European travels so far

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May 16th 2016
Published: May 17th 2016
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Well, it is exactly one week since we left Darwin and so much has happened. A lot good but some not so good! Flight to Bangkok was a typical Jet Star experience with limited leg room but that is how it is and one gets what one pays for! Flight to Dubai, in comparison, with Etihad Airlines was wonderful and appreciated so much more after the first flight.

Our niece, Maria, in Dubai along with her 3 year old showed us the sights of the city and we had two fantastic days, exploring the souks, (markets) that sold all kinds of spices, gold, silver and everything else. We took a local boat ride on an Abbra (not abracadabra) across the main river that runs through the city. It is quite wide and very busy with boat traffic but it is actually called The Creek! It was fascinating to see all these old wooden boats transporting goods and people everywhere. Bought myself a gold necklace and think I got a bargain but probably got ripped off! We went up the tallest building in the world the Burj Khalifa with its amazing views of all the other many skyscrapers and the desert beyond and so glad we opted to do it. First lot of bad luck was when the Citibank swallowed my new credit card as the bank assistant insisted I try three times. Not the end of the world as at least Pete’s works.

Second lot of back luck was when we stayed at the airport hotel in Abu Dhabi in order to catch our very early morning flight to Rome and do consider ourselves very lucky to have left in one piece! Pete on opting to take a shower first whilst I dozed for a while longer managed somehow to slip in the bath tub come shower, bringing down the shower curtain and heavy metal curtain rod on top of him as he fell out of the bath landing on the tiled floor. The noise this all made was absolutely horrendous and he must have woken up several guests in the rooms surrounding us. I nervously opened the door thinking that maybe he had had a heart attack or was unconscious or maybe a limb facing the wrong direction but amazingly he was perfectly fine with not even a bruise. We could have ended up for days in an Abu Dhabi hospital so it could have been much worse. Reception staff were very apologetic and were more concerned about Pete than the broken shower rod attachments so all was good there at least.

Rome was very busy and we had three very exhausting days walking miles and miles visiting the Colosseum, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Vatican, Sistine Chapel and so much more. We have sampled the local pizza, pasta, lasagne, spaghetti Bolognese, Panini, gelato, and of course copious amounts of cheap local wine. chianti and several large schooners of birra!

Weather has been great and so have not resorted to thermals yet! Traffic is horrendous and Italian drivers are mad with cars parked on Zebra crossings even. Lots of tiny smart cars around with some parked facing towards the middle of the road if there is insufficient space to parallel park!

Would we come back to Rome? Probably not as far too busy with people and traffic although the locals are very friendly. We have been having breakfast at the cafes where they go and it is quite common for them to stand at the counter with a cappuccino plus a sweet puff pastry or cream filled cornetto or donut before they go off to work. Nothing savoury in sight! Not many fat people around which is amazing.

We spent three wonderful days down the coast via train to Sorrento This is a longer than usual blog as I have just discovered that my new laptop does not have a port for the camera’s SD card so unable to download photos so will continue my blurb until I can track down an SD card adaptor. Train down here was fine. Sorrento is very pretty. Our room was awesome with a stunning view from our balcony of Mt Vesuvius and Naples directly across from us. We bought a bottle of the local liqueur called Lemoncello with ingredients listed as Water, Alcohol, Lemons and Sugar. Pete and I had two small glasses each on our veranda plus a glass of the local wine purchased at the supermarket in a flagon bottle and then decided to have a quick snooze before heading out for dinner somewhere. However we woke up very late at 9.45 so opted to skip dinner! Obviously strong stuff!

We spent another day exploring Pompeii and Herculaneum both sites of which were buried with ash from Mt Vesuvius. Can’t win as I was cold at the Colosseum as I was underdressed with shorts on and today was roasting as I was overdressed with jeans on!! We had a lovely dinner at a small local restaurant tonight and really quite enjoying Sorrento. We took a local bus along the coast to Amalfi which was amazing with its cliff hanging edges and cars parked in totally the wrong places making overtaking a nightmare. Anyway we survived it and would definitely recommend a trip down there.

We have just spent three days in London and had a fantastic but exhausting time spending many many hours walking and exploring the city. Walked along the Thames in the city one day and then Kew Gardens another where we stopped for a drink at a quaint old pub there and chatted to a couple of locals. Today we visited the Natural History Museum which was very very interesting and then once again stopped at a side street pub for a much needed drink. We were quite impressed with the streets and Underground with hardly any litter or graffiti anywhere compared to Rome which was full of both.

Off tomorrow to stay the night in Reading with the couple whose motorhome we will be using for the next two months. The adventure really begins then!

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17th May 2016

Hi Pete and Suzanne, We love reading all about your amazing trip.
17th May 2016

Thanks Dawn
17th May 2016

Keep going
Hi Suzanne and Pete, I do hope that you receive this as I am not on facebook so just have to hope that you get this. I am so glad that you have arrived in England and I hope that you have wonderful summer over there. Do you realise that it is 4 years (I think) since you left Rotorua. Time certainly flies. I have seen Jacqui and Ernie quite regularly and soon Hazel is coming over with her friend Roy. They will stay at my house for a while. I am currently in Australia for the next 3 months. So have things to do. I hope to be in England in September/October, so if you are still there maybe able to catch up at some point. Enjoy your travels and the British Isles. All seems to be well and calm in NZ. You still have the same flag!!!! Love to you both, from Kyra
18th May 2016

We are going well.Just had two weeks in Tassie than two weeks home went to Townsville for a week .We stayed with Joshua and Kerri and grandkids.We flew to both areas.Safe travels.Mandy and Neil

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