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Trip MY EUROPEAN ADVENTURE MY EUROPEAN ADVENTURE 26.04.2014 - 01.07.2014   A SOLO WOMAN TRAVELER WRITES AND PHOTOGRAPHS HER WAY AROUND ITALY AND... kathleen magpie girl (AU)
Australien Deutschland Griechenland Italien Kroatien ... und 2 mehr

MY EUROPEAN ADVENTURE

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A SOLO WOMAN TRAVELER WRITES AND PHOTOGRAPHS HER WAY AROUND ITALY AND MORE.

INTRODUCTION>
I'm a solo female traveler in my fifties and this blog was written during my first trip to Europe in 2014.
Not wanting to rush all over Europe with limited time in one place, I decided to concentrate my tour in Italy and southern Germany for 6 and a bit weeks. Most of my stays were three or more days in one town. Then after all that walking and touring by train bus and plane I enjoyed a 14night cruise of the Dalmation coast (Croatia) and Greek Islands. I will leave my itinerary as a surprise!

I do hope you enjoy reading my travel blog. My aim is to make this an interesting read, after all I tend to be a story teller...I enjoy writing and photography. I wanted to reveal for you the reader, how it feels to be here, and read some stories of the places I visited.

●This blog has over 50 posts. The first ones are Italy for 4 and a half weeks, then Bavaria, Salzburg and back to Venice which is another 3 weeks. Then a 2 week cruise to Easter Mediterranean- Croatia, Greece, Turkey, and Greek Islands.
Cruise posts are..
●poseidon adventures
●cruise living
●16/6 poisoden adventures
●19/6 life aboard ship
●25/6 the blue blue sea
and final posts are'
● 28/6 for the kids....not finished.
● 29/6 last days ...text not completed and still have pics to upload for this one.


NEWS

My final notes in Dubai on way home....
Hello I am now at dubai airport and that is all I can write...pics wont upload. I still have a few more stories to write, but they will have to wait until my return home. As we fly into the unknown no-one knows if we will arrive safely. But those fears dont plague me. I have had a wonderful time, and I feel healthy and very fit and I will never stop travelling. I love you all and hope to see you soon. Love from K ♡

Highlights from my trip while I was blogging-
★Hey my blog is featured on the main page under our favourites on www.mahangu.com....thanks so much guys!
★meeting lots of travelers who all want to read my blog, so thankyou for taking a look.
★my itinerary will be revealed as I go, as half of it Im making up as I go.
★a list of all accommodation I stayed are at POST 10

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Unfortunately comments can only be left if you have a facebook account, then they get posted below...I dont have FB, but if you are friends and family you will have received an email from me so you can send me an email re my blog if you wish to,
with love K
PLEASE NOTE.>THIS WORK , BOTH TEXT AND PHOTOS, IS COPYRIGHT PROTECTED AND BELONGS TO THE WRITER. NO PART MAY BE COPIED OR USED ELSEWHERE WITHOUT MY WRITTEN PERMISSION.

Means of Transport
Boot Bus / Truck Flugzeug Zug
  • 24Apr 2014

    1 MY ITINERARY 24.04.2014 Italien —

    Rome, Italien

    Beschreibung

    APRIL
    26...fly adelaide to dubai 10pm
    27...spend one day and one night in dubai
    28...ROMA /ROME (6 nights)

    MAY
    4...travel via naples to SORRENTO Campania(3 nights)
    7...POMPEI scavi (3nights)
    10..NAPOLI /NAPLES, Campania (3 nights)
    13- 19 a week in SICILIA/ SICILY....at these towns- taormina, milazzo, palermo
    20- 24 MONTECATINI TERME, tuscany (5nights)
    25-28 SIENA, tuscany(4 nights)
    29-31 FIRENZE/FLORENCE, tuscany (3 nights)

    JUNE
    1st, train travel all day into germany Garmischer Partenkirchen, Bavaria, Germany.
    2- 6, SCHWANGAU, Bavaria, Germany.
    6-11 SALZBURG, Austria
    12-14 VENIZIA/ Venice, italy.

    《 CRUISE ITINERARY 》
    week 1
    saturday 14 board ship, eat, unpack, eat. Sail away at 6pm
    sunday 15 1pm arrive dubrovnic, croatia
    monday 16 at sea
    tuesday 17 athens
    wednesday 18 kudanasi port, turkey,
    thursday 19 at sea
    friday 20 split, croatia.
    saturday 21...back to venice, stay in port....more sightseeing!

    Week 2 cruise itinerary
    sat 21 leave venice sail at 6pm
    Sunday22 day at sea
    Monday 23 corfu
    Tuesday 24.santorini
    wednesday 25 mykonos
    thursday 26 katakolon, greece
    friday 27 day at sea
    sat 28 morning disembark at venice...rush to station....fast train to roma
    sunday 29th morning free
    pm get plane to dubai almost 6 hour flight.
    monday 30th spend day in bed and pool at hotel in 40° day in dubai
    tuesday 1st july from 2am fly and day home. 13.5 hours from dubai.

    HELLO TO....
    thanks so much to all who posted comments and sent me emails during my trip, knowing someone was reading made it seem all worthwhile...here are some to share:
    ♥spend it, spoil it and enjoy it.
    ♥no not reading posts to the kids..they are not interested in archeology, but they look at the pics.
    ♥your pics and posts are getting better all the time..the humour you put in at times is very good
    ♥enjoy reading your blog..the post on amalfi was hilarious.



    So to all who are reading Im so glad YOU are sharing my travel tales..... as its taking me lots of work, and sometimes Im up till late at night writing. Uploading each photo takes sooo long.....zzz Kx

    Kommentare

  • 25Apr 2014

    2 im over the planning 25.04.2014 Australien —

    Adelaide, Australien

    Beschreibung

    Only a couple of weeks until I arrive in rome, and still have so much to do before I leave.
    I have spent 3 months of intensive planning..the resarching, the reading guide books, checking hotel reviews, booking accomodation and day tours. On an independant tour there is so much work to do, but im almost ready. The main bones of my trip are in place...I have a shedule with some room for flexibility, and I have somewhere to stay when I land. I will be ok.

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  • 27Apr 2014

    3 doubtful about dubai 27.04.2014 Vereinigte Arabische Emirate —

    Jumeirah Village, Dubai, Vereinigte Arabische Emirate

    Beschreibung

    I flew out of adelaide just after 10pm on Saturday 27th april 2014. I asked if there was a window seat thinking I could snuggle up in a corner with earplugs and mask on and sleep. Ha! The window was non existant and seats were next to the door right near the galley with light on all night and constant click clack of cupboards and people queing for the loo right in front of me.The seats in the centre are much darker. We had dinner and early in the morning some breakfast. After two movies my legs were aching so off walking I went. It was amusing to see people sleeping with their mouths open. So as not to disturb my room mates ended up in the back row with a man from iraq, and watched another 2 movies. Arriving at 5.30 and making my way through the huge airport, I was told not to get in that taxi, and they got a woman driver taxi for me. How thoughtful. I arrived at hotel at 6.30 am and left bags, till I could check in. Sat by the pool for a while, and then went for a walk to the metro, as trains are the only thing open. For a sunday it was very busy, people rushing off to work, and later found out that friday and saturday is the weekend.
    I got of at the dubai mall stop but as it was a long way off opening at 10am I decided upon a walk to the burj kafihira the tallest building. But I couldnt get there across all the roads and got a little lost amidst the concrete jungle. I walked for miles along a walkway to the mall and finally it was opened. This was the least of my choices for what to do here, but at least I ws walking and pushing myself through the jet lag. All I could afford was some things ata chemist....so went to look at the fish in the huge aquarium. Finally exhausted, I went to check in. My 5 star hotel assured me I had not paid and stood for amother 30minutes, trying to get the breakfast removed from my bill. I arrived to my room exhausted. Too tired to swim, too tired for amother outing and ot was so hot now.

    Dubai is a city for those who like the glamour and all things new. I dont. For me it was too much concrete and clay, and has no soul. The people are like ants busy at their work. To be fair I didnt give her a chance to reveal to me here delights. I would have liked to go to the souks ( markets ) and the old museum, but fatigue had me in its grip. Perhaps seeing more would change my mind, but im doubtful. I wouldnt be fussed if I never went back.

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  • 27Apr 2014

    4 doubtful about dubai 27.04.2014 Vereinigte Arabische Emirate —

    Jumeirah Village, Dubai, Vereinigte Arabische Emirate

    Beschreibung

    Wrote a whole story on dubai and I must not have saved it, for now it is lost in cyberspace....big airport, big city, big mall,
    tall buildings, high prices, smoggy and dusty, not a fine view.
    people busy like ants.
    I was so tired I didnt get out to see what I planned to, all that was open was the pool so say out there for a while, then went to the train, for a ride downtown to the new city....couldnt get any where near the tallest building, the burj..whatever...for the concrete, tar and clay..

    found my previous post on dubai so here are the pics.....

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  • 28Apr 2014

    5 not a true adventure? 28.04.2014 Italien —

    Municipio VIII, Rome, Italien

    Beschreibung

    When I was approaching rome on the plane I was thinking my blog is somewhat a misnomer...if I were having a true adventure I would land with no plans, no hotel, and in a true serendipidous way take things as they come. But I have been planning, booking, researching for many months. But when I was in dubai I checked the address for the convent I had booked, and discovered on their special login to your trip plan page, that I never read....there was a message for me dated february....sorry the room you booked and paid a deposit for is not available!!!

    At rome airport there was long queues to get through customs, and then get my bag, so I used the free wifi to find a room...just as I was making the booking my free 30 minutes ran out....luckily I read something that said accomodation bookings at airport...a few enquiries and I had an expensive room for €130 and also paid for my train ticket into rome with the same lady. Got the airport train that leaves right in the airport...you dont even have to go 8outside, and finally hours after my fellow passengers were resting at their hotel I jumped into a taxi....who pretended he was lost...and charged me an princely sum to get across the river. I was so busy gasping at the buildings he whizzed by, I knew what he was up to but was too tired to argue.

    My little room was pleasant in a double bed, and great helful staff at the hotel diplomatic. So exhausted I went to bed with only a cuppa soup packet found in my bag for my tea. I needed to be up early for my vatican day.
    Finally after all these months I had arrived in Roma, and the first day did indeeed feel as if I was on an adventure.

    Kommentare

  • 29Apr 2014

    6 TOP10 vatican day 29.04.2014

     

    Beschreibung

    The bus to vatican left from the hotel front door...yipee. I tried to pay, but the driver waved me on...they dont sell tickets on the buses...oops. Some other tourists told me to get off here, and I walked up the road past the long queue that had already formed. Looked at my new watch I bought in dubai duty free shop, and realised I was a bit early. It was 8.15 and my timed ticket entry purchased on the net was for 9am, so I ambled up to the gaurd and said I have an e ticket on my computer...he said show 9me..and I was in!. It took me about 20 minutes to get through security and then picked up my audio guide...so glad I got one of those....it really helped to explain all I was looking at, especially the art works and the significance of the work. I cant believe all those people outside queue for hours when they can pay €4 extra and buy online and go straight in.

    OMG as the young kids say...didnt realise this place was so big...the granduer, the money that has been spent, the value of these antiqiuties is priceless. My favourite rooms were PINACOTECA (the picture gallery) with the very old art works by van gough, raphael, and so many others. The most famous work by renaissnance painter Raphael, 'the transfigaration' is here ..when i saw it I gasped, and held my palm to my chest. Many were standing and staring at this work and the other 2 beside it. This was one of the few rooms in the museo that had a few seats, as many need to just sit and stare at it, which i did, finding relief to be off my legs for a few minutes. Measuring 4.05x 2.78 metres it is an oil on wood. He worked on this painting until his death in 1520. It is a blending of 2 paintings in one, and designed to be an alterpiece.

    Another interesting area is the Egyptian room and also the statues in the MUSEO PIO CLEMINTINO...this area is huge, now standing where there was an ancient roman church, but they pulled it down to build this area many centruries ago now....the pope of the time was dedicated to collecting great art pieces for the people of italy, so to fund it they ran a lottery, and the results are huge statues of roman emporers, greek gods, and and the geographic gallery where all the maps of each italian state was painted on the huge walls...some italian ladies and I was amused to notice the sicly map was ipside down, viewed from rome of course. On each map was a tiny church for every catholic church in the country....a magnificent work. I also thought the GALLERIA PIO V rooms and STANZA Di RAFFAELLO with artworks and wall and ceiling works by Raphael were superb. Large ancient fireplaces so big I could walk into them. The pope who once lived many hundeds of years ago in this apartment was not much liked by his successors, so it was never lived in again...hey, I would love to see where the current pope lives now. But he needs his privacy as we all do.

    I rushed through the long continous galleries trying hard not to stop and look and went to the sistina chapel first, and im glad I did as there was hardly anyone in there....words escape me...it was bigger than I thought. I sat there and listening to the audio guide at the history and meaning of Michaelangelo's frescos.
    What an amazing place....so many treasures....at 2.15 I decided on lunch at one of the cafeterias, had a nice boccacini salad, and a green tea, and a bounty bar. Kept my bread in bag for later on for something I wanted to do. Took over 20minutes to wait to be served...arggh. after lunch I went to the picture gallery and my jaw was hanging on the ground ...superb art works that once hung over alters, and massive tapestries big as my house.

    at 4.15 I decided to leave..yes that 7.5 hours i was in there, so I had to return to the front entry to return the audio guide, and then backtrack all the way through the huge crowds back through all those long galleries, and hordes of tour groups.....and back to the sistine chapel, for the 3rd time to get out by the short cut that leads to saint peters basillica....I read if you sneak out with a tour groip they let you out this way, so thats what I did....the crowds were so big, 1000s in there by afternoon, so glad I looked at all those galleries in the morning as I woulnt have got near them later in the day.....so then down some ancient marble stairs, and around the side and there i was on the front porch of st peters....I was at the entrance to the basillica, and I could not believe it, s beautiful inside...what an amazing place. I sat in a prayer area, one of the many alcoves on the sides and reflected on my day..the history, the antiques, the dead mumufied popes! And then action...it was 5pm and it was mass time....in came a procession of priests, and a service way in the front began...entry was granted to those in habit, wheelchairs, or if you were clutching some rosary beads. I had been sitting in the side prayer area next to a man who jumped up with me when we heard the bells ringing. I looked down at his rosary beads and said you go in...he looked at me ever so humble...yes....so he went to the gaurds...I stood at the railing to see if he got through, and he tirned to look for me.....he waved and had a huge smile on his face. Without my encouragement he would not have gone in, perhaps he didnt know if he was allowed.
    What an amazing place, and a wonderful day.
    I walked out onto the piazza and took out my bread and fed the holy pigeons, chatted to some USA tourists who asked me to take their photo and they were most impressed 7 was once a photographer,,,,,,and then headed home.
    Intending to go out to get a meal later once I hit the bedi could not get up....I havnt done so much walking since a 20 km walkathon in high school.....I was exhausted, but truly blessed at the opportunity to experience such a magnificent place and one of the top museums in the world.

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  • 30Apr 2014

    7 wednesday drama day 30.04.2014 Italien —

    Municipio VIII, Rome, Italien

    Beschreibung

    Lucky the hotel could put me up for 2 nights...I went downstairs on my first morning and as it was vatican day I knew I needed to stay here tonight....but I said the price is too much for me...ok so the6 have it to me for €90...lot cheaper than the voucher I got at airport....so come wednesday I had to check out....I booked one of the few hotels left the night before, and asked the reception to call for me as I had n8 emaol from them....they had no booking, even though I booked on there website.....I have come to learn that booking and even giving your credit card details is not a confirmed room....check out was noon so I had till then to find somewhere and move on....booking.com wouldnt allow me to book for that day must be as im in australia, it gives the date as tomorrow!!! So I made a booking till saturday at a cheap place over near termini station, left my bags at hotel and walked the whole way through old rome centre to find the hotel....they hadnt checked todays emails....they found my booking for tomorrow yesthey could take me tonight as well....it is a seedy one floor only place with a tiny room, a single bed, and a shower as big as a coffin. I missed the reviews on trip advisor saying there is a brothel downstairs and it had a rating of 18%. 7 was desperate....rome was so busy...along the walk there I asked at many hotels, yes for 2 nights not on weekend.....its a public holiday on thursday and everyone is coming to town. The only positive was that the little room was way in the back facing out to a rear courtyard, so no noise from the street. I complained at the rate, so I had to pay what I just booked on the net, but for wednesday that night she said €50. Oh my have I blown the budget this week already. So I had a bed. After missing 2 dinners I was now so hungry, so went to a local cafe for some sliced veal and a bowl of cold spinach...with lemon and oil...everything has oil. Then I found a bus at termini to take me to my old hotel, picked up my bags, and back to the new place, on a busy cramped bus standing both ways.....I had a new little home for 4 nights.
    I went to a little supermarkey and got some supplies, fruit and biscuits, and after the day I had I deserved a treat...white chocolate, and the most wonderful pistachio icecram I have ever eaten,,, yum...that was my tea.....I unpacked, told the german backpackers next door to be quiet as im going to bed now standing there in my pyjamas, and they actually shut up! I was asleep before I hit the pillow......zzzz

    I was pleasantly surprised despite the reviews on the net, the staff have been helpful, and to my delight had gluten free buns for my breakfast the next day. Im safe and ok.....its a real stress when you dont have somwhere to stay....♥

    Kommentare

  • 01May 2014

    8 day excursion to ostia antica 01.05.2014 Italien —

    Italien

    Beschreibung

    Thanks to my research on trip advisor, I knew exactly where to go for my day trip to ostia. I bought a day metro ticket and hopped aboard a train on the blue line to prymide station then I knew I had to change trains, to the lido line, but where was it.....then I remembered reading....go up the stairs to the other station....and there hidden behind to the right was san paolo station, so I said tren to ostia...si si they waved me on...as it was a public holiday today it was standing room only on both trains which was over an hour of standing...aghhh, then a long walk down past the old pine tree lined street to the scavi (ruins).

    Delighted to find that thursday is free entry day I paid the €2 for a map, and im glad I did...this place is huge...it covers an area of 600 acres, but later in the day I got to the end of the track to see that last part is closed off probably due to restoration works.
    Ostia was 2000 years ago and old port town bordered by the sea and the tiber river, but after a few centries of growth a wealth as a thriving port, the river changed its course, there was no water supply and the city had sewerage problems. Slowly people moved out and the buildings crumbled. Rediscovered early last centrury, now of archelogical interest, work began to save the ruins and excavations began. This place didnt have the dramas of pompeii and herculeum, rather it was an ancient roman town essential to rome that just died a natural death. The port moved to fumiciano further down the coast, and it is amusing to wander the old ruins and imagine old carts and horses down the volcanic paving stoned streets, and then look up to see the jumbo jets take off a few miles away.

    This is a big place, with many areas of interest down the many side roads, especially the ones seen with a new roof covering them, as this is an important part, probably with a mosaic tesallated tile floor still there after 2000 years...amazing! saw a sign going in about the castle being free entry until 11am but didnt even see a castle! I walked for miles and tooksome good pics by waiting until the people on the main roads crossed over out of view, so it looked as if the place was deserted. had a great day, on a beatiful spring sunny day, with some breeze in the afternoon as i knew it would being only a couple more kilometres from the sea. You could spend a few hours or a whole day here.....my tip is have a wee break down a side tree in the long weeds, because up at the cafeteria is a long queue for the only toilet block in the place. The other tip is take your own packed lunch, more long queues at the cafeteria. I sat on the weeds with my back against the wall of someones bedroom so long ago, or perhaps it was a shopfront. The museo has the last of the statues and findings of the area that were buried and not pilfered when the place was abandoned. I was surprised to read on the map that the building is original and the only one that is able to be in use today.
    its a great outing away from hectic rome for the day.......

