A Travellerspoint blog

Arrivederci Roma

This is going all too fast

Rome was everything we thought it would be and then some!! The people are smiling helpful, friendly.Very proud of their city and want to share it with all. It reminded us a bit like Melbourne, but prettier, much more history of course, and much easier to get around, and the weather perfect.. 24-25 sunny not a cloud in the sky... I am getting a tan!!!
Our hotel room was lovely, we have been lucky getting our own bathroom at every hotel so far, and lovely clean rooms. Our Rome accomodation had parquetry floors and prints of all the italian masterpieces on the walls, felt like I was sleeping in a museum! Still havent worked out the bidet! seems awfully complicated and amusing to me.
We have been walking on average about 5 hours a day, so are feeling very fit, it is no chore though. It is so lovely to walk and walk and keep seeing new and fascinating things, everything is so different!
We bought a tourist pass for the bus, a get on, get off pass for 48 hours, so we could jump on and jump off at anyplace, 16 stops on the route all historical or archeological sites,so MUCH to see. The bus had headsets so you can listen to the history of everything you are passing, a wonderful history lesson!
The vatican was a bit bewildering, so much wealth and treasure in one place...and two thirds of the world do not have enough to eat. It seems to be a place where over history, church officials have spent millions, to leave themselves some kind of monument I loved seeing the Hall of Maps, and The sistine Chapel, but it is such a shame it is all just a 'rake in the tourist dollar' affair. The Catholic church has sold 'copyright' of the chapel to a japanese tv station, in return for the company paying for the cleaning...seems blasphemous to me. I still got very emotional standing in the middle of The Vatican Square... spinning around and thinking.. I really am here! We passed the square on Sunday while the Pope was doing an audience.. thousands of people everywhere. The italians love their el Papa. Our guide is very popular with the vatican guards.. being a young pretty blonde american, and we got access to places not all do, even got to see the front door of the popes vatican apartment.
We also got the chance to go to the tombs under St Peters, was a bit spooky for me, while we were there some monks were singing chants behind a big screen, made for a very unusual atmosphere, Ian liked it.. I couldnt get out of there fast enough!
We were at the top of the spanish steps at midday on Sunday as the bells of Rome tolled... what a beautiful sound, bells ringing from everywhere.
The colleseum had to be my most favourite place, it is just...well collosal! Our guide was brilliant, telling us stories of ancient times, and the blood sports they enjoyed in the hey days of Rome. I also loved Trevi fountain, so beautiful once again it reminded me of movies I watched with my sisters when we were younger. When we get back I would really like to read a bit more about Roman History, from what I have learnt in the last few days, it is fascinating.
We had the best food we have had in the whole trip last night, In a little lane right near Trevi fountain...yummmmmy, melt in your mouth stuff, Minestroni soup, veal cutlets, clam pasta, tiramisu, served by a little old italian man with a warm personality, very entertaining...and then we met another couple from Australia.. Accountants from Bribie Island.A little older than us, they had treated themselves an European Holiday for their 40th wedding anniversary. They had just spent a week in a villa in Tuscany enjoyed after dinner drinks with them, great company, authentic atmosphere, and the best of food and drink. It is going to be hard to get used to 'real' life when we get back. This trip has ignited an urge to travel more, and I am already trying to talk Ian into us committing to coming back in 5 years or so to do more.
At the moment we are on a train to Venice..well to Venizia Santa Lucia, we will then catch a water bus to Venice, met another young couple from Austria, who were full of questions about Australia, they are all napping now, so I am busy clicking away on the computer. After Venice, we think we may go to Milan, then on to Paris. Missing you all very much, but loving every minute of this adventure xxxx

Posted by Kerry F 08:02 Comments (0)

Roma!!

When in Rome you do as the Romans do....eat, drink and be merry!!

