Venezia Round ii

Venezia, Round Two

This was my second time in Venice and I was really excited to explore these amazing islands again. This trip gave me a chance to wander a little bit further, and travel to the islands I didn’t see previously, like Lido and Murano!

I don’t think Venice needs much explaining.. So this post will be purely pictures of my top picks and locations..

Calle del Mondo Novo, 30122 Venezia VE
The Rialto Bridge (Sestiere San Polo, 30125 Venezia)

Scala Contarini del Bovolo (S. Marco, 4303, 30124 Venezia)
S. Marco, 2431, 30124 Venezia
The View outside Harry’s Bar (Calle della Scuola, 30124 Venezia)
Ponte della Paglia and the Bridge of Sighs (30124 Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice)
The Palazzo Ducale (Piazza San Marco, 1, 30124 Venezia)

Basilica di San Marco (Piazza San Marco, 328, 30100 Venezia)
The Cafe Lavena Nightly Band at San Marco (Piazza San Marco, 133/134, 30124 Venezia)
Cometa di Vetro, Murano (Calle S Stefano, 17, 30141 Venezia)
Chiesa di San Pietro Martire, Murano (Fondamenta dei Vetrai, 30141 Venezia)

Church of San Giorgio (Isola di S.Giorgio Maggiore, 30133 Venezia)
Acqua Alta Library (Calle Longa S. Maria Formosa, 5176/b, 30122 Castello, Venezia)
T Fondaco dei Tedeschi Rooftop (Rialto Bridge, Ramo del Fontego dei Tedeschi, 30100 Venezia)
The View over Venice from Marco Polo

Venice is somewhere I’ll keep returning to. I love the atmosphere, the people and of course the food and drink. If you haven’t been, of course it’s a must.. I’ve you have already been, go a second time.. I felt I saw more of the Islands than previously. Take some risks, get on the water taxi and explore everything..

Majestic Milano

Milan, as Majestic as the Rumours..

Stop two of my August trip was Milan, the train from Lugano to Milano Centrale was so easy and cheap! Approx €20, great value. Similar to the Zurich-Lugano route, the views from the trains at times were beautiful..

I got off the train at Milano Centrale, it was around 33 degrees, I had to get rid of my backpack so I agreed to tie up with my Air Bnb host. I had a place near Garibaldi Station, and my host spoke pretty much zero English. I loved this. I had to learn Italian phrases so I could speak to her, and she really did appreciate I was trying!

The View from my Air Bnb, perfect

Such a perfect little find on Air BnB, Corsa Como was the best location

Duomo di Milano (Piazza del Duomo, 20122 Milano MI, Italy)

The Duomo di Milano

I walked from my Air BnB into the city, of course headed for the Duomo. Firstly, I probably saw 5 or 6 people getting pick pocketed. You’ll see guys handing out bracelets, once given one you’ll be followed around. From what I could tell; people with decent cameras were being targeted.. anyway enough of the negatives.

The Duomo is amazing. It’s not quite as immense as the Duomo in Florence, but non the less, this place is incredible.. tips for the Duomo.. Book your tickets in advance. I queued for about 40 mins to get tickets to the stair climb to the roof terrace..

The Roof Terrace can get over crowded but it’s beautiful

If you’ve read my blog before you’ll know I fly drones for photography. Flying over any of the ‘Art Cities’ is illegal. I was desperate to fly in Milan but couldn’t arrange a permit quick enough. I did see two P4Ps fly over the Duomo. Word of warning, you’ll get caught.. I watched police detain a guy for flying over the Duomo.. be careful and know the rules..

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (Piazza del Duomo, 20123 Milano MI, Italy)

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is visually exceptional

Stunning architecture I love, shopping I do not.. this is probably one of the only times you’ll see me enjoy a shopping experience. The Galleria has to be seen to be believed. Unique symmetry, perfect lines. It’s beautiful.

This is Italy’s oldest active shopping mall, built between 1865-1867, named after the first King of the Kingdom of Italy.

The Statue of Leonardo di Vinci (Piazza della Scala, 20121 Milano MI, Italy)

Did you know this statue was created by a winner of a contest? Pietro Magni..

I was more impressed by the Duomo when light at night

As beautiful as the Duomo is, I much prefer seeing epic landmarks at night. Lighting is everything. The warm tones which light the Duomo are pretty cool. Generally at meeting place at night, and very busy, not that the photo really looks busy!

The San Siro (Piazzale Angelo Moratti, 20151 Milano MI, Italy)

I’ve become something of a Stadium hunter over the years

Football stadiums my not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the top off my trips, even if I don’t see a game. I just love to see and experience the venues. The San Siro is a beast. I’ve wanted to come here for probably 19 years, yes since around Fifa 99 came out. Just over 80,000 seater stadium, it really makes you realise how HUGE football is in Milan..

I’ve secretly always prefered AC..
Amazing that these two power houses share a Stadium
Stadium Visits are a must for me when I visit a new city..

