Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Hi from the Amalfi Coast (25th Sept)

Buon Giorno,

We left Venice Wednesday morning, after another 3 very enjoyable days.  The city was full of narrow streets (so narrow we wondered how larger people would get through some of them); amazing stone bridges over the many canals; and architecture that once again fascinated us.  Again it was different to what we have seen so far, and we wandered around in awe.

The first morning we were there we followed a suggested walking tour (from the Lonely Planet Guide - thanks Carms), and it took us down streets which were away from the main tourist thoroughfare.  It was like travelling through a maze and having a little surprise waiting around each corner.  We must have come across at least 5 churches secluded away.  Melinda gave me the task that day to read the map (brave, I know), and because the streets all seemed to end up going the same way (along with the distraction of new and exciting shops), she was none the wiser when I took a few wrong turns.  The only problem was that we wanted to return to a couple of the shops and they were never to be seen again!

However, we did finally make it to the famous San Marco Piazza and met up with about 10,000 other tourists who also heard it was famous!  I gave up trying to take a photo of the Basilica that didn't have 500 heads in front of it.  I even managed to photograph the perfect silhouette of someones nose.  Almost an icon itself it was so impressively large!

We then psyched ourselves up to climb another 400 or so steps up the Bell Tower to find the only way up was by elevator.  We laughed as we had just bought ourselves water in preparation for the climb!!  While the aerial view of the city was impressive, I was getting angrier and angrier at all the tourists using their mobile phones, while standing in the best locations on the viewing platform (stopping me from getting my perfect photo).  It was only after I muscled a few of them aside that I realised they were listening to an audio commentary (on a mobile looking phone device) which identified where the particular icons could be viewed from the platform.  Opps, blonde moment!!!

On Tuesday, we took a boat trip to the Islands of Murano (saw a very impressive glass blowing demonstration); Torcello (more churches); and Burano.  I loved Burano.  The entire island was filled with brightly painted houses.  We had 20mins only and I raced around like a mad woman photographing every thing in sight.  I'm sure the locals I ran past thought I was a complete freak.  Why would someone photograph their underwear hanging from their balcony's? (everyone in Italy hangs their clothes from the balcony).  I've never seen such an assortment of Nanna pants!!  These Italians have no shame, nor do they have any sex, if their undies are any indication!!!

I've decided that when I return to Australia I am going to resign from the QPS and purchase a franchise in Venice.  A Water Closet (Loo) franchise!  The loo in San Marco Piazza was such a money making enterprise you had to slot 1.50 euro into a turnstile to gain access!!  Imagine 10,000 visitors a day at 1.50 euro each!!  Or if you have a bladder like mine, 3 euro per person!!!  I am so in the wrong job.  I could sit in a loo all day and become a millionaire???

Now, I did pay 30 cents to use the loo in Pisa and it was so spectacular, I almost gave them a tip!!!

I must say I was disappointed in the calibre of the gondola men in Venice.  The majority were large middle aged men who had squeezed themselves into tight striped shirts to look the part.  Am thinking they may double as store Santa's at Christmas, and this is just their summer jobs!!!   

At the cost of 100 euro, we decided to opt out of a gondola ride.  We took heaps of photos of them (no surprise there).  At one stage a group of Asian tourists were crammed into one together and as it floated down the canal towards us, it looked like the 'boat people' had arrived in Venice!!!

And for those that keep asking me - no I still haven't found a nice Italian man, but I assure you, you will all know when I do!!!

Shopping wise, Melinda couldn't find any nice leather boots in Venice, but she consoled herself with 11 varied pieces of Murano glass instead.  I managed to secure a few items myself, as any good supportive shopping friend would!!!

After a last minute shopping spree on the final morning, we headed off to Naples (5 hr train trip).  Try walking along Murray St, Manoora alone at 10pm at night and you would have the same unsettling feeling that I had walking (with Melinda) at 5pm along the streets of Naples.  It was dirty and horrible.  There were African Italians selling their wares on the footpaths and you just had to see it to believe it.  They had trolleys full of mobile phones, ipods, mobile phone rechargers, watches, brand handbags - all good quality legal items!!!  I would have taken a photo, but I was gripping my camera case so tightly and I thought best not to annoy the nice black men. 

We spent one night in Naples and that was more than enough.  We walked 3 blocks and then returned to have dinner at the hotel and then left straight after breakfast.  I'm sure there were nice safe streets somewhere in Naples that weren't littered with a weeks worth of rubbish (had to dodge my new wheels around some very dubious waste on the footpath), but we didn't try and find them. 

We are now in Ravello, a small gorgeous town on the Amalfi Coast.  Our hotel room has the most amazing view of the coastline.  We are here for 2 nights, as part of our Intrepid walking tour which starts tomorrow.  Unfortunately it is raining at the moment, so we didn't walk too far this arvy when we arrived.

Anyway, I'm sure I have bored you enough with my travel tales. I hope all is well back home.  

Ciao Ciao,

Love Joyous xxx   

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