Bill, Margie & Katie - We'll be traveling to UK, France, Italy and Croatia for 5 weeks from May to July.
Spending about 7 days in UK traveling around a bit - nothing really planned cept have Oyster passes and britrail passes so we'll go with the flow, visit family, look at the so-old-so beautiful history, shudder at the prices. From there we train it to Paris for a couple of days before jumping on a plane to Milan - Italy (1 day). From there we train our way to Lucca to meet up with the mad manurheads and their offspring / partners / minders etc for 7 days in a Villa just outside of the walled town. Then we all go our separate ways for a week (to recover).
For our part, we're teaming up with big bro Richard, Feathers and Kit where we'll train our way to Ancona, catch the o/night ferry to Split in Croatia, jump on a Lagoon 38 Cat and sail around bits of the Adriatic - learning the local sailing customs and trying not to bump into superyachts. Richard has put me down as skipper for that bit. Thanks....Then.....the rest of the mob (well nearly all) will meet us back in Split, we transfer to two larger Cats and we do it again for another 7 days. (Can never have too much sailing).
And that'll be about it. So We'll see how I go keeping this updated??!!
Well we're home now and it was a wonderful trip. Hopefully I covered it in summary in the blog. It's a handy record to remind us of how fantastic it all was.
July 1st 2011
It’s all over!!! – We’re home! But to complete the story… Our 2 days in Split were excellent. It’s a town very much worth visiting in it’s own right. The history of the places we’ve visited in the UK, France, Italy and Croatia is fascinating and makes Australia’s white occupation history period look very ordinary and insignificant. I tended to find myself looking at buildings that were newer than 250 years old as being of much lesser interest than those much older. I mean they’re nearly new aren’t they? Many of the really old buildings (ie the Palace in Split) have been used ever since their construction including for everyday life and the stone and marble steps and floors have been worn smooth by countless footsteps from countless people from a myriad of backgrounds and powers ... read more
June 25th 2011
Saturday 25th update. Well we’ve now completed week two sailing the Adriatic with our second week being on the bigger 13 metre cats. There were 9 of us on each Cat. My cat (Lagoon 440) had me Margie & Kate; mum, Chris, Jules & Glen, Tim and Therese. Richard’s slightly smaller Belise 43 had himself, Feathers & Kitty; Hannah & JD, Jesse, Janet, Josh & Maeli. The Lagoon 440 that I skippered was a very nice boat but bristled with electric pumps, 3 fridges (!!), 4 bathrooms, too many lights and other battery draining things that tended to stress the batteries badly when at sea or anchored in secluded areas. Some careful energy management was called for and it was really a boat designed to be plugged into shore power each night. Not really my cup ... read more
June 15th 2011
12 June-15th June Caught train to Ancona via Prato Centrale and Bologna, then the overnight ferry to Split. Had a really lovely breakfast before shopping for the boat and sailing out of the marina. Winds were fresh gusting to 22 knots. With full sail up we made around 10-11 knots and the boat (Lagoon 38 cat) sailed beautifully. We moored at a beautiful village called Stomorska on the Island of Solta. This was my first attempt at “Mediterranean mooring” which involves reversing into the dock without hitting boats either side , tying the stern lines while picking up lazy lines which are submerged lines that you grab from the dock and are attached to mooring lines (also submerged) which attach to the sea floor about 15 metres out from the dock. Someone grabs the lazy line ... read more
June 13th 2011
A quick note to say we are happily cocooned in our 38 foot cat and spent first night on an Island about 20NM from Split. Winds were brisk at around 20 knots, and we managed 11.5 knots out of the Lagoon 38 with all sails on and Skupper Bill at the helm. Some rough water saw us partially flying the windward hull - all very exciting and I couldn't get the smile of my face!! Interesting method of mooring required here (if not anchoring) where one needs to reverse into the dock squeezing between other boats and picking up lazy lines from the dock which are connected to moorings about 15 metres from the dock. You need to control the boat while picking up the lines and walk them forward to the bow to tie off ... read more
June 8th 2011
