Page 6 of Home and Away Travel Blog Posts

Europe » Italy » Lazio » Rome March 21st 2010

Sunday - 21 March No, I didn't run the Rome Marathon, but I almost walked that distance. My legs are killing me, so I can really sympathize with the runners. This evening, while walking along the Via Corso, I met an older lady (older than me) from Utah. She had come to Rome for her second marathon. Her time was over six hours, an improvement over last year, and she was hoping to improve her time next year. What is it about marathoners who torture their bodies this way! Anyway, the marathon had an impact on our plans as many of the downtown streets were blocked off...for example, the Coluseum Metro was closed. Se we adjusted accordingly. After dropping my daughter, Tamara, off at the hotel the evening before, my son, Will, went to party and ... read more
Cappuchino and Cornetto
Piazza Venezia with Victor Emmanuel Monument
Climbing Michelangelo's Steps up Capitoline Hill

Europe » Italy » Lazio » Rome March 20th 2010

You will recall that my first entry for my May 2009 trip to Asia was similarly titled. That's because getting anywhere when there my party is taking different airlines to get to our destination, something always goes wrong. Of course, I would prefer to book everyone at the same time, but lately there have been reasons this didn't happen. So for the latest trip to Europe, it started in early Fall 2009 when I booked a round trip ticket for my son on Orbitz to Rome, with a stop over in London on the return, departing in mid-January and returning in May for his Spring semester at university in Rome. In December, my eldest daughter graduated from college. Her present was a trip to vist relatives in Northern Ireland. As we didn't know when she would ... read more

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok June 13th 2009

11 June (Thursday) - We departed Dalat at 7:15 AM for a 8:45 AM flight to Saigon. As I walked across the tarmac to the plane I recalled to another passenger that the last time I made the same walk was in 1964. Our flight was only a half hour, so we had from 9:15 AM to 5:55 PM to spend in Saigon. We checked our baggage, and said farewell to Ruth who had a noon flight to Phnom Penh. Then Barb, Will and I caught a taxi into town for some last minute souvenir shopping...I bought some more lacquerware as gifts for my daughters. We ate at a food court...Will and I at KFC and Barb tried for the last time to find the perfect chai goia, to no avail. I will report to the ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » Central Highlands » Lam Dong » Da Lat June 10th 2009

10 June (Wednesday) - We started the day with an American breakfast at the restaurant where we ate the evening before. By 10 AM we were ready to explore areas around Dalat. Our first stop was "the peaks" or Langbian Mountain which we had climbed as elementary school kids. I remembering racing to see who could get to the top first. Fortunately, today they have built a road to the top where there is a restaurant and tourist stuff...the ubiquitous horse rides and vendors selling knitted bags. We had to pay to ride a Russian built jeep the fifteen minute ride up the mountain which sure beat hiking! I met several Vietnamese students from Hanoi who wanted to practice their English and have pictures taken with me. After a half hour or so we returned down ... read more
Dalat night market
Little girl at restaurant - mommy's little helper
Russian jeep...our mode of transportation to the top of the peaks

Asia » Vietnam » Central Highlands » Lam Dong » Da Lat June 9th 2009

9 June (Tuesday) - The purpose of the trip to Vietnam was to visit our old school campus where Barb attended from 1954 to 1965, Ruth attended from 1957 to 1965, John attended from 1956 to 1965 and I attended from 1956 to 1964. This was the boarding school for missionaries kids from the Southeast Asian area. All four of us came from Thailand, and three of us graduated in 1968 when the school was located in the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia (now it is in Penang). The last time I had visited the school was in 1973, when I worked in the Navy's design office in Saigon. I was fortunate to be able to bring Linda on that occasion. This time I was fortunate to bring my son, Will, whose comment was "So, this is ... read more
Our hosts pose for pictures with our group in the reception room next to the dining hall in the main building
Hosts pose with group on front steps of the main building (Villa Alliance)
Barb, Bob, Ruth and Johnny in former dining room, now a training room

