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Rome part 2, and Turin.

I’m catching up! By the time we’re home 2 months I may be finished, oops.

Outside the Vatican Museum.

Our last day was split between the Vatican museum and the Borghese Gallery. Earlier in the week we wandered through an Impressionist, Expressionist and Abstract exhibit at the Galleria Nazionale we were getting a lot of art education. I did a little study of Expressionism at High school, and was excited to see original works from some of the artists I had referenced, but I think D wasn’t impressed. D however was impressed by the Raphael rooms at the Vatican.

The Raphael Rooms. Amazingly rich in details.

 The Vatican was extraordinarily busy, full of  people shuffling along eager to see the Sistine chapel. D and I were short of time, but opted to take the ‘long’ way to the chapel, which took us into the Raphael rooms and through some galleries full of Matisse and Dali. Imagine the other tourists missing these wonders! The chapel itself was a bit like the Pantheon- the atmosphere that should have been there was obliterated by sheer number of people. Several guards stood watching, with one bellowing “Silence, No photos please” every time the noise levels crept, or someone was stupid enough to hold a camera within sight of him. It saddened me a bit to see such works displayed like this.

The best photo I sneaked. Usually i am against breaking the 'no photo rule' but everyone else was doing it...so I figured there was not much left to preserve.

A real mummy from the Egyptian wing.

The Borghese Galleries are situated in the Borghese gardens and required us to book in advance. D initially booked for 1pm, which was not bright as there was no way we could do both the Vatican and the galleries. He was then too embarrassed to call up and change to the only other available time- 5pm, and made me do it. Silly D!  Walking through the park was lovely, and if we had more time I would love to spend a day just here, reading a book or hiring a pedal car and exploring.

The Borghese Gallery

A fountain in the gardens.

The gardens.

We queued up to get our tickets, then queued to check our bag in, as it was a requirement, the line was quite long- 10 mins at least. I know I sound like a grumpy witch, but what grinds my gears more than most other things are people who cut lines.  As we reached the front of the line, a woman jumped in the line in front of us, she hadn’t queued at all.  “Excuse me, the rest of us queued!’ I said, frowning. She justified that she had gone up to the gallery, and been turned away and asked to check her bag in, which is the lamest excuse- if she was too idiotic to see that no bags were allowed in given that signs said it in English, Italian and French (she was Italian, and spoke English) then she damn well should queue up!  Grrrr.

D and I probably spent a little too long reading the information sheets and looking at the works, as we realised that two hours (the maximum time allowed in the gallery) was not enough time to see all the rooms. We both particularly liked the Bernini Statues - he had amazing attention to detail. We were also struck by the Romans fascinations for rape in paintings and statues. Alas, No pictures allowed.

Dinner was at a slightly pricier restaurant than usual but was very tasty, sharing a  foccacia pizza, gnocchi and a few glasses of wine (for me of course).  Our trip out of Rome was on the train I wrote about earlier, with the crazy arsehole waking us up.

Turin, or Torino is a small city in the north of Italy, which was apparently the capital of the country before Rome. It is rich in history and culture, but by this stage D and I were so tired, we used the city as a rest period and slept. So we did not see much of the history, oops. Since the nightmare train arrived too early to check into a hotel, we left our bags in the lobby and explored the main street where we encountered a military parade. Many different regiments from all over Italy had come to Turin to celebrate 150 years of unification. This is part of a nine month celebration Turin is hosting. Wow, I have a friend who celebrates her birthday for a month, but nine- its celebrating the entire gestation period! I would like to return to Turin one day and explore it properly.

Italy!

The military parade.

Next stop, Paris!

Ciao!

Roma (part 1)

First, I am Soooo sorry about the long silence. We’ve been waking up early, and coming home late most nights. Plus we haven’t had internet in some of our locations. And I started a new game on my Nintendo DS, which has preoccupied me. I know, excuses! Here is a bit of an update.

Roma!

