Oct 24 & 25- London (via Bruges, Belgium)

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Belfry of BrugesThe Tour

Woke up with the sad realisation that today was the last day of the tour. Thankfully Still had one last destination for our trip, the city of Bruges in Belgium. It only took us a few hours to get to the city after leaving Amsterdam, most of which I was fast asleep. We had just under two hours to explore the city and get some lunch. Spent most of our time in market square in the the centre of the city, took some photos of the Belfry of Bruges, the Provincial Court and the Post office. Stopped in at a little restaurant to grab one of Belgium’s specialities, Belgian fries, which were served with mayonnaise. Wandered a little of the centre of the city where found a little store front selling another of Belgium’s specialities, the Belgian waffle, which was covered in melted chocolate and pretty much amazing. Speaking of chocolate, Belgium’s other finest food, our tour guide took us to a little chocolate shop which among a delicious looking range of chocolate, sold chocolate that looked like male and female genitalia.

Provincial Court

Back onto the bus and onwards to Calais to wait for our ferry back to England. Here at the port we said a sad goodbye to home away from home for the past few weeks, the Topdeck bus. Once on the ferry, I took another opportunity to nap and woke up when we arrived in Dover. Back onto another bus and then onwards to London. Arriving back at our hostel, we all said a teary goodbye to those who were staying elsewhere and then the rest of the group had our final dinner at a Japanese place across the street.

Tower Bridge

I’d booked into a private room for my last night so enjoyed an amazing sleep in a double bed with my own ensuite. Breakfast with a few of our tour group before heading out for last day to explore London. First stop was the Churchill Cabinet War Rooms, which were used during the bombings in World War 2. Then I headed over to the Tower of London. After a tour of the site by a Beefeater, I saw the Crown Jewels, explored some of the other buildings inside the grounds and managed to catch the Tower Guards in the Ceremony of the Word. Once I was finished at the Tower London, it was time for me to head back to the hostel, grab my bags and take the tube to the airport for the very long trip home.Ceremony of the word

The Food

I wanted to make Fries but usually avoid deep frying food where possible. So decided to cut up a potato into fries, bake them coated in a little oil and then serve them with mayonnaise, of course. They were slightly over cooked on the edges but nice and crunchy, and I didn’t have to deal with the hassle of oil and deep frying.

Fries

For my last England based savoury dish, I had some sausages and potatoes leftover from all my cooking adventures this past month so I whipped up a simple Bangers and Mash, served with peas and onion gravy. It was quick and easy to make and definitely tasty.

Bangers and Mash

For my very final food item, there is nothing more English than a pudding. A particular favourite of mine is Bread and Butter Pudding with its rich eggy custard, plump sultanas and a slightly caramelised golden brown top. It was simple to prepare and a rather nice way to finish my food tour of Europe.

Bread and Butter Pudding

Oct 22 & 23- Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Dutch Windmill

The Tour

The drive from Berlin to Amsterdam was the longest of the trip so we were up nice and early to avoid peak hour traffic as we were leaving Berlin. Most of us slept during the drive waking up for the occasional toilet stop and our picnic lunch. We made it into Amsterdam by 4.30 and our first stop was on the outskirts of the city to visit a cheese and clog factory, where we learnt the processes used for both and had the opportunity to sample some cheese. Dropped off at our hostel in the city and we had little bit of time to get ready before our night out in the Red Light District. We were given a quick walking tour of some of the main sites of the city such as Dam Square and the National Monument. We arrived in the Red Light District and had time for a quick bite to eat, I grabbed a very non-tradtional Dutch food- the kebab, before settling in to watch a live sex show. The show itself was more awkward than erotic and spent a lot of time just laughing at the volunteers from our tour group that got to participate in the show.

Westernkerk

The next day started with a bike tour in the morning. This was interesting mostly because I hadn’t ridden a bike in who knows how many years so spent a lot of the trip trying not to running into cars, people, trams etc. We did stop at a few sights such as the Skinny Bridge and the Anne Frank house, which was to good to get some bearings before we set out to explore on our own. After the tour, we walked back to the Anne Frank House and waited around an hour to get in. It was definitely another one of those bucket list moments, having read the book when I was growing up and then I was actually there in the house. Did a little bit of souvenir shopping on our way back to the hostel where I had a nap to prepare for the last evening of the tour. Dinner was at a huge floating Chinese restaurant and then we finished the night with a canal cruise around the city before visiting a few bars and clubs to celebrate the last night of the tour.

