Tag Archives: solo

What I’ve been preoccuppied with – or why I haven’t been blogging

I haven’t blogged for a while as I’ve been struggling with things the last 5 or 6 weeks.

My job as the Admin Manager  (where I have been for over 13 years) was made redundant  on the 20th February.  I was called into the board room, given the news, asked to hand over my keys, passwords etc, was allowed to take my personal things and was out the door all within 20 minutes.

I have always reported directly to the Managing Director and knew he was a brilliant businessman but that he didn’t win any prizes for his warmth or personality but this was even lower than I had ever seen before. I was shocked, speechless and felt absolutely gutted by the way it was done. I spent the next five weeks beating myself up as to why they would do that, wondering what I had done so wrong that I could be treated like a piece of dirt.

He had a senior partner from the accounting firm that processes our salaries read me the letter saying they were reorganising the company and I was no longer needed. I was not even spoken to, by him, during the termination. Even though he could go away for weeks at a time and know that everything would be run just perfectly, even though in every performance appraisal since we started doing them he has rated me almost as high or as high as the scale goes, even though just that morning he had given me incorrect instructions about a huge amount of money to transfer and I had picked up the error, corrected it and completed the transaction, all without bothering him at all. It’s just totally wrong that you can spend that long working loyally and to your best ability for some-one and then out of the blue they can do that to you and not even thank you for your contribution over all those years or wish you luck or even give you some notice and explanation of what was going to happen.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I had lunch with my part-timer from there and found out they are going to employ a company accountant to undertake more than I would be able to – fair enough, but why not just explain that to me at the time.

I do feel better now, knowing the why behind it but I’m finding it really difficult to have any nice thoughts about the company or the people who own it – although in a way it has brought my dream of travelling for an extended period to reality.

Long story short, – I leave on Tuesday 9th April for London!!!

I’ve booked a return flight for late October so hopefully everything will go fine and I’ll be away for about 6 months doing the backpack and hostel thing around the UK and Western Europe.

Soooooooooo, I’m hoping spring arrives sooner rather than later over there because the temperatures at the moment are frightening. We’re still having daytime temps of 30 degrees here so I’ll probably have that many layers on I’ll look like the michelin man.

Oh well, if that’s the price I have to pay – bring it on!!


Filed under Mid-life travel


24th June 2012

Due to my new-found love of a glass on wine at just about any time of the day or night we had a nice cold glass of white in the bar before heading out for a quick walk. We spent most of the time catching up on each other’s news but took quite a few photos as well. We are staying pretty much in the heart of the city, quite close to Syntagma Square and the Parliament.
We saw some really sad sights this arvo, lots of abandoned and graffitied buildings as well as quite a few beggars. I’m not sure if it’s worse here than other parts of the city but it certainly feels quite depressed. There wasn’t much in the way of restaurants open so we resorted to a Pizza Hut for an early dinner with a carafe of sangria. Sarah enjoyed the sangria but it wasn’t really my cup of tea although you never know if you don’t try do you?
Don’t quite know why but it took a bit of work to find our way back to the hotel – probably talking too much and not looking where we were going. Between Sarah’s phone and our somewhat dodgy sense of direction we found our way back to familiar territory. Another lesson learned though – we should always have a map of some sort! Sarah was astounded that it was still light at nine at night, that’s us Queenslanders for you, no idea what daylight saving is like at all.


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Filed under Greece, Mid-life travel, Travel

Rome on my 5th day

21st June 2012

via Condotti, Rome

Looking towards the Spanish Steps from via Condotti, Rome

Today was a nothing day really – pretending to be locals, sitting around drinking coffee and eating took up a big chunk of time, but I really did need a day off. It was great to catch up with my mates and we weren’t completely lazy, we meandered  from my patch of turf to the more luxurious shopping areas around the Spanish Steps. Via Condotti was just for window shopping, although interesting to see the big name brands there wasn’t anything I lusted after. Some of the streets around and off via del Corso were little havens of quiet and shade which was a nice change from the hustle and bustle. I saw plenty of unique and interesting pieces there  but kept thinking of the ten or so kilos of presents I already have to post tomorrow so “just looking” was the motto for the day!