Our hotel was quite a distance from the city centre, but was modern and ran a shuttle to the local train station. Alas, the shuttle service wasn’t actually very convenient. On our first day we asked for a ride but we were told it was unavailable by the girls at the desk. and watched it pull up as we exited the lobby. The following morning, we asked if we could catch the first service and were told to wait outside. As we piled onto the full bus, and they asked our room numbers, we were reprimanded for not having a reservation as the bus was fully booked. Luckily, some people didn’t turn up and we got the ride anyway. Incidentally, there was also a Japanese couple who had been told the same thing as us.

We also tried to book the bus to pick us up that evening (10.15pm).

Pretty, but stupid girl at the desk: “Oh, we usually don’t do that. You should just call us.”

Us: “We tried that last night, but there isn’t a working pay phone at the station.”

PbSGaFD “Ok, we’ll write it in, but you can’t be late!” This last bit is particularly stressed.

That night, we got to our station at 10, and waited until 10.30. No bus. We caught the metro bus. When we questioned the guy at the front desk, he pulled out the reserve schedule only to see a piece of paper had been stapled onto the sheet, covering our reservation. “Oops, didn’t see it,” he says with a chuckle. Yea buddy, real funny when you’re stuck at a station in a foreign city!

Rome was beautiful though. It was clean in comparison to the southern Italian towns, which was enough to win me straight away! Naples had Rubbish piling up on every street corner. “We use too much” our Naples guide explained, as he gave us another ‘fresca’ water bottle each despite D and I always carrying our own.

Our first stop in Rome was the Santa Maria degli Angeli, a church which featured a Galileo exhibit. This was not on our “places to see in Rome“ list, and we were pleasantly surprised to see the ‘science and religion’ exhibit. The church had a giant pendulum and a hole in the ceiling which shone onto the time of day on the floor.

Outside the Basilica

A sculpture inside.

Foro Trajano

Vittorio Emanuele Monument. Solid, stark white marble. Locals tend not to like it and call it the wedding cake or typewriter.

The next day we travelled to Vatican city, the line for the museum was huge, so we opted to book tickets later in the week, and visited the rest that day.  St Pietro was huge!

One major factor that irked me, the entire time we were in Rome and later Paris, was the inconsiderate tourists.  Entering most of the churches women are asked to dress respectfully- knee length skirts and no bare shoulders. I came prepared with a scarf to wrap around myself. In the queue to enter the security were checking for appropriate dress and pulling aside those that didn’t meet standard. A lot of women bought ‘Roma’ scarfs from street merchants to cover up, but one woman approached me and asked for my scarf on the promise she would give it back once past the guards. Erm- NO! A) the point is to remain appropriate the entire time inside. B) I think the guards are smarter than that, and likely would kick both of us out. C) If you were too stupid to come prepared, and too cheap to buy a scarf, I see no point to help you.

The other pet peeve I had was the number of people using flash when specifically asked not too. After all, a lot of the shots would be ruined by flash, taking away the atmosphere of the places. And it was completely rude, the museum asked for no flash for a reason.

Vatican City

Inside St Peters.

The Museum for Pope John Paul II

When we finished exploring the Vatican, we walked to  Castel sant’Angelo. It had a giant spiral stairwell/ramp leading to a courtyard and galleries. The view from the top was particularly good too.

D and I purchased a Roma pass for the duration of our stay. This allowed free public transport for 3 days, 2 free museum entries and reduced price for the other museums. At Eu25 each, it was easy to get our moneys worth, as Sant Angelo Castle was $8 and the Colosseum was $12, and we definitely spent more than $5 on transport. We then got reduced entry to everything else.

We attempted to find a back alley tourist-free restaurant to eat lunch in- but this was virtually impossible. Instead, we settled for one of better value places and I was able to eavesdrop on the Brits and Americans eating near us.  Food in Rome wasn’t as good as the rest of Italy, lots of small cafes near main streets and attractions water food down for Brits and Americans.  Food was much pricier, and finding cheap local haunts was folly- apparently Romans don’t eat out in Rome.

