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Italy

A Different Kind Of Mountain Bobsledding in Italy

Have you ever tried bobsledding during winter time? Did you feel the rush of adrenalin and your heart pumping as fast as the twist and turn of the bobsleigh? How about doing it downhill on ordinary season without any safety helmet, just a safety seatbelt and a lever brake?

Fun Bob. That’s the name of the place in Alpe Campo Rimasco in Italy. It’s a unique outdoor adventure because the whole family can enjoy.  The descent is about 1850 metres starting from a restaurant at the Alpe Campo and down to the base where you could rest and enjoy the cool, alpine air in Valsesia. The descent will last around more than 2 minutes depending on your speed.

It is open during summer and also during weekends in October before the winter season sets.

 

(Photo credit: tripadvisor.nl)
This is a video I have taken from YouTube from the Rifugio Alpe Campo which runs the place. Thrilling!!!

(Credit to owner of the video)
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Beautiful Ski Resorts in Northern Italy

Italy is a beautiful country with great alps and Dolomites along the northern area. It is also famous for its rich art, culture and historic architectural sites. Aside from that, Italy is also home to many beautiful ski resorts.

Below are few of the beautiful ski resorts you will find in northern Italy according to region. Marvel on their beauty and check out the many activities you can do there for yourself, with your family and friends too and make the best of your winter getaway!

Aosta Valley region

Aosta Valley in the northwestern part of Italy is the only region in Italy without any provinces. However it is also a very mountainous area that is why it is popular skiing destination in Italy come winter time.
Champoluc, Monte Rosa
Gran Paradiso

Piedmont region

The Piemonte (or Piedmont) region boasts plenty of northern Italy’s famous ski resorts. It was home to the Torino 2006 Winter Olympics.

Via  Lattea
Ski Cervinia

Trentino region

Trentino is famous for its mountain ranges, Dolomites and the alps.

Folgaria-Fiorentini
Cavalese

Lombardy region

Lombardy is one of the northern regions of Italy and the capital is Milan, famous for a large number of UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its border is the Swiss alps.

Livigno 

Veneto region

It is the 8th largest region in Italy and is located in the northeastern part of the country and it’s northernmost part also borders Austria.

Cortina d’Ampezzo
 
 
 

South Tyrol region

This region is located in the northernmost part of Italy.  It has a very snowy winter that can come as early as October until late of April. So, people who loves to ski or do winter activities can enjoy it longer than the rest of Italy.
Merano
 
 
 
Pusteria
 
 
(Photos not mine.)
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Day Trip to Venice

Posted in Euro trip, Europe, Italy, Lombardy, Milan, travelogue, Veneto, Venice
on November 3, 2015

Ah, Venice! I thought I would never set my foot in that place. And I did! And I am happy!

This year is our summer Euro trip. I didn’t plan for any US trip because we haven’t visited Europe for sometime. Hubby allowed me and our daughter to go on our mother-daughter bonding trip to visit relatives in Milan and experience a road trip to see Venice. We were so excited to finally see the much talked about place in the planet. It didn’t disappoint!

Venice is located in the region of Veneto, Italy.  It is approximately 3 hours drive from Milan (with pit stops) and even the drive to Venice was full of rolling hills with vineyards, beautiful villas, vistas of green trees, and clear blue sky. It was like seeing all the beautiful pictures I have only seen in travel magazines come to life right before my eyes. Breath taking!

We spent 4 hours in Venice. We even got lost in the winding alleys that looked the same to the newbies. But we weren’t nervous. It was fun getting lost in a place filled with history, culture and romance!

I had wonderful time watching the gondolas pass underneath the bridge were we stood. We were even lucky to watch a singing gondolier! The place is simply captivating. I and my daughter were mesmerized.

Souvenir hunting was superb! There were plenty of shops to check out. They were pricey but we managed to buy a few.

A visit in Venice wouldn’t be complete without eating the famous tiramisu gelato which is a fave of my daughter.

It was a bit difficult to walk towards noon time. The scorching heat made it impossible to enjoy the view. So we rested for a while in Piazza San Marco and watched other people pass by and the pigeons. Yes, there were still plenty of pigeons.

Some of the architectural structures around Piazza San Marco was being refurbished so we weren’t able to get a decent shot of the famous buildings. It’s okay. We still had plenty of snaps taken around the place.

We wrapped the whole Venezia trip around past 4 as we need to head back to Milan before it got dark.

Will we visit the place again? Definitely but not during summer. Perhaps, when it’s a bit cold because I love the cold weather.

La Dolce Vita!

