Love to Travel, Love to take pics, nature gives me a buzz, nothing beats a really good sunset!
  • Day147

    Day 145 No Flamenco for Me!

    August 13, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    Monday 13/08/2018 (Day 58 SZ) Sono Apartmentos Avenida Els Tremolencs, 34, La Garriga, 08530, Spain

    Today we set off for Barcelona once more, after 18 years we have returned…. We have not too bad of memories from our last visit but I really didn’t want to go back… However plans change as ours have and with only being able to do the top part of Spain, John made the decision to stay near here and visit once again. To be honest we actually had a great day…. Exhausting, but great.

    I do have one bad memory of Barcelona and that is from the Flamenco show we went to on the Cosmos Trip in 2000… It was the night from hell watching nonstop tapping, yelling and shoes being hit so hard on the floor I thought it might give way…we were all cramped into a tiny room, sat on a chair all one level…. So if someone was tall the shorty behind couldn’t see anyway…given an aperitif that tasted awful, and all squashed so close together with about 10 other busloads of people… it was so hot hardly any air and the actual show was just awful…so this time definitely no Flamenco….

    We have found getting into most cities not too difficult so we usually find a car park near the centre and this seems to be working for us…..So all parked up, off we set to find sights we hadn’t seen before. As we were to discover Barcelona is an unreal city with many facets to explore. Wandering around taking in all the unreal buildings and of course for me the wrought iron lace work on the windows, doors, fences and any other thing they place it on because so many items have it on them.

    The sad side of Barcelona is the people sleeping on the streets and of course the heaps and heaps of refugees selling the same items on the street everywhere….

    As we set off we could see the Gaudi Buildings that have been made Famous by this guy who was wayyyy ahead of his time with design and architecture……He was called a Modernist creator with his way out designs of Buildings. You can’t miss them they are so, so different to anything else around. We really only got to see a couple of the Gaudi buildings and only from the outside…. Our morning tea was at a lovely little coffee shop with so many treats to look at and choose from, we usually get something to share….
    On we go venturing off that lead us down Las Rambler, it wasn’t a plan to head down here we just as most of our sightseeing is stumbled onto it. Las Rambler is really tourist 1.2 Ks long filled with people everywhere. We could see 100’s of people streaming into one area, wondering what it was we headed that way…. Silly us… Turned out to be a food Markets, which would have been ok except sooo manyyy peopleeee and not easy to get around. We found a spot that a bit quitter and while standing there I spotted some ladies selling toffee coated nuts and freeze dried vegies…. Being a bit peckish by now as it was lunch time… I asked how much it was so I ordered 3 different choices… I double checked with the lady that is 5.60 Euro a 100gm yes… went to pay for it and the other women said 33 Euro that’s $52…. I looked at her and said you’re kidding….my husband will kill me. So I got her to take quite a bit out still cost me 25 Euro… unreal. John was mad at me for being so stupid but as I said to him I double checked the women made up some excuse costs, but it really was a total scam…after John had said his bit I then reminded him how he got ripped off at this very same place for cherries 18 yrs ago… The most expense cherries he has ever had in his life…. So lesson is don’t go to the Food Markets that are just for the tourist. Go to local markets they are cheaper…

    After that terrible experience we made our way to the harbour. On the way I spotted a young women totally out to it on the ground in front of a shop sprawled out no movement…. After an earlier episode of stepping over a man on the street that I felt I should have helped even if I had called an Ambulance, John just wanted to keep going I honestly felt like the story in the Bible about the Pharisee who passed by the man who had been robbed….. I know for many of them its drug related but honestly it could be medical and if you don’t check you don’t know… They even could be dead… I just felt so helpless and callous in not stopping to help….It is just so so sad the sights in some of these cities….
    From the girl to seeing heaps of young refugee boys on the way to the Port, always boys selling their wares…they looked like they were allowed here in this area because they didn’t have their ropes in hand that are tied around the sheet on the ground with the wares… When it’s illegal they have the ropes around pone hand ready to pull the four leads on each corner of the sheet that pulls the whole thing into a big bag with all their goodies inside and they run…. There is always a spotted… But not here so we are thinking maybe the council allowed them this area to do business away from the main areas. Mind you they were selling plenty tourist everywhere buying their goodies of shoes, sun glasses, T shirts, Bag with designer names….

    The buildings in the area as we were making our way to Port Vell were amazing so ornate but just stunning… Some were having a huge overhaul and being redone. From here you could see over the harbour to the Cable cars zipping back and forth across the Harbour, this was surrounded by all new modern buildings… What a difference from one extreme to the next with Architecture. The actual Cable Cars were going from one tall building to the next 3 in total…..Looked fun, but too far from where we were….Along with 100’s walking on a new modern designed walk way we headed to a new modern shopping centre… as it wasn’t that interesting and after a cuppa and meeting with Mr MacDonald we headed back towards the city, for some lunch. On the way we spotted some huge Luxury Cruises one was a Monster making the others that are big look dwarfed….

    Lunch was on a side walk Café not far from the Port area…..where we could watch the world go by…. And just take some RnR the heat is unreal today so we are zapped of energy and all up by the time we did finish we had walked for well over 6 hrs.…From here we wandered around the alleys and streets stumbling across the massive Barcelona Cathedral, Not the Gaudi one, which is a very odd but interesting we didn’t end going to see it this…..This Cathedral still had heaps there looking at it and it was right next door to a Gaudi Art studio… I actually think it is an Art Studio named after Gaudi not his wares…. Still what they had on display on the outside was unreal. I wanted to go in but time was not on our side now we had to get back to the car which was blocks away…. We did make it back, very foot sore and tired… Then we had to go through the traffic to get back to our village. On the way in I spotted this massive bullet shaped building called the Glories Torre Agbar, I had hoped we could go via it on the way out as it was fascinating from a distance, but due to the traffic issues that just couldn’t occur. So back up the highway to our lovely little unit and a home cooked meal. What a day both extremely tired, but so glad we had made the effort to go to see Barcelona again, from the wonderful sights to the sadness we saw with the people on the streets….
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  • Day146

    Day 144 Credit Card sorrow!

    August 12, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    Sunday 12/08/2018 (Day 57 SZ) Sono Apartmentos Avenida Els Tremolencs, 34, La Garriga, 08530, Spain

    II think I mentioned it that our Visa card wasn’t working and now our MasterCard is playing up, and John had tried and tried to call the 24 hr. hot line for Westpac, time and time again, with no luck.... plus his phone which is dying is playing up... so he took my UK Sim out and out in his Aust Sim and after a lot of fiddling he finally got onto Westpac... not only did we have credit card issues but there had been 3-4 double up payments taken from our account for fuel payments and a hire car for Crete.... turns out the Bank even though I had notified them 2 times with all the information about where we were going and what we were doing dates etc., they didn’t except it because John as the main holder for our account didn’t let them know, they blocked our accounts…. after nearly 5 months mind you they decided to do this very odd.....then when we queried about the double payments the bank put us through to the Fraud Squad... we got an Indian guy being the weekend as it was Sunday, anyway he told us because we still had the card it hadn’t been stolen they wouldn’t help us... even though we had 4 lots if double transactions against our account it wasn’t their concern... my goodness was I cross.. Even the bank staff had felt it was something fraudulent that’s why they put us through….Fat lot of good they are.... anyway the bank fixed our cards well we thought they had.... and off we set for the beach...

