Monday, August 19, 2013

Rome to Pisa to Lucca - Italian Treasures day 3

Aboard the bus we headed out of Rome through the countryside! The countryside is incredibly green and agricultural and beautiful! I absolutely love the fields of sunflowers - happy flowers as Aida calls them!

We stopped at a gorgeous little roadside cafe for coffee and water then next stop was Pisa. We arrived outside the city and caught a noddy train into the centre of the town! No matter how many photos I have seen of the leaning tower of Pisa nothing prepared me for the whiteness of it nor the lean! 

What fun we had taking tricky photos with Norman and Judy! Of course to get the best shots you had to climb over onto the grass despite the 'do not walk on the grass sign'! What fun there was when the polizia blew there whistles and chased us all off! 

I bought Katie a gorgeous orange pleather bag and we had a very yummy lunch at Pisa. 

Off we headed to Lucca, arriving in time to shower, change and head out for a traditional Tuscan dinner!  Oh Mamma Mia what a night! 

It is Sue's 64th birthday so of course we toasted her many times with the beautiful wines... Five different types of wine were offered throughout the multiple course meal. As the night wore on out came the famous grappa! Oh my goodness I do not think I have ever tasted or smelt anything so unappealing! Some of the group loved it and the night livened up with music and dancing in the courtyard!  Back to the hotel we travelled in the bus singing all the way! 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

MAGIC of the twitisphere.... "Making the writing programme fun"

Next week I am running a session on making the writing programme fun.... This morning at the gym when running wasn't so fun for me I decided to come home and create a presentation that we could co-construct and share our ideas... 
Right now I am sitting here watching the retweets on twitter and the resource is coming alive.... The power of many never ceases to amaze and inspire me.  In a short period of time we will have co-constructed a wonderful resource for all to share... 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Italian Treasures - Tour of Rome

Waking in Italy! YES! Down for a scrumptious breakfast with everything you could imagine and more... My absolute favourite was the orange, lemon and carrot juice!  Onto the bus by 7.30 and off to Vatican City! Already Grant and I have decided that travelling in a tour is the only way to go as we bypassed the enormous queue to Vatican City at this hour of the day. 

We toured the Vatican museum, wowed by art works, sculptures, tapestries hearing the story of it all through our whisper headsets. Next we visited the Sistine chapel.... Wow!!!!!!! Speechless... 

Then even more speechless as we tour the Basilica! It is incredible to believe that it seats 55,000 people! The perspectives and the grandeur are somewhat overwhelming. There is just so much to see and absorb... Then out into St. Peter's square! Wow!!! Our entire tour group had our photo taken in the square - this will be an awesome memento of the trip!

A short time for shopping in the Basilica and I purchased for mum a set of rosary beads made by the nuns in Vatican City out of rose petals! They are gorgeous! The perfume is amazing! I also purchased a set of rosary beads for myself and a necklace! They were all sent over to the sacristy to be blessed and delivered to our hotel room later! Back out to the bus and we travelled to the roman forum... Oh my goodness, it is just so hot... Well over 30 degrees... The history here is mind blowing. 

We are walking down roads paved in the year 65BC. The ruins of the roman forum are still incredibly intact! So many photo opportunities! We even visiting the burial place of Julius Caesar. The Collosseum was our next visit! Oh my goodness what an incredible place! The tour guide almost has us imaging gladiators in the arena!  The heat is cruel... We really do need to find shade and water! 

Many are the ways to make money from tourists in Rome and there are the most incredible array of gladiators awaiting payment for photos with them, gypsies begging, vendors selling everything from water, to Gucci, to trinkets....
Next stop on our tour was one of my favourites so far... Visiting the Trevi fountain. 

In keeping with the local legend I threw one coin in to ensure that one day I retune to Rome, one coin in to find love in Rome, but did not throw in the third, which is to divorce...
Our tour continued on around the baroque area visiting the pantheon, churches, plazas, the Spanish steps and sooo much more. The food highlight of the day was the cremed iced coffee by the pantheon, really hard to describe just how good and how cold it tasted but it is worth returning to Rome for!

Back to the hotel to shower and change and out for a traditional dinner of lasagna for Grant and cream salmon spaghetti for me! Agh Rome, what a MAGICal day!