Europe

How to Go Local in Istanbul
Thursday, March 19th, 2015

Of course when you go to Istanbul, Turkey you’ll be drawn to the ancient sites and Ottoman history in Sultanhamet – the old part of the city. However, many career breakers are looking for more local connections and experiences the longer they travel. If you are looking for local experiences and a chance to escape the tourist crowds in Istanbul – here’s how!

Local Markets

Skip the Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar and if you really want to go local – then head to the Sunday market in Tarlabasi. Just down the hill from the glitz of Istiklal Street is what many locals might refer to the ‘wrong side of the tracks.’ This is a neighborhood that has not quite succumbed to gentrification yet – but I’m pretty sure in a few years it will look very different. However, if you are looking for an authentic experience – this is it. I spent a few hours at this market shopping for produce and taking photos. Every single vendor and person there were a joy to interact with. I was constantly stopped and asked if I would take a photo or simply try food – as a foreign traveler, I was definitely in the minority. Plus the best part is that I walked away with bags of produce and only spent about $10 US.

Local Getaway

Go where the locals go to escape the loud, crowded streets of Istanbul – Princes’ Islands. It’s a short 50 minute ferry ride to the string of 4 islands – Kınalıada, Burgazada, Heybeliada and Büyükada. Ferries depart from Bostancı, Kartal and Maltepe on the Asian side, and from Kabataş on the European side and cost about 2 Turkish Lira per ride ($1.10 US). During the Byzantine period, princes and other royalty were exiled to the islands which is why they are referred to as Princes’ Islands. But these days it’s a pleasure to escape to these islands where little seafood restaurants dot the perimeters and there is no motorized traffic. You’ll hear (and smell) plenty of horses, though, as horse and buggy are the main forms of transportation for people. Go spend a day at the islands and soak up what it’s like to be a local Istanbulite escaping the city!

If you really want to experience the local life on the islands, then go out on a weekday as the islands are filled with the people who live there as opposed to just Istanbul day trippers that head to the islands on the weekends.

Go to the Outskirts

Most tourists stay in Sultanhamet and Beyoglu – but if you want to get really local then venture out further past the old city walls! I took a very in depth walking tour of the Balat and Eyüp neighborhoods and quickly realized that they had a completely different vibe then what I had so far experienced in Istanbul. Most notably the Eyüp Mosque is one of the most sacred places in Istanbul. The mosque of Eyüp is a place of pilgrimage for Muslims from ancient times. In addition, Eyüp has some of the most spectacular views of the city and Golden Horn if you ride the cable car up the hill. Tourists seldom get to this part of the city.

In addition, if you want to see modern Istanbul then head to the Cevahir Mall and neighborhood just a short metro ride past Taksim. There, you will be amazed by what modern Istanbul is really like – businessmen and women in suits, chain stores, and even an amusement park inside the mall. I rented this room in an apartment behind the mall and seldom saw another tourist around!

Take Opportunities

Lose your shyness and take any opportunities you can to meet locals as odds are you will end up with a new friend who will take you around to their favorite places and share their favorite foods. Before I went to Istanbul I reached out to friends who had been there before to see if they could introduce me to any local contacts they had. I ended up meeting 3 or 4 different locals through this course of action and had my own personal tour guides to Istanbul! The Turks are extremely kind and excited to show you their city and culture, so be sure to take advantage of your connections.

Stay Local

I stayed in a couple different neighborhoods while renting apartments through Wimdu. Each neighborhood had something different to offer – but each also had one thing that was the same – a real local culture that I quickly became immersed in. Wimdu has all kinds of neighborhood choices in European and Asian Istanbul that get you out of the tourist areas and hotels and into real neighborhoods. Plus, by staying in an apartment, I was lucky enough to meet the apartment manager, Fatih, who also showed me around the neighborhood and made sure I knew where the market and restaurants were.

