Posted in Travel

Travel Review – Nice, French Riviera Day 1

I went on a spontaneous short trip to the French Riviera and it’s a lovely place I can definitely recommend. A quick 2 hour flight from London to get to Nice Airport. I then took a bus with a day ticket for 6 Euro to get right into the centre. I booked a self catered apartment right in the centre on the shopping street Avenue Jean Médicin. It was ideally located with a big Monoprix just around the corner to cover the food shopping for the next few days. I walked down the Avenue to explore the area a little and along the Avenue de Verdun towards the Modern Art Museum.

From this spot I went on a Hop-On, Hop-off Bus as it became kind of a thing to do whenever visiting a new city. The ticket for the bus was 20 Euro and went along all the main sights and gave a great overview of the city. The tour also provided some insight of all the big old buildings everywhere in the city. These used to be Grand Hotels and were refurbished and changed to flats to be saved from destruction. One building on top of the hill is the Regina where Queen Victoria used to reside so often that she brought her own furniture here.

The Bus also took the long way further along the coast to the East to a beautiful place called Villefranche-sur-mer. This town is definitely worth visiting. It’s just as hilly as all other places typical for the French Riviera. However the impressive Citadel Saint Elme for example now contains a couple of galleries, museums, garden, open-air cinema and of course provides a great view of the bay.

After 1.5 rounds with the bus I got off at the central train station to head back to my apartment. The next day I wanted to go to Monaco. I arranged to buy train tickets to go there in advance via an app called -Train Travel. Very easy to handle and the ticket is accessible on the app directly.

Posted in Travel

Travel Review – Lisbon Day 2

Starting off day 2 of our city trip with a really nice breakfast at our Fenix Music hotel. They had a variety of juice in small cute bottles, a pancake maker with a glass front to be able to watch it in the making and even a smoothie maker. And yet again we had a really great service when we went for our breakfast. So far I ain’t got much negative to say about this hotel. One is the bathroom light I mentioned in my previous post, the sound box could be a bit better and last is the bathroom itself. It appears quite fancy and has a very good rain shower but is not really practical when you share the room. Be prepared to get naked in front of that person 😀 But overall I stay with it to say that this hotel is awesome and offers a great service. Or maybe it’s just me not being used to it that hotel staff welcomes you right away when stepping out of the lift.

Anyway, so today we went back to our sightseeing bus and took a different route out to Belém. On the way there we got a great view on the bridge Ponte 25 de Abril as well as the Cristo Rei statue. Unfortunately the weather covered it in quite big foggy clouds but still nice to see. Belém itself was personally not really my fave spot as not just the lighthouse was tiny but the actual tower too. Heading back into town we got off at the Rossio Square to get on the cute little tram 28 to bring us for 2.90€ up the hill to our next destination. 

After climbing up the last few metres we reached St. George Castle. We decided to spend the 8.50€ to explore the castle, the ruins around, the peacocks and walked along on top of the castles walls. The terrace around the entrance offers a wonderful view over the city with the bridge and waterfront from one of the highest spots of Lisboa. We decided to take a walk back downtown and got to the Baixa Pombalina with it’s Rua Augusta Arch and plenty of restaurants. After discovering that guys will talk to you every few steps to either sell you something or make you go to their restaurant we decided to leave and head to the Hard Rock Café for Cocktails and Nachos during their Happy Hour offer on weekdays (17-19). 

After our snack we got on one of the TukTuk vehicles right in front of the door. We had a lovely girl taking us to the highest natural point of the city and we passed another viewing platform on the way there called Largo das Portas do sol, which is just around the corner from the castle. Anyway we enjoyed a really great nightview over the city and the bridge. She also told us a few interesting facts like the rebuilding of the whole downtown after the earthquake of 1755 with a more geometric road network.

I want to finish off this post with two little things I came across. First off it is hard to find a postbox anywhere in fact I found none apart from the ones at the post office directly to get our postcard on it’s way. Secondly we basically couldn’t find any small shops to buy food, snacks or drinks. So here a little hint, there is a bigger grocery store called Pingo Doce in a parallel road next to the Rossio Square.

Posted in Travel

Travel Review – Lisbon Day 1

A good 2.5 hour flight from London and we got safely into Lisbon. It was pretty easy to get into town from the airport. We decided to take the AeroBus for €3.50 per person instead of the Metro, which got us basically directly to our hotel at Marqués de Pombal. There seem to be a lot of hotels in this area and also the Hop on, Hop off sightseeing busses start from here. From this place it is also possible to reach the waterfront within a 20min walk.

My first impression from Lisbon is very positive. The people seem to be very friendly, welcoming and always try to help. So far we only took one tour with the sightseeing bus to get a good overview from the city and it seems to me that there is a lot of construction work for new buildings is going on. It also looks like there is a pretty mix of older more traditional looking houses with their pretty balconies and the newer hotels and office complexes. But I also want to mention that there are a couple of areas with quite poorly looking houses, barely maintained and I’m not even talking about any suburbs here.

On the first day we decided to get our dinner at the Hard Rock Café as it is also just down the road. The food was good and we have been really well looked after. I can definitely recommend this place even though it might be a bit pricier than somewhere else but to be fair we couldn’t really find anything else close by.

We will spend 2 more days in Lisbon before heading to Estoril and explore the area towards the west a little bit more. I will write another blog post for this but before finishing off with some pictures I want to mention that the HF Fenix Music hotel we stay in is totally amazing!! 

A music themed hotel itself already got me by it’s description but it is actually awesome. The reception looks like a drumkit, the bar like a piano and they have a little studio area as well. We have a room with a massive balcony overlooking an outdoor area which seems to function as an open air stage. You can also easily connect your device with sound boxes in the wall via bluetooth. Lights can be changed to blue or red via touch pad and you can also let the curtains down using this. What I find a bit odd is the little complicated way of switching the light on in the bathroom area. Another thing I really like apart from the rooftop pool, is that you only need to tap your key card on the door to open it, same when you use the lift and it automatically goes up to the correct floor.