From there we walked to Piazza Navona to see Bernini sculptures, Trevi Fountain, which was crowded beyond belief, the Pantheon which was full of disrespectful tourists, and the Spanish Staircase which had the pushiest street merchants. I know we are part of the problem, but these sites would have been much more spectacular if it weren’t for the crowds of tourists.

Sant'Agnese in Agone in Piazza Navona

Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi by Bernini

The Pantheon, the bottom two meters are missing so I could get a tourist free photo.

Trevi Fountain. Also the scene of the main picture up top, where I am one of Many tourists.

Street merchants and beggars are everywhere. It is easy to lose patience with them and question their authenticity. Street beggar women appear to have a ‘uniform’. Dark colours, and full coverage- long skirts and headscarves, kneeling in prayer with a cup and note scrawled on cardboard. Around churches are the disfigured beggars, missing limbs or with golfball sized lumps on their heads.

Street merchants are at least doing something for you money, but frustrated me with their pushiness. The rose sellers were the worst. We encountered one nice merchant outside Trevi fountain, who took a photo of us on our camera for free. When D gave him a euro, he insisted on taking a Polaroid of us- his trade. Outside the Spanish stairs, we hit a very pushy rose-seller. He and his mates crowded the fountain at the bottom of the stairs and didn’t take no for an answer. They thrust a rose into my hand, saying ‘Is a gift’ then talked to Darren about how pretty his lady was. D and I made it clear we didn’t want roses and tried walking away, but he insisted I take it. “Three is good luck!” he repeated, throwing another two into my hands, “some money now?”. No, but I may kick you in the nuts.

We came across a Michael Jackson busker at the Piazza del Popolo, who was rather unique.  He had three costume changes (jackets), and managed to get a small donation from us where others failed.

Piazza del Popolo

D had booked an underground tour of the Colosseum, which was really cool as we had access to areas usually closed off. We saw the underground area where the gladiators and animals waited for their turn. The underground area was actually two storey, with elevator style systems operated by slaves.  On the second level, animal cages were opened and final preparations made before releasing performers to the stage.  We also went to the top, and got a better view of the Forum (ruins next to the Colosseum) which is also off limits usually.

Colosseum underground.

Arco di Costantino from the top of the Colosseum.

The Colosseum- we were under that staged area.

Next we headed into the Forum and Mons Palatinus, a large area of Roman ruins. Here’s some helpful advice- don’t forget to grab a map like we did. Actually I wanted to find a map, but as they we couldn’t see where they were immediately, D insisted we would be fine.  The forum is a big place. Take water and snacks, because it is a big dry place- luckily with a few drinking fountains around.

A race or games track in the ruins.

The Forum

Stay tuned for the end of Rome and our brief stay in Turin.

Adventures in Campania- Photos.

In Positano, looking out from where we had lunch.

Salerno and Castello di Arechi.

Gorgeous fountains are scattered around Salerno with very fresh drinking water.

The view from Castle Arechi- Salerno city.

Castle Arechi.

The Amalfi Coast

Another pretty fountain in Amalfi.

The Duome of Amalfi

The Crypt of St Andrew

Positano from the Ferry.

The view from our lunch table. We had homemade gnocchi with seafood. Yum.

The pebble beach, crowded with mostly American tourists. Thats a Medieval tower, now some ones house.

Pompeii

The Duome of Pompeii

The view from the Bell tower. You can see the ruins in the back- they're huge.

For my American friends, Pompeii lost 12 people to the 9-11 attacks, they had this piece of the twin towers shipped in and erected to remember.

 

Pompeii residents. Behind glass, sleeping.

A street of the ruined city.

 

The place is massive.

 

Pillars in the Forum.

The Temple of Jupiter

More Pillars

Temple of Apollo

The Basilica

 

Man, I am more than two weeks behind. So slack! I promise to write up Rome and edit those photos on the plane tomorrow (to the US) then all that will be left to catch up on is Paris.

Ciao!

 

 

 

 

Adventures in the Campania region, Italy.

I’ll add the photos when D comes back with my power adaptor!

