VENICE

VENICE

Buongiorno from Venice,
We arrived in Venice by train on 6 March, and caught the Vaporetto to S.MARCO Vallaresso, where we met our host, Marco, who lead us the short distance to our accommodation. Venetian Infinity Apartment This was to be our home for the next 3 nights. (Thanks for the recommendation, Alan & Julie). That night we visited San Marco Square, and then discovered after a long trek through the lanes and over the countless bridges the supermarket.
On our first full day we walked around to familiarise ourselves with the city and discover the sights. We visited the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, walked over the Accademia Bridge, fought the crowds at Piazzo San Marco, Basilica San Marco, and St Mark’s Campanile, after which we decided we needed a break from tourists and walked along the waterfront to the gardens and enjoyed the quiet and the setting sun.

The next day we bought a ‘day pass’ for the Vaporetto and spent much of the day doing ‘hop on, hop off’. We visited a gallery that was displaying working models of some of da Vinci’s ideas. Da Vinci is big at the moment because it is 500 years since he died. At the moment there are excellent exhibitions in the UK and in Italy that we have seen.
On one of our many landings and after crossing the Rialto Bridge we searched out a restaurant that Marco (our host) had recommended. After much searching we found it, Trattoria Ca’ d’oro-Alla Vedova, magnifico! and well worth the effort of the search. After lunch we also visited the market and Basílica de Santa Maria della Salute, which was just lovely. Dinner that night was at ‘Chat Qui Rit’. We shared the building courtyard and garbage bins with the restaurant.

Each morning I got up very early and headed out to see if there were any photos to be had, I used my ‘Photographer’s Ephemeris’ app. Checked out the angles of the rising sun, got ‘east and west’ sorted, times of sunrise, blue hour, golden hour, the lot, only one very ‘slight’ problem…..FOG, every morning I was out there, every morning, so was the fog, except, the morning we had to leave. At least we had a nice ride to the airport in beautiful conditions, warmer, blue sky and beaming sunlight! c’est la vie, (hang on, not in France yet) così è la vita!

arrivederci
Lance & Barbara

 

 

FLORENCE

FLORENCE-FIESOLE-MONTERIGGIONI

Buon giorno from Italy!
Friday March 1 saw us flying into Florence to celebrate Lance’s birthday. Unknown to him we were booked into our favourite Florentine hotel, ‎Hotel Torre Guelfa, which many years ago provided us with a safe haven on a cold, wet and windy night. This is a gorgeous hotel in a 13 century building with the tallest private tower in Florence. We enjoyed climbing the tower and the panoramic views of Florence. Birthday dinner was celebrated in the first restaurant we ate in many years ago in Florence.

(Click on photo to see gallery)

FIESOLE

Next morning we caught the bus to Fiesole a small village in the north eastern hills. Bit of a hassle finding the bus, it had been moved due to a route change, but eventually we got there. We did a long walk through the narrow lanes of Fiesole and the forests and ended up at the Fattoria di Maiano for lunch. We have also stayed here before, We had a superb lunch with magnificent views of the surrounding countryside. Then it was back to Florence, walking down the hill, to move into our Airbnb, which proved to be everything we had hoped for. The street view from the room was of Por Santa Maria (it continues down to the Pont Vecchio – we were about 200m from the bridge)

Sunday we woke to the sounds of drums and looking out the window, saw the parade of costumed guards complete with cannon marching to the Palazzo Vecchio for the The Changing of the Guards. This continued all morning. We decided we would go to Piazza Michelanglo and see David (version of), and 2 churches. We arrived back in the city walking through the Palazzo just as a spectacular performance of flag throwers began. There were 4 teams performing, 2 from Florence and 2 from Umbria. It drew a huge crowd and was really spectacular and fun.

MONTERIGGIONI

On Monday we decided to hire a car and head off to Monteriggioni to explore the castle, medieval village within the walled village and eat truffles at Osteria Antico Travaglio (Lesley & Dean’s recommendation), thank you!
We hired a Fiat 500 which was lots of fun, enjoyed exploring the castle and village and B particularly enjoyed the truffles and chianti (L missed the wine, being the designated driver)

Tuesday we decided to do our own things in the morning and meet for a very late lunch. B hit the designer stores of which there are many, and visited galleries, and L went on a photography safari. So B could get another hit of truffles we went to Mangiafoco Osteria Tartuferia for dinner. Excellent food and excellent truffles and chianti.
Florence is an amazingly beautiful city with so much to see and do.

