A Travellerspoint blog

Day trip to Florence

A survival guide for the unwary

semi-overcast 27 °C

Dear All

We went on a day trip to Florence yesterday. What an experience!

Prior to using the underground to get to the Train station, we had an experiemental run which of course went swimmingly. Yesterday morning we left with what we thought was oodles of time and headed for the underground at the Colosseum. Got onto what we thought was the correct train and headed off into the wide blue yonder. Followed the stations through on the display board and got off at the station, only to realise the train had gone onto a spur line and we were at the wrong station. Lots of OMG! and other words which I won't put onto the blog, so upstairs to try and cross onto the other side to get back to where the train diverted and pick up the correct train. No crossover could be found. So upstairs we went to look for a taxi. Found an ever so helpful taxi driver (not) and by this time we were starting to run late for the train. So back down into the station and caught the train back to Bologna, where it diverted before and found the correct platform and believe it or not the correct train. Got to Tiburtino, where the Florence train was leaving from and after running onto the platform we managed to get onto the train which departed almost as soon as we got onto it. We were still looking for our seats as it was leaving the station. Talk about cutting it fine! Fortunately, the train left about 4 minutes late, which was all the time we needed to get there, thankfully.

The train was fantastic. So smooth and had us into Florence within an hour and a half, which I guess that can be done when it travels at 250 km/h. Certainly didn't feel like it. There isn't a lot of sensation of speed but it truly is a fantastic service.

Florence is as wonderful as it always is and has been. However, another thing we soon learnt. Booking is essential for things such as the Academia, where the real David is and the Duomo. I didn't know about the Firenze (Florence) Pass until yesterday but it would have helped a great deal. Still as it was we did see the not so real David, the outside of the Duomo and the Ponte Vecchio. The windows of the shops at the Ponte Vecchio drew a couple of extra Magpies. Both Margy and Sandy's eyes were popping out of their heads with what was on display. Of course, the displays were all way above our pay scales but worth seeing how the rich get their rocks off I guess. And good on them I say. I would be too scared to wear the stuff outside of my home, so really not worth the angst.

So all in all a great day. The train was nearly an hour late back home which was a bit of a bummer as we were all tired from the day. However all in all it was a great day and we learnt a few things about the Italian underground. The first thing to bear in mind, it is not as organised as the British Underground and not as clearly marked but it does get around OK.

Anyhoo...........will upload some more piccies soon.

This will probably be the last entry for the blog as we leave tomorrow to go home.

Today, would you believe will be a shopping day! I know, I know, who would've thunk it!

Can't believe I'm saying this, but it is time to head home and get back to familiar surroundings!

Cheers

Bryan and Ron

Posted by BeeandRon 25.09.2013 22:46 Archived in Italy Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

The Roma adventure continues

How to terrorise passengers whilst they also admire the views

sunny 30 °C

Dear All

Have once again been just a tad busy, so the blog has been neglected unfortunately.

We went to Pompeii yesterday. Was a really long day but well worth it. We were picked up by Vincenzo, a dashing, flamboyant and therefore typical Italian man who placed us into a Mercedes van and proceeded to rocket through extremely narrow streets to eventually pick up the rest of the passengers for the tour. I must say, I was laughing so much I nearly embarrassed my self with watching the reactions of Margy and Sandy in response to Vincenzo's driving. Truly, the man should really be called Fangio because he can wield that van with extreme skill, and thread it through tiny spaces. Another millimetre of paint and there would've been contact.

But that was nothing compared to what we experienced on the roads along the Amalfi coast. There were so many twists and turns with hairpin bends. The road itself was so narrow with either a rock wall or a huge drop down either into a gully or the water below with only a knee high stone wall to stop vehicles going over. Think of peak hour traffic all concentrated on this road and trying to get around these bends at 60 km/h and then throw in a few tourist coaches as well and you may get some idea. All the while Vincenzo is as cool as a cucumber and just reminding every body to "just look at the scenery. Enjoy the Scenery. You watcha the scenery and I drivea the cara". I went into the middle seat at the front for some of this and all of the way home and I had a ball. Loved all of the action to the point I was giggling, it was so cool. At one point Margy was in the front with me and there was a fabulous near miss. I nearly had Margy's fingers poking through my legs she gripped so tight. Suffice to say, it was a great experience for me. Probably not so good for some others.

We had lunch at Positano and it was beautiful there. Lots of expensive motor yachts anchored off the beach and wonderful restaurant. Had a great lunch then had to be a mountain goat to get back up the stairs (yes! More stairs. Who would've thunk it) to the car. Of course some things caught my eye and they just had to be bought.

Pompeii was awesome. To think of the innovations at the time such as key stones and dressing up corinthian columns plus all of the frescoes, it was all simply amazing. We had a fantastic guide who described everything so well, no-one needed to ask questions.

