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Posts from the ‘Italy’ category

Home – Reality Bites

Well folks this will be our final post for our Camino 2013 adventure. We arrived home safe and sound late on Friday evening. It’s bitter sweet on many levels, but it is very nice being reunited with our loved ones, both human and furry!

What can we say? It was definitely a trip of a lifetime, one we will cherish and never forget. Although, we were tactfully reminded by a good friend on our arrival home of a missing 20km from our Camino pilgrimage and were asked what are we going to tell our grandchildren in later years? “We nearly completed the Camino!” (Thanks Mark!)

What we can say is that we have thoroughly enjoyed sharing our experiences with all our followers. You have encouraged and inspired us with emails and comments during our trip that has kept us accountable to put up a blog each day that we will now benefit from as a journal of our trip for the years to come.

We do want to thank all our family and friends for your encouragement and kind words via emails and comments. We have had many laughs along the way with you all. We want to personally acknowledge Phillip and Thierry for their fantastic itineraries, maps and support they gave us for Paris, Venice and Rome. We got so much more out of these wonderful places with the information provided acknowledging that some of these were put together in the wee hours of the morning ready for us when we awoke for the next instalment!

Thanks to our avid followers Anne and Daniel for putting up with us for a couple of evenings in Torino. We thoroughly enjoyed your company and enjoyed our personal tour of Torino. Our first real taste of Italy! (Gelato and Alpha Romeo’s!)

To Jeff and Sue, Paul and Jacky, it was great to take some time out in beautiful Tuscany to celebrate Sue’s 50th. We had some great laughs together and are now very jealous of you all as you continue on your holidays while we are now stuck at home in Melbourne winter! We can now only watch the Tour de France on TV and pretend we are there with you. We will be looking out for an Australian flag!

How can we not mention the leader of Blog comments “Mark”. You have made us laugh and we have looked forward to your witty comments. You inspired the 3 Aussie Bums photo to solicit a comment out of you and we weren’t disappointed!

And finally a big thanks to our girls for not killing each other or destroying our house. We are very proud of you both and now know we can take off anytime and know you will survive!

It’s now time to put together our 10,000 photos for a monster slideshow. So watch out, if you are not careful you could get invited over for a private viewing and commentary – a slow and painful death!

But more importantly, it’s time to plan our next adventure. How are we going to top this one off? (Maybe go back and complete the Camino in its entirety?)

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Rome – Day 3

Date: Wed 26th June
Temperature: warm
Mood: Happy
Highlight: Michelangelo’s Moses

Today’s itinerary was a mash up of 3 days worth of previously planned itineraries where we missed landmarks primarily due to getting lost along the way. The days itinerary had us circumnavigate the entire old city of Rome and also included all the main landmarks with some of them getting a second visit such as the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain.

The day brought lots of sights and was also the first full day in which we didn’t get lost! We visited a number of Rome’s churches including one that houses one of Michelangelo’s masterpieces “Moses”. This same church also houses an ancient christian relic of the chains that held saint Peter during his captivity and before his miraculous release.

The day was finished off with some last minute shopping and then Pizza and Pasta for dinner.

This marks our last full day before returning home tomorrow. It’s so hard to believe we have been away from home for 8 weeks. This will be one of our final blogs for this trip, but stay tuned as we intend to do a wrap up post soon after we arrive home.

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Rome – Day 2

Date: Tue 25th June
Temperature: warm/hot
Mood: relaxed
Highlight: Vatican City

To give ourselves a chance with our itinerary for the day, we set the alarm for 6:30am so we could be up and off at a reasonable hour. We were meeting Caitlin outside the Vatican Museum at 1:30pm and had learnt from yesterday that we needed to find lunch before our tour or face no food for 12 hours!

Probably due to being slightly more familiar with the streets and layout of Rome (who are we kidding!). We really had no major problems following our directions and finding points of interest along the way. We also retraced some old ground from the day before so as to spend more time at the Pantheon and the Piazza Navona which we enjoyed seeing without the added stress of being lost!

We made our way across to the Vatican and were stunned at the number of large tour groups and people jamming the streets surrounding the Vatican. Luckily, our guide Caitlin had prearranged a meeting place nearby and we gracefully glided past all the crowds under her expect guidance. Before long we were walking the Museums getting the highlights of particular items and a very good background on Michelangelo and his works to really set the scene for later when we visited the Sistine Chapel.