From Messina, we caught an overnight ferry to Salerno- in the Campania region of Italy. Here is a tip for anyone wanting to travel by Ferry in Italy- don’t book your tickets in advance. Front up to the desk in advance and book then. We have booked two ferry trips via the internet and neither have worked out for us. This time it turned out we had booked the return trip from Salerno to Messina. Oops. By the time we boarded and put our luggage in the cabin, even D was ready for an alcoholic beverage. Those that know D know how frustrated we must have been. Otherwise, the trip went smoothly- cabins were comfortable and we had our own shower and toilet.

We were met in Salerno port by Ermanno who took D to the University. I was shown around the city by Eleanora who treated me to a Brioche. Here is a hint for the light eaters- don’t order a brioche e gelate unless sharing. Its basically a sweet bread roll with a tiny dab of custard, served with two scoops of ice cream inside and then mine also had cream. Super filling, messy and sweet. It is something you must try once. D and I are eating a lot of ice cream whilst in Italy, but we are sad to leave Sicilian Granita behind. We met up with D again for lunch, and Ermanno insisted we have a Campania pizza each. Of course after my Brioche, I was not overly hungry. With Daiana joining us, we went to Castle Arechi that afternoon where we had a view over all of Salerno.

On Saturday, D and I were alone and adventured by ferry out to the Amalfi coast. We spent the morning in Amalfi, visiting the Crypt of St Andrew and the Duome of Amalfi. We tried to follow a suggested walking path on the tourist map, but started out on the wrong street and ended up way off track. But we visited the paper Museum, as Amalfi was home of modern paper. Off the main street, there are narrow corridors full of steps which make up the back streets.

We jumped back on the ferry to Positano, a bustling town full of American tourists. The streets are lined with merchants and shops selling resort style clothes and jewellery, souvenirs and artists impressions of the town. It would be easy to be inspired as a local artist however, as once leaving the main streets we had panoramic views of the Mediterranean and vibrant pink and purple flowers crept over handrails and walls. We visited two Galleries, The white room, which had modern sculptures and photos- using very unique techniques. The curator was more than happy to tell us about each artist and the method used to get the final effect. Further up we found another gallery specializing in more traditional techniques including a number of oil paintings of Positano. The curator of this Gallery suggested lunch at Bar Bruno, so we climbed some stairs and a hill, and were rewarded by a spectacular view as we ate our fresh seafood lunch. Delicious.

On Sunday, Daiane, her sister and Eleanora showed us around Pompeii. The ruins are huge- more than once can see in detail through one day. We collected an audio guide to help when the girls could not explain. A running joke between us was the quality of their English vs. our Italian.  We visited most of the highlights, and a few different houses trying to avoid the tour groups. While the ruins are well worth the time and energy, I recommend taking a large supply of water, closed comfortable shoes, sunscreen and a packed lunch, it is a long tiring day and Pompeii has little shade to offer.

Monday morning we left Salerno and catch a train to Napoli. Before arriving in Naples, we were warned by Daiana, Eleanora and Ermanno about the level of thievery against tourists, which put me a bit on edge. But, aside from dodgy looking people on the train, nothing happened. Our hotel, the Plaza Bellini  was modern and very swish. Monday was spent at the University, where D met with the academics and presented his work. Ermanno was unavailable to play tour guide so one of his office mates showed us around very quickly, then left us at the hotel.

Naples, unfortunately closes on Tuesdays, so we were unable to visit anything of interest. We had Pizza every night, and I can definitely say Naples has the best pizza in the world. I think a lot of waiters were getting annoyed with us as we continued to order one pizza to share one pasta to share, one dessert, to share.  Most of the dishes are far too big for D and I, who are not huge eaters, and on a limited budget we don’t want to order two pizzas and leave them half eaten.

Wednesday, we left for Rome.

Che notte terribile!

We break from our usual broadcast to report about a shitty night on an overnight train.  While I am running almost a week behind on news updates, like any other current affairs channel, I assure you, this is fresh news about the glamour of cheap travel.

