Chapter Wanderlust: Siena

I have always been intrigued by Siena since knowing about it! A fan shaped central square? Game on! In fact there are many worthy sights in Italy, one of the most cultural place on earth. Simply being on the UNESCO World Heritage list proves that Siena is worthy of a visit. I was thankful to have pretty good weather during the time that I was in Siena, at least for the first day! Located in central Italy, Siena is well connected to the rest of the country via Florence! Siena is famous for a couple of things, the fan shaped piazza, red roofs and much walking!

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Chapter Wanderlust: Trattoria I Barberi

The Tuscany region in Italy is famous for its renaissance arts and architecture as well as the lush olive groves and vineyard especially in the region of Chianti! With such background and natural resources it is with no doubt that the culinary scene in the area is awesome as well! Trattoria I Barberi, located in the heart of Siena, is one of the most acclaimed restaurant in the city as well. It is priced for serving up authentic Tuscany cuisine with great servings and price point. Tuscan cuisine strives on simple cooking, usually just done with olive oil and the freshest ingredients. Fast and simple fancy food. They use the freshest seasonal ingredients daily to add on to their regular menu. During the time that I was there, nov, the seasonal items are Truffles and Porcini mushrooms!

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Chapter Wanderlust: I Tetti di Siena

After spending the weekend in Rome, I was off to to Siena. An UNESCO World Heritage City in the heart of Italy lush Tuscany Region! The little medieval brick city famed for the red roof is a popular place for its cuisine, arts and medieval landscape! Numerous tourists come here to view the amazing shell shaped town square, Piazza del Campo. It is a city that you should never missed when travelling in central Italy! My bus ride to Siena took about 3 hours which is around the same time as the train, but at a much lower price! The train station is around a 20 mins walk to the city centre although it is pretty steep, a bus would be recommended, costing only 1.20 Euros. Siena is also a popular place for the Palio horse race, which happens twice a year!

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Chapter Wanderlust: Bus Travels in Europe – Which Bus Operators is better?

In comparison to train travels which we have know how effective and easy that are, bus travels serves up as a comparable option but at a better price. Bus travels have been getting more and more common these days and sometimes, they are not much longer than taking a train. Bus do also, gets you right in the heart of the city, usually the bus stops are just next to the trains stations. With the upcoming of huge bus companies with vast networks in the recent years. I would like to share how great and how good bus routes are in fact! Taking the bus around Europe have definitely gotten more easy with the prevalence of companies such as Flixbus, Regiojet and Leo Express. In fact, the set up of Regiojet, aka Student Agency is a Czech company that was started out by university students to have the ability to access cheap transportation. In fact it is now one of the largest travel companies linking up routes around Czech Republic. It even have plans to operate train routes. I used the bus for some of my travels, especially Flixbus and Regiojet and would like to do a little sharing on the offering.

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Chapter Wanderlust: Rome

All Roads Lead To Rome

I guess that everyones wants to see the eternal city at least once in their life. Rome is the sparkling gem of Italy and the Roman Empire in the past. With more than 3000 years of historical roots and knowledge there is much that lies in place rather than just the sights itself. Each rock and building are all a part of something greater! From the iconic Colosseum to the 18th Century Trevi Fountain! There is something for everyone and I am very thankful that we still get to witness this glorious city today! In terms of cities in Italy, I find Rome and Florence to be one of the most gorgeous ones. Florence is a little more medieval however Rome is much more grand, imperialistic. I would say that Rome is a mixture between Vienna and Florence. For any first time visitor to Europe, I would say that Rome is definitely a must visit! Yea it is touristy and common, but nonetheless, it is that magical!

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Chapter Wanderlust: Ristorante Calabasico

While I have not heard about this restaurant prior to my travels, while doing my research, I found Ristorante Calabasico while doing my planning. It was perfect since I was looking for a place that is near the Vatican City. Ristorante Calabasico is only around the corner, roughly a 5 mins walk away. Feeling famished after walking around for almost the whole morning, the distance that we have covered was also pretty amazing, from the Colosseum till the Vatican. We decided to come here for lunch after leaving the Vatican!

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Chapter Wanderlust: Vatican City

A Country within a City? Vatican is the answer to this question. In fact it is the smallest country in the world, smaller than Singapore! While we always called it the Vatican City. It is in fact not a city but a country! It is located within the permits of the city of Rome. With only 44 hectares in size and a population of only 1000 people, it is the smallest country in the world. In fact I would say it is also one of the most crowded place in the world with the influx of tourists to see renowned sites like the St Peter’s Basilica, Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museum. It can also be said as the country of the holy see with the pope being the leader. There is a very interesting fact for the Vatican City in terms of its economy. A country economy is of dependence on sale of tourist mementos and museum admissions, you have it, Vatican City! Never underestimate the power of travelling.