I could not imagine the likes of Man Utd and Man City sharing a Stadium, yet these clubs do and it works for them. Whether you support the famous Rossonero or I Nerazzurri, any football fan must visit here..

Cimitero Monumentale (Piazzale Cimitero Monumentale, 20154 Milano MI, Italy)

Now this was unexpected… and amazing..

Unexpected and highly impressed by the Cimitero Monumentale

The Cemetery of Monumentale is known for it’s stunning sculptures and garden grounds.

The Tomba di Manzoni was stunning..

The Marzoni Tomb is, well, crazy. Manzoni was a famous novelist, and o me of Milans most honoured citizens..

Lievità Pizza (Porta Garibaldi, 20121 Milano MI, Italy)

Lievità Pizza was some of the best I’ve eaten.. hands down. No review rewired. This place was amazing. 6 minutes for a pizza to arrive, fresh as fresh could have been.. Wow.

A couple of other spots worth a visit..

Sforzinda (Piazza Castello, 20121 Milano MI, Italy)

The Sforzinda

The grounds and park at Sforzinda are beautiful. You can walk from the Arco della Pace through the park, often live bands are playing. A really cool castle and a relaxing place to hang out.

Arco Della Pace

Built between 1807-1838, this monument was formed in dedication to peace amongst European Nations. A quick stop of on the way through the park!

Bosco Verticale (20124 Milan, Metropolitan City of Milan, Italy)

Bosco Verticale, a stone’s throw from Garibaldi Station and the new hub at Porto Garibaldi. Really cool apartment blocks which stand out a mile on the Milan skyline. They may only be apartment blocks, but there are a must see spot..

Milano, done. Next up Venezia

The Lake and it’s Mountains, Lugano

Lugano, an absolute gem in the Mountains

Another month, another trip.. This is becoming a bit of a thing for me..

Lugano was first on the hit list. I flew into Zurich, and caught the SBB cross country train into Lugano. The train ride was amazing, going past Lake Zurich, Zug..

The views were amazing. The train was worth the journey alone!

Trains in Switzerland are a doddle, SBB run a superb service which is rarely late or delayed!

I arrived into Lugano Station to this view. I’ve wanted to visit here for a long time, but never really knew how to fit it into a trip. The Swiss / Italian tour was the perfect blend. As usual I was set up for an Air Bnb, it was a little out of the main centre but it was amazing value for a country which is expensive, well.. most assume it is!

FC Lugano’s Cornaredo Stadium

I don’t goto a city without seeing a stadium, that has become a thing for me too. This may not have been a huge Wembley like stadium, but what a backdrop. Nestled between mountains. What a place to play football..

I had four goals for my trip to Lugano; 1) Hike Monte Bre. 2) Hike Monte San Salvatore. 3) Swim in Lake Lugano. 4) Eat Immense Pizza.. Yeah that’s a goal.

My hike up Monte Bre started with the use of the Funicular. I’d been travelling all day and with limited time to hike I opted to cut some time off. You can find the Funicular on Via Pico.

Goal 1 – Hike Monte Bre

At the summit of Monte Bre you’re met with a beautiful view over the Lake shame about the cafe umbrellas below! I walked a couple of trails and headed down to Ristorante Vetta Monte Bre…

Ristorante Vetta Monte Bre is probably the most picturesc restaurant I’ve ever seen on my travels so far.. Perfect spot for an Aperol, beautiful views of Lake Lugano..

I started my long hike back down the mountain, stopped off at a couple of view points. Probably one of the most peaceful places I’ve been. I didn’t see anyone during my descent..

I walked approx 2 hours back from the summit to my Air Bnb, and I was beat. I had planned to hike Monte San Salvatore the next morning, obviously it was time for a pizza and sleep to prepare.

I was up early for my hike of Monte San Salvatore. Mornings by Lake Lugano are beautiful..

The San Salvatore hike is no joke. There are a few options for your ascent; Use this website, it shows all the walks and trails… CLICK HERE!

I opted for a difficult route, up the side of the funicular, up the front of the mountain.. Paradiso-Pazzallo-San Salvatore was the route I used.

I saw 1 other person during my hike.. it was the ultimate reflective hike. It’s pretty well sign posted, but use the link and work out the trail which suits you.

Stunning views of the Lake

Probably worth noting that the hike trails will require walking boots or a decent trainer.. the trails get wet, it’s very loose ground also. Be careful here, it does tend to rain at night and the trail was pretty raw during my hike.

Goal 2 – Hike Monte San Salvatore

Views from Monte San Salvatore are immense. My trips lately have become about goal setting, especially when it comes to a hike. The route by the locals said it was approx 2.5 hours, I crushed it in 1 hour 45.

Regardless of how long it takes you. The views are unforgettable.. There is also route for Via Ferrata, for those more experienced and wanting a challenge. I’d love to try Via Ferrata but I was warned that this route was a ‘high skilled’ route..

