2015

I’m not really one for New Year’s Resolutions. Aside from the one I made last year to stop being hungover – which I’ve now just adopted as a general life rule because honestly, it’s the best – I’ve never been able to keep them. Either they’re things I have no real control over, or if there are things I want to change about my life I just do them rather than wait til the start of the year. So this year I didn’t make any, but I did have things in mind that I wanted to achieve – first and most important was to find a job that would start a career I actually like. Second was to sort out my sorry excuse for a romantic life. But as I said, there’s only so much control I actually have over both of those things so they were more just hopes than resolutions.

But about 6 weeks into this year, after 4 months of job hunting and a failed foray into the world of online dating, I was already losing hope. Maybe it was the realisation that dating is actually some twisted version of hell (especially when it originates on Tinder; more on this later perhaps), one too many job rejections, the complete boredom of having too much free time (it’s a hard life) or just the freezing cold & lack of sunlight, I decided that this wasn’t working and I needed to Do Something.

It started as a vague idea of going to France for a little bit to brush up on my French and get some much needed sunshine, and the idea of au pairing came to me. Not really knowing how to go about it, I signed up to a website to have a little browse and see what it was all about, and within minutes I had messages flooding in from people all over the world. Naturally I was a bit suspect that some of these might be a bit dodge and sure enough 50 year old Bruce in Texas with no children seemed very keen for me to come over and look after… him? But after starting to consider going a bit further afield and maybe not improving my French but exploring a new country, I got talking to a lovely family in Australia who I will now be going to work for in 10 days! The whole process took about 4 days from me creating my profile to booking my flights, so it has all been a bit sudden and not quite sunk in yet, but I’m super excited.

So maybe my hopes for this year of kick starting my career and spending my Friday nights with someone other than my mates, a bottle of wine and Netflix haven’t gone quite as planned. But as I keep having to remind myself, I’m not as old as I think and it’s not the end of the world if I don’t have a ‘real person’ job right this second. And when else am I going to have the opportunity to do this? So even if I feel a little bit like I’m running away from being a Responsible Adult with a Job, I will still be doing that just in a very different way from what I imagined. And in Australia, which makes it so much better. Plus it gives me something to write about on here, so expect lots of adventures and stories to come!

🙂

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Venice

Venice

So with no travel plans currently on the horizon I’d been a bit loathe to finish this, even if it was nearly 3 months ago that I got back, but I can only put if off for so long.

Our Croatia adventure culminated in a short stay in Italy. Leaving behind Pula and all the other wonderful places we’d been, the plan was to hop on a bus for a couple of hours to get us over the border to Trieste, and then take a train from there to Venice. It should have taken about 3 or 4 hours tops. But of course nothing ever seems to go as planned for us. It should have been a simple matter of getting on the bus from right outside our apartment, taking it to the bus station, and getting on the express coach to Italy. But due to relying on a very out of proportion map, we got off the bus early and found ourselves stranded in the middle of nowhere. With no taxis in sight we then had to walk all the way back into town, where we finally managed to flag one down. Unfortunately this meant that we missed the fast bus and had to wait a couple of hours for the next one.

As we were sitting in the sun and eating some utterly delicious food from the bakery across the road, a minibus pulled up in the space our bus was supposedly leaving from. Slightly confused, we wandered over to the driver and asked if this was the bus for Trieste, which he confirmed. And so we got into what seemed like some random man’s car and were on our way. After four hours, detours to some extremely out of the way towns, a near fight between the driver and one of our fellow passengers, and a brief glimpse at the Slovenian countryside, we arrived. Sadly by this time it was too late for us to spend any time in Trieste, which looked like a really lovely place, and so we bought our train tickets for Venice and boarded the train: only to be told that it was delayed by an hour.

Eventually we did make it though, and the B&B we were staying at was exactly what we needed. I had spent hours trawling the web before this trip to try and find somewhere reasonably cheap to stay in Venice. I quickly realised that this was impossible, as even the nastiest hostels were in the region of £80 a night, and so we had opted to stay in Mestre. We probably couldn’t have been closer to the train station, from which Venice was just a 10 minute journey away, and we got somewhere a lot nicer for our money. The woman who owned the B&B was lovely, and although neither of us speaks Italian we somehow managed to have full conversations with her.

The next morning she made us breakfast and we headed into Venice. As it was still early on a mid-October morning she kept warning me that I was going to freeze in my little Summer dress, but pretty soon the sun came out and it turned into a lovely hot day, perfect for exploring Venice’s windy streets and canals.

Stepping off the train in Santa Lucia station, we felt a whole world away from the past few weeks in Croatia. Luckily the first thing we noticed wasn’t the stench from the canals which I’ve heard normally assaults your senses in the middle of Summer, but the striking green roof of the church of San Simeone Piccolo and the Ponte Degli Scalzi spanning the Grand Canal. From there we essentially spent three days wandering, exploring, and getting completely lost in the different sestiere. Of course we visited the Piazzo San Marco, the Basilica, the Doge’s Palace, the Rialto Bridge and a few other notable places, as well as some of the lesser known gems as well. Really Venice just struck me as the perfect place to get lost in – there was always something interesting or stunning down every alley or side canal, and getting off the beaten path and away from the hoards of tourists made a nice break.

Venice
San Giorgio Maggiore

Venice
My favourite in St Mark’s Square, the Torre dell’Orologio

Eventually though, it came to the end of our trip. As the sky clouded over and a storm quickly approached, we got out of there just in time. But our relief at having narrowly avoided getting stuck on a flooded island quickly disappeared as the realisation sunk in that this was the end of our little adventure and that it was time to head back to reality.

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Getting off the beaten path – wandering in Santa Croce and the Scala Contarini del Bovolo