Last night D and I left Rome to travel to Torino (Turin). We checked our luggage into the baggali deposito (bag deposit) and went sight seeing in Rome all day. Our feet and shoulders ached. We had a lovely dinner, and migrated back to the Termini. In Italy, rarely is wine sold by the glass with dinner, which is a pain when only I drink, and won’t go through an entire bottle alone, but usually they offer a ½ lt, or even ¼ lt option. Last night, only the ½ was offered. So I was quite tiddly when we left the restaurant, and we poured the last of the wine into an empty water bottle for the train trip. So classy but I was greatful for it.

Arriving at the terminal, I did a spot of window shopping, then had the desperate urge for the toilet, but alas the nearest one was closed for the night! Trying not to wee myself (remember, I had a fair bit to drink) we walked to another part of the station, into what looked like a janitors cupboard where we found some toilets, as usual for stations- pay to use. I dashed in leaving D to fork out 80 cents. Let me explain- in Italy, most public loos are dreadful! They smell, usually have wet floors, little to no paper, stained bowls, and 99% of the time no toilet seat. Even in restaurants and museums. Paying 80cent for a clean and maintained toilet is well worth it at times.

By this time all the shops and most cafes had closed so we headed to the station part of the termini, and found no seats. 20 platforms, not a single chair or bench. People were sitting on ledges and on the floor or simply standing, but we had  about 1 ½ hours to wait. So we sat on the terminal  floor, with the gum stains and cigarette butts. Everybody here smokes. They’ll smoke everywhere despite the no smoking signs. They’ll bow the smoke in your face and think nothing of it. We wondered why so many people were flouting the ‘no smoking in terminal’ signs, until we saw two policemen smoking in the terminal.

We board out train, and find that we are seating closest to the aisle of a six seat cabin. A group of very loud Italian men are hovering around, whom I presumed to be our cabin mates until  an American mother-daughter team walk in.  They are already regretting this train trip. Only two of the loud Italian men are with us.

This man, oh lordy, was he an inconsiderate prick. Never have I had the urge to deck someone so badly. His travel buddy was friendly enough, tried to talk to D for a bit, and was very proud of his ‘Fresca’ smelling blanket and shirt. He slept the entire night without a peep. He and the prick spread out head to toe, over their opposing seats, which amused mother and daughter. Arsehole then switched out the light, not bothering to ask if we were ready, said something gruff in Italian, and flopped into his bed-thingy. No problem, right?

I was sleeping with my sandals on, in a seated position, hugging my laptop bag with the strap around me. Because of the high occurrence of pickpockets, both our passports were tucked into a second layer of underwear, and I was sort of sitting on them.  I observed even the quite Italian man tuck a wad of cash wrapped in paper towel into his jocks, so we weren’t being overly paranoid. The headrest was unnaturally high, forcing your neck forwards, and as D and I had been staring at roof frescos all day, our necks were already tense. The American had wanted to sit next to her daughter, not opposite, so D swapped with her and I now had a stranger opposite me and was unable to spread my legs far out. It was hot also, and people in the corridor made noise and banged doors. Some slept on the floors to the corridor.  Picture it?

Now, everytime I was about to drop off to sleep, Mr Prick switched the light on, or said something that nobody understood, and/or decided to join his buddies smoking and chatting in the corridor. He did this ALL night, going back to his nest, then getting up, banging around, switching the light on, and disturbing us with his complaints. We protested, but as we are not inconsiderate and the American daughter managed to sleep though most of it, we didn’t get angry loud enough for him to pay attention, Plus he was a big guy, and clearly a very disturbed angry man and scared us girls a bit. Headphones blaring music could not keep him out. Scarves over my head didn’t block out the light, especially because he had to lean over us to get to it.

Finally at about 5.45am, he got up again, switched the light on full and stood in the door to our compartment, I told him to switch the light back off, but he wanted his friend to wake up. His friend woke up when they arrived at the station, 15 minutes later. D had switched the light back off by then.

A short while later, the Americans  got off as well, and D and I thought, YAY finally get to spread out! But alas, two young guys who were on the wrong carriage, and had tried to get into our cabin before we all claimed seats decided now was their chance. They came in, dumped a huge bag on one seat, practically sat on my legs which I had spread to the seat next to me, and took up the four unoccupied seats even though D and I had also spread to them. Was this nightmare going to end?