I didn’t use the San Salvatore funicular, but it’s worth noting it’ll save you some sore feet if you aren’t prepared!

Goal 3 – Swim in Lake Lugano

The weather was HOT. Pushing over 32 degrees, after my hike I fancied a swim, and crossing off Goal 3. Lake Lugano was surprisingly warm! The water was cleaned and clear, swimming in a lake may but be for everyone but you should try it! I used the Lido which has access to the Lake, although there is plenty of places you can get into the Lake..

With Lugano being Swiss Italian you can guarantee food to be of the best quality. Of course, I opted for another Pizza by the Lake.

Goal 4 – Eat immense Pizza

And this view was well worth waiting for..

Lugano has been a place I’ve wanted to visit for a few years. I’d recommend to anyone. You don’t have to do the hikes, you can use the funiculars. It’s very peaceful, you can swim the Lake.. it has so many options..

Lugano was done, I was headed across the border to Italy. Milano is next up.

Red Lights and Windmills, Amsterdam

Red Lights, Windmills and Everything inbetween; Amsterdam

With a country so close to the UK you’d think more people would have been to Holland.. but the general discussion is that many people haven’t got there yet.. Let’s see if I can spend a few minutes convincing you..

I picked up flights into Schipol Airport for £70 return, and an Air BnB for £80.. So a real cheap city break can be had here..

Amsterdam

I landed into Schipol just after lunch time, and headed straight into the City. Walk out of the arrivals area and straight into the Train Station.. Yes it is that simple and well sign posted. The Sprinter Train runs quite frequently and costs €4.30 for a Single. It runs through two stops and rolls into Centraal Station. Centraal Station has connections to most of the other major cities including Rotterdam, if you’re looking to explore further afield after AMS.

Rijksmuseam and the I Amsterdam Sign (Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam, Netherlands)

This is the tourist trap.. the only way you’ll be getting touristless selfies or shots.. Get here at 5am!

The Rijksmuseam has a vast Art collection, but I was here to admire the architecture and grab some shots. The lake infront of the IAmsterdam sign provided a nice reflection too!

The Canals

You can walk the Canals of Amsterdam for hours. Bridge upon Bridge, genuinely beautiful. Stop, take in the views across the canals. There are so many cafes and restaurants to sit and enjoy them from.

The scenes are a different level at night. The still canals give off the perfect reflections, and the Red Lights of the District really set off the views..

The Johan Cruyff ArenA (ArenA Boulevard 1, 1101 AX Amsterdam)

The Johan Cruyff ArenA is epic. The scale appears huge. While it may only be a 53,346 seater.. it looks much much bigger! Home to Ajax, and quite far out of the city. You’ll need to grab the M54 metro out to Strandvilet, it’s a 2 minute walk from the station. Another Stadium off of my quest to visit all the too tier stadiums in the world!

The Red Light District (Amsterdam Central)

No intro, discussion or explanation required. This place should be experienced on whatever level you choose.. Whatever your taste…

Lisse / Keukenhof (Stationsweg 166A, 2161 AM Lisse)

Stretching 30km between Haarlem and Leiden are the tulip fields of North Amsterdam. This is a must see, it’s a short train ride to Haarlem, for there you can hire a Cycle (Which is between €8-12 for a day!) I used a small shop in Haarlem called ‘Bike Rent Haarlem’. Now I ride a decent standard road bike in the UK, don’t expect that on a hire! It was a bum numbing 35 mile cycle but the views of the fields are worth it..

I took a few detours here and there in search of tulip fields. Hillegom and Heemstede are beautiful, peaceful towns. Some of the houses are LIFE GOALS! I’d arrived a week after the cuttings of most fields which was a shame, but I managed to capture a few which were left!

Beautiful. I’ll 100% return during the blooming of the tulips next year.

Zaanse Schans (Kalverringdijk 5, 1509 BT Zaandam)

Zaanse Schans is a throwback to the 18th century. The iconic windmills were moved here to recreate that feel. It’s a day out from the mayhem of Amsterdam, and a very unique part of Holland, which many who visit Amsterdam will over look. This is another place which is a short trip on the train from Amsterdam Centraal. Be sure to head out to the Bakery Museum.. the fresh Cookies are excellent!

Amsterdam is beautiful in the day, and a complete flip side in the night, but still beautiful depending on where you go.. Much like Prague, it has a reputation for the sex but unless you go looking for that, it really isn’t as bad as you’d think.

Questions about my trip?

Get in touch on the socials!

My gear;

GoPro Hero 6

Sony Alpha A6000

DJI Mavic Air

24hrs in Montenegro

An amazing 24hrs in the Beautiful place that is Montenegro. Make this your next Destination..

So after a couple of beautiful days in Dubrovnik I was headed for the Bay of Kotor, Montenegro.