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  • 03May 2014

    9 a picture in a book 03.05.2014 Italien —

    Italien

    Beschreibung

    In January 2014 I bought a book at the fryerstown antique fair, called a vision of roses by peter beales, rose expert and author. I had spent a busy day working at the fair, so I made a cup of tea and lay on my bed and the best gardens in the world came to me in pictures and dreams of where i would like to go. It was armchair travelling, but could I make it a real journey? There were 3 gardens written and photographed in Italy, so as I was going to Italy soon I read about the wonderful romantic garden of NINFA at Latina, south of Rome. Further research on the net, and I discovered the garden was open on the weekend after I flew into Roma....I just had to go!

    And I am so glad I did. I went the night before to the termini station to purchase a ticket and check the times, as I had to meet up with a shuttle bus at the cisterna di latina station to the garden....it was the only way I would be able to get there. Upon alighting the train I spotted a couple on the platform who I recognised as garden lovers...going to Ninfa? Yes how did you know, they said? There is the shuttle I said, my keen eyes had already surveyed the area...you are observant the lady said. We chatted on the bus as it drove past sweet little farm houses and rows of orchards with plum trees, cows, and towering cliffs in the distance. I saw a farmhouse I could have moved into tomorrow...it was all so green, so lush so country, so different than my hot parched town.

    We trundled off the bus €2.50 and after paying our ticket €10 then into of course, a queue of about 60 people. You are not allowed to just amble through this garden as you please...its guided tours only, so someone went off to organise a tour for the party of 5 english language group who were on the bus. Time for a toilette break....where there is a toilet in italy you go...I had no idea how big this place was, and it was a long train ride from roma. Then we were asked to come in ahead of the queue..hooray. We had an excellent guide, from Cuba, who astounded me by knowing the name of almost every rose, tree and shrub in the place. I told her of my special interest in roses...ok she said I will show them to you, and so she did. She even asked my opinion as to what this one is...we think it to be....or even..., but what do you think? At one rose I said well it does look a lot like golden showers, so a few minutes later along the track, i was stunned when she stopped another tour group and spoke to the guide in italian and told the huge crowd I was a rose expert from australia, and she thinks it is definatly golden showers growing on the old church ruin wall...thankyou grazie...this rose had been perplexing them for years but not even peter beales had sorted this one...to be truthful I had no idea what rose it was....all I said was it looks a lot like the one at my friends house, and you need to research catalogues from the 1920s to see what yellow climbing roses were for sale then, and that may narrow it down....all this was being translated
    to the large group of 20 or so, and the ever grateful boss lady.

    Now enough about me, and back to the garden. In medeavial times this area was called the village of the nymph, as it as believed nymphs lived in the montains and forests. And it is still as magical today. There was a huge wall that protected the town, some of the ruins still remain, with the plants clambering over things are left to there natural state. The owner in recent years was the artist Leila Caetani who planted the garden as we see q.today. She designed it in a romantic rambling way, not like the italianate gardens with their form and straight lines. She left the garden to a foundation who now manage it with a staff of tour guides, a bookshop and plant shop and 7 gardeners. It is only open on the first weekend of the month from april to november.

    The garden is situated at the base of the lepini mountains, and the soil is very fertile with a ph balance of zero..thats garden speak for perfect...the plants grow wild and free, with ample rainfall, a river and lake, and protection from winds from the mountain. It was simply beautiful. There are no other words. Ok I have thought of another one...enchanting.
    Click on my pics so you can see them larger..the thumbnails wont be enough. In fact a picture on the net or in a rose book just doesnt show enough....as I said my farwells to our guide I thanked her for making a dream of mine come true.

    so then I went into the other garden had my thermos and some snacks, took some pics and strolled along to the exit, where they had closed up shop and the masses were leaving. The last shuttlebus for siesta had gone...the next one 2 hours from now! I asked a few people if they were going near the station, and some very kind people took me into cistina di latina...grazie raphael and maria! And to the surprise of the english couple and others waiting for the train, they said how did you get here? I got a lift. You are amazing the elderly english woman said doing all this travel on your own. It was all garden chat and sharing photos on the train back to rome by 2.30 pm....what a perfect day! It was a picture in a book come alive before my eyes.

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  • 03May 2014

    10 hotels I stayed at 03.05.2014 Italien —

    Municipio VIII, Rome, Italien

    Beschreibung

    ACCOMODATION LIST OF WHERE I STAYED THIS TRIP/ and would I stay there again?

    DUBAI...Al Ghurair by Rotana....Stay there again? NO
    ROME...Hotel Diplomatic....Stay there again? YES
    ROME...Hotel Casali....stay again...NO
    SORRENTO....Hotel Savoia...stay again....MAYBE
    POMPEI SCAVI...villa franca...moved to villa diomede
    ....stay again...NO
    NAPLES.....6small rooms hostel....stay again? YES
    TAORMINA, SICILY. Hotel Elios....stay again? YES
    MILAZZO, SICILY. IL Vicolo B&B
    actually apartments! Stay again? YES
    PALERMO, People B&B..1 night. YES
    MONTECATINI TERME, Hotel Cappelli, stay again? YES
    SIENA airbnb.com...private home accomodation... stay again....No I would stay in the old town near the bus station
    FLORENCE, archi rossi hostel ....stay again? YES
    Hotel Marsicocci came de monte station, stay again? NO
    GARMISCHER PARTENKIRCHEN, hostel2962, Bavaria, germany...stay again? YES
    SCHWANGAU, Bavaria, Hotel Das Schwastein Hotel....stay again? YES
    SALZBURG, Austria, doktor ? Stay again
    Jahn Pension, 2 blocks from station...stay again? YES
    VENICE! Casa de san angelo..ex monestary, now hotel. Stay again? YES very handy walk to station
    ROME, last night...hotel marsala, termini station. Stay again? NO
    DUBAI, fortune plaza hotel...stay again? YES close to airport, good for a stopover

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  • 04May 2014

    11 TERMINI STATION 04.05.2014 Italien —

    Municipio VIII, Rome, Italien

    Beschreibung

    This station is in the centre of Roma, its a busy and huge place. The fast trains, the regionale trains, and intercity IC trains all come through here. They arrive on the ground floor or level 1. The leonardo express direct from the airport arrives here also, after a qiick 31 minute trip. The doors down to the train platform at the airport are right in the airport itself. There are cheaper ways into the city, such as the airport bus, but after a long flight best to pay the fastest way. Not many people know there are exists to the side of termini....but you have to go out along the way where the level one trains arrive, not out into the main hall. VIa marsala is to the north side, and via G.Giolitti is the exit to the south side. Exiting via the main entrance is useful if you want a taxi, however it pays to tell you driver where you want to go, and say direct....mine took me on a little tour and charged me lots more to go across the river, as he was pretending he was lost. This is a main route to the vatican ..he was not lost.

    The local metro around roma trains also connect here at termini, but they leave far underground. The escaltors and stairs are under the main departures board, or as you exit from the intercity trains. The blue line is on LG2 next one down from ground and for the red, (actually the signs look more orange to me) are on the LG3 level. The best way is to go down in a lift. To go into the historical part such as to see the spanish steps and walk to local sights you must go to the platform marked BATTISTINI (thats the end of the line stop) and get off at SPAGNA for spanish steps.....to go back to termini and the hotels you need the direction of ANAGNINA.

    I found the whole place so confusing that, I actually avoided the trains altogether and used the buses more. The bus station is right out front of termini, and at the side there is a round booth and they telll you which bus to get on and you need to ask where does it leave from. Some leave from the stops at bus station and some leave on the side of termini on the street. There is a tram stop there also with a large map..the tram lines are in green. I got the tram down to see the churches of saint giovanna and san clemente, then walked up and around the coleseo and onto the very impressive vittoria emanuel monument....ending my afternoon outing at a the very hectic 5.45 pm...getting on a bus was like cramming even more sardines in the tin. At this time of day no-one even bothers to use a ticket...I used a bus a few times without a ticket to get back up to termini. You just go to any bus stop and look at the numbers for buses that say termini in the list of stops...the one you are standing at will be in a rectangle, so you can see how far it is. Let me tell you standing in the rain with my legs so aching and not being able to get onto one bus in about 10 is hard, yet they come every few minutes. You learn to do as the romans do, run and jump on where ever they stop, and cram on a push your way through.

    the trains are ok in the day time but I would nog attempt them in the peak hour traffic. And yes I was approached by some nutters at termini. When I was using the machine to buy my ticket to go tolatina to see the garden a ruffled haired woman tried to tell me about the special deal on weekends, and the hobos come and check the change slots, and there is the man all dressed in 'uniform' with fake plastic badges offering information...he doesnt work there at all....the only official information is if you queue up.

    one morning after buying my day ticket at the newstand on the right hand entry corner I found a guide book and some papers. I picked it up, and later discovered it was a womans trentalia intercity ticket for return trip and all her info for the weekend...a €49 ticket...ouch! I tried to leave it at the info counter as apparently there is no lost and found and they didnt want it...they said take a number...huh...I just left it there and walked off.

    Termini was my first european train station, its not pretty just practical, and so busy, with people pulling cases and going to and fro. Its the hub of the country. And im glad im out of there!

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  • 04May 2014

    12 roamin' around rome 04.05.2014 Italien —

    Municipio VIII, Rome, Italien

    Beschreibung

    This is a bit late....yes i have left roma, but alas I left to soon ...
    ahh roaming around rome....amonsgt the crowds, the homeless with a little hut made of cardboard and plastic, and then the queues...its best just to walk everywhere and have a central hotel.
    so much of my sightseeing time was wasted in rome, due to hotel problems, and didnt get to see as much as I wanted to. Also it was a public holiday on the thursday 1st of may, so many things were closed. Also holiday in other parts of europe so all came to rome it seems for a long weekend. There was also some rain, and that kept me from my prefered choices.....if you are going to rome dont count the arrival or the next day...too tired....then you need at least a week after that.. actually I could have stayed a month and not run out of things to do.....

    here is some photos of my roaming around the streets and a few places I went to with some comments.....hope you like them.
    I loved rome!

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  • 04May 2014

    13 fascinating churches 04.05.2014 Italien —

    Municipio VIII, Rome, Italien

    Beschreibung

    It seems there is a church in rome every few blocks....some have a rich history, and each has a story to tell, of the patron saint of that church, and the buildings themselves so beautifully embellished in marble and gold... some have ancient roman era ruins beneath them, some have burial crypts and catacombs. Above all they are holy places and despite some loudmouth tourists who have no respect, they offer some respite and stillness from the busy outside world, where I sit and reflect on all that I have and how very fortunate I am to be in this land.
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    RECORD OF CHURCHES I VISITED IN ITALY:
    ¤Sistina cappella...sistine chapel in vatican museums
    ¤ Basillica San Pietro ...Saint Peters Cathederal in vatican city
    ¤Basillica San Giovanni in Latero...the popes' church at Piazza S Giovanni (pics below)
    ¤ Basillica di San Clemente al laterano amazing church! ...near coleseo south. This church was built on top of an ancient roman era church, the archelogical site down underground can be visited for a few €. Its dark and musty. Next to the church is a roman house of a few rooms with a gushing underground spring flowing under the city...just fascinating! Worth a visit.
    ¤ Basillica di Santa Maria sopra Minerva 1370 gothic ...at piazza 8della minerva rome, which has an unusual statue of an elephant in the square...the tomb of st catherine of siena is located beneath the altar. Beautiful inside with blue ceilings with gold stars.
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    ¤Chiesa e Chiosttro San Francesco....church and cloister st. Francis in sorrento monestary dates to 8th C and church 15th C
    ¤Chiesa del Rosario...church of the rosary in sorrento, built over the remains of a pagan temple, this church was built in 310 under constantine the great. Sweet little church.
    ¤Basillica di San Antonio in sorrento...origins in 10C dedicated to st andrew. In the crypt there are many paintings of local sailors.
    ¤Cathedral in sorrento...15th C archbishops throne in marble 1573 wooden marquetry by sorrentine craftsmen...silver plaques in cases in rooms downstairs....in memory of the dead?
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  • 04May 2014

    14 sweet sorrento 04.05.2014 Italien —

    Sorrento Peninsula, Italien

    Beschreibung

    Can you here me singing sweet sorrento moon by tina arena? Ah and how sweet it is.....left rome on a sunday morning on the fast train, and what a way to go...loved it. I went to the tourist office and purchased a campania arte carte -a tourist card for discounts and transport, then trundled off to the taxi queue. It was a nice day so it seemed fitting I arrive in sorrento by ferry, but the taxi took me to the cruise terminal, €10 so after some enquiries I found the ferries along further. Hooray a ferry in 30minutes. €12.30

    Arriving at Sorrento by ferry, you are faced with a huge cliff in front off you...how am I going to get up there? Soon a way up the foreshore and following who got off my boat, I saw a sign to the asciendo ( lift ) for €1...everything it italy costs money!! Of course I was intending to arrive by train and had selected a hotel handy and close to the station....hmmm not close to the cliff...these are the $500 and up hotels. Finally after a long walk along cobblestones and some development of RSI in my wrists, I literally fell into the chair at the hotel reception. I am...yes we know, we are waiting for you, the young woman said, and then the housemaid came with me to explain the procedure to get to my room....the building next door, use the card key to get in, then into the tiny 1940s lift to which she gave me some 5 cent pieces to operate, closing 2 sets of doors behind us. Then some more secured doors and onto my room....ahh number 25 this should be good...a 7 nice and relaxing....and it was just as I asked for....a quiet room way at the back. It was by now about 3pm, and I was so exhasted I went nowhere else. For most of the time it was peaceful, except for the man and his wife in the apartment above me....as soon as he came home at 9pm he would yell abuse at her. Finally by 11pm he must have fell asleep. And all was quiet then. This building also had some private apartments in them hence the noise. But for the most part this was the best place I had stayed inso far. My little balcony door had a roller shutter to keep out the light and noise.

    The owner lady told me the next morning of some ideas of things to do. I told her my legs were aching so badly I cannot walk far, so she suggested the sightseeing big red bus....perfect. I choose the route that went out into the country around the local towns on the peninsula. I rugged up with my jacket hat and a shawl over my shoulders. I was going to stop at one place but the bus did not return for 2 hours and most things would have closed in the afternoon I decided against it. It was just what i needed to have a rest and some entertainment at the same time.....beautiful scenery! In the afternoon I strolled around sorrento, bought some nougat and visited some of the many churches. So tired I picked up some mortadella, cheese and olives at the supermarket and crashed on my bed watched tv in italian.

    The next day was my full day bus tour of the Amalfi Coast I booked from home. I had to be at the coach depot at 7.50 am, having surveyed my route the evening before after the churches, I knew which way to sprint. We were off up the winding road out of town past apartments with washing flapping on the side walls, and lemons and olives growing on every spare section of land. STOP! Yes I did notice that police car speeding past a few minutes ago....the bus driver was on his mobile phone....after 15 minutes edging along he decided to back into someones driveway and turn around....what! These are narrow roads with a cliff over the side with a metre stone wall and thats all.....he did it....we all clapped! Giovanni our guide said the road to positano was completely blocked...the SITA buses had gone on strike and blocked the road. We had to go the long way around to get to amalfi, but unfortunately we would not be able to visit positano today.....ah well thats the nature of travelling...but who cared? It was just brilliant....the views the scenery, the ocean, the little villages. So beautiful. At amalfi we went on a boat trip to view the coast for some great photos, and lunch at a ristoranti in scala then onto ravello. Our guide kept the fun rolling with lots of jokes and singing some songs for us.

    I would have liked to visit the museo, but no time....the dramas and business and so much walking in rome had taken their toll on me by the time I got to sorrento.....it is such a beautiful place, no wonder so many want to come here for their weddings...and i came at a good time, as apparently in summer its like a circus, so many people partying in the streets, and very noisy. My advise for a visit here is come for a holiday instead, enjoy the good retaurants and stay at a good quality hotel with a pool and out of
    the main centre of town....you can always catch the bus, as long as they are not on strike.

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  • 07May 2014

    15 things are not always as they seem 07.05.2014 Italien —

    Pompei, Italien

    Beschreibung

    There is a well known australian numerologist ...no not me, another one...haha.....cant recall his name, but have his book at home. He refuses to stay in any hotel room with a 5 vibration, after he and his family narrowly escaping a fire....yes 5 does rule fire, but its not that that makes me look anxiously for the number on the key tag at every hotel checkin. The number 5 brings any of these: movement, speed, change and the unexpected....plans get changed, and often there is problems with sleep or things of concern with the body as 5 is a physical number. So it is with trepidation when checking into villa franca in pompeii that I saw 104 (total 5 ) on the key.....uh oh....

    I had got a bargain room online in the annexe across the railway track, the reviews were awful, but I thought the building rattling until 11pm would be amusing, so booked the 99 euro for 3 nights, when I was still back in australia. Guiseppe the owner said now I am going to move you to another place next door, we manage that place also...it was actually 2 doors down the street at villa diomende. Wow I thought this is rather special. What a bathroom with a villeroy and boch sink, and fresh citrus tiles I could almost smell them, or perhaps it was the so clean disinfecant. Pepe left me as I was glaring at the modern furniture and the huge quuen bed all for me. I didnt get it...does he expect me to pay extra for this place? So I sat on my bed, too confused to unpack. Then I bounced on the bed....it didnt move a millimetre. I lay on the bed. This brought back memories of bad nights in a hotel in Darejeerling in India....how can they put such an awful bed in nice modern hotel....and where everyone comes back from the ruins exhausted and just want to lie down. Ah well I had removed my egg crate foam topper on my mattress at home in preparation for the trip...I will have to hack it. Later back at villa franca for dinner in the back yard prepared by pepes mama and papa, I met a sprighly young couple in their 60s from strathalbyn in SA, who were down in the annexe....our bed is great they chirped...they had MY bed. After the meal I asked pepe about the room...it is not what I booked...I am ojly to pay 99 euro for my stay. He didnt understand what the fuss was about, and said oh we have all these archelogical students here for a month and they make so much noise so I moved them all to the annexe. I thought you would be much more comfortable in the nice quiet room....wrong!

    Yes it was quiet, but the bed caused me so much angst. On the second night I had to fold the spare blanket into thirds and sleep like princess and the pea. For those who are not knowledgable in fairy tales, the princess made them bring in one mattress after another until she got comfortable.... Then the ants moved in...yes into the bed, tiny sugar ants. And the flies as there was no screen, and the wasps. The door of 104 was at a 90degree angle to the door to reception and the breakfast room...no-one was there at night but early in the morning I was awoken to the arrival of senora and the clanging of plates and the heating up of the coffee machine. But I had to go for breakie at villa franca so it was lots of going to and fro for 3 days. Lots of walking each day down to the station, and way back up home again at days end.
    Finally checkout morning....I only paid the 99 euro, and they charged me less for my dinner as being gluten free there was not that much I ate. I was worn out when I left. And happy to move on.
    I pray there are no more 5 rooms to cope with...if there is, I think I will ask if I can swap.

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  • 08May 2014

    16 small packages are often better 08.05.2014 Italien —

    Ercolano, Italien

    Beschreibung

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
    Im so glad I made the effort to go to the Herculeaneum ruins at the town of Ercalano between Naples and Pompeii. It is a small site, easily covered in 3 hours. It is compact but has all that pompeii has and in many ways much more. Herculeaneum was a seaside town and the arched buildings at the edge of the site used to be right at the sea. It wasnt covered in the ash and the hot gases as a t pompei, but a huge slide of volcanic material and mud, sliding down the hill toward the sea. I felt it was so much more interesting.

