Tuscany, Italy توسكانا

Tuscany (Italian: Toscana, pronounced [tosˈkaːna]) is a region in central Italy.

If you are planning a trip around Tuscany, a car will be required. Some parts of Tuscany can be reached with public transportation but many of the small villages waiting for you to be explored are not.

This is a an itinerary example of how you could do Tuscany, as I always recommend, try to customize the trip as whatever suits you and live your own experience 😉

هالمخطط هو مثال يساعدكم لتخطيط رحلتكم لتوسكانا في ايطاليا, لكن ومثل كل مره أنصح البحث عن الوجهات وتغيير هالمخطط على حسب اهتماماتكم

Arrival city: Florence

Florence

If you plan on staying in Florence, check out our Florence post here to get some ideas. You do not need a car while in Florence, as everything is walking distance, you could rent a car on your last day in Florence.

Pisa

After Florence, your next stop could be Pisa in the morning to explore the famous Piazza dei Miracoli, where you’ll be able to finally admire the famous Leaning Tower up close.

 

Lucca

Lucca

Lucca is very easy to reach both by car as well as train from both Pisa and Florence.

Lucca is also home to several annual events and manifestations that always attract people from everywhere, such as the Summer Festival. Concerts by internationally renowned artists enliven different locations of the city usually on July, while another renowned event, Lucca Comics & Games, usually takes place in late October/early November.

Siena

“A Step back to Medieval Tuscany”. The city is easy to reach and is suitable for a day trip

 

And since you’re around.. it is worth checking out:

Portofino

I stayed at Santa Margherita and went to portofino for the day and to have lunch, then took off to our next destination.

Cinque Terre

I absolutely loved and recommend Cinque Terre. However, for Cinque Terre, you must identify whether you wanna see the 5 Terre’s or only the recommended ones. Checkout our Cineuq Terre post here.

For more details and to have a different mix of this trip, feel free to contact us on info@hello965.com

 

Ciao!

Rome, Italy

Sleep.

  • Sofitel Rome Villa Borghese

  • Suite Sistina

  • Residenza Al Saraceno (Luxury Apartments, excellent location)
  • The Inn at the Spanish Steps
  • Hotel de Russie
  • Rome Cavalieri, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts
  • Rose Garden Palace
  • Inn at the Spanish Steps
  • Hotel D’Inghilterra
  • Stendhal Hotel Rome

  • Palazzo Navona Hotel
  • J.K. Place Roma
  • Palazzo Montemartini
  • Rome Times Hotel

Things to do.

  • The Coliseum
  • The Vatican (Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica)
  • The Pantheon
  • Roman Forum
  • Trevi Fountain
  • Piazza Navona
  • Spanish Steps (Piazza di Spagna)
  • Campo de’Fiori (nice at night too!)
  • Villa Borghese (Beautiful park with a cute pond and nice random things around..)
  • Trastevere (the area) to walk around and eat
  • Piazza del Popolo
  • Tours like: Segway Tour, Bike Tour
 Rome
iPhone Apps of Rome:
– Rome Guide
– Ulmon
– Lonely Planet
– Rome2Go
– When in Rome
– Rome walking tours and maps
– Rome bus guide
– Rome Metro
Food.
Honestly, in Rome, I sat in random restaurants and all of them were great!!! Here are some:
Il-Pagliaccio-462x346

– IL PAGLIACCIO (2 Michelen stars)

 

– Pizza at Pizza Navona

– High-end gourmet: Baby

 

- Aroma

– Aroma

 

Tuna-462x346

– Tuna

 

- GLASS HOSTARIA

                      – GLASS HOSTARIA

–  Flavio al Velavevodetto  (AMAZING PASTA)

– Maccheroni

“They say people live two lives.. One is the current, and second is what they wish they would be living..” I say It’s time to make your second, your first 😉

Hello965

Hello965 friends: Matsumoto, Japan

Why we chose this city: Two words: Wasabi Farm.

Duration: One night.

20140331_125923

@almallaks

Where we stayed:We stayed at the Matsumoto Tokyu Inn. It was OK. But again, we didn’t really care about accommodation so much since we were always out. It’s a 5-minute walk from the train station, which was fantastic.

  • Things to do/see in Matsumoto:
    • Daio Wasabi Farm: You need a good day for this because you’ll need to take the train to get to the farm and then a lot of walking. If you’re lucky the weather will be good. It was pouring rain when we went so we couldn’t rent bicycles. But it was fun, you get to walk around the Wasabi Farm grounds and then you can go to the café area and try different kinds of Wasabi products. Make sure you try the one that’s fried. We can’t recall what it was exactly, but it was so delicious.

       

    • Matsumoto Castle: It’s glorious. We had to go really quick on our last day so we didn’t get a chance to do the tour, but if you have the time, it could be fun.

