Venice Is Too Wet

On my last stop in Italy before returning home, I’ve become rather homesick. I’m tired of wearing several layers of clothing and still being too cold to enjoy things, tired of being herded like sheep in tour group after tour group, listening to hours of Italian history (as fascinating as it is), tired of using Google maps to go everywhere and Google translate to understand descriptions on menus at Italian restaurants. And I’m just tired of hotels.

My last stop is Venice. Which I have to say is the least exciting city in Italy that I’ve seen. Although, as I’ve said repeatedly, this maybe because I’m here in the winter and it’s been rainy and cloudy in a city that pretty much solidifies the proverb “water water all around but not a drop to drink”. Literally stepped out of the train station and saw this.


Water. Boats. No roads. No cars. Had to drag our suitcases to our hotel in the rain. Now. I adore rain. But something about the feeling of being eternally soggy in this city makes rain much less appealing.

I found that the tiny streets and alleyways smell a lot like mould. And there’s millions of these tiny streets so lots of potential to get lost with water dripping from Windows and awnings above your head. Not the best.

And I know that gondolas are the icon of Venice and are romanticized millions of times the world over, but personally, I got sick on them. They’re not as sturdy as you’d think. The person rowing the gondola (I’m sure he has a technical title, but I can’t remember what it is) is extremely talented at maneuvering this vessel through the small canals between the buildings and ducking under bridges, but the feeling of travelling through the canals and seeing the mould and barnacles on buildings is not as romantic as one would have hoped.

Gondola and Basilica

Got some nice pics though!

Nobody seems bothered by the rain, also. The tourguide kept going even though there was a considerable downpour and puddles in the old pathways we were walking on.

Eugh. The whole city gives off this grey mood.

But I have to say, the food in Venice is amazing. Every restaurant I’ve been to here has made perfect pasta and pizza. Absolutely perfect. And the little shops have pretty interesting merchandise of glass and crystals worth looking at.

Sorry if I dashed anyone’s fantasies about Venice. It’s just I don’t like things being overhyped. This is just my view though. And as I’ve said, it might be more pleasant in summer when everything is not grey and miserable.

I am counting the days till I return! One more to go!!! Then I shall be flying back home over 3 days. Yes. Unfortunately new years is a difficult time to get short transit periods on airlines. So I shall be in the air on new years! Sigh. But it’ll be okay! I’ll be coming home!

Findings In Rome

My last two days in Rome have been pretty great! Going on tours to all the different iconic places and learning all the stories behind them was so amazing. 

But also, there were some things I found in Rome that were particularly brilliant.

I went on a segway tour of Rome. This was without a doubt, the best way to tour anything. These gizmos are brilliant to move around a city where the traffic is ridiculous to drive in, the public transport is long and annoying And where walking is more dangerous than driving. After this segway tour, I began to question the act of walking to get places and see things. I plan to invest in one back home now. Very cool and very fun to ride.

In Rome, there is a street that is literally 2.3km of shops and boutiques. Definitely the busiest and most festive part of town. Lovely lights lining the road! Very cool.

The pyramid of Cestius! Apparently a lot of architecture in Rome was inspired by Egypt. But in particular, one of the kings in the early days was so taken with Egyptian architecture that he spent his own money to build a pyramid as his tomb when he died. I must say it was a rather queer sight in the middle of Rome. But quite interesting.

And you haven’t lived till you’ve had gelato in Italy. Handy tip from a Roman; if it’s genuine gelato, it’ll be served from buckets. Not trays like normal ice cream. The perfect gelato needs perfect preserving. It was amazing. Creamy and bursting with flavour. I actually had something called sour black cherry flavour and vanilla. Perfecto in every sense of the word. ^^

Finally, I had a huge tour of the colosseum. It really is a fantastic structure with such an interesting history.  Since it’s such an over-photographed monument, I’ll spare you from yet another picture of it. But something I found inside the ruins was this block. And the inscription on it brought out the med/pharm geek in me. xD for those who don’t know, Losec is the name under which the antacid omeprazole is sold. I am now convinced that the Romans suffered from GORD and during the shows at the colosseum, there was a stall with this block sign, selling Losec to people. Yep. I’m sure that’s what it was.

Overall, Rome was amazing! I am now off to Florence! Ciao! 

The Vatican

On my second day in Rome, the sun was out! It was a brilliant day and I had the chance to visit the Vatican.

It was so incredibly surreal to be standing inside and outside the St. Peter’s Basilica. The architecture and artwork in every part of that building was so humbling.

I’m not a particularly religious person. But once I was in the Sistine chapel, something about the energy and ambience there really filled me with faith and gratitude. Can’t really explain that feeling. But it was amazing.

Outside St Peter’s square, there was a big huge Christmas tree! Luckily I was there after dark to catch it being lit up. Very festive 

Got everything in view so that the tree could be appreciated properly. 

Lovely place, this.

Long Haul Flight Entertainment Centre

I’m off to Italy today!! 

One of the downsides of living in the southernmost corner of the world is that it takes forever to get to any country.

And Italy in particular, has me travelling for 26 hours in total. First on the new long haul flight that is 17 hours long. 17 hours!!! I keep thinking that half way through I’m going to get extremely claustrophobic. Stuck in a big tube with 200 other people. Eugh.

So. I have to keep myself entertained during this time. So I’ve packed a sort of survival kit.

1. My laptop. It has a few movies and TV shows I have accumulated over the years, and unfinished writing pieces that will give me something to do. But the battery life is about 4 hours. So must use efficiently.