    An easy outing from either naples or sorrento I stepped off the train and walked down the main street, on the route that the lava mud went all those years ago. As the town was encased in mud all these years, it was much better preserved than pompei, even wooden fittings were preserved as no air or weather could get to them.
    After my visit I went to the opolontis villa just one stop before the pompei scavi site. This was a huge wealthy family home...the family of the second wife of emporer nero. It has frescoes and large rooms and a huge pool, now filled with dirt.
    I had a great day visiting these sites, and looking back now that I have seen them all, I didnt really need to see pompei as its all covered at these and I feel in a more compact and a lot easier on the legs to see the smaller sites.....but hindsight is just experience.

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  • 09May 2014

    17 7.29pm and Ive taken to my bed 09.05.2014 Italien —

    Pompei, Italien

    Beschreibung

    Pompeii Day! Top 10 itinerary day.
    I have just crawled into bed after a luke warm shower...no hot water here, and put lashings of himalayan herbals pain balm on my legs and lower back...I bought the jar in India over 5 years ago but it still works well...wish I had brought my elmore oil from Australia...note to self, it always pays to bring your favourite things when travelling. I could hardly walk back the 1 km to my hotel after leaving the ruins site, and had to get special permissio from the man directing tourists to the long way out, for me to go through the way I came in, so I didnt have to walk as far...so I left after after 5 and a half hours at the site....past the train station, past the camping ground, up the hill walking on the road as the footpath (few of them in Italy) was taken up by huge tree roots and light posts. Slowly I walked in baby steps...then past hotel villa dei misteri where I had wanted to stay, then with too much delay looking at others on the internet over a period of days the last room went...she who hesitates walks the furthest...and on past the exclusive white hotel ( thats not its real name) where many huge coaches full of tourists stay and then I turn left into via diomede (name of street) to my abode. ..the furthest one from the ruins entrance! Ah mamma mia...

    After my day out yesterday to herculeaneum at the town of ercalano, and villa opolontis nearby here, I was really not up to big day of walking, and was somewhat let down by what I saw today. Oh yes it is interesting, and impressive, and yes it is of great archelogical significance to the world etc....blah blah, however here are my gripes, as I lie here in agony.....

    It is so big an area and they expect people to walk all over the place and then to discover at the end of a long road it is blocked off at the end, then you have to walk all the way back. Would it be too much trouble to put a no through road sign at the start?Another thing is there were so many houses of special interest but they are locked. Some are having works done and there are workers inside, thats ok, I understand it is a place of ongoing restoration and study, however many houses and areas were just gated up. It really was a whole lot of walking and effort for not much to see. Many people were complaining and grumbling as they walked a long way to see a certain house and it was closed. Just when i was giving up and heading towards the direction to leave, I saw a tour group had entered a fine house. The guide had the keys and I snuck in after them and listen and walked around. This house had some frescoes still on the walls and some small ornamental statues cornice work around the walls, which was something different. To think these whole rooms were completely covered and have been excavated to reveal these wonders....amazing.

    Most people get lost, or rather lose their bearings. I found it hard comprehend the map as the building numbers are marked on the top of the building- and they can be large areas, so you dont know which street is the entrance is.

    So on a positive note, my best choices for the day were the basillica, the 2 theatres #43 44 45, ampitheatre, house #52, and the scabiane terme #40 which I left till last as a did the southern side first then to lunch and then some of the north, so then went to the baths in the middle as I was leaving. When I was in there I noticed some people went on oblivious to something really good, so I played rescuer and tried to tell them they missed the marble bath tub in room way in the back...they could not understand a word I was saying, so they followed me, and then they saw it and were saying thankyou in spanish?

    On tripadvisor forums there is much discussion as to which is better herculenaeum or pompeii? In my opinion i would say my visit yesterday to the herculeaneum site with ample to travel to see the villa opilontis was more bang for your buck so to speak. I liked the site of the sea wall and the wharves where the sea once was and there was the same to see there but in a smaller more compacts site. In fact now that I have had 3 ruins visits I would say I enjoyed my day out at Ostia Antica near Rome much more. Or perhaps it was because my mood was fresh and invigorated, and now after less than 2 weeks of walking I am all ruined out already. So one nights rest and tomorrow its time to move on.
    Farewell Pompeii. GRAZIE.

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  • 11May 2014

    18 napoli e` la vita! 11.05.2014 Italien —

    Naples, Italien

    Beschreibung

    When i was walking around the pompei ruins I saw a sign talking about pompei being a living place...rubbish....its dead and gone, no-one lives there anymore but some stray dogs... so I left old pompei...dead errie place that it is and arrived in naples, half full of anxiety as there are so many horror stories about naples, and the other half utterly exhasted. Got a taxi to my new abode and he tried to charge me more then on the meter at 6.30...he said bags madam....I said you didnt bloody well touch my bags I lifted them. Looked in my wallet..no change...I thrust a €10 note into hos handand said thats all, and walked off very quickly. It could have been worse...when I checked in, I was told a woman who came here last week by taxi was charged €50 for a short trip, she refused so he call ihe cops who detained her for 1.5 hours. I have not got any more taxis in naples. The bus is my friend, and im right behind via toledo a main road with plenty of transport. I purchased the campania arte card, for a 3 day pass for 3 museum entries and more discounts, plus 3 days of all public transport.

    I aimed to have a variety of experiences on my trip so have organised many different types of accomodation, and this is the first hostel I have ever stayed in in my life. As I lay on my bed that afternoon I arrived I thought my room is like a prison cell with a huge double door, a window that you cant see out of, and if you could it only looks out into a small courtyard, 4 stories high. There wasnt even a picture on the wall to look at. I was imagining what it would be like to be locked up, to be a prisoner... dont know why I was thinking that. My cell...errr room has a lock you have to turn 3 times to get in...its high security here also..there is a lock on all doors, and a huge iron door on the small narrow street. I went out for a walk, enjoying my freedom and there must be no place in the world to make you feel alive and a part of life than mixing with the locals in napoli. There is a little market area nearby...off I went with map in hand ...got lost...went the wrong direction...no matter, I came across a fabulous piazza with a famous statue and two magnificent churches. Then I found the food, I bought vegies and strawberries, a blood orange and a pear, a pair of bananas and some cherries. There were street fishmongers with fresh octupus swimming about in a tub, and many fish....I said small one indicating with my hands. She told me in sign language and italian I had to clean it....the grimace on my face said no I cant do that so she put the pesci into a plastic bag and hurled it though the air at the man who did the fish cleaning. I had to wait my turn. When he was done he said ok...I shook my head...so I mimicked the chopping off the neck...my fish was done €2.50. Wandering along I found a small grocer with shelves stocked to the ceiling with biscuits and all sorts of goodies. A young man helped me find something senza glutine...(gluten free) he waved a packet of coconut macaroons at me....the original macaroon.YUM €1.50

    On Sunday morning the sound of the church bells rang all over the neighbourhood, echoing down the little courtyard above my pillow. I read my art carde guide book and suddenly bounded out of bed....I saw something that looked so interesting..I had to go. I went downtown to the tunnel borbonico....finally found the place on a tiny dead end lane, and made it for the noon english tour....I was the only english person there and free with my art card...wow like a private tour..this place was amazing..underground we went to the 17th century aquaduct, a Bourban tunnel made for a king and was also used as an air raid shelter and by the military. It was absolutely fascinating.
    I paraded on the promenade because everyone else was, then came home cooked a nice meal while the kitchen was free, before
    the kids got home later and then meandered around the local churches.....absolutely beautiful. They were supposed to be closed to tourists but sunday afernoon services had begun and well the door was open....every church so different from the other, and each one so much history and artworks inside....one has a lovely garden but was closed so must go back....I sat in nearby piazza dante with a cup of hot chips...they give you sate zticks to eat them with cos hands get so dirsty here in grimy grotty naples....but here is life...people meet in the piazza, kiss amd hug, they play ball games while washing fls above in the late eveming breeze....pompei is dead, but here in napoli they are so very alive.

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  • 12May 2014

    19 museos galore 12.05.2014 Italien —

    Naples, Italien

    Beschreibung

    Monday was museum day...but first I had to go an see the garden at the nearby church santa chiara that I missed on my sunday afternoon stroll...as it was to be open from 10-2. So off I went thinking it would just take 15minutes.....it was delightful...the cloisters where the nuns have lived since the year 1340. In this year it was home to 200 nuns and by the end of the 16th century over 600 lived there, so you can imagine it was very large. The rule of Saint Clair was to live in seperation and with self suffiecency. The maolica tiles decorated the garden and low seats which we are now understandably not allowed to sit upon. So much for 15 minutes...nothing here in Italy takes 15 minutes. Apart from the cloistered garden there was a small museo, and some archelogical digs out back. Simply beautiful, and I got some inspirations for my own garden.

    So after over an hour there and dodging all the groups of noisy school kids who take up the WHOLE walkway and make so much NOISE....off I was to the main reason I came to Naples...the nationale archelogical museo, which contains all the good stuff excavated from pompei and herculeum where I had been some days before...the building is huge, but it seems it is not all open to the public...I had seen it all in about 2.5 hours but I skipped throuh fairly quickly. The Farnese collection was the philanthropic work of the farnese family which resulted in a fine collection of many early sculptures and other artifacts, who purchased much of the works in the gallery that bears their name. Then i saw all the small items from the ruins..see pics. Most of the egyptian area of the museo was closed off, never mind. Then up to the first floor to see the mosaics from the ruins....now I was happy. To go to pompei and miss all of this is like smelling a fresh cake somewhere and not being able to eat it...not a good analogy perhaps! How superb....it really completed my trip to the camapnia region. Just to think all thise items are almost 2000 years old.

    THen I was out into the fresh air and still plenty of time, so I hopped on a bus and went up to the capidimonte museo...I wasnt planning to go there, but as it was just up the road and had time, off I went.....gobbsmacked again...took a few pics for you.

    So thats 3 museos in one day..whew! Was going to make it 4 as the next one was open until 8pm, but the weather turned cool and at 5pm its so busy on the streets, so heading back to my neighborhood and got a yucky dinner in a nearby ristoranti. And refused to pay the total showing him all the gristle and fat on my veal scallopine, which was actually a slab of pork...I gave him €10 and ran off....I really will get into trouble one day....

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  • 13May 2014

    20 Noi Vivi 13.05.2014 Italien —

    Naples, Italien

    Beschreibung

    Like a monkey in my backpack, anxiety accompanied me on my arrival in naples. I had heard and read so many horror stories and then was told a pickpocket story on the train from pompei, so was a little nervous. I tried to shake him off but with every scooter that whizzed by on those narrow streets and lanes my heart beat a little faster, and I clutched my over the shoulder bag a little tighter. But is it not so that the things you fear or are not looking forward to usually work out to be the absolute best andamazing experience. Naples put on a good show for me. I just cant say enough about how rich in wealth, history and life she is. So different than rome. Rome is proper, and has an image to uphold. Naples just gets on with survival, and notches up another year under her belt. I really needed more time here...alas I didnt get to any of the islands, wanted to go to ishia and also the royal palace at caserta, both day trips. Being there was akin to falling in love, you want to learn a little more, and long for the next encounter. This is what happened to Darian, a young woman from Alberta, Canada who came upon Naples and now has a part time job at the hostel, and lives there. So for now she stays. Hey there girl! She told me of her longing to travel, and I said it sounds like you have some 5s in your numbers. So on a quiet sunday night she , Tom from Iran and I sat and I breifly did her chart..sure enough a 5 pinnacle, just as I have now, but my time has come later in life for travel and adventure, hers is now. How wonderful it was to see the hostel with all the people from many lands, the sweet French girl who asked me about rome and had no idea where to stay in a few days time, and the two girls from the Netherlands who sat eating bread and jam in their pyjamas at 10am on monday morning, spluttering and coughing their germs all over the place...we are tired, they told me ..we are just going to hang out here today and rest. Im not the only one! It was good for me to stay at the hostel, cruddy as it was. I will admit to pangs of ageism at times, not against oldies, but the gen Ys, thinking they are useless and want everything on a plate...but meeting these people makes me admire their sense of spirit and adventure.

    On my last day I checked out at 11am but left my bag for a few hours and went to palzzo reale, that I missed the day before, and once again I was absolutely in awe of the wealth and opulance of days gone by. The interior decoration to make it fit for royalty began in 1611 and the place is full of art and locks and marble, amd views out over the bay of naples....magnifico! Then it was off to the coral museo, but in my excitement forgot I was supposed to go there first as it closed at 1pm...I still havnt got used to things closing in the afternoon. People just lock up and go home for 3 hours or more. Then there was search for loo episode, where the stupid dunny at a station with a coin in the slot and the door pops open jobs, wouldnt work for me but took my money, and it ended up costing me 70cents...thats over a dollar folks!

    I ambled up via toledo toward the hostel for the last time, and finally after four days the church on the square at my street was open...a quick visit, sublime and so old... so very much to see here. Naples has so many museos, but not just anitiques and art, there is even a plastic art museo, childhood museo with over 1500 toys and games, science and natural history, maritime, astronomy, church museos, and a religious art museo, and more! So many collections from the philanthropic trusts of an ient wealthy noblemen, whose benevolence allows us to view these magnificent treasures. Thankyou!

    Naples once was the centre of Italy, with kings, palaces, foreign invasions, wars, earthquakes and bombings. I was simply astounded by what this city has to offer the visitor. But more than a tourist destination she is home to so many people who after such a rich history still are united and survive. To quote the youngman who scratched these words on the wall of the underground aquaducts, and returned two years ago, now an old man who cried at his memories of living in naples..."noi vivi.....we are still alive".....and I am too. I survived naples, and leave so grateful to her for sharing her gifts of history, splendour, warm people and the best ruby blood oranges in the world.

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  • 14May 2014

    21 my friend, my suitcase 14.05.2014 Italien —

    Taormina, Italien

    Beschreibung

    On tuesday afternoon after a morning of viewing the gorgeous palace by the waterfront and more walking, I made my way to the Napoli Centrale Stazione to locate the aeroporto bus. Took me ages to find it. I went to the aeroporto early as dark clouds were forming over Napoli and didnt want to be out in the rain. And my new destination is sicily for a week. The flight was quick only an hour, and when we flew over the volcano mount etna still covered partly in snow, I gasped and the sicilians nearby laughed. I managed to jump up and grab my trusty new samsung computer from the locker just in time to get a pic. It looked so serene, you wouldnt think it is an active volcano, and still causes damage having killed some tourists in 1979 who just happened to be standing too close. At this point, I was so glad I changed my mind and didnt get the over 9 hour journey by train from Naples. What a lovely way to arrive seeing that view- unforgettable.

    As I walked to the baggage carousel that psychic girl in my head said "your bag is not there". I stood and watched and waited, then everyone was gone and I was still standing there when the board read 'delivery completed'...in english no less! So then I moved on to the lost bag desk. The lady came with me to look again, then forms to fill in and lots of mucking around. Suddenly I remembered I timed the flight to make the last bus at 8pm to Taormina another town north of Catania airporto where I was to be staying. It had just gone 8pm, so I rushed bagless outside to the bus area. But the men standing there shook their heads....I had just gone....maybe you can get a train they said....quick get on that bus into the city...paid my one euro and ran....which was easier without pulling a bag. Got to the train station after screaming children and their feral parents had my nerves in a tangle. All info booths at the station were closed but one, with a man taking forever to book a ticket to milan...I cant wait. I knocked on another one, they peered through the closed blind, and seeing my desperation they talked to me....yes...go to the machine....ahh those dreaded machines....ok punch in destination...select train time...a list appeared, as I tried to work out what time it was now in the 24 hour clock...I selected the next train...yikes thats in 5 minutes.....the machine swallowed my five euro note....printing ticket...waiting for ticket...grabbed ticket and ran off...madam!....man behind me gave me my change for my €3.40 ticket....went out on the platform and there it was....3 platforms over, down the steps through the tunnel and up some more steps. As soon as I boarded it took off...if I had my bag I would have missed it, carrying my bag up all those stairs....I had made it.....I was on my way to Taormina. it was now 8.45 pm and dark, and I had no drink, and no dinner in sight.

    The overhead message said train was due in Messina at 11.30 and I knew Taormina is about half way there. There was nothing to do but sit there and stress out. Had some GF snacks on the plane and they made me so thirsty, but I had no water or no food...all my supplies were in my trunk. Oh my bag....did I miss looking for it when that man picked up his bag and the handle broke and the bag went flying, and he went as red as a beetroot. Maybe someone nicked it when I had my back turning assisting him? Where are my tablets...ah in my handbag, only because I just took them from the hostel frig earlier....I examined all assets at hand....wearing one overshirt on my long sleeve t-shirt, coat in my back pack. One comb and a nail file....all my travel docs and planning book, one small empty thermos, and that was about it. Soon I will be jumping in the taxi and heading to my hotel, and to a nice comfy bed. The train rocked along, and most people got off as it stopped at every stop along the coast. I was utterly exhausted.

    The only soul at Giardania-Naxos Station was a Dad waiting to pick up his teenage daughter. They quickly jumped in the car and scooted off leaving me there in the dark, with no one about. There were no taxis. Now I knew from my research that the worst way to arrive Taormina was by train as this fabulous resort town ,the playground of Europe's jet set was 5 kms away and way way up on the hill on top of a cliff. There was no alternative....

    As I walked along the main road, cars zoomed by sometimes getting too close for comfort so on the bends I ran before another car came along. I was tossing up which would be more dangerous....hitching a ride or walking along the side of a cliff...hmmm I trudged on with each step going higher and higher. The night was so dark and below me now the black sea with the waves crashing on the rocks below....it looked very scary. I felt like I was in a Wuthering Heights movie with the wind blowing, and the darkness about me. I must have walked about 3 kms and was very dizzy and stressed when finally civalisation....a very expensive resort hotel....I went in, and 2 women dressed in suits attended me, I was almost in tears as I asked them to phone me a taxi and I offered to pay....I must have looked a wreck, with a sweaty brow, and tears down my cheeks, and aching in so much pain....its ok they said....I went out onto the road expecting one to come from town.
    After a few minutes a luxury private car came, so I asked him how much to go to Hotel Elios, my humble abode up on the hill. €15....what! To go 2 kms...I checked my wallet. I had enough- only 15 euro and some coins left. I sat back into the leather oh so comfy seats for the last 2 kms, having spent 3 hours to get only 50kms. I had finally made it. Reception was still open....they were expecting me. earlier...did you manage to get me a room I requested. You have a nice room madam, opening to the terrace.....ok. thanks, the manger said it will take days to find my bag....up in the tiny lift I went. A lovely room with newly done bathroom. I flung open the doors to the terrace and walked out into the dark night, now way past 10.30pm. And there I was standing on the top of the world with all the sparkling lights below of the streets and hotels. It was so pretty. I could see the lights on the highway so far in the distance, and where I had been on the train and walked all that way just a short time ago.

    Closing the door on the night and the days troubles, I knew I needs to relax. I had made it, and I was safe. I guzzled tap water, then brushed my teeth with a towel and went to bed in the shirt I was wearing. What a day. I was so very exhausted. A morning spent walking Naples, a flight across the ocean and a volcano. It was all too much excitement for one day. I wanted my bag, my personal things, my stuff from home, my slippers, my new key chain of my patron saint! Your bag is your friend when you travel. Its your link to home, its your stuff that gets you by and what you rely on. It was a restless night, but I was here and I was grateful to be safe.

