Holiday a la Parma #3

This story picks up from where I left off in the ‘Life in transit #2.5’ found under the ‘Experiences’ category. It ended when my mate, who I met on his exchange to Australia, picked me up from the train station around 11pm. He picked me up in his car and we immediately exploded into conversation. It was as if you threw a couple of molotovs into an oil well.

Catching up

Back in Australia, he and I became really close due to our personality similarities. We’re both very expressive, relaxed and always keen to hang. While we talked about countless things in an attempt to catch up, he took me on a tour around the city of Parma. I was amazed by how beautiful the architecture was. I didn’t really have any expectations as I’ve never imagined visiting this city until today.

After thirty minutes of driving me around we finally ended up in his place. His neighbourhood was very clean and green. The area in general was filled with small gardens, parks and forests. He lived in a complex with four high buildings. We made our way down the elevator where one of his neighbours was on the way out to walk his dog. They went full throttle into Italian conversation. Knowing near-fluent Spanish I was able to pick up what they were saying. However, I was swamped by the amount of words coming from them. Regardless, Italian is a very vibrant language that's full of life, After their quick but condensed exchange, we said our ciao’s and made our way up the elevator..

The first night was uneventful, I met his family, chit chatted for a bit then passed out for the night after the long travel day. My mate promised many great things to come for the next few days of my stay.

We woke up early in the morning to start the full day. We showered, packed some water and drove to the nearest bakery. We grabbed some delicious local desserts, even some cheesecake for the kicks and enjoyed our brekkie. The plan for today was exploring the city’s monuments, main square and the older part of the city.

City exploring

We drove from his place under a clear blue sky. So  far in my travels the summer weather has been favourable. Parking isn’t easy on a weekday, it took us a bit of circling around but we finally managed to grab a place. We started walking into the inner city, the stone cobbled floor radiated history. I imagined thousands of years ago when the Roman armies stepped through this city and when noblemen and peasants alike made their way. and thinking about how far we’ve progressed. I can’t really help thinking these things in historical settings. It adds an element of enjoyment to the whole process. After a bit more walking, we finally made it to our first stop.

Teatro Farnese

We started checking out the Teatro Farnese. I immediately fell in love. The outside showcases a spectacular structure, but its the inside where the true beauty lies. This large room with its wooden and stone interior design was awe inspiring to witness. You can imagine when this place would have bene brimming with people in full blown pandemonium. We walked up and down the stairs, explored a bit more and had a feel for the history and beauty of this place.

I looked up information about it later on and I have to mention that the pictures you would find of this place online don’t do it justice.  I highly recommend making this your number one destination if you ever visit Parma. It's also part of the national gallery which is also worth the visit.

This place has stuck to my mind. However, I don’t recollect the chronography of the next several visits and events due to the amount of things we saw and father times mischievous tricks on my memory.

At one point we entered into a few alleyways and saw many little stores selling used books and bakeries with the most divine smells imaginable. Parma’s inner city is a great place to get lost and enjoy what it has to offer.

Battistero di Parma VS Basilica di Santa Maria della Steccata

During our planned tour which slowly devolved to randomly walking around and finding interesting things, we spotted this beauty. The architecture was striking. I had seem very little buildings similar to this. It was facing a large open area next to the Basilica di Santa Maria della Steccata. Most of the times when a monument stands next to another, one overshadows the other. However in this case, both fought for attention.

Of course, while I type VS in the heading, there really is no comparing the two of them. They each have their own unique history, architecture and majesty to them.Comparing the two would be a big faux pas.



The inside of the Basilica di Santa Maria was breathtaking. I didn’t get a clear view from the outside to grasp the size of the place but it was much bigger than I expected. Throughout the area you had books dating hundreds of years of age, mosaic glass, pedestals where priests stood six centuries ago and the list goes on. The place was so huge and had so much to offer that we easily spent around forty minutes at the Basilica.




We decided after to take a break and have a snack to eat. I immediately suggested we go to any small restaurant nearby, to tick some cultural food off my to-do list. We ended up going to a secluded family run restaurant in the area who my social mate, unsurprisingly, seems to be in great relations with. While more cheerful Italian chatter between my mate and the owner (who was working as a waiter) I soaked in the atmosphere of the place. It was a small shop with only five tables. The walls was covered in pictures of the family and the kids when they were younger. There were some black and white portrait photos here and there and an old acoustic guitar perched in a corner.

