Ooh, September was a good month! As we head into October and the days in Glasgow grow steadily shorter, I want to take a moment to reflect on what has been one of the best months of my year so far. Wondering what I got up to? Read on, friend!
September was a month of travel, friendships, and food.
I started the month in one of the most incredible countries in the world, Italy. From Venice to Rome I spent 3 weeks traversing the countryside, soaking in the sunshine, eating copious amounts of fresh pasta and indulging in two gelatos a day (it would be rude not to, right?). I quickly fell in love; the culture, art, foodie scene and landscapes are unbelievable, and it’s easy to see how Italy has topped traveler’s bucket lists for centuries.
From Italy I flew to Amsterdam for a few days of stroopwafels, canals, space cakes (don’t google it, mum) and awkwardly avoiding cyclists. New destinations don’t often match the image I have in my head, but Amsterdam was exactly what I expected. After flying home to start my new job at an indie production company in Glasgow, I then (spontaneously!) flew to Munich for a whirlwind weekend at Oktoberfest.
Now? I’m back home, back at work and trying to settle into a routine. After a busy month it’s nice to be home, and it’s nice that I’m starting to consider Glasgow home, for now at least.
WHERE I WENT
This month I explored four new countries (does the Vatican City count as a country? I’m never sure) and nine new cities.
- In Italy I started in Venice and worked my way down to Rome, exploring Verona, Varenna, Bologna, Cinque Terre and Florence on the way. Though I loved each destination if I had to pick a favourite I’d choose Florence. There’s just something about the stunning art, architecture, food, laidback vibes and mouthwatering gelato that make Florence such an incredible city.
- Amsterdam is a cool city, filled with the smell of weed, carefree cyclists, stroopwafels, museums and charming architecture. I liked the city, but for me three days was enough time to explore.
- Friend, I’m a planner. When it comes to travel I like to know what I’m doing, where I’m going and what to see and do in advance. I’ve even started planning for a trip that’s at least a year and a half away (you should see my colour-coded spreadsheet). So when I booked a last-minute ticket to Munich to spend a weekend with a friend before they flew home to New Zealand, I was a little surprised (and unnerved) by my spontaneity. Coincidentally it was the first weekend of Oktoberfest, and though I didn’t have time to buy a dirndrl the festival was still a lot of fun. Munich is a great city, and one I’d love to go back and explore further.
As one of the top foodie destinations in the world Italy contained some of the best food I’ve ever eaten, and virtually every meal was memorable (well not quite; we did manage to eat at the odd tourist trap or two). If you’re heading to Italy make sure to note these restaurants down:
- I ate one of my best meals in Italy at La Griglia in Verona. Though it is a steakhouse La Griglia also serves delicious fresh pasta and lovely tiramisu, and the local red wines are worth trying as well.
- When you go to Italy you have to try the gelato (I ate my bodyweight in gelato almost every day). To find good gelato don’t go for the decadent, puffed-up gelato covered in toppings as additives have been added to give it its shape. Instead look for gelato covered in stainless steel lids (I may sound like a gelato snob, but you can taste the difference). You can find great gelato all over Italy but the very best I tried was at Dondurmaci Gelateria Della Passera in Florence. Their dark chocolate and pistachio gelatos were out-of-this-world good.
- The towns of the Cinque Terre are not known for their food; the towns are overwhelmed by mass tourism and it can be hard to find a good meal. Still, one of the best meals I ate in Italy was at Tratoria Billy’s in Manarola. You need to book ahead as the restaurant is extremely popular, but it’s worth it for the beautiful fresh seafood and tasty handmade pasta. Their wines are also pretty good, I ended up drinking about five glasses…
September has been one big old highlight reel for me. Italy was a dream destination and I loved every city and town we visited, and I also had fun exploring Amsterdam and Munich. While it’s hard to pick the highlights from what was a very good month, I’d have to say visiting Florence was one of my favourite moments. Marveling at the statue of David and wandering Florence’s streets while eating dark chocolate and pistachio gelato I felt the happiest I’ve been in a long time.
Another highlight was spontaneously flying to Munich for the weekend. For a girl who doesn’t care for big crowds I liked Oktoberfest a lot more than I thought I would. As it was the first weekend of the festival we couldn’t get into a beerhall but the food stalls, rides and festive atmosphere with everyone in their dirndls and lederhosen’s was infectious and I was grinning like a kid on a sugar high from candy apples the entire time.
It’s a little boring but a lowlight for me this month was coming down with a cold two days into my Italy trip. I spent a week sneezing, coughing and moaning about my sore throat, and while I still managed to enjoy myself, I would have liked it a lot more had I been well!
Another stroke of bad luck this month was starting my new job only to miss the cutoff for being paid at the end of the month (gulp). Because of the way the timings have worked out I won’t have been paid from mid-July until the end of October, when I only had a month off! It’s meant a bit of belt-tightening and strict budgeting (though I’m still planning another trip… oops!) but I tell ya, I’m looking forward to my paycheck at the end of October.
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN OCTOBER
October isn’t shaping up to be quite as exciting as September, but I’ve still got a trip or two planned to keep from suffering from too much post-holiday blues. At the end of the month I’ll be meeting a friend in Luxembourg for a few days. I’ve done absolutely no research (what’s happening to me??) so if you have any Luxembourg recommendations please let me know. Apart from that I want to explore more of Scotland and the UK. The Glaswegian winter is looming ominously and there’s places I want to see before I become a shivering hermit, ya know? Until next time, much love and safe travels.