 

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Chapter Wanderlust: Colosseum X Tips on Free Sunday entrance

The Colosseum is one of the most representative attractions in the world. Hell, it is the most iconic works of the Roman Empire and the largest amphitheatre in the world where gladiators fight each other and slay animals in the past. Known to be the old “stadium” of our ancestors, the Colosseum can fit from 50,000 to 80,000 spectators and have like category which we buy tickets in the theatre that we have now. Even though years and centuries of earthquake and raiders that have raved on it, it remains one of the most important sight in Rome with millions entering to see the interior. Up to today, the restoration is still going on. The Colosseum and Roman Forum/Palatine Hill are the cluster of sights that is in the south of the city centre. A ticket costing 12 Euros will give you entrance into both the sights. Do note that they are popular and queues are terrible. Buying online will cost you an additional 2 Euros. While the Forum and Palatine holds significance as well, the Colosseum remains the most crowded of them. In Summer as well as the first sunday of every month where entrance is free, you can find the queues snaking around.

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Chapter Wanderlust: Giuda Ballerino ☆ One Star Michelin Restaurant

For those who are unsure with the Michelin Star Guide it was first out, yes, by the tire manufacturer as a guide for their customers. It has since revolves around to be as recognised as the olympics in the food industry and the guide offers a guidance on whether on how high the caliber of the restaurant is. For the chefs it is also a showcase of personal success. Besides the food, even the ambience, service and how mind blowing the experience is all comes into consideration. It have 4 main category starting from the recently included Bib Gourmand category to the main 1 star to 3 star. 1 Star which means it is “A very good restaurant in its category” 2 Michelin stars reflects “Excellent cooking, worth a detour” and the cream of the crop, 3 Michelin stars “Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey”. Giuda Ballerino serves up modern cuisine right in the heart of Rome. Helmed by Celebrity Chef Andrea Fusco, Giuda Ballerino is located on the top level of the historical Hotel Bernini. Besides the awesome food and service, it is also a place where you get a great view of the Eternal City!

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Chapter Wanderlust: Italo Highspeed Train Napoli – Rome Prima Class

Italy trains system are one of the more unique ones in the region! There are technically 2 rails companies in the country for the high speed trains industry. One of them is Trenitalia which is the national rail company and the other is Italo, a private rail company set up in 2006. With only a short history it had turned up to be one of the leading companies in Europe. In fact it is also the first private operator of high speed trains in the region! I strongly encourage this in all countries since it prevents the monopoly of the industry! Not only does it let to lower priced tickets since it also kind of cut out the arrogance of national rail companies with all their stupid strikes and over powerful unions! Italo trains are a direct competitor to the Frecciarossa!

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Chapter Wanderlust: Day Trip to Pompeii From Rome

Pompeii have been top of my list since watching the movie a couple years ago. I am just weird in a way when I will always have a desire to see the sight in person with my naked eye. I am always so fascinated when I get to see something in person after knowing about it. The Trevi Fountain was one, Prague was another! I am determined to head to Pompeii after knowing about it in the movie in 2014. Rome was a great base to explore Pompeii since it is only an hour train ride away to Naples, the nearest city to the ruins. I am going to do the sharing of this post in chronological order. Wanting to maximise the amount of time that I have on the ground, I took one of the earliest train out of Rome Termini Station! I am also pretty excited since I am going to try the Italy Trenitalia Frecciarossa which can goes up to 360km/hr!

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Chapter Wanderlust: Il Fascino di Roma B&B

I shall not dwell too much into the name of the name of the bed and breakfast since I have totally no idea how to pronounce it. Suffice to say, I had plan to spend 4 nights in Rome, it is kinda a long stay that I plan given that it is my second time in town actually. Rome is a huge city, furthermore there is also the Vatican nearby. I hate to rush and I have also planned to near to Pompeii and Naples for a day trip on one of the days. This is also why I have plan a healthy amount of time here. Rome is a touristy place and accomodations is not cheap either. Thankfully I found Il Fascino di Roma B&B which is a pretty cool, boutique accommodation located near Plaza della Repubblica! It is also of walking distance from the Termini Station!