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  • 15May 2014

    22 purple 15.05.2014 Italien —

    Italien

    Beschreibung

    My first morning in Taormina I was understandably down. I pulled up the shutter and flung open my door onto the main terrace for the hotel up on the 4th floor. Most apartments and hotels have a little terrace spot up high away from the world. And I had the only room that opened on to it. I stepped out and saw etna still with a little snow which will soon gone until next winter. I was standing here in this incredible spot, that I had so looked forward to, yet all I could see was purple..the colour of my bag. I was hungry after having no tea, and arriving here at 10.15 last night. I washed my jocks, sat them on a deck chair in the bright morning sun and went down to piano 2, to the breakfast room. Then went back to my room to wash my long sleeve t shirt with the compliemtary shampoo. So today I will wear my long sleeve travel shirt and my jacket. My undies dried quickly in the morning sun, much to the disgust of senora cleaning lady who moved the chair to sweep the terrace. Soon after I headed out with fresh knickers, map in hand in search of a toothbrush and comfort food, and a Mary Poppins attitude of well lets make the best of things.

    Oh Taormina is so enchanting! I can see why the upper crust come here to stay and play. And the gorgeous shops along the Corso Umberto..the main drag, reflected their budget, and not mine. The stone paved street is closed to traffic and so narrow and crammed with tourists. Many buildings from the 1600s are still there. The whole place is a picture with potted geraniums and petunias. Found a market at the end of town up many steps, and purchased socks and pistachios. Then a tiny supermarket, for other essentials, GF snacks and biccies, fruit box juice drinks. Then I needed a good meal, so went to a more suited to my budget ristoranti than the ones on the tourist strip. Would have been nice to sit there on the main street and people watch the plain janes from England, dressed in their mums daggy hand me downs, and unwashed hair, but I wasn't in the mood. Found a nice place closer to my hotel for minestrone soup and a funghi risotto...yum yum. At the table next to me were some UK gals, one of which had also a friend who was M.I.A. But I"M with british airways she exclaimed! Yes her suitcase was gone also. We consoled each other...(read have a whinge), but at least she knew her friend had gone on a little tour to milan, and was on its way to sicily. Who knows where my friend is..stolen or sidetracked? Then back to the hotel to check my emails for news. NOTHING. I couldnt use mt tablet computer for very long, as the charger was in the bag. It was mid afternoon, and just wasnt in the mood to go out again. By 5 pm I sent the baggage services at the catania aeroporto an email...any news of my bag? An hour later she called the hotel. Yes we have found your bag...it was here all along out the back!!! Do you want to come and get it?...err, NO! please send it by the courier asap. Oh Ok we will probably send it tomorrow afternoon.
    Anyone know any italian swear words?

    I couldnt use the computer to book any more hotels in sicily, so have no plans after saturday when I leave here. How I miss all my things. My girl gave me a bon voyage gift of a hot water heater that sits in your mug....mawahh another night without a camomile tea. And these floors are so cold to walk on- I miss my slippers. And I cant blog! I had a fruit box juice and my GF wafers for tea, and then to bed. Soon at last I will get my friend "PURPLE" back ...thats her name, so she was off my mind. I needed some sleep. I had two very big days ahead.

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  • 16May 2014

    23 day trippers 16.05.2014 Italien —

    Agrigento, Italien

    Beschreibung

    Sicily is a very big island. And there are some very interesting places to see, most of them remote, so a car is best. For those who are using public transport and the #@% ₩?×!!?*~¿ airport, we need to use the services of the day excusions, as they are called here. I call them bus tours. Luckily I had researched some tours back home and made some notes, and booked them in naples. Travelling with this mini tablet helps make things a little easier. All the hotels I choose have wi fi included. To find a route and what transport is available I use www.rome2rio.com. its so useful. Thanks goodness I had booked my day tours before I arrived in Sicily.

    The first day was a tour to siracruse, south eastern side of Sicily. We had a morning pitstop at a servo on the autostrade, where I ordered a hot chocolate in a paper cup. It was so thick, dark and strong the spoon almost stood up in the chocolate. Then at our first stop...the archelogical park which was, after my time visiting ostia, and the vesuvius region ruins, a real letdown. The huge greek theatre was covered in wooden seating and the stage arena filled in with some sort of gravel in readiness for the summer evening concerts. All over Italy I see those groups of day trippers with their little ear phones listening to the crackling voiced guide, running after a pink umberella held up high....and at an extra sum of 2 euro....how I hate those groups....when they stop they hog the whole path. Ughh now I had become one of those day trippers. I much prefer ambling along on my own getting lost, taking photos, chatting to people who come along

    So then into town of siracruse and to ortigyia island which is an extension of the town crossing a bridge only. This is the historic part which was originally greek domain. The piazza was wonderful. We went into the cathederal, and this was yet another magnificent church that originally was a greek temple, then when christianity came they built the current church over it keeping the greek columns at the side. Had lunch with a retired UK couple who were on the bus trip, who were friendly and chatty. A huge lunch, I orded an omlette antipasta, which I thought was going to be tidbits with squares of omlette, but it was a massive mushroom ham and cheese job, and I also ordered a insalata...salad with smoked swordfish and tuna. I realised antipasta means entree, not like the antipasta plates we get at italian restaurants at home. As we rolled on down the highway home I thought gee I could have done this myself for only 10 or 12 euro by train to syracuse for a day outing and given the rocks a miss...ah well. The bus ride was nice. Bus left 8am, Home at hotel at 6.15pm.....ah you're bag she has arrived the manager greeted me on my arrival, and there was purple waiting for me in my room. The damp washing still inside that refused to dry in my damp hostel in the damp weather in naples. Ah clean clothes, slippers, it was like chatting to an old friend...thank goodness my girl allowed me to keep my pj's in my bag during the final selections on bag packing day...its been so cool and I like snuggling into my pyjamas after a long day...a cuppa chamomile at last, and early to bed, as its an early start to do it all again tomorrow. With cameras charged, and finally some fresh clothes I was set for a busy day ahead.

    The huge double decker coach I had yesterday pulled into the bus station just as I did at 6.30 am. ...its a bit of a walk to the bus station, and if I hadnt stopped to take photos of the stray cats in the early morning sun waiting for a feed of milk, I would have made better time. Whew! Im not into early morning runs.....not at anytime actually. Once again we made our way down the winding road of many hairy hairpin bends, with fantastic views out over the bay, and of mount etna. Cameras were clicking as most dont have such good views from their hotel as I do. Cars have to back up to allow the huge bus to negotiate the bends. It was a long way to Agrigento, to see the UNESCO world heritage site of "The Valley of the Temples", a misnomer as they are not in a valley. Todays was the main reason I came to Sicily- to see this majestic anceint wonder. The greek temples to worship Apollo, Zuess and others were placed high on a hill. Sicily has a fascinating history, so we are back in the greek era here. Thank goodness there is now a road up to the top. There are 7 in all, but were to visit 4...funny I can only recall 3. They were amazing and some still well preserved...see pics below.

    Then off down to the beachside cafe and restaurant for lunch, but I had my own little picnic. I had to run down to the deli last night for some supplies of mortadella and a tomato, because after spending at least €50 on yesterdays trip was a little too much. So I sat on a plastic bag on the damp sand and ate my lunch. Others followed suit. I sat and watched a large storm forming to the west, yet on the north eastern side it was blue sky. I took some great photos of the approaching storm. We got wet running to the bus where everyone had left their jackets, and brollys!!! With the air con on we soon dried off and we settled back for the afternoon's ancient delights.

    The second attraction for the day was the "Villa Romana del Casale" near the town of Piaza Amerina in the middle of nowhere. At first I baulked at the €14 entry ticket, but when I saw what was inside, I was certainly pleased to see they are putting our money to good work, having enclosed the entire complex with a roof to protect this gem of ancient roman life. This was an extremely wealthy man who lived here in this 6000 square foot house. It even had its own church and a terme ( baths) for a dip and massage. The trust organisation has also have built walkways over the top of the rooms so we dont trample our boots all over the precious roman relics and mosaic floors. It is the mosaics that this place is so famous for. Each room told a story of roman life, or folklore. We wer'nt allowed to take photos, but every good reporter manages to get a pic somehow, with no flash...shhh. I took so long looking at the exhibits with some fellow bus trippers, I didnt get much time to look at the large number of stalls back in the carpark. I managed to grab a book on the place, and a lovely pottery tile with the number of my house. This was a very worthwhile day trip and I would never have been able to get to these places on my own. A lovely drive though the country at days end into valleys passing farms with men coming home from working in the vegetable fields. All the autumn crops are in. Then back onto the highway north.


    I gave up one of my weeks at another destination on this trip to be able come to Sicily to see all this. It meant knocking one thing or maybe two off my must do top 10 list, but that is the nature of travel. Somethings entice you, and seeing as I was in the area...well Naples is not that far.....I came, and a few days more yet to see some more....I am so glad I came to Sicily. It truly is precious. But if you come get a car, and go for a jaunt in the country, and try to avoid the day trippers.

    Today with a third blister popping up on my foot, I arrived at slow pace to my hotel room at 8.15pm..and its checkout in the morning and I have nowhere to go. I needed to consider my options, and get online and book a room, for tomorrow its time to move on.

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  • 18May 2014

    24 comings and goings 18.05.2014 Italien —

    Milazzo, Italien

    Beschreibung

    Those of you who know me know I hate goodbyes. Same goes for travelling. When I arrive in a new town there is so much to do to orientate myself...study the map, how far to here, where is a shop, where is the bus, where is a restaurant. And in my little room, with my junk spread out all over the place, because I actually do need access to almost everything in there, I have just got settled, and I have to pack it all up again. It takes an hour, with a quick shower. Sometimes longer if I have to boil the mug two times to make a thermos for my ongoing journey.
    I was sad to leave Taormina, as I really didnt get to see much of the place. I so needed a day on rest after my arrival. Didnt go into one church. Didnt get time to go to the villa communale...the park, which I have just read now after Im long gone, is the best little garden in Sicily...it was on the same street I was. Yes im shaking my head in disbelief. Even walked past it a couple of times. All that useless wasted energy on worrying about my bag, and I could have see that beautiful garden...

    So on Saturday I packed it all up, to be at that train station way down the hill by 10.45 to get 2 trains to my new destination. I took all my packed bags to breakfast, and sat there enjoying a second cup of tea. Better check the bus timetable to get down the hill. Popped into recepetion down on ground floor and there is a bus at 10.45...is there an earlier one? Yes at 9.45...but thats in a few minutes...I will miss it....oh no they are always late...go now, says the manager....so I bolted up 2 floors in the tiny hotel lift just big enough for one, closing 2 doors, and grabbed my bags, from my room. Then back to the lift and in only a few seconds someone else was using the it! Finally im out and racing down the street...goodbye cats who live under the broken old car...I stood there alone.at the bus stop. It was way past quatrer to. the hour... Sometimes I forget Im in the country, and this is the weekend, so not many services as in the city. In Rome a bus came along every 2 minutes....just as I was going to go find a taxi to get to the only train until this evening, along came the bus....a big blue one that means he is going from town to town in sicily. Stazione? Si...and he pulled a lever so the baggage hold opened....everyone on board had put their bags right at the front! Down the winding hill for the last time, and along the familiar road I had walked along in dark on my arrival. At the station, I assisted some oldies from UK who wanted to go to messina for a few hours...but were unsure if they could get back...I really should be a travel agent. I got them all sorted and we all boarded the train together....I had to wait an hour for a connecting train to milazzo, so took some pics of the station and ambled around. Then onto a new town, and new direction. And why had I come here?

    Ahh Milazzo. This little gem of a place is the porto for all the ferries to the Aeolian Islands, a most scenic part of Sicily. So that was my choice...the other option was a flower festival way down south at Noto near syracruse, in the other direction, which I would have loved to see, however it was too difficult to get to without a car, so I decided for some island excitement. I had found the accommodation place at last minute, on the net the night before. It was a bit of a walk to get to Vila Ill Vicchio. Stop at a deli on the way for mortadella (thats the only deli meat I know the name, of ) besides procuittio of so I order that for a change, and I point to the cheeses and say swiss! And then I find the street of the apartments, and a new hello to the delightful Christina, the owner who carries my bag up 2 flights of steps asking me in Italian...what the hec have you got in here? I booked a B and B but this placed is grande..(large)..a 2 bedroom apartment that could sleep 7 . I realise having just traversed the entire width of the peninsula one block away is the beach, ....where is my familia? says Chrisina, who like most people I meet cant believe I am travelling alone. Like Goldilocks I test all the beds in the casa, and settle on a single in the master bedroom, with the kids room for my bag and a dressing room as its closer to the bathroom. I eat and relax on the terrace, and do some washing....its lovely here. So tomorrow its back down to the porto to go on an island ferry tour.....thats sounds like fun doesnt it?

    By late afternoon I felt the pangs of a bladder infection coming on....wont go into details, but by morning Im sure and know I had to get antibiotics and guess what today is? Sunday. And Sunday in Italy equates to everything is closed day..... tapped in all the relevant questions as to doctor etc, into my samsung translator app, and wrote down the italian phrases, then ventured downstairs....Senora who was doing breakfast couldnt understand me so she called the boss told me there would be no doctor open today, but he can see a chemist open from his business down at the port....so after breaky another loo break, and off I go in search of a solution to yet another problem for the week. The chemist is happy to help and, Im relieved that one can buy antibiotics over the counter, which is not allowed in Australia. €8.20 and I stop for some nougat and a peach juice on way home. The weather is cold and for the first time since naples I have my jumper on...the chemist tried to cheer me by telling me it wouldn't have been a good day for the islands anyway...the sea she is too rough. There is no way I could have gone, So thats been my weekend getaway....comings and goings......and not been anywhere. At least Im in a comfortable place and I walk out onto the terrace and hear the church bells from the piazza on next block...they have rung 3 times today, and in a manner that slowly descends to a final beat of 2 at the end. Perhaps I should go over now and say a prayer to get me through....It has been a tough week here in sicily. The missing the bus at the airport, the missing bag, missing the gardens, and churches, missing out going to the islands. So much wasted time. Im literally worn out, and have only just finished week 3, and have 6 more to go. This is such a big adventure for me.

    Many people cant stand this type of travel, all the comings and goings, the packing up and moving on. Some like the UK ladies on my bus trip the other day, who were staying in Taormina were sharing their Europe tips with me. They were fascinated with me, or rather the fact Im away so long and also alone, and gadding about from one place to another. They were asking me many questions....Oh no one said, shaking her head. I never go away for more than 2 or 3 weeks at a time....I have a good friend in Australia, but my husband wont go with me, its too far, as her voice trailed off in thought......she knows she will never get there.

    I really liked staying here in this place, but due to my health I didnt enjoy all Milazzo has to offer. By the next day I felt a little better so managed a walk to the beach one block away. Then over to the church and the supermarket for treats to cheer me. I found a packaged minestrone soup that was easy to heat up in my little kitchen. The kitchen became my hang out for the weekend, as I couldnt get the TV to work and the wifi only worked in the kitchen. So with the UTI on the mend, I packed again, and made my back to the train station once more.

    "for my part I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travels sake. The great affair is to move" Robert Louis Stevenson.

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  • 19May 2014

    25 arevederchi sicilia 19.05.2014 Italien —

    Palermo, Italien

    Beschreibung

    I read the reviews last night of the place I was staying in milazzo, and was surprised some didnt like it. Some must be just rooms only, so dont know why I was given the top floor 2 bedroom apartment...I had the penthouse..haha...actually staying there was a gift. I had no idea I was going to have all those conveniences, and it was good to be able to have a table to sit at and a stove, so it turned out well as I was too unwell so had to stay in. I left this morning at 10, to walk down to the porto to find the bus to the station. As I left I thought gosh I must do at least one thing while I am here...so I went into my local church, where they rung the bells 5 times yesterday. It was lovely, and quite big inside. The train €10.40 was a 3 hour journey to Palermo, and it was crowded. Thank goodness I had a seat. Lots of coughing and cold left over from winter...I wont be surprised if I end up with a cold this trip with someone blowing their germs on me. I crossed over the top of the island and for most of the journey the train was mere metres from the sea.

    I found a bargain room on booking.com with share bathroom in a small apartment B and B only 2 blocks from the station. Only 25 euro which makes it the cheapest place I have stayed so far have I will have to go early tomorrow so needed to be close to transport. I wrote this place down weeks ago when I was thinking I would stay here longer and it was going to cost €50 a night, so must have been a special on for this single room, with this wee single squeeky bed I'm on now. So five and a half hours later after leaving one place I arrive at another, and only a couple of hours to look at the town, so went off to the direction of the orto botanico...the botanic garden...€5 what! I refused to pay so went off and looked at a couple of churches instead...one was €4 which I dont mind paying for as they have to pay for the restoration work...this one went back to the Norman times, and was dated 1191....and another one which was free but very decorative inside. Palermo is a grimy town, with dog poo every few metres, and even bitumen on some roads which is the first place i have seen it. In the older parts there were cobblestones. Lots of africans in my area, probabaly because we are closer to africa here than most of the rest of italy....and people loitering around, so didnt want to be out after dark. There was no food places open...only a few drinks venues, and pizza places which being gluten free I cant eat....went to one drinks place and they said yes we can make risotto...they spoke no english but were most obliging to their only customer who want to eat so early...6.30pm! €10 for a sausage and tomato risotto, and a salad, with the biggest chewiest crunchy olives I have ever eaten...they tasted like the fruit that they are, so different than the marinated soggy ones in coles. I tell you they were so big, I had to take two bites and chew before putting the rest in my mouth. They were multi bene!
    I just love to stroll around italian streets, window shopping and looking at life. Old men standing chatting on the street who dont move when they are blocking the whole path. Young boy fallen and cut his leg on the stone street, and crying with blood dripping down leg, and papa running to him. Dogs running and playing in the square that had grass, but not one child in sight. Teenage girl sitting on her boyfriends motor bike back to front while he stands with lots of kissing going on. Shops that sell strange things like one that has thread and yarn, another has canvas and bundles of rope, and of course back in milazzo I saw a shope full of the staues of the virgin Maria, in every size you like.
    This afternoon I found a wonderful bright shop full of pots and urns and multi coloured tiles, ones that form a pattern if you buy a set, and sets of wonderful bowls....too heavy for my already to heavy bag....I will just go in and look.....ok I will just buy 1 small light thing....oh and also one small bowl.....something to remind me off sicily....just as I went to pay I saw a poster of northern africa with some souvenir glasses of tunisia....what! These are imported goods. Thought I was getting some authentic sicilian ceramics. And thats all for my small outing in palermo...no time tosee the main attractions, like the turkish baths and the museums. This is my last night in Sicily...gosh when I asked some advice on tripadvisor they were right it certainly is a big place and you need more than I week. But im so grateful I saw the heritage listed sites and the most superb taormina.
    arevederchi sicily! Grazie. X

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  • 21May 2014

    26 breathe... 21.05.2014 Italien —

    Montecatini Terme, Italien

    Beschreibung

    When I moved to the country where I now live in Australia, someone said to me, the first thing you will notice is the fresh air, but only when you go down to the city then you will realise how much a city stinks. And they were right. I was right in the centre of palermo, and when I went for a stroll that evening the pollution from the traffic speeding by was making me cough. If I ever go there again I will stay further out. I was glad to leave. Sicily was really a lot of hard work. Would have been better to take a tour and be driven around, to look out the window and relax. Now I planned my next leg of my journey, because I knew all I had done for 3 weeks would have been tough going for me, and I would need by now, somwhere a little calmer, somewhere in the country, somewhere I could slow down and breathe...