Here we are in Rome!!!
We took the 'fast' train from florence to Rome....and believe me it was freaking fast! and so comfortable. Found our room in Rome no problems, we booked it at the train station in Florence before we left at the tourism office, Lovely room, and it is a five minute walk to most of the Roman ruins.Rome is busy, but everyone smiles a lovely open city after the small streets of Florence.
We went for a walk to the Colleseum.. freaked me out, it is so big! We joined a tour there and spent five hours hearing stories of Roman times, gladiators etc.The tour also went to Palentines Hill, an enormous area in the middle of Rome that has the Old Roman Forum, palaces, roads, houses... marvelous stuff! Had a lovely guide that we are also going to use tomorrow to tour the Vatican, she lives in the Vatican, a young uni student from America.
We are also only a short walk to Trevi Fountain, so will go for a walk later tonight, as it does not get dark till around 10:00pm.
Walked up the spanish steps, and pretended I was Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday, tried to find the barber shop were she cut her hair, and the window of her apartment... was very surreal. We intend staying here till Monday, then on to Venice....maybe.....xxxxx

Posted by Kerry F 10:55 Comments (3)

A Day under the Tuscan Sun

Still catching our breath after the beauty of Pisa and Florence

Florence has us in awe, I have seen so many things I have read about in books, like the statue of David, which though beautiful, does have rather large hands! or so I thought, apparently it is in proportion according to academics,
Found a little stone bridge across the river that had all these little jewellry shops, actually on the bridge,very beautiful and very quaint, at the middle of the bridge there is a little statue, with an iron fence around it that was covered in padlocks, every available place had a padlock on it, and on the padlock were the names of lovers.. apparently its a legend that if you write your name on a lock and put it on the gate, your love will be forever, the italians are such romantics!! Every corner there is a statue, or a plaza with a little fountain. At the end of the street we are staying in there is a marble drinking fountain with three litte cherubs faces spouting water, it was built in 1300!! just spins me out! it is still in use, On the top of many buildings beautiful carved figures, mosaics, beautifully tiled rooves.
We walked to the basillica santa maria, so decorated and so big!! Ian and I walked the 315 steps to the top of the tower, the view over Florence (or firenze) was just unreal. We spent the afternoon in the Uffizia (my spelling will be off, I am doing it from memory) a huge communal place of florence, full of amazing paintings, sculptures, and items, most from the 1200's, when you are not used to anything more than 200 years old the history here can blow your mind.

Today we took the train to Pisa for the day, we intended getting a bus from the train station to the leaning tower, had a chat to an american tourist and she said it was an easy walk, so we did! The weather was just beautiful..a day in the tuscan sun! I have a sunburnt nose! It took about 20 minutes to walk the distance and we got to have a good look at life in Pisa.

The old city was again...brilliant, everything is Marble, the paths, the walls the buildings!! We spent 4 hours going through the monumental cemetary, the baptistary, and the most beautiful building I have ever seen, the cathedral. We did not climb the leaning tower, there was too much else to do and see, and to be honest, i could nt be bothered..my old legs just do not do stairs very well. We also went through the museums there, many roman artifacts, the tapestry church items were amazing.

We are continueing our quest to eat everything in sight...ha ha, Tonight it was pasta and chianti in a little lane, yummy food, brillaint service!
Off to Rome tomorrow...missing you all xxxxx

Posted by Kerry F 13:59 Comments (1)

Florence...Italy

Just got used to saying 'merci'...now its 'grazie'

