The tale of one blogger and four great holiday apartments

It’s fair to say that blogger, photographer and all-round jet setter Sherry Ott has always been something of a ground-breaker. True to form, she seized the mantle as the first official ‘GowithOh’ guest blogger in March, taking the concept of a spring break to a whole new level in the process.
First up to GowithOh as a guest blogger is globe-trotting Sherry Ott. We were so impressed by her story that we invited her to hit the road for us around Europe, visiting Rome and Venice before heading to Vienna and finally Berlin.

So who exactly is our nomadic friend?

Our Guest Blogger Sherry Ott

Back in 2006 Sherry  was in New York City. Despite her success she felt that something was missing. To escape what she thought was a temporary rut she decided to take a career break for a year to put things in perspective.a high-flying IT professional living

Six years and 50 countries later, she’s still going strong; a modern nomad. Nepal, Tanzania, Mongolia, Japan – you name it, chances are she’s been. All this without being able to speak a second language and being afraid of driving abroad. In fact, she’s even turned her passion for travel into a business, encouraging and teaching others how to take travelling career breaks.

 

In her own words

I learned to be truly alone, and I started to throw myself into things I loved…inspiring people through writing and photography. I became one with ambiguity never knowing where I would sleep the next month, what I would be doing, and what direction I may turn next.

1 month, 4 cities, 4 great holiday apartments

First stop on Sherry’s spring tour was Rome, before she hopscotched over to Venice, Vienna and finally Berlin. Although she’s equally at home in a hammock or tent, we put her up in a gorgeous GowithOh holiday apartment in each city, knowing how much she misses having a home of her own when travelling.

Roaming in Rome

Sherry's holiday apartment in Rome

 

There’s no doubt about it – Sherry kicked off in style. This spacious apartment, kitted out with Persian rugs and antique lampshades, is part of a historic building in the heart of Rome. Plush and opulent, it even boasts a grandfather clock.

Sherry loved the atmosphere of the local streets, the acres of space and, somewhat oddly, the fact that the apartment’s Wi-Fi connection came in the form of a cute little fluorescent cube. (Who doesn’t love cute little fluorescent cubes?)

 

Q. What expectations did you have of Rome before you arrived?

A. This was actually my fifth visit to Rome – I was last there four years ago. This time around, though, it was completely different, because I had my 18-year-old niece Bethany with me. It was her first time out of the States and I really wanted to let her set the pace for the trip. Luckily she chose somewhere I hadn’t seen before – the Vatican! I know it’s a star attraction but the thought of the queues had always turned me off in the past.

The other main things on Bethany’s hit list were to see the Colosseum and eat pasta. ‘Not a problem,’ I thought. I love learning about local food and had managed to find a food tour for the two of us to do.

Q. Any inside tips you can give us from the food tour?

A. The thing is, the best part was sort of a poisoned chalice. We were taught how to tell when Italian gelato is the real deal – basically, not the powdered stuff. It’s good to know but it means that it’s ruined me for all future travel to Italy. I want the proper stuff every time!

Q. The GowithOh followers really got into the spirit of things for your first city stop, and sent us lots of great tips on Twitter. Which ones did you particularly appreciate?

A. Well, the winning tip about visiting the Protestant Cemetery near Piramide was brilliant. I loved the place, and ended up taking a special photo of the ‘fallen angel’ sculpture over a grave, which was incredibly moving. Another one I really appreciated was to pick up your Coliseum ticket at the entrance to the Roman Forum instead of waiting in line at the Coliseum itself. The Forum line was long too, but not half as bad, so it saved us a lot of time.

Floating arround in Venice

palatial 3-bedroomed apartment in Venice

In Venice, Sherry collected the keys to a palatial 3-bedroomed apartment (just look at that four poster bed!). A mere 300 metres from St Mark’s Square, the building is set on a typical narrow Venetian street and surrounded by loads of shops and cafés.

Refurbished in 2011, the apartment has lots of finishing touches that all add to the elegance of the place. The roomy kitchen turned out to be perfect for the night Sherry had friends round for dinner. Prosecco, prosciutto, parmiggiano…just say when…

Walzing in Vienna

snazzy 1-bedroomed apartment

 

Moving on to Austria, it was time for a change of pace. This snazzy 1-bedroomed apartment is fully equipped for guests on the move – complete with flat-screen TV, DVD player, video, radio and Wi-Fi connection.

Modern and minimalist, the apartment suited Sherry down to the ground. Plus she got to eat lots of cake, which is always good.

Q. Vienna has a reputation for being a pristinely well-kept city. Would you agree with that?

A. Definitely. It was strange for me to go from Italy to Austria because even though it’s only a 4-5 hour train ride away, the two cultures are vastly different. In Vienna everything was well organized, on time, clean, people did what they are supposed to do, and things were very predictable.

Q. What were you most looking forward to before you got here?

A. Wiener Schnitzel! No, seriously. I always get excited about food.

Q. Had you tried Wiener Schnitzel before?

A. Not really, but as a kid growing up my parents would take us to more German restaurants. Actually, the reason I chose Vienna is because I read an article by Andrew McCarthy in the National Geographic talking about how he spent a week or so in Vienna and how he actually stayed in an apartment, and how great it was, talking about all the benefits of an apartment stay. He talked a lot about the coffee house culture and that was exactly what got me to go. His article is what got the pin on the map, quite frankly. That coffee house culture was probably the thing that I was most excited about and in turn is what I ended up doing the most. I didn’t know that you can get Wiener Schnitzel at coffee houses but it turns out you can!

Q. What surprised you during your stay in the city?

A. Hmm. How refined the city was, I guess…I felt like I had to be on my best behaviour! It was like really engaging my ‘proper’ side, because I knew that great composers came from there and so you kind of have that influx of the arts that was really nice to see. You know between the opera house and the symphony, the theatres…there’s a lot of history there in the arts, in literature and music so that was really interesting for me, because I hadn’t really appreciated that beforehand. Another thing that I really loved was the fact they offer a lot of stuff for very cheap prices, like getting in to the opera, touring the opera house, or showing operas and ballets outside on a big screen. What I love is that they make the arts really accessible to all, which I think says a lot for their culture.

Homecoming in Berlin

5th-floor Berlin apartment For the last leg of Sherry’s journey she said Hallo! to this 5th-floor Berlin apartment, located in the trendy Prenzlauer Berg district of the city. It’s surrounded by a load of great bars, restaurants, fancy boutiques and art galleries. Being able to get to places further afield wasn’t a problem for Sherry either, since there’s a tram stop right outside the front door.

In this last flat, Sherry was particularly taken with – wait for it – the heated towel rail. (Sometimes it’s the little things that count.)

 

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At GowithOh, we are an enthusiastic team of self-confessed Europhiles who are passionate about travel. We especially love the variety of city breaks possible in Europe, from the historic UNESCO heritage cities like Prague, to the more cosmopolitan beachside destinations like Barcelona. We love discovering the hidden gems in different cities and sharing them with our fans so everyone can benefit and enjoy the perfect city break in Europe.