Friday, April 22, 2011

3 week Europe Trip to Italy, 
through France and returning through Switzerland and Germany.
31st March ... 21st April 2011

One of our first stops a local market near Cannes South of France - a good place to relax.

Monte Carlo - the view over the harbour from the Palace was impressive with the countless boats over £1m - reminds me of Poole.

One of the many .. many churches in Lucca  (Via San Paolino) - absolutely enormous - a lovely place to stroll around and get lost - as we did - but as the old town is enclosed by a massive wall - the way back to the hotel is best found by way of a walk along the top of the wall.

Can't believe how strong I am holding up this absolutely enormous building, the Leaning Tower of Pisa leans much more than I ever imagined. Definitely a wonder of the world as far as I  am concerned.

We climbed to the top of this Federico 11 Tower which was rebuilt after the Germans demolished it.

This Monastery was very difficult to find but we were given a private tour as viewing is by tour only and we had missed the last one - unfortunately the guide spoke little English and our Italian was not up to it - but a beautiful place.

Florence El Duomo - well the bell tower part.

Florence Santa Croce - inside we saw some amazing pictures.

A view of  Suri in front of the Ponte Vecchio bridge over the Fiume Arno, Florence.

Suri admires the gold in the window in one of the many jewellers ( madielle) on the ponte vecchio bridge, Florence.

We stayed on the outskirts of Rome at Rebibia and got the Metro in for each of the 2 days we visited. Here we are checking out the Colosseum - unfortunately too many tourists around.

The Roman Forum was amazing - so many centuries of the Roman Empire open for inspection and imagination.

Impossible to miss the Monumento a Vittorio Emanuelle 11 - close to the Forum.

Throwing my coins into the Trevvi  Fountain - the hope is to return again - needless to say we did return as we were lost in the streets of Rome the very next day.

One of many meals - here in the centre of Rome.

Inside the Vatican after queueing for over one and half hours - it was worth it but very crowded  and very tiring.

Inside St Peters Basilica - Suri caught the light as it shone through one of the upper windows. Another queueing job - unfortunately half of the Cathedral was closed off  for a private function / service.

Guarding the Vatican - in their multicoloured outfits.
After Rome we visited Hadrian's Villa (c AD 134)- absolutely amazing - in an out of the way place near Tivoli - and covering such a large area of ground - it certainly must have been impressive in its day.

Chilling out with strawberries - we had a punnet most days - very tasty and very cheap.

We stayed just outside Venice at Padua and got the train in for each of the 2 days we visited - the views from every angle were magical.

Suri standing on one of the many bridges near St Mark's Square over the canals with an amazing backdrop.

Venice - The Bell tower - impressive even if it did fall down about 100 years ago.

Noticeably Venice was cooler on day 2, I was pleasantly surprised by the cleanliness of the water as I had expected it to be dirty, smelly and very polluted  - but not when we visited - 

Suri waiting for her Gondola ride.

After Venice we headed up to the Italian Lakes - not sure what I am planning here at Lake Garda - needless to say the water was a tad on the cool side.

The castle at Sirmione was well worth a visit and on this day it was free to the public.

Lazing on the balcony at our Hotel Meandro on the shores of Lake Garda - one of many great hotel finds.

One of many stops in the Alps to take in the fantastic scenery, here Suri poses in front of a waterfall in the background.

Stopping off in Switzerland on our way back - Berne was a surprisingly pleasant place.

Lunch in Berne.

We had a lovely time wandering around the old part of Zurich, here beside the Ferris wheel we stopped for  a BBQ style lunch.

Still in Zurich looking for the Gnomes.

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