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Relaxing in Riomaggiore

Thursday, October 10, 2013 @ 06:44 pm from Italy Italy
Day 106

The forecast was calling for a pretty high chance of rain all day so rather than get soaked or deal with more closed trails, I just stayed here in Riomaggiore for the day.

After breakfast I used the wifi of a bar to upload all my photos from the last few days then walked around town taking some more photos. Since the weather was sketchy and the seas were really rough, the ferries between the villages were shut down which meant there weren't many tourists walking around. It was nice to explore without dealing with crowds.

I bought a pepper and some green beans and cooked it up with pasta, spices and olive oil for lunch (and also dinner). I enjoyed lunch on the balcony at the hostel overlooking the village with a glass of wine.

After that I just kinda lounged around on the balcony watching the views and taking in the sights. I went back and looked at all the photos from this trip as well as the motorcycle trip Ryan and I did last summer. It's crazy how much I've seen on this trip so far.

Without having any real connection to the internet, being the only one in the hostel today (aside from the long term guy who has his own private room) and the town basically shutting down after around 7:00pm, there really isn't much to do at night. It would be the perfect place to read a book but unfortunately the last couple hostels I stayed at either didn't have any books or all the books were in Italian.

Tomorrow I head to Florence where I'll spend a few nights. I think I'm going to try to do a day trip down to Siena to see that town. I was originally planning on staying the night there but couldn't find a cheap place to stay. I'd still like to see the town though.
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Rough seas at the Riomaggiore marina
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Cloudy in Riomaggiore
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Lunch I made in Riomaggiore

Hiking the Cinque Terre

Wednesday, October 9, 2013 @ 04:55 pm from Italy Italy
Day 105

It was overcast when I woke up which I was fine with. It meant that I wouldn't be burning up like I would have been yesterday in the full sun. The train I was waiting on to take me to the next town of Manarola didn't leave until around 10:20am so I wasn't really in a rush.

When I got to Manarola I walked to the start of the coastal trail but saw that it was closed for whatever reason. Since that trail was closed I had to take the much more elevation intense #6 trail up to Volastra and then cut over to Corniglia. What should have been a 30 minute hike had the coastal trail been open turned into a 2 hour adventure to go to the same place.

It was a pretty intense hike up the steep side of vineyards but awarded me with some spectacular views that I wouldn't have seen if I was closer to the coast. I passed through the small town of Volastra and then cut down to Corniglia.

During this part of the hike I started to run into a lot of other hikers. There were huge groups of people slowly hiking and trying to pass them on the extremely narrow trails was a challenge. It also made for slow going when you came across people going the other direction because you had to find a spot wide enough for both groups to pass. At one point I ended up getting stuck behind a group of about 30-40 french people who weren't the fastest hikers. Of course it was also on one of the steepest parts of the hike so I really upped my heart rate jogging past them when I had the opportunity.

Eventually I got down to Corniglia which is situated at the top of a cliff and is the one town that doesn't really connect directly to the water. I had a pressed sandwich here for lunch and took a little break before continuing on.

When I got to the start of the next part of the trail there were a bunch of people all lined up. It was a bit frustrating being stuck behind these huge groups or chunks of groups because all you feel like you're doing is passing slow people or moving over for oncoming hikers. The weather was also turning a bit for the worse here and some light rain started to come in and out the rest of the hike.

After Corniglia was Vernazza. This is where I spent some time yesterday and seeing the town from the south side was really nice. The town was packed with tour groups from cruises who take up the entirety of the tiny streets when the tour guide stops to say something. It's a bit frustrating when all you want to do is get around them and they seem to have complete disregard for anyone other than themselves or the group.

The views around Vernazza were the best of the whole hike though in my opinion. The town is very picturesque and there are some great viewing areas on the hiking trails around the city. All of the towns sell these little spice mixtures that are great for pasta, fish, meat, bruscetta, etc so I bought a couple packets and I'll try to recreate them when I'm back home. I'm going to try one of them with my pasta tonight.

Continuing on, next up was the final town in the Cinque Terre of Monterosso. It took about an hour to get between the towns, mostly because of the huge amount of people also on the trail and the trail being at its narrowest and least passing-friendly. Monterosso is definitely the most resorty of the five towns. It's the only one with a true beach and everything built up around it is geared more toward vacationers it seemed like.

