Category Archives: Trips

Getting back to London | Canary Wharf

We ended up in Dusseldorf, and had to head back to London.

Sadly the boat tour finished early in the day (all out by 9.30am) and then I presume the crew collapsed.  This meant we had a 10 hour layover with our gear.

We caught a Taxi to Hillsong (which turned out to have earmuff style gadgets, LOUD loud music with translation of the service into English)
HILLSONG IMG_8001

On to London.  We had one night in Surrey and booked a mystery hotel in London.  Turned out to be at Canary wharf.
CANARY IMG_8046

This was a remarkable place, like a little fiefdom in the edge of London.

But before that a visit to the Studmans.  Suburban London.
STUDMANS IMG_8039

A real cutie!!STUDMANS IMG_8023

Canary Wharf

Modern train Station at Canary . . .TRAIN STATION IMG_8092

I saw this sign- no wonder thy serve beer warm over here:
ALE IMG_8050

Floating Chapel:
FLOATING CHAPEL IMG_8065

FLOATING CHAPEL IMG_8066

Food: From Leon, in the Canary Wharf Mall

Very, very impressive place.  Probably will become a franchise.  Googled.  Already IS a Franchise.

http://leonrestaurants.co.uk/restaurants/

 

Up Market Muffins:
SALMON AND EGG IMG_8082

 

PROPER SAUSAGE AND EGG IMG_8080

 

 

I talked to the owner.  He was a great guy.  Instantly gave me the time of day and listened.  [Unlike a lot of other Londoners who just plug in and zone out or just zone out]

Here is where he worked:
LEON (BOSS) IMG_8089

Paris

Paris was great.

Eurostar

We went there on the EuroStar.

Hotel

Walked about 25 minutes to our hotel which looked out on a delightful square. Platz des Inocents, a previous children’s cemetary.

This was next to Les Halles, a famous market I learned about in French at school.

We got a City Pass.

http://en.parisinfo.com/what-to-see-in-paris/paris-pass/paris-city-pass

This gives: 5 days Metro, Eiffel Tower, Bus Tour, 34 Museums and a Boat Tour.

1. Boat trip

 

2. Eiffel Tower

This is the mechanism.

PARIS EIFELL MECHANISM IMG_8825

From the ground.

PARIS MR EIFFEL IMG_8778

Me on the top.

PARIS ME ON EIFELL IMG_8803

3. Hop on hop off bus

I can’t find a single picture of this.

4. Tons of museums

Centre Pompadou (Modern Art)

From the top
PARIS MUSEUM IMG_8710

From outside. An amazing building:

[Modern Art] . . . .

Not really sure I undersatnad it.

Case 1: A pile of pots under a video screen.
PARIS MODERN ART IMG_8729

Case 2: This is a pile of cubes
PARIS MODERN ART IMG_8718

Case three: You would not know what this was unless you were told:
PARIS BLIND IMG_8733It is some personal paper items like bills and receipts that have been painted over.

What the guide notes said:
PARIS BLIND IMG_8734

Churches

Outside Notre Dame.  A huge queue. A beggar.
PAROS NOTREDAME BEGGAR IMG_8849

Now we are real tourists!!

Blog Makover

I’ve had two blogs floating around, on two different providers.  I’m going to combine the two:  One mainly China (2007) and the other mainly Italy (2006).

It’s Christmas Day here: have just finished the activity of the day, winding down. I have missed this blog.  Tried to keep Light in the Shadows to work related stuff.  Now I’m back her as well.  I think I benefit from having a place to write.  Just need to do it.

One year ago we were in China.  Salvadores, our favourite little coffee shop in Kunming was yesterday bombed.  Seems it may have been a mistake (some guy calling in for coffee and waffles before going on to some other place with his bomb) About SalvadoresPost at ShanghaiIST.

Today we were on Ohoka.

Returning from Rome (1)

Had some dreadful jet lag last week, and never made the time to sit down and finish off the last leg of our journey. So I’ll do it in bits.

We had three flights back. First to Dubai.

We soon knew we were in Dubai. We were in 30 plus degrees C. It was still Ramadan.

itdubaiaarivals.jpg

We were all exhausted. It was good that one of the girls (who shall remain nameless) remembered quickly she had left her passport on the plane.

itdubaidwaiting.jpg

Cigarettes were in the adverts. First time I’ve noticed these. And France trying to ban smoking. :-)

itdubaifcigatette.jpg

This guy drove us from our hotel. Fast. Really fast.

itdubaispeed.jpg

A few hours sleep. (Very few) and we were back in the air.

Departing from Rome

Leaving Anzio for the airport. This was a time to say goodbye to our driver Masimo and Tony. Margaret was the one to give a gift to our driver. It was a cap. I don’t know if he will wear it. Very few Italians wore them.

itdeparture1.jpg

We had the bus packed, which was the first time I saw out driver really sweating. A final picture on the balcony. That is the Mare Terean behind them . . .

itsummary2.jpg

itdepartureatrio.jpg

On the way a last visit to the supermarket. Everyone seemed much more confident this time than in the first visit on the way to Rome three weeks earlier. Their supermarkets are the same but different . . . I’d have loved to take a few pics of the deli – buying there was lke a social event, everyone talking almost non stop about all sorts of thngs that I knew was mkore than just the prices of meat, cheese and pizza. This was the same in several places we went to. Lots of chocolate was brought. This happens when you want to buy gifts and you have little money left. I still think Cadbury chocolate (from Dunedin) is the best.

itdeparturelastshopping.jpg

Airport waiting, chatting and snacking . . . .

itdepartureccluster.jpg

Below: Consulting the book. This contained roll lists, vouchers, itineraries and such like. A constant companion for Marie and Phillipa. It is interesting to note we never really got the counting off right until the last 3 minutes of the tour waiting for the whole group to assemble before coming out of customs. This is a mystery. Is remembering ONE number and counting to 43 so hard??

itdeparturefolder.jpg

Two random snaps at the airport . . .

itdeparturehelathy.jpg

itdeparturesirp.jpg

It was here we said goodbye to Tony, our courier, after about 1360 km around Italy, 2 concerts, five masses, 19 singings in churches, 2 open airs, visits to Tuscan villages, and museums in various places, boating, churches, restaurants and shops.

