Archive for November, 2014


On leaving Venice we found ourselves in a beautifully appointed train for our 2.5 hour trip to Milan. We had purchased snacks and fruit for the trip and Claudia had her deck of cards from the flight over. Our card game of ‘Spit’ greatly amused the Italian grandfather sitting next to Claudia and we had a great ‘conversation’ using a mixture of our ‘piccolo’ Italian, a little English and lots of arm waving and sign language. He was off to Milan for a baptism and he was able to name lots of the past European tennis stars when Claudia told him she played tennis.

Arriving in Milan we had a long trek to the subway where we had to fend off very pushy gypsies trying to take over the ticket machines. I refused to pay them for their ‘services’ and we walked off to catch the train to our accommodation. Once again it was an airbnb in a residential area. This time however the area was quite different, lots of rubbish on the street and very busy main roads with lots of street traffic, quite a culture shock after the quietness of the canals of Venice. Our room, however was in an absolutely beautiful home once again, in a secure enclave. As we walked down the lane violin music drifted out a window.

Roberta’s home was also full of beautiful period furniture, art and detailing and a green oasis in the city. Our room was large with big windows opening onto the garden and a very welcoming host. As it was a Sunday we also met many of her family who were over for lunch. We, however headed back out to the subway (we bought a day ticket which would cover us until 2 pm the next day) to explore the city of Milan. We wandered around the square, deciding to come back the next day for a tour of the Duomo after Claudia’s shorts were rated too short!

We went for a walk along the shopping strip, tasted our first ‘piccolo cono, due gelato’, had a delicious lunch and then headed in to see a great exhibition of Leonado Da Vinci’s experimental inventions, precursors for many later engineering feats.

Back to the Duomo early the next morning, after a very refreshing sleep and breakfast (very handy subway goes right to the square) we were able to wander through the beautiful and huge church while it was quiet (before the herds of cattle and sheep arrived!), say the first of many prayers in many churches and climbed to the roof for the most amazing views of the structure itself and the city.IMG_2092





Milan was getting ready for Fashion Week-we just missed it, like we just missed George Clooney’s wedding in Venice. We wandered around the streets window shopping until we found a lovely cafe for coffee and lunch and then headed back to our accommodation to collect our luggage, then back to the station for our train to Cinque Terre. Milan is another city I will have to return to, to explore further.

November 3, 2014 at 1:28 pm 1 comment

A Travelling we did go

My youngest daughter and I have been back from our backpacking adventure to Europe for two weeks, so it is about time I posted. While we were away I kept a travel diary on Facebook, which I had previously used to keep up with what others were up to but generally not posted on. It was a great way for friends and family to keep up with our trip, especially with the time differences and erratic internet access. although we did skype as often as possible.

Our trip was 12 months in the planning. The rest of the family (2 adult sons and husband) chose not to accompany us, so being my first time in Europe and travelling with my 14 year old daughter, my priority was to ensure our safety, as much as possible. I decided to book all our accommodation prior to leaving and we mostly used Airbnb, carefully selected for easy accessibility. It was the best decision I could have made, we met some wonderful people and my daughter and I had the wonderful advantage of local knowledge and accommodation in residential areas. The other great thing about our trip was staying with family in Heidelberg, Germany (now one of my favourite cities) and London (what a great action city).

Our departure was delayed on the day of our flight to London by an accident at school in which my daughter received concussion! So we flew out 2 days later, missed our tour of Buckingham palace and had to wait 5 hours for a rescheduled flight straight to Venice to pick up on our itinerary. We also lost the 2 days I had planned in London to rest after the long haul flight. We hit the canals of Venice and didn’t stop for the next 5 weeks!

From the Marco Polo airport we were able to purchase our 2 day travel passes and jump straight on a bus for the island. We each had a 7 kg backpack and no check in luggage which made all our travelling so much easier. Then it was an amazing twilight water bus ride to our vaporetto stop, 2 minute walk and we were at our amazing accommodation. Our bedroom was huge, full of beautiful antique furniture and paintings and two tiny balconies looking onto the canal. This bnb also had the best breakfasts, they were delicious and we felt very spoilt. Nearby at the local square (2 mins) were restaurants and shops so after a quick clean up and change we went out for a wander and dinner. The next days were spent visiting the islands of Murano and Burano, wandering around the Venice streets, crossing bridges and marvelling at the architecture. This is definitely somewhere I will be returning and next time it will be for at least a week.

We took thousands of photos on our mini iPad, definitely the best tool to travel with for photos and internet as it fitted into my little day travel bag and wasn’t too obtrusive. It allowed us to to edit our photos as we travelled and it was all backed up to icloud each time we had an internet connection. Claudia did a lot of the photography, much better than me, and we concentrated on getting the textures and unusual angles of our trip.


Claudia on one of our balconies

Claudia on one of our balconies


November 3, 2014 at 1:23 pm 1 comment


November 2014

Notebook Project