A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: RuthWinmill

42 The Vatican and Coleseum

Almost over and so fast.

sunny
View Ruth & Ralph's Round the World Trip 2014 on RuthWinmill's travel map.

OCT 3RD - THE VATICAN AND COLOSSEUM
7.30 on the bus to get to the Vatican Museums. Then up the private Bramante Staircase with its incredible views over the city. Then onto the Cistene Chapel, suitably attired to see the famous ceiling painted by Michelangelo. Now that is something to marvel at. The details and the stories there could be a bit controversial and a few of us had our theories on one of them in particular. He would have been privy to a lot of knowledge about those priests......Then to St Peter's Basilica. Saw where the Pope speaks from and another masterpiece of Michelangelo, the Pieta, and the amazing dome here.....a shame no photos allowed.
Out into St Peter's Sq and to see the immense size of it. Being set up for the Popes public meeting which he conducts each Tuesday. Sooooo glad we were early and had early direct tour entry to all here as now it was only 9am and the crowds were queuing for long distances and would take ages to get in.
Really enjoyed our Coliseum tour and how huge it was. Hard to imagine how it would have really been with the lions, Jews and Gladiators. Visited the ruins of the Imperial Forum (Governing Centre) which also included the Arch of Titus, the Temple of the Vesal Virgins and the Forum of Julius Caesar. Such history to behold!
Back to Hotel for shower and change then off walking to our End of Tour Celebration Dinner. 6 courses, about 3 of them pasta based, and a long time between first and last course with local opera singer entertainment. Didn't sell any of her CD's to us.
Back to Hotel and lots of hugs and goodbyes with fellow travellers in our group. Had formed really good relationships with some of these people and would miss them. Some heading to their next adventures before breakfast, some to airport with us and others later. A fantastic time had on Road to Rome in spite of our overbearing Tour Director......don't think any of us were going to miss him, but will miss each other!

Posted by RuthWinmill 14:00 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

41 On the Road To Rome

Here we are in Roma

sunny
View Ruth & Ralph's Round the World Trip 2014 on RuthWinmill's travel map.

ON TO ROAD TO ROME.
2nd Oct.
Pretty early start again and first stop was a lovely Medieval town perched on the top of a hill with a huge wall around it. The town is Orvieto and had great defences due to its position on the prominence. It had huge character and we would have loved to have stayed longer, but at least had some time here, to enjoy an interactive pasta making demonstration at Zeppelin Restaurant, a glass of wine and nice fresh pasta lunch. Haven't been that fussed on some of the pasta we have been served since arriving in Europe, but this was an exception.
Arrived in Rome and Ralph and I spent an hour trying to find a Bank that could understand I wanted to transfer some money from Canadian $ to Euros......no luck they all thought I was trying to take cash out!!! Got back to hotel and Ralph ready for a rest after all that, so I went on the walk-about tour, which began with a bus ride past the Coliseum. Wow, we came upon it quite quickly and I was amazed that....there it was. Not sure why, but had imagined it to be on a hill, but no, in a hollow really. Very cool it is and looking forward to our tour through there tomorrow. Then past the Circus Maximus, where the ancient Chariot Races were held. Walking took us through the streets and Square, to the 17th Century Trevi Fountain which we couldn't really see as shrouded in re-enforcing and tarpaulins for cleaning ....threw some coins anyway...and a visit inside the Parthenon built by Hadrian about 1900 yrs ago. He built it as a monument to All the Gods and it is an engineering and architectural masterpiece with its domed roof....never done before. I really wished Ralph was with me as we had seen a documentary a few years ago about its construction and how incredible it was for the time, and still is!
Finished tour and were dropped off at a Restaurant where Ralph and others who hadn't come with us were already waiting. Nice dinner here and heaps of fun with one of the handsome young waiters flirting with a few of the ladies and giving them roses for kisses. Ralph even got a kiss from him.....and lots of laughs. I went to the ladies room at one stage and found I couldn't unlock the door. Lots of banging and yelling later another woman from our group called a young guy to try and get the door open...no luck. Then another young waiter with big strong muscles came to my aid....no, didn't break the door down, used a screwdriver to wrench the lock open. I was happy to be out. When dessert came a BIG dish of ice-cream was placed before me........my reward it seemed.