It was a great homey place to visit. My friend explained how Parma has preserved many of its family owned eateries. I was very happy to learn about this as I was used to the same old chains and restaurants that switched managers every few months, This type of restaurant provided a sense of familiarity, especially to the regulars who knew them well. We ordered a platter of many different types of meats and cheeses, including dips. One of the stranger dips they gave us was lard. I was not accustomed to eating lard neither having it provided to me as a dip.

However, I tended to keep an open mind to new food experiences and can vouch for it. It did add to the meats. It definitely wasn’t the last time I ate it in Parma. Our platter was very filling. We were given a complimentary dessert to top off our meal. A plateful of Bruttiboni. The owner and my mate explained to us that it was not a local dessert and is originally from central Italy. The owner excitedly explained in broken english that he moved to the central region of Italy ( in some small town I can’t recall) when he was young to live with his auntie before returning back when he was a few years older to stay with his parents in Parma.I highly recommend them.

After our filling meal, we decided to start walking to the main square. I was again reminded of the beauty of the architecture here. It was easy to guess that the Parma people were prosperous enough to afford such beautiful statues and buildings.

We finally reached the sunny main square and decided to sit down for a bit. In the distance stood the statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi, the man who helped unite the Italy we know today.

Cittadella di Parma

We decided to spend the last bit of our day out at the large area of the Cittadella di Parma. Before entering you would be faced by a bridge that led to a finely crafted stone entrance into the Cittadella. The bridge carried you above the empty moat that had originally been used for defensive purposes. Upon passing this historical entrance where many great men and peasants alike passed, you are presented with what's left of the Cittadella. It was originally built for the sole purpose of defending its residences. It was later converted into a barracks, a political prison and a site to carry out capital punishments until the 20th century where it was decided to be made into a park.

The area is now a popular jogging route. Not much is left except its high mounds surrounding the area where archers and other defensive measures would have been in place. We walked around the area, strewn with many trees of and greenery, it was a very serene area as not too many people were here at the time. There were also some disused amusement park attractions such as a carousel horse attraction.

My mate greeted more people he knew who were exercising on the grass, more Italian chit chatter I could not fully comprehend. We did a lap around the whole inner area of the Citadella before calling it a day and heading to the car.

Home food

Once we returned home, we were greeted by the beautiful sight of a table full of food. The father of my mate cooked us up a simple yet extraordinary meal. After I mentioned to him my love for Parmesan cheese, he decided to make a parmesan and garlic pasta. He explained with pride that he bought some of the best parma for pasta you can get in this area. We each had a large helping from a massive pot. It tasted very natural and full of flavour, much better than most pastas I have ever tried while he used the minimum amount of ingredients. He explained to me that it was the individual ingredients themselves being of such high quality that they represent the main taste, rather than different spices and herbs.

After a soul pleasing meal, my mate explains that it is common in Italy to have two main meals with lunch. When I first heard that my eyes widened. Its as if I died and went to heaven. Without hesitation I went for the pot and got a second generous portion. I wouldn’t want to ‘offend’ my hosts, of course. After a healthy second helping, I retire onto my chair. Victorious, I had overcome my first Italian trial.

However, I soon found out that wasn’t the end of it. Often enough, I was told, after big meals they have something called digestivo drinks. A drink to help you digest. At this point I suspected Italians suffered from borderline alcoholism. Regardless, I decided to try it out as I promised to have an open mind towards food traditions.

It was not the most pleasant experience. Like tasting a highly flavoured vodka strength shot. I don’t know if I’ll be revisiting this tradition again. Overall it was a very enjoyable experience. After the meal we sat over a coffee and chit chat for a bit. I learned more about Italian food customs, such as the brother of the digestivi, the aperitivo drink.

We then retired and enjoyed the equivalent of a siesta after such a large meal. We spent the rest of the evening chatting and planning for tomorrow. We called it an early night, and prepared for a fun activity filled day tomorrow.

We woke up early in the morn, showered, put on our bathing clothes and packed up for an anticipated adventure. We got into the car as the sun made its slow ascent and made our way to the closest bakery to grab brekkie. The bakery was bustling with people heading to work early in the morning. The reason why we had to start the day so early is due to the fact that our destination was roughly an hour and thirty minutes away. Today we were going to La Spezia.

La Spezia

This city is located in the north western part of Italy. It is located by the sea, close to Genoa and Pisa. We were fortunate enough to have a very sunny day during our drive. The landscape was very pretty with a lot of green and some areas that looked barren. It's always fortunate to have a car or a mate with a car when travelling a country. Its true that you can do most of the travelling and visit touristic sites with taxis and shuttle buses, but to truly appreciate its country you also have to sightsee the local areas. Get lost travelling through little towns and national parks.