    Have you guessed? I got a plane out of palermo to florence, via rome airport, then got a bus to the town where I will stay for 5 nights. YES I am in Tuscany. The place I have longed to come for so long... I chose the town of Montecatini Terme as a base to relax a spell and to see some of the country. And it is everything I dreamed it would be. I also chose this town because it has good transport links, a train into florence, and many buses. I got lost outside of florence airport, looking for the bus to this town so had to wait about an hour and a half on a main highway with more pollution choking me. Finally I was on my way, and arrived here early evening. As I found my way up the slight incline to my abode l noticed many hotel guests sitting out on the front porches sipping drinks, and thought to myself I never get to do that...sit down and relax. But here I must for this is the town of relaxation. Any place in Italy that has the word "terme" in it means baths. You see them at the ruins as back thousands of years ago, going to the pool to dip and have massage, and sit and socialise with congenial friends is what the terme was all about, and nothing has changed much now. Except the price! The natural thermal spas here in montecatini terme have always been here, only now things are a bit more modernised with a menu from the theraputic to the silly like a chocolate massage. People come all over Europe to relax here, and there are many hotels.

    As I went down to breakfast rather late, I saw some hotel guests sitting out at the courtyard writing postcards, and smoking, so I thought thats why I selected this place as it had a lovely outdoor area, so out I went. The area is bathed in orange blossom, and a magnificent jasmine in full flower trained across a long wire support. I sat away from the smoke, and breathed in the fragrance. What a wonderful way to start the day!

    So yesterday was a leisure day. I planned and organised my time here, washed some clothes, sorted out my problems with cleaning senora. When I arrived here in my room it was all locked up and some cleaning product was burning my eyes, and it stunk. This translater app is so handy....I wrote it all down for her in Italian, and while I was at it, requested a soft pillow with no rocks in it like these ones I have. She thought it so amusing she came back later with some little shampoos for me. I have a budget room so maybe thats why I didnt get shampoos. Anyway, I digress.....

    I strolled around town, had a gelati, and later came back to hotel to wait for evening. At 7.40pm I walked to the funucular, to get the 8pm ride up the hill to montecatini alto....the top of the hill. On trip advisor they say this is the best time to go. This heritage cable car takes you for €7 return was so much fun, and took about 10 minutes to reach the top. Then I walked out onto the viewing platform......and as always so many places here in Italy take my breath away. What perfect timing. The sun was just about to set....the view was beautiful. Imagine it on a hot summer night. Above the view over the funicular I could see an old church...i wonder if it is open....but as i walked my psychic friend said no go this way, in the opposite direction.. up higher along the cobbled streets. And there was another church. I have never been to a church so high up on a hill. It had an amaxing ancient clock tower, and whats that....the doors are open...with some signs up....so in Iwent...I was completely alone, with classical music playing, and a fantastic photographic exhibition. The photos were all now and then of the village on the hill, I was thrilled.
    Then I wandered back down a little into the piazza for some dinner. I had a pork roast with potatoes, a salad, and a spring water orange drink. As i approached the funicular the town below was all lit up with sparkling lights......I just stood there and breathed......sweet tuscany......you are so feesh and clean. I got the 9.30 funicular back down and walked to my hotel which was not far. Many people about strolling around and eating at cafes. I passed a grand hotel, with huge coach buses at the side....
    I had a great day and slept like a log on my new pillow.
    beune notte!

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  • 23May 2014

    27 the day the earth moved 23.05.2014

    Carrara

    Beschreibung

    No not an eathquake..lol (thats net lingo for funny haha)
    Today was something different, as I took a day excusion to the carrara marble quarries, pisa and lucca. And what a fabulous day out it was. Went with www.mytours.it but there was only 3 of us so we joined the pisa full day group, dropped them off and then we were off to the carrara quarries.

    I had no idea this place was on such a large scale. The marble mountains spread for 50 kms, and is owned by a company of 8 or was it 10 families!!! And the earth moves here...they have dug and carved their way through montains for hundreds of years. The largest heaviest single piece of maro was cut for mussolinis grave.....cant recall the weight, but it was huge....

    The whole district survives and operates on the mining, transportation, selling, and servicing the mines. They need water and power to operate the equipment, so wires run all over the place. We left our small maybe an 18 seat bus as far we could go and then went in a 4WD with out guide Mykho and the quarry guide Paulo who was expertly driving around the winding roads all over the mountain. As we climbed we went into the low foggy cloud and could see nothing. Mykho made a joke and said, and here we have a fine panorama of the the town...and all we could see in front of us was a cloud, and after 5 minutes it lifted...incredible. Watching the huge vehicles and earth moving equipment was fascinating. Kids would love it up here. We stopped to watch an excavator unearthing a huge block of marble. The whole place looks like giants steps cut into the mountain....
    We also made a stop to view how they make a local food for the miners in winter...a type of pork fat that is fermented and preserved in herbs...this tradition is centuries old.

    Then we went on to Pisa where the 3 of us on the marble tour had 1 and a half hours free to view the piazza where the leaning tower, the duomo, and baptistry are. I couldnt get into the huge church as free but timed tickets were full until after I had to go....I pleaded with the lady at the exit door....she said madam if you want to pray you can enter at the door at the rear side. So I put all cameras away, and to the gaurd at the locked door, said sure I will pray to get a quick look...( ok I didnt reallly say that) so in I went to a small side alter, and sat and gave thanks for my renewed health and vigour today and for allowing me inside this magnificent church....my eyes peeking open from time to time looking at the fine art on the walls. As I got up I took a quick glance in the church but couldnt see the main alter, and the gaurd was now waiting for me at the door. Outside I stood on the wide smooth marble slabbed path where millions have walked, looking up at the duomo so high, and it seemed as if the clouds and sky were still and the earth was moving. I felt so connected and anchored to the earth, and as if the world was moving, which it actually is, but I felt it so. It was a surreal experience....now intellectually I know that it was the effect of looking at the sky, but I will believe it to be some sort of religious experience.

    That was enough time to have look around the main buildings, take some pics, grab some food a maccas outside the walled square, and use docket to get into the loo. And also get some cheap but overpriced junky souveniers, from the indian salesman. Pisa was over. You know I really wasnt planning or was that interested in going to pisa, but as it was included in the tour I though well lets see it...and ot truly was beautiful. As left through the arched porto, a large group of japanese tourists came in and I saw their faces as they immediately saw the leaning tower...their faces lit up and they was crying out in utter amazement. I hopd I had a smile like that when I came in....I think I did...it is certainly impressive, and after pompei I believe is the 2nd most visited attraction in Italia. Pisa was over.

    Then we all combined with the exhausted pisa group who had walked all over town, and on the the ancient town of lucca where I was briefly yesterday. We had 1 hour and 50 minutes t8 do as we pleased with a map....ummm quick decision...I decided on the puccini museum, and a nearby church, a look in a handbag shop....oh the leather goods here are wonderful....I refrained but I know I will probably buy something soon. Evryone was exhausted hobbling along on the walk back outside the historic town walls where we are not allowed to park inside....most of the way to get around lucca is by bicycle, and I said to the pisa guide, are we not going to walk along the wall? He said something about it being friday and lots of traffic.....oh ok I give you a few minutes. The startled group who didnt bother joining me, watched as I sprinted up the steps to the wall like a gazelle. I took a couple of photos and came back down as didnt want to hold anyone up.

    Lucky me was the first one to be dropped off in montecatini. Some ladies were so envious of my day I have planned for tomorrow. Its such a great little place to stay I told them. And so that was my day..... left hotel at 8.30 after a half hour breakfast....meet bus at bus station at 9am...stopped at supermacati on way home for procuitto, cheese, Lindt ciccolato bianco, cherry yogurt, and coconut macaroons.....and returned to hotel after the walk up the incline at 7.30pm.....whew an 11 hour outing.....and I cant wait for a lie down and a green tea and maybe the earth will stop moving for a while...

    beuno notte (good night)

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  • 25May 2014

    28 my one regret 25.05.2014 Italien —

    Montecatini Terme, Italien

    Beschreibung

    Ok I have 20 minutes to check out ...here goes...

    I have always been frugal. I scrimp and save for the things in life I like to enjoy like buying plants for my garden, home improvements and of course travel. So now I find myself here in the middle of a foreign country, having saved thousands over 5 years to get here, I still find im cannot leave my ways behind. I still have funds in my bank account, yet I find I keep saying to myself, do I really need that, so I dont buy it. Or no I want pay 2 euro for a drink...be back at hotel soon...its really quite silly. And I have hardly had any meals out at restaurants as they for the most are so expensive, and you have to pay extra for vegies or a salad.

    So yesterday was to be the one special day of my trip I had planned on...yes and saved for also...here I am in one of the most famous spa towns in the world. And I was going to splurge out and go to one of the 8 terme here in town for swimming, and maybe a facial, or something decadent. I read the spa menus that morning. I just couldnt do it. Just for a swim for less than 60 minutes costs €12. You are not allowed to stay in the water any longer as its so ohot....but there are some terme where you do the bathing, have a light lunch, sit out in the outdoor area with a robe on..yes an extra hire fee...and relax. This indulgent half day was an enormous cost....oh no....hmm I think I find it hard to relax. I didnt go. This is the special...this is what I have saved for. You are allowed to spend the money.....show me the money! I canspend money..ak always buying the grandies something, ..love doing that, but some things seem a waste or far too much.
    Can you believe. My girl will be shaking her head at reading this. That i didnt go to a spa. Is it because I inherited this spendthrift miserly ways from my father, or is it that I feel I am not worth it? Analyse me please!

    All morning I was worried about not being able to book a bus out of here so after siesta I walked all the way to bus station and sorted a ticket for today to move on to my next location, and Im glad I did as its sunday today and nothing is open. Then I went for a stroll and thouht well at least I can go take a look at the most famous terme...so I paid the sum of €7 to get into the tettucci spa. The oldest and grandest spa is now mainly used as a wedding and function venue. So I strolled the gardens and took some pics. You can also pay €14 to sit quietly in the afternoon sun a sip the spring water. Thats $20.65 cents folks to sip 1000 year underground water...i can drink fresh rain at home for free. If its anything like hepburn springs in Australia I will pass on that thanks...yuk! I stuck my hand in the spring and it was so smooth like silk, all the calcuim deposits thick like a rock in the fountain.
    then I went on a ride on the litle tourist train...a car that pulls us around..that was fun...then came back to hotel at 6.30 pm my last night here and had booked for dinner set menu, at 8pm at the hotel dining room which was very nice. They made some special gluten free courses for me...and for dessert a yummy pannacota...others got boring lemon cake.

    Part way through dinner I went out to the pool area, where I was going to spend many an idle hour, and there I saw the huge jaccuzzi and let out a gasp almost as big as when I first saw inside st peters cathederal.....this spa tub all tiled in blue mosaic tiles was the reason I booked the hotel many months ago, saw the pics on booking.com...sold! ....completely forgot it it was here.....didnt have one sit in it!
    words fail me...
    I have now packed my dry togs and leave the wonderful montecatini terme.....im singing frank sinatras regrets ive had a few...as I pack and leave.....

    PS..absolutely loved this town and had a great stay, great hotel, great outings....no swim, sob, my own fault.

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  • 25May 2014

    29 in search of a garden 25.05.2014 Italien —

    Siena, Italien

    Beschreibung

    This story starts in montecatini north west of florence where I was, and ends in siena south of florence where I am now....

    when I was researching day trips back home I found one from montecatini that went out for a saturday afternoon to visit two special villas and their gardens. Villas here in Italy are estates from the olden days where there was a huge house and a large area of land made up of a formal garden rooms, kichen gardens, grottos and follies, and often a large expanse of lawn and some even have a woodland. So it was with much anticipation I plannedmu accomodatin booking to be there over a weekend, and then as I was near to the date of arrival, I tried to book...couldnt do it...so when I got there, I sent an email re tour to villas....this excursion is not possible. ARGGGHHHH.

    Where there is a will there is a way...maybe? So off to tourist office I go, attended by the most useless girl imaginable...never heard of villa reale, so I gave her the info and she called the bus company in italian. This bit was useful. But the bus people said you will have to walk 10 minutes after the bus...ok...but no bus on weekend...as I was booked for the marble quarry Friday I had to go the next day, so loaded up with snacks, water and padded innersoles off I went. Train to lucca, help from old man to find bus stop....had wrong bus details...I take back the useful comments re tourist girl. Sit on grass in piazza waiting for bus....finally im off out into the country...the apartment blocks turned into houses, then the houses into farms....then the driver was turning around to go back. Villa Reale ? I reminded him...si si...then he stopped. And indicated for me to walk left, ..grazie, grazie....and so I did...on and on....for at least 20minutes and then finally up an incline, there I was at the gatekeepers lodges...senora sod me a ticket...toilette? I never pass an opportunity for a loo. You never know when you will find one again...then in though the huge solid iron gates, with map in hand. It was now getting on for 3pm, reopened after siesta breakdown. I had until 6pm.

    Oh to explore an estate like this was so exciting for me...the huge lawns....the lake, then I saw a gorgeous old house...wow what a great villa I though to myself as I past it heading to the lake....so as I left the lake I turned around and then saw way up the other end the real villa...like a palace....the house I had just seen was not it. Anyway I will let the pics show you the rest....it was great afternoon, but oh so much walking! I only went to one of the gardens that was on the non existant tour....that was enough effort. There are so many villas around tuscany....if only I had a car. Villa reale was once owned by napeolen's sister. For many years it suffered pilfering and fighting and abandonment. It has been recently purchased by a russian family, and it sure needs lots of work.

    The next garden was close to siena and one of the women im staying with here at a b and b, offered to take me, as she had always wanted to visit villa centinale....a smaller house but with a wonderfully kept garden.....and free entry on the sunday last when we went as part of a tuscany open garden day....saved €10...my companion is a florist and im a gardener so we had much in common to share.

    Seeing the 3 gardens that I have were part of my top 10 for this trip....ninfa near rome and centinale were both in my rose book. Villa reale was a whim, and a big effort to get there, but as all the gardens were so rewarding, and so beautiful. My memories of three spring days in Italy here on the internet forever. Hope you like the pictures, but I tell you this, they are nothing in comparison to being there...the scent of the jasmine, the rubbing of the sage on your fingers, the perfume of the roses, the tiniest little violets, to study closely the topiary and the trimming, the charming old stone walls, and the vistas of rural tuscany beyond.

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  • 27May 2014

    30 the magic that is siena 27.05.2014 Italien —

    Siena, Italien

    Beschreibung

    I was sad to leave montecatini terme. Loved it so much I could live there. I walked past terme redi where i could have had a swim, and made haste to the bus station on a quiet sunday morning. I needed to get two buses to siena, via florence. Im staying with two savvy independent single sisters, one a florist the other a filmaker, which I booked through www.airbnb.com. My aim was to stay in various types of accomodation on this trip, and this was something different. Maya gave me good instructions to get off the bus a short distance from their street. Their large and airy apartment is in a street called XXIV MAGGIO...isnt that delightful?... naming a street the 24th of May...I must ask them what the significance is. As old Siena is built on a hill the newer parts are on slopes and on this street there are very tall apartment blocks in a lovely green and leafy area near the edge of the old town walls. So its not far to head into town to do sighseeing.

    After my arrival one sister and her friend took me to the villa centinale as written previously, then on monday morning I was off to town to explore. Oh what a view of the old town a short distance from home. I spent the day wandering, and window shopping at the fantastic stores. And of course the main attractions kept me busy as I purchased the combined ticket for all the duomo/ cathedral and its adjuncts, and the cathedrals museum.€12 to see all five.

    But first up I walked to the middle of the city to the main town square named Il Campo. To get there I just followed everyone else, then I saw a small tunnel like an entrance way, walked down and then I saw it. Once again I gasped. At every turn in every town I come to there is something different that makes my heart skip a beat. Oh my as my hands held my heart, and I was near a policeman, who gave a chuckle. I attempted to take a photo but the far side was in shadow. He said senora, this is your first time in siena. Si, this is so beautiful said I beaming from ear to ear with a tear in my eye. Come back in one or two hours and the sun will be just right he advised me...ok, grazie! The first museo I went in was the Palazzo Publico or town hall of the olden days on the other side of the square, the one everyone photographs as it has a huge tower beside it. Im glad I went in here first as this gave me a good overview of the city, and the rule of government. With a great collection of antiquities from city hall, such as wooden benches, artworks and most of the oringinals of everything in town...what you see outside are all copies, including all the panels in the fountain on the square. They even had their own chapel inside. Way up on the top floor was a lookout so to go in the lift I had to request the gaurd with keys to take me up. She came back after five minutes to take me back...they were very steep steps. The most interesting thing I learned was that Il Campo is divided into nine sections of stone pavers, representing the council of nine who held government over the city for many hundreds of years. Also of interest to this numerologist as 9 is the ultimate total ..there are only 9 numbers, and its also the number of all mankind, of humanity and good of all. Fascinating. But back in these days numerology was widely used, so it makes sense to me.

    Later while sitting out on the square I imagined the scene on the artworks inside the museo of medieval times, when all the peasants gathered to hear some revered person of the cloth come to town to speak. This place has a 2000 year history, and by the 12 centuary things were booming until the plague wiped out two thirds of the city's 100,000 dwellers. The history is these tuscan cities is just so interesting...the wars, the fighting between statesand neighbouring cities, the tyrants, the list goes on....

    Afternoon I went to the church museums, and at 6pm sat exhausted out front of the duomo, and at five minutes to the massive church bells rung out a special tune....picture hand held on chest again....simply beautiful.
    In the morning as I woke up thinking about what to name this post about siena, but I couldn't think of a title. Maya 1 said to me in the cucina, how was you day in siena yesterday? And she told me this town is very special...we who live here believe it is full of magic...yes to us it is a magical place. Indeed it is. And I had found my title.

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  • 28May 2014

    31 feel like im in a fairytale 28.05.2014

    San Gimignano

    Beschreibung

    On my third day staying in magical Siena full of mysticism and tales of old, I did a do it myself day trip to the absoulutely charming nearby small town od San Gimignano. I bought the return bus tickets the day before €12 and the people in the tourist office gave me the timetable. So I was up bright and early before my hosts even surfaced and off out for the day. Although I really enjoyed my stay at this apartment, the girls, who I have named to myself rose red and rose white, who in fact were also sisters in the fairytale, have neglected the fact they are running a b and b. All I got was the B for bed. No breakfast! I had to ask a lady in the street for the where abouts of the local supermacati, and she gave full directions in italian and waved her hand further down the hill so there I went the evening of my first day and loaded up the back pack with fruit milk yogurt juice and GF biccies. This really annoyed me, and I would not have paid the pricd I did for staying here then having to bo out and pay for supplies.

    So after grabbing a banana and a yogurt and a full drink bottle, this princess who had to request another pillow last night ( do you know the story princess and the pea)...its truly me as no bed is suitable for me im afraid.....but my own.
    I skipped up the street and made a planned short stop at the wednesday town market which just happened to be on the way to the bus stop.. It was great. So many stalls selling all sorts of things. I got a cheap top thats is travel friendly. That is easy dry, no wrinkles. And also succumbed to a handbag....the leather goods here are fantastic. And Im sick of looking like a daggy tourist. So now I can zip out to a restaurant and still look like a daggy tourist but with nice handbag!

