Capri holiday on a budget // Prices & Photos

30 January 2014

Budget holiday is a funny term, isn't it? I mean, everybody who goes on holidays has a budget, it's just for some it's unlimited and for others not. We certainly belong to the latter group and 2013 was a year of a big failure and a small success in that department. 2013 was the year when I had my last long holiday before becoming a doctor. My holidays this year are only 4 weeks long and before I start my actual job in 2015 I will get about 7 weeks with a graduation conveniently placed right in the middle of that time. I was planning a big trip to Asia. We had a modest budget and then J's passport expired and my holiday of a lifetime just didn't happen. It's ok, I got over it (eventually).

My point is, I needed a plan B. 

Amalfi coast came to my mind, think Roman holidays, driving on a Vespa in Rome and then lounging on a terrace overlooking the Med. It seemed like a perfect idea, but our budget stayed the same. We had about £600 per person and Amalfi coast is one of the most expensive places in Europe. I don't remember what was the topping point and why we eventually decided to go. Does it really matter?

Here is how we made it happen (let me have a look at my spreadsheet, yes that's how I plan holidays):

I'm only sharing this in case going to Capri is your dream and you think it's not possible on a modest budget.

Flights (Ryanair I'm afraid )280.82
Room in Rome (1 night)47.06
Train Rome-Naples Salerno-Rome100.32
Ferry Naples-Capri33.04
Room in Capri (4 nights)409.7
Ferry Capri- Salerno (via Positano and Amalfi)30.1
Room in Salerno (1 night)71.67
Room in Rome (1 night)77
Food 210


Even though this was an expensive holiday for us, it was 100% worth it. We could have saved on accommodation in Rome and Salerno, but in Capri we really went for the cheapest option available.There is not even a hostel on Capri and I don't think you can camp on wild land, I'm not even sure if there is any in fact. We also could have paid the same amount and go on an all-inclusive holiday to Spain or Egypt (no, thank you) or just stay at home and put this towards another trip. 

How did we manage to survive for £30 per day, I hear you asking? Well, a pizza in a small family-run restaurant costs between €6-15, gelato about €2-5 per portion, we drank tap water and cheap wine.
The best pizza I've eaten (from Pizzarium) was only €8 for two lunch portions. We walked and took buses everywhere. Another tip: In Rome you can go to Campo di Fiori market and by your bodyweight in olive oil and fresh bread. 
 Pizzarium - pizza sold by weight. amazing.
Hiring a private boat costs about £150 per day. nope, nor for us. but makes for a pretty picture even from the distance.

If we had more money I would have definitely hired a private boat to go on a trip around the island and snorkelling. Maybe next time. 

As I said before, the best things on that trip were for free anyway: our hosts in Capri Umberto and Ciro who welcomed us like family, waited for us in the evenings and offered a shot of limoncello or past for dinner before going to bed, views from our terrace, swimming in the cold sea and looking up at the white cliffs. 

Even though I love Europe, J has now applied for a new passport and I'm definitely making the most of those 4 weeks of freedom in 2014. 
 lots of private boats.

 Could this water be any bluer?

 the one time we went for a drink. it was worth it.
view from Augustus Gardens

 there are no beaches in Capri. For an entrace to a beach club you pay about 20 euro, and another 20-30 for a lounger and a towel. ^^ This you get for free.

 I know I look very sad in those pictures, I just have a tendency to close my eyes when I have my picture taken.
 from a ferry to Salerno. This is Positano or Amalfi, can't remember.
 looking good J :)
 reading on the terrace was my favourite thing to do in the evening
 another free view #nofilter


Here are my other posts about this trip:

Part I: Rome and Campania holiday
Part III: Travelling to Capri

PS. was this a useful post, or am I over sharing?

