As South Africans we honestly live in one of the most beautiful parts of the world. So, when it comes to picking a holiday destination we really have to choose carefully to be able to find a place that can come close to the beautiful areas we have on our doorstep.
After a vast amount of research and a substantial time on Pinterest, five specific destinations were added to her itinerary: Croatia, Vienna, Budapest, Milan and Venice. In her own words, Kriya gives us an account of her tour of Europe.
The land of crystal-clear waters, great seafood and ‘Kings Landing’. Croatia is a vast country with a long coastline on the Adriatic Sea. It comprises of over 1000 islands, each with their own history and character.
We decided the best way to see it all was via sea and there was no better way to do it than by yacht. Seven days aboard the Arura meant that we got to see 7 different cities which included the likes of Hvar, Korcula, and Split and of course ‘King’s Landing’, Dubrovnik.
With breakfast and a 3-course lunch included in your price, this is something to consider when thinking about touring the Adriatic Sea.
Vienna & Budapest
Old European cities to me just scream romance and nostalgia. Vienna and Budapest really delivered on this promise. From being able to explore the grounds of the Schönbrunn Palace, see polar bears and Giant Pandas at the royal zoo, to experiencing a symphony performance of Mozart inclusive of an opera performance in the famous Vienna Opera house. It was like traveling back in time.
What fascinated me the most is even though the two cities are 250km apart they are linked more then we know. The Danube river connects a number of European cities including Vienna and Budapest and thanks to the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 they had a dual monarchy of Austria–Hungary.
Milan was the first stop on the list but even though it may be the fashion capital of the world it was a little underwhelming and overpriced. However, exploring the very touristy city was not the reason for our visit. A mere 10min train ride out of the city is one of the most beautiful race tracks in the world and the home of the Italian Grand Prix, Monza. The real reason for our trip!
Being the host of Absolute F1 on SuperSport gives me the opportunity to experience the races through analysis and the eyes of other people. However, walking through Parco di Monza and hearing every growing hum of a sports engine racing around a track is a feeling that you cannot explain.
Witnessing a major sporting event such as the Monza Grand Prix is something I recommend that everyone do in their life, even if you aren’t the biggest formula one fan.
Our last stop on the trip was a 4 day stay in Venice. Everyone warned us that 4 days in Venice was too long, but I really do disagree. We started by getting lost in the narrow streets of this car less city figuring out our way around the maze that is Venice with a constant supply of the most amazing gelato. Surprisingly Venice isn’t the expensive tourist trap that everyone says it is. Unfortunately like the rest of Europe food is ridiculously expensive but thankfully some of the best Italian food I have ever had in my entire life.
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We also explored the island of Murano and Burano which are famous for their craftsmanship. Murano the island of glass is one of the only places in the world that still practices the traditional art of glass blowing and Murano the ancient art of handmade lace and brightly colored buildings.
A short train ride also provided us a day trip to Conegliano and Valdobbiadene the home of Prosecco. As a South African we are no strangers to wine regions but seeing the vast hill of vineyards and tasting the sweet bubble in their home region really is something special.
But what I can say about Venice city is, even though it can get a little busy when the big cruise liners roll in, the magic that is in the air when you walk over the bridges and through the dimly lit corridors firmly places it at the top of my foreign city list.