The drive from Dubrovnik to Kotor is around 90km

It’s a really simple border crossing, just remember that if you are planning to cross the border and you are using a hire car you will need a ‘Green Card‘ from the rental car company. It has all the relevant car details. Also worth pointing out that quite a few of the companies I checked didn’t allow a border cross. Goldcar allowed it, for approx £20 extra. The border crossing itself is free, but most companies hold the Green Card it seems.

FYA your phone data will be expensive here, mine was!!! I used Spotify for 3 songs.. it incurred a £42 charge – thanks Snoop Dogg. Check your network, only use Wi-Fi is my advice..

Montenegro

I got through the crossing and headed straight for the Bay. Stay on the E65 (then E80) which goes through Herceg Novi to Kotor – worth stopping at one of the supermarkets in H.N… there’s a short amount of shops from there until Kotor.

The Bay of Kotor is perfectly still in the morning

As the title says, 24hrs in Montenegro.. I was in a bit of a rush to get to Kotor. It’s really the only thing I had planned to do while here, as it was only a small amount of time.. On route I spoke and met up with my Air BnB host. I was staying in Jošice, a very quiet fishing town, where the crossing for Kotor is also available..

Jošice was perfectly located for my trip..

I have to say the cost of my Air BnB was exceptional. I paid £10 a night, and the cost would have been less if staying for more than one night! The rooms at the 4 Sailors were very good. Considering the cost I was expecting a pretty bad experience, I can only but recommend this place!

Check our the place on Air BnB; 4 Sailors

After quick hello and tour with my host I got back on the road. I’d opted against the Kotor Crossing as I wanted to explore the route around the Bay. The villages of Risan, Strp, Perast, Orahovac are pretty quiet. Most notably Orahovac, there’s a huge hotel on the Bay front which is completely baron. Pretty haunting consideing it’s location!

Perast / Sveti Dorde

A couple of lonely islands sit in the middle of the Bay, off of Perast. There’s a perfect little car park which sits opposite also. Obviously I was going to get the drone out.. there are two islands, Sveti Dorde and Ostrvo.

Just one of the reasons why I love a drone. Capturing perspectives you just wouldn’t be able to on foot
Drone. Goals

A beautiful location nestled between a mountainous Bay. Again there isn’t much here, there’s a couple of bars and restaurants down by the waterfront at Perast. I couldn’t explore this as the weather had turned and I didn’t fancy running in hail stones!

Kotor

The reason for my trip, the Ladder of Kotor. The Ladder is amazing. From the ground you can see parts of the trail but it really doesn’t take shape until you’re half way up atleast..

The base of the trail

The entrance to the Ladder is difficult to find. I had to use Google maps as the guides were all pointing me to the Fortress, which didn’t feel I had time to do! Anyway, the Ladder of Kotor..

After approx 15 mins you can see the town of Kotor around the Bay

I ploughed up the Ladder, I passed a great deal of people who were giving up and headed back down. I’m not one to be beaten, and certainly not by a trail. I cracked on. Eventually the trails become more rocky, more undulating, and more difficult to foot. Of course those sorts of things make a man think.. “the drone would be a great idea”.. I got Cameron out and captured some absolute aerial GOLD…

The zig zag trail cannot be seen in such a way without a drone. This is the reason I got a drone. Being able to capture moments which are not possible with conventional cameras.

After a quick stop for water and droning I got back on the trail. I arrived at the summit approx. 1hr 20 mins of climbing. And it was totally worth it.. Over 70 switchback turns. A real highlight of my trip..

Sony Alpha A6000 with Helios 44-2

At the top I met a girl from Holland. We sat, had a little chat about the climb. Obviously she posed for photos being a solo traveller. It was cool to chat to some else on the journey at the top of a mountain! After a bit of time spent relaxing at the summit I headed back down the mountain trail, double time. It took me just over an hour to reach the base. I think this is a given but I’d advise solid walking boots or running trainers for this trail!

It was early afternoon so I grabbed some food from the shopping centre at the base of the mountain and headed back to my car. Kotor was my main aim for this part of my trip, but with time to spare I opened up the map and decided to drive down to the coastline to the South.

Budva

Approx. 20km from Kotor. This part of my trip was a bit on the fly. First stop was a car park, views over the beaches and coastline. It was perfect for a pit stop. I checked my map for local points of interest and there were two of value to me..

Mogren Fortress

Mogren Fortress. Off the beaten track..

The fortress is well hidden, and cannot be accessed by car (I tried..). You’ll have to park the next car park in Gospostina and walk back..

Immense coastline, the colours are unedited and look stunning..

The Mogren Fortress is pretty epic. I was here for around an hour… and saw one other person. Look out for the BROWN SIGN noting ‘Tvdara Mogren’. This place was hidden and I loved that. The Mogren Fortress was built in 1860 by Austro Hungarians to defend the Western borders of Budva. Due to earthquakes and lack of up keep the fortress is falling apart so be careful.. Excursions aren’t taken here so if the goal is seclusion then this is the place. Ideal for droning…

The island of Sveti Nikola aka ‘Hawaii of Montenegro’, can be seen from the fortress. When the tide is low you can see a sand trail into Budva beach under the water. If you want to go to Sveti Nikola you can grab a boat for €3 return..