Local Transport

Skip the taxis whose drivers seldom speak English and rarely get you to your desired destination.  Instead get comfortable using local public transport. Get an Istanbul Card and it will be your gateway to buses, ferries, trams, metros, and funiculars. The transportation system in Istanbul can seem confusing as there are so many options and none really connect exactly with each other – but they all do work together to get you across the city. In the evenings around 6PM the trams can be very crowded with locals going home from work – but it’s a fun experience to see and interact with the commuters!

By going more local in Istanbul, your time there will be more rewarding and you’ll leave Turkey feeling as if you know more about the modern day culture of this fascinating country and city!

Disclosure:  Sherry Ott was a guest of Wimdu.co.uk during her stay in Istanbul.  However all of the opinions expressed here are her own. 

How the West Can Be Won
Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

Cost is an obvious, integral factor for those of us planning an overseas sabbatical.  You’ve already resolved to place your day job on pause, now it’s time to strike a balance between where you would like to visit and the amount of money it takes to get there.  While Western Europe rightfully holds an allure for all travelers, some of its more enticing cities tend to be the most prohibitively expensive.  It’s the reason we see few backpacks in Florence and a barrage in Luang Prabang; Southeast Asia is the affordable alternative, particularly when you’re sustaining yourself with US dollars.  But is it completely out of the question to be Euro-friendly?  On a recent trip to Berlin, I discovered that Western Europe can indeed make the shortlist for potential career break destinations.

There are few places in the world in which I believe the possibilities are infinite; Berlin is one of those cities.   Perhaps because certain areas appear under perpetual construction, or likely since there are invariant traces of its tumultuous past, Berlin exudes an energy that similarly sized cities notably lack.  From its trove of museums to a nightlife that puts New York’s to shame, the once-divided metropolis may sate whatever a traveler craves.  The fact that it is one of the least expensive cities in Western Europe makes it even more palatable for those seeking a bit of intrigue versus the steeply priced capitals. Food, housing, and transportation are a relative bargain when compared elsewhere within the EU; Berlin’s monthly metro/bus pass is $98, dinner and drinks runs around $50 for two, and a private flat in the city’s most convenient and compelling neighborhoods can be had for $40 per night.  You won’t reside in a lap of luxury, though that usually isn’t one’s intent when embarking on a sabbatical in the first place.

As I’m sure it will take some convincing, here’s a snapshot as to how Berlin can be your private and economical European playground:

Expense-Free Exploration

Anything pertaining to World War II is free of charge.  The Holocaust Memorial should be at the top of your list as the museum provides context for all European nations who were affected by the Nazis, while its exterior, undulating slabs of concrete are a site in and of themselves.   The former SS Headquarters, now known as the Topography of Terror, along with the Resistance Museum (think “Valkyrie”) are likewise of interest, as is the lesser-known Museum Otto Weidt, the namesake of which is attributed to a man who hired blind Jews at his factory and successfully saved them from deportation through 1943.  Also notable is the East Side Gallery, the longest remaining portion of the Wall covered in commissioned art for ¾ of a mile, while the Tränenpalast is a former border crossing that today exhibits East/West checkpoint complexities.

Note: If you need a respite from Berlin’s varied past and happen to be in town on a Tuesday, free concerts are held each week at 1pm at the city’s Philharmonic.

Cut-Rate Transportation

As mentioned earlier, a monthly pass in Berlin costs roughly $98 and covers S-Bahn, U-Bahn, and bus services.  Those who prefer to have a late start while on break should instead opt for the “Wide-Awake” monthly pass ($72), the primary difference that it may only be used between 10am-3am Monday through Friday, with all day/night continuing to apply on weekends.

Thrifty Fine Dining

On my recent jaunt I devised a gastronomic tour that encompassed any and all cuisines.  Henne, a traditional “wirtshaus” in Kreuzberg, is the frontrunner as it serves remarkable roasted chicken along with kraut salad and wine for $26.  Close seconds are Monsieur Vuong, a trendy Vietnamese spot in Mitte that I’d recommend for lunch and dinner (appetizer + entrée + drinks for one = $23), and the inventive Rosa Caleta, a Jamaican joint where I dined on a jerk platter and crispy snapper (plus drinks = $32).  For Italian enthusiasts, Muret La Barba is an inviting wine bar where the host stood at his Mac and obligingly translated the German-only menu (homemade linguine + wine = $16).   Schöneberg’s Bejte is another top contender, offering excellent Ethiopian fare that ran three of us $64, while W-Der Imbiss specializes in an array of appetizing naan pizzas ($8-10) that range from guacamole to olive tapenade.  For a meal on the go, Mustafa’s Gemuse Kebab was the best $4 I spent during my trip – expect a line.

