La vita e bella! After a few days in Prague we headed south for the weekend and joined a blogging trip to Cesenatico.
Monday 20/5: Our Olomouc Couchsurfing host Karin had to start work early, but she left us her keys so that we could sleep in — and it was glorious! We stopped at the town hall to buy some Olomouc cheese for the journey to Prague, met Karin at her workplace to give her the keys, then caught a tram to the train station.
Karin’s boyfriend Honza had done some research into transport options for us the night before; he’d found that the Leo Express train was marginally cheaper than the other choices, so we went with that. This was a great decision: we’re always more comfortable on a train than a bus, and the Leo Express train was a lot cleaner and newer than the Czech Rail train we’d caught a few days previously. Win.
In Prague, we went straight to our hostel, Mosaic House, where they let us check in an hour early. We’d been given a spectacular double room on the top floor with views of the castle — and robes! It was the first time I’d ever had a robe in a hotel room, so exciting! (Actually I found it too big and heavy to really enjoy, but the thought was there.)
After eating lunch on the balcony and working for a couple of hours, we went for a walk across the river and to the top of Petrin Hill. The park was quite busy with locals walking and running, but it felt very far away from tourist-packed Prague just below.
In the evening, I spoke to Oliva and my mum, and we had a light dinner in our room before bed.
Tuesday 21/5: Check-out wasn’t until 12, but breakfast ended at 10.30, so we had to get up at a reasonable hour in order to make the most of it.
As always, we left packing to the last minute, and had to check out a little late. We’d arranged to spend the next three days with my Chilean friend Moroni, and since he’d said he’d lock us out if we didn’t arrive before 1pm, we had to rush! Luckily we didn’t have any problems and even got there a little early.
Moroni wanted to take us to a favourite brewery of his in Slany, so we said goodbye to Mirka and headed out. Getting there was a bit of a mission — we had to take two metros and a bus — but we made it eventually and spent the afternoon trying all the beers on offer. Craig somehow managed to get himself an impromptu tour with the brewer, who didn’t speak much English but was very enthusiastic about his craft.
On the way home, we stopped in the city to change some money then picked up KFC for dinner.
Wednesday 22/5: Every Wednesday there’s a farmers market near Moroni and Mirka’s place, so I headed over with them in the morning before Moroni went to work. We mostly bought vegetables, and even found coriander for pebre — a huge win!
Craig and I spent the rest of the day at home working while Mirka studied, though I did go to the supermarket twice to pick up things for dinner. In the evening, we introduced the others to the joys of Monopoy Deal; they caught on fast and we all won at least one game each.
Thursday 23/5: Thursday was more or less a repeat of Wednesday: Moroni went to work, Craig and I stayed in, Mirka studied. We decided to make a broccoli cheese bake for dinner (and pebre of course), and we found Olomouc cheese in the supermarket! The dinner came out really well, thanks to Craig’s superior cooking skills.
We spent most of the evening playing Monopoly Deal, and Mirka showed us that she’d really got the hang of it, winning four of the eight games we played.
Friday 24/5: We had to catch a flight at 10.45, so we headed out the door at 8pm and had a smooth run to the airport. Apart from long security lines and a slight delay on takeoff, everything went well there, and our Wizz Air flight was short and a bit cramped.
We arrived in Bergamo airport and caught a coach into Milan, where we spent an hour holed up in McDonald’s (€1 salads with cute bottles of olive oil!) before catching a train to Bologna; from there we went to Ravenna, and from there to Cesenatico. On the last of the trains we met Adam, who was heading in the same direction for the blogging trip we were going on. It was great to meet him and get to know him a little, especially since he lives in Berlin, where we’re going to spend the summer.
Saturday 25/5: We didn’t have to meet the other bloggers and the tour organisers until 4pm, so we’d planned to use the bikes the hotel had provided to see a little of the town. But unfortunately the weather was inclement, so we spent the morning working then had lunch in the hotel (which has a really great salad bar). After lunch, Alex took us on a little cycling tour of Cesenatico and we ducked into a fishermen’s bar when it started to rain again.
We met the others at the maritime museum, where we were given a fantastic tour. The guide not only told us about the boats on display in the canal and about the exhibits in the inside section, but also gave us a concise history of the town. After the museum and adjoining antiquarium, we braved the drizzle for a short walk around the centre of Cesenatico — it’s so pretty.
Craig and I had to go back to the museum to collect our bikes, and we took the chance to cycle down to the beach and see the bagnos — not really my idea of a good time! We ended up about 15m from where we wanted to be, but on the wrong side of the canal; it was a ten-minute ride to get to the right side.
Dinner was at the Hotel Miramare with all the other bloggers; I talked with Jessica, Teresa, Adam, Alexandra and Julia for half the time, then decamped to the other end of the table where the Spaniards were sitting: Alicia, Sara, and Alberto.
Sunday 26/5: Somehow we’d got to bed late the night before, so getting up was a small challenge to be overcome. Luckily our meeting time was 10.30, so by leaving the hotel at 9.45am, we had time to visit a small farmers market and buy some strawberries before meeting the others at the boat. Our morning excursion was a trip on one of the maritime museum’s flat-bottomed boats; a huge honour since it’s not often taken out of the canal. It was a really pleasant hour-long journey, though the best part was coming back along the canal to its moorings. All the museum boats had their sails up, which was a fantastic sight to see — they’d been down on Saturday because of the bad weather.
Lunch was another communal affair in a large tent beside the maritime museum: a delicious fish risotto with sardines and piadine. People started to drift off afterwards but we stuck with a small group of dedicated bloggers who wanted gelato and a coffee; we found a pleasant canal-side cafe and spent a couple of hours there.
When looking at our map, Craig and I had noticed a large park near our hotel, so we decided to cycle around it before going back to the hotel. We spent about half an hour in the park, and timed our arrival at the hotel to coincide with the onset of a small thunderstorm: quite good timing, I thought. We spent the afternoon relaxing and had a pleasant last dinner with Alex before retiring.