Anne Frank Statue

My Food

Sadly, Amsterdam is another of those cities where I didn’t get to try all that much traditional food. So once again Google was my friend as I attempted to find something Dutch to prepare. After searching, I settled on Erwtensoep or Snert, Dutch pea soup, which is a soup packed full of peas, vegetables and different pork products. Apparently, for the recipe to be made correctly it needs to be thick enough to hold up a spoon and mine did just that.

Snert

For dessert, I chose the traditional Poffertjes, mini pancakes made with yeast and buckwheat flour. While I did not have a proper pan with all the little holes to cook them in, it still worked well enough in my large frypan however only one side was rounded not both. They still tasted great covered in little butter and a sprinkling of icing sugar.

Poffertjes

Oct 20 & 21- Berlin, Germany (via Dresden, Germany)

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Brandenburg Gate

The Tour

It only took us about 2 hours to get to Dresden, our first destination of the day, after setting off from Prague. We only had about an hour or so for lunch and to see some of the city so we decided to do the usual eat and walk and picked up a sausage and a pretzel from a street vendor and used the rest of our time admiring the beautifully historic buildings, many of which had been rebuilt to their original design after the war.

Soviet MemorialArriving in Berlin, we stopped at the Soviet War Memorial at Treptower Park, which like most Soviet monuments was huge and awe-inspiring. Then we had our first viewing of the Berlin Wall at the East Side Gallery. We had brief driving tour around the city to finish our first day in Germany before dinner at the hostel and the chance to be in bed nice and early.

East Side Gallery

The next day we had a Third Reich walking tour of Berlin visiting key sites such as the Reichstag, Brandenburg Gate, the Holocaust memorial, the site of Hitlers bunker, the site of the Propaganda Ministry, the former site of the SS offices and Checkpoint Charlie. After our tour, we stopped into the Topography of Terror museum which was built on the former site of the SS offices. Feeling a little bit history-ed out, we stopped for lunch at a German restaurant where I had a Venison Ragout with bread dumplings and did a little window shopping down Friedrichstraße. Hoping to walk off our rather filling lunch, we wandered down to the Bebelplatz, where memorial to the book burnings by the Nazis is located. From there we walked over to Alexanderplatz and relaxed in a beer garden with a stein of beer and another German sausage. While waiting for our bus home, I took some photos of the Berliner Fernsehturm, an impressive TV tower built in the 1960s.

TV Tower

The Food

Given that I ate so many during my time there, it wouldn’t have been right to make anything but German Sausage for my Berlin inspired meal. Wanting something a little bit nicer than a sausage on bread, I sort out a recipe for Wurst mit Sauerkraut, which is basically sausages cooked in sauerkraut. Once again the sauerkraut was combined with bacon, onions and caraway seeds as well as a grated apple, to provide a great balance of flavours. And the sausage tasted as good as I remember having in Germany.  Wurst mit SauerkrautAnother German staple that I actually make rather regularly is the Pretzel. This is my go to recipe, the dough is easy to make and shape, and the pretzels always end up nice and chewy on the outside and soft on the inside. PS. They taste even better when dipped in mustard.

Pretzel

Oct 18 & 19- Prague, Czech Republic (via Auschwitz, Poland)

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Auschwitz

The Tour

We left Krakow bright and early (well it was overcast and rainy, so it wasn’t really that bright) at 7 am to head off to Auschwitz. We stopped in at Auschwitz I first where our local tour guide took us around the main buildings, which had been converted into museums and filled with the personal belongings of the victims that the Allies found when the camp was liberated. I was doing okay with the visit until we got to the room that was filled with real human hair that had been shaved and collected from victims for use in cloth and textiles. Then the enormity of it all sunk in and I’m going to admit I got a little teary eyed (I definitely wasn’t the only one). Following that we headed over to Auschwitz II/ Birkenau, which, with the train line running straight up the middle, is the camp most people think of when they hear the word Auschwitz. Once again I struggled to even begin to comprehend what went through the minds of the people stepping off the trains and being separated from loved ones into the death or work groups.

Auschwitz II

We all then solemnly hopped back on the bus for what was probably the quietest drive of the trip. Got into Prague early evening so there was time for a quick dinner at the hostel and then we took the metro into the city for a late night tour and check out the Prague nightlife. The next day, we took the metro back into the city and retraced the steps of our tour to see the sights during day. Started at Wenceslas Square then headed down to Old Town Square to see the Powder Gate/Tower, Old Town Hall and the Astronomical Clock, Tyn Church and St. Nicholas Church. While we in Old Town we decided to see another famous Czech tourist spot pointed out to us by our tour guide the night before, the Sex Machine Museum. After that eye opening experience we walked back into Old Town Square for a fancy lunch of a sausage on bread and Trdelnik, the Czech version of Chimney Cake.

