An ice-cream each city, keeps me happy

Who can eat ice-cream almost any where and at any time? High 5, me too. Whether its sunny days or pouring rain or even snowing outside, you name it – ice-cream is always a good idea. Trust me, it is! During the my trip to both UK and  Europe, it wasn’t part of my plan to have ice-cream or gelato at each of the city I visited but looking back at the photos, I actually did that. In fact, one of my friends actually commented about it. Oops!

Having ice-cream is always comforting, especially the creamy texture. It has always been my favourite dessert or snack but why it became some sort of staple food for me is because back in 2007, I had tonsilitis and the only soothing thing to my throat was  ice-cream. Trust me, it was the advice from the doctor okayy. I remember after being discharged from the hospital vanilla ice-cream was like my best friend. I had to have it now and then especially during the 3 weeks recovery period. No one can share the tubs of ice-cream inside the fridge and no one dare to argue with that. They say there’s always a blessing in disguise and I am forever thankful on that part. What is there to complain when you have all the ice-cream tubs for yourself right? Since then, whenever possible in choosing desserts there must be at least a full spoon of ice-cream inside it ( ice-cream with tapai and chocolicious sundae from Delicious are my fav!)

It was early March last year I went to the UK and the weather was still freezing cold even in London and it lasted almost till the end of my trip. During the night in Croydon where I had dinner in Chennai Dosa with the Wandle Park, and we shared dessert and of course I ordered some dessert with ice-cream (couldn’t recall the name, ish) and there was this one with saffron in it, I think it was faluda. Mind you it was a night with a single digit (maybe minus) celsius outside and we had to walk to the tram station after. I personally think a good meal is when you end it with desserts.

During my stay in London, most of  the time I just bought the ice-cream whenever I see the rare ones, none you can get in Malaysia. But the only thing extra I had to do before buying it is to check the ingredients haha. Fast forward to Manchester, and to our (Afroze, Asrul and myself) surprise, it was way warmer up north. I left foggy -2 celsius Croydon and were welcome by a bright sunny Manchester. It was indeed warm, the temperature rose to 18 celsius and all of us felt feverish that day. (I actually open the bedroom window) But then again, it was the perfect time to go to strolling at the park bringing baby Amelia outdoor. At one point it was such a relief to finally seeing the sun again but when it hit 18-20 celcius, woooow it was way too warm.

Heaton Park, a baby and children friendly park near Cheetham Hill, Manchester where they actually have a mini animal farm for the family to bring their children, a spacious greenery site to play frisbee with your dogs, a wide path way for the kids to play their bicycles and ice-cream vans too.

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Mr Softee Ice Cream
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Rainbow sprinkles vanilla ice-cream
Such a rare view seeing people queuing up buying ice cream in winter but that one particular day in Manchester it was really warm, it felt like summer somehow. This Mr Softy ice-cream was so creamy, better than the McDonalds sundae. Smooth texture and not too sweet, just to my liking.

BICESTER VILLAGE

The day I arrived at Bicester Village was one of the coldest and gloomy days of the entire UK trip. The 4 hours driving from Manchester – London was so nice with the sun accompanied throughout the journey until arriving at Bicester, everything went grey. Pfft. But then, intstead of having hot chocolate in Pret – A- Menger, I bought myself the gelato and a nutella waffle.

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Having Amorino gelato at 4celcius outside

 

Then it was the Euro trip for almost a month. Probably it was during this time I had ice-cream almost everyday and in each city.

AMSTERDAM

Sunny Zaanse Schans
Pretty windmills under the bright sun
I remember when in Zaanse Schans, Amsterdam (No, wait. Mind you in Amsterdam, you might be lucky enough to experience all four seasons in a day. Well, true cos I did) I had the creamy vanilla chocolate ice cream while it was suddenly pouring heavily for 10 minutes. Upon arrival, it was sunny even the journey from Amsterdam Centraal to Zaanse Schans was so beautiful. Seeing the houses near the canals, the locals cycled to work and just seeing the windmill in such bright weather were amazing. And because of this I decided to try the ice-cream. Just minutes after I made the payment (and snap a picture), tadaaaa it poured heavily just like that with such strong wind.

Another thing why I like to try their local ice-cream is because it’s homemade (the creamy ones, especially having it with ice-cream cone) Yumms! I prefer these kind than the popsicles.