I was planning on hanging out at the beach with a beer but didn't really want to deal with all the tourists. I saw there was a train due to arrive in about 10 minutes so I went to the train station and waited for it. While waiting, two giant tour groups also came up and were waiting to board which is a pain since the age demographic of the tour groups means it takes each person a bit of a struggle to get on the train.

I was also overhearing a group of ladies talking about similar experiences to mine hiking today. Very few people at the beginning but the farther north you got the more people were out.

I'm back at the hostel now and I'll probably have a beer before showering and having dinner. The hike was good but didn't really wear me out the same way hiking in Snowdonia or Breckon Beacons did. That being said, I'm sure I'll sleep well tonight.

Unfortunately for my last day in the Cinque Terre tomorrow it's supposed to rain all day. Depending on what the weather forecast says in the morning I might try to get out for some more hiking. If not, I'll just hang out here and enjoy Riomaggiore.

All in all aside from the massive amounts of people on the trails, the views of the cities and coastline were fantastic. This is one of the most beautiful areas I've been to the entire trip (tossed up between the Cliffs of Moher, Snowdonia and the Breckon Beacons). The photos for today are amazing and once I have a true wifi signal again I'll upload them all for everyone to see.
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Manarola from above
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The hiking trail between towns with Corniglia in the distance
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Monterosso - the more resorty of the Cinque Terre towns

Exploring the Cinque Terre

Tuesday, October 8, 2013 @ 05:02 pm from Italy Italy
Day 104

We slept with the windows open in the hostel last night. It got a little chilly but after I got another blanket it was great having the fresh air coming in at night. In the morning I got up and had breakfast downstairs at the bar where the owner of the hostel works. I had a marmalade filled croissant and a cappuccino.

Since I didn't want to spend the next several days buying beers at the bar across the street to feed my need for internet connectivity, I bought a 2 day Cinque Terre card that gives me unlimited access on trains between all the Cinque Terre towns as well as the ability to hike between the cities.

With my pass I went to the big city that isn't really part of the Cinque Terre called La Spezia. They have all of the big shops and phone stores there that I'd need to get another SIM card. Last night I was talking to Oliver (the guy who lives here 5 months out of the year selling his paintings of the Cinque Terre to tourists) and he mentioned the phone company WIND and told me where to go to get a SIM card.

I showed up there and tried to get a new card but their internet was down and they wouldn't be able to do anything for a couple hours. Bummer. Next, I headed down the main shopping area and found another shop. Unfortunately they were all out of SIM cards. Bummer #2. I went to the 3 Store (the company of my prior SIM card) but they were closed for some reason. Bummer #3. I walked around some more and found another phone shop. The guy didn't speak any English but between my very very limited Italian and a lot of pointing and repeating of basic needs, we were able to get things figured out. The SIM I'm using now is from a different company and seems to be a bit spotty in the Cinque Terre towns (not that my 3 SIM was much better).

After getting that taken care of, I boarded a train to the town of Vernazza. I walked around there for a while, paid to climb up a big castle tower for some amazing views, had some lunch and then got on a train for the town of Manarola.

Manarola is the next town up from the one I'm staying at (Riomaggiore) and it's the starting point for all the hiking between the cities. I went on some of the paths to get some shots of the town but I'll leave the full hikes for tomorrow and Thursday. I think of all the towns so far, Manarola is probably the most beautiful. Like most of the towns, it's surrounded by cliffside vineyards and the town is nestled in the cliff side working its way down to the sea. In Manarola people were swimming around in the marina. It was very tempting to get in since it was pretty warm today. I might get in tomorrow or Thursday if the weather stays nice like this.

I hung out there for a while and looked through some of the shops. All of the towns sell their locally produced wine, soaps and spice mixes for pasts. I'll probably buy a few packages of the spice mixtures. One of the other guys staying here used it last night in his pasta and it smelled amazing.

Now I'm back at the hostel on the balcony working with some wine and amazing views all around me. I think tonight once it gets dark I'll head down to the marina and see if taking any photos of the city at night look good.

Since I have a limit on the amount of data I can use for my SIM card, I won't be uploading my photos until I get to my hostel in Florence. If you want to see some of what I'm up to, check out my Instagram feed at the top right side of my blog.
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Vernazza from the marina
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Manarola and vineyards

Cinque Terre!

Monday, October 7, 2013 @ 07:36 pm from Italy Italy
Day 103

I had a few options to get to Riomaggiore today but I opted to take the first train which left at 10:30am. I had two different connections but I finally made it to Riomaggiore in the Cinque Terre around 12:15pm. After arriving in the train station you have to walk through a tunnel to get to the main part of town. I checked into the hostel and then walked around town for several hours.

