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Experiencing Aperitivo in Florence

We recently discovered the delicious phenomenon of aperitivo in Florence. Highly recommend you check it out on your next travel adventure.

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Aperitivo in Florence

We recently unearthed one of Florence’s best kept secrets and we want to share it with you. The amazing aperitivo experience.

Aperitivo in Florence

What is an aperitivo?

Quite simply an aperitivo is a buffet of appetisers shared with friends at a local cocktail bar. After work the locals flock to the small bars in each neighbourhood to enjoy a drink, catch up with friends and help themselves to a delicious array of pastas, vegetables, light finger snacks and freshly made local delicacies.

For us it was a chance to dive into the Italian lifestyle and enjoy one of our favourite past times while travelling. Food.

Aperitivo starts around 6.30pm until 9.30pm and Kitsch Bar, which we visited  three times during our stay in Florence, quickly filled with a mix of students, business professionals and ourselves with no other tourists in sight. We felt like we had entered some sort secret society and were nervous to put a foot wrong.

Luckily the waitress was extremely friendly and with a few hand gestures and broken Italian we figured out that if we brought a drink, all of which were between $7 – 10 Euros, we could help ourselves to the buffet.

Aperitivo in Florence

And what a buffet it was.

With fresh mozzarella and hand picked tomatoes on slices of warm bread, lashings of cured prosciutto ham, pesto pasta, rice and more. We couldn’t fill our plates quickly enough (hence the shit photos). As we took our seats we quickly fell into silence as we devoured our individual plates before remembering where we were.

Italy; the home of food lovers.

Here we didn’t have to wolf down our food. We could sit back and relax. Italian’s have the right lifestyle. Everything is enjoyed at a slow pace over mouth-watering food and a cool beverage. We loved the fact that we could just buy one drink and enjoy each others company instead of being rushed out the door for the next sitting.

Even with the slower pace of eating we quickly demolished two plates a piece and with full bellies we agonised over whether it was appropriate for us to go up again… Of course we did. Much to our regret later that night as we couldn’t sleep from being too full!

Next time you visit Florence we definitely recommend visiting Kitsch Bar which was the most generous and best looking aperitivo buffet we saw while in Florence.

Where to stay in Florence? Plus Florence Hostel

We stayed at Plus Florence hostel when we were enjoying the best aperitivo in Florence. Considering it is a hostel chain they really know how to do it right for budget and couple travellers.

Location

Plus Florence is only 5 – 10 minutes walk to the major sights in Florence such as the Duomo and main train station.

The Rooms

Plus Florence has designed itself as a luxury budget hostel. It’s rooms are sparkling clean with dorms, privates and separate floors just for Plus Girls with hairdryers, straighteners etc).

Other Amenities

There are two, yes TWO, swimming pools, restaurant, cardio workout equipment, bar, rooftop patio and free WiFi throughout the hostel.

Staff

All of the staff are extremely helpful providing travel tips and advice on where to go and what to see. They were also the ones who introduced us to aperitivo so they will be forever remembered as legends.

Social Atmosphere

Combine an outdoor pool, large bar and 800 beds then there will always be something fun happening. We just wish they opened the bar earlier so we could enjoy a beer next to the pool in the afternoon.

Cost

Per Person: $30 Euro for a private room, $25.50 Euro for a 4 bed dorm and $21.50 Euro for a 8 bed dorm.

Overall

Plus Florence definitely deserves all of its awards for being one of the best hostels in the world. It’s rooms are clean, spacious and the extra amenities provides lots of places to chill out after a hard day of exploring Florence. Definitely recommend it for backpacking couples and solo travellers who want to meet lots of other travellers.

Disclaimer: We were guests of HostelWorld but as always our thoughts are always our own.

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Laurence

    July 20, 2012 at 10:14 PM

    Great tip! Never heard of the aperitivo concept.. but I like it!

  2. Karen @ Trans-Americas Journey

    July 21, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    Hooray for Apertivo, Italy’s version of Spanish tapas!

