Zurich, Switzerland

[30-jan-2004]

Finally Zurich! Our last city and we get to catch up with our friends, Andrew and Jennifer. We were looking forward to a home cooked meal and a bed that was not of the hotel variety, although Andrew and Jennifer would insist that it is of hotel quality. I would say that it exceeds it, as it was the second most comfortable place we have stayed, Hotel Danieli must come first, sorry guys.

Zurich grew on us the more we stayed and adapted to the Swiss way, the more we enjoyed it. We also enjoyed the fact that we did not have to do anything. The hospitality shown by Andrew & Jennifer was amazing and so greatly appreciated. We took full advantage of the fact that we could sleep in, have a breakfast when we liked, not dictated by the Hotel or the local cafe that only serves breakfast till 10. We also enjoyed the home cooked meals and the company of friends.

Zurich is a lot more tourist oriented that Geneva, it has some great sites, some interesting buildings and churches, although we did not enter one church during our stay. We got to the highest point in Zurich and took some photos, we cheated a little and took the train most of the way and walked a small portion of the way, the best way would be to walk the entire thing, maybe next time.

We ventured to Crazy Cow, which is like the American Steak Houses but Swiss style and Swiss food (mainly). They had a novel way of singing happy birthday with cow bells. Quite funny when someone mixes the bells up, as they do it by bell position rather than learning which bell makes which sound. We had a good time here, Andrew & Jennifer had vouchers that entitled us to get a “free” gift. We handed the vouchers over and got back two cow key rings and wait for it… a Crazy Cow Condom, complete with horns (see below), gives getting horny a whole new perspective ;-) .

We spent most of the week looking at getting settled into Bristol, buying a computer, finding a flat, job and all of that stuff. It has been over 35 days on the road now, and we are looking at spending time in our own place again, making our own meals and getting back to work! Yes believe it or not we are actually looking forward to working in a new country, as they say, Change is as good as a Holiday.

Next stop, the ski fields!

Dave & Narelle

Geneva, Switzerland

[28-jan-2004]

Our last country, before the UK and our new life in Bristol. Geneva, not the most popular tourist destination, although very handy to the ski slopes of the French Alps, is a fairly quiet city with some interesting history. There is an old Anglican Church that had its floor dug in the 70′s up to reveal an amazing history of past buildings and roads dating back to early AD and BC. This building is located in the Old Town where the streets are still cobble stone.

The first night in Geneva it snowed! The first real taste of snow, there was a lot of snow in the French Alps but this is the first lot of snow that we have seen in a major city, quite a novelty really. The hotel that we are staying at is attached to a multi-storey shopping centre that has everything from supermarket to bowling alley. Yes we went bowling, it was great fun, although the shoulders were a little sore after, I think we are getting old…

The hotel room that we have has its own internet connection which has been good for browsing and working out what to do in Geneva. It was unable however to allow us to update our web site. The currency here is in Swiss Francs, which one Franc is almost one Australian dollar, so makes budgeting a little easier, although everything is more expensive. The public transport system is fantastic, every bus stop is named and clearly marked, the bus driver calls out the stop names in advance, and the driver does not deal with money, it all relies on honesty and large fines if you get caught cheating the system. This gives the system a chance to be on time as the driver is not dealing with clients, money which always slow down the process. Everyone just gets on and the bus takes off. Great idea, and makes sense. One of the few things in Switzerland that do.

We have enjoyed Geneva, however really looking forward to catching up with Andrew & Jennifer in Zurich.

Dave & Narelle

Happy Australia Day – Nice (France)

[26-jan-2004]

Happy Australia Day!
We are in Nice, France and have been for 5 days! It has been a great relaxing break, we have been staying in Hotel Aria, which is a very nice place to stay, very clean, quiet and the staff are very friendly and willing to help you out when ever they can.

We arrived by train from Milan, where just out of Monty Carlo the train stops, everyone gets out and boards buses that take you to the Monty Carlo train station. This was fine however friends of ours had to do this in the dark, they had no idea what was going on and it all seemed very strange, we were lucky, we had the benefit of day light and some friendly travellers that told us that this would be happening. The scenery from the train is incredible, the train follows the coast line from the Italian border to Nice and beyond.