The check-in experience is the weirdest so far. The guy who owns the hostel (which is basically just an apartment with a bunch of beds in the living room and two private rooms that can be bought) also owns a bar where you have to go to check in.

All of the beds were full in the main room so for the first night I'm sharing a private room with a guy named Oliver. He lives and paints here for 5 months out of the year and speaks about 4 different languages. A really cool guy!

The town is amazing. It's situated on the cliffs that lead down to a marina. I walked around all over town for a couple hours taking quite a few photos. I came back to the hostel around 3 to shower and met a guy named Adam from Australia who has been here a few nights.

All of the markets close down for a few hours in the middle of the day for a siesta so I couldn't actually buy groceries for dinner until around 5pm. Adam and I talked for a bit about our travels (he's currently living and working in a hostel in Edinburgh) and this has been his first real trip in the last 3 months since he got there.

I got some pasta, sauce, a big bell pepper and some wine at the market and then came back to cook it. I also made a huge mistake. In order to charge my phone quicker, I turned it off and put it on the charger. After dinner I turned the phone back on only to be prompted to enter the PIN code I was provided when I bought it. This wouldn't normally be a problem but I threw the pin card away this morning when I left Lucca. I didn't think I'd have to use it again after entering it the first time. It's a real pain because the hostel here doesn't have WiFi either. I think tomorrow I'm going to head back to La Spezia and get another SIM card. Not having any connection for the next 4 nights isn't really an option due to CCB emails and stuff.

On Wednesday I'm planning on doing some hiking between the towns in the Cinque Terre. Unfortunately a few of the sections are closed due to landslides so I'll have to figure out which ones are open and hike on those.
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Riomaggiore from the marina
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Riomaggiore from above
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Leaning Tower of Pisa

Sunday, October 6, 2013 @ 10:25 pm from Italy Italy
Day 102

I used some heavy duty ear plugs last night and slept like a champ. I woke up this morning and went out for some kind of caramel stuffed croissant and a cappuccino for breakfast then went to the train station and got a train to Pisa.

The train ride from Lucca to Pisa is only about a half hour and it leaves every hour from Lucca. At the Pisa Centrale train station I was greeted with beggars and people trying to sell stupid trinkets. After making my way past that nonsense I finally crossed the river and made my way to the tower and cathedral that the city is known for.

There was a big market going on that had the same stuff I saw yesterday here in Lucca. Eventually I made it to the tower but they had closed off several of the sidewalks and paths for construction so there were tons of people all crammed into a few spots which made picture taking and viewing a bit of a pain.

I hung out there for a while and then after the crowds started to bug me I went to Knight's Square which is one of the main squares in Pisa. Some of it was under construction but it was still a nice place to see. Form there I headed to a garden where there were people constantly walking by trying to sell lighters and other crap.

One thing I've gotten good at over this trip so far is keeping my head down and saying 'no' or simply ignoring people who come up to me and start talking. It's sad that it has to be that way, but pretty much anyone who randomly walks up to you in a public area is either begging for money or trying to scam you. It's just something you end up getting used to after a while.

I walked around a little bit more and had lunch at a random cafe. I though the trains were running to Lucca every hour but apparently the schedule was messed up since it was Sunday so I had to wait around for an extra 20 minutes for a different train to depart.

Back in Lucca I went back to the hostel and grabbed a half bottle of wine that I had left and went over to the wall to enjoy it in the nice weather. After finishing the bottle I went over to the big market but it was closed and then I went to a different one but it was also closed. Not feeling too optimistic I walked around town a little more but found another store that had some local wines and bought another bottle of locally produced wine.

I came back to the hostel and relaxed for a bit and had some more wine before heading across the street to a pizzaria and getting a pizza for dinner. They've got a big oven that they cook the pizzas in. This was my second one from them and both of the pizzas have been great. I'm not even in the pizza capital of Italy and the pizzas are still fantastic.

Tomorrow I head to the Cinque Terre to a town called Riomaggiore. It's situated on some cliffs along the coats and should provide some great views and hiking opportunities. I'll be there for 4 nights before heading to Florence.
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Torre pendente di Pisa (The leaning tower of Pisa)
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Pisa Cathedral and the Tower
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Leaning Tower of Pisa
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Pizza vending machines. Can't say I tried them.