After the long scenic road, we finally made it to where we had to be. The city was perilously steep. Driving through the city would turn most inexperienced drivers white in the face. However, my mate effortlessly turned every sharp corner and navigated every tight road with no issue. Due to the steepness of the city, you could easily spot the sea way below, We spent the next twenty minutes simply looking around for a parking spot. We looped circles looking for free parking as the regular parking had hiked up prices so as to take advantage of the influx of tourists and local beach goers alike.



The trek

Once we finally parked, we made the long, steep trek down. We passed many small family houses, many looked as if they were around built in the early 20th century. On the way down we met a small family from Colombia. They asked us in english if we knew how to get to the beach. We both spoke Spanish and were able to respond in their mother tongue. They were excited, especially meeting another Spaniard (albeit I’m only half Spanish).

We told them to follow us as we were on our way to the beachside below. We spent the next ten minutes talking about their adventures and family holiday. They had already been to Spain and Portugal, and were ending their summer holiday in Italy. It's always pretty interesting for me getting to know the stories of people from all over the world.

After a seemingly dangerous trek, we finally made it to the bottom. We said our goodbyes and made our way to the sand. The beach itself was gorgeous. It was a narrow area that resembled a small bay. The area surrounding it was simply jagged rocks protruding several meters into the air.

We grabbed our beach towels and saved a spot in this slowly crowding beach. We then decided to take a dip. The water was pristine. It was also temperate weather. I did a few laps around as I hadn’t swam in several months. It was a great feeling. When you swim out and look back at the beach you get a better idea of how beautiful the beaches are in Spezia.

My mate explained that many beaches here were very similar due to the mountainous nature of the region. After our swim I decided to go back to the beach and soak up the beautiful August sun. I was feeling peckish and asked my mate if there was anything light we can snack on. Something ‘Italian’ as I often enjoy having a food tour as much as a sightseeing one.

Snack hunting in Spezia

Now my mate reckons that if its carb related, then its light. It's only the portion size that matters. So we grabbed our stuff and made a short trek to the nearest road. From there we looked around for the first bakery we could find. Five minutes and an alleyway later, we find a small baked goods shop run by a pleasant old lady. The second we go in, my mate asks without hesitation for Focaccia bread.

Now, as I haven’t really visited Italy before nor eaten much Italian food besides homemade and restaurant pizzas and pastas, I didn’t really expect much. When I was in Australia I had worked in an Italian restaurant for awhile which served focaccia bread sandwiches. I wasn’t expecting what we were about to receive. The lady went behind a door and came back with two large rectangular focaccias. I was surprised, I didn’t really know what to do with this. I felt as if you bought square sandwich bread and simply at it on its own. However, the difference was exponential.

The focaccia was drizzled with olive oil oil and sprinkled with salt. The taste was sublime. I always have a soft spot for foods that derive their great flavours from their main ingredients rather than oversalting, flavourings and simply drowning it in one ingredient such as garlic or cheese to make the meal edible. This simple bread tasted much better than many breads I had. It was unique to my palette and a great addition to my list of new tried foods.

Satisfied with our purchase, we walked back to the beach with our focaccias in hand. We spent the next couple of hours soaking in the sun, swimming and catching up witj my mate. It soon got quite busy at the beach.

One thing I enjoyed about this spot especially is that when I was walking up and down the beach all I could hear was Italian. Myself and the Colombian family were probably the only tourists around. It felt good being in a locals favourite spot without the over-touristic pressure placed by countless fellow tourists crowding different areas. It gets so bad to the point that many areas have more tourists than actually locals. This hurts the travel experience for me. To enjoy visiting a foreign country and having a proper good experience, I need to eat the food (away from touristic mainstreet restaurants), talk to the locals and go to the bars and areas locals go to.

Medieval themed cuisine

Once the early afternoon started rolling in, we decided to go grab some lunch. The place we chose to go was pretty special. My mate praised its quality more than once in the weeks prior to visiting (as I had been pestering him about eating proper Italian food). I unfortunately cannot recall the name of the restaurant, nor the name of the town. The reason for this is twofold. One, my mate had not really made mention of it, two, the town we entered and the restaurant we ate at did not really advertise itself from the outside. It was a very subtle place.

It was located a forty minute drive from Parma. It's a small medieval town located deep in the untouched areas of the Parma countryside. The road there was very steep and narrow. Of course, without much struggling my mate skillfully maneuvered around the area. After about an hours drive from Spiez, we finally made it to the entrance.

