Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Travel Diaries: Rome

Where we stayed

We stayed at La Maison di Sant'Anna which is in a great location, just behind Campo de' Fiori in the heart of Rome.  Teatro Argentina was also just a minute walk away.  In fact, almost everything was in walking distance with the Pantheon being just 5 minutes walk, the Trevi Fountain about a 25 minute walk and great bars and restaurants in the close-by area of Trastevere.

My husband booked a 'Deluxe Double Room with Hot Tub' and it certainly didn't fail to impress! The high end spec of the space and the luxury of your breakfast being delivered to your room every morning definitely felt like a treat.

Things to do

{The Trevi Fountain}

You definitely need a few days to fully take in everything that Rome has to offer.  My favourite place was undoubtedly the Trevi Fountain, however a guided tour of the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel was definitely a highlight.  I do highly recommend a walking tour for the Museums - it gets REALLY busy but with a guided tour you not only get to queue jump (it's a long queue!), you also get an insight into the overwhelmingly beautiful and historic art the museum has to offer.

 {The Spanish Steps}

The Spanish Steps is also a sight not to be missed and it wouldn't be a trip to Rome without a visit to the Colosseum.  We visited just before sundown and there were minimal queues.

 {The Colosseum}

The best way to see the city (or any city for that matter) is to get tickets for a hop-on, hop-off bus tour.  We stayed on for one complete route and then decided where we wanted to go and in which order.  The city is walkable, and there's something historical and beautiful around almost every corner, however I did find the tour useful to get my bearings and get to know which areas of the city were home to each landmark.

Places to eat

Surprisingly, it was difficult to find a good meal in Rome that was comparable to the standard of quality and taste we're used to in the UK.  It really was hit or miss and the Trastevere area is the only place I recommend you go for a good meal, with most of the restaurants in that area boasting 4.5+ reviews.  


Monday, 7 November 2016

Travel Diaries: Santa Barbara

{Palm trees & blue skies in Santa Barbara}

A year last Christmas we took a trip to San Francisco and followed Route 1 down to LA - stopping at Santa Barbara on the way.  We only stayed as an overnight stop before continuing our road trip but I wish we'd scheduled more time to take in this beautiful beach town.  Santa Barbara spoke to me, in a way most of California did.  The laid back atmosphere, continuous sun and calm waters were idyllic and waking up there is something I will never forget.

{Views from Route 1 - Photo by me}

Before I get into where we stayed in Santa Barbara I feel the need to mention a sea-view cafe we stopped at on our way down the coast road.  We had the most amazing lunch overlooking the sweeping ocean.  The views were uninterrupted and literally stunning to the point where I still think about this place (a lot) almost 2 years later! The Lucia Lodge & Restaurant.

Where we stayed

We spent our brief stay at The Harbor View Inn right across from the beach in Santa Barbara.  The room was very comfortable with a huge bed (important when you're still suffering from jetlag!) and the view from our balcony was amazing. Unfortunately I only have video footage and didn't take any photos of our room but it was just like the website pictures!

We had breakfast before setting off in the cafe attached to the hotel - Eladio's (guests had a percentage off - I think around 10%) and the views were amazing! Another moment that's hard to forget.
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