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Self designed itinerary for 32 days. Planes, trains and buses, some self contained apartments, some hotels with a mix of countryside, lakeside, cities,villages and old towns. Based in Munich, Germany (4), Innsbruck, Austria (1), Ortisei in Val Gardena in Dolomites area (4) , Bardolino, Lake Garda, Italy (5), Venice, Italy (4) Florence, Italy (3), Dubrovnik, Croatia (7) and Rome, Italy (3)
Arrived into Munich about 4pm. Train to Hauptbahnhof (main train station). 6 mins walk with luggage to our apartment hotel. We booked in for 4 nights and went out down the street to buy in groceries. Althought the area is not the best, we had no trouble at all walking around the streets while there. We cooked dinner and settled down to get some much needed rest after a 21 hour flight.
Day Tour booked to Linderhof and Neuschwanstein Castles in Bavaria with viator.com. Up early and walked to the Karstadt department store area ( opposite the main train station) to get the bus about 8.15 am. This was with Grayline Tours. (see my Review)After driving out through the picturesque Bavarian countryside we stopped at the village of Garmisch and walked into Linderhof Castle. This looks more like a small palace on large picture perfect grounds but once inside the opulence really shows.Pity no photos allowed inside but we got many around the spacious grounds. Interesting tour (local guide) of the palace's interior. Afterwards we had a bit of time for coffee and a look through the souvenir shops of Oberammergau
( passion play is held here at times) Then we passed the wonderfully green and photographic Bavarian countryside with me snapping photos left right and centre through the bus windows...oh well it will give the idea even if a few had reflections. We arrived into the village of Hohenschwagau where we were taken to a restaurant for lunch of typically tasty German sausages (our choice). This village was inundated with tourists and we had to rush into the restaurant and then quickly dine before we left for the castle. We decided to walk off the lunch up to Neuschwanstein Castle via Mary's Bridge which is where most of the 60 million visitors so far probably got a lovely photo shot of the castle. It is possible to get a horse and cart ride up or down from the castle, but we were energetic and went up by foot further to the bridge and then a walk down to the castle, but after the castle tour with its many stairs up and down towers, I wished I had waited for the carriage ride back down the hill although I felt for those horses! The castle interior has nothing on Linderhof and its opulence and is not as decorated inside but it is interesting to see and were given a tour (Local guide) on site. Such a wonderful sunny day. Many great photos especially looking out from the castle area also across to mountains and lakes. Only pity was we didn't get to stop for any photos of the countryside and were really pushed for time at each venue as the traffic was nearly at a standstill going out of Munich on the weekend.
The old town, Aldstadt was about 750 m down the end of our strasse. We ventured in through Karlsplatz ( large square) with its circular water fountain and where we sighted the Palace of Justice on the northern end and the very large ornate buildings curling each side of the entrance, Karlstor Stachus (town gate)C14th cent. Noticed ma and pa having coffee on one of these tall structured buildings verandahs...perhaps that's justice after all! Further on in, the tri roofed Oberpollinger building caught my eye...why not it is the second largest department store, bought by Karlstadt in late 20's, bombed in 1945, restored not long after and added to recently...just for us girls! Then the flower boxes and unusual statues of the building owned by Hirmer a German mens' clothier caught my eye...oh well pass this one up! Finally we arrived at the Glockenspiel where it was almost close to 11am and we decided to plonk in a chair under the umbrella of an outdoor cafe and have coffee and apfelstrudel, which was very tasty. Here we watched the show of the dancers above on the glockenspiel..of course with the multitude of other gaping tourists! Cross that one off. After looking through the churches around the Marienplatz area we wandered into the market where we were amazed at the many varieties of sausages (mouth watering), cheeses and all fruit and vegetables to buy there. I had already bought up dates, figs at one of the many fruit stalls along the street. After a pleasant lunch in the Cafe Glockenspiel opposite the Neues Rathaus and in plain sight of the Glockenspiel itself we finally wandered down Theatinerstrabe looking in shops and arrived at the Field Marshalls Hall (Feldherrnhalle)with its large statues. We wandered into the back strasse here Residenzstrabe and had a quick look into the Residenz grounds (home of monarchs). By this time we decided on a bier in the Hoftgarten. Mind you, not being a beer drinker, I had my first Radler ( like our Shandy) beer and lemonade. I was astounded when it arrive in the biggest glass I have ever seen! No wonder my friend had to stop me from tripping on the cobblestones heading back up the Aldstadt. Cross that one off too! I really enjoyed wandering around the Alstadt of Munich with its interesting structures, churches, markets and shops.
Day Tour Salzburg and the Lake District.
Same pick up details as Day 2. Incidentally, I prebooked these two tours online and printed our vouchers before we left. No problems with our booking.
Driving through the picturesque countryside once again I dared to take many photos through the bus window, some good, some deleted, but nevertheless have something to show just how clean and green Bavaria is.
We were first given a quick orientation tour of Salzburg on the bus and then dropped off to spend time exploring for ourselves for a few hours. Great. No rushing on this tour. Walking from the bus we passed Mozart's residence, which was a pink building with Mozart inscribed over the door. After that, we ventured across the way and into a treed area where we found Mirabell's ( beautiful view) Palace and Park. This palace was built in Baroque style initially for a concubine Salome Alt, but after changing hands and some damage it has been rebuilt and added to over the years. In the park there are many statues around the gardens including unicorns, lions and pegasus. These were once at the Mirabellschwemme ( a well for horses) and since moved. It is now the administration building and also has the mayor of Salzburg's office. Here we decided to get out of the sun and had a light lunch under the spreading trees while we watched the antics of the two buskers and listened to a violinist playing some classical music. Probably Mozart's.
Crossing the bridge over the River Salzach we came across the love locks hanging in the wire mesh and across and above the buildings, on the hill stood Festung Hohensalzburg, a strong and proud looking fortress. Once again I captured two handsome white draught horses entertaining folk as they passed with their passengers on a ride around this city. Finally, once in Getreidegasse, the main pedestrian shopping street our eyes widened....so quaint and narrow with all types of ornate business signs jutting out everywhere on fancy metal arms... WOW! Naturally we looked in most shops and I captured a photo of Mozart himself sitting in a souvenir shop window...was he real or a dummy? I still do not know.