I managed to get about 30 minutes spread across all the seats in the end, using my laptop and a pillow. D is now fast asleep next to me in the hotel. We decided NOT to book the night train from here to Paris.

Ciao!

 

 

 

Noi pausa dalla nostra trasmissione usuale rapporto di una notte di merda su un treno notturno. Mentre sono in esecuzione quasi una settimana dietro a notizie aggiornate, come qualsiasi altro canale di attualità, vi assicuro, questa è una notizia fresca sul fascino del viaggio a basso costo.
Ieri sera D ed ho lasciato Roma per recarsi Torino (Torino).Abbiamo controllato i nostri bagagli in deposito baggali (deposito borse) e se ne andò visite turistiche a Roma tutto il giorno. I nostri piedi e le spalle facevano male. Abbiamo avuto una cena deliziosa, e migrato torna a Termini. In Italia, è raramente vino venduto al bicchiere con la cena, che è un dolore solo quando bevo, e non passare attraverso una bottiglia intera da sola, ma di solito offrono un lt e mezzo, o anche l’opzione ¼ lt. Ieri sera, solo il mezzo è stato offerto. Quindi ero abbastanza Tiddly quando abbiamo lasciato il ristorante, e abbiamo versato l’ultima del vino in una bottiglia d’acqua vuota per il viaggio in treno. Così classe ma ero grato per questo.

Arrivati ​​al terminal, ho fatto un po ‘di shopping finestra, quindi sentito il bisogno disperato per la toilette, ma ahimè il più vicino era chiuso per la notte! Cercando di non wee me (ricordate, ho avuto un bel po ‘da bere) siamo andati in un’altra parte della stazione, in quello che sembrava un armadio bidelli dove abbiamo trovato alcuni servizi igienici, come di consueto per le stazioni-pay per l’uso. Mi precipitai nel lasciare D a sborsare 80 centesimi. Mi spiego, in Italia, loos più pubblico sono terribili!Sentono l’odore, di solito hanno bagnato, con poca o nessuna carta, ciotole colorate, e il 99% del tempo non sedile del water.Anche nei ristoranti e musei. Pagando 80cent per una toilette pulita e mantenuta è valsa la pena, a volte.

A questo punto tutti i negozi e bar avevano chiuso più così ci siamo diretti verso la parte centrale dei capolinea, e non ha trovato posti a sedere. 20 piattaforme, non una sola sedia o panca. La gente era seduto su sporgenze e sul pavimento o semplicemente in piedi, ma avevamo circa 1 ora e mezza di attesa. Così ci siamo seduti sul pavimento terminale, con le macchie di gomma e mozziconi di sigaretta. Tutti qui fuma.Faranno fumo ovunque nonostante i segni di fumare. Faranno arco il fumo in faccia e pensare nulla. Ci siamo chiesti perché così tante persone sono state violando il ‘no smoking nel terminale’ segni, fino a quando abbiamo visto due poliziotti di fumare nel terminale.

Siamo fuori bordo treno, e scoprire che ci sono posti a sedere vicino al corridoio di una cabina sei posti. Un gruppo di uomini italiani sono molto forti si aggirano intorno, che io presume essere nostri compagni di cabina fino a quando un americano madre e figlia in piedi sono già pentito di questo viaggio in treno.Solo due degli uomini forti italiani sono con noi.

Quest’uomo, oh Lordy, era un cazzo sconsiderato. Non ho mai avuto la voglia di qualcuno mazzo così male. Il suo compagno di viaggio è stato abbastanza cordiale, ha cercato di parlare con D per un po ‘, ed era molto orgoglioso della sua coperta odore’ Fresca ‘e camicia. Ha dormito tutta la notte senza un bip. Lui e il cazzo sparsi testa ai piedi, sui loro sedili contrapposti, che divertito madre e figlia. Buco del culo poi spense la luce, senza preoccuparsi di chiedere se eravamo pronti, ha detto una cosa burbero in italiano, e si accasciò nel suo letto-thingy. Nessun problema, giusto?