    The trip there was through high rise jungle, not a good look or feel, the beach yep it had sand very course dirty sand, but it as sand... but it just didn’t look inviting at all. We found a spot to park that’s always a challenge, then off to the beach we set, well to say it was like Croatia or Italy it was not.... a Bar like the other places set up on the beach yes, and heaps of Umbrellas a few to be paid for many to were free spots... but it just lacked feeling and temptation to head out there.... so we headed to the Bar area for a drink, the Bar area which actually served not too bad of food, was ok to look at but to actually sit in the beach I am not so sure....

    We sat and people watched for about an hour, it was quite funny watching a guy running past us about every 10-15 mins, eventually he started running backwards past us as well looked so funny and so different...
    He was dressed in long pants and it was an extremely hot day, so it looked out of place... but the number of times he went past and his mannerisms made me think he may have a mental health issue..... And running may have been his therapy…..Either way it sure was entertaining watching him going back and forth, plus watching all the sexy girls coming from the beach, well for John not me!

    By the time we got home John realised that the issue with the double payments still needed to be bought up with the bank again, after the fraud squad refused to help us. So he had to go through the whole process again to be able to reach the bank... this time we got a young bloke who actually knew his stuff and could explain to John that for some reason, double payments taken out until they go through their paperwork and see what you actually put in against what you were charged for and it’s rectified...They do this because too many are driving away not paying, but over here most servos have credit card pay stations that you have to put in your credit card first before the bowser will work... no human intervention just machines... sometimes it just doesn’t work other times it does...

    Anyway after the young fellow had explained it all to John it made sense, and we have since got back the extra amount taken out…shame all their staff don’t understand this process…. would save a lot of hassle and what we thought was free calls on Whatsapp have actually been 2x$50 calls... glad we have sorted out the issue but not the costs incurred that should have been covered as a Westpac customer, especially when it says it’s a 24/7 call centre, no mention it costs a fortune... however we now have credit cards to use again... travelling without a credit card is not possible these days... got scary there for a bit.
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  • Day145

    Day 143 Farewell Italy- Hello Spain!

    August 11, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    Saturday 11/08/2018 (Day 56 SZ) Sono Apartmentos Avenida Els Tremolencs, 34, La Garriga, 08530, Spain

    Sadly we left Italy I have no doubt we will never be back, that makes me sad Italy 🇮🇹 is an unreal country to see.... I do find the people very, very difficult they aren’t very friendly, but the country is worth the pain of the rude people..that’s sad to say but so, so true.... so saying farewell, was hard!

    The trip across the border wasn’t anything special, but did not how bare it become after arriving in Spain. Nothing special to see as we really didn’t have time as it was a very long run today, the road side stops were very boring compared to the Italian or French ones... a lot of grape vines and olive trees seem to be the main produce, along. With some corn 🌽 and a few other crops... we arrived late arvo to a very nice looking Fairly new apartment complex, once inside it really as well set up very roomy with all the mode cons..... had great kitchen and washing machine aircon and Wi-Fi ticked all the boxes.... when we settled and headed out to find a supermarket we realised this apartment complex wasn’t anywhere near anything as such... no close restaurants or shops in fact it was in a very odd spot for a complex like it is... but we really didn’t need anything like a restaurant etc. it’s just if someone stayed here without the bits to cook with and no car they really would be up the creek so to speak...
    We found a Lidl and bought our needs had a quick drive around then back to cook dinner and do some much needed washing...
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  • Day144

    Day 142 Walls, Graves and Canals!

    August 10, 2018 in France ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    Friday 10/08/2018 (Day 55 SZ) Appart'City Nîmes 364, allée de l’Amérique Latine, Nîmes, 30900, France

    Today’s adventure took us to a few different locations and it actually turned out to be a huge day.

    We started at Aigues Mortes which unbeknown to us is a Medieval fortified Citadel, just blew us away as we drove into the normal township with the streets lined with beautiful flower gardens. Seeing the canals beside us and huge trees lining the streets right to the door of this massive fortified walls with Ramparts standing tall and solid holding all the walls around the city as it’s called no but really a village! Inside it is very touristy with heaps of bars, restaurants and tourist shops... outside when we pulled up into yep a paid vacation park nothing free anywhere it’s in the Salt marshes amongst the grass lands but next to it was the most amazing soft pink salt Lake so, so pretty but you couldn’t get close enough to it as it as fenced off, with high grass lands around it...this is where a drone would be fantastic to use.... they actually mine this lake and if we had the time could have checked out the mine as well but we don’t have time..
    Next to the walled city is the canals and on canals are the all the canal boats and cruisers sitting waited by to be hired and taken up and down the canals just read they can go 140ks takes 15 locks and takes 1 week to cruise it... you could see people on the boats relaxing, they must have hired them, just looked funny with them underneath the bridge area relaxing with traffic nonstop going up and over the bridge and along the walled city to the salt marsh area... very busy spot so I still wonder how they got to relax... I loved the pink Lake and as we entered the city the unreal smell of the food coming from inside the Medieval village had my hunger bug going one to the dozen, all we got was a little cake to share and a cuppa and on our way.... I could have spent days exploring here just love, love, loved it….they even had flower pots on the bridge, massive tall layer flower pots around the walled city and outside it as well and a massive huge beautiful carousel that I would have lived to had a ride on...

    Aigues Mortes, was founded in the thirteenth century and famous since the first crusades in the time of King Louis IX. The waterways in this region, set between the sea and the Camargue countryside has the salt marshes of the Midi that have surrounded the city of Aigues Mortes since the Middle Ages. There are excellent beaches and swimming in the Mediterranean at Grau du Roi, Palavas-les-Flots at the Grande Motte or in Carnon. They offer horse riding in Franquevaux which we pulled up near after leaving checking out a massive birds nest on top of a tower.
    There are supposed to be fields of wild bulls and horses and Flamingo spotting on the famous Etang de Thau lagoon. But we never got to see any sadly...

    From here we headed towards St Gilles where we had lunch then went exploring and looking for the old Cathedral L’Abbatiale De Saint Gilles.
    (Info thanks to Wiki) According to the legend, it was founded in the 7th century by Saint Gilles, over lands which had been given him by the Visigoth King Wamba after he had involuntarily wounded the saint during a hunt. The monastery was initially dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul: however, in the 9th century, the dedication was changed to St. Giles himself, who had become one of the most venerated figures in the area. His relics were housed in the abbey church and attracted numerous pilgrims. In the 11th century, the monastery was attached to that of Cluny. Thanks to its prosperity, it was enlarged and decorated from the 12th to the 15th century, when the cloister was finished. In the 16th century the church, in the course of the Wars of Religion, was devastated when the Huguenots took shelter in it. Restorations were held in the 17th century and again, after further damage during the French Revolution, in the 19th century. The tomb of St. Giles was rediscovered in 1865, becoming again a pilgrim destination from 1965. The village itself as interesting with its narrow alleys and unreal doors... another great sight we had to do a quick look and head on...