Shelter on a Shoestring

I rented a two-room flat in Schöneberg via airbnb.com that was considerably larger than my one-bedroom in New York.  The rate was $60 per night (taxes/fees included), though I could have leased a smaller yet equally adequate space for less than $40 a day.  In addition to where I stayed, the neighborhoods best suited for sightseeing and sustenance are Mitte, Prenzlauer Berg, Kreuzberg, and Friedrichshain, the latter of which has most faithfully retained its eastside temperament.

In all fairness, it should be noted that half of Berlin was once part of the Eastern Bloc for almost thirty years, a fact that continues to impact its current economy.  Every city likewise has its perks; nearly all museums in London are free, the Paris metro is $2 per ride, and the art in Rome is unquestionably worth the price.  Is it impossible to find a meal in London for two under $50?  It’s quite feasible, actually, though your day-to-day costs on the Tube along with lodging will leave you feeling Pound foolish.  My advice to anyone who is considering a Westernized sabbatical – save the other capitals for one-off visits, and instead couple Berlin with more reasonable cities like Lisbon and Barcelona.  While Bangkok may be kinder to your bank account, the exchange rate doesn’t necessarily create a barrier between Western Europe and the wandering employee.  And Berlin is the perfect place to begin.

Paul Fusco is an avid traveler who works as an Executive Recruiter at an international management consulting firm in Manhattan.  He took his first career break in early 2010 and recently achieved a personal objective of visiting thirty countries by the age of thirty, celebrating in both Israel and Jordan.  In his spare time Paul writes, maps out future destinations, and enjoys New York City for all it has to offer.

Where to Stay in Barcelona: The Top 5 Neighborhoods
Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

Barcelona Streets

This post was written by Apartment Barcelona  – an online rental agency with over 700 apartments in and around Barcelona for short and long-term stays. 

Are you a chic Born-dweller or an exclusive Eixample urbanite? When planning your trip to Barcelona, one of the biggest issues that you will come across is that of choosing the right neighborhood for your stay. With so many towns in the city, each one offering a distinctive cultural experience, it can often be difficult to decide whether you want a Gothic Quarter adventure or a Barceloneta beach vibe.

Depending on whether you’re looking for a laid-back break, a see-all and do-all travel experience, or a mix of both, choosing the right location for your holiday apartment in Barcelona could mean the difference between a good trip and an incredible one. Take a look at the top five neighborhoods that not only offer a prime location for your stay, but also make it easy to explore all of Barcelona, without any hassle. These areas all have their own unique characteristics which ensure that your trip to Barcelona will be a memorable one.

Barceloneta

Located right on the coast of the Mediterranean, the seaside town of Barceloneta offers holiday-makers astounding sea views, as well as easy access to all of the sights in and around the city. A popular choice with many travelers, this area is perfect for those looking to make the most of the beaches in Barcelona. With plenty in the way of bars, shops and picturesque ports, this area is ideal for relaxing and taking a break from the hustle and bustle of city life. What’s more, the area is home to some of the best seafood restaurants in the city. By choosing a beach apartment in Barcelona, you are sure to make the most of the Mediterranean coast!

The Gothic Quarter

For those who are intrigued by the longstanding history of Barcelona, the Barri Gòtic in the Ciutat Vella district is the ideal neighborhood in which to stay. Situated between El Raval and El Born, the Gothic Quarter is packed full of winding alleyways and picturesque plazas, allowing visitors to catch a glimpse of Barcelona’s rich history, from the ancient Roman walls to the medieval buildings. This area is known as the heart of the city and is also conveniently close to the famous Las Ramblas, as well as home to attractions such as the Plaça Reial and the Barcelona Cathedral.