  3. Zara @ Backpack ME

    July 22, 2012 at 12:46 AM

    No doubt that Italy is the place to be when it comes to food!

  4. Bret@ Green Global Travel

    July 23, 2012 at 12:39 AM

    Tapas, Apertivo… whatever you call it, getting little samples of a lot of different dishes is awesome. That buffala mozzarella looks scrumptious!

  5. Turtle

    July 23, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    Aperetivo is all through Northern Italy. It’s amazing! a fantastic way to have cheap drinks and food. Often you don’t even need to have dinner after a good aperitivo!!

  6. Tim @ Marginal Boundaries

    July 24, 2012 at 10:13 AM

    I gotta stop reading your blog posts first thing in the morning, because you’ve been posting food posts and pictures far too often lately 🙂

    Fresh mozzy is *TO DIE FOR*, and I’ve always found Italian/Mediterranean food to be the best in the world. One of the things I really miss about living in that part of the world are fresh olives. When I was living in Bulgaria (Not Italy, but hey, just across the water!) and traveling to Italy as well…that was a guilty pleasure. Every day I could walk down to the local market and pick up kilos of fresh olives and just gorge myself =P

  7. Jeremy Branham

    July 24, 2012 at 9:42 PM

    This sounds a lot like Spain. It’s the Italian version of tapas (or maybe tapas are the Italian version of aperitivo). I ate Italian food when I was there but never did the aperitivo thing. I didn’t even know Italians did this. Will have to check it out the next time I am there.

  8. Christy @ Technosyncratic

    July 25, 2012 at 12:15 AM

    Apertivo kind of reminds me of tapas… except in buffet format. Regardless, it sounds delicious!

  9. Ali

    July 25, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    I think Andy has mentioned the aperitivo thing with Italy. I just love Italy, and your posts continue to make me want to go back. The food looks so good!

  10. Stephanie - The Travel Chica

    July 27, 2012 at 7:56 PM

    That’s my kind of food!

  11. Angela

    July 29, 2012 at 12:11 AM

    Aperitivo is very important in Italy, I saw something similar in Spain, where people go for tapas after work and before dinner.

  12. Alexandra

    August 11, 2012 at 11:01 PM

    I too recently discovered Aperitivo while in Italy a few months back! I think all bars worldwide should do this! I also never seem to be able to get photos of my food before I eat half of it!

    • Cole Burmester

      August 13, 2012 at 1:01 PM

      It’s so hard not to start pigging out every time! Have to constantly re-arrange our plates after we start eating then remember to grab a photo haha.

  13. Mary @ Green Global Travel

    September 16, 2012 at 6:13 PM

    Yum! Aperitivo sounds a lot like Mezza in Jordan. We love trying all the different dishes.

    • Cole Burmester

      September 17, 2012 at 9:36 AM

      Sounds like you guys had a brilliant time in Jordan. It is on our to-do list. Especially if they have something similar to Aperitivo!

  14. Pingback: 100 Most Romantic Places on Earth | The HostelBookers Blog

  15. Pingback: the lazy travelers | no travel required

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Adventure Travel

Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel

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Trekking through the valleys of Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys with Middle Earth Travel feels more like the set of a Star Wars movie than a historical region once carved out and lived in by humans. Churches, homes and pigeon houses are scattered throughout the valleys, all waiting to be explored. The best part is, Middle Earth Travel know all the hidden secrets.

Standing at the top of Cappadocia

Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel

On the 26th of July (which just so happens to be my birthday!) Middle Earth Travel took us on their private and guided Top of Cappadocia day trek. From Pasabag, along the top of Cappadocia and down through the Gulludere Rose Valley to Goreme, we trekked 15kms in one day! (We recommend getting your bearings with this map)

Upon arrival to the Middle Earth Offices, we were warmly greeted by our new friend Atil whom we had met a few days earlier while mountain biking through the Kizilcukur Red Valley. We were then introduced to our guide and given a briefing regarding the day. Normally, the Top of Cappadocia tour would start from Çavuşin, however, since we had already explored Çavuşin Castle, they adapted our tour to compensate ensuring we would explore new terrain!