Posted by RuthWinmill 13:52 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

40 Florence Still

At our own pace

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View Ruth & Ralph's Round the World Trip 2014 on RuthWinmill's travel map.

FIRENZA (FLORENCE) NEXT
Before leaving I went quickly to St Mark's Sq. to see it devoid of crowds in this early morning. Got a lovely photo of two lone Nuns just walking across the Sq. with only seagulls for company. Very cool and still.
Tuesday 30th -Up at 5am and off at 7am as had to get our luggage and us all to mainland to travel on to Florence, past Bologna into the Apennines and into the more open wine growing peaceful area of Tuscany. Arrived Florence and off to the Academy Museum to see Michelangelo's original David Statue.
Must be naive but didn't know until the Louvre that it was the David and Goliath's David........well country born and raised you know! Anyway also hadn't noticed till then the slingshot in his hand over his shoulder and the stone in his other hand. (found out that Ralph didn't know this either) Now able to view it in such a different way right down to the expression of concentration and the stone in his other hand. Also the bigger than normal feet and hands depicting strength. He created this at the age of 24, and it is believed he used his own body as the depiction of David thus the body of a 24yr old and not a 14 year old boy which was the age of David when he killed Goliath – amazing to see this. Such beautiful work. Local tour guide then took us to the Cathedral and Baptistery, then to Signoria Square where other masterpieces are displayed. Many have been recreated as the stone is getting weather worn and stained, so replaced with replicas and the originals moved indoors.
Then to Peruzzi Leather Factory and shop. Looked at belts, Ralph got a nice one, but nothing appealed to me so just got a little bracelet which I love. We didn't have much time so look at some things here and we decided not to do the whole day optional tour tomorrow to Tuscany vineyards and then on to Pisa, as we needed a lie in and wanted to go the see the burial places in the Santa Croce Cathedral of Michelangelo, Galileo, Marconi and some other famous dudes, anyway the forecast was for rain.

STILL IN FIRENZE
1st October already.
No sleep in as we thought we better have our breakfast with the our Insight team in case it was all cleared away after they left. Back to room and some laundry.....well it has to be done! Rain eased to drizzle so headed off into the city area we wanted to go to. About 45mins walk but found it ok. Spent rest of the day seeing what we wanted to in terms of the burial places and the beautiful Cathedral with its history. Then back to the leather shop for a nice leather wastepaper bin for Ralph's office. Time for gelato at the same place we had lunch....yummy. Then long walk home via the river and the famous bridge over the river with the shops. Very busy here and ALL jewellery shops. Wonderful su set on way back with reflections on the river. I took some stunning pics. Late back to hotel and room, then knock on the door.....it was 4 of our fellow travellers (a couple from US and from Aussie) come to tell us they had missed us and all about their trip to Tuscany and all the wine they had enjoyed. Another reason we didn't go coz Ralph still not up to drinking coz of the foot, so what would have been the fun in that, besides we needed a break from the bus/coach. We went and had a wee Limon cello nightcap with them though, and Ralph's foot that the next day, :-(

Posted by RuthWinmill 13:49 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

39 Venice to Florenze

Through the Mts to the Vineyards

sunny
View Ruth & Ralph's Round the World Trip 2014 on RuthWinmill's travel map.

