Location: Sorento, Italy
Car Museums still 3
Well a lot has happened since the last time we were able to write an entry.
We left Karlsruhe and headed for Luzern, where we walked around the old city, seeing the lion carved into the stone (not sure about that 1), walked along the lake with tremendous views of the alps, viewed the old town walls, passed along the river and across the bridge made from wood that is supposed to be old but has been rebuilt because someone lit a cigarette in the 1990s (sorry about the gramma, but I cant find a few keys...maybe they dont have commas in Italian).
The following day we made the decision to ascend Mount Pilatus. Approximately 30mins on the gondola and we reached the peak. The lungs burned, and frostbite was a distinct possibility as we enjoyed the splendid views of Luzern below. Hammered by the wind on 1 side of the peak, we were bathed in glorious sunshine on the other.
We then had to leave Luzern and make our way back into France (Unfortunately). As Im biased in my writings I will hand over to someone with a more open mind on the french, but before I do, YES thay are rude, their wine is shit, the food boring and LITTLE and they smoke like chimneys....... CHRIS
Pete.....I agree with Chris in essence about the French but parts of France are beautiful. From here we headed to the south west of France and in particular the Dordogne Valley. We stayed in a beautiful little town just outside Sarlat called La Roque (Gageac) right on the Dordogne River. What an amazingly beautiful place. We spent two days here exploring the valleys, gardens, Chateaus (which there are a lot of) and were overwhelmed by its beauty. In particular we thought the fortifications built into the side of the cliff walls all throughout this region (a remnant of the defence systems of the old Bishoprics) were incredible.
We then made an arbitrary decision to head to the wine country to explore the "marvel of French Wine." We headed to Bergerac the provence east of Bordeaux and were based here for a fewdays. Well unfortunately our experinece here was that the wine was neither as accessible or as drinkable as it is back home. We tried in vane to get to a number of vineyards and managed only 2 out of 10...they were all closed. In this we managed to try the 3 signature wines of the region..the Bergerac red, Montbazillac- a sweet white and the Sausignac another sweet white. The synopsis.....these are not signatures that will be worth anything in the future and the wine is already dead in any case.
After a bit of frustration we decided to do a big drive east to Nice where we were based for a few days. It was great to get to some warmer weather and crack out the shorts and to see the beach again. We had fun exploring Nice on foot and also Monte Carlo where Chris even got to drive through the much heralded tunnel and hair pin of the F1 track.
Our next destination was the Cinque Terre where we stayed in Levanto the next town North. We cannot say enough about the Cinque Terre.....WOW...it was so beautiful We had an amazing 3 days walking between the towns and some Yummy dinners in Monterosso. My personal favouite though was the 2nd town from the north Levazza which had an unspoilt little harbour and beach which looked straight out of a movie set.
We next ventured to Venice where we were a little scared that being the easter weekend we would not get accommodation. Thankfully the Novotel came to the rescue and we were quickly into Venice and amazed by its charm and character.....despite the sprawling crowds. We essentially spent the two days walking around the maze of streets and where we could going into the back streets to see the "real Venice." Some good shopping under our belts and ofcourse seeing the main sights ie La piazza di san Marco etc and we headed to Florence.
How to summarise florence? Interesting ++++ expensive +++++ and full of tourists+++++++++++++++++++++++. Highlights were ofcourse the Ponte Vecchio at night and the amazing Duomo (The cathedral di santa Maria del Fiore) which was my favourite Church of the trip thus far. We walked up the Duomo and looked at the amazing roof tops of florence.
Unfortunately one of the few dissapointments of the trip was our attempt to get into the galleria dell'academia. After lining up for 3-4 hours we left in frustration as the line had not moved in 2 hours or more and closing time was approaching. The uffizzi was the same if not worse. Anew system is required here we think!
From florence we ventured to Perugia via Pisa which was well worth the deviation. We visted the Cathedral here and Baptistry and also walked to the top of the leaning tower (campanile) which was awesome. We used Perugia as a base to explore the Umbrian countryside and ofcourse Asissi. I could use a lot of superlatives to describe all of this but will elaborate more on our return. Of note was the basilica in Asissi and the little towns that line the hill tops.
We are now in Sorrento and have been to the ruins in Pompeii (a childhood dream) and have been out to the isle of Capri today. Tomorrow we head for the Hioly city of Rome and hope not to get swamped by the crowds. We will gladly be departing with our car in Rome which has been a blessing throughout the trip but the cause of more than one stomach in a throat throughout Italy.
We will ofcourse then finish our travel in Turkey before coming home. We will update the photos upon our return. We have added a few here but have not had much luck with the computer.
Looking forward to seeing everyone on our return Love to the Larges, Lockes and Salibas and everyone else.
