Tomorrow I begin my overland journey from Holland to Hong Kong. My backpack is all packed. It’s probably far too heavy. This is my first backpacking trip and I’m slightly nervous. This is the moment when my brain always tries to tell me I’m forgetting something important. I’ve had so much time to prepare and it never feels like I’ve done enough.
As it turns out, big cities aren’t exactly ideal road trip destinations. During my tour of Italy, this became particularly clear in the capital city. Despite that, I only needed two days in Rome to fall in love with this city. I can’t wait to return for a more extensive visit of Rome and the smallest country in the world: Vatican City.
Continue reading Travel Journal: Two days in Rome
Travelling is hardly ever a continuous series of perfect, carefree days. Every trip is bound to have a bad day. The worst day – technically it was the worst night – of my recent trip to Italy started when my friend and I arrived in a coastal village in the vicinity of Rome.
Continue reading Travel Journal: The worst day of my Italian road trip
‘Turn left here.’
I take a look at the road Dom’s pointing at.
‘Are you sure?’ I ask him. The road doesn’t look very inviting, but he’s sure it’s the correct one, so I turn left. We’ve been on the road for nearly 16 hours and all I want is to find a place to sleep as soon as possible. My car is protesting quite heavily and threatens to stall a few times as it fights to climb the incredibly steep and narrow road, at the end of which is the most picturesque agriturismo I have ever seen.
Earlier in the day we’ve taken a detour over the St Gotthard pass to avoid the long traffic jam at the tunnel. At the top of the pass we discussed our plans for the day and decided that if we wanted to make it to the Italian coast on the first day of our trip, we’d have to find a hotel instead of a campsite. So here we are. Unfortunately the challenging trip up the mountain road has been in vain. The agriturismo is fully booked.
After an equally challenging trip back down, we try another hotel, which turns out to be so busy I can’t even park the car. Dom attempts to ring another hotel, but after repeating “Pronto?” four or five times without understanding our replies, they hang up on us. A quick check online doesn’t leave us with many options, so we decide to revert to our initial plan. Let’s just find a campsite before the sun sets. Thankfully, the first one we try has plenty of free spots. It’s a small campsite right next to the motorway, but it’s 9 o’clock and we’re losing the light, so it’ll do for now.
It is usually a great idea to go on a trip without doing a lot of research beforehand. It is a great way to discover new places and it provides even a simple day trip with a hint of adventure. Sadly though, this philosophy tends to backfire once in a while. Let me tell you about my recent adventure in the Belgian city of Liège.