    Next stop was The L’Abbaye Trogodytique De Saint Roman at Beaucaire, this amazing sight was very similar to the monk cemeteries we saw in Croatia a huge rock formation coming out of the ground and nearly every square inch of it has been carved with dug our graves in the rock... all over the top and inside its caves.....we actually spent a fair amount of time here it was so interesting.

    Info thanks to Wiki
    The Abbey of Saint-Roman (Abbaye de Saint-Roman), is a cave monastery located in the communes of Beaucaire and Comps, in the Gard département of France.
    The site, which includes the ruins of a castle, the château de Saint-Roman-d'Aiguille, has been protected by the French Ministry of Culture as a monument historique since 1990 and includes a chapel, cloisters, terrace, tombs and walls. It was constructed in the 9th, 10th, 12th and 15th centuries. The abbey is reached by a signposted path from Beaucaire which leads past a vast chamber and the monks’ cells to the chapel carved out of the rock which contains the tomb of St Roman. From the terrace, there is a fine view over the Rhône, Avignon and the Mont Ventoux area with Tarascon in the foreground. The Michelin Guide describes it "a site of captivating simplicity".

    The surrounding scenery was just unreal valley below was worth the climb by itself without the cave Monastery. Then as we drove away we could see a huge dam with quite a large amount of water being let go from its gates from here you could see more of the canal and locks. The whole area was so interesting... but off we speed to the next location.

    La Tour Philippe Le Bel seeing the Tower, then Fort and Abbey Saint Andrè both in Villeneuve les Avignon, we didn’t get to go into this as it was closing time, but just looking at it was interesting enough....

    (Info from Wiki) Tour Philippe-le-Bel (English: Tower of Philip the Fair) is a medieval tower in Villeneuve-lès-Avignon which marked the French terminus of the Saint-Bénézet Bridge across the Rhone between the Kingdom of France and Papal territory of Avignon. It is named after the French king Philippe-le-Bel (Philip IV "the Fair") who was responsible for its construction. The structure has an overall height of 39 m.
    A tower with only two storeys was completed in 1302. In spite of protests from the Count of Provence and the population of Avignon, Philippe-le-Bel pressed ahead and built a gatehouse at the end of the bridge. The tower and gatehouse formed part of a fortress with a curtain wall that enclosed several buildings including a chapel and a residence for the châtelain. A third storey was added to the tower in the middle of the 14th century. The Saint-Bénézet Bridge was abandoned in 1669 and the fortress then ceased to serve any useful function. The French crown continued to pay for repairs, but after the French Revolutionthe buildings were abandoned and allowed to fall into ruins. In 1822 the town of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon decided to demolish all of the fortress except the present tower. It was listed as a Monument historique in 1862 and is now open to the public.

    From the La Tour we had to drive up further to find a parking space, again somehow we ended up in the another Medieval township I am sure we will have heaps of fines once him for being in forbidden areas….there are signs but being in French or Italian we don’t understand them.... Hence why we end up in the wrong spot

    We eventually found a spot then set off on foot to find the Fort and Abbey Saint Andrè another wow place it’s massive and yet another fortified medieval city walled community. As we wound our way through yet again another unreal village with amazing alleys and sights abounding, at a higher level we could actually see the Papal Palace it was as if not bigger than this fortified city... but a lot more glamous... it was across the Rhone River and yet again sadly no Tim to look at it closely just had to see it in the distance....

    (Info thanks to Wiki)The Fort Saint-André is a medieval fortress in the commune of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon in the Gard département of France, dating from the first half of the 14th century. The treaty of Paris, signed in 1229 at the end of the Albigensian Crusade, handed the French crown land to the west of the Rhone from Pont-Saint-Esprit to the Mediterranean and a joint interest in the city of Avignon. In 1290 the French king, Philip IV (Philippe-le-Bel or Philip the Fair), ceded his claim to Avignon to his father's cousin, Charles II of Naples who was the Count of Provence through his marriage to Beatrice of Provence. The Benedictine Abbey of Saint-André occupied a strategic position on Mount Andaon within sight of the town of Avignon which lay on the other side of the Rhone. Mount Andaon is a rocky outcrop with steep sides to the north and the east that rises 50 m above the floodplain of the Rhone. Prior to the 1770s the river flowed next to the base of the eastern side of the mount. The plateau at the top covers an area of around 3.5 hectare and extends for 220 m in an east-west direction and 160 m north-south. The top is not flat but rises from south to north by 24 m. The abbey was built at the eastern end of the plateau; the western end was occupied by a small village. The abbey had been founded at the end of the 10th century and possessed extensive property with over 200 churches spread over a wide area of southern France. In 1290 Philip IV instructed Adam de Montcéliard, the sénéchal of Beaucaire, to negotiate an agreement with the abbey to cooperate in the defense of the right bank of the Rhone. The paréage treaty signed in 1292 specified that Philippe le Bel could build a fortress with a permanent garrison next to the abbey and a castle by the river. The abbey surrendered temporal power but obtained protection from the unwanted pressure from the city of Avignon which wished to control both banks of the Rhone. By 1302 fortifications, including an initial Tour Philippe-le-Bel, had been built at the western end of the Pont Saint-Bénézet which lay less than kilometer from the abbey. In 1309, Pope Clement V moved the papacy from Rome to Avignon. The fortress of Saint-André, with the curtain wall that surrounded the abbey, was built in several stages during the first half of the 14th century. The surviving manuscripts do not allow the construction to be precisely dated. A châtelain is mentioned in documents dating from 1314 and 1344, a guard is mentioned in 1318. The carved crest placed by the abbey above the entrance is dated 20 July 1367. This was probably when modifications were made to the entrance arch. The fortress was continually occupied by officers of the crown up to the time of French revolution. The fortress was clearly visible from Papal State across the Rhone in the town of Avignon and was intended to demonstrate the power of the Kingdom of France.

    What a huge day but boy did we see some amazing breathtaking sights... worth feeling very tired.
    Our little unit was very basic, but No kettle no toaster, did have a microwave, sink weeny dishwasher, not sure why as you really didn’t need it, and thank goodness a 2 ring stove top plus a little fridge. I did cope with it and getting some cooking done was a bonus...

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  • Day143

    Day 141 Dark Skys and bedroom gloom....

    August 9, 2018 in France ⋅ 🌧 28 °C

    Thursday 09/08/2018 Day (Day 54 SZ) Appart'City Nîmes 364, allée de l’Amérique Latine, Nîmes, 30900, France

    A day of booking units and has been a huge decision on how to plan the next section of our trip.