Once we had managed to find our way from the bus to the train platform, we boarded a train that was going to Nice, actually all trains from Monte-Carlo are all going the same way (due to the tunnel problems that caused the train to stop and us to catch busses). Once out in Nice we found our Hotel only five minutes away, very handy. We checked in and the sigh of relief from Narelle could be heard for miles I am sure. “Its clean!” was one of the comments, compared to Milan this was very nice and cheaper than Milan, so all in all we are happy (also includes breakfast).

The first few days were spent walking through the streets of Nice, soaking up the French culture, trying to get our tongues around the French words, in the end we could get out the pleasantries and read a menu to make sure we didn’t get raw meat; steak tarte amongst others; reminds me of the Mr Bean episode.

Nice is a small town with not a lot of tourist attractions but enough for a day or two. There are lots of walks that can be done as there is so much history there, just not obvious or easy to find. There is a lot of attractions out side of Nice that is worth the effort, such as Eze, Saint Pauls and the areas in between. Monty Carlo is worth the trip once but other than a Casino or two, seeing people with obscene amounts of money, it is all a bit over rated.

Eze on the other hand is a fantastic little village, we only had half an hour here, but you could spend 2-4 hours, Chateau De Eze is worth a visit for a coffee or in summer Gin & Tonic. The cafe has a terrace that has a massive drop straight down, well worth the look. We never got to see it as it was closed for Renovations until the 4th April 2004! Have to get back there some time soon.

Another town worthy of note is St Paul, this town is a medieval town that is totally surrounded by a wall, built on a hill top looks very spectacular coming into. The town is renowned for its art and many artists go to this town for inspiration. There are some really good original works and some very average copies. Would be worth spending a few hours touring the art galleries if that’s your type of thing.

We would have to recommend the tour company that took us to all of these great places, med-tour.com is the company, they will pick you up from your accommodation and take you on a long but rewarding day. We did the tour that covered the following (tour #1) Nice, Eze, Monaco, Monte-Carlo, Saint Paul de Vence, Antibes, Cannes. The tour was well worth the money, however the trips to Monte-Carlo and Antibes were very touristy and could be missed to spend more time in the other destinations such as Eze.

We really enjoyed Nice, a lot more than we thought we would, the language thing was frustrating at first in that we tried to speak the language, when it was better to accept defeat and not try, just be polite and ask if they speak English, in most cases they say a little, but can actually speak or at least understand very well.

Next stop Geneva, Switzerland.

Dave & Narelle

Much to do – NOTHING

[22-jan-2004]

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRIS BARKER

I guess you all want to hear the story now, about the train? To take up where I left off..

We were RUNNING – as much as you can on slippery wet marble floors carrying heavily laden packs on the front and rear of your bodies. As well as wearing layer upon layer of clothes. Gate 10 I had shouted and so there we headed expecting our train not to be there. It was – so the running began! As we came alongside the train, it started to move- very slowly – and Dave hit (on a whim) a green button. Suddenly a small step flipped down and the electric doors opened. So, at a running jump we boarded the train. Please bear in mind – do not try this – this was done under very controlled conditions and a moment of desperation.

If of course, you do find yourself attempting this, choose a carriage without a conductor.

If like us, you inadvertently choose the wrong carriage – be prepared for an onslaught of dismay and disgust in broken English (Dis isa dangheras you canna jump ona moobing tren). Yes, you will be made to feel like a small naughty school child who has done the wrong thing. Saying the words Sorry doesn’t help either. Suck it up and move on down to the other end of the train.

We made it safely to Milan. The rest of the train ride (three hours) was quiet as we sat in first class trying not to be noticed. The idea of Milan was to do NOTHING. It was suggested that Milan was not much more than a shopping destination. So we booked into a 3 star hotel and came with the hope of not seeing a museum or church for two days.

Dave says our hotel is “fine” and “you get what you pay for”. Within the budget, this place throws in a continental breakfast but lacks in a few other areas. IE Cleanliness – yes I almost had to wear my thongs in the shower! [David writes - Narelle has amazing vision for dirt, mould and anything that is out of place, therefore she easily found the mould and immediately became interested in the 100 other hotels that have according to her "better lobbies" sometimes you are never satisfied with what you have got] We have lost the tennis channel here, but have gained a channel of another sort (not by our choice). A sort that really should not be mentioned on such a family orientated website such as ours. Needless to say it is twenty-four-seven of endless unlimited viewing… I shall go no further.

A word on the lift – it is very small, and barely fits one person, let alone one person with a suitcase or two on wheels – even though people continue to try day and night. Our room was conveniently located on the second floor immediate turn (in fact, you have to shut the lift door to open our room door) right after exiting the lift. Coupled with very noisy neighbours across the 1m (just) hallway, our night of sleep was very disturbed. We changed rooms this morning into a twin bed room but hopefully a quieter location.

