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Ben and Shaz’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 20 Jun 2006

Location: Colle di Val d'Elsa, Tuscany, Italy

MapWhoa!!!! Had another freaky day on the roads today! Shaz and Pat are taking turns to navigate - its a scary place, the passenger seat. There is either a rocky vertical drop off, a stone wall or a fast moving vehicle (passing on the wrong side) looming up large, and you have no control at all. I, in the drivers seat have all the power....he he he! Did a crazy u-turn on the autostrada entrance today, anything to save on tolls. On our first day of driving in Italy (from Como to Venice), we got whacked with a massive 45 euro fine because we couldn't figure out how the system worked - we would have had a better chance if there hadn't been 12 (no exaggeration) lanes of traffic queuing to get through the toll booths at breakneck speed. Needless to say there were plenty of toots and angry drivers on the outside and plenty of swear words and sweat on the inside!

Apart from all that, Venice was very brief but lovely. Spent less than 24 hours there, but saw some lovely mosaics in the Cathedral, and as you would expect, the atmosphere was amazing. Couldn't afford a ride in the gondola after the fine (gotta stick to that budget!), but we had a great ride around in a bigger boat.

The Cinque Terre was fantastic - for those that don't know, this is an area of 5 fishing villages clinging precariously to the cliff tops overlooking the sea in Liguria. We spend a whole day walking and exploring our way through the villages, eating gelato and sweltering in the heat. Had bit of fun on the trains, worked out alright in the end, but nearly to an accidental ride to Milan!
Random! Bumped into one Aaron McCullough (Bloody, one of our vetschool mates), with a ragged bunch of cycling buddies at the train station. Couldn't believe it when we got of the train and saw his ugly mug smiling at us!

Drove down into Tuscany today, stopped to check the engineering disaster that is the Tower of Pisa. Amazing to look at - you just can't get a grip on exactly how weird it looks until you actually see the flaming thing.

Looking forward to spending a few days here, hopefully go for a drive amongst the vineyards in the hills tomorrow at a leisurely pace, well away from any autostrada!!!

Better sign off, but all 3 of a us are fit and well.

Take care, see you next time.