I was slowly running out of daylight. I wanted to head further round to Sveti Stefan but I didn’t have time. Budva was an extra I didn’t expect but I’m really glad I took the trip.

On my drive back I found the one restaurant which looked open, Verige 65. The food, service and restaurant itself were excellent. I spent less than €20 for a starter, main and two beers. Really great value. The restaurant over looks the Bay, with views of Tivat and Kotor.

And that was it, my 24 hours in Montenegro was close to being over. I headed back to the Air BnB to prep up for my flight the next day, back to Dubrovnik.

As ever, if you have questions on any of my travels, or Montenegro specifically then please drop me a comment or message!

My gear;

GoPro Hero 6

Sony Alpha A6000

DJI Mavic Air

Alpe D’Huez aka Powder Town

Alpe D’Huez is a resort based between 1250 / 3330meters. In the central French Western Alps, and forms part of the Isère region of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes.. and was year’s location for our 1st Snowboarding trip of 2018

It is that time of year again..

Alpe D’Huez is a resort based between 1250 / 3330meters. In the central French Western Alps, and forms part of the Isère region of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes.. and was year’s location for our 1st Snowboarding trip of 2018.

I’ll start off by saying, I really do love France so I’ve always wanted to hit the mountain in winter.. plus following our trip to Morzine last summer.. my mind was made up.

Morzine really convinced me to come back to France in the Winter

Now we had booked this trip before the MAMMOTH snowfall across Europe. We booked with Crystal Ski and got a great deal in the Bergers area of Alpe D’Huez, a board in board out location right next to the base lifts. Hotel Les Bergers was a decent Hotel, half board with excellent food. The location was the key point but I’d recommend staying here. We paid £800 each which included flights, transfer, lift pass and a half board hotel. Not too bad at all!

Link the image for a downloadable piste map link

Let’s talk about the Mountain.. It’s huge. No, it’s on an epic scale. Considering this is a local lift pass.. I’ve been to resorts with an Area Lift pass which are smaller!

  • 131 Pistes
  • 250km/155miles of Piste
  • Highest point 3330m
  • 41 Greens, 34 Blues, 40 Reds, 16 Blacks
  • 2 Snow Parks
  • 84 lifts (Gondola, Chair, Pomas, Cable Cars)
  • Cross Country Skiing (if that’s your thing) 50km

Obviously the first thing we did was go straight to the very top of Pic Blanc, 3330m.

Pic Blanc surrounded by snowy clouds 😍

The route down from Pic Blanc is via the famous Sarenne, a 16km Black Run. One of the world’s largest. Some would say it isn’t a true black as there are parts which become flat between cross overs but it’s pretty challenging as it can be icy and very narrow.

We hit as much of the mountain as we could. It’s near on impossible to cover every piste/untracked in 6 days but we tried. Mornings are best suited to the Signal de L’Homme over towards Auris en Oisans – grab the Alpauris chairlift. We had some much pow and some of the best of it was here.

Obviously we got to Alpe D’Huez in one of the worst snowfalls in the past 20 years. So most days were spent in low light, be prepared for such as some of the mountain when in the shade is difficult to ride. We opted for Oakley Prizm lenses which made things a lot easier..

Whiteouts were just blinding..

Best runs on the mountain?

  • Sarenne
  • Cassini
  • Chateau Noir
  • Combe Charbonnaire
  • Olympique (some excellent pow to be had through the pistes)
  • Col du Cluy
  • Les Vermettes
  • Pré Rond (Yep a blue with mega Pow because of it’s position on the mountain
  • Chamois (excellent under the gondola)

To be honest I could have listed all the Red and Black runs, the resort was decent all round!

We did have some bluebird days.. Only 1.. maybe 1 and a half. Due to the stormy weather.. but when you get this much snow.. It’s worth it..

Yes – that’s a football pitch and the snow is nearly up to the cross bar…

All in all I would come back to Alpe D’Huez. A vast resort, immense snow and beautiful views in every direction.


Some of my favourite shots from the week;


If your hitting the mountain here or have any questions about Alpe D’Huez please get in touch!

@darrens_visuals

As ever all my shots are with GoPro Hero 6 and a couple even shot with my Samsung S8.. epic camera for a Mobile Phone!

Up in the Clouds – The Alps

Mountains, Hiking, Biking, Cheese.. What more could you wish for?

The snowy mountains are where I love spending time the most I’d say. However, this is the first time I’ve been solely to the mountains in summer. Myself and Becci had the chance to head out to the French Alps and it seemed too good to miss out on..

We picked up flights into Geneva for £80 return per person, and luckily for us we were collected from the airport and ferried to the Alps by car. The route from Geneva to Morzine is pretty simple. The main route headed past some places I’ve already travelled to, Lake Geneva and the Telepheric Salavé which over looks Geneva, the views are beautiful.. Non stop mountains and blue sky’s..