Off to Nice tomorrow – as planned, we have done nothing in Milan – a few hours updating the website and a walk about town (no churches or museums this time). We will update our itinerary with our new plans to keep you posted.

Dave & Narelle

The Plot Thickens…

[19-jan-2004]

Goodness, where do I start here. I guess the beginning. It all started back in Perth after a few drinks with a friend. Dave has acquired himself a new lady friend. Her name is Cath and many of you may know her as the gal from New Zealand who lives at the Sheraton. Well, that is my version! Little did I know, that Dave and Cath had been plotting and scheming for a few weeks. The following is what I was told by Cath..

“When you are away, you must go to Venice. It is a beautiful place and I know a guy (according to Cath) who owns an apartment and rents out rooms. It is cheap and he only rents to people by word of mouth when I get back to New Zealand I will give you the details.”

Via email, we kept in touch and I (Narelle) was disappointed to learn that this chap had closed his doors. Well, being a bit of a planner (freak!) [thanks Dave!] I started to stress ( a bit) as were told how difficult and expensive accommodation is in Venice. A day into Florence we got an email from Cath saying she had friends in Venice for the weekend coming up and they had offered to put us up and show us around. Great I say – we were going to Venice for the weekend. Cath said – she would email the details of this place and her friends names etc.

No email turned up (not that I saw!) and being a bit of a stress pot (control freak – Dave)I was saying to Dave, we have to print off the details of these people – how will we know where to go and stuff.. so before we leave Lucca must get this info. We could not find an internet cafe in Lucca that was open and we settled on the idea of checking email at the Firenze train station before our next train out.

The weather was so bad, we were so wet leaving Lucca at 0700hrs and the trains were late – so we did not have enough time in Firenze to check (without missing our connection to Venice). By the time we were on the train I was stressing about not having any info, what if we don’t get a room – where will we stay, oh, it is so expensive…. blah blah blah.. [Dave writes - whinge, whinge, whinge] We settle on the plan to find an internet cafe ASAP as we land in Venice [David writes - David managed to calm Narelle down and convince her that this is a good idea and that we have heaps of time and that the people will speak English and that not worry].

In Venice at the train station, Dave takes out a piece of paper and says “Now here’s the directions we need” I assume that he has printed them out at an internet place somewhere in Florence. But the tide turns and he says, “well, I have to tell you now…”

To try and keep a long story short, We had free accommodation at the Hotel Danieli – a five star hotel Situated on the waters edge near San Marco’s Square. The most elite and expensive area on Venice. Turns out – that Cath (the dear, lovely, warm hearted, kind, considerate, ….Cath – is that enough?) is an Platinum Member of hotel club and had organised two nights (in gratuito) FREE for us. AS a platinum member, the entitled room was upgraded to a suite overlooking the Grand Canal. Never Ever in my life have I seen such magnificence. This place is UNBELIEVABLE. You have your own cloak room and foyer and corridor in your suite. The walls are covered in silk that match the KING sized bed spread and the curtains. The three windows opened out onto the grand canal and the carpet was plush and so soft. The marble bathroom – where to start- heating under the floor, heated towel rails, shoe mitts (I suppose to polish your shoes?) , hand creams of all types, luxury bath, double vanity – the list goes on. So indulgent.

Anyhow – my tongue is back in my head and I finally stopped the gooey tears of gratitude. Venice – a truly fabulous place. Yes it is also expensive – but so well worth it. You cannot come to Italy without coming to Venice. We enjoyed the luxury of our hotel but ate outside as it was Euro 10 for a coke in our room and breakfast (although a buffet on the terrazza) would set us back $200 AUD for us both. So we stuck to the pizzerias and trattorias.

