A Travellerspoint blog

Final days of tour

Nice to Rome

sunny
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Florence - not what we expected at all. Very lovely old city with cobblestone alleyways and spectacular marble buildings. Icons walking distance apart. We highly recommend a walking tour with a local tour guide as they are passionate about their city and make the history come alive. After a quick visit to the inside of the Duomo Cathedral Judles visited the Duomo Dome to view the painted ceiling up close and climb the 463 steps for a spectacular view from the top of Florence. I hot footed it over to Ponte Vecchio to go inside the Palazzo Pitti. OMG! How the Medici's lived! Buckingham Palace eat your heart out. No photos allowed so the visit exists only now in my head and I can not do it justice by attempting to describe it here. The art blew my mind. Near to the bus pick up point a nice little spot is the outdoor bar by the river where you can rest your tired feet, have a local wine for 2€ and wait for your bus in comfort. 
Our final day with Kumuka tour today which ends in Rome is a bit sad. The group has been great, Kerry and Martin very helpful, friendly and informative. 
Would like to come back to Rome to do the next leg of the tour sometime. 
We're joining the group for the walking guided tour of Rome tomorrow and for the Vatican tour in the afternoon. Sunday will be spent in Rome ourselves then off to the Amalfi Coast. 
Lunch today was spent at Orvieto where we paid one euro to go in the fenicular to visit the city built on top of a rocky outcrop. Many many snaps taken here. Best ever hot chocolate mmmmm. Thick enough to stand your spoon in! 
Arrived Rome around 4pm and dropped off at train station where we made our way to our lovely new hotel. Local pizza for dinner mmmm.
J 1 and J 1 1

Posted by GIJude 14:32 Archived in Italy Tagged rome Comments (0)

Nice is Nice

France to Italy

sunny 26 °C
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Blog 12-10-11
Back on the bus of course. Driving through 100 - 200 Italian tunnels en route to Florence via the Italian Riveria. The weather in Nice - Cote de Azur, was beautiful. Jude and explored Nice by walking and by the Grand Tour bus. Most museums shut on a Tuesday but there is lots of free stuff to see like the Roman ruins, the Monastery and gardens, the cemetery where Matisse is buried, La Colline du Chateau for great views, the outside of the Russian Cathedral (was just shutting when we arrived), the sunset from the beach. A view we couldn't miss with the full moon rising above the city over our left shoulder, vivid pinks, yellows and reds to orange on our right looking across the Meditarranean Sea, watching jets take off after just having dipped our tootsies in the water. People do bathe topless on this beach during the day/late afternoon and are very tanned. Very tanned. Only saw 3 people on the beach wearing hats. Obviously skin cancer is not a concern here. Dinner first night was at Monaco at an outdoor restaurant sitting in a cobblestone courtyard near a beautiful church, listening to the choir practice whilst we ate. And yes we did go into THE casino! 
Last night's dinner was in the market area, outside, with a beautiful 3 course meal for 16.50€. Aaah this is the life. 
We have 3 more days on the tour then we're off exploring on our own, travelling further south for a week or so. 
Wow the time is flying!
Note - when in Nice avoid walking down/up steps nearer the wall as these smell like peeing points. 
Arrivederci for now!!
Judy 1 and Judy 1 1
PS - Pisa for afternoon tea - yes we did the usual tourist photos and more. First gelati in Italy! Yummo.
Bit puzzled why we haven't lost weight yet :)

Posted by GIJude 09:16 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

On the road again

Goodbye Annecy Hello Nice

rain
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Blog 10-10-11
We're on the bus travelling to Nice today. It's misty and wet as we leave Annecy but should clear up and warm up as we travel further south. 
Situated at the base of huge snow capped mountains Annecy is the most beautiful place we have seen so far and that includes Bath and Switzerland.
 When standing looking over the lake Judles said this is probably what heaven looks like. 
Walk along pretty canals and lake with water that is so clear you can see the bottom. The lake water from a distance looking a beautiful unusual Jade colour.  Beautiful old buildings, houses with flower pots full of bright geraniums and iron work balconies, rambling cobblestone lane ways, baskets of bright flowers everywhere, bridges with iron work and baskets of flowers,  canals with boats, centuries old churches. Many postcard snaps taken here. Our camera batteries completely flattened. 
Dinner for Jude and I eaten el fresco with purchases made from local vendors at very little cost,  found by wandering through the laneways. Dessert - fresh waffle with gelato and cream. 
Tonight we dine near THE casino in Monaco and can go there afterward. Best steam out the wrinkles on the good clothes. 
Write to you from Nice. 
Judee one and Judee one one
Xx