Around Anzio

This is a bit of a catch up. The last few stories and photos from Italy and the trip home.

This is Anzio at the beach. It is off season, just too cool for real Italians and is not their holiday season. What a waste!!

It was actually really hot. If the place is so good, why are more people not booking it in the off season I wonder?

Not a real post

We are now in ANZIO, and I have a few minutes before breakfast. Half of us have sea views to die for (about 2 star rooms) and the rest have 4 star rooms. This is a sleazy area in some respects (according to reconnasance by Robyn) with loud music outside with some kind of kick boxing class in the gym. No pics at the moment sorry, my mouse has stopped working on my laptop and I left it to late to do it the hard way.

The trip was good yesterday; via a lake, bypassing Rome to a seaside resort in the off season. We occupied about 1/6 of the dining room. It is very quiet. Tony tells us the Italians think it is cool.

I’ve learned a bit about healthy food . . . itmariehelathy.jpg some people are snacking from the fruit stalls. Some are not. But I won’t publish any pics to protect the innocent. I’ve learned again the benefits of Juice from Yvonne.

I just found this snap from Florence. Bernie joined us from London for a few days. It’s been good to meet up with a few rellies. We have not bumped into anyone we have met though. Not like the Gold coast.

itflorbernie.jpg

My latest loo picture. I decided not to post Monday’s one. This is an innovation I think could work in NZ. Foot operated water. Seems so obvious.;

itwhimseytoilet.jpg

My last ‘interesting’ image. In the news is the smoking ban planned for France. Here is a sign from outside my room in Florence:

itwhimseysmoke.jpg

It says (paraphrase) ‘Don’t smoke or you wil be fined. If you do smoke around pregant or breast feeding women – or kids under 12 your fine will be doubled’

Wine and water can cost the same here . . . £12 for a meal, and take your pick . . .

itwhimseywinewater.jpg

And among my best memories . . . Sundown and Moonup in Florence . . .

itunconfroofsunset.jpg

We leave in two hours for airport > Dubai (sleep for 6 hours) > Sydney > home.

Caio for now.

Tourists in Siena . . .

Pics to come. £$%&/ internet cafe. Not everyone has their computers set up correctly.

Update: 11/10/06 Problem solved.

Square:

ittoursienasquare.jpg

The centre is a special square. Sometimes filled with horse racing, today there were 25 or more Ferraris – in an outing from a car club I think.

ittoursienaferari.jpg

ittoursienaferr.jpg

Two churches:

ITTour10SienaChurch.jpg

ITTour30SienaChurch3.jpg

Still ready for a picture. At the end of another long day.

ITTour50SienaEndOfDay.jpg

Waiting to get all together.

ITTour50Sienagathering.jpg

FINALLY, AS WE DRIVE BACK . . . A sunset near Siena. This was an interesting day. Mass. An old medieval town, with more churches (which Bernard has a special term for) more narrow streets, more Trattorie and coffee – but it’s still different and unique.

ittour70sienatheend.jpg

Quick update on our last touring day (Tuesday)

All is well, some sniffles, bites, mild tiredness, girls very bubbly yesterday compared to Saturday (which was probably the low point of the trip due to weather etc).  Too much to eat yesterday with 5 course meal for lunch and Tuscan Dinner at night.

Visited three places and sang in one little medieval Hilltop town.

Still a perfect record: we have lost no-one.  I think I have been more worried than I needed to be.

Had a lot of fun yesterday, meeting a 98 year old man, wine tasting, vineyard visiting, trying to find internet and coin operated laundimat (failed), trying to get Antonio to sing, dialogue with the busdriver via Tony, coping with toilets (ghastly story), got my cell to work again, and finishing with a magnificent sunset in the middle of Tuscany.  Photos to come.

Don’t know when I’ll be back online . . .

Love to all.

Tourists in Siena . . .

Yes, this is the correct spelling. The thing that startled me that was not evident from the map was that this place was built on a very hilly area.

Pictures get messed up on this machine again, so I’ll do these later . . .
LATER. Still not working here in Arezzo. I asked the woman about Java, but NO Go.
STILL LATER. Internet in ANZIO (hows that for a cool name?) able to fix things.

Arrival.

itsiennaawalls.jpg

itsiennacars.jpg

itsiennaastreets.jpg

Mass was first up. Getting there. Was a rush.

itsiennaplanning2.jpg

itsiennachury.jpg

itsiennactrio.jpg

The church

itsiennawoaagain.jpg

The priest

itsiennaepriest.jpg

Some of the story of this event can be told over a coffee when we return. One thing I noticed. Lots of little kids. No teenagers.

itsiennaechoir.jpg

So . . . our final mass in Italy. But not the final church. :-)

itsiennawleaving.jpg