Back on the bus we passed by a few lakes and pretty villages to arrive into St Wolfgang a small village on Wolfgangsee (see means lake). This is a very picturesque area with typical Austrian houses that have many flowering plants spilling over the verandahs, pretty lanes, shops and a wonderful place to sit in a restaurant on the lakefront, which is exactly what we did for a snack. While there, out came this huge dessert on a large plate. It looked like the Sydney Opera House! Actually it is called Nockerl dessert which is a sweet dumpling translated but more like a souffle. Apparently, Salome Alt the concubine invented it, suitably golden brown to represent the hills around Salzburg and the sugar on top is the snow. A great undertaking for two to eat I thought!
Down on the waterfront we all piled into a boat to be taken for a ride up this lake that stretches 10.5 km. Its name is derived from St Wolfgang who apparently built a church here in 10th century. The lake is surrounded by the Salzkammergut Mountain Range and does that add to its beauty. With its lovely clear water of deep blue on the day we were there, the picture perfect villages, sail boats, cliffs and mountanous backdrops, the camera was running on overtime! Finally we arrived at the other end of the lake where we climbed into the bus satisfied, tired and glad we made the journey. Quick dinner in the apartment...off to Innsbruck tomorrow.
Caught a taxi back to the Hauptbahnhof ( main train station) in Munich and went on the German ES train to Innsbruck (Previously booked most trains online, paid and printed).
We were no sooner there when we decided to go down to the Aldstadt which was only about 150 metres from our hotel. Once in, we looked at the Goldnes Dahl (Golden Roof) and its brilliant 3,450 odd gilt copper shingles and frescoes. C 1500's. Opposite I photographed Helblinghaus which is an original late gothic house with its rococo stuccowork C1730. Along Herzog Friedrichstrasse was Rathaus (old town hall) and then the clock tower C16th cent. I loved these older buildings that were colourful and framed the strasse and further down where it widened we were in Maria Theresian Strasse which is the main street. In and out of the shops here. Finally we decided to dine at Ristorante Repubblica up over the street and due to its Italian menu decided on pasta and risotto. Glass of chardonnay here was 3.10 Euro and nearly half the price of what we would pay in AUS! On our way back we called into the Tiroler Volkskunstmuseum which is a Tyrolean Folklore Museum housing 22 living rooms of houses and farms. Also an assortment of individual looking and life size dummies showing cultural differences in costumes from certain areas of Tyrol was very interesting to say the least and I often found that someone was watching me....eyes following me around! This venue was just down and across the road from our hotel.
We decided to book the "Tyrolean Evening with the Gundolf Family" through the hotel and also the transfers to and fro. See Review. This turned out to be very entertaining with yodelling, singing, dancing ( some very comic) and musical instruments were used from the area including the large Alphorns. We only had the one day in town and I think we put as much into it as possible to understand the cultural difference and to put us in good stead for out trip down to Ortisei, Val gardena in the Dolomites.
We arrived by another German ES train into Bressanone in northern Italy. From the train station we boarded a regionale train (bought ticket there) to Ponte Gardena, which was 14 mins south. Be aware that there are no services such as toilets or attendants at the Ponte Gardena train station and more on this later. We had a bit of a wait for the bus which took us into the valley (Val Gardena) and the small town of Ortisei in about 30 mins. Our accommodation was an apartment in the main shopping street and about 2 mins walk from the bus stop in town. We had a nice two bedroom apartment with verandah overlooking the hills and town at the back of the building. Very economical. Tlusel Apartments. Review pending and waiting on TA to allow. This town is the largest in the Val Gardena and is populated by about 5,500 people, however it is also a base for skiing in winter, hiking and mountain climbing in summer. The weather was wonderfully warm and sunny. We stayed for 4 days. We had lunch in the cafe next door and looked around town. This is a postcard perfect small town which is very clean, beside the River Gardena, has many apartments in chalets on the hills, resorts, great hotels and 200 shops...what more could we ask for. After settling in we went up to to one of the two supermarkets to buy in supplies. Then I was out on the verandah for antipasta and a drop of the local wine while we breathed in the fresh alpine air and watched the cablecar running up and down from the Alpe di Suisi above us. Ah...a bedroom each tonight!
After breakfast, we walked around town taking many photos. How could you not with a picture at every turn.
We then caught the cablecar return up to the Alpe di Siusi, which is the largest alpine pasture in Europe. It is 3247m above sea level and is 57 sq km in size. You wouldn't know it from down in the valley. Once on top we had coffee and a mixed berry strudel at the restaurant sitting outside with the most magnificent view across to the mountains which were partially under cloud cover and hazy in the early morning. The apline pastures have refuge huts along pathways where you can stop, dine (usually Tyrolean cuisine) and have a drink. Outdoor lazyboy chairs are scattered around the grass at some to kick back and relax on the walk. We ventured down from the restaurant and went for a short hike snapping photos in all directions. This is a very scenic place and folk were out and about walking some with dogs and some with their children. We came across some alpacas just beside the path, cabins where people were staying and a few farms. Crocuses were showing their heads in the fields and the air was fresh and clean. Finally, the clouds lifted and I captured some wonderful panoramic photos of the stretches of the Dolomites across the very green pastures partially covered in Alpine trees. What a sight. It was a toss up whether to walk back down into Val Gardena and Ortisei from up there but we decided the time it took we could spend elsewhere around the valley.
On the opposite side of the valley in Ortisei we walked up to the cable railway to go up to Rasciesa for another view down over town. This is not as high as the Alpe di Siusi and affords nice views also. Our intention was to go up just before lunch so that we could dine at the hotel of the same name on the top station.On the way up in the cable car we sighted a fawn beside the line but it darted into the woods before I could get my camera out. Pity. On arrival to the chalet style hotel we took a brief walk to take photos and then settled down for a pleasant afternoon. I had the weinerschnitzel which took up nearly the entire plate and we had chips also plus a salad on side. (Review) Very enjoyable after the cruel hike up the steep hills around Ortisei to get to the base station. Mind you when I stopped to get my breath, I grabbed some nice shots of the houses around town. It was a very enjoyable and relaxing day.
That night we dined in the restaurant Tubladel within walking distance from town. I enjoyed the potato soup in a bread pot and the starter buckwheat lasagne with deer ragout and cranberries, followed by a fish special and we shared the cheese assortment with chutney. The bread at table was probably the best we tasted. The meal was one of our best on the trip and it was more than we usually paid but well worth it for the quality, service and atmosphere.
