After a fabulous eight weeks in Cape Town, I tagged on a little extra summer holiday.
Just over a week after touching down at Heathrow, I was back there again, excited to be on a plane to Italy to meet two friends for a girly holiday of sightseeing, beaching and catching up on all the elective stories.
It felt like ages ago that we were planning this trip and pretty much all the organisation credit goes to the girls who pored over holiday rental websites, flights and train schedules.
With twelve days in total, we managed to pack in a lot - three countries, six apartments and countless miles of exploring!
Rather than try to cram everything into one post, I've taken inspiration from the lovely Jasmin at Jasmin Charlotte and decided to introduce everything with an itinerary of our trip. (Which proves to be something of a mental exercise as I'm actually not that good at keeping track of the days when I'm away!)
Also... I treated myself to a nice new DSLR camera before going away - so I got rather snap-happy and have the mammoth task of sorting out the best photos for my posts!
Day 1: I flew from Heathrow to Milan Malpensa airport where I was reunited with the girls who had flown in from Mauritius. We then lugged our cases onto the train and metro and finally arrived at our apartment in the centre of town, had a late dinner and went to bed ready for a day of exploring the next morning!
Day 2: We were up and out early, seeking out coffee and breakfast to fuel a day of seeing the sites. Keen to make the most of our one day in the city, we walked all day - clocking up over 40,000 steps each!
Day 3: We had a leisurely start to our morning in Milan, going out for breakfast before getting the metro and a bus to Milan Bergamo airport. We got on a plane and arrived in Budapest, checking in to yet another lovely apartment. Having arrived in the evening, we decided to save exploring for the next day and instead headed to the supermarket for some bits for dinner.
Day 4: Another busy of exploring; we armed ourselves with a city map and some handy hints from the owner of the apartment and set out into Budapest. Again we covered miles as we walked from site to site, taking in the views (and pausing to feed the girls' latte addiction!). We ventured up the road from the apartment for dinner, finding a lovely garden restaurant.
Day 5: Grateful for a second day in Budapest, we wandered round the streets we hadn't yet explored and found some excellent markets. We stopped at a tasty houmous bar for lunch, before heading to the Szechenyi Spa Baths for the afternoon. Again we stayed close to home for dinner, finding a fabulous Jewish restaurant just a couple of streets away.
Day 6: This was a super early start, with alarms set for 4:30am! We made our way to Budapest-Déli train station and boarded the 6am train to Zagreb. Although the journey took almost seven hours, it was a great way to travel - watching the scenery and reclining in our little booth to read books and watch films. Arriving in Zagreb, we grabbed sandwiches at the station before taxiing to the airport to pick up a car. Then it was a couple of hours drive to Malinska, a small town on the island of Krk where we settled in to yet another lovely apartment and another tasty homemade dinner.
Day 7: Something we hadn't really planned for when booking the holiday was thunderstorms! Heading to the beach wasn't really an option, so we jumped in the car and crammed in as much of the island as we could, visiting Buska, Punat and Krk. After an amusing (with hindsight) issue with finding a petrol station, we went back to Krk for dinner.
Day 8: After our classic breakfast of yoghurt and fruit, we got back into the car and had a beautiful journey down the coast of Croatia to Starigrad Paklenika, a touristy but still lovely town with a street of shops and restaurants and plenty of space for sitting by the sea. We bought bread and cheese for lunch and sat by the water to enjoy a little sunshine. We picked a grill restaurant for dinner before returning to our apartment for a few rounds of card games and bed.
Day 9: A slightly later starting morning, we found ourselves a little spot by the sea to sunbathe and swim for the morning - although always keeping one eye on the encroaching black clouds! Dinner was a restaurant at the end of our road serving great smelling pizza and fish.
Day 10: Suitcases repacked for the umpteenth time, we loaded the car again and made the drive southwards to Trogir, a lovely old town near to Split. We arrived earlier than planned, so stopped for a quick lunch and a supermarket trip before checking in to our final accommodation. This apartment was probably the best of them all - especially impressive as apparently it was booked with minimal internet access somewhere in Malawi! We then walked down to the beach and spent the afternoon alternating between swimming in the cooling sea and reading books in the sunshine. We had planned to go into the Old Town for dinner, but found a restaurant with a gorgeous view just down the road from us and couldn't pass it up!
Day 11: Again, weather slightly changed our plans for the day - despite our best attempts, sitting on the beach in the rain was not quite as much fun as in the sunshine, so we opted for plan B and walked around Trogir Old Town, eating ice creams and photographing the cobbled alleys. We returned to the apartment for lunch of baked sweet potatoes and card games until the rain stopped. Unfortunately the sunshine didn't really make another appearance, but undeterred, we nipped down to the beach for a quick swim before coming back to the apartment for a good session of pre-arriving-home organsising. (We all quite like organising. And in fairness, the other two have been away for three months...)
Day 12: Waking shortly after 6am, we gathered up our things, drove to Split airport and made our way back to the UK!
So as you can see, we certainly made the most of our time! Detailed posts about each location will be on their way, so make sure you come back to see them :) And if you can't wait, head over to my Instagram where I've posted a selection of holiday pictures!