The town’s appearance is the very definition of an abandoned medieval site. All the buildings were made of stone bricks placed one upon the other. It felt like travelling back several hundred years in the past. I could imagine the citizens of this town walking up and down the cobblestone streets everyday to shop for food, head to work or simply meet some familiar faces.

We drove deep into the town, we passed a house that was in fact inhabited with a family. We drove by an open door and I took a curious glance, the inside seemed like a living room and was surprisingly modern. I imagined that the stone house they lived in must have been reinforced properly from the inside, since the outside looks hundreds of years old. We made it to the centre of the small town where the restaurant was located.behind a large stone house. It was subtly placed.

We parked our car in what seemed like a parking lot and made our way up the stairs to the restaurant. I chuckled at the sight of our car in this town. How so out of place it looked. Regardless, I quickly turned to the restaurant. I was starving an hour ago. I highly anticipated this meal.

The interior

We made our way inside and were greeted by two friendly waitresses. We were seated and given our menu. My mate explained that this place serves the best pizzas he’s ever had. It's a family run business that’s been going on for quite some time. My friend proposed that he picked the best flavours of the menu. Seeing as the menu was in full Italian and I trusted his judgement, I sanctioned it.

While my mate ordered our meals, I took a look around the area. The place was quite large. I didn’t expect a venue of this size. I later found out that many would travel from surrounding areaa around just to eat here. So while its disproportionately big for this small medieval town’s population, it was often filled by outsiders. The establishment also had a large chandelier in the centre and was set up like a fancy restaurant you would take your date to or celebrate graduations or other big events.

Several minutes later one of the waitresses came with a tray. I found it hard to imagine that our pizzas were already prepared. She  leans down and places two drinks in front of us. Truth be told, I’m not a fan of drinking alcohol casually, nor during meals. My mate knew this and quickly explained that this was the famed aperitivo. The light version of the digestivo. I mentally shrug my shoulders, 'open mind' experiences and all.

While we had our drinks, my mate told me how this place was also great for families to enjoy. They had an option to order a extra-large six person pizza. I found out we ordered a three person pizza. Knowing restaurants and portion sizes, the three person should do the trick as the two person portion wouldn’t be enough.

I noticed that more and more people started making their way in. It was relatively early when we entered. I enjoy lively venues when eating, it adds more atmosphere and indirectly makes my enjoy the experience of eating better. This is especially true when you have groups of Italian locals speaking in their lovely language.

The pizza

Roughly fifteen long and stomach rumbling minutes our pizza arrived. It was stunning. This large pizza with the scents of heaven and the beauty rivaling the Birth of Venus was laid before us. Without saying a word, we quickly dug in.

The flavours were divine, it could easily be placed as one of the best pizzas I have ever had the pleasure of trying. It was divided into four different flavours. One  was of pesto with cheese and ham, the other was locally grown potato with bits of lamb and gorgonzola (without a doubt the tastiest of them all), one was simple one of roma tomatoes and local traditional cheese (the flavour was very rich, this one punched above its weight of simple ingredients) and the last one was local cheese and herbs with a layer of lard on top. The latter was definitely the most unusual one for me as (as I mentioned previously, I’m not accustomed to eating lard).

Even with the speed with which we devoured the pizza, it took us quite a bit to eat it due to its size. I only found out it took us awhile when I checked my phone. As far as I was concerned, I was on a very short lived cloud nine experience. We had to take a break at the near end, my mate was stuffed. After a few minutes I demolished his last slice. I was in Italy, the land of great food. There was no way I was going to be cautious with my eating, so down it all goes.

After we devoured it and passed out against our seat, my mate called the waiter and told her something in Italian. I asked him what he said, “You’ll see” he responded. A couple of minutes later, the waitress came back with two shot glasses of dreaded digestivo. If I hadn’t explained it before, aperitivo is a usually light alcoholic drink that is said to ‘prepare’ your stomach for the coming meal. Digestivo is the vodka strength drink (I never asked if it was simply one type of alcohol many types to choose from) that is supposed to help you digest.

It's in the name. I voiced complaints, but he wasn’t having none of it. In the end I decided to give in. I wasn’t keen to argue with my stubborn mate. I also realised it's rude to shun this drink as its part of Italian culture. I quickly took the shot and dropped back into my chair from food exhaustion. This tradition better run true, I thought to myself, or else I’ll be stuck digesting the pizza for a week.