Old Town Hall

With some food in our stomachs, we were able to muster up the energy to walk the over Charles Bridge and up the hill to Prague Castle. And I’m glad we did as the views of the city from the Castle were amazing. We also took the time to check out St Vitus Cathedral and wander through the gardens. Took the metro back into the city and then found our way to the Museum of Communism. It wasn’t particularly grand or sophisticated but presented a rather vivid account of what life was like in the Czech Republic under communist rule. Plus they had an awesome collection of old communist-era stone busts and sculptures. From there, we made our way home on the metro back to the hostel and had a lazy evening spent relaxing and catching up on sleep and some much needed washing.

Prague from Prague Castle

The Food

The only traditional Czech food we ate on our trip was our lovely lunch of sausages while out exploring the city and that was what I was planning on making for Germany in a couple of days time. So I had a bit search for Czech food and found what is claimed to be their “national dish”, roast pork, sauerkraut and bread dumplings. The Roast pork was easy enough to cook and the bread dumplings were definitely interesting. The bread dumplings use a yeasted bread dough with fresh bread mixed into it and then boiled. They would also go well with a stew or something else with a lot of gravy. Also I’m usually not a big fan of sauerkraut but cooked together with onions and some bacon helps to balance out the flavour. And it complemented the pork nicely.

Roast Pork with Sauerkraut and Dumplings

When finding a sweet pastry item to cook for Prague, I had to look no further than the delicious Trdelnik we sampled in Old Town Square. So I set out to find a recipe, this part turned out to be easy however most of them required a open air grill to cook on so I had to look a bit further into whether they could be cooked in the oven. Thankfully I found someone else who had done it and was able to improvise with a soup can and my oven. I wrapped the dough the can around before coating in egg white and cinnamon sugar and then baking with the can standing up. This caused the dough to slide down a little on the can and squish the bottom rings a bit but once cooked it still looked pretty good (and tasted pretty good, if I don’t say so myself).

Trdelnik

Oct 16 & 17- Krakow, Poland

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Wawe CastleThe Tour

I woke up after our second night in Budapest feeling a lot better than the day before however I still slept most of the trip to Krakow. Though from what I saw of the drive through Slovakia, it was rather nice. We got in around 4 and had an hour or so to relax in our hotel before we headed into town for a walking tour and dinner. Our tour started with a visit to Wawel Castle where our tour guide entertained us with a story about dragons, virgins and princesses. We then walked through the Old Town to Main Square where we were just in time to see the trumpeter play from the top of St Mary’s Basilica. Dinner was free choice of the many restaurants around the Main Square and we ended up choosing a Georgian restaurant. I had Khinkali, a traditional Georgian dumpling in which the meat uncooked when being assembled so the juices are trapped inside. Not the easiest (or cleanest) thing to eat but they were pretty tasty.

The next day our first stop was the Salt Mines, which had among other things an underground cathedral complete with salt carvings of Pope John Paul II and the Last Supper.

Salt Sculpture

Back into Krakow, we made a visit the Dragon’s Den at Wawel Castle. We then stopped at a stall selling Obwarzanki, Krakow’s famous pretzel/bagel like delicacy which we ate as we took a walk down to the Jewish Quarters. From there we wandered across the river to the site of Schlinder’s factory, which is now a museum chronicling World War 2 in Krakow/Poland. Finished our day with a peaceful walk alongside the river back to Wawel Castle, where we were meeting the bus for a lift back to the hotel.
Back at our hotel we had an couple of hours before dinner so with had the luxury of a TV in our hotel room, we watched that. At the same time we were in Europe, the Blue Mountains bushfires were happening back in Australia and somehow we managed to find an English news channel on our TV. It was rathe
r unbelievable sitting in a hotel room in Poland and seeing the footage of the fires back home, particularly for some of the group who were from that area. After dinner, it was an early bed time as we had an early start to visit Auschwitz in the morning.