Gràcia

Want to get lost in a traditional Catalan atmosphere? If so, look no further than Gràcia, a quaint town where you will experience the very best in Catalan culture. The area is home to locally-owned boutiques, charming restaurants, and lovely plazas. Gràcia has a “small town” feel, while still being in close proximity to the very city centre. Here, you will also be able to see the national dance of Catalonia, ‘La Sardana’, at various spots around the town, usually on Sunday mornings. At night, the area comes to life, and the trendy bar scene famously attracts everyone from students to celebrities.

Eixample

Consider yourself a Modernisme fanatic? Well then, Eixample is the perfect district for you. Home to many of Barcelona’s most renowned sights, here visitors can marvel at the towering Sagrada Familia, the colourful Casa Batlló, and the unique La Pedrera, all creations of the famous Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudí. You can also choose to enjoy a glass of wine in one of the many outdoor cafés, shop on the Grand Passeig de Gràcia or dine in some of the best restaurants in the city.

Eixample is split into two neighborhoods (Eixample Esquerra and Eixample Dreta), each one offering plenty of attractions and charm. Renting an apartment in Eixample is the perfect choice for those who are interested in learning more about the life and work of Gaudí, while having some of the best sights in the city right on their doorsteps.

El Born

One of Barcelona’s oldest neighborhoods, El Born, is home to many unique boutiques, museums, restaurants, and bars. Once a site for medieval jousting competitions, this area is now known to be one of the coolest ‘barrios’ in the city and is a hit with young residents. El Born is also home to the famous Picasso Museum, as well as the Santa María del Mar church and the Parc de la Ciutadella. Choosing El Born as the base for your trip ensures a perfect combination of history and modern culture.

So, whether you wish to immerse yourself in Catalan tradition or soak up the Spanish sun on the Mediterranean coast, one thing is for sure, the neighborhoods of Barcelona certainly have something to suit the needs of everyone heading to the Catalan capital!

 

Living La Dolce Vita: Slow Travel to Rome
Thursday, September 27th, 2012

The following is a destination post by Oh Rome.

Rome is an incredibly divisive city. Some love the hustle, bustle, noise and chaos of the Italian capital; others are overwhelmed by it and flee for the relative serenity of the nearby coast and countryside. For this reason it is very important to find out about the city and understand it before visiting, particularly if you’re planning to stay for more than a few days. Finding accommodation and settling in to the city can be difficult if you’re not really sure what to expect and the culture shock can be huge if you’ve never visited a southern European city before.

Finding somewhere to stay

As in most major European cities, an apartment rental is the best option if you’ll be in town for more than a few days. They offer a shortcut to the heart of Roman society and allow you to feel part of the city even when you’re relaxing in bed with a good book! If you’re going to be in Rome for less than two weeks, then an apartment rental agency is the place to start your search. Most will have in-depth guides to the areas of the city and be happy to answer any questions you have about the apartments or areas of the city. Oh-Rome also offers floor plans of every apartment which can be useful when you’re trying to work out how much space you’ll actually have. Guests coming from North America will likely find even the largest apartment in Rome to be a bit on the small side.

Rooms and apartments for longer-term rental can be found on Craigslist, which can be an easier option than dealing with an Italian real estate agent on your first days in the city. Do be sensible, though, and avoid handing over any money before you’ve seen the room.

If you’re only in Rome for a short time, consider an apartment in one of Rome’s central districts like Prati or Ludovisi. Apartments here will be more expensive than elsewhere in Rome but if you look carefully you may come across a hidden gem. Plus the ability to walk to the city’s main attractions (or perhaps stumble home) is invaluable.

If you’re staying for longer, you might widen your search to include Monteverde or the up-and-coming northern area of the city. By staying here you’ll not only pay around 25% less in monthly rent, but  will see a far more authentic slice of Italian life than you’d find in the tourist-dominated city centre.