The rain keeps following me

Saturday, October 5, 2013 @ 08:36 pm from Italy Italy
Day 101

One of the guys in the room last night was an extremely loud snorer. The forecast was calling for rain all day so I wasn't really in a hurry to get up. Unfortunately everyone else in the room got up and was making plenty of noise where it was worthless to try and sleep in.

Since I was up, I ate and then looked outside and saw it wasn't raining. I figured I'd take advantage of the lack of rain to go for a walk. I went around the entirety of the city walls and also found a market that was going on. It was mostly women's clothes with a few fruit and veggie vendors thrown in.

After completing the perimeter of the city I went and walked around the streets a little bit. The sky was already cloudy but it was getting darker so I came back to the hostel to eat lunch, answer some emails and have some wine.

Sure enough it started raining and hasn't really stopped since. Before dinner I went out and walked around a little bit since I didn't have any food here and needed something to eat. It was sprinkling when I started walking around but eventually started raining pretty hard. I took that as my cue to duck into a pizza shop and buy a slice of pizza. It was a little earlier than I would have liked to have dinner, but I didn't want to keep wandering around aimlessly in the rain.

The forecast looks a little better for tomorrow so I'm going to head to the train station and catch a regional train to Pisa in the morning to try and get there before the rain really starts coming down. There are trains that depart every hour around the 45 minute mark so I'm planning on getting the 9:45am train.

It's really a pain in the butt staying in a hostel that doesn't have any kind of kitchen or cooking/food storage facilities. I didn't realize how expensive eating out for pretty much every meal can be, even if it's just cheap pizza or sandwiches.

A perfect day in Lucca

Friday, October 4, 2013 @ 06:09 pm from Italy Italy
Day 100

Today was a great day to spend walking around Lucca. It started off when the guy below me set his alarm at 6am, snoozed it and then left the room when his alarm kicked back on for a good 15 minutes before he came back. After falling back asleep I got up around 8:30 to start the day.

I saw quite a few of the main sights in town today. I also climbed up the Torre Guinigi and got some great shots of the entire city. The view from up there was simply amazing looking over the town. There are several towers throughout town and it was neat seeing them rise above all the orange tile roofs. Torre Guinigi is a little different because it actually has trees growing on top of it.

I spent the next several hours simply walking around all the winding streets and the city walls. Eventually I stopped and had a slice of pizza for lunch and picked up another bottle of wine. I found a secluded section of the wall and had a couple glasses of wine before walking the rest of the wall.

I zig zagged through the city some more and then finally came back to the hostel after about 6 hours outside walking around. Lucca is a beautiful city. The amount of people out on bikes, running along the wall, and simply being outside enjoying the day is great to see.

I looked at a few stores to see what kind of deals they had on leather jackets but I think I'll wait until I'm in Florence to buy one. I've wanted a leather jacket for a long time and Florence is known for its leather skills. The light jacket I bought before leaving the states simply isn't warm enough either when it gets cold out which is another excuse for getting a nice jacket.

The forecast for tomorrow changed and now it's calling for a 100% chance of rain which is a shame. I'll probably try to head out and walk around a bit if I can avoid some rain but we'll see. Sunday is calling for 60% chance of rain both here and in Pisa. I'll probably still head to Pisa though. The rain might actually keep some of the crowds away which is always nice at the big tourist areas.
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Lucca from the Torre Guinigi
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San Michele in Foro
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Lucca and some of its towers
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Mountains outside of Lucca

Why'd I wait so long for Italy?

Thursday, October 3, 2013 @ 09:01 pm from Italy Italy
Day 99

It was pretty nice outside when I left Vienna today. Still really cold, but the sun was out and bright. It's a shame it wasn't like that yesterday morning when I went to Schobrunn palace.

My flight to Florence was at 11:40am today and not really being sure how long it would take to get to the airport by train I ended up leaving the hostel around 8:30am. I took the U4 line to the connection for the airport but I had just missed the 8:45 service and had to wait until 9:15. I finally got to the airport around 9:45 and after walking around what felt like a maze to get to the checkin counter, I was finally checked in and through security with about an hour to kill before my flight started boarding which is just about what I was hoping for.

I had a coffee then got on a little shuttle to take me to the plane. It was another dual prop plane similar to the one I flew from Dublin to Edinburgh. This one was a little bigger but it was still pretty noisy inside. Once we got close to Florence the clouds broke up and there were some amazing views of the Tuscan countryside as we made our approach.