€2 creamy ice-cream

PISA & FLORENCE 

Arriving in rather warm and humid Italy which would be the perfect reason to taste their famous gelato. Florence is full of historic architectures and lots alleys and beautiful doors to discover, well I guess you can find that in most of the cities in Italy. If in the UK, I wouldn’t be  afraid to simply take a walk  but not  in Europe. Not even to just walk to buy juice at the nearby shop. It is somehow eery especially during the night.

My first gelato was at the Pisa tower. It was almost a 3 hours train ride from Florence and when we arrived here tho it was only almost 11am but it surely felt like noon. It was soooo hot but I had to stay on wearing the leather jacket because I wore a sleeveless jumpsuit. So lucky it was a jersey cotton material, somehow that helped. Bought myself a 3 flavored gelato, raspberry (my fav) + hazelnut + chocolate and cost me €4. Maybe some may say they tastes the same, but no. It’s the same when you drink coffee, you can taste the difference by the first sip. That is how well I know my ice-cream.

 

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Gelato in front of Pisa, checked!
When in Italy, you can find a lot of shops along the alleys or chic cafes selling gelato. Of course the price varies but I would say a standard 2 scoops cone would cost say around €3 depends on where you buy it. So there was this gelato I had in Florence, well I was aware of the shop before ordering it. This particular shop (below pic) sells it at €6 per flavour. How can it not be? Just look at the presentation and the size of the cones compared to the ones in Pisa.

 

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While everyone else were busy shopping – Lindt ice-cream
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One of the Gelaterias in Florence
LUCERNE

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Lucerne Old Town
Arriving in Zurich was such a relief after a bumpy flight due to the turbulence before landing. It felt like the longest 10 minutes in my life, sigh. Coming back to Switzerland after more than 2 decades surely bring back memories. It’s known as the most expensive and beautiful country in the world. Almost everything in Swiss are expensive. A lunch set (at a normal restaurant inside the train station) can cost you €25 and a tall Starbucks would be €9. Cray isn’t it? Well, we stayed in Swiss for just 3 days and the things that I bought were their famous Lindt chocolates, fridge magnet for own collections and Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream.

It was drizzling the whole day when visiting Lucerne, an old town with its own beautiful character. If you asked me, I would prefer Interlaken over Lucerne and Zurich. Their countryside is beyond words. You gotta see it to believe it. Beautiful is underrated to describe Interlaken. Anyhow, when strolling around Luzerne town, I noticed that it is similar to Italy. Each building has its own charming doors. Be it wooden carved, solid steel, colorful coloured doors, you will be able to see this along the alleys. I have a collection of pictures with doors now, lol.

 

So I went to this small pretty shop, (the ones you see in Pinterest) initially just to warm up myself. Then, I saw the ice-cream freezer and it was Ben & Jerry’s. Contemplating at first because: 1) it was still drizzling outside 2) a small tub would cost me 6euros (ahaa as if that stopped me from buying it) So yea this girl bought herself the ice-cream and enjoyed it like nobody’s business.

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why you so yummy?
Literally I had an ice-cream in each city I have visited during my UK and Euro trip. Some may said they rather spent it for shopping but when I travel, I like to taste local food and desserts myself. Shopping is one thing. Knowing and learning their cultures is another but to have a taste of their local food, you will not get that else where. Gelatos in Italy will not be as the ones we have here.

Did you know I have tried all 6 of the Kapiti ice-creams? Bought one each time I had Siva’s class last time, every week. It was really good, Google it. MAS (I think) used to serve Kapiti onboard last time for the Australia / NZ flights.

Who says you can only eat ice-cream in a sunny weather? No rules on that, so yes if you are like me, you would enjoy them in any kind of days. And I personally think nothing can beat Italian gelato, theirs the best!

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that smile when you see a pretty door and yummy gelato 😉

Venice, You Surprised Me!

April 21, 2016 | 08:30 – Firenze Santa Maria Novella

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Firenze Santa Maria Novella (Florence Train Station)

(Tips: Booked all online transportation tickets before your journey starts – in KL. Cost saving, less hassle)

It was an early morning to start our day. Took the second train via Train Italia from Florence – Venice. The journey was 2hour 5mins, but  the country side view throughout the journey was beautiful. The weather was sunny tho it was early Spring but Italy was too warm. You can just wear your t-shirt, skirts or shorts tho, unlike Amsterdam it was all four seasons in a day. No kidding!