Krakow Dragon

My Food

While the Georgian dumplings I had while out dinner out in Krakow were nice (plus how often do you get to eat Georgian food), I was still a little bit disappointed I didn’t get to try Pierogi, the Polish version of dumplings, while in Poland. So what better opportunity than to make them now. I used Brown Eyed Baker’s recipe and filled mine with potato, onion, bacon and cheese which was rather tasty. Pierogi are boiled and then fried lighty so they also have a nice combination of being crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Pierogi

I had originally wanted to make Obwarzanki but I ran out of time with other commitments (study and work) plus seeing as I’ll probably be making Pretzels in a few days time for Germany, I thought I’d try something sweeter (and quicker to prepare). In my search I stumbled up Kolackzi, which are a cute looking butter cookie filled with jam or other fillings. Several different versions of the recipe but as I had some sour cream left over from my pierogi dough, I used this recipe with sour cream. The pastry itself uses no sugar, but the sweetness of the jam is enough and pairs well with the buttery, shortbread-like biscuit.

Kolaczky

Oct 14 & 15- Budapest, Hungary (via Bratislava, Slovakia)

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Budapest

The Tour

Less than two hours after we set off from Vienna we were in Slovakia for our first stop of the day, Bratislava. After admiring the hazy views of the city from Bratislava Castle, we headed down into the city to explore the Old Town. Our tour guide gave the challenge of finding the different bronze statues scattered around the centre of the city and we managed to find a couple including Cumil, the most well-known one. We then had time for a slice of cake and coffee from a little cafe before it was back on the bus and onto Budapest.

CumilArriving in Budapest, we drove up to the top of Gellart Hill to check out the views of the city and the Danube River which separates Buda and Pest. From here we had a driving tour of the city which took us down Andrássy út, the main boulevard of the city, past the Hungarian Opera House, the House of Terrors and Heroes Square. Then it was back over the river to the Fisherman’s Bastion and view of Parliament House. Dinner that night was at Fatal Restaurant, where I had the Roast Goose Leg with Knodel (Special Dumpling) and Red Cabbage.Goose Leg at Fatal RestaurantAs we were staying in the city with no early bus call, I had a chance to sleep in the next day which I definitely needed. When I finally woke up around 10am, the flu that my immune system had been trying so hard to beat had finally won and I felt terrible. Not wanting to waste my day in Budapest and my friends already having left to explore the city, I decided to soldier on alone. Having missed breakfast in the hostel, I grabbed a fruit bun from a bakery as I walked up to the House of Terror, an old soviet building that now serves as a communism museum. Managed to make it around the entire exhibit but by now I was really not feeling very well at all. While I wanted to wander further up Andrássy út to Heroes Square and City Park, I made the sensible yet heartbreaking decision to head back to the hostel. Something about walking around a foreign city by yourself, while feeling lightheaded and dizzy, didn’t seem like a good idea. So I went back and slept for a solid 4 hours before my friends came home and we went and got dinner at a restaurant down a little laneway across from the hostel.

Budapest Parliament

My Food

I considered attempting to roast a goose leg for my re-creation meal back home but after some research online, I struggled to find anywhere relatively close to me where I could buy goose. So I settled with the Hungarian speciality of Goulash. While it is usually served as a stew in the rest of the world, a traditional goulash is more soup like so that is what I prepared. I used beef shanks which I diced and included the bone in the pot while cooking to enhance the beef flavour.

GoulashI didn’t get the chance to sample any Hungarian treats while I was over there so I did a little research before selecting my choice. While there were many to choose from, I decided on Aranygaluska which translates to Golden Dumplings. These yeast dough based dumplings are dipped in melted butter and coated in sugar and walnut crumbs before being stacked together into a pan, baked until golden brown and served with custard. It’s similar to the American “Monkey Bread”, which I’ve made before, but the addition of the walnuts brings a whole nother dimension of flavour.Aranygaluska

Oct 12 & 13- Vienna, Austria

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Austrian Parliament

The Tour

While on some drive days we had to be up at the crack of dawn to head off to our next destination, the morning of my birthday we had a much nicer departure time of 9am, which was definitely welcomed thanks to the pre-birthday celebrations the night before. Started my day with a much needed breakfast and then it was onwards to Vienna. While the weather was rainy and rather miserable, the drive itself took us through some beautiful mountainous scenery. Our first stop when we arrived in Vienna was the Schönbrunn Palace, although sadly we only had time for a few quick photos and didn’t get a chance to explore the grounds. On to the hostel and then a quick dinner of Wiener Schnitzel before we headed off to spend the evening at Prater Park. I love amusement parks so this basically topped off the amazing birthday I was having. A ride on the Wiener Riesenrad, the 100+ year old ferris wheel, is a must and it gives you incredible views of the park.

