Page 7 of Bellini Travel Blog Posts

North America » Mexico » Distrito Federal » Mexico City February 16th 2016

Flights were dirt cheap from Pittsburgh - this was a terrific winter getaway. We went to Lucha Libre. We saw the Pope. I ran lots in the wonderful city park. We took a day trip to see the ruins at Teotihuacan. The subway is the cheapest in the world; it's also fast and clean.... read more

North America » Canada » Quebec » Québec City November 16th 2015

Flights were dirt cheap from Pittsburgh. This was a pretty low season - the miserable weather had begun but was no different than Pittsburgh, really; however, the wintery landscape, with the toboggan slide near the Chateau and thigh deep snow on the wonderful Plains of Abraham, nor the views of the wide, frozen St. Lawrence River, nor the comparative coziness of the charming restaurants that look perfect for wool sweaters and brandy by the fire, had not yet begun. Still, we strolled around town leisurely (it's the perfect walking city), without worrying about the cold, and didn't have to share the streets with many tourists. It's also pretty good place to run, and the impressive staircases from the river to the park are a nice challenge. In the end, I'll always feel pain for the bearded ... read more
Rainy Day

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Sydney » The Rocks August 1st 2015

I actually traveled from New Zealand back to Australia before flying back to the States since all of my frequent flyer options were out of Sydney, but I've put this blog with my other Oz ones to keep everything organised. The airport train is a little more expensive than a shuttle, but it's fast and clean and avoids all the traffic. I stayed near Circular Quay (pronounced "key"), which is a prime location close to the ferries, the opera house, and bridge, at the YHA hostel that has a spectacular roof and not much else that is special. ... read more
View from YHA Sydney Harbour
Harbour bridge
Endeavour replica

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Christchurch July 29th 2015

I'd been hearing my entire trip that the centre of Christchurch is still a disaster area because of the earthquake they experienced over 5 years ago. The skyline now consists of hundreds of cranes and the sound of demolition and reconstruction is always in the background. Light tremors still shake the city, and you can feel and hear them pretty often if you sit still. But there are a few reasons to visit: Sights While most of the traditional sights have been destroyed, they've given rise to some new places worth seeing. The cathedral still hasn't been torn down and visitors can looks right into the ruined building. Just a five minute walk away is a giant cardboard replica with 187 empty chairs next to it, to represent everyone who died in the quake. Adaptation At ... read more
Container Mall
View from Skyline Circuit

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Lake Tekapo July 26th 2015

Unfortunately for the town of Tekapo, route 8 runs right through it, close to the lake, leaving little room for the town to develop gracefully. There is quite a bit of construction on the waterfront now and the town has some mediocre restaurants and a small, expensive grocery store. But the Mt. John loop made up for all this. It begins about a km or so from the town, close to the hot pools and the snow park cleverly built under the cold shadow of Mt. John. Taking the path along the water rather than the quick ascent through the pine forest, the icy trail rises slowly to incredible views of the intensely blue Lake Tekapo, with a backdrop of white backgrounds in the distance. The trail goes along the side of the mountain so once ... read more
Peninsula and blue
Dead pine forest
Beach and blue

My buddy Dan and I cancelled our second day in Wanaka and headed out to the highway to hitch a ride to Mt. Cook. The bus there is absurdly expensive (101 dollars for a three hour trip), so we had to figure out another way. We knew it would be difficult, since there were two of us and Mt. Cook is more of a resort than it is a town. Just when we were giving up hope (after an hour and a half) three French girls picked us up, and after telling them what we'd heard about it, decided to check it out for themselves and drove us all the way there. Captain Cook and Abel Tasman named half of the country after themselves, so the Tasman River runs near Mt. Cook, the tallest mountain in ... read more
Highest lake
Suspension bridge

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Wanaka July 25th 2015

I chose to go to Wanaka instead of to the party/ski town, Queenstown, but found that there isn't much reason to go to Wanaka in the winter unless you ski or if you have the proper equipment to summit Mt. Roy in snow. I'd already been told that so it was no surprise. The lake is nice but Tekapo is far better. I did a trail run along the lake for some nice views and then decided to get out of there the next day. I forgot to take any photos there.... read more

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Franz Josef July 23rd 2015

But if you're making the long drive down the West Coast, Franz Josef or Fox Glacier are reasonable stops to avoid driving all day. The hike to the base of the glacier is nice but heavily trafficked, since it's so easy. The town is quaint but there's not much to do. The Franz Josef Glacier looks incredible but you can't walk right up to it or pay a reasonable fee to walk on it on a tour that provides equipment. Because the glacier is quickly receding, the only way to do a tour is by taking an expensive helicopter that lands in a safer spot.... read more
Franz Josef Glacier

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » West Coast July 22nd 2015

The west coast of New Zealand is deceivingly long. The coastal views rival any in the world, but the land is barren and the towns are few and far between. It's perfect for campervan traveling but I've heard that hitchhiking there is difficult because there are so few cars. So instead, we opted to take a 12-hour long Intercity bus from Nelson, stop for two nights at Franz Josef, and continue on another bus 7 hours to Wanaka the next day. This is far longer than it needs to take. 40-minute stops at cafes, "comfort stops" every hour, and incessant, inane descriptions from the driver make it harder than it needs to be. The buses are comfortable and in the winter only half full. I had plenty of podcasts to listen to, but they were often ... read more

Basics: My buddy Dan and I completed about 3/4 of the Abel Tasman Track from Awaroa to the southern entrance of the track at Marahau. We spent one night at the Bark Bay hut and walked 4 hours the first day and 7 the second day. Walking conditions: Dan had arrived from the states the evening before, but regardless of his potential let lag, we wanted to get out there and start the tramp while the weather looked good. In mid-July the high temperature each day was around 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 Celcius), which made it possible to hike in shorts and a long sleeved shirt. Still, some sections of the track that see no sun were pretty chilly and I had to wear gloves at times. The trail is really well maintained and is wide ... read more
Awaroa Beach
Holes in rocks
Awaroa estuary from above

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