Tuesday 9th April 2013
I didn’t think I would be off on my big adventure so soon but here I am at Gate 75 of the Brisbane International Airport again not quite 12 months after my very first overseas holiday. I have a couple of hours stop in Dubai and should arrive in London about 25 hours after I leave.
I have been so busy these last couple of weeks that I don’t think it’s really set in that this is it – I won’t be home for over six months. Pretty exciting stuff.
I even had a send-off group tonight – I think some of them were only there so they’d rate a mention in the blog (just joking)- so, here you go guys! Emma, Jay and their children, Nikola, Jemmya and Isaac were here as well as Barry and Carolyxn, and Travis. It was lovely to have them here for hugs before I, left I’m guessing hugs will be in short supply for a while now!
Anyhow, I’m off to be like a sardine for fifteen hours – see you next on the other side of the world!
23rd June 2012
I said good-bye to Italy today, hopefully not for good but just for a while and started another leg of my journey, to Athens this time. I got myself to the airport, through check-in and immigration and boarded the plane without any dramas. There were just a few butterflies worrying whether I would know where to go and what to do but it was quite easy really.
Can you tell I’m in Greece?
I had originally planned to leave Rome a couple of days ago but changed my plans so had contacted the travel company and changed the day of my airport to city transfer in Athens to today. As luck would have it my daughter, Sarah, arrived at the airport about 40 minutes before me and not knowing I had changed plans she convinced the driver he was only collecting one person not two as he thought- so she took my car!!!
I must have spent 20 minutes reading and re-reading the transfer drivers signs hoping to find the one with my name, it didn’t matter how many times I looked none of them magically changed. I still had the Italian sim in my phone so couldn’t use that and couldn’t find anywhere to buy a Greek one either. I found a place to make phone calls but the travel company didn’t answer and neither did Sarah. They really were minor problems but I was wandering around the airport like a lost sheep for a while. Eventually common sense kicked in and I just caught a cab. Luckily I had the name and address of the hotel written down so could just show the driver, he didn’t have much English and my Greek is non-existent. That’s the second time now I’ve unexpectedly had to find my from an airport to hotel, something to think about in future I feel.
Don’t judge a book by it’s cover?
I was a bit worried when he pulled up, I couldn’t see the hotel sign, there were rubbish bags piled on the street corners and it all looked a bit dodgie but the cabbie kept pointing just over the road and nodding so I figured I’d better get out before he kicked me out. Anyhow the hotel was just diagonally across the road and Sarah happened to be in the foyer when I walked in so yay me again – I got from Rome to Athens!! Sometimes I think we’d be better off without mobiles, maybe we’d think things through instead of just having a knee-jerk reaction and reaching for the phone to yell for help whenever things don’t go exactly to plan. Then again, my phone does give me a sense of security so maybe I just need to think instead of hitting the panic button. Yeah, that’d probably be a better plan.
22nd June 2012
I cannot believe I agreed to go on a walking tour today – I am usually the last person to want to walk anywhere and I must have walked a hundred kilometres in Rome already – about 5 of them this morning!! I traipsed all the way up to the Piazza della Republica to the post office, bought a posting box, walked back to the hotel, packed what I wanted to send home, carried it back to the post office – 12 bloody kilos, and walked back to the hotel, again!!
Note to self – never, ever again buy so many presents for everyone when I go overseas.
Spanish Steps, Rome
The walking tour guide was a lovely gentleman by the name of Romano, he was a great guide, full of little tidbits about places and buildings that I hadn’t heard or read before. Even though I’d seen a few of the sights earlier, this time I was seeing them with Romano’s stories as well so it was a totally different experience.
Piazza Navona, Roma
Piazza Navona and the Spanish Steps were a couple of the places I saw for the first time today. I’m ashamed to say I have walked past the Spanish Steps other days without taking any notice of them. Come to think of it I still don’t know too much about them or why they are so famous, I didn’t think to ask while we were there – oh well, I’ll find out some time I guess!
Fontana Dei Quattro Fiumi
There are cafe’s all around Piazza Navona and it’s absolutely full of artists, or at least people selling paintings. I’m not completely convinced they all paint the scenes they sell but it sure makes for an interesting bit of outdoor “window” shopping. I think I liked the fountain in the centre of the piazza, Fontana Dei Quattro Fiumi, best. It’s quite ornate and was created by Bernini in the early 1650s. They say it was so expensive that the bread tax had to be raised to cover the cost – that’s pretty amazing isn’t it?
It was a full day again today, we did a bit of shopping after the walking tour. Of course I had to buy a couple of things, as I’d sent all those kilos home this morning I had a wee bit of room to cram some more into, hehehe. Sadly I said goodbye to the pocket rockets from Sydney again this arvo, had an early dinner and headed back to the hotel to pack my bags for Athens and the Greek Islands!!