After the massive feast, we decided to head back before sun down. After a long drowsy ride home, we made it back. We spent the next couple of hours talking about Italian classic artists, Operas and comparing world cuisines.We also watched an Italian film with subtitles, but I fell asleep halfway. Can’t recall the name let alone what it was about.


The nap was perfectly timed. The rest up allowed me to gain enough energy to enjoy a night out. My mate and I decided to head to a local bar in the city. I was told its very popular and mostly full throughout the week due to its cheap beers and food. It also had a live performance going on during that night. Luckily it was within walking distance, because the pizza hasn’t finished doing the tango in my stomach. A bit of walking is good for the digestion.

We decided to leave around 9 PM to make it to the start of the live performance. We entered the bar, it seemed pretty quick from the outside. We had to go through two heavy doors before the chatter and the clacking and clinking of plates and beers. The place was pretty crowded but not to the extent that it was an annoyance. The venue was relatively small. There was a medium sized stage in the corner with the performer’s instruments set up. The bar is located directly opposite the entrance with tables and high chairs flanking around.

We made our way to the bar, grabbed a couple of limoncellos and beers and made our way to a free table.

The performers started jamming a few minutes after we sat down. They were mostly performing Indie songs and some rock classics in Italian. It was a pleasant experience as we downed a couple of more beers. It was a great feeling to be doing what the locals would usually do on a night out. It felt more authentic. You’re more immersed into the culture and way of life.

Two individuals sat at our table since the place was running out of room. My mate started chit chatting with them in Italian so I decided to keep on paying attention to the band. After the band ended their gig, a few people went on stage in a fun session of Karaoke.

The singers looked as if they had a few too many drinks. It didn’t really matter, they looked like they were having fun and I was enjoying it. Some of them were also properly good singers. Some grabbed the bar's guitar and strummed a couple of songs. Although the majority stuck to singing.

We grabbed the rest of our drinks and went out for a quick ciggy. I wasn’t much of a smoker but I wanted to breath in the fresh air. The bar was located slightly in the outskirts of the small city. So we got a fresh breeze from the more rural areas surrounding Parma. The streets were quiet.

This moment made me realise how much I enjoy bars such as these, The ones where when you enter you find yourself in a different world. One of  new experiences and languages you may not understand. It also brings about a very homey and cozy experience. It goes without saying, it’s always good to know a local when traveling to a new area.

After about midnight, the performances ended and we returned to a casual night at a bar. We didn’t stay for long as tomorrow, my last full day in Parma, was another adventure waiting to happen.

Meeting the locals

This time we ended up sleeping in for once. We woke up in the late afternoon while the family was out. We decided to continue our tradition and head to the local bakery for brekkie. I bought a large cheesecake which we took home and had a very filling meal (I fell in love after the first time I had a slice of it). We decided to meet a mate of his at his place. So we put the leftovers of the cheesecake in the fridge for a snack later on and drove to his mates place.

His mate (lets call him Paulo) was a very friendly individual. He spoke decent english, which he explained was due to doing a semesters exchange in London. He went through a short list to my mate about all the places he should’ve shown me. My mate got an A+ as we’ve seen everything on that list.

Satisfied, he took us to his room to hang out while his parents were entertaining guests in the living room. His room looked like something out of a rock concert. He had an acoustic and electric guitar, electric piano, a microphone set up and a drum set. He explained how he played different instruments throughout his life and he mostly stuck to the drums and guitar. I was very impressed.

We ended up having a jam session. My mate was decent with the acoustic guitar while Paulo (this really isn’t the most Italian name I could’ve picked) was on the drums. I was contributing with my presence. Throughout the jam session we talked about music influence in Italy and Spain.

I explained how in Spain it was very common for most people to have owned a guitar. The influence of the Spanish guitar culture was very high. However, most don’t end up sticking to it unless they maintain consistent classes throughout the year.

Pasta a la carbonara

We continued our jam session for about another hour before we decided to have lunch. My mate decided to make his signature pasta Carbonara. That was my favourite type of pasta whenever I wanted to have a rich meal.  We instantly decided and went to the nearby store.

We bought all our ingredients, Few different types of cheese butter, pancetta (a type of meat, much better than the usual bacon bits) and few other ingredients.

We drove to my mates place as Paulo’s house was too busy. We ended up back at my mate’s kitchen and started cooking up. My mate is known for being forthright, its one of the reasons we became close. He told me how a real carbonara wasn’t a “bacon covered pasta dish drowning in white sauce” as he put it. It may have been an exaggeration, but the pasta he presented to us was definitely divine. We downed it pretty fast and went for the cultural second meal, there was no complaints from me.