See you soon
Pete Jules and Chris
Location: Karlsruhe, Germany
Churches, losing count, is written somewhere else but around 29
Museums - Does 10 sound good
Car museums - 3
Hi everyone, just a quick update to you all while we are in Karlsruhe.
We have stayed here with Marcus and Sylvia, and in Sylvias parents house for 4 nights now. We arrived here from Champagne, where we completed a tour of Möet and Chandon. Kerrie also flew over to join us for the weekend
Did you know that 70 000 bottles a day are popped of Möet, and we did buy a couple to add to that number (if anyone has an idea of how to get them home without breaking, now is the time to let us know). The underground cellars are amazing, there are over 28kms of cellars with hundreds of thousands of bottles - no joke. Möet still employ someone to carefully turn the bottles to improve the sediment being shifted to the bottom of the cork. There are 2 apprentinces in training at the moment. Hopefully we will put some photos up on the page.
After a Möet adventure, we ventured off into the country side, seeing some fantastic sites of the Champagne region, and taking some happy snaps. We stayed the night in Reims, which as Chris will tell you was like camping out for the night at a highschool camp. However, clean toilet, shower and warm bed....
Since being in Karlsruhe, we have eaten amazing food, lots of bread, meat and beautiful French cheeses. Frau Hoffman has been looking after us well, and we will certainly miss the spreads and meats for breakfast when we move on tomorrow. The temperature over here has now been at about 6 degrees for a week, and we are ready for it to rise again as it did today. A little more snow has hit Europe unfortunately and a cold snap. We made it to the Mercedes and Porsche museums. The Mercedes had a one hour queue to get in, brand new, and was very much worth it. I even have a photo to prove I was there.
On Sunday, we drove out into the Black Forest to a place called Mummelsee, where we are told that by throwing a rock into the lake your wish will come true, however it was covered in ice and the snowballs didn´t make it through. So I guess our wishes will not come true. After a walk around the lake, great Blackforest Cherry Cake, it´s kinda close at home, and some German lunch, we dropped Kerrie at the airport and walked through the town of Karlsruhe, of which Marcus was quite proudly showing us around. A beautifally restored castle, cute pedestrian zone, and if you ask Pete the best gelato of the trip.
Today, Monday saw us head to Schwäbisch Hall, the town where Chris´s mum grew up, and to Heidleberg. We found the house where Barbara grew up, and looked through the Church, St Micheals, where we met a couple of interesting characters. It is a beautiful town which has vineyards on the rivers edge, and lovelz traditional german buildings. In Heidleberg we visited the Schloß, or castle in English, however it was our first we have seen in ruins, with little attempt to fix it up. However still amazingly beautiful and justified its reputation.
Marcus has been an amazing tour guide even picking up some "additional" tour members along the way. Hehe I will explain that one later!!!!
We found the christmas shop, sorry to the mums we have no room in our packs, though it´s the thought that counts right?? I think Chris would have brought everything home if he was able and freight was free.
It has been a trip highlight to catch up with Marcus and Sylvia and family after far too long. Their gorgeous little baby Therese has grown up alot since the last photos and it has been really good to have the opportunity to meet her aswell. We hope that son we will be able to repay the favour.
Tomorrow we depart Karlsruhe with mixed feelings and are off for a fleeting visit to Luzern in Switzerland and then back into France for some hiking and eating. We hope everyone is well, and keep in touch.
Pete, Jules and Chris
Location: Paris!!, France
Hi everyone.. we are in france at the moment, having travelled halfway across the continent to get here. Most of you know we were going to Ireland for a wedding. On the 8th we flew out of london and into dublin, picking up tali along the way. We somehow managed in london to get the warmest weather so far and landing in dublin almost snowing. Having a car was fantastic, only managing to get lost once. Our first irish beer had to be a guiness, being had in the oldest pub in Ireland, AD 600 (making it into the guiness book of worldrecords) and maybe thought to be the oldest in the world.
The wedding went well, and the reception was still going at 5 thet next morning, with bride and groom leaving after 4. The irish music was great and the aussies all managed to belt out a little khe san, down under, run to paradise, beds are burning... you get the drift.
We had a traditional St Patricks day, meaning avoiding the parade, quiet beers and lunch with lukes new in laws. It certainly appears the rest of the world celebrates St Patricks day more than the irish.
Thanks to everyone for my birthday wishes.... we had a great day travelling from ireland at 5.30am, arriving in paris around 9.30pm. The paris traffic is fantastic and somehow I was driving again. But relatively painfree, only a little frustration and alot of winging it. But here we have eaten crossoints, coffee, crepes, french onion soup and pastries to our heart content...... and our stomaches.
