Showing posts from June, 2007

Florence - Brilliant food, great times, and wonderful friends.

Ah, Florence, it has always been one of my favourite European cities, and again, it did not fail to disappoint, for many reasons.We were to arrive at 9.30ish on a Saturday night, and I was all excited.I was sooooooooooooo looking forward to seeing my friend Irma again, after having seen her the last time in Australia 10 years ago.This time, however, it would be with a husband and a two and a half year old little boy called Giovanni.As we approached the train station, I began to get butterflies in my tummy, as I was so keen to see Irma again.Although I appeared calm, I could barely contain my excitement, which Alex (who can basically read me like a book!) picked up instantaneously.I had thrown on my backpack before the train actually came to a halt, and when it did, I scrambled off along with the multitude of others.As I “casually” strode through the crowds towards the main platform, my eyes strained to see if I could spot that famous crop of brown curly hair.Irma saw me first, and scr…

Hauntingly beautiful Venice.

They say that Venice is a hauntingly beautiful city. This is very true indeed, but we also found it to be hauntingly expensive! On the train from Pula, we met a lovely young girl, who suggested that we get off at Mestre (which is basically “mainland” Venice), six kilometres from the city centre and have a go at trying to find accomodation there. It is close enough to the main action, but far enough to avoid the prohibitive “island” hotel prices. I should add that we arrived on a Friday, and that there was some type of rock festival on that same weekend, so places were mostly booked out. As I mentioned earlier, that did not deter us, as we were determined to get a glimpse of this famous city, which Alex had never seen before.

Once again, Lady Luck appeared to be on our side. We had armed ourselves, and were awaiting the battle that lay ahead! We were not expecting to find a place quickly nor easily. Once being let off the bus in Mestre, we walked to the information office 50 metres up t…

The endeavour to find my father´s childhood home in Pola.

It’s only three hours from Trieste to Pola, or Pula as it has been called since it became part of Croatia, but very exciting as you have to pass several borders to get there. The journey promptly takes you to the border of Slovenia, which you have to spend some 20 minutes traversing, before you emerge into Croatia. All in the space of a few hours, I personally think that’s fun! As we passed through the Slovenian countryside it looked both peaceful and beautiful. It is yet another country which I wish to explore, but it will not be on this trip.

Now let me tell you a little about Pula. It is a town on the Istrian coastline that has changed its “identity” many times. When my grandfather was born in 1889 it was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, when my father was born in 1936 it was Italy, after the Second World War it became Yugoslavia and it is now part of Croatia. The language and the people who live there now are as varied as its past. It is a place where Italian and Englis…

Finalmente, un caffè buonissimo!

In no time at all we were at the appropriate train station, meeting the people who we would be sharing a ride with. Ananda was originally from Sri Lanka, and Mona from India. They were both living in Vienna now, and were off to Padua, Italy for a couple of days. We had organised to be dropped off in Udine, and then whilst they would continue on to their final destination, we would somehow make our way to Trieste. We would find a away! They were really lovely people, and our trip was pleasant. Needless to say, the views of the surrounding countryside as we passed through the Dolomite mountain range was breathtaking. I am not really a snow and cold weather fan, but I could not help but think how truly spectacular this must all look in winter! As we passed the border into Italy, we admired the various and tiny villages dotted around, and nestled at the foot of the mountains. Despite having been to Italy a few times before, this is an area I had never seen, and like all things diff…

Recharging our batteries in Vienna.

Finally we were on the plane and away, flying off to yet another destination on yet another continent. My friend Silvia had asked me several times earlier in our trip if we would make it to visit her in Vienna, but with all that we had booked and organised in our year long travel I could not possibly see how we could fit it in! However, I had to marvel at either the coincidence or the destiny that was taking us to Austria, as only days earlier the name of the country was not even in our vocabulary. The flight over was very comfortable, and I must add that Egypt Air proved to be an excellent airline. We were both suitably impressed with the comfort, cleanliness, food and customer service.
Although we did not get a chance to see Greece on this trip, we did get to fly over and visibly see the islands, and we could see them clearly, I might add. Does that count? For me this brought back a multitude of vivid and happy memories, as I recalled being in my early 20s and taking various ferries …