Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Rome via Perugia

We left Venice en route to Rome, alot of travelling to day and rather boring. The young American boy Christian  who was  very well behaved had got a copy of the latest Harry Potter book so he was happy. It may have been the day we got stuck in a traffic jam for three hours but this was ably managed by Kathleen who arranged a group photo on the autobahn  and a toilet amongst the sun flowers. Again Kathleen you were a gem. Anyway the half way break was Perugia , the bus parked and we made our way up to the town on a series of escalators to the pedestrianized Corso Vannucci dominated by the 13th century fountain.

Then it was into the Duomo which did not have much to recommend it. Then on to Rome . You could do an extra tour Rome by night but we were tired and there was a nice pool at the hotel so we just had some time out

If its Tuesday it must be Rome

1966 until 2005, that is a lot of water under the bridge and that is how long it took me to get back to Italy, now at the end of my working life.We had attended a R.C.S.Ed meeting in Edinburgh and then had a Cosmos tour of Europe booked Six countries in Twelve days. Our tour had a rather daunting beginning as it started from London two days after the London tube bombings. we had to get down from Edinburgh on the Friday and were quite resigned to the fact that we may not make it as the train we had booked on was cancelled.We were confident our travel insurance would cover us if we had to cancel.

Anyway we did make it but the local train Peterborough to Kings Cross was slow and crowded and the family opposite us all had colds. There were still bodies underground. Then the taxi ride to our hotel was worse and expensive. the taxi driver just got his paper out to read while the meter just ticked over. "Just let us out We'll walk " Bob said angrily, not the best start to our holiday.

The Kensington hotel was only average but next morning we all assembled for our tour and there were a lot of us. "Don't worry, We know what we're doing " said the lady in charge. The idea was that we all crossed the channel as foot passengers, all the tour buses were waiting at Calais and off we went, first stop Brussels but by now we were starting to get the colds passed on to us the day before.

After quite a long drive an American voice piped up from the back of the bus"Are We there Yet?", our introduction to Kathleen a solo traveller who was a teacher on an American base in Germany,recently divorced, her children were spending the school holidays with her ex . Well Kathleen became the glue that bound us together always cheery,  looking out for each other and when we were stuck in a traffic jam on the Italian motarway just before a toilet stop  she even
organised a bush toilet amongst the sun flowers. Kathleen you were a gem.

Our tour did not get to Italy until we had done Germany and Prague and Vienna. but we came down to Venice on a lovely scenic drive through the Italian Dolomites. Our hotel was on the outskirts of Venice but well placed for an early start the next morning.
This photo was taken by Kathleen
Next we queued to go into St Marks.

What do I remember about St Marks , a fair bit of time in the queue and then a slow shuffle through, but time enough to notice the wonderful mosaics. and alot of gold.

St Marc

Next the Doges palace decorated by Tintoretto

This is one of the largest paintings in the world decorating the east wall of the Great Council.It is named Paradise

Next we found a secluded part of St Marks Square to eat our packed lunch and drink our water then I nipped around the shops one street back from the square and they were fantastic. Started my collection of glass lollies and bought a green glass necklace and afterwards wished I had also got a hot pink one, They were cheap. I also found a lovely glass Christmas tree which now sadly is broken.
My glass lolly collection

Then at 3p.m I went to the waterfront for my booked tour to the island of  Burano and Bob found his way to the Academia, very clever of him I thought to find it although he nearly got waylaid in a gambling game at the Rialto Bridge! Burano is the lace making island lots of little family shops all with brightly coloured facades. I did not buy anything here but enjoyed a gelati as we waited for the boat back to Venice

The island of Burano

Friday, 3 October 2014

The Adriatic Coast 1966

I graduated in 1965 and commenced my first house jobs in Preston at The Royal Infirmary. It was a very busy job and we were in the middle of a spell of austerity so Harold Wilson froze our pay for six months so we were working hard for very little pay.

First Holiday

At the end of my first year working I was determined to have a good holiday so booked a young singles holiday at Catalonica, just south of Venice on the Adriatic. Have no idea of how we got there but I suppose we flew. In those days airports and planes were regarded as glamorous and exciting!

The hotel was nice, the beach was crowded but the weather was sunny, what we had come for. The young singles left abit to be desired but I formed a three some with two other girls and we had a lively time, sometimes at the expense of other tour participants one couple in particular that we called by a very rude name but we had fun. We especially enjoyed the glass of chianti with our evening meal.The Italian men continually engaged in bottom pinching which was very tedious

I took advantage of all the tours on offer, Venice, Florence and San Marino. I was immediately in love with Venice and Florence although San Marino not so much. In fact I had not really been to anywhere that was quite so tacky.
There is no doubt about it,the first time you visit Venice is magical particularly in the times of the sixties when it was not nearly as crowded as it is now.  On that trip I did go into the Doges Palace and saw the magical ceiling  which I presume was Tintorettos  Paradise. I do not remember whether I went into St Marks  but the square was magical  with an artist painting the scene. although my photos are rather grainy   I don't think I bettered them on subsequent visits.

Then in Florence we saw the skyline from Place Michelangelo and the statues of Neptune and David in Piazza della Signoria  and of course the Baptistry doors. We had a brief tour of the Uffizi gallery and certainly saw the Botticellis although not much else.

Then at the end of the holiday I had a date, meeting outside Aldwych tube station on The Strand to go to the theatre. I was very definite in what I wanted to see Maggie Smith in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie but that date ensured that I did not get back to Italy for many years.