Having visited all the major things, the Louvre, Eiffel tower (all 700 stairs of them) the arc de triumphe, notre dame and all it entails. Tomorrow heading to champagne region and then onto Karlsruhe to stay with friends. We hope this finds all well, and lots of love
Julienne Pete and Chris
Location: London, UK
Museums the same 9
Car museums - still 1
Well we have finished our week in London, well almost we still have to get the 50 miles to the airport tomorrow. We have had a ball, and can see why Aussies flock here in droves. Well I am writing for Pete and I, Chris is off at the west end!! (with Kerrie)
What can we say, I think we have seen most of the amazing sights a tourist should have seen, and probably a couple we shouldn't have. We started the days wandering the streets, on a seemingly Monopoly game board, seeing Leicester Square, Covent garden, Bond Stree, Trafalger Square, Piccadily Circus, West End, Big Ben, Parliment house.... the list is endless. We've ambled through Westminster Abbey and over to Buckingham Palace. Unfortunately missing out on the changing of the guards, though saw even better. We saw the arrival of the President of Ghana for a State visit with the queen. This was accompanied by a full military parade, 21 cannon salute, the Queens horse and all the queens men (well they were a marching band). This was a pretty amazing site to see. The queen left the palace in her rolls, and returned in her horse drawn carriage, we were close enough to see her pink dress and hat.
We toured the London Tower and saw the fantastic crown jewels only yesterday, they were the best finished so far, and the largest diamond in the world. 530 carats!! It was held within the septer of King Edward the VII and is called the "Star of Africa" The crown has the 2nd largest diamond in the world also. Koo-oh--noor, nice.
Bath and Stonehenge were amazing, with our photos turning out fantastically. Amazing to this of 5000 years of history behind both of them...
Pete and I saw the Lion King last night on the West End and Chris and Kerrie are seeing Wicked tonight. Pete and I adventured to the British Museum, seeing alot more Egyptian artifacts and mummies, including Cleopatra... graham you need to come here!
Pete and I have caught up with 2 high school friends of mine, and Chris, his best mates brother Grant. We are heading tomorrow to Dublin, for another friends wedding, where we will be catching up with Tali also. Then ends our UK adventure and back into mainland Europe. Chris will, I am sure, update you on his escapades when able, however has enjoyed his time with Kerrie.
We hope again this finds you all well, lots of love to you and we are only half way through the trip!! YEAH , Pete, Jules and Chris
Location: London, UK
Odometer reading 3105kms
Car museums 1 (YEAH)
Our last day in Prague was awesome. As I had said we decided to take a day walking tour which turned out to be a really good idea. Prague was amazing. Our tour started in the main square in the new town (600 years old...yes this is new) the scene of the velvel revolution which lead to the collapse of communist rule in Czech in 1989. The city library interestingly was covered in repaired bullet holes from where the russian soldiers had decided to open fire upon it prob after a few too many Vodkas). After hearing about the amazing stories that had lead to the student protests that brought down the communist regime we headed to a czech bar for a beer. Then onto the old town.
The old town in Prague was also amazing. We started out in the old town square. The cathedral and glockenspiel something to be seen. Our tour guide was really funny and very well informed (a history major) who also gave us a personal account of living under a communist regime.
Lunch was had in a restaurant in an old cellar 8oo years old and the food was really good. Then we crossed over the amazing charles bridge and over to the prague castle. We saw the changing of the guard here was realy cool but not the same scale as Buckingham palace. The day ended with some amazing food in a smoky PUB reataurant. Food here was soo cheap and beer was cheaper than water. Literally 1.5 aussie dollars for a pint. Everything else however has become very expensive in Praha.
Next day we wre in the car and drove across germany to Cologne via Wiesbaden where we had to have our only compulsory car service. This was largely a travel day.
We spent 2 full days exploring Cologne which was amazing place. much of it was destroyed in the war and so only small parts remain of the old town. The stand out feature of Cologne is the amazing cathedral which puts everything else we have seen thus far (in terms of churches) to shame. WOW!!!1
We climbed the 502 steps to the top of the spire and what a view we saw. We also visited the treasurey which had some amazing artefacts. We also managed to stumble across some excavated Roam ruins that were found in the 50's in the old town. This was amazing. We actually walked down a corridor that was a sewer in 50 AD.
The next dayu we got in the car and went exploring all the little towns along the Rhein. This was truly an awesome experioence. Soooo beautiful. A highlight was the ruins of the bridge that joined Linz to ramegan that had been destroyed in the war and never rebuilt. We walked through tiny towns surrounded by hills covered with grape vines. WOW!!!!
Next we packed up and headed to London. drove from Cologne to calais and got the ferry across and after having a little trouble finding accommodation we arrived in London.
London is a cool place and there is a lot to tell so i will do that in my next update. Need to go now as the internet cafe is closing.
Love to all.
Pete (Jules and Chris)