We finished up our meal, whipped out a few of beers from the fridge and started conversing. One thing I will always appreciate is how social and talkative Italians are if they know you’re a decent bloke (It's a generalisation, but it has merit to it). We chatted about many things that aren’t what you’d usually talk about when you’ve met a person for less than a few hours. We talked as if we were old mates. It was a great moment.

After about an hour, he left off to home as he prepared for tonight. Apparently they planned to take me to one of their favourite local restaurants. Fast forward two hours, we were dressing up and getting ready to go.

The plan was to meet a group of his mates, including Paulo and head to this one local eatery. We drove to a parking lot where we all convened. I introduced myself and we got along well. Their english wasn’t too decent. Except for two who studied it well. I was able to speak to a third since he spoke fluent Spanish. The language barrier was a bit of an issue but we made due. We waited for the last mate who was late, said our greetings and got back in our cars. We drove for about fifteen minutes out of the city to a small town

Trattoria 2.0

It was just past sunset when we made our way into the eatery. It was a large restaurant divided into three parts, but like many of the different venues I’ve been to, it had a very homey feel to it (yes, homey and cozy are the key terms for this trip). We made our way in and grabbed a table big enough for us all. We were lucky to find a table large enough as it was pretty busy. We had a large family taking the biggest table in the restaurant. Loud, shouting and fully Italian. I liked the atmosphere.

So my mates decided to get the all you can eat special. I really wasn’t given much information about what it was, but I trusted the locals knew what they were going for. So we sat around and chit chatted for awhile. We talked about university, concerts coming up and many other forgettable topics.

Finally, large circular wooden platters were placed onto our table. For the deal, we were given many different types of meats, including parma ham spread out around the platter. We were then given five different types of dips ranging from pesto to lard. We were also given a bowl of nutella and baskets of bread.The best part? It was all unlimited. We could keep ordering to our hearts content. Which is exactly what we did. The meats were absolutely scrumptious. The dips as well were also great additions. Even the lard, it still felt strange eating it but it was definitely a good choice.

Another great thing about this deal is that we were provided with an unlimited amount of wines and limoncello. I didn’t expect this place to turn out as great as it did. I ate a farms worth of meat and enjoyed the wine. The limoncello was too sugary to enjoy, so we mostly stuck to red wines and rosé. After about two hours of eating and sitting around chatting, we decided to call it an end to this banquet. We enjoyed a few more wines then called for the bill. The price overall was very good for the amount we ate.

We paid our bill and left to stand around the outside of the restaurants. The group took this time to take a ciggy break and plan tonight. I enjoyed soaking up the warm  summer weather while they discussed in Italian. We finally decided to simply relocate to a large park close to the parking lot we originally met and chill at the benches while they planned.

So we entered our cars and headed off to that area. We spent another hour chit chatting about whatever, some of the mates were friendly enough and talked to me in english about whatever so I wouldn’t feel too left out. I personally wouldn’t have minded as I was feeling knackered from the past few days, but I always welcome friendly conversation. 

After awhile they decided to go clubbing. I forgot that it was normal to start the dancing part of the night by around midnight to one am in Italy (similar to Spain).

At this point I was too knackered and wanted to get some sleep to leave early in the morning. Plus I wasn’t keen for a wednesday night club session. Regardless to say, my mate and I headed home before he drove back off to go clubbing. I went straight to paying back my sleep debt.

I woke up mid morning, my mate was out for most of the night but still seemed as fresh as a daisy when I met him He explained that it wasn’t too lively at the club and they returned back to the park. I felt less guilty after hearing that. We had a breakfast of cornflakes and leftover cheesecake. Truly a breakfast of champions. I packed up all my stuff, had my last shower at the place and spent the rest of the morning chatting with him and the family. We shared a few last good laughs.

We parted ways, I thanked them for their family-like hospitality and promised to see them again. My mate and I got into his car and drove to the train station. It doesn’t matter how much sleep I get, it seems I’ll just be permanently tired for this leg of the trip. Our conversation was still lively. The sun was shining bright against a pretty blue sky. The streets were lively with people going to and fro doing whatever people do on an August.



We got to the station, I had about twenty minutes to spare.  We said our goodbyes, I thanked him for everything he had offered me and promised him that if he were ever in Spain or Australia, I’ll hook him up with my place. We said our last goodbyes then I entered the station. Now my solo adventure continues, with my next stop: Venice.

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