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Italy, Photography, Travel

It rained when I went to Lake Como, Italy

March 24, 2015

It’s funny how the weather can change your perception of a place. 

When you think about Lake Como in Italy, you probably imagine beautiful blue sunny skies, hanging above sparkling water. Probably something like this. Not the photo above. 

When I went to the Italian Grand Prix last September, my friend and I arrived at lunchtime on the Wednesday so we had the rest of the day to kill. We both really wanted to go to Lake Como and decided to drive up. 

I didn’t drive, I refused because having experienced Italian roads the year before I was convinced I would end up having an accident and paying the rental company a small fortune. My friend had booked a hire car before we went and asked for a small car, because that’s what he was used to driving. Instead we got some kind of family wagon tank type thing and to make it even scarier for him, it was an automatic and he had never driven an automatic before. 

After a nervous start, we found our way to Lake Como in one piece. To my dismay, it was a pretty dull day. 

We were met with grey skies and cool air, not sky so blue it looked like it must have been photoshopped and warm air with a slight breeze coming off the lake like I’d imagined. 

Don’t get me wrong, it was still a pretty spectacular place and what I actually loved the most was seeing big houses nestled in the hillsides and I couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like to live at the top and be treated to a beautiful view when it was actually sunny. 

Having not eaten since about 6am we decided to have pizza at an outdoor restaurant. It was a poor representation of pizza, which was a bitter pill to swallow in a country renowned for pizza. To compound matters, I was still basking in the glory of the amazing pizza I’d eaten in Germany two weeks prior. (Yes, I’m still talking about that pizza!) 

It was so underwhelming. I’d gone there excited about the prospect of seeing a place I’d been aching to see for years and when I finally arrived it was such a comedown. It was a bit ‘oh’.

I wanted to wait around to see if the sky would clear but with an automatic tank and the thought of rush hour traffic in Milan, we left earlier than we’d have liked to.  

When I got home my Mum and Nan eagerly asked me about what Lake Como was like and it sucked to tell them that it wasn’t as good as I was expecting it to be. Truthfully, the Lake District has provided me with better views than Lake Como on that dull Wednesday. 

It’s strange how we think that we have to go abroad to see something beautiful, when there’s so much stunning scenary on our own doorstep.

I’m sure I will go back to Lake Como and give it another chance and I’m sure it will amaze me and make up for that grey day last September. 

Tell me about a place you visited which disappointed you. 

Food, Germany, Humour, Italy, Travel

Pizza wars: Italy vs Germany

September 17, 2014
Pizza Wars: Germany Vs Italy


It’s fair to say I’m a bit of a pizza fanatic. Some of my friends wonder if I even eat anything else (I do.)

For years I have longed to go to Italy and eat their pizza. With the taste of that glorious pizza I had in Germany (this must be the 6000th time I’ve mentioned it now) fresh in my memory, I wanted to find out if Italy could beat it. 

With my constant waffling about the German pizza, I think we’re all aware of how high the standards are. I was confident that Italy, the birthplace of pizza, would have no problem kicking German pizza’s butt. 

I was wrong. 

During my trip to Italy I ate four pizzas at different ‘restaurants’ (that’s a term I use loosely and you’ll see why soon.) I wasn’t overly-impressed with any of them. 

First the was a pizza from a restaurant in Lake Como which was pretty bland and forgettable (Yes, I describe some pizzas as forgettable like a song.)

Secondly there was the pizza in my hotel. Now you might be saying ‘well what did you expect?’ What I expected was a delicious pizza. I’ve stayed in a few IBIS hotels this year and the one in Spain and Germany made very nice pizza. This one did not. 

In fact, it was microwave pizza. Can you believe that’s even legal in Italy? 

My IBIS pizza was an insult to Italy and pizza. The base was soggy, the tomato sauce was bitter and there was not enough cheese. It sucked. It also cost me €8.50! €8.50 for a crap pizza. The glorious German pizza only cost €7! Why not just slap me in the face?