With charged cameras, plenty of water and our running shoes on, we were driven to our starting point of Pasabag. We wandered through the fairy chimneys, coming across camels and markets – then the true hike began.

Pasabag in Cappadocia

The police station in Pasabag, Cappadocia

Camel in Pasabag, Cappadocia

Camel in Pasabag, Cappadocia

It was a slow and gentle incline. With no trees to provide shade, I quickly realised why our tour guide had chosen to wear fully covered clothing! As the sweat quickly set in (a waterfall in Moss’s case) we snapped away with our cameras and enjoyed the entertaining shapes of Imagine Valley and the amazing view. We also passed a lot of rock piles, which according to our guide mean ‘father’ and are built to help lead the way.

Animal shaped formations in Imagine Valley

Animal shaped formations in Imagine Valley

Middle Earth Travel, Cappadocia

Making our way to the top of Cappadocia

Father leading the way (rock pile)

Father leading the way (rock pile)

The higher we trekked, the more breath taking the views became! As we walked along the summit of Bozdag mountain (the Top of Cappadocia) we could see EVERTHING – Pasabag, Çavuşin Castle, Kizilcukur Red Valley, Gulludere Rose Valley and Goreme. We were on the Father of Valleys! After a quick nod of agreement to the guide, we pushed ourselves the extra distance and made our way to the flag, as this HAD to be the highest point and was definitely worth a photo and a selfie or two!

View from the top of Cappadocia

View from the top of Cappadocia

Flag at top of Cappadocia

From the flag we looked down upon Aktepe Hill which is known as a popular destination for watching the sun set and could spot Kizilvadi Restaurant, our destination for lunch! Kizilvadi Restaurant is an attraction of its own. With its own historic winery and Grape church, plus some Middle Earth Travel treks even stay there for the night! After having a massive feed of soup, salad and pasta plus a surprise birthday cake, we made our way down into Gulludere Rose Valley.

Kizilvadi Restaurant

Kizilvadi Restaurant

The scenery is amazing, with strong colours visible in perfect layers on the chimneys, you would wonder what an artist was thinking, had it been a painting. Also, hidden to the side of the track we walked across a little bridge and not expecting anything to be there we were wowed by the massive church carved. It was absolutely huge and hard to believe that its most recent use has been as a pigeon house!

Coloured chimneys in Cappadocia

Coloured chimneys in Cappadocia

Pigeon houses in Cappadocia

Pigeon houses in Cappadocia

Church in Gulludere Rose Valley

Hard to believe this Church is carved inside a fairy chimney!

Middle Earth Travel Review

  • The team at Middle Earth Travel were extremely knowledgeable and certainly know Cappadocia’s hidden secrets. They have friendships with local tea garden owners which is also of benefit as it gained us entry to locked churches and hidden rooms that we would not have otherwise seen.
  • We covered a lot of ground, however we did not feel rushed. The whole day focused on showing us the region, therefore we had as much time as we needed to explore each church and to take ‘just one more photo’.
  • It wasn’t all about trekking. With a whole day and 15kms to cover, there were a few silly poses (especially in Imagine Valley), and we learnt a lot about the myths, legends and way of life in Cappadocia.
  • In conclusion I highly recommend Middle Earth Travel if you wish to go trekking or mountain biking in Cappadocia.
  • Cost: Day treks with Middle Earth Travel range from 50-90 euro, depending on the number of people taking part. This includes lunch, guide, vehicle transfers and entrance fees to historical sites, but excludes alcoholic and soft drinks.
  • Middle Earth Travel are outdoor enthusiasts and offer multi-day over night treks, mountain biking, abseiling, or custom made itineraries, in multiple regions throughout Turkey.
  • www.middleearthtravel.com

Disclaimer: We were provided with a discount for the trek with Middle Earth Travel, however, as always our thoughts on our adventure travel blog our own.

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Adventure Travel

Walking the Camino de Santiago Photos

These are my favourite Camino de Santiago Photos from my pilgrimage along the French Way in March. A truly beautiful way to spend a few weeks.