    Originally we had the plan of travelling most of Spain and Portugal, however due to costs of accommodation this being peak season, even tough Spain is supposed to be cheap peak season the prices are truly ridiculous... they know they are a popular destination at this time of the year and the prices rise 200-500% and this has made what is left which is slim pickings our of our budget..
    The other reason is distances with time, taking time out to do the 2 resorts with Karma the one in Tuscany and the one in Normandy which is ahead have taken some of our days hence less time to be explore... so change of plan, we are still going to Spain and Portugal but only the top areas of both.....I am disappointed in many ways, as this had been a plan for a long, long time to see both these countries extensively. But sometimes you have to see reason... as it turns out even the places we have managed to find have been much more than planned... the trouble is you can’t get away from peak season anywhere in most of Europe as its summer everywhere!

    So with the new itinerary which takes us to Barcelona, somewhere I wasn’t counting on going again....we had done Barcelona in 2000 which we had enjoyed then, but no desire to go back... however we are so will now have to find some interesting sights to go to, and I know it does have many from our last visit, now a rediscovery.....

    Then as I was getting my pics uploaded disaster struck... I was changing external hard drives when my hand pulled the lead to hard, very new 2 TB external hard drive took off across the table and landed on the floor... I have had this happen before and it survived I have also had this happen before and I killed it and extremely devastatingly it is dead... I tried for ages to make it work, not wanting to fess up to John what I did as. Knew he would be pretty Pived off and yes he was... I felt just so upset... it holds the whole of my copies not the originals, but this had so many that had been worked on to save time once home... no matter what we did no way can you access them... we had only just bought it a few weeks ago... this was due to sheer volume of pics taken had filled up my 500mg and the 1 TB as we had movies and ebooks on them as well, hence no more room... all was going well until I dropped it... it makes a beeping noise and the info I read on the net tells us with the right help you may be able to resale what’s lost... however not while we are traveling, this means 2 things we have to wait until I get home to try and no guarantee it will work and 2 we have to buy a new one again... no wonder John’s Pppppp offfff.... I still can’t believe I did be honest as I write this now a number of days later I still tire up about what I did, but I can’t undo it so just have to work around it....

    Today is very, very overcast an about 1pm it started to pour so good thing we decided to stay in..... I stiff around so much with ma blog I only be a small amount done what with research in the places so I give the right facts and procrastination I only get small bits done at a time... the older I get the slower I am getting sad 😞 to say...

    About 5 pm the rain cleared so we headed out to clear my head and look for a hard drive... we were positive there was a shopping centre close by, but alas it wasn’t once we had walked there only to discover a lot of empty shops and a huge Gym.... so back home head cleared a bit, time to get dinner on again...

    Might not have gone anywhere but absolutely had it from the emotional fall out of writing and the hard drive episode... tomorrow’s a new day we head off to look again after taking today off....

    The light at the end of my tunnel today was the lovely pink hued sunset... gives me hope for a better day tomorrow...
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  • Day142

    Day 140 River of Roman design!

    August 8, 2018 in France ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    Wednesday 08/08/2018 Day (Day 53 SZ) Appart'City Nîmes 364, allée de l’Amérique Latine, Nîmes, 30900, France

    Setting off today we hadn’t as usual any real plans other than wanting to see Pont Du Gard and a suggestion from the lovely young girl yesterday at the info centre who suggested a few sights around the area... so John set Nav for Collias....Not really knowing what was there we were surprised by the huge bridge over the Collias River and below even though the water wasn’t deep were 100’s of canoes and canoe business set up along the river shore line..

    Each business had a different coloured canoe ... so they could distinguish their own..
    One business had 100’s of their own canoes all lineup one on top of the other..John and I was totally in awe as we couldn’t see how so many of the candies would b used and where on earth would they all fit as not that big of a river... when we pulled up the car park where we parked only had a few cars by the time we did leave there were 100’s of cars lined up... and as the day progressed we realised that they needed every one of their canoes as most canoed down stream to Pont Du Gard where you could see it from the water...

    We wandered around the river and it’s bank for a while just so nice to be amongst nature instead of buildings and people, people everywhere.....there was a massive restaurant set up on the top side of the river bank so we had a cuppa in the breeze as the day heat as already knocking us... such a different heat to home even though ours is dry and this is also a dry heat but so, very different in the way you cope with it... once we were revived back to the car along the country roads following Nav who I am sure is stupid at times as she really does take us only some totally stupid roads when clearly there are better ones, but John for the life if me I dont know why insists he must follow her, only to discover many times I am right, but never tells me I am... that darn women has got him right where she wants him.... anyway...... we did make it and off to see it for ourselves...

    Yes there is a cost hmmmmm.... and not a cheap cost either, but after actually spending our day there and it was a lot longer than planned I guess it was worth it...

    The Pont Du Gard sure stands out and is very eye catching..... it’s actually an ancient aqueduct built as part of what was a 50k system around the 1AD the bridge was built in 3 different stages... info below gives more detail..

    Our day consisted of a lunch 🥗 at the restaurant as we walked in not realising there were other smaller restaurants on the other side of the Pont Du Gard... meal wasn’t too bad but they had you being the only access to meals on this side... across the river which was afloat with canoes and people everywhere all worshipping the sun as only the Europeans can... there is a magnificent old 6 story building that appears to be abandoned, so sad as we got close up you could see it had been working not too long ago, had areas outside to eat as well as this beautiful old building so very French in its set up...

    Being in the bridge you could appreciate it’s sheer size but just wall to wall people... we had to pick such a busy day... however it is summer holidays so guessing most days are like this.... views up and down the river gave us insight into why people would hire a canoe 🛶 to come under the Pont much better views I feel, being from the water than up here or even on the banks below it... still would be as good as in the water below it!

    We wandered past some olive trees 100’s of years old along a path that lead us to heaps more shops, cafes and a massive museum and cinema complex.....very modern, kind of felt out of place in amongst the old buildings we were viewing...
    however they had a fantastic movie about the aqueduct and you could see it from a drones perspective along the whole route used to place it along and see some of the other ruins along the path that are still there today..... ohh how I wish we had a 4x4 to explore that track and follow it through the Bush....

    Next a museum all setup with how it was built so well done, a lot of thought has gone into this museum.... lastly totally out of place a graffiti display this felt really weird to see amongst the relics of days of old..... not sure why they would have this displayed but it was so we had a look...

    Having finished this side which now appears to be the main side... we headed back across the bridge to the car... getting pics of the grand old olive trees, the Pont Du Gard from the lower banks of the river... funny yet again snails 🐌 all over the bushes no wonder the French love snails..... some pics of these as well before heading off through different villages to home... a very hot day but thoroughly worth the effort...

    Another dinner in tonight... and a good rest needed for another day of sight seeing tomorrow.

    Info thanks to the Crazy Tourist © 2018 THE CRAZY TOURIST
    Pont du Gard
    The magnificent construction that traverses the Gardon River is 20 kilometres from Nîmes, but is part of the ancient city’s infrastructure. The aqueduct brought water all the way from the Fontaine d’Eure, bypassing the high plateau directly north of Nîmes with a 50-kilometre crescent. Pont du Gard is the most astonishing section, standing at almost 50 metres, with three tiers of arches. And despite the awesome scale of the aqueduct there’s a difference in gradient of just 2.5 centimetres from one side of the Pont du Gard to the other, 275 metres away on the opposite bank.