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My Guide To Making The Most Of A Trip To Italy

Posted in accommodation, Europe, Italy, lifestyle, travel tips, vacation
on October 19, 2015
I am a real travel lover, as are my family. This summer, I spent a couple of weeks travelling around Europe bonding with my teenage daughter. While we were away, we spent some time in Italy, which got me thinking about how amazing the country is.


Italy is somewhere that I love; it’s just such a beautiful place. I’ve been lucky enough to visit this amazing country a few times and have loved each city I have been to. Italy is crammed full of fantastic things to see and do, which can make it hard to know what to do while you are there.


italy.jpg


That’s why I want to share a few tips and ideas for making the most of a trip to Italy, with you, here:



See as many places as you can


Italy is a country that has so many beautiful cities and towns to explore, so if you can, aim to see as much as possible. Obviously, how many areas of the country you can travel to will depend on how long your trip is. The longer you are on vacation for, the more time you will have to explore.


Milan, Florence, Venice, Rome, and Naples are all must-sees, so if you get the chance, make sure to visit them all. Ensure that before your trip that you plan where you will visit, as well as how long you will stay in each place for.



Stay somewhere amazing


Often, when we visit Italy we stay with family, but if you can afford it, there are plenty of amazing places to stay. If you are travelling as part of a larger group, you will find that renting out a large villa can be surprisingly affordable.


From beautiful guest houses in Milan to Tuscany holiday villas, there are many types of accommodation to choose from. In many of Italy’s cities, you will find hostels, which are a great option if you are travelling on a budget. So even if money is tight, you should be able to find accommodation that is suitable.



Taste the local food


By all means eat in the restaurant of your hotel, but if you want to experience the real Italy, you need to taste the local cuisine. Before your trip, take some time to research all the best locally run restaurants near where you are staying. That way, before you travel, you will know where all the most authentic places to eat are.


If you are unable to afford to eat in restaurants, make time to visit lots of street markets. One of the best ways to sample the nicest local dishes is by visiting street markets – the food is both affordable and delicious. Before your trip, Google when the street markets are held where you are going, so that you don’t miss out on experiencing them.



Speak to the locals


When it comes to experiencing a place properly, I have found that the key is to speak to the locals. Often, there are some amazing things to see and do that aren’t in the guidebooks, which is why asking the locals for advice is important.

If you want to make the most of a trip to Italy, taste the local food, visit the most amazing places, and most importantly, do lots of research before you go.
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Milan, Venice and Barcelona in a Week

Posted in Barcelona, European tour, Italy, Milan, Spain, travelogue, vacation, Venice
on October 16, 2015

Bonding with my daughter this summer for our mini-Euro trip was the best decision I have made to spend my bonus money. To some, it may not even be a good decision because there are bills to pay. I couldn’t care less about the bills. Money will come and go but the time I spend with my daughter is more precious than money can ever buy. So, I decided to spend the bonus for this mini-Euro trip and my daughter and I can actually vouch for this – WE HAD FUN!

Milan was the first stop. We stayed with relatives in Milan for 3 days. My hubby’s cousins took us to the usual spot like Duomo, the Galleria and nearby places of interests we’ve seen the first time we toured Milan in 2008. However, this time, my daughter and I climbed the Duomo to see the Golden Virgin Mary on top of the church roof. Well, the experience was very enchanting but climbing up the stairs when you’re not physically fit (I’m not an active person) had me gasping for air sometimes. I need to really, really work out because when you travel, there are lots of walking involved. I have just realised how “not physically” fit I was while climbing the stairs. It wasn’t very steep but I lost count how many steps we have climbed to see the majestic Virgin Mary on the roof top. I’m glad my daughter was there to cheer me on and gave me encouragement to keep going because I was already throwing a hissy fit. I just had to tell myself it was a sacrifice I wanted to offer for the Lord so I needed the extra strength to climb the last few steps.

Seeing the top of Duomo is a must when you visit Milan. You’ll get a bird’s eye view of the town centre from the top. Aside from the great view, you’ll see the Golden Virgin Mary, the details of the Duomo spires, and other sculpture that was there that time we visited.

Going down was a breeze. You now have an option to use the lift (and guess what, we did!) or the stairs. I wish they had installed that while going up especially for the elders who would need help climbing.

We had snacks at the nearby Galleria and went in the middle part of the Galleria where the peak of the glass dome is. Rumour has it that when you stand in the middle of the glass dome and make a wish, it will come true. My daughter and I wished and let’s see. Hmmmm…

We walked around Galleria and the nearby places of interests then took the train back home. We slept early for our Venice day trip by car.

