Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Tower, St Marc's square


The unexpected......

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Venice - St Marc's square

Venice

Saturday 18th April.
Don't care what anybody says about Venice being crowded, smelly, expensive etc it's beautiful. I'm sure we were spoilt by going late on a Friday afternoon in April with the sun shining and it being a pleasant 20c but it is still one of the most beautiful cities we've ever been to. No cars, no bikes, cool people and a labrynth of lanes to get lost in. You get a sore neck trying to take in the buildings and sore feet from walking miles. We went up the tower in St Marks square and had a comedy moment as you'll find out if you check out the little video Kym made. We walked past shops that lottery winners could shop in, and we were kindly gestured to by a couple of passer-bys that the restaurant we had chosen was crap, just in time to get up and leave pronto to discover another restaurant just round the corner that was full of locals and served up the best lasagne followed by the best duck that Kym had ever had. "When in Venice" as they say... I went for the Hungarian gulash. Couldn't have been a better day really even to the point that the waiter chased us down the alley to give me my camera and sunglasses back that I'd left behind whoops, and yes we did pay for the bus home. Tomorrow we're off to Slovenia...

Drive florence- Venice.

We found a weird little town on the Adriatic coast called Lido Pomposa to park up in for the night. It's quite obviously a massise summer tourist area but at this time of year it was cross between winter Minehead and the town in the Lost Boys, with a bit of Scooby Doo thrown in. Dust blowing down empty streets past empty amusement arcades desperately flashing their wares to intice in a lost crow or a portly elderly couple on a cheap outta season weekend. It was all really tired. No one (there were the odd zombies) paid us the slightest bit off notice as Kym cooked a Thai curry and I popped the tent up. Good sleep and no bumps in the night (just my luck)

Photo-Florence, 4th largest Cathedral in the world.

Florence- policewoman texting.

Photo- Piazza de Michaelangelo

Florence.

So, we were up at 0700 and queuing outside the Ufizzi by 0815. Pretty good I reckon, we wern't feeling too perky but we made it. 0930 They decide to open the gallery.... Still with one of the greatest collections of art in the world no one is gonna moan. They're pretty relaxed about schedules but boy you get too close to one of those pictures and the wrath of the Italian jobsworth will decend upon you, shout Italian at a hundred miles an hour at you and then still not believe you when you say you didn't touch the bloody Botticelli (he was crap at babies anyway, in fact most of the renaisance crew were crap at babies). Poor old Kym, all she did was point out a significant detail that I couldn't see. "but you 'ava de longa nail....you myta damige eeta". Suitably chastised we wend our way round the rest of the gallery and back into a miserable Florentine afternoon to pack up the truck and head off for Venice.

Photo- Tour de Firenze

Firenze..Florence

Arrived Florence pretty early in the day and decided to go for a camp site so we could leave the truck. First GPS position turned out to be a hostel smack in the centre of the old part of the city. Taught those Italian drivers a thing or two about driving I can tell you. Anyway found the campsite, right next to Piazze Michaelangelo the famous viewing spot that over looks the city. Pitched up and hopped on the bikes super speedy down the hill and over the Ponte De Vecchio. We didn't have any itinerary (seems to be a pattern) so we just followed our noses and got lost. Amazing city and even more so when you think your treading in the foot steps of people like Da Vinci, Giotto, Botticelli etc not to mention the Medici's.

It was hot and sunny and we deserved a beer so filled up the back pack and made our way much more slowly back up the hill to the camp and promptly sat in the sun and got drunk. Bloody hooligans! The Uffizi gallery was the plan for the following morning......

Photo- San Gimignano

Photo- It's gotta be done.

Photo- Coast between Genova and La Spezia, NW Italy.

Pisa and on....

Tue 14th April

It really leans.... alot. Cycled around a bit but I'm sure there's more to see than we did but hey. Next San Gimignano, google it, it's beautiful, wondered around steep cobbled streets and climbed to the top of the hill for fantastic views of the Tuscan countryside.

Found a great place to stay for the night just outside Florence near a small village with a not so entusiastic church tower. Great nights kip after watching Battlestar Galactic in bed...

Friday, 17 April 2009

PHOTO- Treville,


Gary sat under the bell tower that kept us awake all night, Gary's Mum will appreciate how much Gary hates Church bells.

PHOTO- Tignes, Bryn's Underground bar.

France Tignes - Italy - Pisa

Sunday 12Th April- Tignes France- Treville Italy.
After doing about 7 haircuts in 3 hours & making some Euro's we said goodbye to the last familiar face we will see for quite sometime. Thanks Bryn for a good weekend, so nice to catch up with a kindred spirit.
We headed to Italy through the Mount Blanc Tunnel which can you believe it cost us 34 Euro's. Managed about 4 hours driving & made it to a little village called Treville (you guys can look up our destination's on goole earth/maps) It got really to dark to try to spot a decent camping spot so we just follwed our noses,unfortualtly we camped right below a church that rang it's bell's all through the night on the hour,the quarter of an hour ,the half an hour etc you get the idea, we learn lesson's everyday 1, Do not park anywhere near a church in Italy.Fortunatly we did wake to a nice view so it was almost worth it.
Monday 13th April- Treville to Pisa, a whole day on the road only stopping for bread,salame & chesse. Arrived late in Pisa booked into a campsite set up tent,finished off the Vegi stew from the night before showered & got our heads down for the night.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Photo- French Alps.

Photo- lunch break

Photo- Massive bridge.

Photo- Massive bridge.

France.

We have made it to Tignes in the south east of France after going through the Channel tunnel on Tuesday afternoon. Gary cracked on with the driving and managed about 5 hours when we found a good spot to park up for the night just outside of St Quentin. We were entertained for a while by the local boys blasting out their techno from the car but fortunately they finished their car park party at 10pm so we got a very good nights sleep ready for a full on day of driving. We had decided to drive without going on any motorways & this proved to be a good choice as we saw things we wouldn't of seen otherwise, one being the masses of fields with rows & rows of crosses for the British killed in the first world war,it really bought it home to us how many people lost their lives.
Got to Dole & discovered that the wheel was chucking out a load of oil, having had a new hub seal replaced before we left the U.K this was a bit of a worry. We checked into a campsite for the night and spent the whole of the next day hanging out at the Nissan garage while they replaced one of the seals,500 euros later & an afternoon in the sun (22c) we set off again & managed to get just short of Geneva.The temperature dropped to 1c through the night but we were really snug in the tent ( thank the universe for hot water bottles).Woke very early as we had camped up in a supermarket car park & the deliveries started at 6am. A whole day of driving through the French Alps over passes that had only just opened, we were both awe struck by the scenery. We arrived at Tignes & bumped into our friend Bryn who owns a bar here he hooked us up with accommodation for the night and filled our bellies with food & beer.
Saturday today & Gary has spent the day on the piste while I have hung out with very young snowboarders with hangovers and have caught up with our admin. Have a few haircuts to do for the chalet girls tomorrow & we'll set off at lunch time for Italy.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

London.

As planned we have left Taunton & at present are in London sorting out visa's. A productive day today spent in central London walking about 10 miles from one Embassy to another. The Indian embassy have our passport's & are processing our application which we can pick up on Monday. Pakistan visa was a little bit more difficult as we need to be invited by someone who lives there, fortunately we have this in hand & have Gary's Mum on the case, Thanks Mump.x
We have decided to chill here with Julian & Ginni for the weekend & just recuperate after all the emotions of last weekend & this week & set off for France on Monday eve/Tuesday morning all being well.