    Info thanks to Wiki
    The aqueduct bridge is part of the Nîmes aqueduct, a 50-kilometre (31 mi) system built in the first century AD to carry water from a spring at Uzès to the Roman colony of Nemausus (Nîmes). Because of the uneven terrain between the two points, the mostly underground aqueduct followed a long, winding route that called for a bridge across the gorge of the Gardon River. The bridge has three tiers of arches, stands 48.8 m (160 ft) high, and descends a mere 2.5 centimetres (1 in) – a gradient of only 1 in 18,241 – while the whole aqueduct descends in height by only 12.6 m (41 ft) over its entire length, which is indicative of the great precision that Roman engineers were able to achieve using simple technology. The aqueduct formerly carried an estimated 40,000 m3 (8,800,000 imp gal) of water a day to the fountains, baths and homes of the citizens of Nîmes. It may have been in use as late as the 6th century, with some parts used for significantly longer, but a lack of maintenance after the 4th century led to clogging by mineral deposits and debris that eventually choked off the flow of water.
    After the Roman Empire collapsed and the aqueduct fell into disuse, the Pont du Gard remained largely intact, due to the importance of its secondary function as a toll bridge. For centuries the local lords and bishops were responsible for its upkeep, in exchange for the right to levy tolls on travellers using it to cross the river, although some of its stones were looted and serious damage was inflicted on it in the 17th century. It attracted increasing attention starting in the 18th century, and became an important tourist destination. It underwent a series of renovations between the 18th and 21st centuries, commissioned by the local authorities and the French state, which culminated in 2000 with the opening of a new visitor centre and the removal of traffic and buildings from the bridge and the area immediately around it. Today it is one of France's most popular tourist attractions, and has attracted the attention of a succession of literary and artistic visitors.
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  • Day141

    Day 139 The trail to Rome and Nimes!

    August 7, 2018 in France ⋅ ⛅ 31 °C

    Tuesday 07/08/2018 Day (Day 52 SZ) Appart'City Nîmes 364, allée de l’Amérique Latine, Nîmes, 30900, France

    Today we discover the delights at least I hope delights of Nimes and our plan did not disappoint..Nîmes is not a big tourist destination which for us is great ...Not too many people around to bug us as we look...
    We walked to city centre which in itself was just so pleasant in itself as we wandered the French streets, s many doors to discover... it has such a very different feel to it than Italy..Nîmes even though very old in it self, set up by the Romans by Caesar Augustus around last Century BC and 1st Century AD... however the majority of the town feels much newer especially the area we are in....

    Onwards to town, smack bang right to the huge Roman arena, 1. Les Arènes as its called is a huge Amphitheatre built AD 70 we didn’t go into it as again too expensive so we just wandered around the outside, you could see bits inside from there anyway just not the finer details... up the alleys around I to find some lunch which we did a kebab shop, got take away then come back and sat in front of the arena under trees on some cement seats...Watching the world go by here as very relaxing as not many people compared with so many of the other places we have been to... after lunch we wandered around the streets some more taking in the shops, finding as we went 2. Maison Carrée meaning in French the Square House even though it’s rectangle in shape... it was built 2AD and dedicated to Gaius Caesar and Lucius Caesar 2 grandsons and adopted heirs of Augustus Caesar who both died young... sad really isn’t it...

    Next we set off as was recommended by the tourist info centre to the 3. Jardins de la Fontaine, however on the way we made our way past modern fountains set up in a park with huge faces depicting old statues a modern take on old, interesting anyway... from here we made our way to the huge park this was built on the sight of 4. Temple de Diane which is dedicated to the Goddess Diana... the Fountain and park lanes were built in 1745 it was actually one of Europe’s 1st public parks..much of the park is made up of regal balustrades, broad stairways, statues and marble vases, and waterways.... the huge Fountain and then the huge number of steps to climb up to the 5. La Tour Magne...

    But before we did the climb we climbed around the ruins of the Temple de Diane, much of it is still there although in ruins but considering it as built around 1-2AD it was originally a Library was then used as a church before the French Wars of Religion damaged much of pre Medieval and Medieval buildings... a
    Either way it was interesting to scamper around and check it out...

    From here we did the big haul up the quite steep paths to the La Tour Magne... this is a Tower that was part of the 6k city walls now gone built around 15-14BC before this one was built it was built on top of a Celtic/Gallic Tower over 2,000 yrs old now and much or it is still standing....

    It’s been a great day of yet more interesting sights to discover... not knowing what’s here is better more of a we wandered around... I even enjoyed our walk home discovering more doors and windows... many which I won’t post up as I think I have over killed my posts with doors... one day I will have to do a book of doors of the world...

    Dinner in tonight another big day tomorrow as we head out to see other sights outside if town...

    Info thanks to The Crazy Tourist © 2018 THE CRAZY TOURIST

    1. Les Arènes
    The Roman amphitheatre in Nîmes has proudly stood the test of 2,000 years and looks great for its age.
    The arena is still used for celebrations and concerts, and every May is a solemn scene for six days of bullfighting during the Feria de Nîmes. On a visit there’s so much for you to sink your teeth into, because even the configuration of the stairwells and galleries is impressive, and would have allowed 24,000 spectators to get in and out in a few minutes without risking crushes.

    2. Maison Carrée
    An exemplary piece of Vitruvian architecture, Maison Carrée is almost unparalleled in the former Roman world for its completeness.It has been here for more than 2,000 years and the only signs of age are a bit of weathering on the columns in the marvellous portico.The temple was dedicated to Gaius and Lucius Caesar, two grandsons of Emperor Augustus who died in their youth.In the next 20 centuries it became a house, granary, church and was also the mooted tomb for the 16th-century Duke of Uzès , Antoine de Crussol.
    All these functions helped to keep temple in one piece for so long.To enter you have to pass through the majestic doorway almost seven metres in height and there’s a small, unadorned chamber showing a film about ancient Nemausus. then to the long fountain then onto the Garden steps

    3. Jardins de la Fontaine
    Parks don’t get much grander than these 18th century gardens around the water source where ancient Nîmes was founded. There are regal balustrades, broad stairways, statues and marble vases, but also exciting Roman monuments, which we’ll visit later. When the Jardins de la Fontaine opened in 1745 it was one of Europe’s first public parks, and came about after attempts to channel the natural spring led to the discovery of a temple to Augustus and theatre. Come to make more Roman discoveries and recharge your batteries on paths with cedars and horse chestnuts.

    4. Temple de Diane
    Almost hidden behind a copse of pines on the west side of the Jardins de la Fontaine are ruins of a chamber with a long barrel vault that caved in centuries ago. To the sides are passageways with centuries-worth of graffiti etched into the walls, and there are fragments of expertly-carved stonework in the main room. The site is called the “Temple of Diana” although the exact purpose of the building is unknown – it was possibly a library instead. Just by the entrance there’s a plaque telling you the story of the site since medieval times, and how it was damaged by fire in the early modern age.