The route into mountains

Morzine

We arrived in Morzine in around 1h30mins, the winding roads were not too favorable to a VW Caravelle! The trip could probably be done quicker in a smaller car..

We were staying with VIP SKI in a chalet on the Morzine main high street. The chalet was awesome, a massive place which slept 14-16 people, Chalet Alaska.

The view from Chalet Alaska over to the Super Morzine Gondola

Châtel Mountain Range (Pré la Joux, 74390 Châtel, France) 

We headed out past Montriond, up into the mountains towards Châtel, through Les Lindarets.. The goat village.. Yes Goat Village.. We headed deeper into the mountains, up the chair lifts towards Châtel. At the top of the chairlifts we saw the Zipline which ran a couple of 100 meters above the ground below.. We queued up for our flight suit and prepped for the zipline..

Me, Becci and Sarah at the Zipline

Be prepared for a queue.. We waited around 40 minutes to get on to the zipline, but we did head up here just before midday so a peak time..

Becci suspended, ready to Zip..

I watched Sarah and Becci zip off.. And I must admit.. The fear kicked in. I’d always been scared of heights but I’ve got over that slowly over the years.. So this was sort of a conquer my fear moment!

Zipping over the Mountains

The experience was amazing. I’ve never done anything else like it. The speed, height.. An amazing view. It was well worth the €35!! Visit Fantasticable for more info…

Absolutely stunning views from the second zipline

Head over to my Instagram to see some zipline videos..

Lac de Montriond (Voie Communale N°2 de la Glière au Pont du Tannay du Chemin N°228, 74110 Montriond) 

Nestled between mountains

Lac de Montriond is a real beauty and it has lots to do. Kayaks, paddleboarding, swimming.. It’s a pretty clean lake so well worth venturing out on..

Becci cruising the Lake
Paddling at a lake surrounded by Mountains is just epic

This was by far the most beautiful place we have ever paddleboarded. The setting is almost unreal. Hiring paddleboards cost us €15 each per hour, so not bad at all.

DJI Spark Pano shot over Lac de Montriond

Cascade de Nyon (Chemin sous le Rocher, 74110 Morzine, France) 

The ‘Tour’ trail gives some beautiful views

The Cascade de Nyon was on Becci’s list.. I had no idea it existed but, as usually, she was right. The walk from Morzine took us around 20 minutes. Follow the ‘Tour’ trail until you reach the waterfall..

The waterfall as seen from the DJI Spark

Becci and I grappled with rocks and rushing waters to get up close to the waterfall.. Be aware.. The water.. Is BALTIC, and the rocks are slippery..

Pointe de Nyon (Chabalis Mountain Range) 

Grab the Gondola next to the Cascade de Nyon, then the chairlift to the right. This will take you up to the Pointe De Nyon. There’s a little hike in store for you at the top though so wear decent footwear…

The half way point of the hike, views down to Morzine and the surrounding mountains are unbelievable
The Summit – with views over to a cloudy Mont Blanc. This is also one of my favourite photos from our trip.. 

After a 15-20 minute hike you’ll reach the summit at 2019m, Pointe de Nyon. On a clear day the Pointe boasts views of Mont Blanc on a clear day.. Unfortunately it was a bit cloudy but the view was still epic. You get a 360° view of the whole area and it’s honestly one of the most impressive sights I’ve seen to date..

Downhill MTB Morzine to Les Gets

The Morzine / Les Gets MTB Map

I managed to haggle a hire to a downhill bike with a local shop in Morzine. 1/2 a day for around €50 including all protection (helmet, body armor etc).. Be aware, to ride the gondolas and chairlifts with a bike you’ll need a different pass.. I opted for a 5 hour pass at €22 – this covered Morzine, Les Gets and Mont Chéry.

It’s fair to say that this is a difficult sport.. I’ve never done it so I had no idea what to expect.. The closest I go to MTB is road cycling!

Lyra was traded for full body Armour..

The runs are ranged, much like snowboarding..  I hit some ‘family runs’ which were far from family friendly!! I headed out from Morzine, across the mountain to Les Gets, looking to get up to the Top of Mont Chéry..

 

The above video was headed down into Les Gets.. I continued through the runs until I reached the town, and the Gondola up to Mont Chéry. The views from the summit of Mont Chéry were amazing. Mont Blanc was clearly visible in the distance.. My first real view of that mountain, and a moment to remember..

Mont Blanc standing out of the Mountain Range ahead
DJI Spark grabbing some Aerial shots of my ride

I’d recommend beginners take a guide with them for a tour. Most shops offer this service, and they’ll even teach you how to ride certain terrain..

There is tons for you to do here.. We even did a bit of Luge.. Not just for kids!

There’s lots of places offering parapenting also.. Something I would have done if we hadn’t hiked to over 2000m! I recommend this destination to anyone, especially those who think the mountains are just for snow.. I think me and Becci will head back for some more mountains adventures!