Asia » Vietnam » Central Highlands » Lam Dong » Da Lat June 8th 2009

8 June (Monday) - We departed Saigon about 8:30 for the 300 km drive to Dalat. At 100 km/hr that should have taken 3 hours. However, with the heavy traffic getting out of Saigon, the poor road conditions enroute, and stops along the way to take pictures of things we had remembered from our last drive up this road in 1960, the trip took until 5:30 PM. Out first stop was to take pictures of the rubber tree plantations and the harvesting of the white rubber sap. Then it was th large boulders near the half way point. Then it was for late lunch in the region where they grow coffee now. Not being a coffee fanatic I didn't buy any, but Barb did. Finally, about 10 km before arriving in Dalat we stopped at Prenn ... read more
Rubber plantation on way to Dalat
Ruth, Johnny, Bob, and Barb at rubber plantation
Boulders at half way point

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City June 7th 2009

7 June (Sunday) - We had an early breakfast as we were to go to a Vietnamese Tinh Lanh church near our hotel. Our tour guide for our time in Vietnam escorted us there in time for the 8:30 AM service. The place was packed out. We ended up on the second row where there were earphones for simultaneous translation. Unfortunately, mine didn'r work, but after the service Barb provided me a summary. The order of service was right from forty years ago, with hymns and not 7-11 choruses. They had the words in both languages so we sang English while everyone else sang Vietnamese. However, there were some African and some other Asian nationalities who also sang English. After the service we took a quick tour of their seminary, and then returned to our hotel ... read more
Ruth with Van Gogh

Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Railay June 6th 2009

Breakfast was at 9 AM and we said farewell to our friends from Manchester, England who were headed to Phi Phi and then on to Malaysia and Indonesia on their honeymoon. We caught our longtail at 9:30 AM whicch met a taxi at Ao Nang to take us to the airport. The 12:05 PM flight was uneventful, and on time, which got us to Bangkok at 2:15 PM. We picked up ouir baggage and then checked it in immediately for the 3:55 PM flight to Saigon. We had just enough time for lunch...spagetti and mangoes and sticky rice, what a combination. I was a bit concerned whether the advance approval letter we obtained from Vietnam-visa would work, but the Air Asia agent told us that many passengers used this document to get a visa when they ... read more
Looking back at Railay East and our resort
The captain of our boat with Railay East receeding in the distance

Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Railay June 5th 2009

5 June (Friday) - The weather wasbetter today so I headed to Pranang Beach to get some better pictures of a sunny beach. Will had suffered sunburn from our day of snorkeling at Phi Phi, so spent most of the day in our room. I spent most of the morning there and then headed back for a dip in the pool before lunch. Perhaps this is a good time to talk about some of the people I met. The more interesting we those with kids, and still weren't constrained in their desire or ability to travel. One Danish couple had been to Vietnam and Thailand three years earlier after their first child was born. They had two months of maternity leave and one month of vacation, so decided to travel those three months in Southeast Asia. ... read more
Pranang Beach
Pranang Beach
My German friends from Karlsruhe on Pranang Beach

Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Railay June 4th 2009

2 June (Tuesday) - My spreadsheet showed a 10:20 AM departure from Bangkok to Krabi, so right after breakfast we took a taxi to the airport. When we approached the ticket counter I was informed that we were too early to check in for the 1:45 PM flight; to which I responded that I was booked on the 10:20 AM flight. Apparently, my original intention was to take the earlier flight, but by the time I finally booked the tickets the earlier flight was now much more expensive, so I booked the later flight without changing my spreadsheet schedule. I quickly reviewed the rest of my schedule against ticket confirmations to make sure I hadn’t made this same mistake elsewhere; which I hadn’t. Consequently, we had a four hour wait until our flight, which Will spent ... read more
Approaching Railay West Beach in longtail boat
Bob wading ashore at Railay West Beach
Karst mountains on Railay peninsula

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