    I checked out some museos in san gim and had a part walk around the old walled town, and of course the duomo, but mostly just wandered around, in this delightful ancient medieval town. This town has the last 14 of the once over 70 towers that the wealthy citizens built to show their power and also as protection during wars and seiges. It is really like being in a fairy tale, and I expected rapunzel at any minute to appear at a window in a tower above and drop down her hair. Included in the museo pass was a climb up their tower...did the fair maiden do it?
    Was there a strong knight to carry her back pack? Alas no.

    At about 5pm I got back on a busy bus, and am leaning to push my way on and get a seat or otherwise you miss out. It was a lovely day out. Probably one of my favourite days in Italy. It was magical, short and sweet, and I was for a good long bus ride off my feet. The story of my day continues with the pictures of the town.
    Hope you like them.♥ love K

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  • 29May 2014

    32 oh my aching feet! 29.05.2014 Italien —

    Siena, Italien

    Beschreibung

    Dont think I have mentioned it yet...purchased shoes for europe trip in the sweet little town of st arnaud, victoria as I whizzed through at closing time last summer. They were so comfy and I needed some good walking shoes for Europe so I snapped them up. They only lasted 2 and a half weeks of pounding the pavement, cobblestones and rocks and dust of rome, pompei and kilometres of naples. One shoe split along the heel and were worn down on the inside, and filthy on the outside, but they are still wearable. I bought some thick foam padded innersoles and this helped the comfort level a little, but still my feet ached, and my legs, and well....everything for that matter.

    Italians love their shoes. There are no made in china shoes here. They all say made in italy and appear to be very good quality. At every new town I came to I would window shop the shoes, coveting the trendy boots left over from winter in every colour leather and suede. The shoes here are a girls dream. Of course I have seen plenty of shoes and boots I liked but totally impractical, and besides my suitcase is full. So when I spied a pair of sandles just like my favourites at home with the two velcro straps across the foot, I stepped inside to try them on. My old ones have seen many summers and are now split across the undersole. Bin jobs really but I keep hanging on to them. Ahh it was a cinderella moment. So comfortable...so expensive! €59 how much is that...I couldnt think...it was lunch hour in siena, busy shops, loud americans buying any shoes they like at whim...I will think about it, and left them there.

    And think about it I did. I couldnt stop thinking about them all that night. Thats eighty-six dollars and fifty cents folks...thats a lot for sandles...but these were special as they had a a contoured innersole and a springy thing in the heel, like they have in sports shoes. And besides with all this walking and budgeting im doing I deserve a little comfort. I went back the next day and bought them. Thats why credit cards were invented. I tested them out in the shop and was springing around...they were the last pair in my size. I will wear them now I said to the salesgirl. I stepped out into the street, and gave a little test jump...new shoes! I smiled at the japenese lady near the door. She agreed with me in japenese, that it was indeed a wise purchase. Tourists have a universal language. We understand each other some how. And with that I bounced off merrily down the street, and I could sure feel the difference.

    It must have been a shoe shopping day in siena that day, as the lady on the seat next to me got her sweet little ankle boots also. And about an hour later I heard a mum say to her little girl...do you like them? Tell me if they are hurting your feet. But the child was clearly as happy as me, and skipped along just as I did in that new shoes feeling...donchya just love it?

    That evening after I sat and listened to the duomo bells ring their magic tune at 6pm I was still out walking. Started chatting to two gay guys from san francisco, and told them about a church I was going to find....ok...we will follow you...and so they did. Yes like prophets and forest gump I had my followers of two, as we wandered hill and dale looking for this church...sorry I walk so fast I said...yes you do I was going to say so, one man said. Oh its my new shoes...I just bought them today and im still going strong. And being gay guys from san francisco they wee most interested I the topic of shoes.

    So after viewing the eventual found church, my followers left me for a romantic dinner, and I wandered back across town....alll the day trippers had long gone, the townsfolk creeping back outside to reclaim their streets. The weary who remained hobbled back to their hotels. My legs hurt, I heard someone cry out...I slowed down to hear the conversation. It was a teenage boy in the company of his family...his mother questioning him on the problem....its my knees and my ankles too he whined. And as I slowed to look for nothing in my bag, he passed me in his thongs. His mum and dad went off to the wine shop, while the kids went on toward the hotel.
    Enough said.

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  • 31May 2014

    33 frazzled in firenze 31.05.2014

     

    Beschreibung

    I was so busy in siena, and spent 4 nights there, but I knew I had more of the same coming up later in the week. My host Maya kindly drove me to the train station, where we parted in the italian way...an air kiss on one side of the cheek and then the other. Arevederchi Kathleen, its been a pleasure meeting you. And I returned an equally aussie farewell, something like, yeah good onya mate, grazie! There is just so much to do and see in tuscany, the capital of course is firenze. And maya and I spent so much time talking numerology and the magic of siena, time got away, and I didnt get into florence until 3pm.

    Ahh the things I do to save money... actually the hotels are expensive here, so my girl found me a great hostel when we were researching back at home. This hostel is very close to the tren stazione. Not my first experience at a hostel..that was in napoli, but this was the first ever time for me in a dorm. I had a booking in a 4 female only dorm, so checked into my room, and there was only one girl there, but then she went out. So I also stepped out into the city, turned right instead of left and got hoplessly lost, walked for miles, then realised this is not right, turned around and inally found my way back to tourist highlights. I went to a big palace and it closed in 40 minutes. Had a meal out and then went home. Still no-one there. Great I thought. They will all be out till all hours and I wont get any sleep. I had a shower that evening, which was an hilarious event, as towels and a bathmat are not provided. Lucky I had a thin sarong and used loo paper for a bathmat as water was going all over the place...this all stuck to my feet in bits...finally the girls came home, got into bed within 5 minutes while I entertained them with my you-beaut plastic packing bags...you sit on them and all the air comes out and saves heaps of room in your case...they all laughed rolled over and went to sleep and I was still stuffing around, packing all my kit into my locker for the night and put my keys under my pillow and my earplugs in and my eye mask on...I was set for a night in my bunk up the ladder, having not slept in bunk beds since I was 12 years old with my sister.

    I didnt sleep well, there was mozzies and of course I had number 140 bed..a 5...hmmm....off very early in the morning to the uffuzi gallery which houses the best of italys renaissance art. Superb! To stand there and view the REAL artworks you have only ever seen pictures of was a real treat. The star of the place is botecelli's the birth of venus, but I rather liked the painting entitled the spring better....I wandered around, but havong seen so many museums I was loosing interest....later I went to the pride of all florentines, the duomo, the cathederal. It is an outstanding building and so beautifully decorated on the outside, but inside it was boring, grey and cold....and as I came outside the weather turned the same, and spots of rain started...I ran home, of course got lost again in the soaking rain. I had my plastic poncho folded up in a snap lock bag, so it got me back in about one hour when im only 4 blocks away. I dont know what was wrong with me in florence. I was flustered, kept losing my bearings, couldnt follow the map, and im usually good at all those things. Its now 5 weeks tonight since I left home, and perhaps the trip is taking its toll on me. This morning I as I attempted a full body gyration swinging my legs around to descend my ladder to the floor I got a bad cramp in my leg, and I was a right off the rest of the day. When out on the street crossing the road I slipped off the kerb and partly fell down, and two men reached out to assist me, and picked up my drink bottle that ended up in the gutter. I was all out of sorts.
    So I hobbled on to the pitti palace and purchased a combined ticket €10 for some of the palace exhibits and the boboli garden in the backyard. Dark clouds loomed above so I went to the garden first which is on a hill. I couldnt do it...just went to some parts, and I didnt see one flower. I went back and saw my palace inclusions and then asked where is the porcelain section that is included in my ticket? Oh that is on top of the hill in the garden pointing to the backyard!! I was furious. No signs, no map given, not written on my ticket. And how am I supposed to know that? After that I was over it...over florence, over the museums, over all the walking. I got on a bus for the hostel, and guess what yes I was standing on the wrong side of the road and it went the other direction. Which was ok as I had a seat and a nice ride along the river, and after quite a long while it ended up turning around and back at the station.

    Tonight I am in another hotel near campe de marte station n florence, as this is where the fast trains leave from, and I need to be there by 7.30 am, for im leaving again......

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  • 01Jun 2014

    34 a change of scene 01.06.2014

     

    Beschreibung

    Arevederchi Italia !

    Last night was 5 weeks on my do it myself tour, and as you can probably tell from my tone in last nights post, I was tired, irritable, and ....
    The only way I can cope with my health and in daily life is pace myself, busy one day, then quiet and rest the next. But being on a tour like this is not like daily life at home. The pressure is on to get out the door, see more, walk more, for soon the train whistle blows and you may not pass this way again. I really have been pushing myself, and not getting adequate sleep. This was evident to me in my behaviour in florence, making mistakes, getting lost. Its times like this when you tire that complacency sets in, you take less care, you look vulnerable, and an easy target for the pickpockets, or even getting hit by a car. My gosh Im so glad I was not in florence in the summer. It was busy enough for me now, just imagine it in the heat and triple the people.

    I changed my original plan having spent months work on it. I was going to have 3 weeks in italy, go to switzerland and rest with friends of family, and take it easy and then continue on into germany. I planned this because I know me.....but excitment and wunderlust got the better of me. All that changed when l read about sicily only 2 weeks or so before i left home. So off I went south and that was really a tough week for me. People are amazed when I tell them I have had 5 weeks in italy...most are here for a 3 week trip or less, or on a long weekend from somewhere in europe.

    So after five weeks what I really need is a change in scene. And I realised that today as the train left the cities behind, as green fields and rivers turned into hils and then snow capped montains. Long gone were the endless ambulance sirens, the zippy scooters at every corner

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  • 01Jun 2014

    35 a change of scene 01.06.2014

     

    Beschreibung

    Arevederchi Italia !

    Last night was 5 weeks on my do it myself tour, and as you can probably tell from my tone in last nights post, I was tired, irritable, and ....
    The only way I can cope with my health and in daily life is pace myself, busy one day, then quiet and rest the next. But being on a tour like this is not like daily life at home. The pressure is on to get out the door, see more, walk more, for soon the train whistle blows and you may not pass this way again. I really have been pushing myself, and not getting adequate sleep. This was evident to me in my behaviour in florence, making mistakes, getting lost. Its times like this complacency sets in, you take less care, you look vulnerable, and an easy target for the pickpockets, or even getting hit by a car. My gosh Im so glad I was not in florence in the summer. It was busy enough for me now, just imagine it in the heat and triple the people.

    I changed my original plan having spent months work on it. I was going to have 3 weeks in italy, go to switzerland and rest with friends of family, and take it easy and then continue on into germany. I planned this because I know me.....but excitment and wunderlust got the better of me. All that changed when l read about sicily only 2 weeks or so before i left home. So off I went south and that was really a tough week for me. People eyes widen when I tell them I have had 5 weeks in italy...most are here for a 3 week trip or less, or on a long weekend from somewhere in europe. The couple I met today went for a 4 day break to venice. Back home we go to victor harbour...ho hum.

    So after five weeks what I really need is a change in scene. And I realised that today as the train left the cities behind and green fields and rivers from my first train stop in verona turned into sweet little italian towns that looked competely different than in the rest of the country. At small towns the apartments were only three stories high and then they were all gone...only snow capped montains with chalet type houses on miles of lush green. Long gone were the endless ambulance sirens, the zippy scooters at every corner, and the stink of the vehicle fumes. The second train made its way through the brenner pass, with the campervans and cars on the road beside us, this is the only way up north of italy and into austria, and finally germany. Then when we were through the pas the road was way up high on a concrete platform for many miles...you can just see it in the distance in the pics

    At innsbruck I made a quick dash and made it to the third train of the day, taking my seat near some cyclists whose mountain bikes were on board. They had been riding from munich...yeah good luck with that! I sat opposite an old lady whose home is my destination for the night, the mountain top ski town of garmischer partenkirchen. The four of us got talking in german, english and french and we all managed to translate and chat. The life of that lady was out that train window as we sped by she showed things to me, and told me stories of her life...see that ski run? I used to ski that when I was a young girl. And she pointed out the finger in the rock at the top of the mountain, and the number 4 naturally carved into the rocky outcrop. These little things are the gifts that come your way when you travel. The couple from Stuttgart that kept me company from verona and helped me with my bag, the old lady and her stories, the cyclists, the conversation.
    Travelling solo is a lonely pursuit. And meeting people along the way inrich your day.
    I arrived at the little town, with no map, but walked directly to my hostel, as I had studied the route on the google satellite map. I just turned a corner and said now it should be along here, and so it was....my liitle home for one night....pretty as a picture, my private room has a little balcony with a view of snow caps and a river gushing by across the street.....I breathed the clean mountain air. It really is in only one day a complete change of scene.

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  • 02Jun 2014

    36 verdi grun green 02.06.2014 Deutschland —

    Oberammergau, Deutschland

    Beschreibung

    After fantastic train travel through the verdi green hills of northern italy, I awoke in garmischer partenkirchen on my first morning in germany, and all I wanted to do was stay put and relax. Ahh the traveler's journey does not always go smoothly...my plan was to take the tourist train up to the base of the zugispte mountain, germanys highest peak, and move on later in the afternoon. Check weather at reception...2° on the mountain...go back to room unpack bag, find ear muff thingy my girl lent me. Im all rugged up ready to climb...well by train! Just as I stepped out onto the front porch at around 11am it started to rain....oh pooh! Go back unpack bag find umberella..So I walked into town to find the tourist office to check the bus times, and have some breakfast...oh no its not any good on zugispte today the lady said pointing to the tv screen on counter beside me..thats zugispte live webcam... all I could see was a tiny peice of railing covered in ice, and nothing but cloud.

    Plan B..ok can I get a bus to oberammagau and have lunch look around and go on this afternoon..oh yes she said....I really think you should get this one at 12.05 she said, so I walk swiftly all the way back again grabbed bags and got to the bus station where I ate a tub of yogurt from the train shop. Enjoyed a delightful bus ride through charming bavarian towns, with little houses and neatly stacked woodpiles and flower boxes everwhere. These people are certainly proud of their towns and homes are neat and tidy. Its all so perfect, and green.....oh my I have never seen so many shades of green. From bright yellow green on the fields to the many shrubs and trees, and up on the slopes the deep green grass of the ski runs and darker green grey fir trees.

    I stepped off the bus dragging purple and my back pack with me, up the main street, where it started to rain again...oh pooh! Time to eat. Went into a sweet little retaurant with a tripadvisor sticker on the door...this will do...it was decorated in the wooden folksy chairs and light fittings made from reindeer horns. May I have the bratwurst sausage und sauerkraut mit kleine pommes frittes (french fries) ....oh my I was literally salivating like a kelpie at supper time, when the man brought my plate to the table. As I munched away I recalled when I last had a good meal...hmm...nothing last night but some pistachios and a GF mini cake found in bag....the night before at the campe de marte staion hotel in florence..umm, a huge tub of gelati and did have a large fries at maccas after my palace tour...goodness I cant remember when...no wonder im famished. Licking the vinegar and salt from my mouth, set off for a stroll around town for a little over an hour until the bus was due at 2.40pm. Bought snacks and supplies, and as purple now has a busted strap I really cant buy anything more. Walked all the way back to bus station, and waited....no bus, then a bus came...schwangau? The bus driver took pity on me, got out of bus and came to talk to me...there is no fussen bus (end of line) until late in the day...I showed him times tourist office lady in garmischer had given me...this is very bad he said..they should know better...5.30 pm is the ONLY BUS going my way for the day...

    I sat back down and cotempleted a PLAN C for the rest of the day, and what the hec am I going to do for the rest of the day...just then the bus out to Schloss Linderhoff 6 kms out of town pulled up, but I had no idea when it came back, and the thought of dragging heavy bags up to the castle gates and seeking storage was a little daunting..the bus pulled off without me....I sat for an hour staring at the huge mountain with a cross way on top, and played games on compter...bored after one hour I decided to visit the museum...so back into town I went...museum closed monday....went to their torist office to get some pamphlets and sat for a while inside the council theatre foyer where there were free loos. Back to the bus station and more staring at the cross on the hill...more people arrived. A bus pulled up to tell the gathering for 9606 that it would be late due to a serious car accident between garmischer and obeoberammagau. The local I know all about the buses man who I met earlier told me what was happening....people were on their mobiles....bus delayed....just then I saw a small young woman looking at the bus timetable on the pole. Do you want the fussesn bus..yes I will get this one at 7pm I think....no the one thats coming now will be the only one...it took me 10 minutes to explain to miss young solo traveller aged 23 from tawain, that if she didnt gey on this bus with me, and go back to her hotel in fussen she would be sleeping on that bus stop bench all night. She had no idea how to read a bus timetable, says she who didnt even check them when I arrived as I had all I needed from tourist office...yeah? So I told the local man who is expert on buses about her plan to get a bus at 7pm...between the 2 of us she was finally convinced, and at 6pm after over a 3 and a half hour wait I finally boarded along with mrs endless chain smoker, and other german tourists, man who is expert on local buses and young woman from tawain. She saved for two years and told her parents he was going to europe with a friend..here he is..she was clutching with anxiety a small stuffed toy whale...I glared at her...you lied to your parents? Yes she told me.
    there was another problem ahead...this last bus of the day requited one transfer at the bridge miles away, but the other bus will be gone.....expert man who knows all about buses assured me he would was waiting for us. The driver who witnessed the shovked auto accident and gave assistance was very shaken upand drove on like a bat out of hell to get home. The green of the countryside and forests whizzed past. By the time we got to the waiting bust the huge bridge the only two that got on were me and young woman from tawain.dankeshon I said to driver....who took us another 30 kms .... I farewelled my new young friend who told me you are are as excited as a young child, when I could see schloss neushwanstein across the fields. I have dreamed of coming here since I was a teenager I told her. She thought me very brave doing all this travel on my own. The bus driver pulled up at the schwangau rathaus..town hall...after a harrowing day and at after 7pm I was finally here. Even though it was a hassle of a day it was worth it rather than coming to fussen on the train from munich with the horde of tourists that come every day....I planned it this way...yes I always do things the hard way, but oh what delighful shades of green.

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  • 04Jun 2014

    37 queen kathleen for a day 04.06.2014 Deutschland —

    Hohenschwangau, Schwangau, Deutschland

    Beschreibung

    MY TOP 10 ITINERARY DAY

    When I was child ...oh maybe 13 or so, I was given a chocolate or biscuit tin with picture of a castle on it. I sat it in my room and kept my treasures in it. I would stare at that castle and long to go there. But I had no idea where it was. And perhaps I thought going to find such a place was completely beyond me. The early late 1960s were very different than now..you couldnt just google castles. Years later I must have seen it in a travel agent window or I a magazine...thats my castle! I had started a collection of all things castle..I had a large poster once on my wall.
    Now I had learned of its name..neuschwanstein castle in bavaria...

    So this is the reason I left italy and came all this way north...to visit MY castle....for 45 years I have had a dream to come here. And today it came true...not by wishing and hoping or even praying. And not by thinking oh maybe someday someone will take me...it maybe the fairytale castle, but this queen does not wait around for a knight in shining armour...if there is somethng I want then I will find a way to make it happen....thats how dreams come true. All thats required is planning and then action. My dream came true because I worked hard for the money, I saved, I ate baked beans one night a week!

    Oh today was just so wonderful!
    Im staying here in the village of schwangau just 2 kms from hohenschwangau village where the two castles are..so there was no bus when I wanted to leave and I wanted to get there early before the bus day trippers from Munich arrived after 10 am, so at 7.45 am I walked there...whew! Went straight to get my tickets and made the lady teary when I told her the above tale and held up the line! I ordered the works...2 castles and museum package deal for €29.50 and I got 2 carriage rides up to the castles, and then bus back from one castle...€10. After all I was a queen for a day, and there was noone else there...I woke in the queens room and had breakfast in the breakfast nook with the curved windows, because all queens should have a breakfast nook, and then did a little embroidery work looking out over the lake...the guided tours sped us through with precise timing but I went on dreaming pretending I was a queen.

