Richard P. Johns

Smooth Operator

Richard P. Johns

'Tempus Fugit' - Time Flies and Anyone travelling knows that time passes much to quickly. I have started adding blogs for our Central and Eastern Europe trip from May 2018. Its great to have an easy way to stay in touch with everyone and show off some photos.

My travels so far include Europe, North America, Central America, South America, The Caribbean, South East Asia, China, Japan, Iceland, Australia and New Zealand. Feel free to ask questions if you're going to any of these places.

I am eyeing up the north coast of South America for our next trip but have to wait for vacation time to accumulate.

All the best on your travels!

Europe » Italy » Veneto » Venice May 4th 2018

Our first interesting stop in Italy was at the fortress town of Palmanova, a nine pointed star shaped fortress. While its larger design can only be seen from an aerial view, the huge fortifications and moats are pretty impressive from the ground. We arrived during the middle of a marathon, so after we walked into the centre of town, we mingled with the runners and walkers following the trails around the fortifications. Our next stop was a beach day at Bibione beach on the Mediterranean Sea. Riley got the chance to play in the sand with his cars and build sand castles. We all walked out to the end of the pier for lunch. We left in the early afternoon which allowed us to arrive in Venice early. We got one of the last parking spots ... read more
Aerial view of the star shaped fortress at Palmanova
Pier at Bibione beach
Arriving in Venice, Monte Dei Paschi Di Siena

Europe » Slovenia » Istria » Piran April 28th 2018

We had arrived in Zagreb late so managed to find the main square and have some cheese sticks, truffle pasta and gnocchi before passing out. Early to bed, early to rise. I managed to sneak out before 6am and get a good look at the city. I was pleasantly surprised as I had not heard too much about Zagreb. The early morning light was great for photos. I walked a series of parks: Park Zrinjevac, Park Josipa Jurja Strossmayera, Park Ledeni, over to the Botanical Gardens, and back via the Mimara, the National Theatre and the Museum of Arts and Crafts. I waked to the elevated town along the Strossmayerovo šetališteto to see St. Mark’s Church, then back past Zagreb Cathedral. While Ann got coffee, Riley and I took a short drive to the Zagreb Mirogoj ... read more
Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb
Mirogoj Cemetery, Zagreb
The pathway at the Plitvice Lakes waterfalls

Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest April 24th 2018

We left Munich early and arrived in Salzburg in the morning. We parked near Schloss Mirabell and made our own tour of the filming locations from the Sound of Music. Everywhere you go, you are reminded that this is Salzburg’s favourite movie. Film locations include the winged Pegasus statue, the grumpy gnomes, the Mozart bridge, the Felsenreitschule Riding School and Salzburg Marionette Theater. Of course, we visited them all over the course of the day. Riley really liked the playground at Mirabell Park that had a pyramid that reached over 40 feet with a big slide at the top. We crossed over the Salzach River into the old town and had lunch in a cozy outdoor courtyard. I moved the car to a parking lot located inside a mountain and went off to visit the Horse ... read more
Re-enacting the Sound of Music at the Entrance to Mirabell Palace
Makartsteg Bridge (with love locks)
View of Salzburg from Hohensalzburg Fortress

Europe » Liechtenstein » Vaduz April 20th 2018

The Johns Family are off on holiday to Central and Eastern Europe. We caught a cheap flight from Seattle, USA and rented a car in Zurich, Switzerland to take us on a loop through Europe. The best thing about the car is we could get outside the cities and explore areas that are not as accessible. We arrived in Zurich at 6:30am so had a bonus day to visit some unplanned stops including the city of Bern that overlooks the Aare River and the walled medieval town of Murten. We found our hotel in Interlaken and stayed on the highest floor with a view out over the mountains. We went for a hike to the Unspunnen Castle ruins and found a nice tail back along the ridge. The next day we drove into the Lauterbrunnen valley, ... read more
Medieval Murten, Switzerland
Our Hotel in Interlaken, Switzerland
Ann at the Unspunnen Castle ruins

North America » United States » Florida » Orlando » Disney World October 13th 2017