    5. La Tour Magne
    In its prime the tower at the top of the Jardins de la Fontaine would soar to 32 metres, dwarfing every other building in the city (it is now 18, which is high enough!). The tower is all that is left of the fortifications erected during the rule of Emperor Augustus in 15BC. From its pedestal at the highest point of Nemausus it would have been a crucial beacon and watchtower controlling the plain.You can enter to read the explanatory panels about its Celtic origins, and climb up the stairs to the viewpoint at 18 metres where the displays show you how the panorama would have looked 2,000 years ago.
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  • Day140

    Day 138 Farewell Italy, Hello France!

    August 6, 2018 in France ⋅ ☀️ 32 °C

    Monday 06/08/2018 Day (Day 51 SZ) Appart'City Nîmes 364, allée de l’Amérique Latine, Nîmes, 30900, France

    A travel day and farewelling Italy... in many ways we are be sad, we have truly enjoyed Italy, but can’t say I have totally enjoyed the Italians, they are quite rude especially in shops, but that seems to be the same country over and over in Europe they all hate their jobs and make sure you are aware of it when serving you! I so hope we in Australia don’t get as rude as they are over here...especially in our supermarkets and food stores that’s where they truly are the worse or at roadside stops.... anyway suck it up and deal with it as it’s part of the par....

    Our views along the way through tunnel after tunnel after tunnel were heaps of little villages piled on top of Hill knobs and in the valleys where you would think rivers run... so many so close to each other... all close knit homes on top of each other and a,ways the Cathedral on the highest point be it Hill or valley... always magnificent and always big....You can’t miss them at all... plus you can bet there would be up to another 5-10 church’s up streets here there and everywhere... we have found it time and time again even in small villages there are more than one church...

    We will remember Italy for the great roads unreal feats of architecture so many strung from one high mountain to another... the sheer volume of tunnels that even go through the tiniest hill so the farmers land its not disturbed, our government wouldn’t do that...The crazy crazy drivers they are absolutely mad.... you can never predict an Italian driver, on small roads to open hwys they are just so crazy either madly flying by, passing you on unpassable sections of the road or going soooo slllowww that you could walk faster, getting stuck behind them is just as frustrating as the fast ones in fact more so.... in the end John was starting to drive like an Italian, crazy himself... I just prayed a lot and kept my eyes 👀 shut... Thank the Lord he kept us safe because some days I was an internal mess... but God is trying, to trying tooo I said....teach me to keep my mouth shut when Johns driving.... that is a tuffy He has a big job to do on me cause sometimes it gets loose and I just can’t help myself say something... usually at the wrong time... but we have had that many close calls, not Johns fault most haven’t been anyway, some have it’s been, so its difficult for the old heart not to be put through her paces when they occur.... seems to be pretty regular in Italy so another reason I am not sad to leave, I will be glad for calmer roads... well I pray so... but also sadness as Italy is one of a kind with its villages, history and way of life... for all its negatives there are many, many positives..... hence why we have been back here over 4 times now and seen pretty much most of the country only a few sections left if ever the chance occurs again to visit it.....

    Drove for over 6 hrs, roadside stops were horrendous with people everywhere, but once we got to the got into France it all changed, calm, slower paced, not this mad run in get your quick fix of expression and run again... they all,have Yeppoon beans on board with that expression stuff and the bonus was even had rest stops real rest stops with trees tables toilets... nine if that anywhere in Italy... it was so strange as soon as we got over the border the terrain, vegetation everything changed like it knew it was a new country... we have noticed this time and time again as we change countries everything including the terrain feels so different.

    Arrived in Nîmes doesn’t look much from where we are heaps of shops across the road, hotel very compact and very busy.... tiny kitchen, but still managed to cook a banana cake except didn’t realise it was plain flour, so its a very heavy banana cake...

    I had spotted a couple of Restaurants on our way in not far from the hotel, so we Walked to brewery for dinner. Meal was so so, it was a Micro Brewery, well set up very busy with lots of people and now we had to try an order in another language it’s changing so fast from one to another and trying not to get our little tank toys etc mixed up from language to language..
    Tomorrow is another day so see what Nimes has in store!
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  • Day139

    Day 137 The beauty of Torino!

    August 5, 2018 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 33 °C

    Sunday 05/08/2018 Day (Day 50 SZ) Residence Valdocco Corso Valdocco 10, Centro, Turin, 10122, Italy

    Our day consisted of exploring Torino on foot... we thought yesterday was hot today even hotter...

    But the delights of the amazingly beautiful city keep my spurred on... the mirror image of these massive buildings is quite unreal... they had been carefully thought out and planned from the look of the layout of this city. Most cities in Italy are streets that wind and follow different paths, but this is a bit like ours in that the are very square...the original plan for the layout was similar to a checkerboard: roads running parallel and perpendicular. Hence why everything looks mirror imaged... this fascinates me...I think I am a bit OCD as things like this make me feel very comforted and relaxed...when I taught floral arranging I was very particular about balance and still am to this day... strange I know but we all have our little quirks... and now you know one of my many...

    We covered from ahead of our apartment right down the main mall,to the info centre getting a map to at least know where we were going...The we followed the huge big mirror imaged buildings down to the river on the right side... mainly because it was shaded and todays heat is unreal.... any shade gives a reprieve...

    From the river we wound our around to the huge spiral building I have since found out was originally the Jewish synagogue now is a Cinematic Museum big difference but ohh goodness what an unreal building... then onto the Palace that as supposed to have free entry today... only free entry was to a very bare very boring garden, nothing else was free in it at all... in fact I felt quite cheated as the tourist info centre encouraged us to go there, and in all honesty unless you can go into it there is actually nothing much to look at...anyway we have been and seen....

    You may have noted we haven’t been into many of the buildings as we have travelled and travelled due to the costs to go through half of these places would keep you very broke... so I am content to just look on the outside... at least I have seen that much...

    By late arvo we were tired hot and ready for a rest so we weaved our way home again... we had covered a good portion of the main section, so off we set for home, past more Roman Ruins, the fresh market square where we missed the actual markets yesterday... today after the big clean up yesterday they were preparing all the tables again... some of the trolleys that held the tables honestly looked like they were at least 50 yr old themselves... no rubber on the wheels, all rusty,with bare metal wheels.... the tables looked as ancient as well...

    Past more church’s restaurants closed for the day and some for at least 2 weeks, as its summer holidays a lot of shops and restaurants etc close up for their break for 2-4 weeks... being top tourist season you would think they would stay open, but no that’s not the case....

    Home for a rest before heading bank out to find somewhere for dinner..
    Ohhh my glory was that hard,none had English on their menus on display so that was extremely hard.... we wandered around for over an hour trying to find sine where we could both eat at... I am the main problem,with so many food issues eating is a challenge and John bless his heart tries hard to fit in with what I can eat...

    We eventually found a place but once it came out I honestly could eat it due to the sauce over it made me tummy extremely nauseated...I think John thought I was over reacting then he tasted it and said dint eat it...l did try but with each mouthful I wanted to be sick... so sadly another meal wrecked due to my awful tummy issues...