    First I visited schloss hohenschwangau the castle of ludwigs parents and where he grew up, then had one and a half hours to get up, to schloss neushwanstein where I met a girl from singapore. We took each others photos and after the tour we were looking out on the balcony and as it looked like rain..yes it was forcast, we decided, to go quickly to the , marienbrucke...the bridge where all those magnificent photos are taken. The rain stopped for us to take some pics...how delightful..thankyou god! We then got the bus back down the mountain.

    In the afternoon I had lunch in a hotel, and it was the worst service I have probably had anywhere in my life, but I wasnt going to let them ruin my day, I just did what any queen would do...sent the food back! Rain had set in so half up goes my broken umbrella i broke somehow in rome at start of trip, and up the road and indoors to the new museum. museum. This was very interesting explaining the lineage of the bavarian kings and families with some great old exhibits and an audio guide included. Missed my 4.30 bus into my village as was busy taking photos so had to wait 45minutes...no way was I walking back again.
    Had a great day, in fact it was a dream come true♥

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  • 05Jun 2014

    38 breakfast with tristan and isolde 05.06.2014

     

    Beschreibung

    Ive come to a grinding halt...need to rest. Was booked in here for two nights but im still here. Im happy here in my little single bed, so Im here for a little longer, learning about the culture and enjoying strolling around my little village....

    every morning I go down to breakfast and I sit in the same table which is named after tristan and isolde. On my first morning here I saw the picture on the wall and I knew who they were, but I dont know how. Ive seen the picture before Im sure. I stare at the image and wonder who they were. Even more so I am eager to know as everwhere in the castles yesterday were the most beautiful wall paintings of them in many settings. One room was completely dedicated to them. But who were they? Were they are fairytale? Or the local lovers? Im intrigued. So I googled.

    The story can be traced back to medieval times when poet Gottfried von Strassbourg had a charcter called Tristan in two of his poems. Several versions of the his tale existed since the 12 centuary. But it was Richard Wagner the great german composer that brought the story alive. He wrote the opera tristan and isolde in three acts and it premiered in munich in 1865. But it was a rocky road to get the work completed.

    Wagner became obsessed with his characters, and the work took two years to complete. An opera is not only a play but all the musical score, and stage direction. In a letter to Franz List in 1854 he wrote,
    "never in my life having enjoyed the true happiness of love, I shall erect a memorial to the lovliest of dreams in which, from
    the first to the last, love shall for once, find utter repletion. I have devised in my mind Tristan and Isolde, the simplest and yet most full blooded musical conception imaginable..."
    and so powerful it was that two conductors and one singer died in the early years while doing a performance. Wagner dropped all other commitments and moved to venice on retreat where he could focus on his opera. work. He also moved away both his wife and his mistress. Clearly they gave him no inspiration.

    Sometime during the two years of failed rehersals and deaths in Vienna, about this time Wagner met King Ludwig II who became his patron. Back in those days to be succesful in the arts you needed a wealthy benefactor to support you. Ludwig was obsessed with Wagner and his music, who invited him to reteats at castles and parties. Wagner came to Neuschwanstein to play music. At last the show was staged in munich.

    The story is not german however. Isolde is an irish girl to be bethrothed to a king in some foreign land. She meets tristan whose job it is to take her by sea to her eventual fate. She would rather die than marry some old geyser far from home and begs her lady minder to make her a potion to end the whole woeful situation. But the wise woman makes her instead a love potion, somehow they both drink it and the two fall hoplessley in love...
    of course it is a tragedy and as you can see in the picture I sit with at breakfast its no happy ending.

    The opera is powerful and dramatic...I would love to see it! I have never been to an opera. I also googled some of wagers music. The first act of tristan and isolde is here ..sound only....
    youtube.com/watch? v=J-qoaioG2Ua
    Wagners work has had a strong influence in the work of western composers. It was more of a drama than a traditional opera of the time and it was a sensation in its day. The story left a tradition here in bavaria that they dont want to forget..

    its all so romantic here...did I mention Im staying right on the romantic road? Ahh but I have no tristan with me, alas poor me. And did I mention I even have a balcony? Oh hang on...now thats a completely different story.

    It was such a lovely evening here, with a bit of romantic pink on the mountains and in the sky. Gute Nacht mein leibchen. ♥

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  • 06Jun 2014

    39 the dance of death 06.06.2014 Deutschland —

    Füssen, Deutschland

    Beschreibung

    I had an absolutely nothing day yesterday...it was so cold...only about 18. So I really needed to make an effort and get up and out this morning even though I had an awful sleep. I was finally off out the door to the nearby town of fussen anout 10.30. For the castles visits people stay at fussen, schwangau -where I am, or at the castles there are some hotels and gasthaus. I was going to stay out at the castles, but im glad I didnt now, as there is nothing else there, and I have enjoyed my walks around my village looking at beautiful gardens and seeing the cows locked up in their barns at night, and I am always nipping down to the supermarket.

    Fussen is a short bus ride, only 6 kms. I grabbed a map at the information centre and walked to the allstadt...town square which is round. Its all kitschy and touristy but somehow appealing. I loved the pastel coloured buildings. Found a woolworth for heavans sake where I purchased a tshirt and 20 metres of this great plastic coated garden wire, which came in 2 packets so I wrapped one lot around the other...after considerable time doing this task I went on to the museum which is housed in the old monestary. This building was here since the 1200s and the monks were an order of the benedictine community of the catholic church. I was most interested in the history and life of the monks, as our family has close connections to the benedictine community in new norcia, western australia. My grandfather and his brother were music teachers at the school and my Dad spend much time within the monestary assisting the monks with the restoration and cataloguing of their antique books. This old building was fascinating, even with some restoration work.

    The old chapel within the grounds has a famous painting on the walls. It is called the dance of death. In each section a small picture shows death as a skeleton inviting you to come and dance with him. The first in the series is the pope and archbishop, and then every class of people, children, and so on. The painting reminds us that despite all our differences we all eventually must do the dance...we must go with him. The walls of the chapel have the tombs of knights who paid a lot of money to have the space. The words say we must pray for othe departed and always remember their fame. In other words what they did here on earth.

    Later in the afternoon I walked down to the lake where I went on the smaller boat ride which lasted 50 minutes. Met some melbourne travellers who were chilling out in fussesn. The boat ride was so lovely, I remember looking out over that veiw toward the mountains seeing MY castle in the distance and thinking.....you know what, if I died today I would be happy. I have seen my castles and this is the most perfect day...the weather had warmed considerably since yesterday...all in all it was a perfect spring day. I dont often sit and think about my happiness. But I did on that lake, and I suddenly became aware of feeling happy and perhaps contented. So much so that if I died I wouldnt care as I feel I have done everything I need to. Which is silly as there is so much more I want to do.

    After a walk back to town to find an ATM and at a complete loss as to where the 250 euros has gone I got out of the bank when I left florence, I got some tucker at the supermarket...a peice of hot pork at the deli, and a plastic box from the salad bar...in the middle of the supermarket..add a tub of yogurt.....great an easy tea, but im not getting to the point of my story...I went to bed very late, after midnight. I was so tired, and as soon as I got into bed I rolled onto my side and this excruciating pain stabbed at my chest. I couldnt move. I was certain I was having a heart attack...am I old enough for one...how old am I...I was so tired I had to think..oh yes lady in an office in my town was younger than me amd she went on the dance of death...he has come for me...that bloody skeleton. Is that why I was having such a good day because it was my last? Should I call out for someone to get an ambulance...oh no im so tired, I just want tò go to sleep, but I couldnt move....after sometime I self diagnosed that this must be some sort of angina attack....for surely as its now 3 am I would be dead now....ZZZZZ with that resolution I soon fell asleep, with the museum ticket on the table with a picture of death asking the queen to come and dance, I have told him....look im not ready yet mate!

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  • 07Jun 2014

    40 tiny boat, tiny island 07.06.2014 Deutschland —

    Feldafing, Deutschland

    Beschreibung

    On saturday the 7th june i checked out after 5 days of bavarian bliss..... I must move on, so I took the hard way...through the country, through tiny villages and past farms, chatting to interesting people along the way....and after 2 buses and 2 trains I came to my stop off point for a couple of hours...the small town of feldafing, south of munich.

    There was no-one about excpet a bride and and groom and some people fussing over them, as I dragged my bags along the main street in search of my prize...I asked for directions...you wont be able to take those bags down the hill they said...ask at the hotel if you can leave them there, and so I did. The kind duty manager hid my bags in his office, and I discussed necessary pruning for his climbing rose on the front drive. He was most impressed and took me on a walk to see the garden. What a magnificent place. People come here for the golf and to relax, but I was here to visit a lake....and a tiny island called rosenislen. So I bid farewell and walked on down through the tracks to the boat and went to visit the tiniest island, which has a villa called casino on it. King ludwig and his cousin sisi came here to getaway.

    these days brides and their wedding party come every weekend to be married. There was one there just leaving as I was arriving. I came to see the roses.....

    so here are the pics....

    and after a couple of hours i was on my way...but where is my new destination? See competition on main page.....
    thats all for now. ♡ k

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  • 08Jun 2014

    41 we're having a heatwave, a tropical heatwave! 08.06.2014 Österreich —

    Salzburg, Österreich

    Beschreibung

    It was a very long day last saturday, when I travelled on 2 buses, 1tiny boat, and then another 2 trains to austria. I was planning to go to munich, but there was a huge trade fair on that week and only the expensive hotels left. Besides I stayed so long in bavaria, one week, as I just needed some rest. On booking.com I found a lovely hotel, here in salzburg...a 4 star and cost far more than I usually stay in, but when I saw the photos of the pools and the sweet heritage building on the edge of town I took it. I came all this way to fullfill another of my top 10 must do list...but more of that in another post.

    It was almost 8pm when the train pulled into salzburg bahnhof...and I was so tired. I had been travelling for 10 hours, and walked hill and dale to get to that rose garden. The best decision was to get a taxi as I had no map and no idea which bus to get. I also know how silly I get when im tired...take this example...I drilled the driver...do you know this hotel...yes mam' ...take me direct...now I knew enough that it was on the same side as the train station, so when he crossed the river and then back over again on another bridge I got my hackles up, why are we going over the river twice? He told me something about one way roads...hmmmpf! ...when we arrived at the hotel I said come with me as I yanked my own bags out of the boot. How much should a taxi from hauptbahnhoff be? Oh about 15 euro the perplexed lady manager said to me..the fare was 15.20, the poor driver standing there with his money bag waiting patiently....ok then. I paid him, im very tired I apologised. Of course I was on the 2nd floor on the top...its a heritage old hotel, so there is no lift. The lady in her bavarian drindl, heaved purple up over her shoulder, and bolted up the two flights while I was still gasping at the first. I fell like goldilocks into the too hard bed and asleep soon after. Or perhaps I was the grumpy bear?

    On my first moring after a fantasticher fruhstuch, I booked a train fare online to my next destination, and did some blogging, then looked for my adapter to charge my computer....GONE!! Must have left it back at hotel...after some enquiries its seems there is no shops open until tuesday. I wasted the whole day....it was so warm...the day unexpectedly turned hot. I needed to get to the station to print my bargain ticket, so I got on a bus I got on a bus, as he said he would end up there. Well I was on this bus for 45minutes and it was so hot in there I felt like I was going to faint so I saw a sign saying......something-see...and I know see means lake...ahh somewhere cool, so I jumped off, and walked to the lake where every family in town had come to take a dip and eat.

    After queueing for ages for the loo, I was next in the line when the cleaning man threw all us girls out to wash the floor....finally entry permitted...after an ice cream I walked to the far side to find yonder bus stop, past some loos with no people waiting whatsover!!!! At the bus stop a kind young man and I discussed the weather...oh it gets warm in salzburg in summer, but not like this...we are not used to this tropical weather...I giggled under my breath...it was about 32°C . He also gave me directions for gett7ng where I wanted to go....finally later that day I went to the tourist office but tickting section was closed afterall it was sunday, and with one girl on duty and a long queue. Please would you booke me a tour.... I didnt want to do the things here in town as I couldnt take pics with my computer for the blog...ummm errr...quick decision...montains and lakes? 2pm tomorrwo holiday monday...perfect. So I went but no pics to show you im afraid...went to wolfgangsee....a lake in the mountains amd went on a boat ride and a walk around a quaint little village....all surrounded by luxury hotels and gastehaus....and people swimming and frolicking around in their budgie smugglers. It was a good little tour 4 hours...good day out, oh but the heat....a woman collapsed on the boat and they had to get an ambulance. There was not enough room to sit....whew!
    just another summer day for me, but it was very warm for me considering a few days ago it was only 18 in bavaria. The heat continued for the rest of my stay in salzburg...it was the topic of conversation with everyone. And on the news....record temperatures for june...never had it so hot before in this month, and a toddler drowns in a lake....summer is here.

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  • 10Jun 2014

    42 a retreat from the city 10.06.2014 Österreich —

    Salzburg, Österreich

    Beschreibung

    No time to write another story, so will just add the pics of my day to some sights on tuesday...

    On tuesday I caught the s bahn out to Schloss Hellbrun and garden. The entry price was good value as it included entry to the palace, albeit not such a big one, but had some interesting rooms and museum pieces. Also included entry to the folkmuseum way up a very steep hill, free stroll around the estate gardens and entry with guided tour of the trick fountains, which are a famous salzburg attraction...all of this at same venue, and I was here for hours.

    After purchasing my new power adapter would you believe for €14 ..thats 20bucks aussie!!! I went straight to a power outlet when I got to hellbrun, where I found one in a room where a dvd was screening about the place, very good but boring after 4 viewings waiting for the computer tablet to charge, so I could take these pics....a good reporter will go to any lengths for his readers!
    with a little charge i first viewed the palace, and with the weather getting very warm, I went up the hill to see the small folkmuseum. This was full of traditional austrian and salzburg furniture and crafts. Then I slipped down the hill where I saw a huge group of teenagers jumping into the pond with the sturgeon fish and some were even diving into two feet of water..dumbkopfs! I went to tell the gardeners and they were cross and went to deal with the matter. The heat was driving everyone crazy, and I admit it was even a little too hot for me. Relief soon came and im glad I left the trick fountain tour until the end, as we all got wet. This folly was installed by the prince to amuse his guests...the fountain area is adorned with little fountains and statues and grottoes, and unusual fountains and water spurts that catch you unaware, and the guide soon had us all screaming and laughing. The kids loved it. The original lead models in the water movements are now in the palace museum.

    Hellbrun was used by the upper crust at invitation of the prince to come on weekend retreat, and only one hour by coach and horse to the location. The place was a collection of overinduldgances and rarities so the princd could show off and entertain his guests.
    it was a popular retreat for the well to do of salzburg society, now available for us all for the princely sum of €10.50 for the lot, but without the sleep over.
    I had a great time visiting schloss hellbrun .

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  • 11Jun 2014

    43 and the winner is? 11.06.2014 Österreich —

    Salzburg, Österreich

    Beschreibung

    One person guessed correctly I was in salzburg....but golly you lot....no ome got the question correct at all. You had to identify the song first in the question.....WHEN YOU INOW THE NOTES TO SING YOU CAN SING MOST ANYTHING.....the song is do re mi, and the attraction in town it is linked to is the famous fountain at mirrabell gardens. I thought with some clever googling someone would come up with it....goodness me people dont you know your sound of music songs.....

    TOP 10 TRIP MUST DO ITEM》》》》》
    upon studying the sound of music tour brochures carefully I realised half the things were up in the mountains where I had just been on the bus tour on the sunday, so wasnt going to pay for that again...the rest of the places from the movie were close by in town so on the wednesday my last full day in salzburg I got a day ticket and ran all over town visiting the last of the sound of music locations from the movie.

    the mirabell gardens are postcard perfect, with a huge fountain in the middle where maria taught the kids to sing do re mi and they ran around the edge of the fountain. The rotunda was donated to the city by the movie producers and I saw that out at hellbrun the day before. A frauline maria bicycle tour came by as I wash there and I learned that a sixty something woman recently broke her hip jaunting from one bench to the next as leisel does in the movie, and the woman fell and broke her hip...just as well they have now locked the doors as thats just what I was going to do....jump on the seats that is.

    At the end of the day I realised I didnt find the steps the kids sang on. The grand house is a privare residence you cant enter and neither can you enter the abbey as its still a closed cloistered abbey today...that means nuns still live there.

    to get into the sound of music spirit I did something I have not done my whole trip and that is go out for the evening...one night I went to the salzburg marionette theatre to see the performance of sound of music...it was absolutely delightful, and different. The puppets were enchanting and the handlers so clever...cost me €35 but it was purely unique to salzburg, and I loved it.

    so thats my summary of my top10 item, sound of music tour....I did my own, saved heaps and went to see the puppets.
    Salzburg was such an enchanting so beautiful city. Im so glad I visited this wonderful city.

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  • 11Jun 2014

    44 do re mi 11.06.2014

     

    Beschreibung

    One person guessed correctly I was in salzburg....but golly you lot....no one got the question correct at all. You had to identify the song first in the question.....WHEN YOU KNOW THE NOTES TO SING YOU CAN SING MOST ANYTHING...drumroll....the answer is?......the song is do re mi, and the attraction in town the song is linked to is the famous fountain at mirrabell gardens. I thought with some clever googling someone would come up with it....goodness me people dont you know your sound of music songs.....do a deer a female deer, ray a drop of golden sun, me a name I call myself.....

    TOP 10 TRIP MUST DO ITEM》》》》》
    upon studying the sound of music tour brochures carefully I realised half the things were up in the mountains where I had just been on the bus tour on the sunday, so wasnt going to pay for that again...the rest of the places from the movie were close by in town so on the wednesday my last full day in salzburg I got a day ticket and ran all over town visiting the last of the sound of music locations from the movie.

    The mirabell gardens are postcard perfect, with a huge fountain in the middle where maria taught the kids to sing do re mi and they ran around the edge of the fountain. The rotunda was donated to the city by the movie producers and I saw that out at hellbrun the day before. A frauline maria bicycle tour came by as I wash there and I learned that a sixty something woman recently broke her hip jaunting from one bench to the next as leisel does in the movie, and the woman fell and broke her hip...just as well they have now locked the doors as thats just what I was going to do....jump on the seats that is.

    At the end of the day I realised I didnt find the steps the kids sang on. The grand house is a privare residence you cant enter and neither can you enter the abbey as its still a closed cloistered abbey today...that means nuns still live there.

    to get into the sound of music spirit I did something I have not done my whole trip and that is go out for the evening...one night I went to the salzburg marionette theatre to see the performance of sound of music...it was absolutely delightful, and different. The puppets were enchanting and the handlers so clever...cost me €35 but it was purely unique to salzburg, and I loved it.

    so thats my summary of my top10 item, sound of music tour....I did my own, saved heaps and went to see the puppets.
    Salzburg was such an enchanting so beautiful city. Im so glad I visited this wonderful city.

    ★and the winner is....no one! Looks like I get the eat the mozart chocolate....OMG the chocolate here is so yummy, not sugary like ours at home...its superb...and yes after 5 years choc free I have succumbed....tsk tsk....♡
    Pics to come....to tired...zzzz

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  • 11Jun 2014

    45 aufweidersein salzburg 11.06.2014 Österreich —

    Salzburg, Österreich

    Beschreibung

    I think it was a good decision to come to salzburg and relax a bit. I choose a wonderful hotel with pools and garden...didnt get to have one swim, as was so busy and out most of the time. One morning I satyed in and put a colour in my hair, as it was looking like a witch on a camel safari in the desert. I planned to do so much organising and booking tours for the upcoming cruise, but without the use of my computer I couldnt do it.