We are back! Ann, Riley and I returned from a fabulous vacation in the Caribbean and at Walt Disney World. I’ve included a couple tips for Walt Disney World at the bottom of this blog as we found them very helpful for avoiding long lines, saving money and generally feeling more efficient. We flew down on a Friday and had a full day Saturday to get acclimatised before heading to the Port Canaveral cruise terminal on Sunday. We had purchased a 5-day (for the price of 4 days) Disney World pass. Instead of trying to squeeze all 5 days at the end of our trip, we decided to use one before we cruised. We slept in after our midnight arrival then took an Uber car to Disney World Hollywood Studios. We had read that it was ... read more
Good times on the cruise ship
Largest cruise ship on the ocean
Ann and Riley in Haiti

Europe » Ireland » County Galway » Galway March 12th 2017

Dear friends and family, Our jaunt over the Atlantic Ocean took us to the edges of the island of Ireland, then to visit family in Altrincham and finally to the Temple Bar district of Dublin. We wasted no time by picking up our car from the airport at 9am and heading south to Powerscourt House and the Powerscourt Waterfall. We took the road to Sally’s Gap so I could revisit Guinness Lake where Carl and I had ventured over 10 years ago. We were not expecting the snowfall that turned many cars around, but we powered on. We came back down from the Wicklow Mountains into the monastic retreat at Glendalough where we walked past the lower lake to the upper lake (in the rain). We stayed in Kilkenny the first night and had a brief ... read more
Powerscourt cherubs
Glendalough in the distance
Hore Abbey

Ann, Riley and I had a wonderful trip to Costa Rica in December 2015. We flew via Colarado with Riley on our laps as he is still under 2 years old. We arrived in San Jose and picked up our rental car from Economy. While it seemed like the most dodgy place and we had heard horror stories, everything worked out for us. And the roads were nowhere near as bad as people made out. The worst roads we talk were to the Rio Celeste and south of Montezuma. We skipped San Jose city and stayed in Alajuela before going to see the Poas Volcano (completely covered in cloud), La Paz Waterfall park (which was an awesome display of animals and natural waterfalls but a bit of a walk with Riley), and we ended up in ... read more
Riley meets a Toucan
Morpho Butterfly
Richard and Riley at La Paz Waterfall Park

Asia » Japan » Tokyo » Ginza December 2nd 2014

We spent a couple days in Wellington. Our first day included a walk around the city then booking in at our special hostel (booked by mistake as it’s not really meant to have children but it was right in Courtney Place). Our next day was a full day LOTR movie tour with too many sites to name – but here are a couple – Mina Tirith, Isengard, the Hutt River filing location, the Rivendell main filming location (partly recreated), and Mount Victoria where multiple Shire locations were filmed. I also walked up to a Maori Pa. Our last stop was the Weta Studios where we got a short tour. The next day we visited the Te Papa museum, then drove around the Miramar peninsula and visited Scott’s College. We followed the western coast road north stopping ... read more
A reenactment of the LOTR movie
The Wizards converse in Isengard
Richard at Rivendell

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Christchurch November 23rd 2014

Dear Friends and Family, Ann, Riley and my penultimate adventure on our epic three month journey was to roam the entirety of the south island of New Zealand. We managed to get to lots of out of the way places on both the east and west coast. We began in Christchurch where we rented a car and drove around the city. The centre still looked like a disaster zone with the ruins of the cathedral and many condemned buildings, after the earthquake in 2012). We drove south to Lyttleton but all the ridge roads so we came back through the tunnel and headed as far east as we could go to God’s Head were the views were amazing. The next day we headed west past lots of small towns, then the summer town of Clearwater and ... read more
Johns Family at Edoras (Mount Sunday)
A beautiful view
Richard on Mount Sunday

Oceania » New Caledonia » South Province » Noumea November 11th 2014

Dear Friends and Family, We now embarked on the luxury portion of our trip, cruising aboard the Celebrity Century to the South Pacific Islands of New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Fiji. The cruise ship had plenty for us to see and do including art auctions, movies, live concerts, Broadway style productions and even a kids centre for Riley. We had set dinner reservations with a family from Melbourne. Alex and Aja were great company and their kids, Vincent and Luca were so good with Riley. Our first port was the bustling port of Noumea in New Caledonia. We hiked out to the Bay of Lemons for a day at the beach, then wandered around town. In the afternoon, I went hiking further afield to areas that tourists don't usually see. It was a little nerve wrecking when ... read more
Riley wrapped up Mummy for Halloween
Cookie Monster and Cap for the cruise Halloween
Halloween gang

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