Diane Toole


Diane Toole

These blogs were started to record our Europe May to August 2011 trip. The Blogs were great for us to diary each day, for others to follow and for us to review when back home. And so it has continued adding:

Europe - Italy,Switzerland, France, 2011
The Hurunui High Country Walk 2011.
Tasmania 2012
Europe 2013 - Austria, Switzerland, France and Ireland.
Alps2Ocean and Clutha Bike Trails 2014
A Christmas in Switzerland and Germany 2014

Europe August 29th 2015

Saturday was the Wedding Day for Diego and Elisa but not until mid-afternoon. We visited Concordia Saggitarius to view the Roman ruins around and under the Basilica. There was a wedding happening at the Basilica so we skipped that but the surrounding area is managed as a Museum which is surprisingly gratis. We walked around below ground under the Piazza which had been dug out, propped up and paved over to show the original building remains. There is an area of 5000sq m of an old Basilica with the original mosaic floor. Amazingly we were allowed to walk all over it and see the site up close. The engineering that has been done to shore up the site is amazing. It’s well worth a visit. In the afternoon we went to the farm where the family ... read more
The Wedding

Europe » Italy » Friuli-Venezia Giulia August 27th 2015

We checked out our very nice accommodation and figured that it would be worth while visiting in another few years when the other half of the house/mansion has been renovated. The half already done is very tastefully done and lacking nothing in the way of luxuries. We had a very nice breakfast outside Villa Trovatore then packed and left for an exploration of Aquileia for a couple of hours. This town is very worthwhile visiting if you want to skip visiting Rome. It has the remains of the original shipping canals and store houses alongside, a forum, a museum housing many tombs and details of the history and a magnificent 1700 year old Basilica. The tiled floor in the Basilica is worth visiting just to see the mosaics of people, animals, fish and other designs. This ... read more
Part of the mosaic floor tiles in the Basilica at Aquileia
The inside of the Basilica built in the 300s AD
The Forum remains at Aquileia

Europe » Italy » Friuli-Venezia Giulia August 26th 2015

Yesterday was a travelling day. We bussed from Budapest to Vienna (2hr 40min), picked up our rental car from the airport then drove 320kms to Lake Wortherse where we stayed in an Ibis Hotel at a Rest Place stop along the autobahn. It was a strange setup with a Marche restaurant and shop with the hotel attached looking out over the lake. It had a lovely view and was comfortable for the night. Today with Neil as the driver, we drove firstly to Daniele del Fruili where we had a lunch of prosciutto and a platter. We had been here before and thought Neil and Karilyn would enjoy the town known for it’s prosciutto bars and old town upon a hill just before it drops down onto the plains. We had a wonderful meal of a ... read more
Feasting at the Proscuitto bar
Palmanova from the air
One of the entrance gates to Palmanova

Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest August 24th 2015

At 10am we got the Metro into the main city where we split from the men and we women went off in search of a large shopping mall we had been told about at Karapesi. We had just heard on the BBC that 1000's of refugees from Syria were alighting at this station and were camped out there. On arriving there we found a vast number of people with blankets and belongings everywhere in a cordoned off area. It really smelt bad. It's hard to know what can be done to process these people or support them. There are too many and this is only the tip of the iceberg. How fortunate we are to live in NZ where our refugee problems lie in dealing with the odd boat people that get close from Indonesia. We ... read more
Budapest Opera House
Budapest Opera House main stair case

Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest August 23rd 2015

We are happy to be off our bikes and having time to relax and do what visitors do here - visit all the tourist spots. We bought Budapest Passes which would pay for our transport for the next two days with discounts on many attractions and also a Hop On Hop off bus pass for the same time. We took the very clean, very attractive Metro train into the main part of the city where we got the Red Bus tour which would give us an overview of the main part of the city. The tour took 2 hours and covered all the main buildings, squares, palaces, view points and bridges. It was excellent and covered both sides of the city - Buda and Pest. It allowed us to see all the main attractions with a ... read more
The stunning interior designs of Matthias Church
Matthias Church on Buda Hill
Parliament Buildings shown from a river cruise at night

Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest August 22nd 2015

We’ve done it! We completed the 2ndhalf of our Danube trip today finishing in Budapest after 620kms. We left Esztergom around 9am and followed the trail immediately below the Castle Hill Fortress. We sped along through the countryside, houses and gardens and eventually out onto the road which we had to share with traffic. This was not good as the road has no verges and the asphalt is very broken up and potholed. It was awful to bike on trying to keep to the side. We were to meet the ferry at 9.50 and found ourselves flying down the road as if in a race to get to the ferry – just in time! We are criss-crossing the river today to avoid biking too much on the road. The next ferry was leaving from Vac on ... read more
At our cycling finish
One of our 3 river crossings during the day
A loom and products at a market

Europe » Hungary » Northern Hungary August 21st 2015

It’s another lovely day with clear skies and a nice temperature. We got off to a great start immediately after we left the hotel. Outside were a couple of cops who first waved to us to get to the other side of the street, then whistled and finally looked rather threatening with a shotgun. We were only riding on a one way street the wrong way on our bikes for goodness sake. Linds could only think of all the beer mats he’d taken from various places for his collection and thought it was a bit of an overkill. We never did find out why there were policemen about with guns. That's worth a mention too - we keep seeing the police at many places and gatherings in both Slovakia and Hungary. It's almost as if they ... read more
The tunnel under the walls of the fortification
The enormous statue of St Stephen being crowned king
A medieval battle reinactment

Europe » Slovakia » Nitra Region » Komárno August 20th 2015

Well, we can’t complain about being bored today! We had every terrain imaginable. We left Gyor after a very close study of the instructions to get out of the city – right here, left there, left at the railway, straight for 200m, turn left, etc, etc. We went out of town with three friendly Irish who sang Irish songs with gusto for several kilometres until we encountered some rough surfaces. The first roads off the cycle trail were appalling with ruts, broken asphalt, humps and generally a bumpy surface through a pretty run down village with narrow houses and funny little mounds which were likely cellars or cool rooms made of soil over a structure. The gardens and orchards were large so they were obviously used to producing their own food. From here we biked through ... read more
A bowling alley in the restaurant
Komarno town centre

Europe » Hungary » Western Transdanubia » Gyor August 19th 2015

We left Bratislava at 9.15 and immediately got ourselves off track because they were building a new bridge over the Danube which changed the route. It would have been nice if we had been sent the information about this so we knew where to go. Once beyond the city we were soon zooming through the countryside on a stop bank with a tail wind. It sure makes for fast cycling. Whilst we were following the Danube we hardly ever saw it because of the belt of trees alongside. The land is flat and is nearly all in crops of maize. We crossed the border into Hungary just before Rajka where we were supposed to turn off. We didn’t see the turn off because we were following E6 path and kept to it instead of going another ... read more
The town square fountains played to music
Kisfaludy Gormet Borbar
The platter of tasty tapas at the Kisfaludy

Europe » Slovakia » Bratislava Region » Bratislava August 18th 2015

It’s still raining! The temperatures have plummeted and we set off today in steady rain with raincoats and hoods on which is such a change from last week. We headed out early to see the Heidentor monument which is a large ruin of a triumphal arch in honour of the Emperor Constantius the 2nd. Only two columns are now standing and the central column which had a statue on the top. After leaving Petronell we called in at a small amphitheature at Bad Deutsch-Altenburg but didn’t spend time there as we had seen these structures before in bigger and better form. Work is still going on to reconstruct the site. We were very impressed with what these two towns have done to bring the Roman history alive in the area and it is well worth the ... read more
The Heidentor monument
The Bratislava Castle and church spire seen from the Danube

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