Here’s the cut from our trip:

 

All shots taken with GoPro Hero 5 and where noted, the DJI Spark Drone

A Historical Gem, Berlin. 

After visiting a few cities at the start of 2016, Berlin was at the top of my hit list – so much history, I had to go. I picked up some really cheap flights.. £29 each way so it was a no brainer, I was booked in.

Berlin

I landed at Flughafen Schönefeld pretty early, around 7am, but I was happy with that. I’d completely forgot to look into how to get from the airport to the city.. I’ll save you the trouble..

Walk out of the airport and head towards the train station. You can catch either the RB14, RB or RE/RE7 – all will get you into the main station of Alexanderplatz. Various routes can be reached from here. Ensure you grab yourself a ticket – machines are pretty easy to use, they are down stairs, before you get to the platforms. It’s an approx 40 minute ride, so sit back and relax.

Alexanderplatz

Alexanderplatz, early morning. Shot with GoPro Hero 4 Silver. 

Iconic. That’s the best way to describe this place. You walk out of the station to the Fernsehturm, the Berlin TV Tower. It is a stunning view, and on a sunny day.. Perfection. The Fernsehturm is accessible for entry, I’ll get to that in a second..

The Fernsehturm, Berlin Tower. Shot with GoPro Hero 4 Silver, Flat Mount, on Timelapse.

It’s a shopping hub around Alexanderplatz, so if you do need anything for your stay it may be worth your time having a quick look around. Alexa Shopping Centre has lots of cool shops including the likes of Quiksilver. 

The Fernsehturm can be accessed by lift to the summit. 365m high, a perfect 360 degree view of Berlin. It costs €13 for an Adult. It’s an unmissable sight if it’s a clear day.

A view from the summit of the Fernsehturm.

The Olympiapark (Olympischer Platz 3, 14053 Berlin) 

The main gates of the Olympiapark.  Shot with GoPro Hero 4 Silver, Sandmarc Metal Edition pole, on Timelapse.

The grounds of the stadium are simply epic. Entry costs €7 and you are free to walk almost anywhere within the ground (except on the pitch, and changing room areas).

A view from above the grounds of the Olympiapark.

Being a huge fan of different stadiums.. I must have sat in every seat! You get a perfect view from each stand.. as I said, EPIC. It was amazing to sit almost alone in a stadium this large. I counted around 20 people inside the stadium while I was there.

The inside of The Olympiastadion. Shot with GoPro Hero 4 Silver, Flat Mount, on Timelapse.

There is so much history in this stadium alone. I would advise a walking tour from the entrance office. Originally built for 1936 summer Olympics, it’s said to have held over 100,000 people.. Simply amazing. Official capacity for today is just under 75,000.

The Olympiastadion stone honours list. 

I cannot stress how much this must be visited, it’s truly amazing and a place I’ll never forget visiting.

Seated in the front row. Shot with GoPro Hero 4 Silver, Flat Mount.

The Olympiapark has it’s own train station. I caught the U2 train from Alexanderplatz. It takes around 30 mins and is 21 stops. You can also catch the S75 for 12 stops. Consult Google Maps if you’re in a different location!

The Reichstag Building and Dome (Platz der Republik 1, 11011 Berlin) 

The front of the Reichstag Building. Shot with GoPro Hero 4 Silver, Flat Mount. 

Historical, beautiful and unique.

The Reichstag Building was severely damaged after it was set on fire in 1933. After years of non use, repairs and restoration, the Bundestag was born after its completion in 1999.

Me outside the Reichstag Building following my tour. Shot with GoPro Hero 4, Flat Mount, Nightlapse.

To enter the Reichstag you must book in advance, please click this link for details. Once inside, you’ll be taken through the entrance of the huge pillared front section, and into a lift. Once you walk outside you’ll see the magnificent Dome. The Dome has two spiraling walk ways to the top, ensure you grabbed a walking tour head set, they are free and explain the history and views from the Reichstag rooftop and Dome.

The interior of the Dome with it’s unique mirrored cone. 

The core of the Dome is awesome. The mirrored cone is like nothing I’ve seen before.

Simply stunning. Shot with GoPro Hero 4 Silver. 
The Reichstag Dome from the outside. Shot with GoPro Hero 4 Silver. 

This landmark signifies the reunification of Germany. A real must see, like most things in Berlin really!

Remember the Reichstag MUST be booked in advance via their website. You cannot turn up and try to enter the building..

The Brandenburg Gate (Pariser Platz, 10117 Berlin) 

Sunset at the Brandenburg Gate. 
The Brandenburg Gate at night. Shot with GoPro Hero 4 Silver, Flat Mount, Nightlapse.

Another magnificent landmark. The Brandenburg Gate. Arguably one of the best known landmarks on Berlin.

Outside the Brandenburg Gate, shot with GoPro Hero 4 Silver.

