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German Wings

a travel blog by Sarah Andrea


I've always wanted to try Germanwings blind booking since I discovered it last year on Germanwings.com. Doing it ....

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One Week Out

Calgary, Canada


I am one week out from another trip across the pond. This trip will be only 10 days. I decided to go only a few weeks ago so just traveling on days off.

About a year ago I discovered the airline Germanwings and, subsequently, their 'Blind booking" option on their website.

The premise of Blind Booking is that you:

1) Choose a category - shopping, party, culture, western europe, eastern europe of skiing. Under each category are around 7-10 cities listed. Some overlapping.

2) Pick your outbound and inbound dates.

3) Book and pay 20 Euros each way (from Germany)

4) Find out where you're going!

I've been fascinated with this way of travel since I found out about it last year and I've been dying to try it.

Being a new year and all, I've decided to start 2011 out with a travel bang :)

I can't wait to get to Germany and find out where the wind will take me this time.

Also I've never traveled to Europe in the wintertime so I am excited to see how beautiful it really is...and not just in pictures.

The possibilities are endless and wherever Germanwings takes me I am sure it will be great.

What to pack..



permalink written by  Sarah Andrea on January 11, 2011 from Calgary, Canada
from the travel blog: German Wings
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Longest Day .. Ever

Bergamo, Italy


This feels like one incredibly long day. I haven't slept since Tuesday - not properly, at least. Last night I could have had a whole 6 hours but the thought of my 3 am wake up call made me paranoid so I just kept waking up every 20 mins. It was one of the worst sleeps I've had in a long time. I might as well have stayed up. Anyhow- despite that it's been good. There are some very helpful people out there. The girl at the reception at my Cologne accommodation was super helpful in helping me arrange my way back to the airport at an ungodly hour. Which brings me to the blind booking with Germanwings...

Milan!

What a Surprise indeed. I've decided to head outside the city to enjoy some Northern Italian towns : Bergamo & Verona. 

In Bergamo, I have booked a room that turns out to be a small, rustic studio apartment. It's charming. The owner is an artist and his work is all around the building. 

There is a lot to get up to here particularly in the citta Alta (upper town), but right now I am exhausted and in desperate need of sleep before I attempt the uphill exploration! 

permalink written by  Sarah Andrea on January 20, 2011 from Bergamo, Italy
from the travel blog: German Wings
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Day..?

Bergamo, Italy


Sleep is good...

But before I bought my ticket to Slumberville, I thought I'd stay up and torture my body some more. Since there isn't wifi at my  accommodation, I made my way down the street to a small cafe bar with free Internet so I could check in back home.

It started with a small coffee .....5 glasses of prosecco later... And some lovely local company. I had officially earned a good nights sleep. But it was totally worth it. 

The next morning I woke up a little dehydrated, but rested. My plan was to wander around the citta alta. My plan wasn't much of a plan I suppose but hey, I didn't really know I was coming to Italy, much less Bergamo, until about 48hrs ago! So...

Furthermore, I may have underestimated how UPHILL the TREK was going to be. When I packed (lightly) my bag for this adventure I did pack winter clothing ... That's as far as my mind ventured. I never thought uphill cobblestone would be a factor! Let me further emphasize this by saying that when I made plans of my next northern Italian destination I actually looked for 'flat' cities and towns ...ha! 

The citta alta is gorgeous - the sunlit views of the citta bassa and surrounding area are stunning. On one side you can see      
green hills and the beginning of a mountain range. The hills are dotted with clusters of houses. On the other side you can see on to the busy lower town and to the outskirts of the Bergamo area of motorways and industrial lots. For a beyond amazing view go up even further to San Vigillio - there is a funicular - however, at the moment the station is under renovations so it is not operating until April.... My poor legs.

Inside the citta alta is a maze of narrow, single lane cobbled roads. There are many churches ... A monastery ..and shops. It wasn't very busy but it's low season, I suppose. I don't mind that aspect at all, but it does mean many of the museums, tourist destinations, galleries etc have reduced hours of operation.

It must be very nice to stay up there especially at night when it's lit up. The downside of traveling alone sometimes is not feeling as adventurous after-dark. And, furthermore, another downside to winter travel in these parts is it gets dark very early! 

I am okay though - needing a bit  of R&R as well. And let's be realistic- not sure whether my legs could take me any further today. Definitely not uphill...!!

One thing to indulge yourself in Bergamo is POLENTA E OSEI Yum! It's a pretty dome shaped cake covered in icing, sugar and chocolate shaped birds. 

When in Rome ...err, Bergamo, you must eat fresh pasta at some point. It's inevitable, really.  It isn't really low carb friendly here, but that is why I travel a lot .. It's a very good excuse to indulge ;-) I enjoyed a Bergamo invented pasta - casoncelli - like a ravioli stuffed with meat. 

One should also indulge in prosecco .... A dry, sparkling wine made in the Veneto area, but just as popular in these parts as I found out last night...

Anyways, I believe we are caught up now :)


 

permalink written by  Sarah Andrea on January 22, 2011 from Bergamo, Italy
from the travel blog: German Wings
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....

Verona, Italy


Where to begin... 

When I last left off in Bergamo, I was sore. Now I am in Verona and I am still sore. Okay not as much. 

The journey from Bergamo to Verona is geographically not that far, however... Why did it take so long ?! 2 train changes later... And a quick bus.... And about 100 paces (20 back and forth times 5) and I had found my Veronese home ... I hoped! The B&B was not labeled or identified clearly. I kept asking the owner is it was truly the B&B but alas there is a huge language barrier. Also she seemed surprised - as if I didn't have a reservation. I did however and I showed her on my iPhone. Ahh, technology. Anyhow, she showed me my deluxe room. 

The first thing that stands out when you walk into town is the Arena .. Amphitheater . Amazing!  Built in the 1st century and has even survived an earthquake. Now it is host to many Summer concerts. 

I waited 4 whole days in Italy before going for the gelato. Even though it's chilly , the gelateria (?) is the most popular spot in any piazza. Rightfully so..

Later, I thought I'd try some pasta. I've been craving spaghetti . I know- not the most authentic of all meals I could be eating but... I found spaghetti with seafood. Out came a plate with a thing that had eyes. Ok.... I wasn't bothered until I tried to break it open and out came an oozing brownish liquid. I think it was the shrimps head. I carefully ate around it. I also enjoyed a lovely glass of the Veneto's regional grape ... Valepolicella ... However you spell it! So there you have it - prosecco and valepolicella! 2 drinks I am accustomed to drinking at home are from this very area of Italy :)

Today I have wandered around Verona visiting various piazzas. It's very pretty here. Oh and, yes, I have visited the casa di Giulietta (of Romeo and Juliet). Umm, it's a fictional Story, right? ;) Ahh I suppose it's fun haha. 


Tbc

permalink written by  Sarah Andrea on January 24, 2011 from Verona, Italy
from the travel blog: German Wings
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