    Lucky the bread that was part of the complimentary Italian trend with meals was enough to kill the worm that needed feeding....

    Lucky I cooked a huge pot of gazpacho this morning guess what we are eating for the next week.....

    We have had a wonderful day both very tired mainly from the heat... so back to unit to cook the gazpacho a bit more....only once I started the power went out... it had done this 2 times since we arrived you can’t have 2 elements oh the stove, or another appliances when using one hot plate or the power went out... lucky they could fix it, and lucky for us someone was in the office at 10pm night to turn it back on.... Midnight I finally got everything organised and could go to bed...

    Historical Notes
    As all other great European capitals, Torino is a result of the stratification of cultures, people and civilisations. The city is disseminated with testimonials of the past that tell of a history that began over 2000 years ago: the oldest documents mention a small village at the foot of the Alps called Taurasia, a small settlement populated by the “taurine” tribe, descendants of the union of the Gauls and Celtic-Ligures that was destroyed by Hannibal in 218 B.C. It was a military citadel during Roman times and in 28 B.C., under Augustus, it was given the name Augusta Taurinorum. This is a colony whose layout was similar to a checkerboard: roads running parallel and perpendicular. This system will characterise the city’s zoning in centuries to come, when Torino will be under the dominium of the Franks and Lombards, then a bishopric and after that, a city.
    In 1280 the House of Savoy conquered Torino. Under their reign, the city experienced one of the most important transformations of its history. In 1563, the Savoy transferred their capital from Chambéry to Torino and called the finest architects of the times: from Ascanio Vitozzi to Amedeo and Carlo di Castellamonte, from Guarino Guarini to Filippo Juvarra. Thanks to their talent and creative genius, the city was transformed into one of the major capitals of the Baroque era. Torino acquired a style, charm and elegance all its own that has been one of its distinctive features for centuries. In this economic centre of production and exchange, the first manufacturing industries were founded as well as the development of the art of chocolate making, the pride and joy of tradition in Torino, Italy and throughout the world. Torino took on an importance from a religious viewpoint as well, in particular from 1578, the year in which the Duke Emanuele Filiberto definitively transferred the Holy Shroud from Chambéry. Tradition would have it that the body of Jesus Christ was wrapped in this shroud. The Torino of the House of Savoy was also a cultural centre filled with activities. The University, founded in 1404, attracted brilliant minds from all over Europe: Erasmus of Rotterdam, one of the geniuses of Renaissance Humanism, graduated from this University. Torino was also beloved by Montesquieu as well as by French politician and intellectual Charles de Brosses, who once defined it as “the loveliest city in Italy and, as far as I’m concerned, of Europe”.
    The Savoy reign was interrupted in 1798 when Napoleon’s troops occupied the city and forced Carlo Emanuele IV to abdicate and move to Sardinia. Piemonte became a part France and Torino saw the crumbling of her defence walls, that until then were one of the distinctive traits of her planning structure. The Congress of Vienna returned Torino to the Savoy in 1814. After the concession of the Albertine Statute by King Carlo Alberto it was with the ascent on the throne of  Vittorio Emanuele II, along with the work of Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour, that the city became protagonist of national history, leading the process that will result in the Unification of Italy. In 1861, Torino became the first capital of the Kingdom of Italy. The first Parliament was installed at Palazzo Carignano.
    In the years following the Unification, even after the capital’s transfer to Florence, the city defined the industrial component of her identity more and more clearly. This process culminated in 1899 with the founding of FIAT – Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino (Italian Automobile Factory Torino) - by the hand of (among others) Senator Giovanni Agnelli, grandfather of ‘Avvocato’ Gianni Agnelli, who took command of the company in 1966 led it to its international apex. This is a success that is shared with another time-honoured make of Torino’s automobile industry: Lancia.
    Tarting in the beginning of the 20th century, industrial Torino attracted men and women from the countryside in Piemonte and the rest of Italy looking for employment. With the emergence of the “social issue”, the city was faced with new problems of integration, development and assistance. Torino affirmed its calling as a supportive city thank most of all to works by religious institutions such as the Piccola Casa della Divina Provvidenza (Small Home of Divine Providence), better known as the Cottolengo. Solidarity is an aspect that will mark the entire history of this past century, and is brought forward today by institutions like Gruppo Abele and Sermig.
    Torino is also the home to fervent cultural activity. Luigi Einaudi taught here. Antonio Gramsci and Piero Gobetti studied here. At the Liceo Classico (secondary school) d’Azeglio, a generation of students gathered around professor Augusto Monti that were destined to leave an indelible mark on intellectual activity from the 1930’s until our time: these men were writers like Cesare Pavese and Primo Levi, musicologist Massimo Mila and philosopher Norberto Bobbio. Another member of this group was Giulio Einaudi, founder of the publishing house that carries his name: one of the reference points of the Italian anti-fascist culture.
    Italian cinema was born and developed here. In 1914 director Giovanni Pastrone filmed “Cabiria”, based on the literary work by Gabriele D’Annunzio: the first full-length film to be distributed worldwide. Important film studios were founded in Torino: Ambrosio, Aquila and Itala Film. The Fert studios – now the location of the technological park Virtual Reality & Multi Media Park – were among the most active and best equipped movie studios, specially at the beginning of the 20th century as well as from 1940 – 55. Radio and television history also dawned in Torino, where “Eiar”, progenitor of the RAI, was based. Such characters as Paulista and the Caballero Misterioso were born here. Who were they? They were some of the television personalities that brought many commercials to life on the successful television programme “Carosello” aired from 1957 – 1977. Their creator? Armando Testa, an historic figure of Italian advertisement. The success of two time-honoured labels are tied to ad campaigns by Testa agency: Martini & Rossi and Lavazza.
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  • Day137

    Day 135 Tuscany abounding!

    August 3, 2018 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 31 °C

    Friday 03/08/2018 (Day 48 SZ) Karma Borgo Di Colleoli Via Panoramica 20 56036 Palaia Colleoli (PI) Tuscany Italy Pisa

    Another day dawns and today we are going to try and get to San Gimignano, after not being able to go a few days ago because too many people we thought today we will try once more!
    Once we got there it was as the other day wall to wall cars! All jocking to get a park! We must have driven around and around about 4 times before we finally managed to find a spot! Yo be honest I was ready to head off after the 2nd round, and the more anxious I become the more poor John coped it! I really can be a terrible side kick some days! After we finally got the park, which had numerous steps to ascend to make it to the top of the fortified old city! A massive wall surrounded this amazing village dating back to the 3rd century BC this was the beginnings of its origins!

    Once we started to wander around we quickly could see this was very different to many of the other villages! Mainly in the fact it had so many very tall towers! It was a fairly spread out village with so many little facets to keep you searching for more! Views from around the edges over the valley’s below were certainly worth looking at! Sadly much of the area is very dry being there summer! The usual alleys, arches etc but so many much more!