Io stavo dormendo con mia sandali, in posizione seduta, abbracciando la mia borsa portatile con la cinghia intorno a me.A causa della elevata incidenza di borseggiatori, entrambi i nostri passaporti sono stati infilati in un secondo strato di biancheria intima, e io era una sorta di seduta su di loro. Ho osservato anche l’uomo italiano piuttosto infilare una mazzetta di contanti avvolti in un tovagliolo di carta nella sua atleti, quindi non erano eccessivamente paranoico. Il poggiatesta è innaturalmente alto, costringendo il collo in avanti, e come D e mi era stato a guardare gli affreschi del tetto per tutta la giornata, il collo era già teso. L’americano aveva voluto sedersi accanto a sua figlia, non opposto, in modo da D scambiato con lei e ora avevo un estraneo di fronte a me e non era in grado di diffondere le mie gambe lontano. Faceva caldo anche, e la gente nel corridoio fatto rumore e sbattuto porte. Alcuni dormivano sul pavimento del corridoio. Immagine vero?

Ora, ogni volta che stava per cadere nel sonno, il signor Prick acceso la luce, o detto qualcosa che nessuno capiva, e / o deciso di unire i suoi amici di fumare e chiacchierare in corridoio.Ha fatto tutta la notte, tornando al suo nido, poi alzarsi, sbattere in giro, accendere la luce, inquietante e noi con le sue lamentele.Abbiamo protestato, ma non siamo sconsiderati e la figlia americana riescono a dormire se la maggior parte di esso, non ci si arrabbia abbastanza forte per lui di fare attenzione, Plus era un ragazzo grande, e chiaramente un uomo molto arrabbiato e disturbato paura noi ragazze un po ‘. Le cuffie a tutto volume la musica non riusciva a tenere fuori. Sciarpe sopra la mia testa non bloccare la luce, soprattutto perché doveva appoggiarsi su di noi per arrivare ad essa.

Infine a circa 5:45, si alzò di nuovo, acceso la luce piena e si fermò sulla porta al nostro scompartimento, gli ho detto di accendere la retroilluminazione spenta, ma ha voluto il suo amico a svegliarsi. Il suo amico si svegliò quando sono arrivati ​​alla stazione, 15 minuti dopo. D aveva acceso la retroilluminazione spenta da allora.

Poco dopo, gli americani scesi pure, e D e ho pensato, YAY finalmente a diffondersi! Ma, ahimè, due ragazzi giovani che erano sul carro sbagliato, e aveva cercato di entrare nella nostra cabina, prima di tutti ha affermato sedili deciso oggi era la loro occasione. Sono venuti in, scaricati una borsa enorme sullo stesso sedile, praticamente seduto su gambe che mi si era diffuso al sedile accanto a me, e prese i quattro sedili occupati, anche se D e avevo anche diffuso a loro. Era questo incubo finirà?

Sono riuscito a ottenere circa 30 minuti diffuso su tutti i posti alla fine, usando il mio portatile e un cuscino. D ora è addormentato accanto a me in albergo. Abbiamo deciso di non prenotare il treno notturno da qui a Parigi.

Ciao!

June 17th-23rd: Sicily.

First of all, I apologise for the huge delay. We’ve been having trouble formatting wordpress.com. Hopefully i have it sorted now, but we’ll see.

During his conference, D met up with a friend of his boss, a Catania resident named Pino. After the conference and along with a small group of other foreigners, Pino escorted us onto Europe’s tallest active volcano, Mt Etna. It was cloudy at the peak, so we skipped going to the top, avoiding the 35euro charge for the chairlift. Instead, we were treated to a pasta lunch in the restaurant, then descended back to Catania.

