A Travellerspoint blog

Days 17 & 18

Livorno, Pisa, Florence and Rome

sunny 34 °C

Some poor internet reception and lack of time mean this blog entry covers the last 2 days. As mentioned in my last entry, Liz and Laura went on a tour of Pisa and Florence yesterday while I stayed in Livorno. They had are good but tiring time. I had a good but relaxing time. Apparently it was hot and crowded in both Pisa and Florence but they said they enjoyed their tour and it was worth it. I spent some time walking around Livorno which is an interesting place with many interesting buildings, a couple of canals and lots of cafe/restaurants. In the canals there are many boats, big and small, basic and very expensive. It appears that there is/was a lot of money here. Enjoyed my first Italian pizza for 30 years and it was surprisingly good.
Today, Laura and I did the Rome Tour visiting the Roman Forum, the Colosseum, Saint Peter's Square and Saint Peter's Basilica. I have been to Rome before but Laura has not. She really loved the Colosseum and was surprised at the extent of the Roman and post roman ruins in the city. Again it was a tiring trip, a 9 hour day, and everywhere was crowded. But on the tour we got to jump the queues, which for the general public were up to two hours long at Saint Peter's, so it was not so bad. Glad to get back to the ship and relax though.
This is a really bad time to travel in Europe, tourists everywhere. Last time we went in the 80s we went in winter and it was quite comfortable everywhere. Right now it is packed everywhere.
Tomorrow we are in Naples and I think we will take it easy, explore Naples a bit and try some more local food and wine and beer.

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Posted by John McReynolds 10:00 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Day 16

Toulon, France

sunny 28 °C

Arrived in Toulon about 8.00am and went ashore about 10.00am. The port area is nice and there was a food market (mainly fruit & veg.) right there that seemed like it catered for the locals, not us tourists, which was good. On advice from the local tourist info. we bought tickets to travel by bus and cable car up to Mont Faron which overlooks Toulon. Bad idea. They told us buses were every 20 mins. but didn't tell us about the 100 people wanting to travel on every bus. We couldn't get on the first bus but 20 minutes later we just got on the next. About 20 minutes after that we arrived at the cable car and lined up for about 45 minutes to get on that. The cable car ride was good and the views from the top were spectacular. But once we had seen the views there was nothing else... so the return trip, not quite as bad as the trip up but still very tedious. We have decided not to use the public transport option from now on.
So the rest of the day we spent back at the ship relaxing and eating. Not so bad.
Dinner at the ship's steak restaurant "Cagneys" tonight. "Eye on bone" has to be as good as any steak I have ever tasted.
Livorno tomorrow. Liz and Laura are taking the tour to Pisa and Florence. I am going to stay and check out Livorno. As Liz and I have been to Pisa, Florence and Rome we have decided to not both go with Laura to these places. I will go with Laura to Rome the day after tomorrow.

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Posted by John McReynolds 13:42 Archived in France Comments (0)

Day 15

Last Day in Barcelona

sunny 28 °C

This morning we paid an early visit to Casa Mila "La Pedrera" The last of Gaudi's civil engineering works. Another facinating building.
Today is the beginning of our cruise and around 12.00 noon we headed for the port and our ship The Norwegian Spirit. The rest of the day was spent exploring the ship, settling into our cabin and making dinner reservatiions. The ship left Barcelona at 7.00 pm and we are now at sea. Dinner and the show tonight and then a good sleep we hope. Toulon, France tomorrow.

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Posted by John McReynolds 13:41 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Day 14

Castell de Montjuic

sunny 27 °C

Another day in beautiful Barcelona. Today we tried the train (Metro) service to Parc de Montjuic which was confusing with everything in Spanish but we got there. The train trip included a ride in the fenicular railway for only €2.55. From there we took the cable car to Castell de Montjuic, an 18th century castle above Barcelona. Great views of the city and worth the trip. From there we walked back down the mountain had lunch in a cafe/bar at the bottom and then walked through the "famous" La Rambla which is a very long road of restaurants, bars buskers and markets. It was interesting but extremely busy so we didn't spend much time there
Laura arrived in the afternoon and we had dinner at her favourite Barcelona eatery Catalonia. Food was great but That is now expected from Barcelona.
The girls did some shopping in Zara and then we turned for an eary(ish) night.
Cruise tomorrow!
Have set up the google web album as promised. It can be found at:https://picasaweb.google.com/102388890402872979047/Europe201502?authkey=Gv1sRgCMjS8Obv46z0Fg

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Posted by John McReynolds 14:05 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Day 13

Park Guell, Barcelona

A lazy start to the day with breakfast about 10.00 am. Some people might think we are wasting our time here but we do get tired from all the walking and this is such a great city for relaxing and enjoying the atmosphere.
After breakfast we wandered around old Barcelona and came across the Barcelona Cathedral (the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia). A magnificent gothic cathedral but not so amazing as we have now seen Sagrada Familia.
We then took ataxi ride to Park Guell which is a "park" in the hills designed by Gaudi. If you haven't worked it out already, Gaudi is the designer of Sagrada Familia and is a bit of a legend around here. Park Guell is also magnificient (I have been using that word a lot lately) and well worth the €20 return taxi ride.
Food, clothing and taxis are quite cheap here compared to the UK and even Australia. Good coffee for example costs about €2 and today we had a good bacon, eggs, tomato and toast breakfast with a good coffee each for less than €20 ($31). I have the same in Brisbane once a week for about $17 so it is comparable.
Dinner at Txapela again tonight. Wonderful food, cheerful service and at a good price.
Laura joins us tomorrow night and the cruise starts on Tuesday. Looking forward to that.

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Posted by John McReynolds 13:41 Comments (0)

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