Interior Basillica di San Vitale

Interior Basilica di San Vitale

There is a lovely little church just across the road from my hotel that I’ve been meaning to write about so as I’m having a slow news day here we go. It’s called, wait for it because it is a mouthful – Basilica of Sts. Vitalis, Valeris, Gervase and Protase or more commonly Basilica di San Vitale. I have intentionally not visited the Vatican this trip and when I found this little gem I knew I wouldn’t regret that decision. It’s a peaceful little oasis in the middle of Rome, I’d much rather sit and contemplate life for a while here than fight the crowds at the Vatican this time round. Probably next visit I’ll go there and wonder why I didn’t go earlier.

Looking up to street level from  San Vitale church

Looking up to street level from San Vitale church

The little church is about 20 or 30 steps below the current street level with awesome intricately carved wooden doors and has wonderful paintings on the walls and ceiling. Some of the wall frescos seem almost like trompe l’oeil in places. It’s hard to believe it was built in 400 AD – although it’s been restored a number of times, there’s still a whole lot of antiquity in this building. Coincidence is a strange thing isn’t it? This little place was extensively rebuilt in 1475 under the direction of Pope Sixtus IV, the same pope who donated the statues that began the foundation of the Musei Capitolini – a fact I had no idea about until yesterday.

What started out as a relaxing day actually became quite tiring in the end as we sat and talked and laughed for hours after dinner, not that I’m complaining, it’s just what I needed after my little teary last night. So once again it’s off to bed tired but so thankful to be here and happy to have spent the day with friends

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Filed under Italy, Mid-life travel, Travel

My Week in Rome – Day 2

18th June 2012

Colosseum, Rome

Colosseum, Rome

Well, after my nanna nap yesterday afternoon I went for a walk and had the nicest surprise. I turned down a little street not far from the hotel and there was the Colosseum a few blocks away. I wonder how long it would take before you stopped being amazed at things like that? I think for me it’ll be a while yet.

I had planned to catch one of the hop on hop off buses the next day but was in the right spot at the right time that afternoon so jumped on one of the red ones. I’m not used to public transport even in Australia and can’t see myself being brave enough to try it yet in Italy so figure this might be the next best thing.

Today I made a beeline for the Colosseum and spent half the day there. It was fabulous, I continue to be amazed by how old everything is here and how accessible it is also. Our settlement of Australia started not much more than 200 years ago and here is a place built almost 2,000 years ago. This is what makes Europe so enticing for me, all this history just sitting here waiting to be discovered all over again. I thought the audio guide was a great tool too, it allows you to go at your own pace and choose your own route. I would love to come back at night but that will have to go on the list for next time I feel.

Pantheon roof

Pantheon roof

I made use of my hop on hop off bus ticket to go to the Pantheon this afternoon and I think I might have found my two favourite famous places in Rome in one day! I hired an audio guide again and was happy I did, makes it much easier than trying to read from guide books or something while you’re looking at everything. I’m not big on religion and I know the Pantheon is a tourist spot but I was a little disappointed at how noisy people were, after all it is still a church, or maybe that’s just a sign that old age is starting to take hold.

I still had plenty of day left so decided to go find the Trevi Fountain while I was in the area. Good grief – what a crowd, all trying to get photos taken of themselves at the fountain. It was good to go and see and I threw a couple of coins in the water but didn’t get any decent photos I bought a couple of postcards though. There was a quaint little church just across the piazza from the fountain that was worth a look inside as well but I don’t even know it’s name, oops. Think I enjoyed the church than the fountain, but I’ll try to come back again before I leave to give it another go.

Eating alone – now there’s something you read a lot about! I grabbed a sandwich last night while I was out and about and ate that back at the hotel but decided tonight to try one of the bars nearby for dinner. There were only tables free outside so I did feel a bit conspicuous sitting there on my own – but do you know what I’ve decided? – it doesn’t really matter. I caught up on a few texts while waiting and by the time my very yummy pizza arrived there was a mun with two children at the next table so the kids and I had a funny little chat about our respective dinners, they in Italian, me in my very basic mix of Italian and English.

So I survived my first full day sightseeing in Rome with flying colours I’d say. I had an absolutely great day, one I won’t forget in a hurry that’s for sure. Now my biggest problems for the next few days will be deciding what I want to do and when – oh, for all problems to be that easily solved.


Filed under Italy, Mid-life travel, Travel