March - May 2017
  • Day53

    Path of the gods

    May 17, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    I had a spare last day in Sorrento and I decided to tackle the "path of the gods". It is a 3 1/2 hour trek up above the Amalfi Coast that goes from a village near Amalfi to one above Positano. After a little bit of research I decided to start at the Amalfi end of the walk so caught the lovely public bus there again. Once again admiring the fabulous views and the skill of the bus drivers that get you there in one piece.

    When I got there I decided to do a quick side trip to Ravello on the bus before tackling the walk (procrastinating much!). It was a pleasant place but like everything in Italy by bus, it took longer than I thought. I was then a bit late getting the bus to the start and getting going on the walk and it was hot hot hot.

    The walk was amazing and awful all at the same time. The track was a mixture of uphill and down often clamboring over boulders with the steps up and down as high as a foot. I took it pretty easy and as the nice views appeared so the path narrowed with sheer drops to the side. My ability to walk in a straight line is known to be bad so I needed to concentrate on these sections!

    There were lots of fellow walkers along the way and although it was one of the tougher walks I have done, it was very rewarding!

    I reached the end very hot and tired to find there was a 45 minute wait for the next bus which would see me miss my planned ferry home. A bored looking young cabby who obviously wanted to finish for the day, offered me a good deal and I rode home to Sorrento in air-conditioned style.
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  • Day50

    The town of Amalfi

    May 14, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    After a crazy busy ride from Positano, where a bus only slightly narrower than the cliffside road negotiated hairpin turns while meeting other cars and buses, I arrived in Amalfi. This cute town felt larger than Positano with more open space and the bus arrived right in the rather lovely port. There were lots of people and it was up around 25° so I headed for the town to explore and to have a look at the intriguing church I could see.

    It was a very old Cathedral with an interesting museum attached to it. For a mere 3€ you could enter and look around. Many of the pictures and statue dated back to the 14th Century and as always I found it fascinating. The cool shade was welcome too!

    I headed up the hill to the next bay and took some pictures and explored the area. It is all rather picture postcard beautiful. I sat for a while at a beachside cafe nursing a small beer for a while and enjoyed some people watching.

    I went early for the bus back to Sorrento as I had been warned they fill up late in the day. Queuing in the hot sun, the small Kathmandu umbrella I carry everywhere came in handy as a sunshade and I received a few envious looks! The bus ride back was just as crazy but I met a lovely young Australian midwife and we chatted most of the way back. I am getting to meet so many nice people in my travels!
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  • Day50

    Positano

    May 14, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    Today I got up early and headed for the bus station to get the famous (notorious?) public bus from Sorrento along the Amalfi Coast. Only 8€ for an all day pass was a bargain compared to what the tour operators charged. A bit of research suggested arriving early to get a coveted right hand side of the bus seat for the views and that is what I did. Luckily at 8.30am on a Sunday it wasn't busy and I got a great seat to enjoy the sights from.

    The bus ride didn't disappoint as the bus squeezed itself past other buses and cars and travelled along cliffs and went through tunnels. We arrived in Positano quite quickly as there wasn't much traffic and the bus left us at the top of the cliff. A walk down through narrow lanes filled with shops and cafes eventually led to the beach. There was a couple of walks along the cliffs each side to explore the other bays which were quite lovely and not too strenuous.

    Once I had explored for a few hours and the temperature started hotting up, I headed up the cliff for the bus stop to carry on the adventure in Amalfi.
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  • Day49

    A room with a view in Sorrento

    May 13, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    I arrived after a flight from Naples and then a bus ride to the lovely town of Sorrento. Next challenge was finidng my room at the B&B I had booked. Google maps led me to a very large private house which was not the right place. As I stood there pondering a lovely young American woman stopped to help. She was living in Sorrento and running a food tour business. She rang the host and got directions for me, one of many helpful people I found along the way.

    The room was lovely with a balcony and view over the Petite Mer and fisherman's village. The host helped me up the stairs with the bags and then took me to the rooftop balcony for a drink and a chat. She gave me some great advice about how to spend the next few days.

    Breakfast was freshly made food served every day on the roof balcony. Such a nice start to each day. The village below was lively at night and a great place to eat with fish straight from the boats each day.
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  • Day44

    Rovinj apartment

    May 8, 2017 in Croatia ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    My apartment in Rovinj was an absolute little treasure. It was situated in what is called the old town, a cobblestone clad pedestrian only maze of lanes full of old houses. Most of the houses had little shops, bars or restaurants on the ground floor but washing hanging form the top floor windows were reminders that people were living above.

