Pasta, pizza e gelato

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Although the photos above don’t portray any pasta, pizza e gelato, those were the things I had in my mind when I was flying to Florence. I didn’t want to take photos of my pasta, pizza e gelato because I simply wanted to enjoy them and not photograph them. The photos above pay a tribute to the beautiful dawn at Duomo and to the magical sunset at Piazzale Michelangelo.
Both are experiences that you shouldn’t miss when you are in Florence.

Food in Italy is like nowhere else. And since I haven’t been to the Bel Paese for the last two years, I kinda missed it and I totally ignored the calorie count, and the fact that I want to lose 5 kilos. Diet can wait, I thought. It wasn’t that urgent anyways!

This is my last blog post from Florence. After Florence, I spent a few days in Vienna and later on, I embarked on a plane to Napoli for a new adventure by the Amalfi coast. Stay tuned for more postcards from Bella Italia. It felt like this August was dedicated to a culinary journey to Italy. Pasta, pizza e gelato, in other words, the trilogy of happiness! ♥

My Florence

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In Florence, we woke up very early to take photos and watch the sunrise from Ponte Vecchio. Waking up at 05.00 is not exactly my thing, but the views and serenity of the city rewarded us and made us think to repeat the same thing again the following day. The rest of the day was proceeding like this: First, breakfast at our boutique hotel and then a little rest. Right after that, I was heading to the panetteria which was next to our hotel, Firenze Number Nine, for my all time favorite “panino con prosciutto e mozzarella”. Some habits never change when in Italy!  Later on, in order to beat the heat and quench our thirst, we were sipping iced cappuccino with chocolate at the terrace of the historical Caffè Gilli while watching people passing by. Long strolls and sightseeing during the day were accompanied by gelato or a piece of pizza in the shape of heart from the pizzeria Gusta pizza. At the end of the day we always ended up in this bar, called La terrazza lounge bar, our favourite place for aperitivo with spectacular views over the city of Florence. For dinner we were heading to some trattoria that was recommended by our Italian friends. Check out Trattoria Sostanza, Alla vecchia Bettola, and Il santo bevitore. A little before we go back to our boutique hotel we treated ourselves to a midnight gelato from Gelateria La Carraia.This is my Florence ♥

Firenze Number Nine

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Shoes: Humanic

I spent the last days of July with my friend Edisa at the wellness hotel, Firenze Number Nine, in the heart of Florence. On The Viennese Girl blog, I am happy to feature all the beautiful hotels where I have had the good fortune to stay at and hope that you can use the information from my posts as useful tip when you are looking for accommodations, in this case, Florence. There were several things that I loved about this boutique wellness hotel, such as: the young and enthusiastic staff, the breakfast in the garden, the smell once you enter the hotel, the location of the hotel, our gorgeous maisonette, and the view from the big windows, to name just a few. I remember how quickly and easily Edisa and I adjusted ourselves in Florence, like we have been living there forever. Our boutique hotel, Firenze Number Nine, was our home, our starting point for our little adventures around Florence. It felt like “we really want to be here” and “this is the place to be right now”. On the last day, we also tried out the hotel’s spa department. Both of us treated our bodies to a relaxing massage that lasted about one hour. It felt so good having such a treatment, especially after a few days of taking photos and walking around the city, non-stop. Sadly though, after the full body massage, it was time for us to check out.. Can’t wait to go back! ♥

Once upon a time in Florence

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Dress: Madame shou shou

I have been traveling a lot the last few weeks. I actually have been purposely looking for opportunities to travel during the summer because if not in the summer, then when? My first summer trip was to Greece, then to France, and now to Italy. For the Italian trip to Florence, I brought my friend Edisa. This was our second trip together; the first one was in Mykonos earlier this year.

While traveling, I like to try out new things and do things that others might not do or try things that I have not experienced before. For instance, we woke up at 05:00, dressed up and ventured out to see the morning magical light hit the empty streets. Although my eyes usually hurt, and I have a little headache caused by the early wake up, we truly enjoyed the early morning calm during this visit to Florence. In the early morning, it felt like the city was “ours”. Luckily, our hotel Firenze Number Nine was centrally located, just a few steps from Florence’s cathedral and Ponte vecchio. This meant we didn’t have to go far to reach the main attractions. The morning we took the photos above, the guy at the reception was staring at us while we were stepping out of the hotel. I am sure he was wondering what two girls, dressed up like this, were doing at 05.30 in the morning! There was another Italian who asked us who was the bride. There was no bride, and no wedding. Just me and Edisa, once upon a time in Florence. ♥

One day in Tours

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Espadrilles: Marc O’ Polo

The picturesque city of Tours was the last stop of my trip in France before I depart for Vienna. I spent the last day of my visit in Loire Valley sightseeing in Tours, visiting the Château de Chenonceau, dinning at “Le Saint Honoré and also lodged in the most charming Bed&Breakfast, called “Maison Jules”. “Maison Jules” was one of my most favorite spots I saw in Loire Valley. I had breakfast together with the owner of the guest house, Alexandra, who told me that she was selling hotels in Paris in the past and that her father is an interior designer. No wonder this villa is soooo charming! (Cheers to people with excellent taste) My room was the Room Grégoire, but I had a quick glance into another room with butterfly wallpaper that left me impressed! With only one day in Tours, I had a limited time to explore the city, so I was lucky enough to have a greeter who showed me the historic centre of Tours in the morning and brought me to one of the most beautiful squares in France, called Place Plumereau. After that, I caught the train to the Château de Chenonceau where I spend the rest of the day.