10:35 – Arrived at Venezia Santa Lucia (Venice)

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Stazione di Venezia Santa Lucia
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View of Santa Maria della Salute from the water taxi ride

To be honest, it was never in my list to visit this sinking city, ever. I really want to visit eastern Europe or for Italy, it would be Cinque Terre. Now I am  praying hard to visit those places, someday. Anyhow, when arrived at the station (to the main entrance) I was speechless seeing the view of the water taxis, gondolas, ancient buildings, everything even the station was floating, insanely beautiful! The bright weather helped a lot too. So then we waited for our water bus taxi at the Santa Lucia Railway Station to the Grand Canal Station. The journey was about 30 minutes ride (stopped at every stations in between) But then, another way is to book a private water taxi which cost around €120, so you have a choice there.

11:15 – Grand Canal Station

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Canal Grande
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Piazza San Marco

(Tips: Check the weather forecast, if it is sunny make sure to have your shades, cap and sunblock with you)

The journey was pretty cool, this city is 100% relying on water transportation because there are no roads connecting one to place to another, amazing huh? Italy never fails me with their secret pathways and alleys. They have their own charm that will put you in awed. You can see stretch of small stalls selling paintings, souvenirs and high-end boutiques along the way to get to the Piazza San Marco. The St. Marks’s Sq (English meaning) is an incredibly huge open space where the church and clock tower situated. If you ever watched The Italian Job, you might be familiar with the place (and even Venice itself). The scene where John was calling his daughter. And yes there were pigeons everywhere. So I let myself lost in Venice, simply walked to every beautiful corners, taking pictures along the alleys somehow when you let yourself lost, you found pretty amazing things.

13:40 – Gondola Ride

(Tips: If planning to buy a number/ internet data, make sure go to the authorised telco and asked them to do it for you and wait until it is actually working, the internet data)

There are few gondola stations all around Venice, the one we went was in front of the Hard Rock Cafe. €80/gondola of 6 pax for a 40 mins ride. The rate varies during the dusk and night. Marco was our gondola guy and like most of the Italians, he too have limited English vocab. Hence, we let him serenade some Italian song to us instead.

Although the weather at that point of time was scorching hot, the view was just romantic. Countless of small bridges we passed by and passing by the tourists and locals, they waved at us that was some experience. Nope did not kiss underneath the bridge, no husband yet. haa!

14:40 Explore Venice

There is another movie that reminded me of Venice, The Tourist. In that movie you can see how beautiful Venice is under the bright sun, and that was how I witnessed Venice myself. Cafes and restaurants are everywhere, you just need to decide which one has the best view of the city. You will be spoilt by the assorted flavours of their famous pizzas and pastas. Yummayh!

Fancy some leather notebooks? Italy has lots of that to offer. I bought mine (A5 size) for only €7 and in Venice itself there are shops selling fancy stationary (slightly expensive) which till today I regret for not buying the wax seal sets.

I have a soft spot for coloured buildings (all because of Notting Hill and Portobello Rd) and in Venice, most of the old buildings are either brick coloured or multi colours. It is nice to stroll around the city looking at the buildings, the pretty gift shops and look how the locals live in such a beauty city. Since it was only a day trip to Venice, we did not get the chance to visit Burano. The place where rainbow coloured buildings similar to the ones in Portobello but with vibrant colours.

Gelato! A must in Italy and yes I had one in every city I visited. No need fancy cafes cos they will charge you double. Try any gelato stalls you see and the taste never fails you. Like I said, even though it was Spring time but it was warm in Italy (Florence and Venice esp) I did got sunburn during the 4 days stay.

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Of souvenir shop and high-end boutiques along the alley
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Leather notebooks and wax seal set

17:30 Back to Florence 

The best part of  the journey back to Florence was I got the coach C by myself (separated from the others due to some technical booking error) for at least an hour. So of course being a tourist I recorded some videos from most of the angles of the coach. Well the right and left view are different tho so why not ey?

Pictures does not do justice of how beautiful Venice is but here are some. There was this article I read saying that Venice will sink in 5 years time (well it is sinking) but I am glad to be given the opportunity to visit – and yes I also regret for not buying the HRC Venice loose sweater.

Arrivederci!