of the modernists such as Schlemmer, Holzel and Picasso. We spent around 4euros total to get into the Mercedes-Benz museum (Stuttgart is home to this and Porsche which is adept as the name Stuttgart means “mare” and “garden” due to the fact that the King kept many mares on his property).

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Posted by Kev n' Ariel 09:14 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

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