June 13 was Venezia day. It was a long drive from Milan. I think it was almost 3 hours and we had several stops in between to rest and grab snacks in Autogrill. I like the Autogrill because it has plenty of merchandise and the deli is fab! There are plenty of Autogrill along the way and I lost count how many I’ve seen.

Finally, Venezia (Venice) was on the horizon. Seeing the cruise ships around the port and the smaller yachts signalled the entrance to the famous Venice. We parked near the cruise ships port and walked towards the main entrance to Venice. We took the ferry to take us to San Marco rather than make pit stops elsewhere. San Marco is one of the famous sites to visit in Venice and we wanted to see it right away. From there, we just walked and visited different alleys and checked out shops. We had some snacks in a small deli near San Marco. We even got lost at some point because we didn’t carry any map and relied to our GPS in the phone which was not much of a help if you are not familiar with N, S, E, W directions. We finally found our way back to San Marco Piazza and decided to just walk along the main canal route so we wouldn’t get lost again. It was very hot that day and much as I appreciate the beauty around me, I could only take so much “heat” and we all decided to head back to the main train station of Venice which is also the main entrance.

It was another long drive back home and we left around 5:30 p.m. The sun was still up so we just took one pit stop to another Autogrill to refresh and unwind. We reached home almost around past 9:00 and amazingly, the sun was still up so we felt like it was not yet late.

June 14 was just a rest day as we headed to Malpensa Airport Terminal 2 in the afternoon. Our flight to Barcelona was not until 6:30 a.m. the next day. I have decided to book a night’s stay at Moxy Malpensa Milan Airport because it was just in front of Terminal 2. We didn’t want to cause any inconvenience to our cousins as they have to work the next day. The hotel was superb! I would book there again.

We checked out at 4:30 a.m. to give us ample time to have breakfast in the airport. The hotel was just a mere 3-5 minutes walk from the Terminal 2 of Malpensa Airport where we would board for our EasyJet flight to Barcelona. There were plenty of people already at that time so walking wasn’t scary. Amazingly, there were some luggage trolleys outside the hotel’s entrance door so we grabbed one and the walk was convenient for us. It was a bit rainy and dark but the place was already buzzing with people catching their flights and the nearby offices made the area ok. There were ample lighting as well on the posts so walking from the hotel to the airport terminal was ok.

My daughter and I decided to have our mini-breakfast inside the airport as soon as we passed the immigration and before we headed to the boarding gate. The flight left on time and was just more than an hour before we landed at El Prat Airport in Barcelona. Ola Espana!

June 15 to 18 was our intended stay in Barcelona. As soon as we arrived, we followed the signs leading to the baggage carousel and headed to the nearest exit. I was a bit surprised that we didn’t go through immigration anymore. It’s been a while since I travelled to Europe so the borderless travel concept seemed so foreign to me.

We looked for the Aerobus ticket booth so I could exchange the ticket voucher I bought online for our return trip bus passes. We boarded the Aerobus, and we arrived at Plaça Catalunya in less than 45 minutes without any traffic jam. From there, we just walked to our hotel.

The rest of the day was spent walking around Barcelona’s famous plaza. More details of out trip in separate posts.

We had a marvelous time and wished the vacation was longer. We are definitely going back to Spain and next time we will visit other places like Madrid, Sevilla, and probably even go on a side trip to Lisbon.

There’s another Euro trip in the offing but maybe next year when I figure out when due to my daughter’s school roster.

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Review – Moxy Milan Malpensa Hotel

Moxy Milan Malpensa Hotel is a very chic, trendy and modern accommodation just right in front of Malpensa Airport Terminal 2. It is a very convenient hotel especially for those who are just stopping to Milan for a brief stay or business meeting and need to connect to the airport quickly.

The city centre of Milan is not a short drive from Malpensa Airport. My daughter and I decided to book our 1 night stay the day before we left Milan so we didn’t have to hassle our relatives by driving us to the airport at the wee hours of the morning. Our flight via EasyJet to Barcelona was around 6:30 a.m. so it was a good decision to check in this hotel. I had a great deal with this hotel via Booking.com and it was perfect in many levels!

What I like:
Location. I can’t stress that enough. It’s located right in front of Malpensa Airport Terminal 2 so there is no need to catch a cab to get to the airport. It was barely 5 minutes walk from the hotel. We were lucky enough to find few bag carts outside the hotel so we didn’t have to pull heavy luggages.

Check-out was fast because everything was paid for, including the meals I have ordered. Although I had the option to pay afterwards. I decided to pay for the coffee, snacks and other meals I have ordered upfront so I didn’t have to worry about check-out.