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Chapter Wanderlust: Lufthansa Airlines LH240 A321 FRA – FCO Economy

Second part of my trip takes me to Italy. While I have ever been in Italy, I felt like I have to take an even deeper an even greater insight dive into Italy. Italy is full of treasures and in fact it is also the country with the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world. Even after this turn around Italy where I spend more than 20 days in all, I have yet still to complete the north and south part of Italy. Since I was coming from Germany, Frankfurt seems to be the best choice given the amount of flights that they have to Italy. Rome was the natural choice given that it is the largest entrance to mainland Italy. Although I have been to Rome, I have decided to check it out even further and it will also be a good base to have a day trip to Pompeii and Naples which I will share on later. While I usually find that there is nothing much to share on an economy flight, furthermore an intra Europe flight, I am going to share with you how I managed to score an even better seat than flying Business!

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Chapter Wanderlust: Air France Lounge Frankfurt am Main Terminal 2

Continue my adventures of checking out Priority Pass lounges at Frankfurt am Main or Fraport in short! I cater extra time prior to my flight. Leaving the LuxxLounge in Terminal 1 I head off to check out the Air France Lounge in Terminal 2. At first I had the idea to head to Terminal 2 inside the transit area since the lounge is located there. I had information that it was possible to do it in the transit area using the airtrain. However it turns out to be one huge circle for me! KEEP IN MIND, YOU CANNOT CHANGE TERMINALS IN THE SECURE AREA! I guess that this is due to the Schengen area thinggi that is making things such a mess. I am so used to the Singapore pattern where all the secure area are linked. It just makes things so much easier. A certain tour of the Frankfurt Airport results in me entering and leaving Europe in less than a hour!

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Chapter Wanderlust: LuxxLounge Frankfurt am Main Terminal 1

I trust that all of you are familiar with the Priority Pass program, in Frankfurt International Airport where there is Terminal 1 and 2, there are a couple of lounges that are affiliated with the Priority Pass program. However there is only 1 options in Terminal 1. If you do not have any status or are flying economy, Priority Pass remains your best options for a lounge. Terminal 1 is the main terminal in Frankfurt. It is also the nearest terminal to the train station. After a 15 mins train ride from the central station you will lead out straight to Terminal 1. Frankfurt certainly have the easiest airport ground transport, it isn’t cheap though! With a one way ticket costing 4.80 Euros.

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Chapter Wanderlust: Frankfurt

Erm, I actually do not know what to say about Frankfurt! I mean, it is a city, it is a metropolitan, it is the economic powerhouse of Germany and Europe! As I mentioned previously, Frankfurt is a city that I come along very much, it is my favourite airline hub in Europe, it is a city that I have step foot in 3 times in the whole of my trip. Besides being an economic hub, it is also home to the Germany Transportation hub with its Hauptbahnhof and the Flughafen International Airport. While I had to stop by Frankfurt to check out the city after all, since I am passing by. It has a combination of skyscrapers and old school european feel. I was totally expecting Frankfurt to be more of a checkoff and move on but in fact there is more than lies in wait.

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Chapter Wanderlust: Zum Germalten Haus

Hey Peeps, I am finally in Frankfurt a city that I have spoke about it for so many times and so long. Oh I am flying to Frankfurt, Oh I am transiting in Frankfurt. Huh, I have even spend the night at the airport like a hobo now! It is a city that I have frequently talk about but never once on my list since it kind of seems like a modern european city. I mean it is like Singapore, with all the skyscrapers. But after all, I am sure that I will be here one day since my favourite airline, SQ flies here frequently, it is also a transit stop for the flights to New York City! Well, it is pretty nice and in fact the german city that I will choose to migrate to, I will keep my thoughts on it in a separate post. German cuisine is probably not one of my favourite since it is too heavy and over reliance on meats, sorry my German friends. However, I still decide to share this very traditional gasthaus with you guys, Zum Germalten Haus. I honestly felt that it was the best meal that I had in the whole of Germany! Zum Germalten Haus is located in a very hip quarter of the city. It is famous for the Apple Wine or Apfelwein.

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Chapter Wanderlust: Savoy Hotel Frankfurt

After a pretty terrible bus ride from Heidelberg to Frankfurt on Flixbus, checking in to the Savoy Hotel definitely sounds good. The 2 hours ride certainly isn’t great. The bus was crowded and cramped. Like trains, the bus are not only from one place to another, but run along a line. If you are not boarding at the start, you do tend to lose out on the choice of seats. I will share more on this on a later note! It is easy though, with the bus taking me straight to Frankfurt Central Station. Savoy Hotel is a classic 4 star hotel located just next to the Hauptbahnhof! I was actually supposed to stay with a host although she cancelled as she was hospitalized. I was looking at my options and thankfully managed to get a room at the Savoy. Since I was only having one night in Frankfurt and the next day I will need to get to the Airport. I decided to stay near the Hauptbahnhof!

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