Saturday, August 2, 2008

Remembering and Planning

Well, it's been 11 months and 29 days since we set out on our trip to Majorca, France and Italy. Rita and I both still have vivid memories of our wonderful 3 month holiday and are planning to go back again. The next time we will start our trip in France at the beginning of September and end up in Majorca in November.

However, we will be going to Australia and New Zealand before we revisit Europe.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

What a Trip

I can't believe we are heading home. We have been on holiday for 84 days but it seemed to fly by. Its been a wonderful trip and we have learned a lot about other coutries and ourselves. The good news is that Rita and I have enjoyed each others company as well as the warm and firendly hospitality of those we have met on our travels.

However, we are ready to come home as we miss our family and friends very much. Also, Rita is getting tired of her limited wardrobe.

It's been a lot of fun putting our trip onto the Blog, thanks again to William Bakker for teaching me how to do this. Hopefully everyone who read about our travels managed to feel the enjoyment and wonder we felt experiencing it.

Thanks for all your comments and emails throughout our trip it was definately great to here from our friends in Canada.

See you soon....Geoff & Rita

Vatican City

Saint Peter's Square from the Dome of Saint Peter's Basilica

Another perfect day for exploring Rome. Sunny and 16c. We headed for Vatican City, the smallest state in the World taking up only 0.44 kilometeres. The Vatican State was establishd in the Middle Ages and at its height of Power included most of central Italy. However, all this was wiped out with the unification of Italy in 1870. The existing State was established in 1929 and has its own police, diplomatic, army and post office. Saint Peter's Square has been the centre for Christianity for ouver a thousand years and is truly a magnificant sight. St. Peter's Basilica looks huge from the outside but you have no comprehension of how truly massive it is until you go inside. We were very fortunate when we went as the crowds are quite small for Vatican standards and had no problems moving around and getting into the sites.

Religious Procession from Ecuador leaving St. Peter's Square

St. Peter's Basilica Nave
The massive Bronze Baldachin on top of Saint Peter's Tomb.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Roman Holiday

The Roman Coliseum

The heading "Roman Holiday" is for all of us "mature" folks out there who can remember the wonderful Hollywood movie with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck.

Rome is definately up there with London and Paris. Its got great weather, its an easy walking city, the people are friendly, the food is fantastic and it has over 2,000 years of history on display.

We have been blessed with wonderful weather since we arrived; beautiful sunny days with temperatures ranging from 10 - 16c.

Geoff and Rita Inside the Coliseum

Some of the Roman Forum Ruins that were the Heart of Ancient Rome

The Pantheon was built a few years before the birth of Christ and only survived due to it becoming a Christian Church in 609. The Dome is bigger than St. Peter's and is built of concrete.
The Interior of the Pantheon showin dome supported only by its outside walls

Neptune Fountain at Piazza Navona

18th Century Homes built on top of Ancient Roman Ruins

The Spanish Steps leading to a French Church are very popular for catching a few rays

All Roads Lead to Rome

Without our GPS, we downlowded MapQuest directions to help get us to our car drop off location just outside of Rome's airport. It was raining when we got up and stayed that way until we were just outside of Rome. The cardboard and duct tape only needed one repair on the trip and we found the drop off location without incident. As we had reported the break-in on the car, they did not have a problem with the broken window. They took us to the train station and we headed for Rome and our hotel.

The hotel is very comfortable and within walking distance to all the main sites. We unpacked, went for a long walk to get our bearings and went for a genuie Roman Pizza. Tomorrow the real exploring begins.
Geoff Checking out the Blackberry as Rita Unpacks

Rita Checking out the Tiber River

Saint Pauls Dome in the Distance


Going Down the Steps to Positano

The weather has finally caught up with us on the Amalfi Coast. The first day we were in Positano it was sunny and 18c. The next day it was overcast with sunny periods and then it went into heavy rains for the next two days with temperatures hovering around 12c. We even had hail one night. Then it cleared up and was a beautiful sunny day. We had planned to take a boat to the Island of Capri for the day. Unfortunately, someone broke into our car overnight and stole our GPS system that we had stupidly left in the glove compartment. Our insurance required a police report to be able to make a claim for the GPS. Under normal circumstances this would be almost impossible as the police here do not do reports for such “minor” incidences and also do not speak English. Our landlord was very helpful and contacted the police and took us down to the station and convinced them to write up a report. He acted as interpreter and we got the document we required to send off to the insurance company. We also had to try and get the small window that was smashed fixed. We finally found a place that could fix it but they would have to order the part and we would be gone by the time it would get here. I decided to do my own repair job with some cardboard and duct tape and let the lease company sort it out when we return the car in Rome. The day was not totally lost as we spent what was left of it getting our exercise hitting the stairs, shops and beaches of Positano.
Geoff Checking out the Italian Vino Options for Dinner

Looking at Positano from its Main Beach

Rita Relaxing at the Beach Before Heading Back up the Stairs

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Amalfi Coast

On the Amalfi Coast Highway

Weather was a bit iffy today. Warm (18C) but overcast with some sunny periods. We decided to explore the area by car and check out the town of Amalfi. Amalfi is quite a bit bigger, has a very good harbor and is a lot flatter than Positano. In fact, before a freak tidal wave hit the town in 1343 it was a major maritime power, especially in the 11th and 12 centuries. However, today Amalfi certainly shows a lot more wear and tear than Positano. But the old town area still is worth visiting and exploring.

The town of Amalfi with its beach

Donkey teams are still used to haul loads up that can't be done by Trucks