Dining as the Romans do – places to eat

Rome has a fantastic selection of restaurants, bars, cafés and other eateries but unless you know what you’re looking for then it’s all too easy to end up in an overpriced tourist trap serving mediocre microwaved food. The best way to avoid this is to follow the locals and eat when they do (early lunches and late dinners are the norm in Rome). TripAdvisor and Yelp, for example, have a huge number of reviews and recommendations.

If you’re looking for a quick lunch, head to a Tavola Calda (literally a ‘hot plate!’). These serve an excellent range of traditional Italian food and will generally offer lunch for under €15 per person. Volpette Piu near Pyramide metro station is an excellent choice if you’re looking for Italian specialties whereas those looking for some more exotic flavors should visit Fal Fal near Porta Furba metro.

If you’re  craving something a bit more special, keep an eye out for an ‘osterie’. These are the typical family-run Italian restaurants that feature in movies, advertising and the dreams of romantics everywhere. While there are fewer of these in Rome as there once were (and some have now become tourist traps) there are still plenty around if you look hard enough. Osteria La Gensola, which specializes in fish, offers excellent quality food for around €30 per person including wine.

Shopping in Rome

Rome’s food markets are legendary for a reason. The market at Campo dei Fiori has so far resisted the relentless push of mass tourism and remains the best place in the city to pick up fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, fish and Italian specialties. Budding chefs looking to add a more exotic twist to their meals (or maybe just looking for a taste of home) should head to the Mercato Piazza Vittorio which is very popular with the city’s growing ethnic and immigrant communities.

If you’re staying in an apartment then be sure to check out delis and other food shops in the local area. Don’t be shy about asking neighbors or other people you meet for their recommendations. There are very few Italians who won’t get into a passionate debate over who makes the best pasta!

Finally, don’t hesitate to visit the local supermarket to pick up some of your provisions. This is after all where the locals truly do their shopping! Grocery stores in Rome range from small family-owned shops selling basic essentials (these are generally open long hours) to huge hypermarkets selling everything under the sun and much else besides. The Auchan at Porti de Roma is a good choice if you’re looking to do a big shop. Otherwise just keep your eyes peeled. A supermarket is never far away!

Meeting people

Rome is an incredibly popular destination for expats, gap-year students and other career breakers so check through your Facebook friends, Twitter followers and LinkedIn connections in case anyone you know is already there. It happens more often than you’d think! Otherwise language exchanges and Meetup.com are great ways to find new people and improve your Italian. Finally (say it quietly…) it may even be worth visiting an Irish pub. Conversation will be easy and they are excellent places to trade experiences with fellow travelers.

Wrap-up

It’s difficult to know exactly what you’ll make of Rome until you arrive. If you’ve previously been to Spain or Portugal then you’ll have some idea of the culture and pace of life you’ll encounter in the Italian capital. Rome may be the best city you’ve ever visited but do your research first to know what you’ll find when you get there. Make sure you have somewhere to stay for a few nights when you first arrive as finding accommodation can be very tricky during the summer months.

Don’t be afraid to start talking to people. Italians are (generally) a very friendly bunch and most will be happy to help improve your Italian (and their English!). Finally remember to make the most of every minute of your career break and do your best to avoid falling into an English language bubble. Throw the smartphone away, leave the map at home and take time to explore the city on your own terms; you never know what’s around the next corner!

Photos: xiquinhosilva, Andrey Belenko, Ambism

Living Like a Local in Barcelona
Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

The following is a destination post brought to you by Oh Barcelona.

Barcelona is an incredibly popular destination for city breaks and family holidays. The combination of long sandy beaches and a buzzing metropolitan centre also makes the city ideal for longer stays and career breaks. While the day-to-day cost of living in Spain has increased substantially in recent years Spain is still a far cheaper place to live than northern European countries like Germany or the UK.

Despite all these advantages the city can be overwhelming to the first time visitor, particularly if you’ll be in the area for longer than a few weeks. Barcelona is a faster-paced and more businesslike city than Spain’s reputation for siestas and ‘mañana’ might lead you to expect. Meeting people can also be difficult unless you really make the effort to put yourself out there so use this guide to make sure you hit the ground running on your trip to Barcelona!