One we highly recommend is Ristorante Pizzeria Al Chianti. Situated in San Marcos Square – this place is very small but warm and so friendly. Buon Giorno to our new Venetian Amici Manuel and Annarita Vanuzzo. Grazie to Papa (Paolino Vanuzzo) for his great food. We sampled not only great food, but delightful company – hello to John and Sally the English couple next table to us! Our culinary delights continued after dinner with the attempts to savour Italian after dinner Liquors. Enjoying it here so much … don’t want to leave…

Dave & Narelle

7 down 93 to go…

[17-jan-2004]

Thanks to our tour advisor in Rome (aka Karim) we stopped off in Pisa for the day then onto a charming town named Lucca. Yes Pisa -Leaning Tower OF.. Well, Our train ride was again pleasant and took around an hour and a half with day the day being the bluest skies we have had yet. The air was cold and crisp but glorious sunshine. We checked our bags in at the train station and walked from one end of Pisa to the other -a fairly easy task. There is a big square, complete with Tower that leans, Museums to wander through and a large Cathedral. It would have cost us $60Aud to climb the tower – a lot of money for sore knees – so we took the cheaper option, climbing only 300 steps (yes, we counted)in the Duomo. (Large Dome building next to the Cathedral and tower.) We looked in one museum and went back to get our next train to Lucca.

We loved this town – Admittedly not a lot to do after seeing the square and tower etc, but a quaint little place with a country feel.

Onto our next destination only 20 mins away by train is Lucca. This is known as the City of 100 churches. Well, we went to 7 of them, only 93 to go! Our lodgings here would described by a Lonely Planet (or other such guide) as “characterless but functional”. With this, the Barkers agree. It was clean, the bed was comfy (unlike Florence, which sank in the middle like the Titanic) and the water was hot. We also partook in a home cooked meal (at the hostel) (packet pasta opened and boiled by me of course) We tried supermarket wine – at the huge price of about Euro 5 (we didn’t realise that it came from California!) Still, it did the trick and we slept well.

After beautiful weather for our arrival, the heavens opened and we had rain in Lucca for two days. I admit to feeling the coldest yet and we tried out the highly spoken of -Italian ciccolata calda. (Hot chocolate) It is like chocolate soup – very thick and creamy and piping hot. No amounts of coffee this day warmed us like this tasty beverage did. Divineness in a mug. Walking, walking and walking was the order of the day – trying to stay warm and dry the challenge. We accidentally gate crashed a funeral at one of the 7 churches (so that is what the big black car out the front was for)and found another church with dear little old nuns paying money into the heaters to sit by and pray.

This town is definitely worth a look – it is surrounded by the original stone wall and moats probably used to keep out the “baddies” (although they let us in :-) Only 4km to walk around the top of this wall and the view is pretty good. Next time perhaps the weather will be more appealing. Thanks to another David (our host in Lucca) for his advice and chats. We wish him well for his visit to Mexico in February

Dave & Narelle

Fascinating Firenze!

[15-jan-2004]

Well, Our arrival in Florence was kindly due to the lovely service of Trenitalia! The big train system here in Italy! We used our pre bought Eurail passes and comfortably sat in first class! There is more room on these babies then in an aeroplane – so our journey was pleasant. Three hours or so and we arrived in Florence to then hike (about 25 minutes) with our packs to our next accommodation. A bed and breakfast up two flights of mouldy smelling stairs and we were presented with quite a lovely room – complete with four poster bed and silk ties! We were able to watch TV – which is no big deal but have you ever seen the Cosby show dubbed in Italian? Or how about Family Matters? the Steve Urkel guy – doesn’t sound the same with a voice that has broken and is speaking rapid Italian! Still, we enjoyed the challenge of watching an Italian game show!

The shutters were so effective that we awoke thinking it was fairly early – it was so dark! But in fact, it was 0930hrs! So, after munching down the “included breakfast” – consisting of a stale croissant (over wrapped in plastic) and an unusual beverage of a pear juice popper – we started the day! No idea where to go we just started walking. The dog sh!t here is a lot better than Rome, although it is still a hazard!

After half an hour walking we found the tourist bureau complete with free map! And we plotted our day. Of course first stop was a Church! The HUGE Santa Maria Novelle Church still in the process of being restored was a marvel to see. Very old, very historic and very serene. It was also freezing! The San Lorenzo Square was worth a visit (skeleton and all).

The next day consisted of a marathon effort to see the statue of St David. Dave was very excited to see a naked man that is his namesake! Apart from walking about an hour and a half, we then trekked up a very very large, steep – well, hill doesn’t really cut it! It seemed more like a mountain to me! (Even Dave had to take his jumper off as it was hard going) But, we made it. Hooray – but, bad news, It wasn’t even the real thing!! ARRGGGHHH. The view was incredible and it was pretty cold up there (I am sure there are pictures of this view – have a look). So, I admit to feeling a little whingey (just a little) as the statue was a copy Dave was still on a mission to seek out the real one.

