JulieAnn B


Europe » United Kingdom » England » Greater London December 10th 2018

On Monday, after a quiet day at home, Ron drove me to Coulsdon South railway station where I caught a train up to London Victoria to meet up with Jo, Jess and Martin. We had a quick drink at a bar in the station and then caught the train up to Piccadilly Circus and walked up to Gerrard’s Corner in China Town for a pre-show dinner. The Phantom of the Opera was being held in Her Majesty’s Theatre in Haymarket. When we came out of the theatre, we walked along Regent St to get to a tube station for the trip back to Victoria to connect with a rail service back to Coulsdon South.... read more
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Europe » Finland » Lapland » Luosto November 26th 2018

We checked out of our hotel and caught the 11am ski bus back to Rovaniemi Airport, which takes about 1.5 hours. The flight to Helsinki took just over an hour and we viewed gorgeous crimson sunsets through our plane window. There was just enough time to have a quick snack in the lounge before our next flight. Before take-off, our plane had to taxi to a section of the tarmac for de-icing. This was interesting to watch as you pull into an area, with 2 trucks on either side. The trucks have a crane on the back with a box at the top where someone sits with a big hose. They spray some sort of foam mixture on the main wings and on the tail. It only takes a few minutes to do once you are ... read more
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Europe » Finland » Lapland » Luosto November 24th 2018

During the night, we finally had snow so we woke up to about an inch of fresh snow on the ground outside. The trees were also coated in a dusting. The morning was about minus 3 and we had no activities booked so we decided to have an easy morning lazing in our room, repacking our bags and enjoying the views through the ceiling. Around midday, we walked into the village and went for a walk around the lake – about 2kms in length. The scenery was really pretty with the snow on the fir trees just like on Christmas cards. Shelley even lay down and made a snow angel. After our walk, we went to the Bistro at the Luostotunturi Hotel for lunch. The afternoon was spent relaxing in our igloo, watching the sun go ... read more
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Europe » Finland » Lapland » Luosto November 23rd 2018

After breakfast, we were picked up at 10am for a visit to the Kopara Reindeer farm. It was minus 6 degrees, with a windchill of minus 9, so we wore our hired ski jumpsuits and boots. Our guide gave us a lot of information about the area and reindeer. He collected some lichen for us to feed the reindeer with. In Lapland, there are more reindeer than people (200,000 reindeer and only 180,000 people). He was of Lapis origin, rather than Finnish or a Sami (native). At the end of the tour, we were taken up to see all the huskies (both Siberian and Alaskan) in their pens. There is no snow at the moment so they are allowed out of their cages to run around for exercise. When there is snow, they get enough exercise ... read more
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Europe » Finland » Lapland » Luosto November 22nd 2018

It gets light very late in the arctic so we had a lazy morning in bed and went down to breakfast about 9:30am. Breakfast is buffet style and there is a section of cereals, breads and toasts with jam, some sort of unidentifiably porridge type mush, baby sausages and what looked like scrambled egg but tasted like baked custard… There were also croissants and several cheeses, cured meats, tomato, smoked salmon and cucumber to choose from. Following breakfast, we collected our clothes (ski jumpsuits and boots) and went back to the igloo to try them on for size. We didn’t think we needed them today so we put our own thermals and clothes on and went for a walk into the village. It is only a few hundred metres down the road and there is another ... read more
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Europe » Finland » Lapland » Luosto November 21st 2018

On Tuesday night, we stayed overnight at the Novotel at Heathrow airport so that we would be close to the terminal for our early morning flight. We were up just after 4am and the hotel taxi took us to terminal 3 at 5am for our first flight to Helsinki. We went into the Cathay Pacific lounge for some breakfast prior to our 7:30 flight. This first took almost 3 hours and we had some lovely views of southern Finland towards the end of the flight. There are a surprisingly large number of lakes and waterways in Finland. We had a transit of around 4 hours so we holed up in the Finnair lounge prior to our flight to Rovaniemi, which took 1 hr 20 mins. It gets dark in Finland around 3:30pm so we had a ... read more
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Europe » Italy » Veneto » Venice November 9th 2018

This morning we had a light breakfast and spent our final morning walking around the town and looking in shops. Our hotel had allowed us to check out an hour later than usual, at 1pm, so at 11:30am we went to our favourite restaurant, Pizzeria Ristorante Dolfin, for our final dinner. We had a delicious meal (Insalata Primavera for Jo and Lasagne and Insalata Caprese for me). Our waiters gave us a complimentary drink to finish and kissed us goodbye. We will really miss them and the superb food there. After dashing back to our hotel room to put our final things in our cases, we walked back across the bridge to the Piazzale Roma, where the coaches leave from. It is only a 2 minute walk and there was a bus there already so we ... read more
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Europe » Italy » Veneto » Venice November 8th 2018

This morning we walked around the corner to the Piazzale Roma water bus station to catch the 4.1 water bus to the Museo stop on Murano Island. It was a pea soup fog and you could barely see 50m in front of you. We went to the Glass Museum on Murano for a while, then walked around the island and caught the 4.2 water bus from the Fero stop to San Marco Zaccaria. It was after 12:30pm at this point so we had a pizza each in a restaurant on the water, fighting off some very aggressive pigeons in the process. After lunch, we went to pier B to catch water bus line 2 to San Giorgio Maggiore, the Island in front of St Mark’s Square. We went inside the Basilica di San Giorgio Maggiore and ... read more
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Europe » Italy » Veneto » Venice November 7th 2018

This morning we walked to The Ghetto with the aim of being at the Museo Ebraico (Jewish Museum of Venice) in time for their daily tour. We stopped on the way for a quick breakfast to eat on the go and walked through the tunnel which was the entrance to the Ghetto. The Ghetto is on an island accessible by 3 bridges and in the early years (1500s or so) the Jews were not allowed to leave their homes at night. The Museo Ebraico has a small entrance but extends upstairs and either side into buildings next door. There were originally 5 synagogues in The Ghetto and there are no others in Venice. We were taken into the 2 smaller Ashkenazi synagogues, which are only rarely used today. The first is the oldest and is in ... read more
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Europe » Italy » Veneto » Venice November 6th 2018

This morning we decided to go to the sights around Piazza San Marco (St Mark’s Square) so breakfast on the go was a slice of mushroom pizza, which was absolutely delicious and not greasy at all. High tide was at 9:30am so we diverted around to the Rialto Markets to see the fish sellers, whose catches were literally still jumping. The produce in the vegetable stalls is incredibly fresh and looks very appealing. We wandered along the canal’s edge, towards Ponte de Rialto (Rialto Bridge), and it was really interesting to see the areas where we had stood the other day all under water. Piazza San Marco (St Mark’s Square) was knee deep in water so we walked along a boardwalk that ended up entering Basilica di San Marco (St Mark’s Basilica). The water was actually ... read more
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