Where to Stay

The best area of the city to live in depends on how long you’ll be in Barcelona and what you want to get out of the city. If you’re only in the city for a short period of time then consider staying in Eixample. The area is more expensive than others (particularly if you’re visiting in the height of summer) but is well located for all of the city’s main tourist attractions and is also a short metro journey from the beaches of Barceloneta. If you’re only renting a room in an apartment then double check if it actually has a window (a surprising amount do not!) and whether the window faces an internal courtyard or the street (Barcelona is a very noisy city and if you’re a light sleeper it’s worth paying the premium for a courtyard room).

If you’re looking to rent an entire apartment then air-conditioning is a must if you’re visiting from May-September (if the temperature doesn’t get you the humidity will…). Oh-Barcelona.com is an excellent place to start your search as you can easily filter apartments by area, amenities, number of beds and price.

Those staying in Barcelona for a little longer may want to consider looking in Poble Sec. Previously dogged by a poor reputation the neighborhood has improved markedly in recent years and many young professionals have moved in to take advantage of the area’s bohemian culture and comparatively lower property prices. You will be a little further from the main attractions but the area is well connected to the city centre by metro.

Working in Barcelona

While working during your ‘career break’ may seem a tad counter-intuitive it can be a great way to meet new people and will also allow you to extend your stay (or enjoy yourself that little bit more!). Casual work in bars and restaurants is easy enough to pick up during the summer months. Anyone working in Spain is required to obtain a N.I.E. from the local police station or foreign residents office (in central Barcelona this is located at Calle Balmas 192, get there early (before 8 o’clock) as spaces for the day will run out quickly. A N.I.E. can take up to two weeks to obtain, however if you apply at the main office in Barcelona you can generally pick up your certificate the following day or on the day you apply. If you’re only going to be doing casual work it is possible to get by without a number but you would be working illegally and some landlords will require a copy of your N.I.E certificate before renting you an apartment.

Eating like the Locals

Spain’s love of late night dining is legendary and even on weeknights you will struggle to get a table in a good restaurant before around 8 o’clock in the evening. Should hunger overtake you before this then your best bit is to hit one of the city’s tapas bars. If possible avoid going to the bars on the city’s more crowded avenues such as Las Ramblas or Passeig de Gràcia. Not only will you save money (€10 tapas on Las Ramblas are not unheard of, whereas €3-4 is a far more common rate elsewhere) but you’ll probably eat better food, receive far better service and be able to soak up a far more authentic atmosphere.

Meeting People

The internet has made meeting people with similar interests and hobbies far easier than it might once have been. Language exchanges are great way to meet up with fellow newcomers and improve your Spanish. Additionally there are yoga sessions, Pilates classes, meditation and wine tasting. Meetup.com features around 50 weekly events in the city so there’s bound to be something which appeals to you!

Learning the Language

Barcelona is a bilingual city and most signage and public announcements are in Catalan. This can make picking up Spanish more difficult than in other cities as you won’t be exposed to the language as much as in Madrid or Seville.

Nevertheless Barcelona is still an excellent place to practice your Spanish. The Babylon language school runs a huge variety of part-time, intensive and one-to-one courses and is very popular with its students. Tuition like this doesn’t come cheap however so don’t be surprised to be paying over €500 a month for your language course. Many language schools offer taster sessions so don’t be afraid to pop in and meet the teachers before you decide to part with your cash.

Getting Out

As wonderful as Barcelona is it can, from time to time, become a little too much. Luckily there are many lovely villages and small towns in the region and most are easily accessible by train.

Sitges is a charming traditional village around 30 minutes south of Barcelona. Boasting traditional Spanish architecture, several long sandy beaches and a diverse dining scene the town is also popular with gay and lesbian travelers and regularly hosts cultural and music festivals.