Luckily we found some other very tired tourists and we shared a cab to the Galleria Dell Accademia a big art gallery/museum of really old things (as museums often are). There he was, in all his glory broken hand, penis and all! This made Dave’s day! (Now we could go back for a Nana nap). The story of David (Michelangelo) was very interesting and the restoration process over hundreds of years pretty amazing. Well worth the visit to Florence.

A quick mention of our favourite Florence restaurant – a little Vietnamese place where on the first night we had to work out the menu. It was in Vietnamese of course, but then in Italian. So, where a noodle dish was described as spaghetti with chicken and so on! A challenge really. But the food and prices were so good we went back and were a little more adventurous with our ordering. Our visit here has been less hectic than Rome and the historical sites are worth a look.

Dave & Narelle

Back to Budget

[21-jan-2004]

It is so such an enchanting place, that we decided to stay another two nights (19th -21st Jan). The weather on the weekend was wet so we made full use of our deluxe surroundings. Another night at Hotel Danieli was 5 times the cost of our nightly budget so we relocated. Our simple one star hotel was really quite nice. The Hotel Noemie provided us with a very small room but was comfortable and warm. If you can stand the stench of the public toilets outside the restaurant on the way up to the lobby you will be pleasantly surprised. Lonely planet describes this place as “characterless” but on the contrary, we found it charming and although small, the gold ornate drapes and walls were pleasing to the eye.

Enough about couches and curtains – the weather shined on us for our last two days. The pigeons in San Marco’s square were out in full force – you only had to stand with your arms out and you could be swarmed by hundreds of them. We did not try this in fear of the poo factor! The cost of laundry in Venice, this is not a recommended practice.

The enormous St Marks Basilica with its golden mosaic surfaces is truly a sight. Mass there for us was quite special as although we didn’t understand much of it, the gospel reading was the same as the one we had at our wedding. (Wedding at Canah) The museum at the top of the Basilica is certainly worth the dangerous hike up the ridiculously steep stone stairs.

Of course, one cannot be in Venice without a Gondola ride. We were happy with our bartering techniques but probably still paid too much! Our chap was dressed in the real gear – striped black and white top complete with boater hat. We didnt have the pleasure of an accordion playing singer in our gondola (as did some others) but that was ok as we could hear their grand voices echo throughout the canals. (Tom Jones featured highly).

Lots of walking of course, up bridges, down bridges, round narrow corners then realising you’ve been here before. Many, many narrow paths wind themselves around each other and over the canals of blue green, quite clean looking water. And if you are lucky you may see the odd dead dog floating by (so much for that romantic gondola ride).

The vaporetto (like water ferry) took us back to the train station where we ran – yes, physically actually – loaded with packs – RAN to catch our train. There is a story there… so stay tuned…

We love Venice. Our trip here has been enchanting and we have to say a BIG, BIG thanks to our fabulous friend Cath for her organisation skills and her graciousness in giving us this 5 star experience. Cath we love you …. (enough yet???)

Venezia – WE SHALL RETURN

Dave & Narelle

Raving about Rome!

[12-jan-2004]

After the rain, we did do some “tourist stuff” in Rome – we visited the Spanish steps, many more churches, the Trevi Fountain, Vittorio Emmanuelle Monument, the Coliseum (from the outside only as we ran out of time!) and to top it off – we squeezed in a blessing by the pope!

The fashions of Rome must get a mention! Puffy Michelin tyre type jackets are the go – there were whole families wearing them! Brown, black – you name it, they wore it! And who says that white is not a winter colour – try telling these high top fashion wearing people that – there was more white around than a polar bear would wear in the snow!

Then , the footwear – well, the only way to go is the pointy toe! If your shoes aren’t pointy toed don’t bother trying. Of course, these fashions were all so extremely expensive that we just admired them from a distance even when the sales were on – and they were on!

The number of people queuing outside stores waiting for the doors to open at stores like Gucci, Beneton, Luis Vitton to name a few. Coats – of the puffy variety were sconti 50% (discounted by %50) and they still cost Euro 300 plus! It was worse than the Myer stock take sales after Christmas! You couldn’t walk down the streets as they were blocked by people queuing! The tourist stops were fairly quiet – everyone was out shopping!