    When we first arrived we somehow ended straight up in a Cathedral which had so many ancient frescos very interesting! On our way in there was a guy begging at the door, but he wasn’t your usual beggar, he was neatly dressed, with a couple of shells a huge crook for a walking stick and a backpack! He hav the shells out to beg I ignored Him on the way in and as I lost John at on stage kept having to go in and out of the Cathedral a number of times! Each time ignoring him again! I found John and we set off but the whole time I was compelled to give him something so I went back but before I gave him his little offering that I had on me I asked why was he doing it! John had already said to me he felt he might be a pilgrim and once I asked he explained he was a pilgrim he had seen out from Rome and was heading to another place a long way away I can’t remember the name of! He had walked from Rome to San Gimignano as the first part of his leg! He did tell me how long it had taken him and the next big leg would take 5 months! As I didn’t have much money on me I could only give him a very small offering! I wished him all the best and headed on my way! Interesting what makes people want to achieve this type of pilgrimage.... in could have asked more and I should have I am sure he would have told me!

    Our day was spent looking and finding again wonderful treasures to see, old Frescos in a courtyard! An amazing old building about to be done up but it was its entrance to the courtyard which lead to the building I loved it looked like a massive picture from ad the whole outside of it was made from carved and designed marble!

    As we were wandering we did find a old office to buy a post bag to send if James’s present, nearly wrecked the bag from sweating so much it’s a terribly hot day..

    We had a cuppa in the main square always costs more to do that.... sit in the busy touristy areas! But people watching is priceless you just can’t pay to see some of the funny or not so funny sights as you watch the coming and going if people!

    Once we had finished we heard off only to stop at their quaint restaurant heading along a Tuscan road! I had seen it the other day as we wizzed by and thought then it looked lovely! I will have to say yes it did look wonderful but their food was so so!!!! Over priced for what it was! Did enjoy the views though, so once we finished we then headed back over the hills, Along the crazy narrow roads where it’s all about dodgems all the way home.......!

    Tonight is our last night so we decided to have dinner here! A real meal is what I wanted! Instead of just going for easy starchy stuff to keep the price down and something we can share! I had a beef and sweet potato dish! It was as very yummy and all went well to start with! Could only manage less then half even though it was a small meal to start with! While there Jeff and Leon the sales reps were also sitting over from us! I waved farewell to them and they came over! After a bit of chatter they ended up sitting and we all had a great chat for a bit longer! Then Leon suggested we share a toast with Limoncello, John declined and had some other drink so did Leon! Jeff and I had the Limoncello! I should learn but do you think I do, no.... I only managed a tiny bit and started to feel awful, by the time the boys had said goodnight I had to run for it to be sick! Sweet sweet things and I are not friends any more! And there went my lovely dinner! They had given me a doggy bag for home with the rest of my meal so I could have more the next night!

    Our time here had been lovely. Still feels like we could do with a big rest but the atmosphere had been very tranquil so that’s let our minds relax even if our bodies haven’t! It’s not just a matter of looking in Italy all adventures are physical as well with lots of walking and lots of climbing up and down stairs here there and everywhere and if not steps then it’s ramps areas that are steep as well! Plus the heat had zapped us day after day! So I think we are physically tired from all of this as well... but it’s the price you pay to see these amazing unforgettable sights!

    History Info below on San Gimignano!

    All acknowledgement to Wikipedia! Content is available under CC BY-SA 3.0 unless otherwise noted.

    San Gimignano (Italian pronunciation: [san dʒimiɲˈɲaːno]) is a small walled medieval hill town in the province of Siena, Tuscany, north-central Italy. Known as the Town of Fine Towers, San Gimignano is famous for its medieval architecture, unique in the preservation of about a dozen of its tower houses, which, with its hilltop setting and encircling walls, form "an unforgettable skyline". Within the walls, the well-preserved buildings include notable examples of both Romanesque and Gothic architecture, with outstanding examples of secular buildings as well as churches. The Palazzo Comunale, the Collegiate Church and Church of Sant' Agostino contain frescos, including cycles dating from the 14th and 15th centuries. The "Historic Centre of San Gimignano" is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town also is known for saffron, the Golden Ham, and its white wine, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, produced from the ancient variety of Vernaccia grape which is grown on the sandstone hillsides of the area.

    San Gimignano delle belle Torri' is in Tuscany, 56 km south of Florence. It served as an important relay point for pilgrims travelling to or from Rome on the Via Francigena. The patrician families who controlled the town built around 72 tower-houses (some as high as 50 m) as symbols of their wealth and power. Although only 14 have survived, San Gimignano has retained its feudal atmosphere and appearance. The town also has several masterpieces of 14th- and 15th-century Italian art.

    In the 3rd century BC a small Etruscan village stood on the site of San Gimignano. Chroniclers Lupi, Coppi and Pecori relate that during the Catiline conspiracy against the Roman Republic in the 1st century, two patrician brothers, Muzio and Silvio, fled Rome for Valdelsa and built two castles, Mucchio and Silvia (now San Gimignano). The name of Silvia was changed to San Gimignano in 450 AD after Bishop Geminianus, the Saint of Modena, intervened to spare the castle from destruction by the followers of Attila the Hun. As a result, a church was dedicated to the saint, and in the 6th and 7th centuries a walled village grew up around it, subsequently called the "Castle of San Gimignano" or Castle of the Forest because of the extensive woodland surrounding it. From 929 the town was ruled by the bishops of Volterra.
    In the Middle Ages and the Renaissance era, it was a stopping point for Catholic pilgrims on their way to Rome and the Vatican, as it sits on the medieval Via Francigena.The city's development was also improved by the trade of agricultural products from the fertile neighbouring hills, in particular saffron, used in both cooking and dyeing cloth and Vernaccia wine, said to inspire popes and poets.
    In 1199, the city made itself independent of the bishops of Volterra and established a podestà, and set about enriching the commune with churches and public buildings. However, the peace of the town was disturbed for the next two centuries by conflict between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines, and family rivalries within San Gimignano. This resulted in competing families building tower houses of increasingly higher and higher heights. Towards the end of the Medieval period, there were 72 tower houses in number, up to 70 metres (230 feet) tall. The rivalry was finally restrained when the local council ordained that no tower was to be taller than that adjacent to the Palazzo Comunale.
    While the official patron is Saint Geminianus, the town also honours Saint Fina, known also as Seraphina and Serafina, who was born in San Gimignano 1238 and whose feast day is 12 March. The Chapel of Santa Fina in the Collegiate Church houses her shrine and frescos by Ghirlandaio. The house said to be her home still stands in the town.
    On 8 May 1300, San Gimignano hosted Dante Alighieri in his role as ambassador of the Guelph League in Tuscany.
    The city flourished until 1348, when it was struck by the Black Death that affected all of Europe, and about half the townsfolk died. The town submitted to the rule of Florence. Initially, some Gothic palazzi were built in the Florentine style, and many of the towers were reduced to the height of the houses. There was little subsequent development, and San Gimignano remained preserved in its medieval state until the 19th century, when its status as a touristic and artistic resort began to be recognised.
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