Sunday, July 31, 2005

Rome by Night

Spotting kiwis in Rome

We were out scootering and who should we see out for a Sunday morning run in the streets of Rome but Jeff Wilson and Adine Wilson (nee Harper). For non kiwis - Jeff was an All Black rugby player and Adine is a Silver Fern netballer. Unfortunately we couldn't stop to talk, as they were negotiating some road obstacles and we were going in the wrong direction. . . . . .

FYI our plan is to leave Rome tomorrow (Mon 1 Aug) and head back to Viterbo then cycle to catch the ferry to Sicily. We will ride for a week or so with our friend Gilmo and then perhaps another week on our own. Ultimately we will then head back through Italy to Greece and then up the Croatian coast. Thats's the plan at this stage anyway . . . .

We were hoping to get to Turkey but we don't think we'll have enough time on this trip. For OCC people, we are hoping to be able to catch up with Meg and Hunter later in September if it works out for them with their jobs etc.

We may not be able to get to many internet cafes in Sicily, so don't be surprised if you don't hear from us for a while. . . . . . . . Ciao

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Days 77-79: When in Rome..... Scooter!!!

Carl read about scooter hire in Rome and we decided to give it a whirl. It has been so much fun - we've been grinning the whole time on it!! It has turned out to be a great way to get around in the heat of the day and we don't have to pay for parking. It has been a real blast, and actually feels quite safe . . . . I have a good captain. Our first 2 shots are by the Colosseum.
(Carl has his trouser legs zipped on because we were going to the Vatican - the temps have been up in the mid thirties for the whole week)

Set in a beautiful park is the restored Galleria Borghese - full of beautiful sculptures and paintings. . . . . the 3rd photo is at the front of the Galleria.

We joined the crowds at the lovely Trevi fountain and we found the coin that Carl's folks had thrown in there a week earlier. We also went back at night and you can see the photo in the Rome by night section.

A scooter has to come with some action shots - don't look Mums!!!

Just down from our hotel is the beautiful Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore - this photo is taken from the back side of it.

We visited The Vatican and climbed 360 steps so that we could take this photo for you. Rome is full of monuments, lovely piazzas and beautiful fountains - this one is at Piazza Navona and Carl managed to get a photo without the pigeons . . . .

Sandy's favourite is the Vittoriano - this monument is apparently dubbed the wedding cake or typewriter - the biggest modern building in the centre of Rome. It incorporates the Altar of the Fatherland, the tomb of the unknown soldier and some lovely Art Nouveau murals and sculptures.

This wee car took Carl's fancy - great for parking!!

We visited a few of these places on a Saturday and we saw more than one wedding party having their photos taken - what awesome places for wedding pictures!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Days 74-76: Viterbo - all roads lead to Rome

As we mentioned earlier, in Feb 2004 we cycled the East Cape of NZ and met an Italian cyclist Gilmo on 3 occasions on the journey. We have kept in touch and we are excited to visit him here in Viterbo - NW of Rome - a well preserved medieval town.

We were able to visit the Palazzo Farnese at Caprarola (Gilmo works as a guide here) - one of most important examples of Mannerist architecture in Italy. Photos don't do it justice, but the first 2 are a small example.
Viterbo is full of piazzas (small town squares) and the 3rd photo is at Piazza dei Priori.
As we walked through town we came upon this - is this a ripoff of a Waikato rugby jersey??

Gilmo also works nights at the hotel we stayed at - here we are distracting him in the hotel lobby one night!!

We were keen to visit the family of one of Carl's work colleagues in a neat village SE of Viterbo called Calcata. Due to our late communication we didn't find Angie's sister but we did find a lovely potter who gave Carl and Gilmo "a go" on the wheel. And we had a neat time in the small village built on the rock. We also stopped at a lovely waterfall on the way home and it was so hot that we jumped on in.
The last photo is of a neat little village we stopped at on our way home - can't remember the name.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Days 71-73: Lakes & mountains - Southern Tuscany

After our week in Reggello it was "on yer bike" and off to a couple of lakes and over some hills . . .. . . This first photo is of Montepulciano in the distance. We climbed up to this walled village. We have left the green Chianti region of grape vines and have been riding through some more dry areas since they have been harvested. Second photo is toward Castiglione d'Orcia.
Carl has really enjoyed watermelon over here - this wee bus was en route just in time for morning tea!
The next photo we took from Selva and it looks across the valley toward a National Park.
We have been enjoying the Tuscan sunflowers - the ultimate sun worshippers! Day 73 saw us at another lovely lake - this is Lago del Bolsena and is north of Viterbo.
The final photo is another cute one we have found in some of our campgrounds - they just need to work out putting the seat back down again for the ladies . . . . .

Thursday, July 21, 2005

My name is Lucca

Here we are living the hard life at our villa in Reggello. We tried to eat outside each night but a couple of times it was too hot!!
We hired a Mazda diesel which was good fun to hoon around in (not so much fun for Dawn when her son was driving though)
Picture 3 is the piazza in Lucca, and yes, in the last photo Carl and John are riding ladies bikes! I was quite excited to discover that I can still ride a single bike after all. A couple of false starts and I was away again!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Days 64-70: Time out in Tuscany Part I

We are having a lovely time out in Tuscany with Carl's parents - Carl's mama and papa flew into Florence on Sat 16 July and we moved into our villa that afternoon.
We are really enjoying taking day trips in the macchina (car) to Volterra, San Gimignano, Siena . . . Our village Reggello is neat - has a very local feel. Sandy took a gamble and got her hair trimmed today - armed with the correct instructions in Italian from the helpful lady at the Info centre! Didn't want to come out looking like Carl . . . . .
Our villa is surrounded by backyard vines and tree covered hills and we have a friendly cat and dog who come to visit . . . .
The first photo is at Volterra - the Roman Theatre
Next is San Gimignano - one of the 13 towers in this walled city (and hoardes of tourists)
The next 5 are in Siena and the last is a castle we passed in the middle of nowhere on our way home.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Days 60-63:Fun in Florence

We have continued to enjoy some stunning vistas in Tuscany, en route to Firenze. This is a hilltop village near Montepertoli on yet another blue sky day. The second photo is the view from above Grassina on the outskirts of Florence.
The next shots are taken in downtown Firenze - the Duomo, view of citta, Pont de Vecchio, a copy of Michelangelo's David (from a decorous angle as Carl wants to protect Kirsty's sensibilities - we saw the real McCoy in the museum).
Because of the tight city streets they have small electric buses - we couldn't resisit a photo.
The last two shots are taken at our campground - they take great care to have lovely flowers around everywhere.