    I did something different here..something I have not done in my whole trip...I went out for the evening. I would have liked to go to the dinner up at the fortress I think it was, with a mozart concert after...now that is classic salzburg entertainment. There is also a show on at night for the tourists, but as I was so far out of town, I didnt want to be out late by myself, so I found something more mything...i went to the salburg marionetter theater, and every night they do a different show, but always a musical such as the magic flute. so I went to the sound of music. It was great...loved it. The theatre group has been going for over a hundred years.

    On my last day I checked out and went to a pension...the french term for guest house, only two blocks fro the station, so I could be nearby for my early morning train. The pension looked a tad tired on the outside, but my room was all brand new, completely remodeled with a better bed than the one I stayed in the pricey place. Only €40 which makes it one of the cheapest places on my trip. In the day i went out to cover some more maria things i still wanted to visit and also went to the museum. As I had a full day bus ticket I went down to the Zalzach River in the evening to take in the vista of a warm evening sunset over the old buildings and the water. Everyone was out and about after the heat of the day, strolling the bridges, and eating al frescoe. I took some great pics for you all to view...hope you like them.

    I really would have liked to go and see more of austria further north to vienna

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  • 13Jun 2014

    46 hello old friend! 13.06.2014 Italien —

    Venezia-Murano-Burano, Venice, Italien

    Beschreibung

    On thursday 12th of june was a very big day. I was lucky enough to book some train tickets before my computer went flat, and I got the austrian spare scheme, when some seats are sold at bargain prices but only on the third day before travel...didn't know this when booking. Only cost €13 for the first train and then about €39for the next one all the way to venice....my next destination.

    This day brings an end to my 6 week tour travelling alone. It has been a a very rewarding experience, however I will write some evaluation notes another time...as am far to weary now.
    when the train pulled in to santa maria novella station in venice, there was my travel companion for the cruise waiting for me...my dear friend franke. Actually frank, but I always call him frank- E.
    He has come all the way from home to meet me, having just spent four days in rome doing his own mini tour. It was good to see a familar face, and have someone to talk to. On a very warm day we didnt have far to go to get to the hotel, but did get a little lost as we had no map! We are staying in an old monestary that has been converted to a hotel..in fact works are still going on, as we arrived at our room on second floor to find a man repairing the terazzo floor in hallway, with smelly sealants and noisy machines....if I wasnt so excited about the cruise I would have asked to be moved. It was ok as the worker left in the evening so no noise, besides we went out and walked...and walked, and photographed, and had some dinner. Then we walked, and walked, and found a supermakiti where I got a few supplies and a tub of gelati. I have done so much walking but not lost any weight...I wonder why?
    Then we were finally at the grand canal, where we sat and watched the bustling world of venice go by...oh my what a place..it is so unique, so busy, .......more news tomorrow, with pics to come.

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  • 14Jun 2014

    47 off to the ship today! 14.06.2014 Italien —

    Venezia-Murano-Burano, Venice, Italien

    Beschreibung

    We had a great day yesterday in frantic hectic very busy venice...went to the doges palace, the maritime museum, the coreo miseum which had 3 sections of miseums in it....and we used our 24 hour vaporetto water bus to the max, taking a ride over to lido far off island. We did that as we were so knackered and it was one place to sit down. There is nowhere to sit in venice.if you are lucky to find some church steps, thats all there is.
    Frank enjoyed the maritime things and explained a lot to me. He certainly knows his ships, saying.....oh that is about mid 1500s so I would look at the painting descrition and he was spot on.

    we went to a supermarket near hotel for meal supplies at night...too exhausted to go out again for a meal...then I was up till midnight posting pics, and booking a tour for turkey...I think we are sorted now for the first week at least.

    so this will be my last post for a while, leaving to go to ship in a few minutes....the internet on ship will be too expensive. Will try to do a post when ashore if any free wifi spots...
    And pics to be loaded here about venice yesterday...still going to go out and explore some more this afternoon......
    thanks to everyone for reading!
    love to all....
    ahhh finally I can be in a pool today...hooray....sailing out of venice will be so ething I am looking forward to this evening...
    my ship is NCL NORWEGIAN JADE if you want to look it up.

    bye for now, love K ♥

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  • 16Jun 2014

    48 poseidon adventures 16.06.2014 Kroatien —

    Dubrovnik, Kroatien

    Beschreibung

    When I was at the castles in bavaria, I was chatting to a young solo traveler from singapore, and with a busy castle day almost behind I asked her what she was going to do for the rest of her few days. Oh I might go here or to...or I might even come back here she said....oh no I replied, dont ever go back, for nothing is the same when I you return. I told her of my second visit to the taj mahal years ago in india, only because the second tour I went on also went there. It just doest give you the same thrill, the anticipation is not there, no sense of wonder or exploration. Hmmm she pondered on my sage advise. Perhaps you are right, and prattled off some more locations I germany she could go to instead.

    Why am I telling you all this? Because it feels that way bei g on cruise ship JADE. I have sailed her before...I know how to get to the theatre, I remember most of the locations on board. Its getting older now, and showing here age. She was only 8 months old when I cruised around the hawaiin islands. The only thrill I discovered was they have renovated the entire spa area, or perhaps my friend and I didnt joing up for the spa and I cant recall it at all. Anyway, I signed up for the whole two weeks for the private spa rooms at $129 US per week for my sheer indulgence and relaxation. And im loving it with a steam room with eucalyptus which has cleared my sinus, a sauna where I can only sit with view out to the sea for 5 minutes, a cold plunge dip pool, a large jacuzzi amd searing area with views out over the front of ship....and also in the ladies only area is tropical rain showers, loos and ordinary showers, lotion and shampoos, lockers, and robes and towels.....but wait there is more....in the mixed section..where there is hardly any men is a 6 bed under the bubbles whirlpool where you lie and have to hold on lest you float away. Thrre is another 6 raised beds facing the sea tiled in tiny mosaic that are heated...yesterday I fell asleep on one, to be woken by a loud young american woman in the bed spa. There is also cold juices and herbal teas to relax with. Frank goes to the library or has a nap up on deck or in our room. Its my sanctuary time.

    But the rest of the ship is ho hum, and I gaze at the huge celebrity ship and wish I was on one of them...something different....but I should not complain. The most exciting thing is the amazing places of our ports of call. So far on Sunday Dubrovnik in croatia and today is athens. I have found free wifi at the archelogocal museum but soon have to dash back on the hop on hop off bus as its about one hour ride throught he sights again to the ship.

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  • 19Jun 2014

    49 life aboard ship 19.06.2014

     

    Beschreibung

    Life aboard ship
    frank says the most fun he has with me is all the drama and attention I seem to eventuate. So to eat anything gluten free on board I have to order it the day before, which is a real problem. For one thing you dont onow which retsaurant you will be eating in a day away, casual at the buffet or get dressed up for the dining room. One morning I ordered french toast for the next day, and when I went there, the staff had no idea what I was talking about. I ended up walking out without any breakfast. The maitre 'd must have found out about it,,,later that day trackig me down there have been other numerous complaints from me, such as bad service in dining areas etc..Consequently all the main staff know me, and now when my key card gets scanned at a dining room Im shown to a good table, and they are fussing over me like all queens should be. Frank thinks its hilarious.

    The shows in the evenings have been fabulous. The americans do put on a good show. We saw some of the musical SHOUT with all the hits of the 1960s female artists like Dusty Springfield. I was bopping in my seat and singing quietly and frank loved all the girls in their many mini skirts costumes. We also saw the illusionist of the year 2012...and his wife..cant recall his name..fantastic and very good stage presentation. Last nights show was the last one for this week as most are only doing the 7 day itinerary, but we are on for 2 so the shows will all be repeated next week, wnich we didnt realise and stayed up to see them all and one night we both almost fell asleep at one show...haha. Frank says he will be happpy to go see the 60s girls singing again...wonder why?

    this week after dubrovnik we left the rain behind us and went to athens where it was a typical aussie hot day for us, the europeans were almost flaking out in the heat. Climbed the acropolis to see the parthenon, and quite frankly it wasnt as grand as I thought it would be. It is covered in scafolding and ongoing works. Also in athens went to the national archeological museum, which was terrific. The items were so old...some 1500 BC we were amazed.
    We had hop on hop off bus tickets and they got us bavck to the ship so late, the girl had to phone to say we were on our way. It took 1and 3/4 hours to get back and boy was frank stressing out. I went to the spa and chilled out.

    Also went to kusadasi in turkey, and I booked a day tour when back in venice to take us to the ancient site of ephesus. It included a visit to the final home of the virgin mary, st John was instructed to take care of her by jesus, so they fled to here, and she died here at ephesus but hidden away up in the hills. No one knows or cares if its true...pethaps it was some enterprising person from the new town who found these ruins and this place now has a huge following with thousands visting every day. It was a very peaceful place. I lit 2 candles for my grandies, and left a wish for all the children of the world. Wr also went to the ruins of st johns church whete he is buried, and had a nice lunch and then saw some carpetmaking.
    had a great week at sea..tiring...back to venice tomorrow and then more next week!

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  • 25Jun 2014

    50 the blue blue sea 25.06.2014 Griechenland —

    Griechenland

    Beschreibung

    Ahh the Mediterranean Sea has such beautiful countries, islands and little towns. There is so much to explore...many little cafes, loads of shops, an abundance of jewelery...yes I have bought some, and an oversupply of souvenier shops. There are some small museums, churches, and even the occasional archeological site, but quite frankly I am all ruined out. But the most wonderful thing here for me is the sea itself. I have never seen such a beautiful blue of an ocean. The colour is hard to describe. No wonder the italian word for water is aqua, but the Mediterranean is not acqua nor turquoise, but it does not have the green in these colours. Frank says its navy, but I think not. Perhaps it is more like a deep dark azure blue, and with my new polarized sunglasses it looks even a deeper blue, bjt to the naked eye, one would think the colour is changed by the bright sun, such as the blue lake in mount gambier that becomes more blue on a sunny day. But not so here, it stays the same blue even on a cloudy day. It stays the most refreshing deepest blue I have ever seen in my life. When I am ashore at the dock or port I look over the edge and the water is so clear I can see the rocks at the bottom and see fish swimming.

    The sea is so enticing it makes me want to dive off the ship, and into the cool water. In fact most people did just that at our first ,stop which was corfu on week two of the cruise. Summer has come, and all the europeans want to do is go to the beach and warm up. They got the bus to the beach on a sun y 30 degree day with a perfect blue clear sky. The tops deck of the ship is crowded, with bodies baking in the sun.

    Yesterday at Santorini was so much fun..got a donkey ride..€5 up to the town of fira ...it was so much fun.the donkey just took off as soon as we were on.
    little kids were screaming with fear...I was laughing my head off...we got the local bus to the town of oia where we walked around in the very hot sun....

    today at mykonos I finally had a swim...slippery rocks and very crunchy hard gravelly sand, but the water was delightful..now sitting in the shade of the only tree around as there is free wifi here....so farewell from me...XX
    THIS IS POST NUMBER 50 THATS QUITE AN EFFORT DONT YOU RECKON?

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  • 26Jun 2014

    51 all ruined out! 26.06.2014 Griechenland —

    Griechenland

    Beschreibung

    Today we docked at katakolon on mainland greece. It has a port with a platform. The tour director says you may wonder when you see the small town why are we here? It is the port to visit the archelogical ruins of olympia, the sit of the birthplace of the olympic games.

    We were in two minds about whether to go there or not. We were tired after clambering all over the islands this week and venice again last weekend. Also it was to be a warm day. So this morning I sent frnak ashore in search of a local bus. The ship transfer was $30 US each. So he returned and said thereare people out sell7ng tickets in the street to go there for 5€, so I fuelled up on sausage bacon, egg, tomato and a yogurt and cup of tea, and we were off. A bus load of shippies on our way to olympia some 40 m7nutes drive. There is not much left there. They said on the ship tours tv channel not to expect a site as we saw last week at ephusus in turkey. But for historical interest we went. Memories of when we were at komodo island indonesia? came back to me...nah I dont want to go I have seen a komodo dragon at a zoo, so I stayed on the ship that day...so those dragons have plagued me for years, as I didnt go, and the people came back on ship and said it was great. They were running all over the beach....yes I wished I had gone to see them.

    Now I am back from olympia, and after a walk around in the very hot sun, I can safely say I am over ruins....I am all ruined out. I have seen on this trip the best preserved greek temples in the world...at sicily, and the best of roman ruins of pompei and hurculaneum, and some turkish ones at ephesus, and greek last week at parthenon, and now at olympia. Of course the best of the whole place is in the museum, and that was the best part of the day, and it was air conditioned.

    Well my strawberry smoothie for 5 € with free? Wifi is over so I best load up some pics...hec I have to get back on ship soon...just asked the time....byeeeee!!!!!

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  • 28Jun 2014

    52 for the kids! 28.06.2014 Italien —

    Municipio VIII, Rome, Italien

    Beschreibung

    I have been wanting to write a post for my grandies ever since I got the news back in sorrento that, "no the kids are not interested in your blog as they are not too much into archeological sites"...lol but they did like the pictures....so here is a story just for you kids, about kids and some of the things I have seen on my trip related to children....

    oops...impossible to load pics at this cafeteria where I am having tea...will have to do later.

    back again....I saw lots of animals on my trip. There are many feral cats in europe, but people put food out for them and just let them be. Some look sick with yucky weepy eyes and chewed ears so I didnt go near them. Some meowed to me and let me take their photo, others ran away whe they saw the camera come out. And you never touch dogs in the street as they may bite. Some dogs lie asleep over the footpath in the sun, so I just had to step over them quietly. I saw lots of birds also, but most of the time I could only hear them in the woods where I was walking. I stopped to look but couldnt see them. The best birds I saw were the huge storks and their huge nests all over town in turkey. They fly in for the spring to have their babies, and then they will all fly north back home when the babies can fly.

    I saw lots of kids especially when it was school holidays in germany. Everywhere I went there was large groups of kids on school excursions to the museums and art galleries...they are so fortunate to go and visit such beatiful places. European kids seem to be allowed to stay up so late at night...many kids I saw looked so very tired. And they are also very naughty, allowed to run around all over the place. On the ship they were running down the hallway at 11 pm at night while I was trying to get to sleep! I saw one girl doing cartwheels in the atrium of the ship near the reception desk...tsk tsk....I was constantly on patrol saying walking, walking! And then they slowed down a bit. The kids club on ship is open till 10.30 at night. Many children are also in europe travelling on holidays with their parents. I met many kids on trains who look so tired..they were grumpy and days behind in their trip diaries as they looked even more exhausted than me. Short trips maybe ok but I really think dragging very young kids and babies all over europe is ridiculous. One new dad who sat next to me on the amalfi day trip was so disconcerted that the baby was too tired and his wife had to stay at hotel so they could rest. I think he was starting to realise that travelling with a baby is harder than he first thought.

    Back to more kids things...there are great shops for kids or more to the point for adult who buy things for kids. Fantastic clothes shops and all sorts of merchandise like kids suitcases and manchester for kids rooms. This stuff is everywhere even at the markets. Adults certainly must spend a lot of money on dressing kids well. Some shops were for gifts for new babies with the most delightful gifts and clothing. In germany when a new baby is born, they put a picture of a stork in the front yard or window of the apartment.

    Icecream...one of the best things about italy for kids is the gelati...it is the best icecream in the world, and not over sweet like icecream back home. The cheapest gelati is from the supermarkets and I think its the best, an I ate a bit too much at times. The gelati shops are full of pastel coloured tubs of gelati in the tourist areas and they charge a lot for a cone or a small cup, but people still queue up in their search for the best.

    So that is my round up of all things KIDS. I watched and talked to many children on my trip. I learned a lot by watching them play and interacting with their parents. They get away with a lot here, but mostly kids are the same everywhere, they want to have fun, and they all smile at me. Some even say thankyou for playing puppy palace on your computer...but one mother on a train woke up, slapped the kid and made her hand back my computer....

    See you soon kids, I have missed you so much and one day I hope you get to see europe too.

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  • 29Jun 2014

    53 last days 29.06.2014

     

    Beschreibung

    The last night on board a cruise is hectic....it took many hours to pack, with frank and I sharing the load..will you take these shoes...oh i can fit that in my bag....and wrapping gifts. Then there is the account to sort out and ask for a reduction in the tipping charges due to my compaint in writing, I paid half of the US $12 per person per day....also our luggage pick up time to organise and get the corresponding tags from reception. We are LIME 9.20am..bags out by 11pm...the hallways were busy...I just made it, even though I started packing at 2pm....but there was lots to do today..the trivia game, the digital camera scavenger hunt, chatting with new friends marge and sue from america, then lunch, spa time, and also the evening show. We had an entree at the buffet and went to the 7.30 show then couldnt get a table for dinner, so we shared with some wine drinking gals from manchester who whined that there was not a single lounge on topdeck in the sun today it was so busy up there. Must have been a long cold winter. I wouldnt know I dont go up there...far too many people and screaming kids. My $258 spa bill for the 2 weeks was well worth it for the serenity and relaxation. Frank enjoyed the time on his own to take a nap in the cabin before I dragged him out for the nights entertainment....sometimes I had the thermal ladies suite all to myself...I could sit in the sauna and stare out to sea or soak in the jacuzzi while watching a foreign film with subtitles....pure decadence, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I sat there sometimes and thought to myself I want to rememeber this forever, sitting here on this ship staring out at the beautiful sea. Sometimes I could see croatia on one side and italy on the other. And once I even saw a merman...its been a long time between hugs!

    Overall the cruise was worth it...it would have been so much effort to get to all those places. The second week waking up to a new greek island was sheer bliss. And we had a lot of fun. But all good things come to an end it seems, so on saturday morning we walked all the way to the venice station, in the very warm sun, and I bid farewell to my friend...im off to rome and home, frank off to florence and to see some of tuscancy at my insistance.

    The fasy train whizzed me back to roma and i soon had checked into another cheap hotel at termini....back where i started 9 weeks ago...it would be the same here if it were 9 years ago..the africans flogging their wares on pop up cardboard stalls, the indians saying yes mam if you glance sideways at their mobile phone covers. I had grand plans for my last night in rome but all I could manage after a lie down is dinner in a station cafeteria and a stroll around my neighborhood. Found a mini mart with a small tub of gelati, then went home to the noisiest room I have ever had, and it was hot with only a ceiling fan whirring around...I opened the window late to check if the air had cooled, and the six homeless guys had made their beds on the street below and settled down for the night. People trundled by with rolling cases on the way to the station.

    In the morning, my last hours in italy I thought a morning stroll in the villa borghese gardens would be nice...it didnt happen. After my breakie and my shower only avialable on the floor above me, I finally had only one hour spare. The church bells rang out their own little tunes on the sunday morning, and there was somewhere I knew I had to go...yes to church, but one I wanted to see from when I was here before. I packed ready for the airport, and half ran to the other side of termini and down 3 blocks to basillica santa maria maggiore. It was a special day...saint pauls feast a day for giving to the poor. I gave 2 euro and sat and listened to the service for 10 minutes, and then a choir sang. It was beautiful. I couldnt see them anywhere, but the sound was like it came from heaven. This church is richly decorated in golds and paintings. Im so glad I went. Then I walked back to the hotel and nipped into the church where the men slept up againt last night, right across from my room.

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