Once I landed I got my bag then went over to catch the shuttle bus for the train station. Since there's no station attached to the airport you need to catch a shuttle for 6 euros. I waited for a little while and it finally showed up and dropped me off in a super busy mess of people by the bus/train station.

One nice thing I noticed right away was how warm it was. It was in the low 70's which was a full 20 degrees warmer than I've been experiencing for the last week or so. The jeans, long sleeved shirt and jacket I had on were definitely a bit much.

I got some cash and then had a sundried tomato, ham and cheese sandwich while waiting for my train to Lucca. A few nights ago I bought the train ticket online and had to specify a departure time. I wasn't sure how long it would take to get through all the airport mess, catch the shuttle and get to the train station. Because of all those factors, I was a little hesitant to book some of the earlier departures. I ended up having to wait around at the train station for about 2 hours unfortunately.

For the rest of my travel in Italy I'll probably just buy my tickets at the station. I thought ordering them online would be cheaper but I checked today and there wasn't any savings involved.

The train ride to Lucca brought me through some gorgeous little towns, vineyards and countryside. The entire area is surrounded by mountains which is nice to see. The last time I saw true mountains was way back in Wales.

Once in Lucca I walked through the city to my hostel. Lucca is surrounded by its old city walls which helps keep car traffic out of the city. It's basically one humungous pedestrian zone with winding cobblestone streets lined with typical Tuscan buildings (orange roofs, stucco walls, etc).

After checking into the hostel I took a little walk to the 3 store to get a SIM card for my phone. I'm going to be in Italy for a little over 2 weeks so I figure having a data connection will be nice. I'm also tired of the shoddy wifi I've been experiencing lately too.

After getting the SIM card I walked part of the city walls and went to the grocery store to pick up some muffins for breakfast, apples and oranges to snack on and a bottle of wine that I haven't opened yet. Unfortunately this hostel doesn't have a kitchen and I don't have a cup to drink the wine. I might just end up doing it ghetto style and drinking straight from the bottle.

Once I finished up at the grocery it was already dark out so I found a pizza place and got a wood fired pizza for dinner and ate it at the hostel. Tomorrow I'll explore Lucca all day and see what it has to offer. Saturday is calling for 80% chance of rain so that might just be a work/catchup day. Then on Sunday I'm going to head to Pisa to see the famous leaning tower.

Arriving in Italy today has really recharged me. I was starting to get a little tired of all the traveling but I think a dramatic change in scenery, climate and culture was very much needed. I've always loved Italy and so far it hasn't disappointed me.
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Lucca, Italy
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Lucca's old city walls
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Path along the old city walls

A Cold Day at Schobrunn Palace

Wednesday, October 2, 2013 @ 03:45 pm from Austria Austria
Day 98

I got up pretty early this morning because I wanted to get out and see as much of Vienna as possible on my last day here. Since my jeans were still a little wet from the dryer fiasco yesterday I had to wear my hiking pants. It was definitely too cold to be wearing these outside.

I walked to the big market across the street and got a cinnamon roll for breakfast and ate a couple clementines. My first stop was Schobrunn Palace. It's on the U-Bahn line that's just outside the hostel so I hopped on and got to the palace pretty quickly.

In the morning, it was still overcast and pretty windy so I was getting really cold. I thought I had to pay for entrance to the gardens but it was actually free which was nice. I walked around for about an hour and finally got fed up with the cold so I headed back to the train and went to Prater where there's a big ferris wheel and parks. They were setting up a bunch of big beer gardens which unfortunately I wasn't able to partake of.

It was still cold so I got back on the train to the station next to the hostel and then got a doner sandwich at the market. I was looking into getting a schnitzel but I didn't want to pay 13 euros for a flattened, breaded and deep fried piece of meat. I can get one back in Indy for a couple bucks if I really want one.

After I ate and showered, the sun finally came out so I went out for a little walk around the same area I did yesterday. I was kinda hunting for a beer garden to hang out in but I couldn't find anything. All of the places that sold beer were a bit overpriced too.

One interesting thing here is called Strum. It's basically a really low ABV wine that hasn't had a chance to ferment as long as most wines take. They sell it at most cafes here too. I was thinking about trying some but wasn't sure if 4%, incomplete wine was what I was looking for.