FIRENZA (FLORENCE) NEXT
Before leaving I went quickly to St Mark's Sq. to see it devoid of crowds in this early morning. Got a lovely photo of two lone Nuns just walking across the Sq. with only seagulls for company. Very cool and still.
Tuesday 30th -Up at 5am and off at 7am as had to get our luggage and us all to mainland to travel on to Florence, past Bologna into the Apennines and into the more open wine growing peaceful area of Tuscany. Arrived Florence and off to the Academy Museum to see Michelangelo's original David Statue.
Must be naive but didn't know until the Louvre that it was the David and Goliath's David........well country born and raised you know! Anyway also hadn't noticed till then the slingshot in his hand over his shoulder and the stone in his other hand. (found out that Ralph didn't know this either) Now able to view it in such a different way right down to the expression of concentration and the stone in his other hand. Also the bigger than normal feet and hands depicting strength. He created this at the age of 24, and it is believed he used his own body as the depiction of David thus the body of a 24yr old and not a 14 year old boy which was the age of David when he killed Goliath – amazing to see this. Such beautiful work. Local tour guide then took us to the Cathedral and Baptistery, then to Signoria Square where other masterpieces are displayed. Many have been recreated as the stone is getting weather worn and stained, so replaced with replicas and the originals moved indoors.
Then to Peruzzi Leather Factory and shop. Looked at belts, Ralph got a nice one, but nothing appealed to me so just got a little bracelet which I love. We didn't have much time so look at some things here and we decided not to do the whole day optional tour tomorrow to Tuscany vineyards and then on to Pisa, as we needed a lie in and wanted to go the see the burial places in the Santa Croce Cathedral of Michelangelo, Galileo, Marconi and some other famous dudes, anyway the forecast was for rain.

STILL IN FIRENZE
1st October already.
No sleep in as we thought we better have our breakfast with the our Insight team in case it was all cleared away after they left. Back to room and some laundry.....well it has to be done! Rain eased to drizzle so headed off into the city area we wanted to go to. About 45mins walk but found it ok. Spent rest of the day seeing what we wanted to in terms of the burial places and the beautiful Cathedral with its history. Then back to the leather shop for a nice leather wastepaper bin for Ralph's office. Time for gelato at the same place we had lunch....yummy. Then long walk home via the river and the famous bridge over the river with the shops. Very busy here and ALL jewellery shops. Wonderful su set on way back with reflections on the river. I took some stunning pics. Late back to hotel and room, then knock on the door.....it was 4 of our fellow travellers (a couple from US and from Aussie) come to tell us they had missed us and all about their trip to Tuscany and all the wine they had enjoyed. Another reason we didn't go coz Ralph still not up to drinking coz of the foot, so what would have been the fun in that, besides we needed a break from the bus/coach. We went and had a wee Limon cello nightcap with them though, and Ralph's foot that the next day, :-(

Posted by RuthWinmill 13:06 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

38 Around Venice

So beautiful this city

sunny
View Ruth & Ralph's Round the World Trip 2014 on RuthWinmill's travel map.

MONDAY 29th in Venice began with local guide taking us on a walking tour of the streets around this old city, away from the usual tourist gaze. St Mark's square lovely in the daylight..
Even saw the rubbish collection method which is done daily. Very tidy and straight into barges on the canals.... On the other end of the scale, we saw the Hotel where Mr and Mrs Clooney were staying across the canal...they tied the knot on Saturday here...but today Monday they were to cross to where we were to sign the official Italian documents at the Council Chambers above us in the room we were looking at, to make the marriage legal under Italian Law. Media with their cameras at the ready waiting across the canal from us. Our guide said the city were fed up with it all.
After this walk-about we boarded a bigger ferry and went to the famous Murano Glass Blowing factory and shop. Watched the talented blower make some beautiful items as examples then into tne shop. Wowwee, what amazing stuff. Of course they had special deals but not tempted. I just got a nice pendant piece to remind me.
Next, past the flash Hotel where the guests were cor 'the wedding', on our way to Burano Island about 20mins from Venice. 120 Islands make up the city but this one was further out and quite different. Lovely coloured houses and quite different shops.
Fishing boats and nets lined the waterway. And a very leaning Church tower. The town here known for its lace making which was very pretty. No Hotels here, just the people who live and work here, shops and restaurants. Had a nice seated late lunch here before tour by some of the other islands and back to Venice.
Rest of the day to ourselves, so took a walk around the streets, over bridges over canals taking care not to wander too far and get lost. Found a nice cafe to share a Pizza at, a nice wine for me, Sprite for Ralph, then a wander back through St Mark's Sq to soak up the atmosphere and check out tonight's concerts. Sat, watched, smelled the air, looked at all around us and just soaked it up, so we can revisit in our minds at home. Ahhhhh!

Posted by RuthWinmill 12:47 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

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