After taking photos around the town and popping into the church there, we decided to take the cable car up to Seceda which is higher than Rasciesa. We walked just down to our next corner, from the apartment and turned left then we were lucky that the town had built a tunnel with a walkalator followed by escalators to take us up to the base station.Once we arrived up there we realised that we could have done this the day before to cut out the steep inclines! Didn't do my homework on that one! Unfortunately, the cable car was closed indefinitely as it was out of order! Aha! I had done my homework and as a back up, we then decided that we could walk up to the Val D' Anna as the track departed beside the base station and took us up a winding path which was all uphill once again. Along the way there were two hammocks tied to trees...you guessed it I was swinging in one ...any excuse is good enough! Across the flowing small river, there was a high rope playground in sight for the kids and then a therapeutic wading pool which runs in from the stream beside the track. Here and there were a few wooden benches to rest up.Quite thoughtful. Finally we came into an opening to find the lovely Cafe Val D' Anna which is a German style chalet with bright red umbrellas at the outdoor seating which overlooks bright red sun lounges scattered on the rich green grass and a small log cabin built like a childrens' cubby house. Down from the cafe is a football field where boys were enjoying a game. This is a well presented area for the family to enjoy a relaxing lunch and afternoon. I had the polenta and mushrooms (large plate) while my co traveller had a massive Greek salad which she enjoyed. The couple of glasses of wine was a treat. Dinner in that night and packing to do...off to Bardolino tomorrow.
A Stay of 5 nights in Bardolino, Lake Garda
This was to be a long day travelling as we had to leave on the bus about 7am to get back out to Ponte Gardena train station. From there we were to get the regionale train down to Verona and then a bus to Bardolino on Lake Garda. Once we arrived in Ponte Gardena we knew we had to buy our regionale tickets in the machine. We could not find anywhere we could pay for a ticket to Verona and yet we knew the train was going to Verona and stopping in Ponte Gardena. Frustrated but being polite I took off up into the village to a cafe and asked around but no one could help and then had to rush back to the station as we only had about 8 mins before the train arrived.I then asked a gentle man if he could help us as I couldn't understand why a ticket could not be bought. Finally, we all realised that the machine only sold tickets for South Tyrol which is the area as far south as Bolzano it's largest town. Decision was to get a ticket to Bolzano and hope there was a conductor on board to explain the problem. No conductor and we had to get off at Bolzano in case of a heavy fine. Hence we had to wait nearly another 3 hours for a connecting train! I was not impressed. When we arrived into Verona we had missed a connection on the bus and so we arrived much later than we were expected. Something to consider when stopping in small villages I guess.
After buying in some groceries we ventured out and about around this very tidy and well kept village. The waterfront promenade was a delight with its many colourful garden beds of bright flowers. We took a walk along the point and noticed all the dogs being walked, the small but interesting marina and the restaurants and the outdoor eateries. Our appartment was only one Via back from the main piazza and so we were right in the thick of it all. Two bedroom apartment. Yahoo!
Dead tired. Dinner out in the Main Piazza. Restaurant name forgotten.
Salo and Sirimone by ferry
Southern Circular Ferry Ticket. Bought at ferry terminal. Rapido service is not included and must pay extra if using.
It could be a saving by buying this ticket, however do check out the fares for your destinations first. If there is a senior(over 65) it may or may not be of value depending on the number of stops along the way. Also this only applies from Mon>Fri and not weekends or Pub/hols. Age identity card or passport required This ticket takes in east shore as far up as Garda and to Gardone Riviera as well as any villages in the southern circle. Check this out first. We were circling over to Salo, south to Sirimone and then north back to Bardolino on the eastern shore. It suited us and no fast ferry(rapido) The ride across to Salo took about 45 mins. It was raining, well more of a drizzle and overcast. Salo is renown for its high end shopping and there were plenty of shops to keep us occupied but the atmosphere hopping in and out, umbrella in hand did dampen our enthusiam. After capturing some photos of the shopping streets and items of interest we ended up at TipTap restaurant which jutted out on a corner south along the promenade. Here we had probably the best Lasagne we had tasted. Salo's waterfront is considered probably the longest on Lake Garda. The original was destroyed by an earthquake and this one was built on stilts. Salo was also Mussolini's capital of the Social Fascist Republic. These days Tourism plays its part. On the way to Sirimone we passed Lake Garda's largest island, Isola with its Venetian Manor playing a prominent part of the island.
Once we arrived into Sirimone, I noticed just how small the area is around the ferry terminal. Just a few restaurants and then we walked around to the marina and the beach where people were sunbaking. Yes the sun came out!
From there we wandered around the very old 15h Cent. Santa Maria Maggiore church and the Romanesque Bell Tower C1070 which looks even younger than the church. Finally we came upon the Scaliger Castle C 13 th cent. and it is a handsome castle on the water. Hence it is a good example of a medieval port castle with its existing moat and drawbridge. We ventured inside but when I saw the many steps up before we even got to the towers and the fact that we knew there wasn't much to see inside we gave it a miss. Seniors get free entry....no wonder!
Well what also really spoilt it for me was the artificial crocodile suspended over the moat...crocodiles in Italy...really! Then I turned down a restaurant lined street to find a large artificial gorilla with digital numbers in his/her chest...that really did it for me!
The gelato was really nice so that settled me down somewhat!
As we pulled out in the ferry, we sighted the Grotte di Catullo (roman ruins) which is approx. 167 x 105 m and an archeological site. It is out on the end of the peninsular and I believe one can get there by a tourist train. Time was running out for us to go there. Just before Bardolino we pulled into Lazise which is a pretty little village not far south. The restaurants with their outdoor seating were wrapped around a very small marina, which made it quite interesting. Hoped to get back there. Dinner in that night...too much gelato!
Market day in Bardolino (Thursday)
This would be one of the largest markets I have seen in a small village. It stretched from one point way along the waterfront promenade to the other, with two rows of stalls. many shoes, clothes, Italian leather belts, handbags, souvenirs, crockery and on and on. Did not see one food stall that I recall, but then we browsed for ages.We ended up on the waterfront at an outdoor eatery and enjoyed a nice pizza and a glass of wine and watched the passing parade. Later we went for a walk north along the waterfront to work off the gelato..
Malcesine, Limone and Riva del Garda.
We decided to get the bus up to Malcesine as it was much faster than the ferry or the rapido service. 45 mins in the bus compared to 2 hrs or so on the ferry. We bought the bus ticket from the bus driver ( try to have small change) where we caught the bus which is about 6 mins walk from the town centre.