The Brandenburg Gate has always held major historical events, but is seen as a sign of peace and unity. The gate was heavily used as part of the Nazi party’s ‘symbol’. I always remember history lessons with images of Hitler walking through the Brandenburg Gate. The gate survived World War 2 and was one of the only parts of Pariser Platz still standing..

The UEFA Fan Zone at the Brandenburg Gate

I was lucky enough to be in Berlin during the Euro 2016 tournament, the site was used as a Fan Zone. A massive screen under the gate was installed and it was rumored that 10,000 watched the match that night! In true German fashion I had a few helpings of currywurst, several beers and watched Germany win. An amazing atmosphere to be apart of.

The Berlin Wall / East Side Gallery (Mühlenstraße, 10243 Berlin) 

Head for Warschauer Straße – U1 train

For me, this place needs no introduction. It’s known across the world as a symbol of division, and subsequently change. I spent hours here looking at what is now hundreds of works of art.. Head over to my Instagram page for a Timelapse video of the whole Berlin Wall.. 

Absolutely unique. Do NOT miss this.

Checkpoint Charlie, (Friedrichstraße 43-45) 

One for the Historians and War buffs.. 

A panoramic view of Checkpoint Charlie

Checkpoint Charlie was the name of the gate given by Western Allies during the Cold War.

Things to know about this historic place:

  1. Only foreigners could use this gate
  2. It sat just a few feet away from a huge German checkpoint..
  3. Many East Germans tried to escape through here
  4. An infamous showdown occurred here between the Soviets and USA
  5. The original guard house is now kept in a museum

Visit this link for more info.

For €2 you can have a photo with some well dressed men in US uniform *hint – they weren’t very American.. Shot with GoPro Hero 4 Silver. 

The Checkpoint is now heavily commercialised. From the photos I mentioned, to a Macdonalds behind the original Checkpoint. I loved the history of it but it’s also sad to see how it’s used as a tourist trap. Very busy, but very cool for me. If possible, join in with a walking tour.

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (Cora-Berliner-Straße 1, 10117 Berlin) 

This place must be visited to understand the sheer volume of lives lost during the Holocaust. There are 2,711 concrete slabs or ‘stelae’. The place of information also holds the names of 3 million Jewish holocaust victims. The memorial itself is magnificent, it covers over 4.5 Acres of space.. It is massive. The concrete slabs vary in size, from around 0.2m to 4.7m high.

You really can’t appreciate it until you have been here. Must see. I walked with a free walking tour which started at Potsdamerplatz and finished up here.

Potsdamerplatz (10785 Berlin) 

The famous Potsdamerplatz, although you may not know why from the surface when you arrive there. There are lots of Berlin Wall relics dotted around the area. Since the German reunification, Potsdamerplatz has been the site of major redevelopment projects and is home to some superb architecture.

During World War 2 Potsdamerplatz was heavily used by the Nazi party and even had a Gestapo secret prison, interrogation and torture rooms on the upper floors of Coloumbushaus. On a lighter note the 1936 Olympic Games was organized here..

Other places which are worth a look:

Topography of Terror – the former HQ of the Gestapo and a look into Nazism. So much history and information to take in here. There are walking tours available.

Victory Column  67m high column commemorating the victory in the Prussian-Danish war. Views from the top deck are very good..

Gendarmenmarkt home to Berlin’s Christmas market, seasonal markets and beautiful architecture. There’s also a great deal of restaurants in and around this area.

Monument to the Soviet Soldiers (Tiergarten) 

About 10 mins walked from the Brandenburg Gate towards Victory column, and on your right you’ll see the huge memorial to the Soviets.

White Trash Fast Food (Am Flutgraben 2, 12435 Berlin) 

Click this link for the menu – must be visited and tried. Worth the trek out of central Berlin.. A €8-10 Uber from Alexanderplatz makes this an easy location to get to. I walked for miles, don’t make the same mistake I did! 

Museum Island

I walked through Museum Island everyday, it had some beautiful architecture, and of courses museums. In fact it boasts 5 museums and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Saturday morning, I walked into a mini market / car boot sale. Absolutely anything can and is sold here.. Lots of German War relics and medals – whether they were genuine or not I don’t know..

Stand Up Club SUP Berlin (Eichenstraße 4, 12435 Berlin) 

Absolutely gutted I had injured my leg a few days before I couldn’t get out on the river. The complex is cool, if it’s a warm.. What better way to enjoy the sun?! For details click here

As a snap tourists guide, I think I’ve covered everything I can in the city.. I’m sure there are more secrets of the city but the 3 days I spent in Berlin taking in it’s culture and history were so cool. This trip I won’t ever forget.

Sunset at the top of Reichstag Dome. Shot with GoPro Hero 4 Silver.

And that’s that.. I already had my next trip lined up – Prague, Czech Republic

Want tips or help with travel? Contact me!

°All photos shot with GoPro Hero 4 Silver, with use of a Sandmarc Metal Edition pole, and various mounts.