We really got a lot out of the works by Raphael and Michelangelo and finally we ended the tour visiting St Peters and were impressed by the way Bernini had architected the building so as not to be as imposing as its size really is.

We left the Vatican and headed for home with a quick pitstop for our first Gelato in 2 days! Definitely having withdrawal symptoms! Another late night dinner at a local Italian restaurant where we ordered a selection of yummy pasta dishes. We intended returning to the Trevi Fountain for some night photo’s, but too tired. That will have to wait until tomorrow night!

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Rome – Day 1

Date: Mon 24th June
Temperature: Pleasantly warm
Mood: Happy
Highlight: Coliseum & Forum

We enjoyed a lovely breakfast provided by the Hotel (we’d forgotten it was included, but very welcome as saved us having to spend time hunting down our own!).

As the Spanish steps were nearby, we decided to check them out straight after breakfast and then return to the Hotel to prepare for another big day of sightseeing.

We had an itinerary in hand provided by Travel by Design and a map, but with limited time as we had a pre-booked guide to take us through the Forum and Coliseum. Unfortunately neither of us can claim we have excellent navigational skills and sense of direction. Compounded by the poor map in hand and the complex layout of roads and long street names and Piazza’s, we spent the morning wandering around Rome trying to follow our Itinerary but failing dismally. It made Venice a walk in the Park in comparison!

We were relieved to actually make it on time to meet our guide Caitlin at Campidoglio and that was after asking for directions on more than one occasion!

What a pleasure to have our own private guide. We were completely absorbed in hearing the Ancient Roman history as we walked through the Forum and then enthralled by the stories around the Roman people’s Coliseum, literally transporting us back in time as we could visualise this great space in full action. Jenny as a Vestal Virgin watching on and Stephen as a Gladiator?

Back to reality! We’d missed lunch due to our sloppy navigating earlier in the day and we headed back in the direction of the Hotel with a little sightseeing on the way. As has been typical, we finally ended up eating at around 9:00pm (Still early by Italian standards) and finally crashed at 11:00pm. Well one us did. We will have to get up earlier if we think we can attempt to give justice to our itinerary which will also include another tour with Caitlin, this time to the Vatican.

(P.S Caitlin sends her regards to the people at Travel by Design!)

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Venice – Day 2

Date: Sun 23rd June
Temperature: Hot
Mood: Enchanted
Highlight: Eating Pizza whilst sitting on the banks of the Grand Canal

With our bedroom windows left open, we awoke to the first Gondola’s making their way along the canals outside our window.

A quick shower to freshen up and we were on our way. We had received an email earlier from Travel by Design and needed to do a quick rescheduling of the day’s activities.

To combat queues and the like we tackled the Doge’s Palace first, followed by the Basilica, after which we were on a slow burn out due to the lack of breakfast and the heat. We took off for the original scheduled breakfast stop, but were disappointed with the views as the church opposite was undergoing renovations, with so many other great views to be had we went in search for lunch. We ended up with takeaway Pizza which we ate whilst enjoying the hustle and bustle of activity around the Grand Canal.

It was now time for some more walking to take in more of Venice and her amazing intricacies of narrow streets and criss-crossing canals and small pedestrian bridges. In just the nick of time, we found the popular Venetian Gelateria il Doge for a quick lick before making our way through the streets all the way back to the railway station.

Before long we were on one of Trenitalia’s fast trains, the Frecciargento, to Rome. Scheduled arrival, around 8:20pm. Luckily these trains come with Internet WiFi so we can catch up on our blogging!

On arrival into Rome, using just a map handed to us from our gypsy friend Fabian, we loaded ourselves up with our backpacks (which are starting to weigh a lot more than when we set off a few months ago!) and headed off in search of our accommodation. Couldn’t have been easier and the traffic was sedate (probably due to it being a Sunday evening). Checked in to a lovely a hotel recommended by a work colleague (no disappointments) and had the staff arrange a booking at a nearby Pizzeria. On the way back from dinner, we noted a few Gelateria’s if needed in future!

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