I already had both the bus and ferry timetables printed before we left home. The itinerary for the day was, bus up north east shore to Malcesine, leave on the rapido to Limone and the rapido to Riva del Garda. Bus back to Bardolino 1hr 15 mins. Had to walk a bit out of town to the bus station to get back ( 10>15 mins or so). This saved us time rather than slow ferry rides around the top. We could have purchased a northern circular ticket but this does not include the rapido ferries.
The bus ride up along the lake was pleasant but did not always hug the shore. When we arrived into Malcesine, we walked downhill looking in the shops ending up at the harbour. Sitting in Ristorante Italia, right of the ferry terminal we enjoyed Nona'sTorte. Type of lemony filled tart with pastry on top which is covered in toasted slithered almonds...very nice and even the coffee was hot! Here we enjoyed the beautiful views over the lake and along the waterfront and small marina. We didn't bother about the castle as I was misinformed and believed that it was now a hotel. Since then I found out that it is open to the public with a museum.
After the ride across to Limone, we just fell in love with this little village perched on a ledge under mountains. The views in the upper area of the lake are astounding with Mt Baldo ( more like a large hill) and its revolving cable car ride and opposite side the craggy rocky formed mountains above this tiny village running slightly up hill. Many photos taken of the lake and surrounds around this area and probably due to the fact that the shores are closer than at Bardolino area.
Coming in, we noticed small villages way up on the mountains. What a view they would have.
Limone is one of the prettiest villages I have seen and walking in, there are many photographic sights. Its real name is Limone sul Garda. Limone means lemon in Italian but it is said that the name is not derived from that and probably elm. However, today lemons,olives and tourism are part of its economy.Here the mountains have sheer drops into the lake and the road progresses through tunnels with open cut windows for light. it was indeed pleasant to stand and listen to a well dressed busker playing some real Italian music on the piano accordian in one of the small picturesque vias.
Pity we had to leave for Riva del Garda so soon!
This end of the lake is renown for wind surfing, kiting and sailing. This is due to the three winds that blow into the area, the Peler (north wind) and can churn up the lower water which then makes the lake very clear. The Ora (south) is the most famous wind which builds up along the length of the lake and can mean a storm. The Balin blows over the mountains from the west causing swells and usually after a storm. Definitelywhy we photographed many sailing boats, wind surfers in the chop of the water. Something to consider as the temperature could drop at the northern part of the lake.
Along the high mountains on the west side we noticed many bicycle riders high above on an older route down into Riva del Garda. Pulling into the harbour, it was a bit of a walk around into the main part of this town, which is the largest on the northern end of the lake. Population 16,000.
We passed a large building with a huge male statue, thinking it may be a university but we soon found out it was just the hydro electric building which had been camoufaged with ornate detail. The statue was holding lightning bolts!
On walking in to Piazza 111 Novembre the Tower d'Apponale overpowers the area. This tower of 165 steps (climb in summer) was built in the 13th cent. to protect the access from the lake to the town. It was once connected to the Castle La Rocca by an underground passage.
Further around we came across La Rocca which is also surrounded by water and first used in the 12th cent. as a fort. Following this it dates back to the Hapsburgs and used for the Austrian Forces. Today it houses a civic museum.
Of course we then wandered around the shopping streets and then ended up unwinding on the waterfront restaurant at the Hotel Sole right across from the ferry terminal and a good view of the lake. I had the trout and chips which I enjoyed.
After lunch we walked off the dessert for the approx 15 mins out of the town centre to the bus station to take us back to Bardolino. Enjoyed this part of the lake.
Last day in Bardolino and decided to kick back and stay around this pretty lakeside village. We had a look around the village as we had not walked along many of the vias. The Church of San Nicolo e Severo C19th cent. at the very top of Piazza Matteotti punctuates the skyline and is a fitting structure at the top of this busy wide and restaurant lined piazza which starts across from the ferry terminal area where the marina is situated. We wandered up the vias inland and passed the Church of San Severo C 9th cent. Also a very old building caught my eye. In need of repair its walls were once adorned with frescos but today the only bright thing to see is the artifical flower shop in its lower ground area. Still old as it was, it had its own beauty and made a lovely photograph. Bardolino with its population of 6739 has been around since the stone age, but the town was given its independence from Verona around 856>859. It lies below the sloping Moraine Hills where there are vineyards and olive groves. I did have a taste of the Bardolino Rose which I found very light and easy to drink. Packing to do...Venice tomorrow.
Bus back to Verona, fast Italian train to Venice, vaporetto to San Zaccaria. The latter took us well over an hour to get there as the ticket seller outside the train station insisted we get the No. 2 when I really wanted the 5.1 or .2 not sure now as it was faster and went via the Guidecca canal. Once there I hadn't counted on going up over a bridge to get to the Hotel Pelligrino and Commercio (review) our small boutique hotel for 4 nights. Don't count on a google map to tell you there is a bridge! Anyway the handle had broken on my luggage and I found it difficult to carry it up over the bridge, but fortunately a nice gentleman did it for me. Once into the hotel we freshened up and went for a walk around our local calles to see the sights. We ventured around to the Teatro san Gallo (theatre) which was at Campo san Gallo which is just up through the top (L) corner of San Marco square and over a bridge and along on the right. Here we enquired about tickets for that evening "Venezia the Show" We were advised we could just arrive for the show and purchase them then. We paid the full price but I believe that some were getting a voucher for reduced in books on flights, probably into Venice. Students are cheaper. The show itself is an insight into the history and way of life for Venetians in days gone by. Interesting, sometimes comical but not a huge cast and mainly lots of changes of clothes for playing various parts. But as it was Sunday night and we had just arrived we decided to go to get a little more insight on life in Venice.
I had booked this prior to arriving in Europe and printed it to take. We arrived at the meeting point where we were taken by the guide to skip the queue. Up the ornate staircase after taking photos of the inner courtyard of the palace and various statues, windows etc. At the top of the staircase we entered a smaller doorway which had to be unlocked. Once in that room we were walked through the secret rooms of the clerks of the time of the Doge and the story did unfold along the way making this a very interesting tour which explained the governing bodies of the time. We were shown the rooms where the punishment was decided, the cells, the prison (The Leads) where Casanova was held and escaped, crossed the Bridge of Sighs and much much more. We found this a very interesting tour and the guide knowledgable. After the tour we came into the very lush and ornate rooms of the Palace. What a change!