2. My Oxford handbook and a notebook (not shown here). Yes, for a med geek like me, every idle opportunity is a study period! But having said that, it is extremely difficult to concentrate in a pressurised cabin with dropping oxygen levels. So I don’t have high hopes of getting much study done.

3. My kindle. This will be my saviour I believe. The device with the best battery life and a bunch of books that should keep me occupied for a considerable amount of the flight time. Gotta love the kindle.

4. My phone (with which I have taken this picture, and is symbolised by my headphones). It has songs. And videos and games that will keep me occupied also. Not for very long because I don’t like playing games on my phone anymore. But yeah to a certain extent.

5. A deck of cards. I’m travelling with my family. So the deck of cards is symbolic of interacting with them and playing games and such. Don’t know how good it will be as our seats aren’t exactly together. But we should be able to manage.

And last of all, sleep! Which is hard to do in economy, but if I force myself to, I should be able to succeed in killing a couple of hours by knocking out. Here’s hoping.

I sincerely hope the 17 hours will go by quickly. I hate plane food and the yucky air and the bathrooms etc. But the prospect of being in Italy soon should make this whole affair bearable.  Hopefully…
Oh well! I shall return soon with pics of my trip! 

Hope everyone has an awesome next few days! 

December Happenings

Heyyyy it’s December!! How do I know this? Because it’s officially summer in Auckland! Well not really because the actual equinox is not until 21st of December, but let’s not focus on that.

How else do I know it’s December? Everyone has their Christmas tree up! I guess I’m late! Malls have had their trees up since November of course. So they  don’t count. But anyway! Time to get my Xmas tree up and get into that good ol’ Xmas cheer!

I had a great time decorating my tree. It’s always good fun. Especially when more people are involved. My mum turned on some Christmas carols, and when Jingle Bell Rock came on (which is my favourite carol), I actually started dancing around in the middle of my living room as I decorated my tree. Embarrassing as heck. But good fun!

et Voila! My tree!

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(I love taking macro shots of my tree decorations)

This tree is 6ft tall and is kind of sparse. So it was very important to make sure I filled it up with as much decoration as possible! Previously I had multi-coloured fairy lights but this year I decided they looked tacky beyond reason and went instead, with the more sophisticated, monochrome, gold icicle lights. They match, and give the whole tree a nice glow, I think! And yes, the decorations are all red and gold. I’ve had these decorations for a few years now. HD commented that they are so….bland. So…normal. Christmas = red and gold…. how original…

Which I agree with. But in my defense, as I have mentioned before, I am BIG on observing Christmas in a very traditional way. And at the time I bought these decorations, I wanted the perfect postcard-type Christmas tree. So that is definitely red and gold. Truth be told, however, I am getting a bit tired of this dull, bi-chrome decoration thing. Hence I vow, next year I shall have new, more multi-coloured baubles and other Christmas-y things on my tree!

(by the way, a big thing happened for HD the other day, so mini celebration of his awesomeness!)

You may ask, why not go get new decorations this year? I mean, there’s still a good 20 days before Christmas! Well in fact, I am not going to be home for Christmas!

Yep! As part of this being my last ever holidays, my family decided to organise a trip away over Christmas! We’re going to Italy!

This means a few things, but the most important thing is that for the first time in my 22 year life, I will be experiencing a white Christmas!! I mean, I love the summery Xmas in New Zealand and the awesomeness of going to the beach and having ice cream, but for someone who is big on traditional Christmas, snowy whiteness is a big big excitement!

I cannot wait!

Plus, it’s Italy so there shall be Italian food, things to see, and places to shop at. Which is why I am not springing for new decorations this year.

But I still had to put a tree up. I just had to. It’s a must in December. Even if I’m not going to be home on Xmas day.

Hope everyone has their tree up and are doing fabulous Christmas-type things! ^^

Return Home

I am back in my little ol’ City of Sails! It’s so good to be back home after my selective. And omg the year has ended! I will give a complete recount of this year in another post as it’s quite a lot of information and I need time to phrase it correctly. (as mysterious as that sounds)

But anyway! I am so relieved to be back home! Melbourne was pleasant and gastro was great but there’s just no place like home apparently! And just yesterday I had my last progress test of the year! Whew what a relief! It was okay…. It seemed that it was deceptively easy. But I never have confidence in saying that. I have the worst luck with such things. Sometimes I think I did really well in a test and my marks are less than “really well”, and other times when I die inside walking out of a test, I find I did better than I thought, and even more decent compared to the rest of the class. Some kind of irony I suppose. But yeah. This test left me feeling a bit muddled. I couldn’t remember a lot of the questions I had just answered and I felt a weird sense of happiness. Although, that could just be because omg the year is over!! 😀

Well kind of. Now I only have my report to submit recounting my 6 week selective in Melbourne, and something called a “prescribing skills test”. Apparently it’s an online test our entire class group has to sit to master the art of prescription writing! It’s formative though but it has been hyped up unnecessarily as usual. Which makes me nervous. But oh well. I’ve got 2 weeks to worry about that. So I won’t!

People kept asking me what my plans were for the holidays and I only had one answer: “Honestly, I didn’t think I’d make it this far”. xD Truly. I have no plans. It’s been an intense year that didn’t leave me much time or energy to think about planning my last summer holidays of all time. Maybe I will figure it out in the next few days. I’m still in post-exam hibernation mode. Sleep is a must at this time.

But there is one thing I made sure to have ready for my holidays:

Dan Browns’ new novel has been released! What could be a better way to spend your summer holidays than go globe-trotting with Professor Robert Langdon?! I cannot think of anything! So excited to get reading!

Will review soon!