More raving about some new friends! The dear Amiji brothers – were the chaps who rented out the apartment we had in Rome. David and Karim – although unseen for the first few days, we struck up quite a conversation which has led to us hosting our new Italian amici (friends) sometime in Perth! It has also led us to brag quite incessantly about their fabulous accommodation! Lovely new apartment with all the mod cons required at a reasonable price. Our two nights here became 5! So, if you are coming to Rome – check out the Vatican Two Suites, close distance to St Peters and the Vatican! I am sure that if you mention the lovely Barkers (who are still honeymooning!!) you may get a discount ;-) … well, at least a friendly smile and great English speaking hosts!

To complete our raving alla Roma – we should really tell you how much we have enjoyed Rome! In case you haven’t guessed we LOVED IT!

Dave & Narelle

Tirami il dito!

[9-jan-2004]

Tirami il dito : The latest phrase in our Italian vocabulary (English translation : pull my finger!)

Ah, Bella Roma!! As we arrived around 2230hrs on Wed night we were stuffed! We had a transfer booked and we happily dragged ourselves into his Mercedes! He did not really speak English so I had a chance to show off my Italian (or lack of!) We managed to chat away he had a five year old daughter, had never been to Australia as his wife was scared of our spiders! Did quite well really! Our apartment was booked on the net – the Vatican 2 Suites and we were met by David the owner. He took us in behind a massive door – that looked like a big gate into a fortress. It was the marble lobby of a block of flats really! Still, very impressive to us. Two flights of stairs upwards ( or in a very rickety lift that fits one person at a time and requires manual operation!) we entered our apartment.

We have one bedroom with parquetry flooring and double bed, small table and small bathroom. Complete with bidet and “intimate cleansing gel” – for those intimate, delicate areas! We have not attempted to make use of these facilities. The loo and shower are all we need! There is another two bedrooms off a small sitting area which are both rented. One of the rooms has access to a small kitchenette. It has been rented to a family from Adelaide whom we met last night. Mary and Peter have been travelling around Europe with their three kids (5, 9 and 12 years) for three months. Lovely people – we shared a cuppa and revelled in being able to speak uninterrupted, free flowing Aussie! The kids especially -They hadn’t had the chance for a while – so it was a good Goss session!

During the day yesterday we explored! Our room is a five minute walk away from the Vatican so we went there for the day. We went to the Vatican Museums – even me, who can talk a fair bit – I was lost for words. Never ever, could you imagine seeing anything like what we encountered yesterday (see pics!) The artwork and statues and tombs and history amazing. Artefacts dating back to B.C It took us nearly four hours (mum you should be proud – we stopped and read almost everything! and did it fairly slowly!) just to get around the museums and finally reach the climax of the Vatican – the Sistine Chapel. Incredible! (See pics) The ceilings and grandiosity of these rooms are unbelievable. The whole complex (the Vatican) is its own state and the security and staff there are Swiss Guards.

I could go on for hours to try to explain it all – but there is nothing I can say that will sum it up except – get over here and see it for yourself! It is truly truely amazing. We also walked around to St Peters Square – again, metal detectors and security checks were required to get in but worth the wait. Although it is the low season it is surprisingly busy! The Basilica took our breaths away. Just so enormous; gold, ornate, ancient and symbolic. You can go under the floors of the Basilica and visit the catacombs – tombs of the dead popes. Incredible. You can also walk up 320 steps to the top of the dome! Again – words will not describe – so please.. put it on your to do list before you die! Yesterday was very special and quite touching!

Enough romantic babble – some facts about Rome. It is pretty skanky – dog sh!t and chewing gum and cigarette butts everywhere. Don’t ask for a Latte – as you will be given a cup of hot milk! Must ask for a cafe latte! It is cheaper to stand at the bar and eat and drink – not sit down! Dave here – if I may get a word in edgewise – Narelle is doing very well with her Italian – she understands most people. We have not gone hungry and of course, had partaken in several coffees (when in Rome!!)- (she can even ask for her very weak latte, or coffee on the side!)She navigated her way around the streets and could ask questions at the Vatican and St Peters. Also, she managed to organise me to get our photos off digital camera and onto a CD. Good one Relle. Me – I am a woos! I just push her in front of me and (as she is used to!) she can do all the talking!! haha – no really, am proud of you sweetie!

Goodness – well, looks like I have earned some brownie points! Well, we are off to visit the Coliseum and Spanish Steps shortly. Sorry to you all it has taken so long to update the site – it has been a combination of laziness, tiredness and in Asia , the expense. But – you cant get more up to date then this – hopefully the weather has stopped raining and we will go do “tourist stuff”

Arrividerci!

Dave & Narelle