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Jun 7, 2018 - Varenna, Bellagio, Cadenabbia and Tremezzina with Sarah and Joe

Today was a huge day with ferry rides aplenty amongst some of the most gorgeous lakes and postcard views in the world. On my travel wishlist was always Varenna - I'll admit this was from all those enticing tourist websites. We got to do this along with the very touristy but delightful Bellagio and also Cadenabbia. Each of these were linked by ferry. At Cadenabbia we walked along to Tremezzina to the highly recommended Villa Carlotta which included a a rather large garden in addition to the Villa itself which was replete with Neoclassical...

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Trip Journal


Helen in Europe

Jun 4, 2018 - Budapest to Lecco

It was time to say farewell to my lovely Budapest host, Maria. She kindly offered to hop on the bus with me to take me to the airport bus stop. As she is over 65 public transport is free - well that's one advantage of old(er) age! With my one trip bus ticket and airport bus ticket (350 and 900 Ft) that came to a total of just over $6AUD. It did mean experiencing the sardine treatment on the bus as more and more of us were forced on. Fortunately the man I was nearest didn't seem to mind that my suitcase was pressed against his body; it was a...

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Trip Journal


Helen in Europe

May 27, 2018 - Pompeii and Herculaneum

Sunday 27th May: This morning we were up early and down at the Achille Lauro parking area at 7.40am ready for our tour to Pompeii and Herculaneum which we had booked from Australia. At around 8.00am buses started to pour in and with each one we showed our ticket but we were not on the lists. We were told not to worry, other buses would come. However, after the last bus left, there we were standing all on our own in the middle of the bus station. There were two men at the car parking area and one of them very kindly rang the emergency number...

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May 19, 2018 - Locorotondo, Martina Franca and Ostuni

Saturday 19th May: Back to the land of the trulli. What a different day from yesterday! There was not a cloud in the sky, it was getting warmer and we were visiting nearby places. First port of call was Locorotondo, just a few kilometres south of Alberobello so the individual trulli houses were everywhere. Locorotondo owes its name to its circular layout and sits on a hill with great views over the whole which is speckled with trulli in a sea of vines and olive and almond trees. The townsfolk are called “pigeons” because they sit on...

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May 17, 2018 - Trani, Minervino and Castel del Monte

Thursday 17th May: The pace of this tour is very pleasant and again Angelo picked us up at 9.30am. We drove north of Bari to the little fishing port of Trani which was one of the most important medieval Italian ports and rivalled Bari for power. The natural harbour is very picturesque and is lined with restaurants and wine bars very popular with the holiday makers. The 11th century Duomo of San Nicola Pellegrino is right on the seafront and is actually three churches stacked on top of each other like an inverted wedding cake. It was built...

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May 16, 2018 - Polignare a Mare and Alberobello

Wednesday 16th May: Our first visit today was to a local modern oil mill of the Mancino family for olive oil tasting where we were shown how to taste it “properly” and all the beneficial properties were explained. The more peppery the oil, the higher the level of antioxidants. Then we drove to a nearby family winery, Terra Jovia, where again the process of production was shown. It was housed in an old villa built by a monk and included a tiny but beautiful chapel. In the surrounding gardens, we sampled one of the wines. The main wine of the...

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May 15, 2018 - Gioia del Colle, Altamura and Matera

Tuesday 15 May: As the laundry was just around the corner, we took some items there straight after breakfast and were ready to meet Angelo and the rest of the group in the hotel foyer at 9.30am. This consisted of Gerry and Agnes and their friend, Gina, from Wisconsin and Michael and Lourdis from Mexico. All were very friendly. First, we were taken on a tour of the historical centre of Gioia with the main stop being the imposing Norman Castle and beside it the Archeological Museum. Here was displayed a large amount of the finds from the...

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May 14, 2018 - Bikes & Dishwashing

This week we spent 4 days camped on the edge of the largest of the Italian Lakes, Lake Maggiore. Wonderful experience for 4 out of the 5 days. On the 5th day, the campsite was jammed with Germans as it is a school holiday in Germany. You can tell that the village of Cannobio is “German oriented” as everyone in the stores speaks to you in German as does the washroom block cleaner. And oh yes, the entrance to the campsite, which should be INGRESSO in Italian has the sign EINGANG. So much for national patriotism in northern Italy. We completed...

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May 7, 2018 - Small Dogs & Polka Music

This week we moved from Vaison la Romaine to another wonderful Provencale village of Lourmarin, the home of recently deceased author Peter Mayles (A Year In Provence). We again used the local bus service, enabling us to reach out of the way peaks. Lourmarin is a delightful village with the traditional market completely taking over the town on a Friday. Provencale markets are a moveable feast of sights, sounds and smells as vendors travel around the villages setting up on different days of the week. On more than one occasion we have...

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May 4, 2018 - Pisticci

For whatever reason the drive to Pisticci, our final Italian base, was not fun. One or two near misses on country roads and total mayhem in big towns put paid to any enjoyment. Our plan to look around Taranto was short lived although we did get in a walk and coffee hits in a very pleasant, palm tree lined pedestrian area. The rest of the city looked grubby and run-down which was disappointing given the amazing number of big old buildings 'screaming' for some TLC. The waterfront with it's majestic fortress and tree lined walkway was the best...

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the Italian Boot

Apr 30, 2018 - Bob and Jan join us ...

Another beautiful morning and I sit up back behind the pool to read my book with a cup of coffee. Gail is, at least I thought so, still asleep but apparently, I made to much noise this morning moving things to the shed. She just hadn’t decided to come out of her room yet. We head into town to meet Gabry for a coffee at L’Altro in the sunshine. A catch up on our latest saga with Aria Internet, which we have being trying to cancel for almost a year. What a scam, having to pay for an internet provider that never gave us great service and now...

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Apr 21, 2018 - Back to chores .... but in glorious sunshine and heat

This is work week so not too much exciting, but it is the necessary evil when you open your holiday rental home. So, a few bits at IKEA but not all what we were looking for … we need some form of storage unit for all our new linen as Villa Plus requires double the towels both inside and pool and we just don’t have room inside for that. Hopefully Leroy Merlin will have an option. Back in time for lunch in Alberobello and as it is a beautiful day we sit outside on the terrace at Il Pinnacolo and chat with two couples from Utah. The town is...

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