Off shopping today, which might come as a big shock to some of you. I know, so surprising!

Will load on some more piccies soon

Cheers

Bryan and Ron

Posted by BeeandRon 23.09.2013 23:37 Archived in Italy Tagged family_travel Comments (1)

History on show

The Italians showing the world how to keep hold of history and not knock it down or burn it!

sunny 30 °C

Dear All

Having a jam packed time. Nearly worn our a pair of shoes with all of the walking around.

Have now got it pretty well sussed with doing a bit of sight seeing, then stopping at a Cafe for some Gelato or Coffee to take the weight off (yes dear reader, I need to consult Jenny Craig when I get back). Does make the journey just that little more bearable so to speak.

Went for a tour of St Paul's and managed to dodge any lightning bolts the Pope might have wanted to lob at me, so didn't get swept up into a dust pan. My goodness. I know this might be an understatement, but the place is just loaded with history and beautiful works of art. Every where you turn there is yet even more wonderful art or creation of Marble. That was a bit of a tiring day for all of us but well worth looking over.

Yesterday, we had an easy day. Bit of a late start and off into the Pantheon. Another beautiful work of art and sculpture. One historical building free to enter, which is such a rarity.

After a bit of an easy lunch stop we went to the Spanish steps along with half of Rome I think. Sandy and Margy climbed the steps to have a look look. Ron and I sat in the shade near a fountain and played spot the Walmartian! My goodness. I could make my own Walmartian calendar with some of the sights I've seen here lately. Speaking of Walmartians. I happened to turn around at one point near the Pantheon and couldn't understand where some shade was coming from. Then I realised there were 3 people standing there in shorts and T shirts blotting out the sun. Surprisingly, I think they may possibly have had American accents. I know, I wouldn't have thought such a thing would happen either. However, after seeing such a sight, I'm convinced I could now be considered anorexic.

Funnily enough. After that we went shopping! Got a few little trinkets for some people back home and bought 2 new belts and a new shirt which I think is just out there but wonderful.

We've all had some form or another of a cold. The worst part of that is, we've all been left with really barking coughs which is worst at night so we are all a little sleep deprived and therefore just a tad feral from time to time (well I certainly am - which may come as a shock I know). To add to my woes, I've now cracked and completely sheared off about a quarter of a tooth. So now I have my tongue rubbing against this very rough area which is going to ulcerate, I just know it. Oh joy! Can't do much about it as it is a Sunday now and Pompeii is on the agenda for tomorrow which is an early start and late finish.

Guess I'll have to wait until Tuesday to call home and talk to my favourite Dental receptionist at Mt Lawley to make an appointment and have the tooth attended to. Oh more Joy!

Very warm here in Rome but I think the weather here is better than what is happening back home.

Off to the Colosseum today and Pompeii tomorrow. That will be a long day but hopefully worth it.

Take care all

Talk soon

B and Ron

Posted by BeeandRon 21.09.2013 22:42 Archived in Italy Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Roma - the beautiful but extremely grimy city

How to survive the crowds

sunny 28 °C

Dear All

Our first full day in Rome today.

Got onto the open top bus today and did a round trip to see all the major sights of Rome. Got a Roma pass which we will use today when we go on our tour of the Vatican. I think I'll be dodging Lightning bolts on the steps so let's see if I get reduced to ashes.

Went to the Trevi fountain and did the touristy things such as throwing coins in and having piccies at the front of the fountain. The crowds are really amazing from the aggressive side of things. Really pushy and not considerate at all. Hence you see a few tempers fraying from time to time.

Also went to the Pantheon. Didn't go in, jut looked from the outside. My goodness. Been here so long and so good the Romans haven't pulled down all of their history.

Have finally got internet access back. One of our gripes we have with the apartment. I think Sandy will be having a ball on any Satisfaction Survey regarding our stay here! Long story but suffice to say, we are a tad disappointed with the apartment. Lots of Porky Pies told with misleading piccies.

Anyhoo.........off to dodge them Lightning bolts.

Cheers

B and Ron
xxxx

Posted by BeeandRon 19.09.2013 22:17 Archived in Italy Tagged family_travel Comments (1)

York to Edinburgh

Och the Nooo!

overcast 14 °C

Dear All

The pace has been a little frantic and I haven't had much time to do the blog.

We are off to Rome this morning so will do what I can to provide more information as soon as I can.

Suffice to say, One day was not enough to see Edinburgh or half a day for York. They are certainly places we will need to come back to and visit at some point in the future.

Did see the Brittannia yesterday. What a magnificent ship and the conservation of this vessel is amazing. Not that I would like to, but you could eat off the pipework in the engine room. Mr Sheen certainly has been busy there.

Anyway, will talk about more soon

Got to pack the car and go.

Cheers

Bryan and Ron

Posted by BeeandRon 17.09.2013 23:32 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

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