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Puenta La Reina Bridge Camino Arrow

El Camino de Santiago kicked my ass. Well technically it kicked my feet. Turns out my minimal preparation for the Camino de Santiago was terrible. After a miserable effort of only 4 days, the doctor in Legrono told me that I wasn’t allowed to go on until me feet healed. I had walked just over 100 km’s and my feet were bloodied and blistered.

To be honest, I was relieved.

The thought of putting back on my shoes made my shudder. For the last 9 km’s I had stumbled along in jandals and socks. One of the travelling fashion sins I vowed I would never break.

Jandals on the Camino de Santiago

Jandals on the Camino de Santiago

So while I have unfinished business with the Way of St James (an upcoming post), I did want to share with you some of my favourite photos from the Camino de Santiago. Because I had yet to reach some of the more “unsavoury” parts of the Camino that Sherry Ott had discovered, every step of my pilgrimage had been beautiful.

Puenta La Reina Bridge Camino Arrow

Puenta La Reina Bridge – Camino de Santiago Arrows

There is no way you can get lost on the Camino de Santiago. Arrows, scallop shells and signs point you in the right direction at every bridge, road crossing and intersection.

Camino de Santiago Scallop Shell

Camino de Santiago Scallop Shell

Reaching the top of Alto Pedron gave views back the way I had come from Pamplona, as well as views to where I was going. The rocky path on the way down proved to be my ultimate downfall, as my too small shoes caused my toes to smash into the front.

Alto del Pedron Camino de Santiago

Alto del Pedron Camino de Santiago

Metal Pilgrims on Alto del Pedron

Metal Pilgrims on Alto del Pedron

There were so many beautiful old churches along the Camino de Santiago. But since I was walking in early March, it seemed that most were yet to open for the busier summer season.

Church of Obanos

The Church of Obanos

And between every small village the well-maintained pathways of the French Way wound across the spectacular Spanish countryside.

The French Way - Camino de Santiago

The French Way – Camino de Santiago Photos

Puenta La Reina

Puenta La Reina in the evening

Puenta La Reina has one of the most amazing bridges I have ever seen. It was also the 1st village I had the pleasure of sleeping in after busy Pamplona.

Puenta la Reina Bridge and Sunrise

Puenta la Reina Bridge at sunrise

Most mornings I was up and walking before the sun began to sprinkle across the horizon.

Spring flowers on the Camino de Santiago

Spring flowers on the Camino de Santiago

Pilgrims approaching Cirauqui, Spain

Pilgrims approaching Cirauqui, Spain

Every village and town was built on a small hill. Sure it looks beautiful until you realise you have to go back up again to go through them all!

Church of Santa Maria - Los Arcos

Church of Santa Maria in Los Arcos

While there were only about 20 pilgrims walking each section every day, it wasn’t uncommon for you to encounter them all. The people I met along the Camino de Santiago were some of the most inspiring and remarkable people I have ever spoken to. They are the ones that make the pilrgimage so special.

The endless French Way

The endless French Way

Irache Wine Fountain - Fuente del Vino

The free flowing Irache Wine Fountain or “Fuente del Vino”

Hay bales along the French Way

Hay bales along the French Way

Every village had at least one ancient church and it wasn’t uncommon to find them dotting the landscape in remote locations either.

Ermita de San Miguel

Ermita de San Miguel

Iglesia de San Andrés de Zariquiegui Church

Iglesia de San Andrés de Zariquiegui Church

I have travelled through Spain in the past, including cycling in Costa Brava and surfing in San Sebastian with both independent planning and a vacation planner. But having the opportunity to walk at my own pace through some of the most beautiful scenery in Spain on the Camino de Santiago has so far topped them all.

Natural arches - Camino de Santiago

Natural arches on the Camino de Santiago

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Europe

Tips for Making Any Overseas Trip a Romantic One

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Vacations are a great way to leave our everyday lives behind to spend some stress free time with the one we love. Travel in itself can be quite romantic but there are definitely ways you can spice up your holidays even more.