The third was from McDonald’s. It wasn’t really a pizza, it was more like a calzonne. I think it was called a pizzarotto. It was alright but didn’t taste of much. 

The fourth was actually the best pizza I had all week, though it wasn’t great. It was a slice of pizza that had probably been sat out for hours from LIDL.

My Italian pizza experience was disappointing and Germany is the clear winner here. If you’re planning to go to Italy for pizza, don’t. Go to Im Alten Zollhaus in Aachen, Germany – it’s not that far, it’ll take you about eight hours by car. 

What’s the best pizza you’ve ever had? 




Italy, Life, Travel

A Cure for a Good Time Hangover?

September 16, 2013

Monza

The moment I woke up this morning my brain was kind enough to remind me that it’s been a week now since I returned from Italy (thanks brain) which has put a serious dampener on my day. 

It’s fair to say I’ve been a miserable git for the past week. Having to return to work after doing my dream job for a few days was cruel and I can’t shake off my good time hangover.

Most of us suffer from it after returning from a holiday and going back to our ‘normal lives’, so how do you get over it?

I’ve been pretty busy since getting back and have even started looking into next years races and planning them which has helped a bit.

How do you get over a good time hangover?

Italy, Life

Wordless Wednesday: Old Banking

September 11, 2013

Monza old banking

While at the Italian Grand Prix last week, we went on a hunt to find the old banking, at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza.

I’ve seen plenty of pictures of it previously but none of them do it justice. It is incredibly steep, I tried to climb to the top of it and failed miserably. To think that cars used to race around seems absolutely crazy when you see it.

At some point this week I will be posting about my trip to the Italian Grand Prix! 

Italy, Life, Travel, Writing

Buongiorno from Italy!

September 5, 2013

Bergamo Italy

Boungiorno from Italy! 

I arrived in Italy yesterday afternoon after one lovely flight (yes I said that!), it wasn’t as bad as I expected and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. So after nabbing a window seat I could see the entire way and was treated to a lovely view as we flew over the Alps.

The scariest part of the trip was actually the trip from the airport to the hotel in the taxi; I have experienced some awful taxi driving in my life but that trip took the biscuit.

The lady who runs the hotel gave me an upgrade which was lovely and I’ve got a great view. The front looks out into a little street and there’s a bakery ACROSS the road and the picture above is my view out the back!

Another brucey bonus was managing to find Estee Lauders discontinued Raisins palette in the duty free store at Manchester Airports and I also picked up a lovely YSL lipstick, so there will be reviews on both of those when I get back.

Today I’m off to the circuit (if I can figure out how to get there!) to start my reporting duties. I only have a couple of posts scheduled while I’m here as I’m unlikely to be able to reply to any comments and I’ll feel mean ignoring you folks.

You can follow me on Instagram and my F1 Twitter account for updates and pictures.

Italy, Life, Writing

An Exciting Opportunity in Italy!

August 19, 2013
Monza Podium

Source: Wikimedia Commons – Creative Commons

Earlier this year I attended my first Formula One Grand Prix as a journalist, before the weekend was even half over I knew I wanted to go to another race.

On the Saturday I got in touch with the chap who runs the publication I write for telling him I was putting myself forward for the Italian Grand Prix.

A couple of weeks after I got back he sent off my application and I faced a very nervous wait after booking my flights and hotel, not knowing whether I’d actually be going or not.

My wait was ended a couple of days ago when I received the email I’d been hoping for; telling me my application was approved and I was indeed off to Italy.

I’ve wanted to go to Italy and the Italian Grand Prix for years but I never imagined I’d be crossing both off my list as a sports journalist.

It’s not yet sunk in and I don’t think it will until I touch down in Italy. I’m still constantly amazed that it’s only been two and a half years since I first started blogging about F1 and now I’m able to attend races as a journalist.

Hopefully with more hard  work and a lot of saving up (beans on toast for dinner every night) it will become my full time job!