    My apartment was one of only a couple situated at the end of a lane just before the park surrounding the church above. It was easy to spot from the sea when I went on a couple of cruises around the bay and Islands. Many other tourists stopped to look at it and take photos as they walked around the town.

    It had a downstairs lounge and kitchen with a large airy bedroom and very posh bathroom upstairs. The upstairs windows and the front door opened to a view of the sea across the lane with a table and chairs to sit out at. A few steps to the left a lovely wine bar and restaurant with tables on platforms suspended on the rockwall to the sea. I celebrated my arrival after a hellish bus ride with a lovely dinner there. OK rave over but this place stole my heart!
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  • Day42

    House of Terror

    May 6, 2017 in Hungary ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    Today I went to a very unusual museum called the House of Terror. The modern museum is housed In the old headquarters of the Hungarian Secret Police (AVH). It contains exhibits related to the fascist and communist regimes in Hungary and is also a memorial to the victims of these regimes, including those detained, interrogated, tortured or killed in the building.

    There was a serious of rooms in unique styles for each period of history. The audio guide combined with video and other stylised exhibits told the history of Hungry and it's checkered past under both Nazi and Communist rule.

    A slow dramatic sinking of the lift to the basement of the building while being told how prisoners were executed in detail was enough to send shivers down the spine. Walking through the torture chambers and seeing the memorials to those who died and disappeared was very confronting. A chilling wall of photos recorded those who died many missing death dates as none knows what happened to them. A very moving experience.
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  • Day41

    The Opera

    May 5, 2017 in Hungary ⋅ 🌧 14 °C

    I visited the Budapest Opera house during the afternoon and took a tour. It is a beautifully ornate building and the guide spoke with passion about the opera's held there. I decided to see if I could see an opera while still in town and was lucky enough to get a ticket in the front row of a box right in the center of the stage to one called Elektra. It is much cheaper to see operas in Hungary compared to other European cities so the price was good too.

    I found it an unusual experience and although I enjoyed the orchestra music and the spectacle of the show, the opera side of things was just ok for me. Luckily they had English subtitles playing above the stage but I still found it all quite frustrating. In two hours the story didn't really go very far although there was much emotion and a death along the way. I'm glad I went but I'm not sure if I'll go to other operas.
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  • Day40

    Budapest night cruise

    May 4, 2017 in Hungary ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    For our last night on board we were treated to a cruise up and down the Danube after dinner. All the buildings are lit up and looking magical. We were also treated to a surprise fireworks show just as we approached the last bridge (we think it was from a concert that had been playing that night). Perfect end to a lovely couple of weeks seeing some great places with some fabulous people. I will be exploring on my own again from tomorrow!Read more

  • Day32

    Afternoon in Rothenburg

    April 26, 2017 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 4 °C

    An optional afternoon trip today was to the historic town of Rothenburg. It is completely surrounded by the old walls and turrets built back in 12th Century. You can walk along the ramparts and admire the views of the town from there. We also saw plaques on the walls of the ramparts where families and businesses "bought" sections to help raise money to restore and keep the wall intact.

    It felt like you were transported back in time as there was no signs of modern life other than the odd cable TV antennae (and many had painted these to blend in). From the view on the ramparts into people's gardens with clothes hanging out etc it was obvious it was a normal residential area despite looking like a fairytale. Parts of the new movie version of Beauty and the Beast were filmed here.

    Another couple of things it is known for is the large Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas shop and museum. It also houses the headquarters for Birkenstock sandals. I'm so glad I went as it was such a charming place to visit.
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  • Day31

    Miltenberg

    April 25, 2017 in Germany ⋅ ☀️ 8 °C

    We arrived in Miltenberg two hours earlier than scheduled (no queues at the locks!) and I was keen to go ashore to explore. Gunther, our guide, said that it was only a small place with one street but I was needing to strech my legs anyway. What a lovely surprise it was, the one street was a delightful old village road with houses built in 1600's down narrow cobblestone lanes.

    It was very fairytale like and we seemed to have the area to ourselves. Quaint shops were in the first few hundred meters and as the road narrowed it turned into hotels and pubs. You had the impression this area would come alive in the evening. Even further on the street turned into the residential area where people lived with modernised interiors to these lovely old houses.

    A few of us climbed up to the remains of the fortification wall and towers that surround the upper edge of the town. The view of the town was rewarding and the park like gardens behind the wall were very green. As we walked back to the boat we were amused to see a statue of three boys doing their business outside a public WC.

    That afternoon we were bused around in groups of 6 to 10 and hosted with locals in their homes for afternoon tea. I thought it would be a bit awkward but it turned out to be very interesting and our hosts very friendly.
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