Outside we ambled around the Piazza, noticing a bride and groom taking photos...not sure if they were photgraphing for their wedding or making an ad. The pidgeons were of course everywhere. I forewent going up inside the Bell Tower and we window shopped around the ornate buildings, photographed the Bridge of Sighs, the waterfront with the many gondolas and across to Giudecca.
Decision was made to get the Vaporetto over to Burano from San Zaccaria. This was done in two stages by one to Murano and then change onto another vaporetto to Burano. We were not interested in Murano glass and really wanted to see the pretty village of Burano. We ambled around the shops looking for presents and loved the colourful houses and boats along the small marina. Finally we settled down for lunch in an outdoor eatery along the water. Can't recall the name of the small restaurant but I do remember the waiter came out singing. The vaporetto back was crowded and we did get to see a few of the islands along the way.
Skip the Line walking Tour of Venice and St Mark's Basilica
We met at the small garden on the waterfront past St Mark's Square. At the gate we gave in our printed booking and were directed to a waiting place. Many tours were waiting there. Two girls took our booking and marked us off...for some reason we had no need for our passports for either tour we did.
The Guide arrived and we were walked to the Basilica where we had to walk along the platforms to get in. The tide had forced the water up through the drains of the Piazza and it was also pooling around the outside of the Basilica. We were given details about all the exterior of the Basilica and the interior where the gold leaf glass mosiacs in the cupola gleamed. Afterwards we were taken through back alleyways behind the Piazza to various squares where we were entertained with the amount of knowledge the tour guide had for the city. Finally we ended up at Rialto Bridge where we could be left or taken back towards St Marks. We decided to look around the area and ended up sitting in an outdoor eatery on the Grande Canale with no cover charge! I had a Spritz ( mark that one off) and we shared a plate of cicchetti which I didn't enjoy as much as my co traveller did. I especially didn't enjoy the creamed cod as it was far too fishy and salty for my like...oh well washed that down with another spritz! Now THAT I did enjoy...so refreshing. We had no trouble following the signs back to our hotel later in the day.
The hotel employee who was very pleasant advised to go to the restaurant Al Giardinetto for dinner that night. We didn't have much trouble finding it, although I'd be hard pressed now and we found the meal tasty and it had a pleasant atmosphere in a coutryard with a vine covered pegola...quite pleasant for Venice.
Last day in Venice and nothing arranged.After coming down from the Dolomites and Lake Garda we were a bit over the amount of tourists ( I know we are also) especially around St Marks as this was very close to our hotel. I think there was about 5 cruise ships in on this day and so we decided to just get the vaporetto across to Lido Island which was about 20 mins or so away. On arrival at the vaporetto stop there was a sign to say there was a vaporetto strike...Gee last day, what to do. We enquired if all the vaporetto lines were cancelled and fortunately Lido was still running. We had no intentions of rushing around all over the island and were not interested in going to the beach side as we were not swimming. Therefore we just did a bit of shopping and enjoyed the laid back atmosphere of this island and the fact that it was not inundated with hordes of tourists. We had a very pleasant three course lunch is a outdoor restaurant.
Fast train to Santa Maria Novella train station in Florence. On arrival we opted for a taxi to the apartment where we met a representative to let us in. We were having three days in Florence and as we had both been there before we did not need to see everything.
The apartment was just down a Via which met the Piazza del Duomo. The lounge kitchen dining area on the upper floor had a large picture window which overlooked the Dome of the Duomo. Thank goodness the representative carried our luggage up once we left the lift on the third floor as we didn't know we had another 37 stairs...yes I counted them! A thought must get new luggage! I really enjoyed seeing the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore once again as it's vastness is magnificent. Spent the afternoon getting in food and enjoying the views from the apartment.
We had booked online Skip the Line Accademia Gallery so we could see the real David by Michelangelo. Last time I was in Florence it was not possible to see the statue. Thankfully we had an early booking and we didn't have far to walk from our apartment. It did not take long at all to get in and so it shouldn't have as we paid far more than those waiting in line. Once we arrived at the statue we were in awe of just how large it was (17 ft) and we both walked around it studying every detail. I believe that the statue is structually frail with some hair line cracks and the small tree trunk is it main support and is not large enough to do so. Also around the foot there is damage from people holding onto it over the centuries. I do hope it is repaired as it is definitely something to be treasured.
We then set off on a walking tour that we devised to places we hadn't been. First of all we went into Santa Croce where we found an Austrian food market setting up stalls and once outside the Basilica we were turned away as it was a holiday and closed to the public. Pity. I was determined to have a coffee on the Piazza there (mark that off). Then it was into Piazza della Signoria to see the statues, mainly because I had accidentally deleted the photos last time we were there. Palazzo Vecchio (the first Medici palace) was huge and very interesting with its great hall. Got a photo of my co traveller on the Ponte Vecchio as she hadn't been there before.
After lunch we ventured down the shopping vias where I finally found a suitable suitcase on four wheels. Thanks goodness.
We were to catch the bus at Piazza San Marco to go up to Fiesole (Firezolay) to have lunch on a terrace overlooking Florence and the Tuscan Hills. On arrival at the Piazza there was a demonstration taking place by the students from the university With placards in hand they were preparing to march down the route of our bus. All to do with the state of the economy. We were advised by the bus company representatives who were on site to walk down to Piazza della Liberta where we could pick up the bus. On we hiked only to find that there was a large roundabout with connecting vias in all directions and of course a traffic hold up. I am sure one man at the bus stop was appalled at the delay of the bus due to the demonstration. Finally, after quite a long wait we were underway.
Fiesole is in the hills above Florence and is older than Florence. It is a small village which is more like a suburb as it is not far away and there are some roman ruins of an ampitheatre there. On arrival, I knew we had a steep via to walk up to the restaurant but little did I know it had hand railings along its walls! Once we arrived almost to it,there was a small park across the via which afforded wonderful views down over the large valley to Florence and the Duomo. The Restaurant La Reggia Degli Etruschi translated means the Palace of Etruscan. Etruscan is an ancient civilization found around various parts of Italy including Tuscany. The building had a very old feel to it, but not sure how old and probably not as old as I felt after that crawl uphill! However, it was interesting and we enjoyed sitting on the outdoor terrace taking in the views. On arrival we were the only clients there, but soon quite a few arrived. I enjoyed the appetizer of zucchini flan with tomato, basil and black skinned pecorino sauce followed by Ricotta Ravioli with black truffle and side of grilled vegetables ( shared) and we rounded it off with a cheese assortment with wine gelatine. This was our last day in Italy for a week. We thoroughly enjoyed the meal. (Review above)
There was a small monastry up the via past the restaurant with a gift shop but was advised not much to see and we headed at a fast pace back down the hill. Packing and off to Dubrovnik tomorrow.