Wednesday 8th June - update. Things are bubbling along here. Countryside is wonderful, wine, beer & spirits are cheap in Italy. Food also. We’ve had a fair bit of rain, but it remains pleasantly warm interspersed with periods of sunshine. Attended Puccini opera in Lucca on Monday night in the original chapel that Puccini was baptised in and later performed. The concerts run every night in Lucca (Puccini’s birthplace) and various professional opera singers perform. Funds go toward maintaining the chapel and the event. The night we attended it was a single Pianist and just two 2 singers alternating and then combining toward the end. Sort of a mini opera, but in that hall it sounded oh so good. Goose bump stuff really. Went for a drive up into the Tuscan hills yesterday (relying very much ... read more
June 6th 2011
2 June to 6 June Update – Ambulances, missed flights & connections and, paradise. Spent a really nice evening (Wednesday 1 June) in inner London walking around enjoying the summer evening air (weather had warmed considerably to around 24 degrees). We had a very English dinner in a very English pub. A lovely end to our week in Britain. Got the EuroStar very fast train to Paris this morning. The channel section took just 20 minutes and was extremely under-whelming except for the knowledge that we were trundling some 100 metres below sea level at around 150-200km/h. Quite an engineering feat when you think about it. Katie got a little over-whelmed when we arrived at Gare Du Nord train station in Paris. It’s a busy place and we got pounced on (well not literally), by beggars ... read more
June 1st 2011
1 June Update. Well, Bath was great – albeit the rain continued. Stayed in a reasonably posh hotel which kept Katie happy – all the cheapies fully booked. Seems she’s a Champagne traveller and doesn’t like the 1 & 2 star establishments our budget was designed around. I’m sure her tolerance levels will change when it’s her turn to go backpacking in 10 years or so!! Soon after arriving, we found a small privately run museum on the outskirts of the tourism throng, which focussed on a local family business (Bowlers) that operated in Bath for 97 years over 3 generations and going back some time Mr and Mrs Bowler had 13 kids – all of whom worked the business. I was like a kid in a toy-shop with all the old metal working machinery and ... read more
May 29th 2011
29 May Update Today we walked for 6 hours (in light drizzle) exploring the inner areas of Cardiff including Cardiff Castle. http://www.cardiffcastle.com/content.asp The furnishings and interior design within the latter built parts of the castle are both interesting and eccentric. The interior designer had travelled to Australia with Charlie Darwin apparently hence there are some carvings on some of the bookshelves showing our Platypus. The shopping precincts within Cardiff are impressive and there is an interesting mix of both old and modern architecture with old arcades snaking their way between pedestrian malls. It all works very well. The town managers have done well to exclude a large chunk of the inner city to vehicles. Later on in the day we wandered down to the bay area where there was sooo much more to see and do, ... read more
May 28th 2011
28 May Update Well after leaving London, we ended up staying overnight in a brilliant little hotel in Kenilworth (Milsoms Hotel) just out of Coventry– a highly recommend hotel. Kenilworth is a very picturesque little town and the nearby Kenilworth castle is a fascinating visit. The castle has existed since the 1100s. Some of the graffiti scratched into the walls is historically significant in its own right as it goes back to the Victorian era!! The text is so neat!! When visiting, free handheld electronic audio thimajigs (like small mobile phones) are handed out, and you simply bung in the number of the area you’re at (at the time) for a full and comprehensive rundown of what it was about – who was involved and who was doing what to whom at the time. Gives good ... read more
May 26th 2011
Travel Blog – 26 May update. Well, today we got ourselves re-connected to the www so time to post an update. Usual pre journey problems occurred at home. 2 Hours prior to leaving for airport, I noticed pool filter leaking. Ducked up to pool shop to get new “o” ring for coupling. Undid the coupling and the whole F’n thing fell in two about a zillion pieces. It is only 19 years old… Back up to see Russell, he had required fitting and I had a few sockets and (amazingly) the right size pipe at home, so a quick re-route of the plumbing, PVC primer and cement – all back together – good as new, 10 mins to spare. Off to airport woohoo. After around 26 hours of travel with about 19 of them in 3 ... read more