A Travellerspoint blog

This blog is published chronologically. Go straight to the most recent post.

Arrival in London

Sept 17, 2012

Our flight arrived in London at around 7 AM. We made her way to our airbnb at the Oval cricket grounds. Then we decided to head over to see Big Ben and go to Westminster Abbey. We got the audio tour, and spent a few hours wandering around Westminster Abbey. It was a beautiful building, and had lots of really neat tombs of famous and not so famous people. We use the included audio tour which is very informative. When we came out we decided to head over to 30 St. Mary's Axe, aka 'The Gherkin'. It is a really neat looking building, the new surrounded by the old. After visiting the Gherkin we decided to go over to Leadenhall Market. But when we got there when most of the shops were already closed. It is definitely a place I would like to revisit.

We then walked over to the Tower Bridge to have a closer look at the Shard building. It's still under construction but is very impressive looking. We had a quick meal and then decided to go back to our accommodation.

Posted by u2traveller 11:42 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Flying to Venice

Sept 18, 2012

We had a few hours to kill in London in the morning before we were heading to Gatwick airport to fly to Venice. We decided to go to Trafalgar Square and spend a little time there. We wandered around for about an hour and then headed back to our accommodations to pick up our luggage and head to Gatwick Airport.

We caught our flight to Venice arriving around 4 pm local time. We then had to wait a little while for the bus to the main train station in Venice. We then took the vaporetto to our accommodations at the same place we have stayed the last two times we visited Venice. By the time all was said and done it was about 6 PM, so we decided to go out and have supper. We had a lovely meal of huge pizzas. Well, we didn't really finish them because they were very big. We then decided to wander over to the Rialto Bridge and around to San Marco. By this time it was a little after 8 PM and there was not a whole lot of people around so it was nice to see it without the crowds that you will always get thru the day. Then we went back to the bed and breakfast as I was going to make Darrin get up very early in the morning to go out and see some of the sites before the day crowds arrived.

Posted by u2traveller 11:45 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

A full day in Venice

Sept 19, 2012

So this morning we got up at 6 AM to go and explore Venice. It was really amazing to see the Grand Canal with no people on it, no traffic. We get off at the Rialto Bridge. There was maybe a dozen people in the area. Many of them with their big cameras. We then walked along to St. Mark's Square. Again there was hardly anyone around, compared to later in the day when there are hundreds and hundreds of people there. We enjoy the quiet, took some pictures, and then headed back to our accom.. By this time it was about 7:30 AM. There was even Venetian residents with their children taking them to school on the vaporetto. So it is very neat to see because usually you are just surrounded by tourists. We showered up, ate our breakfast, and then decided to head to the islands of Murano and Burano.

On our previous two trips to Venice, we have visited Murano both times. I really like to look in the shops there at all the glass ornaments and on every trip have brought home a little bird keepsake made of glass. Last trip we've bypassed Burano to go to Torcello but Burano has always stuck in my mind. So after wandering around Murano for a bit we headed to Burano. By the time we got there it was getting close to lunch and the skies are getting very dark and cloudy. We found a little restaurant along a small canal and decided to have some pizza. As we kept watching over our shoulders, the sky is getting darker and darker so we decided to go into the restaurant. That was not a moment too soon as about five minutes after we went in the skies opened up and it poured down rain. All the people sitting outside all kind of crammed into the restaurant. Very interesting. People were sharing tables and so they could fit everyone in. So we had a delicious pizza and I decide have a piece of cake for dessert, and we ventured out into the rain. But is not very easy to walk around while trying to hold an umbrella and keep the camera from getting wet. There are beautifully painted houses there but because of the rain we only spent maybe 30 minutes walking around before we decided to head back to Venice.

We then wandered around Venice for a while. We found the Scala Contrari di Bovola, which we have always meant to find that we got there too late to climb up top for the view. It is down a very windy little alley, it's definitely off the beaten path. We explored a little more of Venice, then decided to have supper and wander around a little bit more after dark. Then we returned to our accommodations.

Posted by u2traveller 11:47 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Heading for Florence

Sept 20, 2012

So today we were heading for Florence. The plan was to get up early and leave on the train around 11 AM. But it was a beautiful day in Venice. The skies were blue hardly a cloud. We went to San Marco and went into the church. We use the Rick Steves app to listen to a commentary on the church as well as his commentary on St. Mark's Square. By this time it was a a bit after noon. We decided to head back to our accom to pick up our luggage and catch the train.

It was probably around 1:30 by the time we got to the train and then it was a few hours to Florence. It was getting onto late afternoon by the time the train arrived in Florence. We had to find our way to our accommodations just outside the city. The directions that the owner gave us for the bus where little hard for us to follow. And we ended up wasting about 45 minutes to one hour trying to find the proper bus. The bus was so crowded you could barely move. It's probably about 20 to 25 minutes to go to our bus stop and then we had to call the lady to come and pick us up. By the time we finally got to our accommodations it was well after 6 PM. We decided not to go back into town but to find somewhere nearby to have supper. We settled in to make plans for a full day in Florence the next day.

Posted by u2traveller 11:48 Archived in Italy Comments (0)


Sept 21, 2012

So we got up bright and early and headed into Florence proper. We wandered thru some squares and decided to visit the Archaeology museum. It had some interesting stiff and took maybe an hour or so to go thru. We then headed for the Duomo. What a sight as you are coming to it and glimpse it thru the narrow streets. We first got in the wrong line - the line to go up in the dome. It only took a few minutes to discover it, so we headed for the church line, and got in rather quickly. It was of course amazing inside. We then spotted a Lindt chocolate store and decided to get some nourishment for our climb up the bell tower for some amazing views of the Duomo. It was quite a tiring hike to the top, but at least there were levels with views so you could stop and catch your breath. There were some great panoramas of the city, and I'm glad we did the bell tower. After spending a bit of time, we went back down and headed for the bridge with the leather and gold goods. It was very crowded so we just kind of caught the wave of people and looked at the amazing jewelry in the windows.

It was an amazingly warm day for the middle of September. It felt like at least 25+ Celsius. Skies were blue and hardly a cloud.

We then just wander a little bit around the city and walked along the riverside, peeking into some shops along the way. We found some amazing gelato (banana, coconut and chocolate...heavenly) and just wandered about. We found the square with the old statues, which was also very corded, found another church to admire from outside, and then found more gelato! How could we pass up bubble gum gelato and coca cola gelato? It was getting time to head to the Accademia for our appointed time to go in. We waited outside for about 20 min as we arrived early, but once our time came up, we had no problem. It is a smaller museum and of course David is the highlight. We used our Rick Steves app and listened to the narration of David as well as the unfinished Michelangelo statues. We spent maybe an hour or so looking around. It was of course something you should see in person. Then it was off to return to the Lindt store for more chocolate and a nice meal of pasta....what else?!

We then headed back to our accommodations to find our how to catch the bus to go to Fiesole for some amazing views of Florence. It was starting to get dark and by the time we got up to the hills, it was almost dark. We didn't stay to long as we were unsure about finding our way back to our room in the dark, but we managed to get off at the correct bus stop and find our way back thru a pretty dark path. Then time to settle in and get ready for the next day.

Posted by u2traveller 11:49 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

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