Taxi to train station booked by the representative for the apartment. Carried our bags down also. Very nice of him.
We caught another fast train, the Frecciargento to Roma Termini. While there we booked our selves on the Valmontone Shopping Outlet transfer bus which is done in Terra Cafe along platform 1. We didn't have to pay until we arrived back in Rome on the morning we were going. Cost 7 euro each return.Arrive to cafe 9.45 am leave 10 am and pick up at 5.30pm. certain days of the week and on Sunday.We then paid for the Leonardo Express ticket in a machine on the opposite side of the platforms and as it was waiting we hopped on, secured our luggage and settled in for the ride. We decided to go straight to the airport and have lunch there, check our luggage in as early as possible and look through the duty free.
I decided on the spot to buy another camera as I couldn't find anyone to fix my Cannon. Managed to get a good little Olympus with a large optical zoom for a good price to suffice.
My co traveller was concerned about the small propellor plane we were to travel on across the Adriatic, but I find small planes great as you can get a better view down below and that I did. I think it only had 70 people on board and even the space between the seats had more room than some of the large jets. This flight only runs about two days a week and really is only in the air for about an hour. Not cheap by our standards here in AUS but much better than flying back up to Munich and then down to Dubrovnik. which is a really long flight. We arrived into Dubrovnik about 7.30pm. We had booked Cheap Dubrovnik Tours ( Review) to transfer us to and fro from the airport. On arrival my friend's luggage had not come from Rome! So not impressed we arrived into our apartment about 8.30pm. The apartment a one bedroom with a comfortable sofa bed booked through Dubrovnik Apartments Online was in a renovated 250 year old building of three apartments. Ours was Barcelona Apt. This was in Za Rokom which is two streets in and parallel with the main street the Stradun, inside the walls of the old town. It had narrow, winding and steep wooden stairs inside, however the apartment was very modern and quite nice. Bought in some supplies in a small shop outside Pile Gate entrance near our area for the morning and hoped the luggage would turn up then.
As the luggage had not arrived my co traveller went looking for toiletries and sandals as it was quite hot in town. We found that the shops don't all open at the time we would expect and therefore it was to and fro to try to buy some to tie her over. It also was a Sunday and therefore not all shops open early. We ate at the street side Balkan Grill on a corner of the Stradun, mainly to try some of the cuisine. We shared a huge plate of mixed grill, chicken in proscuitto, small cevapi sausages, rissoles with cheese, grilled eggplant, onions and capsicum served with a capiscum relish. Add tossed salad, bread, 2 wines and water. It was a bargain. We even got a complimentary cherry liquer. (Review)
There was a Jam market on in the square and there I bought a bottle of Blackberry Wine which was very nice and a type of salami made with figs and almonds...tasty.
We took photos of the Stradun which has the most clean pavement I have seen and it actually looks as if it has been raining. It is highly polished. The Stradun is the main street and there we came across a bird stand of three bright coloured macaws, a white cockatoo and another large parrot. The owner/busker was dressed pirate style and the macaws were put on the shoulders of the tourists for photos...for a donation. I came across the same parrots later in our stay near sunset and the owner was nowhere to be seen. The small port was open with notes and change and lo and behold the large macaw got down picked up a note and hopped back up on the perch...then he was after the coins as well! Cheeky!
Afterwards we took the cable car up to Mt Srd. To get there we went out through Ploce Gate and turned left crossed the road and walked through a treed area up stairs to the base station. It was a fantastic sunny day and the view of the old town going up was amazing. Even pinpointed out where our apartment was. Once up there we went to see the Homeland War Museum next door. This had a video about the bombing of the Old Town in the 90's and photos around the walls explaining the situation at the time. We then went to the cafe/restaurant outside the top station and sat under an umbrella where we both had a cocktail and took in the scenery out over the calm Adriatic Sea. So pleasant and relaxing.
Left early to catch the bus to Gruz to look for clothes for my co traveller. It was Independence Day and the ticket seller at the bus stop advised nothing was open in Gruz on a public holiday. Bought in groceries and I went walking around the town taking photos of the harbour, the walls, and anything else that took my fancy. Not so many tourists around except a few walking tours. The day was very windy and therefore I put off walking the walls to another time. Some of the shops opened later and we looked for some clothes. We had lunch in and relaxed in the apartment.
Finally received the call to say the luggage was arriving.Yahoo! It had come from Rome via Zagreb and Split! It was a sight for sore eyes. The flight attachment had been damaged by the glue attaching itself over the bar code and destination.
Caught the bus down to Gruz shopping area ...any bus but a 4 or 5. We wanted to get some groceries from a larger supermarket as those around or in the old town are quite small and have limited products. We also looked around the shops which were not that many and afterwards walked down to the Gruz Harbour where all the cruise ships dock. We sat on a large covered verandah of a shopping centre across from the bottom of the harbour and had a pizza. Dessert was Ice cream and hot cherry sauce. Yum!
A lovely morning and so I set off early 8am to walk the walls. Spent 2hours and got many wonderful photos. See review
We then decided to get the bus to Cavtat, which is a small village about half and hour south of Dubrovnik. We had to pick up bus No.10 at the base station of the cable car to Mt. Srd. It is on the street on the top side of the station and just up from it. Pay driver have small change.
Cavtat is older than Dubrovnik and once was a Greek settlement followed by the Romans in 228 BC. Sacked by the Slavs and Avars in the 7th cent. people fled to now what is Dubrovnik.
This is a small pretty waterfront village with palm trees lining the promenade, souvenir shops and a small marina with overlooking restaurants. The bus over cost only 20 kuna or $4 AUD. After wandering around the village we settled down at the Konoba Cavtat restaurant sitting right at the front overlooking the small marina tucked in the middle between the two peninsulars of Rat and Sustjepan. I had a mushroom soup followed by a seafood risotto while my co traveller had Cevapi sausages fried vegetables and chips....both huge and on large plates. (Review)After lunch we decided to do the walk around the Rat Peninsular which arrives back into town. Along the way we noticed people swimming in Luka Bay, a bar area on the rocks and a swimming hole in the rocks next door where families were enjoying themselves. All had sun lounges and the weather was glorious. This walk was along a wide paved area and we passed a couple of lovely homes as well as quite a few wild cats that probably hang around the fishing boats for scraps.
