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.
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.
Cigarettes were in the adverts. First time I’ve noticed these. And France trying to ban smoking.
This guy drove us from our hotel. Fast. Really fast.
A few hours sleep. (Very few) and we were back in the air.
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.
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 . . .
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.
Airport waiting, chatting and snacking . . . .
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??
Two random snaps at the airport . . .
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.
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?
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 . . . 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.
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.;
My last ‘interesting’ image. In the news is the smoking ban planned for France. Here is a sign from outside my room in Florence:
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 . . .
And among my best memories . . . Sundown and Moonup in Florence . . .
We leave in two hours for airport > Dubai (sleep for 6 hours) > Sydney > home.
Caio for now.
Pics to come. £$%&/ internet cafe. Not everyone has their computers set up correctly.
Update: 11/10/06 Problem solved.
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.
Still ready for a picture. At the end of another long day.
Waiting to get all together.
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.
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.
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.
Mass was first up. Getting there. Was a rush.
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.
So . . . our final mass in Italy. But not the final church.
I spent two nights in Florence and then had to catch up with the pilgrims.
Patricia told me it was easy to travel. Easy, yes, but straightforward, maybe not. I bought my ticket 40m from where we were staying. They were very helpful, and told me two facts.
I caught the tran. But only just. It came to the wrong platform. This woman said to me “Do you speak English?” and then “If you are looking for the train in platform 5 to Naples, it is her now in a different place” I only just got it.
They even grafitti their trains!!
She turned out to be an Interesting Person of whom I met four over the course of the trip.
She was an artist, from England, had been here for years and lived mainly in Florence. She told me she had had enormous trouble finding suitable accommodation, and that Florence was good to learn art, but bad for painting. To cold in winter. To hot and insecty in summer.
On the bus I met a couple from Genoa (which is pronouced Gen-oo-a) who they described as Italy’s Riveriera. They were ‘not on holiday’ but there to ‘drink the waters’ which were apparently very good for your health. Specifically your liver. Terme as in where we were staying means ‘springs’.
The next person was (wait for it) – traveling with a choir. She was German-Swiss and did a yodelling mass.
The last person was not from Italia, but had learned English from videos and was working 7 days a week in a hotel here to earn money, having left her young daughter home in her country of origin. I felt both huge sadness in her and yet she had quite a remarkable resilience. She did not lke her job and was trained in commerce.
I caught the train.
Talked to the artist woman the whole way, then a bus which took the country route to arrive 5 minutes before tea, at Hotel Susy. Tea was 5 courses. Salad > soup > pasta > meat > dessert. Broccoli pasta. Can you imagine this with 26 girls? But noone went hungry. We planned the next day: Siena for a mass and tour.
This was superb.
The usual well organised chaos afterwards.
I actually felt quite proud to be a New Zealander with the final Pokaricariana item.
Friday News. Found my cell phone, it is with the bus company. Met Philipa for lunch with the others from cpsquare. Fed 8 people for Lunch for 20 Euros – lovely ham, olives brown bread and tomatoes. Have decided to stay on tomorrow and catch a bus to the next stop. Some people a little sick. But generally all very OK and bouyant.
Lots and lots of little dogs . . . here is our hotel lady. It’s off season and not much to do . . .
Why it is so hard to shop sometime.
Odd toilets in Motecatirni . . . Square??
What a cool place to work . . . the middle of Florence. This is Sebastian and FEB Consult.