Follow these helpful tips to make sure your romantic holiday gets off on the right foot and continues to head down the tunnel of love and passion. You can easily turn any part of your travels into a special romantic affair.

Choosing the Right Destination

A romantic trip starts with selecting the right destination. There are definitely cities and regions which are much more prone to sparking romance than others. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but generally destinations such as popular European cities, beach getaways, Asian resorts, luxury ski resorts, or tropical islands make for a good choice.

Couples should pick a destination which they both will enjoy as this will of course make it far easier to express their love for each other.

Choosing the Right Time

It is a good idea to select a time that will be most appropriate for your holiday. Choose a time that is easy for you in regards to taking time off work or from household duties. This will make it far easier to feel relaxed while on your holiday, allowing you to focus more on fuelling the romance.

You may also want to research when the best time is to visit your chosen destination so as to avoid peak crowds or unideal weather conditions.

Choosing a romantic date to travel such as an anniversary, honeymoon, or birthday can also turn any holiday into one filled with more passion. Travelling during Valentine’s Day can make for an especially romantic holiday of which there are many perfect Valentine’s Day destinations.

Fly Business Class

Although your destination may be exhilarating, the flight or flights to get there can be stressful. Minimise the stress of flying by booking business class where you’ll enjoy the VIP treatment with far more comfortable seats which many times convert into a bed allowing for a decent rest while in the air.

As a bonus you can many times be granted access to luxurious airport lounges when flying business class which makes waiting for your flight much easier as you are treated to free food and drinks along with clean bathrooms and seating areas.

Private Transportation

Public transportation can not only take longer to get to your hotel or attractions in your chosen destination, but they can also kill the mood for you and your loved one. By booking private transfers via your hotel or on your own, you can avoid buses, trams, and trains which can be crowded and noisy.

Choose a Nice Hotel

It may be difficult to find romance if you are staying in a dodgy motel or hostel. Be sure to book quality accommodation which has private en suites and clean furnishings. Remember that your vacation is supposed to be an escape, so make that escape the best it can be with premium toiletries, fancy marble bathroom floors, plush pillows, quality linen, and a nice hotel room view. All of these luxuries will make for a far more romantic getaway.

Eating Out

Nothing can ignite romance more than delicious food although preparing it isn’t always that much fun. One of the best aspects of travelling is that it gives us an excuse to not have to cook.

Seek out popular restaurants that offer a romantic setting, quality service, and mouth watering flavours that will leave you passionate for more than just satisfying your hungry stomach.

Get Dressed Up

Although you and your loved one may look good in any light and attire, it is never a bad idea to put on your Sunday’s best. It can sometimes be difficult in our everyday lives to find occasions to get all dressed and made up, so why not make your holiday abroad an excuse to do so.

Although clothes may not necessarily make the person, a nice dress or suit and tie can go a long way to giving us a little extra special glow to spark a bit of romance.

Log Off and Put the Phone Away

Nothing can kill a romantic dinner or event than the sound of message notifications, phone calls, or emails. Any holiday should be an excuse to remove the stress of the online world or work and with romantic holidays this becomes even more paramount.

You want to be focusing your attention on the love you and your partner share or if travelling solo you want this time to focus on the beauty of the destination you have selected which may in turn bring you a bit of romance. Disconnecting is all about reconnecting; so log off and put the phone away!

Reduce the Risk of Stressful Situations

Stress can kill romance very quickly. When we are stressed we can easily find ourselves getting into silly arguments or bouts of criticism. Your holiday is supposed to be an enjoyable experience so don’t let it turn sour by making the possibility of stress to creep on in.

Don’t try to overload your itinerary with too much and avoid setting too rigid of a timeline. Prior planning is important to avoid any unwanted surprises or disappointments when it comes to securing reservations for flights, hotels, or activities.

Should anything go wrong during your travels, you want to have the peace of mind you are protected by travel insurance from InsureandGo. Travel Insurance can help when the unforseen happens while you are overseas.

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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