My favourite thing to do in Norway

29 January 2014

I met K when I was doing my first degree here in Edinburgh. I wanted to surprise my then boyfriend (now husband) so I bought tickets to Oslo for £12 return. I knew K was in my year but I didn't know her very well. One day, I sat next to her in a freezing lecture theatre in George Square, I remember the heating wasn't working and it was a haematology and immunology lecture. I asked if she could recommend any things to do in Oslo in June. "Why don't you come to my summer house?", she asked casually. And that's how I met my best friend, thanks to cheap Ryanair tickets. Life can be weird sometimes. 

Now, whenever we visit K's summer house in Norway, my favourite thing to do is to wake up super early in the morning, make a cup of strong coffee and walk barefoot to the top of the rocks. It's just me, seagulls and the sea. K's summer house is on a small island, which allows for unobstructed views and a light breeze in the mornings. It's weird to think that if it wasn't for the low fare airline, I would not have had a reason to speak to K on that cold morning and would probably never had a chance to visit Åkerøya. 
I seldom share personal thoughts here as this is not what I want my blog to be about. In an ideal world this blog will be about how I quited my everyday life, sold all my possessions and went travelling the world with the love of my life.  I would earn my living by taking pictures of places, people and food and contributed articles to the LP Traveller (predictable and a slightly pathetic, I know).  My second option is writing about how I went on an expedition to Antarctica as a doctor. 

But this is simply not what my life looks like. I'm a big daydreamer, a trait I inherited from my dad who can chat for hours about the things we're going to do when we go to Iceland (sit in the jacuzzi sipping cold wine and watching the aurora borealis, or going on a road trip around the island stopping by to take pictures of glaciers and drink sweet tea from the thermos flask.). He sends me emails with pictures of the places we're going to visit one day (he goes through phases: there was Switzerland, New Zealand, Italy, now it's Iceland). My mum says she envies me and dad because we  live two lives: the one here and the one we daydream about. 

So anyway, this is my favourite thing to do in Norway and this is a story of how I met my best friend. 

PS. This post was inspired by Miss S. , who writes a beautifully honest blog about her life and Edinburgh.

a walk from the summer house to my favourite spot
 and that's the view
somebody's platform around the rocks
 evenings are pretty awesome too. #nofilter

 a tiny light house
 morning light is the best
 it's unusual to see no jellyfish close to the rocks
 me chatting with my other friend who came to Norway with us

 me and K next to Trolltunga. ps. I'm not pregnant
and that's K sitting on the tip of the rock. gave me chills. 

Snapshots from Dublin

Mushroom hunting // Grzybobranie

24 January 2014

My younger brother (age 23) is not a morning person. In October when I was in Poland one morning my mum shouted from downstairs: who's going mushroom picking? My brother was the first one downstairs, basket and a small knife in this hand, ready to go to the forest.

Another story: A couple of years ago I was having lunch with a bunch of people and someone asked me if it was true that mushroom picking is a national sport in Poland. I laughed and then said he was absolutely right. 

I remember my grandfather used to have a knife with a picture of two mushrooms on the handle. He used to say it was a magic knife which would point to the place where mushrooms grew as though it was a magnet. Us kids were over the moon to spot the mushrooms magically detected by the knife. 

I find it charming that "grzybobranie" (polish word for an outing to pick mushrooms) is such a thing in Poland. Whole families or retired men on rickety bikes go to their secret places in the local forests to gather mushrooms, then clean and peel them and either dry them for winter, make preserves or cook a delicious sauce or scrambled eggs. I myself don't have much patience to go mushroom hunting, but it's so satisfying when I do find a brown little hat poking through the moss. 

Anyway, here are the pictures from our mushroom hunting this year: 
^^ pretty but not edible
^^ we call those psiaki (free translation: dogs) - neither pretty not edible
 ^^ hello Mr Beetle
 ^^ this is what you do not want to see underneath the brown hat. not edible.
 ^^ that's what you want to see. edible.

 ^^ siblings
^ the lot we gathered that day. that's rather poor for a whole morning of gathering however small mushrooms are ideal for preserving as they fit nicely into jars and make for a nice bite-sized treat.

PS. I'm so behind in writing up of all the things from last year, but I'm slowly getting there. Have a good weekend everyone!