Prater Park
The next day we had a free day to explore the city. We started with a stroll through the Natural History Museum before wandering around the city to see some of its many historical buildings including the Hofburg Palace, St Stephen’s Cathedral, the opera house, Parliament and the Rathaus. During our exploring, we found time to visit a cafe and sample one of Austria’s most famous desserts, the Sachertorte. We then had a visit to the Schnaps Museum where we were given a brief overview of the history of schnapps and then the chance to try some samples and buy something. That evening, on the recommendation of our bus driver, most of us went to dinner at a restaurant called Centimeter, where its specialities include a 2 metre sausage, a huge sword holding a variety of Austrian delicacies as well as meals served in mini wheelbarrows and shovels. I settled on a simple Cordon Bleu which I, like most of us there, struggled to finish.

My Food

Vienna was a bit of a no brainer for the meal I was to recreate. What’s more Viennese that a Wiener Schnitzel. Plus it was nice and simple to prepare, the veal is flattened until its super thin, coated in egg and breadcrumbs and the shallow fried until golden. Served mine with potatoes and salad leaves. Neglected to buy lemon to garnish it with, I used some bottled lemon juice which still tasted great. Wiener SchnitzelWhile I had thought about making a Sachertorte, the cake I would be making would also technically be my Birthday cake for this birthday so wanted to do something a bit more interesting. Inspired by my birthday celebrations last year in Prater Park, I decided to make a colourful amusement park themed Ferris Wheel Cake.

Cake

The cake consisted of basic butter cake that was coloured an assortment of colours and assembled into checkerboard pattern with some of the inside cut out to fill with candy and then covered in Peanut Butter Frosting before being decorated with chocolates to look like a ferris wheel. Checkerboard Pinata Cake

Oct 10 & 11- Venice, Italy

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Venice

The Tour

Our trip from Rome to Venice was broken up by stop at Verona, the city most famous for being the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. After stopping in to see “Juliet’s Balcony”, we grabbed a scoop of gelato and had a quick walk around the city before it was time to be back on the bus and onto Venice.

We were staying in a campsite on the mainland so the evening we got in was a relaxing one with dinner in the Topdeck cook tent and a chance to catch up on some much needed sleep. The next day we took the bus to the parking area on Tronchetto and then the monorail into Venice. From there we had a brief walking tour across the island to St. Mark’s Square before the highlight of any trip to Venice, a Gondola ride through the canals. It was definitely one of those “Wow, I’m actually here” moments. We also had visits to a lace factory and a glass factory for the chance to purchase some traditional Venetian wares.

Gondola Ride

For lunch, we found this little restaurant down a side street near St Mark’s Square where I had pasta with eggplant. After lunch we took a scenic walk around the city. Venice is one of those great places where it’s actually fun to almost get yourself lost just wandering around admiring the buildings and the canals. In our exploring, we also managed to find a little pasticceria that we had passed during our morning tour and sampled some Italian biscuits and other treats. We then took the monorail back to Tronchetto and home to the campsite, where we started the celebrations for my birthday the next day.

Venice CanalMy Food

One thing in Italy that I didn’t eat as much as what I was expected to was pasta. Rome and Venice had Topdeck cook tents at the campsites and typical meals were usually meat based with salad or vegetables. So by the time we got to Venice, I really just wanted to have some proper Italian pasta, and I did just that. While the pasta I had in Venice was vegetable based, for my meal back home I decided I wanted to embrace another speciality of Venice, seafood, by making a Prawn, Basil and Chilli Pasta. I’ve already talked several times about the delicious simplicity of Italian food and this pasta was very much along those lines.

Prawn, Basil and Chilli Pasta

After the success of my Vanilla Gelato, for my dessert I decided to try making Chocolate Gelato. This recipe uses cornflour instead of eggs to thicken the mixture which allows the full rich flavour of the chocolate to come through. Chocolate Gelato

Oct 8 & 9- Rome, Italy

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PantheonThe Tour

Leaving Florence after lunch, we had only a short drive to Rome so arrived in the city just on dusk. From here we had guided tour around Rome by our knowledgeable Topdeck Trip Leader, starting at the Piazza del Popolo, and taking us past the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and finished up at the Forum and the Colosseum. For dinner we stopped at the Pantheon where most of us stopped at a little pizzeria for the Rome equivalent of takeaway, pizza al taglio. The pizzeria had wide selection of large rectangular pizzas to choose from which were cut into slices when ordered, paid for by weight and then reheated in small oven.