The hotel’s lobby is ultra modern with many novelty furniture and lighting to add pizzazz. There are plenty of seating space in the lobby and it wasn’t very crowded when we were there.

(There are plenty of seating areas in the lobby of Moxy. You can eat there if you like or just read books or surf the internet. Your choice!)

The room was just the right size for my daughter and I. It’s’ practically ok in European standards. We had enough space for our luggages without having to bump to the bed or chair.

The room is well-lit.

There are plenty of electrical socket unlike the other hotels we have stayed at in the past.

The amenities are very modern and hi-tech. There are USB and HDMI ports along with the electrical sockets so we could watch using our hard disk or USB or laptop.

The flat screen TV is huge and has English channels.

The bed was soft and yet so comfortable. We had a very sound sleep.

The room is soundproofed too! Like I said earlier, it was very, very close to the airport and we didn’t hear any of the aircraft taking off or landing or any outside noise for that matter. The rooms are soundproofed.

The bathroom is spacious and clean. It has bathroom amenities and well-supplied too. The towels have Marriott logos too. There is a bidet and a flush toilet. The shower area is separate and spacious.

There is free wi-fi all over the hotel.

Accessibility is not an issue as the hotel offers ramps in and out for guests with disability.

They also allow pets. However, check their hotel’s policies before booking.

They offer grab-n-go meal and drink selection which you can have in the many seating areas in the lobby or take them in your room.

(Bar/resto/coffee nook of the hotel. Yummy cappuccino too! The far end of the bar serves as the check-in/out counter too.)

There is plenty of condiments to use and also microwaves to heat your food.

What I don’t like:
Nothing. This is a perfect hotel for us.

Price:
Standard Double Room for €59 including tax for a night. via Booking.com

My recommendation: 5 out of 5

I highly recommend this property for families, business travellers, travellers with pets and couples. This is a mod property in front of Malpensa Airport Terminal 2 and the location is perfect. It is not near the city centre but the hotel also offers shuttles for guest to and from Malpensa Terminal 1 so guests can catch the train to connect to the city.

Nearby attractions:
Rho Fiera Milano
Milan Expo 2015

Moxy Milan Malpensa hotel is part of the Marriott chain of properties. It is located at Milan Malpensa Airport – Terminal 2, 21010 Case Nuove, Italy.

If you want to book this hotel or find similar hotels near Case Nuove area, you may search hotels in this booking.com app below:
Booking.com
Disclosure:
This hotel review is my personal review. I have paid for this stay and in no way sponsored by the property nor Booking.com. I love to book via Booking.com because I always find a very competitive rate or great deals when compared to other booking sites. My opinion is 100% mine and may vary from yours.

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Salve and Hola Summer Trip

Posted in Barcelona, Euro trip, Europe, family trip, Italy, Milan, Spain, travel
on June 8, 2015

The travel bug has bitten once again and I have been very busy with work to finish so I can go on leave this coming Friday without any pending stuff to think of.

Yup, my daughter and I are off to Milan, Italy and Barcelona, Spain for a whole week. I have surprised my daughter about this trip because she thought we wouldn’t be going anymore since she exchanged the Euro trip of 2016 to an 18th birthday debutante ball instead. Well, I don’t think I can let this opportunity pass. I want to give this Euro trip to her, albeit, we are visiting only 2 countries this time due to my lack of leave credits. I would have loved to venture on other countries from East to West. Maybe next year.

We’re staying in Milan for 4 days and will fly to Barcelona on the 15th of June via EasyJet. I wanted to go by rail but there are plenty of stops, changes and we won’t be able to sleep within the 16 hours or so train ride.

I booked a not-so-fancy hotel near Plaça Catalunya. It’s the last stop if we will ride the Aerobus from El Prat Airport in Barcelona. It’s also walking distance to most notable tourist attractions in the area so it’s a good place to start.

We’ll be visiting Montserrat too and I’m mapping out our directions and budget as I plan to travel on our own so we can experience the train ride and the cable car ride towards the mountain top where the Monastery is and the Black Virgin of Montserrat’s figure can be seen.

The weather is not as inviting anymore because it’s hot. I don’t like summer weather but hey, I plan to lose weight so maybe a lot of sunshine, perspiration and walking can do the trick.

So, I won’t be blogging much again. I know I’ve been quiet lately. I haven’t even posted much of the tours I have taken in Amsterdam and here’s another one coming. Allow me to take it all in and will definitely share pics and posts about Barcelona. It’s the 2nd time we are visiting Milan and we will be staying in my hubby’s cousins’ place. Hope to see the Milan Expo 2015 and Venice this time around. 🙂

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