Instead, I bought a couple Austrian beers from a local store and brought them back to the hostel to enjoy. Tomorrow I'll get up a little early and head to the airport to catch my flight to Florence. Once in Florence I have to get to Lucca where I'll be spending 4 nights. I've been looking forward to Italy for a long time. I'm glad it's finally almost here!
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Schobrunn palace through Neptune fountain
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A Nice Day Exploring Vienna

Tuesday, October 1, 2013 @ 06:24 pm from Austria Austria
Day 97

The hostel doesn't have free breakfast so I went out and got some kind of stuffed pastry around the corner. I wasn't sure what was in it but it ended up being some kind of tasty cream. After that I set off to go find the tourist office to pick up a Use-It guide that I've come to appreciate when they're available.

The office was closed but they had a bunch of the guides available outside so I grabbed one and set off on the walk the guide suggests. They called it the "Too much history" walk and it takes you by a lot of the main sights to see on the Ringstrasse.

Since I started pretty early in the morning, the sun was rather harsh and made for some bad photos. It was really beautiful walking around though, even if I wasn't able to capture it. The buildings are massive and they're usually surrounded by big gardens to relax in. Even though they were built to look old, pretty much all the main sights at the beginning of the walk were built in the late 19th century.

I went into some of the famous coffee houses where people like Sigmund Freud hung out. I didn't end up getting any coffee though since spending what I normally spend on an entire day's worth of food for one cup of coffee didn't seem like a great idea.

I also walked by Sigmund Freud's house on the way to the Danube Canal. The canal walk is known for and was filled with graffiti. I continued past the Ruprechtskirche (the oldest church in Vienna, built in 740) and then headed into a busy cafe/restaurant/shopping area. The guide mentioned an extremely hidden hole in the wall microbrewery that makes killer wood fired stuffed pitas. It sounded delicious so I spent about 20 minutes hunting it down. The streets are like a maze and after making a few loops through the general area I thought it was, I found it.

The place is called Kolar and it really is on a random street that is hidden really well. I went in and there were only two people there waiting to pick up some food. The ambiance of the place was great. It was too dark inside to take photos but imagine an old dark cellar with low domed/arced ceilings, firewood stacked along an entire wall and a blazing wood fired oven in the corner next to the bar filled with their own beers and you're starting to get the idea.

At first I just ordered their Dunkel (dark) beer and then looked at the menu. The entire thing was in German and I really had no idea what was what but I was able to figure out they have a daily special each day. In my rough translations I was able to figure out it was prosciutto, spinach, tomato, parmesan and "cream". I ordered one and a few minutes later it came out. It was delicious and completely filling.

As I was drinking my beer and eating my food, more and more people flooded in. By the time I left there were at least a dozen people in the tiny area ordering food and drinks. If you ever find yourself in Vienna, definitely check out Kolar.

There wasn't too much left on the walking route but it did bring me through some really ritzy shopping areas and finally ended at the Stephansdom church. It's hard to capture these massive buildings in one shot since all the buildings are so close together. The church dates back to 1170 and has some really neat architecture.

I wandered around a little bit more then came back to the hostel. They have washers and dryers downstairs so I wanted to take advantage of those before they were all used. I showered then went down and threw everything in the washing machine. Unfortunately the dryer malfunctioned or something when I was upstairs waiting and everything came out still pretty wet. All my clothes are currently drying upstairs in the room, lol. I'm hoping my jeans are dry by the morning since I don't have any dry long pants to wear now.

I cooked up some dinner (mixed veggies and italian grilled cheese). I love how easy and good some simple meals can be.

I have another full day to spend here in Vienna tomorrow and I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet. I might try to find a free walking tour or just go explore some of the markets. One of the largest and oldest markets in Vienna is literally outside the hostel. I also need to hunt down some schnitzel before I leave.
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Kolar - Microbrewery and wood fired pitas
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Stephansdom - built in the 1100's
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Where I've been:

Good Evening… Planet Earth
All the countries I visited on this trip (in yellow).

What's this about?

Traveling is something I've loved doing for as long as I can remember. I've been lucky enough to travel out of the US a few times but never longer than 2 weeks at a time. I decided that I should go see the world and experience all it has to offer. I booked a one-way ticket to Dublin, Ireland to depart on June 26, 2013. After I get to Europe I'll let serendipity take hold and see where I end up. No schedules and no itinerary… just go with the flow. That's as close to a plan as I'm making.

Who am I?

My name's Brandon O'Brien and I'm a travelholic. Before this journey I've been to 11 countries and put over 17,500 miles on various motorcycle trips through the USA and Canada. I'm a self-employed web developer so I'm fortunate enough to be able to work anywhere there's an internet connection. That's what truly made this experience possible.


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