       

  • Food in Matsumoto:
    • There is a Vie De France at the train station. We suggest going there for breakfast. They have the famous melon bread along with a huge selection of Japanese inspired breads and pastries. Just try it all. You’ll never get the chance again. Also, their Black Sesame Banana Smoothie is amazing. We tried to recreate it – check our Instagram (@almallaks) for the recipe!

[JR Train: (Matsumoto to Nagano) – 51m – 0 transfer]

[JR Train: (Nagano to Yammanouchi) – 70m to Yudanaka Station]

by @Almallaks

Hello965 friends: KANAZAWA, Japan

KANAZAWA by @Almallaks

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Why we chose this city: Simple city, but cool things to see: one of the most beautiful gardens in Japan, an authentic samurai house/museum and a modern art museum. Oh yeah, and a ninja temple. So you can guess what we did there.

 

Duration: We only stayed one night, which was enough. But, we made sure to leave Kyoto early to make use of our first day in Kanazawa and took the last train the next day to Matsumoto.

 

Where we stayed: We stayed at the Kanazawa Excel Hotel Tokyu. It is a good hotel and the location was perfect. Walking distance to almost all our attractions. But, you will need to take the bus from the train station to the hotel. Just ask the information desk at the station and you’ll be good to go. Note: all directions below are made based on this hotel.

  • Things to do/see in Kanazawa:
    • One of the most beautiful gardens in Japan: Kenrokuen Garden

       

    • While walking from the hotel to the garden, you will pass the modern art museum on your right hand side. It will be hard to miss. Stunning building.20140329_113719

       

    • The samurai district is on the opposite side of the hotel. Ask for directions. But, it is a pleasant walk and the tour of the house does not take long. Very interesting to see.20140329_121350
    • What’s even better than the samurai house, is the ninja temple called Ninjadera. This needs to be booked in advance so make sure to ask your hotel to arrange it for you!
      20140329_121624
  • Shopping in Kanazawa:
    • We weren’t there long so we didn’t get around to shopping. BUT, there is a HUGE department store literally across the street from the hotel should you feel the need to spend some Yen.
  • Food in Kanazawa:
    • On your way to the garden, on your right hand side, you will pass by a small shop. They sell Melon bread with ice cream. MAKE SURE YOU TRY THIS. And don’t worry, you can’t miss it, the heavenly smell will get you.
    • If you take a left after you exit the hotel and then a right, you will be in a small street. On your right hand side, there will be a small restaurant called The Cottage. It’s a husband and wife run place. You will love it. And the menu consists of whatever Tony feels like making that day. If you go, please tell Tony and Momo that Saad and Noor from Kuwait say hi! And make sure to try Tony’s tiramisu if it’s available… to die for!

      The Cottage

      The Cottage

    •  

[JR Train: (Kanazawa to Matsumoto) – 5h 15m – 1 transfer]

STAY TUNED!!!

by @Almallaks

Travel Around Croatia: Initial Planning

A hello965 friend was inquiring about Croatia the other day and to have some suggestions on planning for multiple destinations in Croatia. For me personally, I’ve been to Dubrovnik, Split and Hvaar.

I did some research and advised her to check out the following route:

Croatia’s Season: June – September

As a first stop; I’d say let it be Zagreb since it’s closest to any stop you’d take in Europe.

Zagreb

Zagreb

  • Zagreb & Plitvice Lakes (2 night in Zagreb)  

First night is when you arrive, one day to see Zagreb and the other to leave to to Plitvile Lakes National Park (two hours car ride – or there are rides through the bus to take you there)

Plitvice Lakes National Park

Plitvice Lakes National Park

– From Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes, checkout: http://www.visit-croatia.co.uk/index.php/croatia-destinations/plitvice-lakes/getting-to-plitvice-lakes-national-park/

– Read this to give you an idea of Zagreb – http://landlopers.com/2014/01/08/zagreb-croatia

You could spend the night in Plitvice lakes, if you like.

  • Ljubljana

Ljubljana could be accessed also from Zagreb by car or train. So if you do want to do it also, stay another night in Zagreb and fit Ljubljana in that day: http://www.buscroatia.com/zagreb-ljubljana/

Ljubljana

Ljubljana

  • Plitvice lakes

– Spend the day in the Plitvice lakes, or spend the night here.

– It is recommended to see it in the morning not the afternoon to avoid the crowds (hence the one night there makes sense, to wake up early morning and see it)

– Your next stop from here could be Split

– Check this out: http://www.funky-zagreb.com/zagreb-day-trips/plitvice-lakes-private-tour/

and http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g303827-i7176-k7426275-Visit_to_the_plitvice_lakes_day_trip_or_stay_overnight-Plitvice_Lakes_National_Park_Central.html.

  • Split

– Second largest city in Croatia

Split

Split

– From my personal experience I don’t recommend you stay here, half a day to see the place and have lunch maybe there should be enough. Yet again, do your own research then decide if you’d like to stay more.

