Sunday, 27 February 2011

Story behind the photo - Rome

The next stop on our whistle-stop tour of Europe was Rome, where we had a roughly a day-and-a-half to explore the city. The first night, we were taken on a walking tour, which covered many of the main sights of Rome. So far, so good, and I was enjoying the city.

Then our full day in Rome happened. It was a Sunday, and happened to be the last Sunday of the month - which means people can get into the Vatican Museums for free. As you can imagine, this makes for long queues. And a long time standing in the queue. And people who don't know how to queue and/or don't understand the concept of personal space. The queuing was worth it though......when we made it inside the musueums, the people I was with and I made a fairly speedy trip through the amazing collection of artworks to the Sistine word: jaw-dropping. We weren't able to get into St Peter's Basilica, so left the museums and had lunch close by.

Which is where this photo comes in. After lunch, we headed towards the main part of Rome, walking past Castel Sant-Angelo (which was featured in Dan Brown's book Angels and Demons, and also in the film of the same name) and across the bridge in this photo, the Ponte Sant'Angelo. Originally built by the Roman emperor Hadrian, it is now a pedestrian-only bridge (and really busy, too). You might not be able to tell from this photo, but all the statues are of different angels.

For a few reasons (crowds + the Giro d'Italia being on + me being a little bit tired of the constant travelling) Rome didn't live up to expectations. Next stop (and the city I was perhaps looking forward to the most) Venice.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

An observation

Don't get me wrong. I love my technology (as previously mentioned). But surely, if you are placing an order in a restaurant, you should make eye contact with your waiter/waitress and not be focussed on your mobile phone?

Or is it just me....

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

On a serious note

Back when I was in my last year at university, I decided I wanted to take a trip somewhere after I finished studying - kind of a 'present to myself' if you like. At the time, money was the main consideration, so after researching, I decided on a week long tour around New Zealand's South Island.

It was my first 'big girl' trip (the first trip outside of my home town that I did by myself), and I loved it. There is amazing scenery in the South Island, and its so different to what I'm used to back in Australia. I also had a couple of nights in Christchurch before the tour started and after it finished. I don't have photos to remind me (I did this trip back before I had a digital camera), but I remember Christchurch as being a lovely city, much like my home town, with some beautiful old buildings.

So when I heard about the earthquake that happened there today, I was shocked. There's been more than enough natural disasters in that part of the world love and thoughts are with the people of New Zealand and Christchurch as they work to find survivors, and then the work of rebuilding their city....

Monday, 21 February 2011

Still more music

Eventually I will get back to posting more travel related stuff, but I just wanted to highlight this AMAZING song...a live performance at the BRIT awards (like the Grammys or ARIAs) about a week or so ago :

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Also can't stop listening to this band...

this is Mumford and Sons, a London based band. Can't remember how I found out about them, but I like them.....a lot.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Achieved: Giant's Causeway

I've marked one item off my travel wish list : I spent the weekend in Belfast and took a day trip out to the Giants Causeway.....lets just say seeing the ocean made me miss home and where I used to live just a little bit

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Story behind the photo - Florence + Pisa

Florence. A city probably best known for its art, much of it collected by the Medici family (they were the ruling family in Florence for centuries) The last descendants left the family's art collection to the city of Florence, with the proviso that it be displayed in Florence and never leave the city - you can see it today in the Uffizi Gallery (an aside, if you are ever going to visit Florence and want to see the gallery, then pre-buy tickets, otherwise you will stand in a looooong queue)

When the tour visited Florence, we only had one night there - which translated into half a day in the city. Long enough for a visit to a leather shop, a walking tour, and a little bit of free time. In Florence (as in all of Italy), tour groups have to use local guides, and the one our tour had showed us the main sights of the city. This photo is taken in the Piazza della Signoria, one of the main squares in Florence, located right next to the Uffizi gallery. There are many statues in the square, including a replica of David by Michaelangelo (the real one is in the Accademia gallery) (see here for more information). The walking tour ended at the Duomo, which is the main church in Florence. A couple of friends and I climbed the bell tower nearby....the views at the top were just about worth it.