Ciao
Barbara & Lance

 

BELFAST-GLASGOW

BELFAST-GLASGOW

Tuesday

We left Cairnryan, Scotland, on board the Super-fast ferry, 2 hours later we arrived in a wet and overcast Belfast. After a short and informative ride in a cab we arrived at our accomodation on Dublin Road and began the unpacking and setting up phase followed by some ‘hunting and gathering’ at the Tesco across the street. We then set off in search of a restaurant for dinner. We didn’t have far to go; next door was a place called Kitch Restaurant. We had an absolutely fantastic meal there, and so if you’re ever in Belfast, look them up and make a booking.

On Wednesday morning we visited the Titanic Museum , an amazing museum, fantastic displays, you could easily spend a couple of days to take it all in. The highlight was an experience of what it would have been like as a worker building the hull of the ship.
In the afternoon we did a great walking tour called Conflicting Stories, where we listened to and visited various significant sites with a Republican and Loyalist ex-political prisoners. They each gave their versions of events during the ‘the troubles’. The first hour and a half was spent going from Divis Towers to Bombay Road hearing the Republican’s stories and views. We then passed through the electronically controlled gates into the predominantly protestant area of the The Shankill Road and met our second guide, the Loyalist ex-political prisoner. He took us through his area and down the Shankill Road shared his personal story. Although their versions of the troubles were conflicting, the one thing they agreed on was a hope and dream for peace to continue, and that future generations will not to go back to the days of ‘the troubles’.

The next day we took another tour to the Giants Causeway. We left Belfast at 9.15am in the morning and headed through the countryside, taking in spectacular coastal and inland views. Barbara and I left the coach (the only people to do so!) to do a coastal walk with a local guide, Gerald, who we met at Portballintrae. We walked the 5km’s from Portballintrae to the Giant’s Causeway, the views from the high cliffs were spectacular, as was the wind that at times blew us up the hills and other times we fought to make progress We explored the Giants Causeway with Gerald who had a fountain of knowledge about the area and a great passion for telling his stories. We then rejoined the bus and headed to the Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge and made the treacherous crossing using the rope bridge about 30 metres above the very rough ocean. The tour finished with a visit to Bushmills Whiskey Distillery.

Friday
Friday morning saw us in a taxi to catch the 7:30 ferry back to Scotland, followed by 2 train rides before arriving in Glasgow. We had a very unhelpful taxi driver who dumped us ‘somewhere near’ the address we were going to. After some frustrating searching we eventually found what we were looking for.
First night in Glasgow, did some shopping at Sainsbury’s for essentials (milk, bread and tonic water) then went out to dinner to another fantastic restaurant, Celinos Trattoria . Once again great service, atmosphere, and the food, brilliant! Another restaurant that we went to was The Ox and Finch where we enjoyed an amazing lunch with fantastic food and great service (the beer was good too).
We bought a 2 day pass for the Hop on, Hop off Tourist bus, just to see the highlights and to give our tired feet a bit of time off. We managed to visit Glasgow Cathedral, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Riverside Museum, Gallery of Modern Art, various other sites and of course a few pubs along the way.

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cheerio the nou

Lance & Barbara

ICELAND

REYKJAVIK

Halló from Reykjavik
After a 2 hour flight from Edinburgh we arrived in Reykjavik on Monday 11. Reykjavik is a city of about 220,000 which is about 2/3 of the entire population of Iceland. On arriving at our hotel we were happy to be told we had been upgraded to the penthouse suite, which was on the 6th floor with panoramic views of Reykjavik.
Early on Tuesday morning we went to Bus Stop 7, a short walk away to catch our tour bus for the South Coast Tour Iceland’s South Coast – Iceland waterfalls Seljalandsfoss & Skógarfoss

(Click on photo to see gallery)

Wednesday we did the Golden Circle Tour Golden Circle/Secret Lagoon

On Wednesday night we went on a tour in search of The Northern Lights Northern Lights tour in Iceland The lights on this night were not very remarkable, but we did see them. We arrived back at our hotel at about 1 in the morning. After a short sleep (lie down) we were up nice and early for our next adventure. West Iceland tour: Snæfellsnes peninsula, beaches & Snæfellsjökull This was the most impressive of our Reykjavik tours and we are looking forward to coming back during a spring/summer to see a different view of the landscape.

