Page 4 of laj Travel Blog Posts

Europe » Switzerland » North-West » Lucerne October 8th 2007

Day 17 Monday 8 October 2007 The Lake and the Lion of Lucern Wake up :6am Bags 6:30am Leave 7:30am Breakfast was pretty average again and my shower was cold. Not a good start when you don’t feel very well. We left for Lucern. There was a nice drive through the Apennines and then a stop at an Autogrill. Rob ordered a hot chocolate and virtually got pudding in a cup. Hilarious. It came out with the spoon standing straight up in the middle. It tasted nice, but not as a drink. Mostly a travel day today. As we crossed the Swiss Frontier, we watched them searching the car of a young couple very thoroughly. We weren’t stopped at all. We stopped at a self service spot for lunch. The food was lovely and fresh looking. ... read more
Lake Lucern
Swiss Evening out

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Florence October 7th 2007

Day 16 Sunday 7 October Day of the YMCA Wake up 7 Leave 8:30 Today was our day in Tuscany. We drove through the gorgeous Tuscan countryside. Gary took us through back roads that he use to hike through. It was beautiful scenery. We stopped next to a vineyard for a lovely view of San Gimignano from below. The views continued to be beautiful as we made our way up the mountain. San G was delightful! Right up there with Bruge. It is a 14th Century medieval village. Gary took us on a walk up to the top tower for a gorgeous view. We had a homemade gelati and shopped. I bought some nice ceramics. The church bells were going off for a long time. The sound echoed through all the walls and sounded wonderful. A ... read more
Tuscan Vineyard

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Florence October 6th 2007

Day 16 Saturday 6 October Bring on the Shopping Wake Up 6am Breakfast 6:30 Leave 7:30am It took us about 4 hours to get to Florence. We only had an Autogrill stop and pushed on. We stopped on the hill overlooking Florence for a group photo €10. This view was spectacular. They had a copy of the David there. We arrived in the historical centre. We went to the Gold centre for a jewellery demo. They had some fantastic and unique jewellery. I went back here to get my nomination links. We moved onto the leather outlets. I didn’t like it much. It was a bit Paddy’s Market for me and the leather was not cheap at all. Rob went to watch the footy at a nearby Pub with the boys and then did a walking ... read more
Pont Del Vecchio

Europe » Italy » Lazio » Rome October 5th 2007

Day 15 Friday 5 October 2007 Roman Holiday Wake up 5:44am Breaky 6:30am Meet 7am We had a very early start to get to the Vatican. Rome is a mad city. Cars everywhere. Vespas even worse. The group line up was quite long when we go there. The public were already queued even though they wouldn’t be let in until after 9:30am. We met our guide Franka and went in around 8:15am. The Museum was amazing. It was hard to understand the scale of the place. The letters at the top of St Peters dome were over 2 metres yeat looked tiny. It wasn’t until you saw people above it that you could put it in perspective. The Sistine Chapel was different to how I expected it. It was a long rectangular shape. There were many ... read more
The Pantheon

Europe » Italy » Lazio » Rome October 4th 2007

Day 14 Thursday 4 October 2007 Rome’n around Wake up: 6am bags- last night Leave 7:30 We caught an early boat across the pond. Venice was covered in mist. We were glad to see the coach again. Today was a very long travel day again and most of us slept as we were not well. The Italian countryside was beautiful but I was sick and couldn’t keep my eyes open. We stopped at a self service place for lunch and I was shocked. Huge culture shock. Rapid Italian was spoken everywhere and I had no idea where to go or what to do. Luckily Gary was behind us and interpreted a bit. Still - I ended up with a bland pear risotto. When we left, Polizia were turning up for their free feed. One of them ... read more
Trevi Fountain

Europe » Italy » Veneto » Venice October 3rd 2007

Day 13 Wednesday October 3 Gondolas and glass Wake up 7:15am Breaky 7-8 Meet 8:45 This time, we took a larger boat over to Venice. The number of people there was astonishing. It was very different to last night. It was extremely crowded and you were not allowed to sit down, even if eating, unless in a shop. We met Anna for our guided walk. It wasn’t that interesting to me. I was beginning to get sick like the rest of the bus. I was feeling very giddy and hot. We went to the glassblowing demonstration. Very interesting. Then they tried to sell us everything in the shop. We had free time after this and went off to explore. We had a really yukky pizza and some yum gelato. We walked down alley after alley but ... read more
Grand Canal
Burano Island

Europe » Italy » Veneto » Venice October 2nd 2007

Day 12 Tuesday 2 October 2007 Bellini Baby Wake up 6am Breakfast 6:45am Leave 7:30am We knew we were in for a long travel day today and on a time limit to make our boat. We left Vienna and drove through Austria. We stopped at about 9:30am at a charming village called Kindberg. We had a walnut sort of tart and hot chocolate. At the last minute we found a quaint shop called “team 7” and brought some ornaments. This is where I KNEW I wanted to come back to Austria. Back on the bus and a glorious drive through the amazing Austrian Alps. I could spend a lot of time exploring. The Dolomites were spectacular. There was snow on the Alps. You could see some of the ski runs and beautiful bubbling brooks. At lunch ... read more
Grand Canal

Europe » Austria » Vienna » Vienna October 1st 2007

Day 11 Monday October 1 From Palace to peephole. Wake up: 6:15am Breaky 7am Leave for tour 7:40am Breakfast was ordinary and cold. We left for Schonbrunn Palace with our local guide Ilse and arrived at 8:30am. The Palace was spectacular. Every room was unique. The Hapsburgs used this Palace as their summer residence. Walking the floors of the ballroom was incredible, imagining all the people that graced the floors over the centuries. One painting in particular took my fancy. It was of Maria Theresa on the throne surrounded by people. There were 3 frescos on the ceiling. 1 of peace, 1 of Maria with her people and one of war. Amazingly, a missile landed right in the middle of the war fresco during the war and was stuck there. The painting needed restoring as did ... read more
Elegant Vienna
View From St Stephens

Europe » Austria » Vienna » Vienna September 30th 2007

Day 10 Sunday 30 September 2007 Straus me up! Wake up: 7am Breaky 7am Bags and depart 8:40am We arrived at Parliament house at 9am with Dora. It was all very serious. I took a photo of everyone coming in the entrance and was immediately approached by a suit and told to “Clear it” the men in suits followed us everywhere. The ground staircase was impressive. We climbed up and entered the dome where the crown was kept. Each room was decorative and amazing. When we left we were given a card with the number visitor we were for this year. Lucky we were early. There was a big queue up waiting. We left for Vienna at around 10:30am. We stopped at the Hungarian border. The officer stamped us out. The Austrians just waved us through ... read more
Vienna City
St Stephen's Cathedral
Straus Statue

Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest September 29th 2007

Day 9: Saturday 29 September 2007 What??? No English?? Wake up: 6:30am Breakfast 7am Depart for tour 8:30am This morning Dora took us to Hero’s Square first. I loved it. It had the tomb of the unknown soldier. Along the top of the columns, the statues mean work, war, peace and wealth. The main statue in the centre was of Arc Angel Gabriel. The legend was that the Pope wasn’t sure who to give the crown to… Poland or Hungary. He dreamt the angel told him Hungary. We drove through a park where there were zoos (saw an elephant) swimming pool and artificial lakes that become ice skating rinks. I’d love to see that. We ascended to the Fisherman’s Bastion which had amazing views of the city. We walked along the walls and took photos. Beautiful! ... read more
Fisherman's Bastion
View from the Fisherman's Bastion

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