Tuesday, 3 July 2007
We had a lovely last Italian dinner and are now waiting to go to the airport and on to Dubai.
Saturday, 30 June 2007
Today we went to the Cathedral in St Marco square. It is awesome with lots of gold mosaics and the mosaic floor is really interesting.
Trevor went to the top of the bell tower and had amazing views of Venice from there.
Venice is extremely busy with people – it has been the busiest place we have been to by far. Tomorrow we are going for a tour to three Islands Murano (where they make the beautiful glass), Burano (where they make lace) and Torcello.
It is quite humid here but it cools a bit at night. We are ready to get away from all the people.
Thursday, 28 June 2007
That was my day filled in well and truly. Trevor said the motorbike shops were crap – not much in them. He did heaps of walking a even a wee bit of shopping!!!
We went more into the centre of Florence tonight for dinner and came across some students doing street art and musicians playing – lovely atmosphere.
We were a packed up now and heading to Venice.
One and a half hours of train journey through Tuscany was lovely. Have I mentioned that so far where ever we have been you have to pay to use the toilet! And they are few and far between. It was a bit cooler today (about 18 degrees) and in Siena it was spitting.
Siena is a hilly gothic style, town with walls around the inner part. Lovely narrow streets and it seems that motor vehicles are not allowed in the centre most part. The shops appear to be larger than Rome and very very nice – it seemed a bit like Queenstown in that it was bustling with tourists but there is only 50,000 people that live there. They were getting ready for a big festival- Il Palio – some pageantry and a horse race around the centre square, which is on next week.
Had a lovely lunch – have I mentioned that the Italian food is very nice – simple and fresh – very tasty.
Got back to Florence around 5:00pm and went to the Uffizi Gallery to see if I could get tickets to visit tomorrow – they had sold all the reservations so I have to get up early to queue – it opens at 8:15 – so another early day tomorrow.
Tuesday, 26 June 2007
Then we went to find the markets – lots of leather – bagsw, handbags, belts etc very exciting – made a couple of purchases!!
All the galleries and museums are closed in Florence on a Monday but we found the Cezanne exhibition was open so we visited that – Trevor really enjoyed it :)
Then it was time for more mundane stuff – laundry – it is way too expensive to have it done at the Hotel.
Today it was 36 degrees – very hot – thank god for our air conditioned hotel.
Here is a shopping basket to carry home all the purchases! It is about the size of those “Little Tykes” cars for toddlers.
Tomorrow we are off to Siena for a day trip.
Monday, 25 June 2007
We found lots of treasures we would have loved to have brought home but the airline probably wouldn’t like itWe walked to the Duomo (Large Cathedral) in the middle of Florence – the queue was so huge we didn’t go in, might try again another day. We had lunch in a little Café (they call them Bars here) where you buy slabs of pizza, panini, fruit salad etc.
This afternoon we took an open bus tour up to one of the exclusive hill suburbs Fiesole. Very nice – all the paintings you see of Tuscany (or Toscana as they call it here) are so true they paint it as you see it.
Tonight was another special night – The Feast of St John. Outside our Hotel the street was blocked off. We are on the edge of the Arno River. Directly opposite us there are some gardens and there was an amazing fireworks display there tonight that went for 40 minutes – it just kept going the streets were packed with people out to watch it. The loud bangs echoed off all the buildings and the fireworks were reflected in the river – it was fantastic.
Sorry guys blogger has published these out of order and I dont know how to change it.
Saturday, 23 June 2007
Off we set – the track between Monterosso and Vernazza – the next village is very steep and narrow. That took about 1 and a half hours to walk very hot and sweaty although it is a bit cooler today and overcast – thank goodness.
This is Vernazza – a beautiful village built into the cliffs. We then set off for Corneglia which didn’t have a port and is set high in the cliff. This took one and a half hours also – more sweat and puffing. We had a lovely lunch here. After that were the villages of Manorola and Riomaggiore which were only about half an hour apart and a little more easier to walk.
On arrival at Riomaggiore we went straight to the office to book the boat trip back because by this time we were buggered and didn’t want to miss the boat. The boat wasn’t operating because of "rough seas" – well the sea was as calm as a good day in NZ!!!! So we thought we had to muck around in this tiny village until 9pm tonight. We thought about hitch hiking but decided not to. There were no taxis or buses. We went back to the train station after lots of mooching around and they said that there might be a train at about 6:00. We went to a bar and had a couple of beers with a nice Australian couple to fill in the time. We were so pleased to get back to Monterosso and have a shower – very hot, tired and sweaty – not a relaxing day at all but glad we did it.
The train journey took about four hours – the country side is similar to New Zealand but with lots of Bamboo.
Monterosso is the largest village in the Cinque Terre (pronounced chenkway tear) group of five villages. Our hotel room is considerably bigger than our last one and is back from the beach but very nice. The temperature is cooler here than Rome – feels like about 28.
Thursday, 21 June 2007
Beside the Pantheon there was a lovely café where Trevor decided to taste the Italian cappuccino and I had a gelato ice cream – sorry girls too hot to drink coffees
This is just around the corner from our hotel.
We booked a Tour “Rome Illuminated” which was to be a tour of Rome at night. The only problem was that for the first hour and twenty minutes it was still daylight! As part of the tour we went back to the Piazza Navona – it was packed with people and buskers – really crowded – such a contrast to when we were there earlier in the day. Trevor had a look at the prices at the Restaurants – they averaged between 30-40 euros for a main ($60-$80nz approx).
We are off to Cinque Terre today not sure if there will be internet access there so may be a few days before I can do any posts.
Wednesday, 20 June 2007
We decided to book a tour of the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Bascilica. Thank goodness we did this was the queue into the Vatican. These walls are all around the Vatican City and this was only one side we saw the queue go around three of these walls – not sure how much further it went after that. Our guide estimated that they would have approx 3 hours wait in the 31 degree heat – We just walked straight in. Although being with a tour you didn’t get to wander wherever you wanted he was very informative and we got the best vantage points and explanations of things. The Sistine Chapel was amazing (we weren’t able to take any photos in there though
This is a photo of one of the many ceilings in the Vatican MuseumTrevor standing in St Peter’s Square in front of the building where the Pope gives his speeches – On a Wednesday. We went on Tuesday to avoid the crowds! Sometimes you are unable to get into some parts of the Vatican on a Wednesday
We are just mucking around today – we leave Rome for Cinque Terre tomorrow – will be very educational figuring out which train we are on.