(Click on photo to see gallery)

GRINDAVIK

The next day we hired a car and made our way to Grindavik, which is on the southern coastline. It is one of the few towns with a harbour along this part of the coast. Most of the inhabitants work in the fishing industry. The Blue Lagoon, Blue Lagoon Grindavík’s premiere attraction, is located 3 miles (4.8 km) north of the town centre. We visited the Lagoon on Friday evening and spent about an hour and a half in the 38º mineral water. It is much busier and commercial than the Secret Lagoon that we visited a few days before.
Grindavik
On the following 2 days we went out in the car exploring and discovering the local area. It was fun experiencing the changing weather conditions of Iceland, wind, snow, wind, rain, wind, sunshine, wind, icy roads, wind, snow dust blowing across the road. The landscape mostly white snow, black lava rocks, cliffs, snow covered mountains, waterfalls, frozen lakes and the rough coastline and fierce waves.

(Click on photo to see gallery)

Sjáumst síðar
Barbara and Lance

ADELAIDE-PERTH-LONDON-EDINBURGH

G’day from Perth
After a 3 hour flight from Adelaide we arrived in Perth where we spent about an hour before boarding the Qantas Dreamliner, non stop, Perth to London.
Qantas Dreamliner
About 3 or 4 hours into the flight we were served dinner which was followed by a movie, then sleep. I had broken sleep and didn’t think I had had much sleep at all but, to my surprise when I finally woke properly, 11 hours of the 17 hour flight had passed.
We arrived at Heathrow at 5 am, collected bags, cleared customs and made our way to our first ‘home away from home’, The Luna Simone Hotel.
Luna Simone
As we were much too early to check in, we left our luggage at reception and made our way to the nearest Nero for a great coffee.
Nero
We then headed into the city to re-aquaint ourselves with the wonderful city of London.

As this was the first of three visits to London on this trip, we visited The National Gallery, Tate Modern, Covent Garden, The Portrait Gallery, a bit of shopping and of course a couple of the local Pubs! We spent 3 restful days at the Luna Simone and on Friday, flew to Edinburgh.

EDINBURGH

We intended to climb Arthurs Peak on Saturday but the weather forecast was for afternoon rain, so the plan became indoor activities for the afternoon and a visit to the Royal Mile and Edinburgh Castle in the morning. Unfortunately the castle was closed because of the strong winds, so the carpark was the closest we got, the paved area that becomes the stage for the Edinburgh Tattoo. I spent a bit of time on that carpark with the SAPol Band in 2000. The incline on the area appears much greater than when the area is closed in and surrounded by the temporary staging and seating for the performances.

Sunday’s weather forecast was for better weather, no rain, so we decided to take a bus tour out to Hadrian’s Wall, driving through The Borders, and including a visit to the archaeological dig of Roman times at a place called Vindolanda.

Our Tour Guide for the day was Jude. She was an excellent guide, very informative, great stories, great selection of music and fantastic sound effects when telling her stories, all in all a fantastic day! We stopped at several small villages along the way, one was Jedburgh, Jude, our guide, said Jedburgh was renowned for being a quiet town and that the inhabitants didn’t venture out before 11am, that’s why there’s no people on the street in the photo.
Hadrian’s Wall

So, after our first encounter with the U.K. we’re now off to Iceland where the adventure continues!
Bye,bye
Lance & Barbara

ADELAIDE TO CANBERRA

Just recently we took a camping trip to the Nation’s Capitol, Canberra. We left Adelaide for our first destination, Tooleybuc, NSW.

Murray River, Tooleybuc
The Murray River taken from the bridge in Tooleybuc

Tooleybuc is a town in the western Riverina district of New South Wales, Australia and is located on the Mallee Highway, 478 kilometres from Adelaide. The town is situated on the banks of the Murray River across from Piangil in the neighbouring state of Victoria, and has a population of around 200 people. Tooleybuc’s historic bridge that spans the Murray River, was designed to rise to allow Paddle Steamers through was built in the early 1900s. Continue reading “ADELAIDE TO CANBERRA”

A TRIP TO NARROMINE

 

A trip to Narromine, New South Wales.
In December last year I took a trip from my hometown of Adelaide, South Australia, to Narromine, NSW. Before leaving I had decided to buy a small, 2 person tent that was easy to erect to use as my accomodation on the trip. Continue reading “A TRIP TO NARROMINE”