The next day we were up early to beat the rush into the Vatican for our guided tour. While not religious, I was still in awe of the history of the buildings and galleries particularly the Sistine Chapel. Being a Wednesday we also got to see the Pope as he led a service in St. Peter’s Square (albeit from a long way away). Following this we made our way by train back to the Colosseum. I wasn’t particularly feeling the best so I decided to give waiting in line for entry a miss and set off on a reverse trip of the tour we took the night before to re-see the sights in the daytime. Walking past the Trevi Fountain, I happened upon a little Gelateria/ Pasticceria which had rather delectable looking cannoli, just waiting to be filled and eaten. I had a late lunch of salad at McDonald’s while waiting for a bus back to our accommodation where our dinner of Chicken Cacciatore was prepared by our on-site Topdeck Chefs.

St Peter's SquareMy Food

I talked in my last post about how something so simple with the right ingredients, could still be incredibly tasty and the pizza in Rome was no exception. Thin pizza crust, tomato sauce, cheese and small variety of toppings, was all you needed to make delicious pizza. I used this recipe which produced a nice thin crust and then topped it with some traditional pizza toppings, homemade tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, prosciutto and mushrooms.

Pizza

For my next dish I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it. The cannoli I had in Rome while delightful, was definitely not particularly healthy and as I’ve been consuming a lot of sweet treats over the past week or so, the last thing I wanted to do was eat something deep fried. So in the end I decided to make my own version, inspired by this post where the dough is rolled out into circles and baked in a muffin tray. I did however make the mistake of not researching the recipe properly and neglected to drain my ricotta which made for a rather watery filling. Did my final product look anything like normal cannoli? Not really. On the other hand, was it still tasty with a nice combination of crisp base with a smooth creamy filling that was a little bit fruity? Yes, yes and yes. Nevertheless, real cannoli is now on my list of food to try making sometime in the future.  Cannoli Bites

Oct 7 & 8- Florence (via Pisa), Italy

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Leaning Tower of PisaThe Tour

After celebrating our last morning in France with a tasty breakfast of croissant, we hopped on the bus and began our journey to Italy. If the drives in Switzerland were the most spectacular of the trip, then the drive along the French and Italian Riviera would have to come a close second. Featuring some glorious views of the Mediterranean, the motorway itself is a series of tunnels through the hillside and viaducts that seem to span across valleys of coastal villages.

After stopping for at a travel/rest stop for lunch, I had the chance to sample ‘Fonzies’, the Italian version of Twisties. Personally, I think their slogan “Se non ti lecchi le dita godi solo a metà” which translates to “If you do not lick your fingers you enjoy only half” is much better than the Australian one “Life’s pretty straight without…”

Fonzies vs Twisties

Pisa was the first destination of the Italian Leg of our journey, and we all took turns posing for the cliché Leaning Tower pic. Back on the bus and onwards to Florence. After settling in to the hostel, we had some free time to explore the streets near our hostel. Here we stumbled upon a cute little bakery selling all kinds of biscuits and treats, which we of course had to sample.

Replica of David

The next day we had a guided tour of the historical streets and buildings of Florence before waiting in line for about an hour to see the Statue of David. After that we had no time for a sit down lunch so stopped into a little cafe/gelateria/pizzeria and bought a focaccia sandwich. Followed by a healthy serving of gelato for dessert. Following lunch we hopped back on the bus and made our way to Rome.

My Food

While there was nothing particularly fancy about the sandwich I had for lunch in Florence, there was something so delectably simple about the fresh Italian Focaccia filled with fresh mozzarella cheese, prosciutto and salad. So I attempted to re-create it at home using this focaccia recipe (minus the olives), prosciutto, tasty cheese, basil leaves, and a mix of salad vegetables (tomato, capsicum, spinach & rocket). The flavours work so well together and made a rather amazing lunch.

Focaccia Sandwich

Despite my lactose intolerance, I was intent on tasting authentic Italian gelato while in Italy so armed with a supply of Lacteeze tablets I did just that. Thankfully when I decided to try making my own gelato at home, I realised I can use my own lactose free milk so my gelato is already lactose-free, no Lacteeze required. The recipe had a custard base which (well, I had to something with all those egg yolks from my macarons) resulted in a gelato that is rich and creamy with a smooth texture despite not having an ice-cream maker.
Vanilla Gelato