Posted by GIJude 09:13 Archived in France Comments (0)

We Love Switzerland

Fun fun fun

snow
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Switzerland is awesome!! Thanks to Dr Nicko at Bebbie's at Interlaken for a hilarious night whilst we ate delicious cheese fondue, potato rosti and chocolate fondue. It's a night we'll never forget. The trip up to Jungfrau mountain on the cog rail train was a unique experience. Snow making the mountainside and chalets look very pretty. Snow ball fights are a must of course. When the advice is to go slow take note. The altitude caused us to feel a little woozy and like we were at one of Gareth's training sessions when we were just walking. Pretend skating in the ice palace was fun and the palace itself very cool, literally as well. Unfortunately due to the snow and wind we only made it out the door a few feet on the Top of Europe to snap a couple photos, get very white, some even with frozen hair,  before quickly scampering back inside. People even had an inflatable kangaroo in the snow!  Looking at postcards the views would have been astounding if the weather was clear. Ah well maybe next time. Disappointed the paragliding was too wet to do after making up my mind to do it. Jumping off the mountain to drift slowly down would have been a once in a life time activity with stunning views. 
To anyone doing the cog railway trip on a budget take your own lunch and snacks with you. Food and drink is not the cheapest at the top. Macdonalds here not cheap either but free wi-fi is good. 
Some stores etc will accept euros and other currencies for payment and give you swiss francs for change. The whole converting of money has been doing our heads in. Withdrawal of cash for CHF costing an arm and a leg in bank fees and exchange rates. Eg 200 CHF cost me $241.75. When withdrawing cash we were given the option of 
having it taken from our accounts in CHF or AU. Of course we chose wrongly as we don't know all the rules. Possibly we should have chosen AU. Maybe that would have made a difference. Who knows?
Yes it is cold here but no colder than a cold Autumn day in Tasmania. Scenery here is stunning. 
We are currently on the bus driving to Geneva for lunch then pushing on to Annecy where apparently we can bicycle ride or take a boat out on the lake. 
Pattern of the tour is a day of travel with regular stops, orientation of town/city upon arrival, dinner on the first night together, free day of exploration the next day/night or group activity then move on the next day early. There are strict laws on how long Martin can drive and how long he had to rest. 
Gives us a chance to journal, prepare the blog and emails and/or postcards ready for the next free wi-fi spot or post office.
The trip we are on ends for us in Rome but some lucky people are going on to Vienna, Prague etc. Their complete tour 28 days. That would be awesome. The group is great. Mostly Australians with one lone Brit. 5 Tasmanians including Jude and I. 
Jus - we are managing to get our laundry done you'll be pleased to know. We've been very creative with drying solutions. 
Time is flying.
Bye for now xx

Posted by GIJude 12:56 Archived in Switzerland Tagged interlaken Comments (0)

London to Paris

Are we there yet?

semi-overcast
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Wednesday 5-10-11
Yesterday we climbed the Monument in London (311 spiral steps) and visited the Tower bridge. Had a play with the models of the bridge and took many photos of the area. There were beautiful heavy clouds which made for an awesome backdrop. Temperature dropped a bit which made for a lovely stroll by the Thames river. Today we boarded the Eurostar for France. Despite travelling backwards it is a very smooth pleasant, reviving journey. Some of the countryside reminds us of taking the train to Geelong, except the houses are cuter and the cars are on the opposite side of the road. Grey clouds here today as well. We'll be arriving soon so I guess we'll find out how over or under dressed we are. It will be sink or swim today as we are diving head first into Paris with a dinner and cruise on the Seine and then Moulin Rouge at 11.00pm for champagne and a show!! Oui oui!!
Update - pinch me am I really in Paris?
Moulin Rouge - awesome, Eiffel Tower - awesome, Catacombs - Awesome, Yes we Can Can - Awesome, Notre Dame - yes you guessed it and libre (free).
Good grief - who would want to drive here - not I!!
Off to Switzerland tomorrow!!
Weather has cooled off and a bit wet.
Judy one and Judy one one
Xx

Posted by GIJude 14:25 Archived in France Comments (0)

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