The craters and view from Mt Etna

 

 

 

 

 

Our hotel was different this time – the Suite Inn Catania – and was closer to the main square and incidentally opposite the food poisoning restaurant. It was a nice hotel, but the concierge on the second night was a slacker who gave us dodgy directions and didn’t man the desk despite us telling him we expected a phone call. It was an early start the next day as Pino took us to Syracuse. We wandered around a Greek amphitheatre, tombs, a slave camp and Roman amphitheatre. A hot summer was just beginning in Sicily, so we took a break for granita before touring around the town, taking in the baroque architecture, beautiful coastline and a gorgeous cathedral. That night Pino’s wife, Angela, cooked us dinner at their home, and I tried a number of spirits – Cinnamon liqueur, Limoncello, local Sicilian red wine, and a few others. Note: for the lovers of big ‘americana’ lattes- you cannot get a decent one here – they taste foul. I have taken to ordering ‘italiana’ style, which is just the espresso shot, then putting some sugar in that (I saw real Italians doing it, so its ok), which is actually very enjoyable once you get used to it.

Piazza Duomo a Siracusa.

The slave area.

Tombs.

The greek amphitheater set up for a show.

The shape of the cave was specifically constructed so the slaves chatter could be heard by their ruler.

The Roman amphitheater, in poor condition.

Roman Baths

Syracusa Coast line

Inside the Duomo (Cathedral)

We departed for Palermo by bus, this took approximately 3 hours. Our hotel was the Hotel Europa, in the designer shopping district – Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Prada – we even walked past a Bvlgari event. We headed to crowded Mondello Beach that afternoon, where we were pushed to find some sand to relax on, but the water and view were spectacular. The bus ride back has unfortunately led me to the conclusion that Sicilian teenage boys are amongst the worst in the world. Rude, inconsiderate and stupid. A theory only confirmed when one jumped and yelled at me the following day for no reason (To be fair, I do see this in Australia also… what do they think they are achieving? Someone enlighten me!) On Monday I was left to my own devices, as D was meeting a professor at the uni. I did what I do best – Shop! Unfortunately, Monday mornings are slow for shopping, with many remaining closed until late in the afternoon. I did manage to buy two tops and a scarf from Sisley and Zara. Returning to the hotel, I rested until later, when I ventured out to find board shorts for D. I found a few labels I liked that are not available in Australia, perhaps when I open my store I will try to stock them? D was shown the Palazzo Steri and the Cappella Palatina(Palatine Chapel) as well as a few other beautiful churches, and on Tuesday we set out, map in hand to find a few more. I find it sad to see such beautiful sites in disrepair, and on dirty streets.

Fontana Pretoria, all statues are nudes and the mayors house is to the right of this photo.

Quattro Canti - all four corners of the intersection look like this.

Palermo Cattedrale (Cathedral)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the previous few nights I had been craving risotto and prawns, and I got lucky that night when the chef at La Dispensa dei Monsu cooked up a lemon and prawn risotto especially for us. The entrée was fried pizza pocket/parcels – Buffalo mozzarella with cherry tomatoes and lemon with ricotta were delicious, spinach and other vegetables was a little too bitter. A train to St Stefano di Camastra filled Wednesday morning and part of the afternoon. It is a beautiful seaside town, and our hotel had an exceptional view. Unfortunately, the staff service at the hotel tainted our stay. We will be leaving a negative review on expedia.com.

The beach we swam at, and had a view of.

Our View

The Village.

 

 

 

 

 

It was then back onto the train to Messina. The train wraps around the coast, with a view of the Mediterranean on one side, and country Sicily on the other, quite spectacular.
Messina, the Gateway to Sicily, is a cleaner town than we have seen thus far, although not without its seedy areas. Our map had a walk path marked on it, taking us past the pretty churches and monuments (also up some very questionable staircases) and non-existent fountains.

Messina.

We walked up these dodgy looking stairs.



 

 

 

As our second week ends, we leave Sicily.

Bona sera!

I’m on holiday give me a break…

I have a big post drafted I promise.

Meanwhile, someone on my Facespace linked me to this, and trust me- if you have trouble loading it like I did, stick with it- the blog is hilarious!

Handwashed D and my socks and jocks in the sink and have them draped all over my bathroom. Love it….

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