Figueres, around an hour north of Barcelona, was the birthplace of surrealist artist Salvador Dali and is now home to a museum hosting his work. The museum building is as eccentric as the art inside and is almost worth the visit in itself. The town itself is a typical Catalan community with beautiful squares, a few interesting boutiques and (yet again!) an excellent selection of restaurants, tapas bars and other eateries.

Photo Friday: Netherlands
Friday, August 6th, 2010

Kinderdijk Windmill

Our eternal career breaker and co-founder of Briefcase to Backpack is at it again; she’s traveling.  Sherry Ott is spending her August in Europe house-sitting in Brussels.  However she first detoured through the Netherlands to do some photography and eat cheese!  This photo is from the UNESCO World Heritage site, Kinderdijk.  This small village is home to over 19 windmills built in 1740  still in operation today.  Don’t let the rainy weather intimidate your photography, this typical brooding Netherlands day provided a nice backdrop.  By using a wide angle lens and filling your frame with sky, it provides an even darker feeling to the photos.

Not only is Sherry the ‘other half’ of Briefcase to Backpack, she also can be found at Ottsworld.com where she blogs about her travel and life experiences, or at her photography site – Global Photography where you can view more of her photography.  If you want to meet Sherry in person and learn how she has traveled for 4 years since leaving her career in NYC, come meet her at Meet, Plan, Go! NYC and get started on planning your own career break!

Want to see your photo here? Join our Facebook Fan Page and upload your career break photo onto our Wall. Add a brief description & we may choose to feature it here!

Italy
Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

Need some inspiration on Italy? Check out some of Sherry Ott’s posts about her Italian experiences on OttsWorld. And you can use this useful Italy Travel Guide as another resource for your travels in Italy.

[singlepic=1260,200,,,right]Maps, Loose Wine, and Nudity – Adventures in Venice!
After traveling with David for 7 days – we have fallen into our travel groove. I think everyone we meet thinks that we are a couple as we are constantly bickering about things. Don’t get me wrong…the fun kind of bickering…not the ‘ball and chain’ bickering. So – we kind of fell into the acceptance of people thinking that we were a couple and didn’t really try to explain things unless people asked. So there was no better person to experience Venice, the most romantic city in the world, than with my gay boyfriend. Read More

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Switzerland
Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

We’re in the process of writing entries for Switzerland. In the meantime, check out Sherry’s posts from Otts World:

[singlepic=1270,200,,,right]Swiss Roll
There used to be a brand of treats called Little Debbie (in the Midwest). I would always beg my mom to buy us Little Debbie Swiss Rolls. They were basically the same as a Hostess Ho Ho – but cheaper. I could eat a whole package of 12 in a sitting if I was allowed; however I was never allowed. Instead I would try to make each individually wrapped Swiss Roll last as long as I could; I wouldn’t just eat these rolls, I would dissect them like a surgeon. Read More

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Montenegro
Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

We’re in the process of writing entries for Montenegro. In the meantime, check out Sherry’s post from Otts World:

[singlepic=1269,200,,,right]Gut Decisions – Montenegro
My best travel moments are the unplanned ones. I spent most of my corporate career planning…budgets, delivery dates, resource needs, tasks on a project plan, and I even planned what I was going to say – my work life revolved around planning. So when my taxi river in Dubrovnik suggested that he can take me and my friend on a day driving tour of Montenegro – I was intrigued. Read More

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Greece
Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

We’re in the process of writing entries for Greece. In the meantime, check out Sherry’s posts from Otts World:

[singlepic=1258,200,,,right]Greece – Ego Boost
I arrived in Europe with a short layover in Dubai. I was exhausted since I haven’t really experienced jet lag since October! Arrival in Greece also exposed me to something I hadn’t experienced for a long time – there was no arrival card to fill out.  At first I thought maybe I had too much wine on the plane and some how I missed the flight attendants passing them out, but as I looked around I noticed that no one else had one either. Strange – no visa, no arrival card – I felt cheated! I have spent the last 7 months memorizing every bit of data on my passport – I now consider it a special skill that I could put on my resume!  Read More

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Career Break Guide Table of Contents

Meet Plan Go