What a pity the press trip in France finished here. I’ll be back soon!♥

Château de Chenonceau

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Sometimes I catch myself daydreaming. I close my eyes and I like to think that I have a room at the Château de Chenonceau where I spend endless days watering the roses and having promenades in the garden, and where I invite the neighbors for evening champagne parties. And then I stop daydreaming and realize that instead of having a room at the Château de Chenonceau, I have a little room in the 4th district of Vienna and that I need to work, work, work, to get things done and move to a new apartment at the end of this month. But it’s not bad at all because I also realize how lucky I am that I got the chance to visit the Château de Chenonceau. After all, it’s The Viennese Girl who is living the fairy tale life and not me. I am just the editor behind this blog.

I hope you also travel vicariously through my photos, or even better, I wish you also get the chance to visit the French château, which is, by the way, the most visited castle in France after Versailles. If you plan to visit that romantic gem in Loire Valley, I suggest you find a place to stay in Tours (check this one) and take the train to the castle. Bon Voyage! ♥

 

 

 

Pretty Amboise

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Hotel: Au Charme Rabelaisien / Restaurant: Chez Bruno

Here is to another pretty little town, called Amboise, which I was happy to visit during my last trip in France. Upon my arrival at the hotel, I was welcomed by Sylvie, the owner of the charming hotel Au Charme Rabelaisien, and her lovely dog. We had a nice chat while I was giving a bunch of hugs and kisses to the little Jack Russell Terrier. If you have been a friend of The Viennese Girl blog, you probably have noticed how much I love dogs, especially the small ones. Later on, Sylvie helped me with my heavy luggage (too many goodie bags from Paris) and accompanied me to a beautiful loft suite on the third floor, overlooking the city and the royal Château of Amboise (bring me back please).

First thing on my list of places to visit in Amboise was the royal Château of Amboise. But Sylvie told me that I shouldn’t miss the chance to visit the market along the river as well. Amboise is a small town and my hotel was centrally located, therefore everything was easily reachable on foot. I went to the market and fell in love with the straw bag that you can see in the pictures above. The bag matched perfectly with my Marc’o Polo sandals that were super comfy for getting around Loire Valley. Having the perfect accessories on, I spent the whole day visiting The Château du Clos Lucé and the Château Gaillard.

 

Beautiful Blois

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Hotel: La maison de Thomas / restaurant: La Creusille

I spent one day in beautiful Blois. I took the train from Beaugency to Blois, and as soon as I arrived in the little town, I looked for the hotel to drop off my heavy suitcases. If you also have the opportunity to visit Blois, which is something I definitely recommend, you should check out this hotel. Needless to say, I loved my room on the first floor (which you can see from the photos here). I actually never had a room like this before and once I stepped in, I was in awe. I honestly didn’t want to close the door and leave the hotel for the day. But what can you do? C’est la vie!

How I spent my day and things to do in Blois:

Take the shuttle bus, which stops in front of the Royal Castle of Blois and in about 40 minutes you are going to reach the Royal Château de Chambord. Check the timetables for the time the last bus leaves for Blois. While you are in the Royal Château de Chambord, take your time. The castle and its surrounding are huge; therefore you need time to admire the exceptional architecture. There are also restaurants for a little relaxation. Once you get back to Blois, visit the Royal Chateau of Blois. From the Royal Chateau of Blois you can also have a panoramic view of the city (photos above). Plus, don’t forget to reserve a ticket for the festival of special effects which takes place in the courtyard and documents the history of the castle. During my visit in Loire Valley, I was going from one castle to another, which had me feeling like a little princess.♥

Visit Loire Valley

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The trip to Loire Valley didn’t start at its best for me. I missed my train for several reasons but such a thing can always happen when travelling. You have to always know how to deal with unexpected little problems and don’t let them ruin your day. I remember that the Uber driver did his best to bring me at Gare Austerlitz on time but when I arrived there, I was five minutes late, therefore I missed my train and took the next one.

Orléans is approximately one hour away from Paris if you take the direct train. Unlike in Paris, Loire Valley tourism office organized a plan for me to follow during my visit in Val de Loire and picked me up from the train station in Orléans. We had a small tour around the old little town, had an amazing lunch at Ver di Vin (Sabine et Laurent merci beaucoup, the food and wine was magnifique), took a bicycle and rode about 28km to Beaugency.

Regarding the ride, the route and landscape were both peaceful and beautiful, but I would suggest that you do that in a small group with friends and always check the weather before your departure. A good idea would be if you rent an electric bicycle and have a couple of bottles of water with you. In the middle of the route, have a rest and pay a visit at the beautiful Jardins de Roquelin.

I spent the night in Beaugency at the hotel l’Ecu de Bretagne, pretty tired but happy. If you plan to visit Loire Valley, you might want to write down those few places mentioned on this blog post. They definitely deserve a visit.♥

 

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