We had decided to get the ferry back which you can do at the marina area where there are stalls to buy the tickets. I think a few boats run back and forwards to Dubrovnik harbour. Cost was 50 kuna $10 AUD which we didn't think was too bad to enjoy the views along the way from the water. The boat pulled into the resort area of Mlini along the way and we got a good look at the island of Lokrum near Dubrovnik on the way back. No commentary as this is just a ferry service.
Dinner in and afterwards we strolled around the Old Town at night taking photos.
We had booked with viator.com a day trip to Montenegro. Ancient Montenegro Day Tour. Pick up point was at the Hotel Imperial Hilton garage which was just up the street on the right outside Pile Gate. Here we were met by a transfer van and taken to the large tour bus. This was arranged through Elite Travel. We set off down along the very high road over the Adriatic with views back to Dubrovnik and out over the islands. We then went past Cavtat and then Cilipi where the airport is located above the huge Konavle Valley where fruit trees and other crops grow. A patchwork of colour. Finally we reached the vast Kotor Bay which is likened to a fiord but is really a ria (drowned river valley opening to the sea). Magnificent views and many photos here. Firstly we stopped at the town of Risan 3BC to see the Roman mosiacs which were discoverd there. A guide gave us a short tour and explained the archeological site where some mosiacs had been removed to clean. These ruins were from 2AD.
Then it was on to Perast a very pretty little fishing village with a mountainous backdrop. This village called the quietest in Boka has 16 preserved palaces of sea captains. They all represent 12 Perast brotherhoods (Clans). Once a bustling port with hundred of sailing boats in the harbour, today it is almost abandoned. Now has 360 citizens. Very photographic waterfront. Here we went on a boat out to the man made island, Gospa od Skrpjela, to see the Church, Our Lady of the Rocks C1630. Apparently sailors found a painting of Madonna and child here on rocks and for over 200 years, huge rocks were brought and dropped here from ships to build up this island. It still goes on during a festival.Today it is mainly concrete with this really ornate little church. A local guide took us through, allowed photos and explained the gifts donated by sailors over the centuries to the church. One such gift was from a lady who took 25 years to do a small needlepoint of Madonna and child. It was done in gold and silver thread and had 650 stitches to 1 centermetre! Such detail and the faces so beautifully done.While I wandered around outside I noticed a cruise ship coming along the bay and I caught a great photo of the ship while a man was fishing from his dinghy in front. The large and the small. Some other gifts given to the church over the centuries were from Roman and Grecian times were parts of ships, oil lanterns etc. from the sailors for being saved from the sea. Our final destination was the town of Kotor with its population of 5,341 but adds up to 23,000 odd for the entire municipality.(2003) Walking in the first thing we noticed was the ancient walls creeping along the mountain above the city. These walls are about 4.5 km long, 20 m high and approx 10 m thick. Also up in the same vicinity is Fort St Ivan and is a good spot to get great views and photos down over the old town and out to Kotor Bay. We forewent this as our time was limited. This town is one of the best preserved walled old towns in Europe. Over many centuries, Kotor has been invaded by many countries and the town had 4 centuries of Venetian domination, hence it shows some typical Venetian architecture. There are many palaces here and we saw the Palace of Pima which was owned by the most influential and rich family at one time. Kotor has been devasated over its 2000 year history,with invasions, earthquakes and lately a war.
Since the latter a large shipping company was destroyed by corruption and hence many lost their positions and also a huge hotel is now in ruins. This has put Kotor into the greatest decline since 1990. The town is UNESCO listed and now tourism is a hopeful pickup in the economy.
After entering through one of its three bulwarks we looked around the first square, the Square of Arms, which was mainly banks and ATMS. The Cathedral of S Tryphon C1166 is also where the Bishop's Palace and the Treasury are located. The Clock Tower was of interest with its whipping post below and the Church of St. Luke small as it was, showed its age. It has two alters one for the Orthodox and one for the Catholics. It's frescos are now fragmented. The Serbian Orthdox Church of St Nicholas C1909 was partially damaged during the earthquake. Today the Serbian flag hangs from the front. After wandering around the streets of this interesting small Stari Grad (old town) we decided to dine at a restaurant where we liked the sound of the menu.This turned out to be at the Hotel Astoria and we ate out on the square. Thoroughly enjoyed our meal and wine, plus dessert. (Review)
Later we looked around the shops and then walked back to where we were to meet the bus. Needless to say, there was a bit of shut eye on the way back to Dubrovnik.
Snacks in for dinner that night. Just see our plated meals on the review,you will understand why!
Reviews of Kotor Bay, Kotor Old Town and Hotel Astoria restaurant.
We had booked this a couple of days before at the Information Centre up near Pile Gate. Same pick up as previous outside the walls at the Hotel Imperial Hilton by Adriatic Tours. Difference was we were all in a smaller van. I sat down the back on a single seat ( two on one side and one on the other) and found that I didn't fit in comfortably and so quickly changed to the very front seat which only had a railing in front.
Tour guide on board. This route took us out along the coast road north over the large bridge named after the first Prime Minister after Independence, Dr Franjo Tudjman. This is after Gruz Harbour. Then we had to go through three border crossings. In this area the small 10km stretch of Bosnia and Herzegovina was once Croatia and given to this country when the Ottomans ruled. This was to stop the Venetians from invading. Passports had to be sighted both times there and back.
Neum (pronounced NowM) is the town in this area and this was our morning tea stop at the cafe/restaurant that looked down over the sea and islands. There is no way any buses could drive in the streets way down below. People from Croatia actually go there to shop as the tax is 25% in Croatia and only 17% in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Was not impressed with the food and coffee there as the doughnut was stale and the coffee mainly froth and not hot, however it served its purpose. En route we saw what was a trading port between Dubrovnik and Ston. Trade was salt and pepper in those days. The yellow and lavender wildflowers dotted the scattered limestone rock covered hills. Mussel farmers were out working the area and soon we came alongside the very long Peljesac Peninsular known for its vineyards.A large plain cultivated and watered by the Neretva River ( also in Mostar) came into view. This area grows fruit trees, olives, vineyards. The river kept us company for quite away.