We made it to Florence! Not Barcelona or Rome ! We decided to come here after talking to other travellers and hearing there stories of how beautiful it is! Also everything going the other way in Europe is booked out because of people not thinking they can get to England via air travel.
Well I thought Nice was pretty special...Florence is ultra special! We had no trouble with taking the train, wonderful rail system.It was well worth not booking our tickets from Australia, we saved 250 euros!! By just buying tickets from the locql stations.It only cost us under 70 dollars australian to travel from Nice to Florence, Quotes we got when trying to book from australia were all in the 300-400 range.Admittedly we had to change trains 3 times, but it was no drama and we got to check out Genova, Ventimiglia,and La Spezia, all lovely old cities.
From Nice to La Spezia the train travelled along the ocean, amazing scenery, snow capped alps on one side, beautiful blue mediterranian sea on the other, little fishing villages, holiday yachts, chalets, the trip passed so quickly with so much to see.
We then turned inland and hit the rolling green countryside of Tuscuny.Little farmhouses, tiny villages perched on top of the steepest mountain sides, big rushing rivers, so much to look at, We were constantly pointing 'look at that'
The train passed through Pisa, we intend going back in the next couple of days to check out the leaning tower, it is only a 30 minute train trip from here.
Florence has majestic old city walls, we have not really explored anything yet as we only arrived tonight, but will stay here a few days so we can check it all out.
Tonight we went for a walk around where we are staying, had a lovely italian meal, complete with accordian player! Ian loved his pasta, and i pigged out on pizza and tiramisu...honestly I really am eating my way through europe, we are finding the food so cheap, eating at little cafes off the main thoroughways, we are paying on average about 25 dollars aussie for entrees, two main meals, a couple of beers and a coffee for me! much less than we thought it would be.
We also scored well by not prebooking accomodation.. though i did stress a bit when we first arrived here.. with no bed to go too!
The major Rail stations have tourism offices, and for a 3 euro fee, find you a room! we got a lovely room in the oldest part of town, for about 80 dollars aussie.. breakfast included!! Other travellers tell us that to pay over this is unusual, unless of course you prebook, if you are willing to take your chance with what is available, its cheaper!!
Tomorrow we are taking a tour.. to see Michaelangelos David, and some other "cultural" stuff..
Hope you had a great birthday BekeeBoo!!
xxxxx

Posted by Kerry F 22:20 Comments (3)

Just how Grand can a Grand Prix be!!

Aussie aussie aussie oi oi oi

Grand Prix was an experience! Webber winning was the cherry on top!!
The minute we walked into the beautiful flower lined streets of Monaco you could hear the roar of the engines of the cars doing practice laps, I have never been a 'car person' but that sound makes your adrenaline rush!

The wealth of Monaco is obvious everywhere, shops that sell Lear Jets...yes they were advertised and described like a real estate window.. now if only i had a spare 20 million euros!! (I would like a black one). The streets are spotless, such a well maintained city!

Our seats were right on the harbour, we looked down into the yachts moored there, these people live very privledged lives, waited on hand and foot! We were right above Richard Branston and his entourage.

We had amazing seats, we could see most of the track. The people of Monaco line the hills and cliffs above the town, it was a sea of people on balconies, rooftops, roadsides.. all there to have a good time, the atmosphere was electric. When Webber won, you could hear Aussie voices everywhere, chanting aussie aussie aussie, spine tingling stuff!
The italians are diehard Ferrari fans, a sea of red hats, shirts, flagwaving and clapping and cheering whenever a ferrari car passes. The germans were dressed in white and silver..much quieter, but still having a good time. BUT the day belonged to the aussies!!! loved it!!

Tonight when we came back we went to a little roadside restaurant for tea.... Ian wanted to try the local speciality, mussels..we ended up sharing a table with a lovely couple from Lebanon, which was handy because the lady could speak french!! the man was a pilot and gave us some tips on where to travel, and where wasnt worth going...so our plans may change!! We also had a few drinks with a young aussie couple on honeymoon, and a couple from Tassie!! oh and Ian loved the mussels.. or the moules as they say in French!!

We are getting gamer and are using a few french words to get what we want!!
Next time I write we should be in Barcelona...or Rome!
Because of the British Airports being closed, the Poms are all using the trains to get as close to Britain as they can.. so we may have to go the other way...to Rome due to the over booked trains...either way I am sure it should be fun!!

xxx

Posted by Kerry F 15:18 Comments (1)

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