– An option is to rent a catamaran between Split and Hvaar

– Another option is to take the ferry to Hvaar  and stay in Hvaar (Get a round trip, or one way ticket up to you)

– If you’re driving, you could go with the car on the ferry to Hvaar (which is what I did)

– If you feel like staying in Split for a night or so: http://www.viator.com/tours/Split/Split-Sailing-Adventure/d4185-6053SPLITSAIL or http://www.viator.com/tours/Split/Split-Bike-Tour-City-Highlights-by-Standard-or-Electric-Bike/d4185-6053SPLITBIKE

  • Hvar (2 nights)

– Hvar is the Ibiza of Croatia – sandy beautiful beaches in the morning, and parties in party islands at night

Hvar

Hvar

– Back to split from Hvar, there are daily buses that take you from Split to Dubrovnik or if you have your own car, you drive to Dubrovnik
  • Dubrovnik: (3-4 nights stay would be ideal in here)

Other than the hotel mentioned on my blog (Neptun), check out Bellvue Hotel (http://www.adriaticluxuryhotels.com/en/hotel-bellevue-dubrovnik/). Keep in mind, Dubrovnik’s beach is not sandy, it’s rocky.

Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik

– From Dubrovnik you could go on a full day excursion to Montenegro Bay (Kotor)


  • Montenegro Bay (Kotor)

http://www.getyourguide.com/dubrovnik-l513/montenegro-bay-of-kotor-t43207/
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g295371-i1555-k5190635-Dubrovnik_to_Bay_of_Kotor-Dubrovnik_Dubrovnik_Neretva_County_Dalmatia.html

Montenegro
http://www.viator.com/tours/Dubrovnik/Montenegro-Day-Trip-from-Dubrovnik/d904-2562MN

Generally, renting a car would sure be easier than taking buses as I always prefer driving, though Croatia has a good bus system!http://www.visit-croatia.co.uk/index.php/travelling-around-croatia/

Obviously, you could do the whole thing the other way around – first stop being Dubrovnik – Last being Zagreb.
Enjoy and send us pictures!!!!
Hello965

Meliá Dubai

I was excited to hear about the opening of this Spanish hotel in the middle east. It is the first Spanish 5* Hotel in the Middle East, how can I say no to a weekend stay in this place?

A little bit about Meliá Dubai:

A well-kept secret in the heart of the city, Meliá Dubai is the first 5 star Spanish hotel in the Middle East. Designed by a Milan based architect, the hotel has a fresh, modern air geared to make your stay truly exceptional. It is cutting edge in style and located in one of the most important destinations in the world. Expect visually entertaining interiors with contemporary art pieces from all over the world and 164 stunningly decorated rooms & suites, state-of-the-art meeting space and business facilities, reflecting the urban glamor of this flourishing metropolis.

As my readers & friends may know, i’m a regular in Dubai. This time and for this particular visit, I made sure to plan around and see old Dubai!

Some people do not prefer the advanced modern Dubai, if you are one of those or seeking a change in scenery, then I strongly recommend you to stay in Melia, and check out the surrounding attractions & areas.

My Stay at Melia:

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I stayed at the 7th floor which is called “The Level”. It is basically an exclusive level where it has its own tea lounge/breakfast area.

Long story short: I absolutely loved the room. Comfortable bed, advanced technology/tv, coffee machine; total comfort.

My favorite part was the rooftop pool. It wasn’t extremely quite nor extremely busy it was a mix of both. Make sure you go early, as spots are taken fast. One thing I did not like about the pool area, is that there is no service at the pool – all orders come from room service which leads to a delay in getting the order. Otherwise, it was pretty nice.

DCIM101GOPRO

Hello965 in Melia Dubai

  • Complimentary WIFI in the entire hotel (speed could be better)Melia pool

Lastly from my experience at the hotel was my dinner at Signature by Sanjeev Kapoor – Indian Restaurant. Hands down, one of the best Indian cuisines I’ve tried. I was positively shocked by the quality and the design; very authentic.

When you enter a restaurant, and see many of the crowd are from the same nationality as the cuisine; rest assured it’s a good one.

The Surrounding Area

This is where old Dubai is. Located close to the World Trade Centre, Gold & Spice Souqs, historical Bastakiya, Dubai Museum and Dubai Creek, the hotel is perfectly situated within a short reach to Dubai’s main shopping and commercial districts like the iconic Burj Khalifa and only 10 km away from Dubai International Airport.

Exploring Old Dubai..

Exploring Old Dubai..

The best part of the location is its closeness to the airport (DXB); it took us around 15 mins to get to the hotel after we rented a car.

…And that’s a wrap!

Thank you Melia for a pleasant stay – I will most likely visit again!!

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For more about my stay in Melia, check out my instagram account @Hello965 or browse through the hashtag #hello965dubai