We drove through Naroma which has 2nd cent. Roman ruins followed by Metkovic which was an unstriking town where houses were quite plain but some of the whole yard consisted of vegetable gardens. The river became wide here and pretty in parts with foliage along the banks turning autumn colours. 44km to Mostar.
Our next stop was Poticlj wich is a preserved old village where Bosnian Kings and Dukes built a fortress. There is also a mosque. A small market spread along our walking route. Driving towards Mostar I realised that the country was quite poor compared with Croatia and Montenegro. Some homes were still not reconstructed since the war of the 90's. Once we arrived into Mostar we met up with a local tour guide that showed us the rebuilt church with it's tower that had been extended and the nearby renovated monastry. As we approached the Old Town and the famous bridge that was bombed during the war but since rebuilt, we noticed that some buildings were still in ruins and some had holes in the walls. As it was drizzling rain we found it hard going walking over the foot bridge as it had become quite slippery. All along the way on both sides of the bridge there were plenty of market stalls. We dined overlooking the small clear Neretva River down below and across from the bridge. A basic meal while mother cat and her six kittens waited patiently for any titbits.
Our last night, we decided to dine in our own little street in Dubrovnik at SIL OK. I had a lasagne which came out sizzling in its bowl while my friend had a huge Burito and we shared a salad. (review)
We both really enjoyed our stay in this part of the world.
Spent the morning packing and tidying up the apartment. We were not flying out until about 3pm for Rome. We left for the airport with the same transfer company at 1pm. On arrival we had lunch, basic and spent time reading and waiting to check the luggage through. As we walked out onto the tarmac we noticed a very severe storm over the hills, black as black and almost to the ground...Uh Oh this may be a problem with our small propellor plane. Thank goodness we were up and away in the opposite direction. Arrived into the Hotel Bettijo Alantico about 7pm, tidied up and spent the evening around the corner at Smeraldo Restaurant. Dined here two nights. Good service, however the constant harrassment of hawkers walking by while we were dining was a definite non plus. Buskers playing accordians and violins did entertain us though. (Review)
Valmontone Shopping Outlet
Caught the shuttle bus outside Platform 1 ( through the Terra Cafe after paying for our ticket) After some explanation we were given a shopping bag with discount details for various shops. It took about 1 hour to get to the complex. It was on the road towards Naples. We spent the day there, however found that most of the clothes were in smaller sizes including the shoes.It was a nice interlude away from Rome as we had been there before and had almost exhausted the sights then. Arrived back about 7.30pm and the traffic on a Sunday evening was horrendous especially once through the toll gates where ten rows ( not lanes) of vehicles have to merge into two lanes. Roadwork going on there. Tried another street side restaurant that was packed in the opposite direction from our hotel...name forgotten as is the food...not to my liking.
Metro to Spagna station next to the Spanish Steps and not far from Termini. Photos around the area of the Church of Trinita dei Monti, the staircase which is the widest in Europe with its 138 steps C1723 and the Fountain of the Old Boat. John Keats lived in the building on the right at the foot of the stairs facing them. We then walked down the High Street shopping Via off the Piazza del Spagna.I was unimpressed with this street as it is narrow and the pavement uneven and having to step off it from time to time to allow others to pass. No embellishments outside the doors here. We then ambled along towards Piazza del Popolo and on the way happened on a small Tavern, Taverna del Corso (see review) where I had a very tasty calzone. Finally we arrived into the Piazza del Popolo ( Peoples Square) but is really named after populars. This Piazza is inside the north gate of the Aurelian Walls which is where the start of Via Flaminia, was the most important route to the north. It was once the first sight of Rome for travellers.
The Obelisk was brought to Rome in 10BC for Circus Maximus and erected here in 1589. Many public executions here and the last in 1826.
Had a quite evening around the hotel.
Getting to Ostia Antica
Metro ticket for 24 hours (but expires at midnight) and cost 6 Euro each. Caught the Metro to Pirimade which is the 4th stop from Termini. There we changed trains onto the Rome-Lido line...same ticket. The train may be waiting as this is the terminus. Check the screen for which BIN (platform) and time departing. The ninth stop is Ostia Antica. Walked over the blue pedestrian bridge and straight ahead until you see the sign. 8.50 Euro then but seniors over 65 may get in free if shown a pension card. Take hand cleanser and tissues as we found there was not any water or toilet paper in the first toilets near where you buy the ticket, however the cafeteria does have toilets but that is further along the ruins. The cafeteria is exactly what a cafeteria is pre made food and I found it a bit bland.
On entering we first passed the necropolis (cemetery) and then to the town itself. This town was abandoned over a period of time due to various reasons. Wars, silt, the change in the river after a flood, a change of port etc. It is well preserved although has more trees and grassed areas than Pompeii to get out of the hot sun or perhaps have a picnic. I bought a book in one of the souvenir shops around the Termini train station in Rome that explains the layout of the town which was handy to keep to take home. There are some frescoes although very old and partially missing plus some mosiacs and interesting buildings as in the Capitol building, teatro with an ampitheatre, theatre masks, tenement buildings and a tavern with its bar and cooking area, frescos and outdoor terrace, temples, statues and an arcaded courtyard where athletes trained to mention a few. Reconstruction is still going on and various large columns of marble from Africa lay waiting to find their rightful home. I found this an interesting outing and we just did not get to explore the whole site.
Last night of our holiday and off to the Smeraldo for that Salmon dinner.
Flight out late at night. Had a late check out until 3.30pm no extra charge which was great. We spent the morning doing last minute shopping and having lunch. Out to airport by private transfer and then looked through duty free, read and spent time reminiscing about our travels.
My favourite places:
Ortisei and the surrounding countryside and alpine pastures of Val Gardena, The Dolomites, Italy
The lake District ( especially Wolfgangsee and the village of St Wolfgang) and Salzburg
Bay of Kotor, and Kotor Montenegro
Bavarian countryside, Germany
Villages we visited Lake Garda, Lake Garda
in that order...
Hawkers who are persisent, graffiti especially on historic buildings. Unusual at times frightening road rules or lack of them.
The Loves: The culture, the sights, the ambience, the people of the countrysides, the gelato, the clean and clear Adriatric, the cleanliness of Dubrovnik old town and it's city walls...I could go on....
Heaps of photos, heaps of memories.
Flew out at 10 pm ...took me 48 hours to get home...well with time difference...jet lag!