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Jules, Pete + Chris’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 15 Apr 2007

Location: Sorento, Italy

MapChurches 50
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 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