Last Day in Milan

We planned this last day well before we got to Milan. We spent the day at the QC Termemilan Spa, it was AMAZING, what a fabulous place and a beautiful way to spend the day. We started with a relaxing massage, then had a delicious buffet lunch, then had a. Turkish bath (Hamam) then we tried all the different rooms, the salt room, the water room, the earth room, headed outside and relaxed by the many pools and had a wee sleep in the sun. Fabulous we didn’t want to leave. Finished off the day with a hair wash and a glass of Prosecco sensational.

So sad to be leaving Italy, as always it was my favourite, could live here! We survived very well without the boys and had a blast. Now home to the frosty cold!

 

This was the ceiling in the water room, you lie on water beds and look at the ceiling there is a projector playing lots of different moving scenes, so cool.

 

Verona

Yesterday we decided to get out of the city and caught the train to Verona. What a beautiful town. Had a fabulous lunch and wandered around for the day. Saw Juliette’s balcony, all the writing on the wall near her house, went up the Lamberti tower and went to the Arena. Fantastic day. Although I have to say if you are planning on visiting Verona, don’t waste 10 Euro on going inside the Arena, the best views of it are on the outside!

Goodbye Venice, Hello Milan

We saw the boys off home and Jenny and I stayed another night. So loved Venice and we were sad to leave it.

Took the train to Milan.

Had a look around and went to the fabulous Duomo, a bit of a ride on the hop on hop off bus. Looked at the expensive shops, very eye opening! Our hotel is in the middle of the affordable shopping district which is perfect.

Our hotel has a great restaurant and bar – ate and drank a bit much on the second night – celebrating the Americas cup and a successful shopping day, so yesterday was a bit quiet and lethargic. We were in bed asleep by 9.30 last night and slept 10 hours feel excellent today and we are off to Verona today to get out of the city should be great.

Lots of people bike in Milan its lovely to see.

I bought a leather jacket and an outfit for the Master Builders House of the Year so very happy, I have a new favourite shop.

Went to a Kandinsky exhibition yesterday, was great, so gutted the Klimt exhibition starts here on Saturday – we leave Friday.

Hello Italia

Goodbye Santorini, its been great but your airport is a circus, seriously worst airport I’ve ever been in. After arriving the usual 2.5 hours before our international flight we had to go in and out of the building to check in, then get our bags scanned and then finally to go through to the gates. There were a lot of people there and standing room only. One little kiosk with food (only a choice of two things) and enough seats for about 10 people. After waiting two hours we pushed through towards our gate and discovered there was a lounge upstairs (the sign was hidden behind an air conditioning unit. Oh well no time we were due to board. That involved queuing for a bus which then took us to the plane, anyway 3 hours after we arrived at the airport we finally took off.

Final observations on Greece:

Linen is worn a lot, and I must admit it does feel cooler wearing it. Traffic is chaos but seems to work, in Santorini its mainly scooters and ATV (4 wheel motorbikes). Our transfer to the airport was in a Toyota RAV4 (whereas our pickup from the airport was a luxury mini van) hmm. Oh and they don’t wear helmets on their motorbikes.

Overall we especially loved Mykonos, but felt Greece in general was expensive.

Landing in Venice was wonderful, absolutely love this place, felt like coming home, such a fantastic atmosphere and the Italian people are very friendly.

We got a private boat from the airport to San Marco where our hotel was about 100 metres away, a lovely way to start our time in Venice. The picture below is what one looks like.

Couldn’t wait to get out and about and go exploring.

This morning we were up early and headed to Saint Marks Square and as there was not many people around at 8.30am we went straight up the bell tower, for fabulous views and it just so happened that while we were up there the bells rang, very loud but totally awesome to be there at that time.

We then went on a Gondola ride, as there was rain forecast we thought we should go while it was dry.

Then we decided to head over the Murano and Burano. Walking towards the ferry we were stopped by a gentleman asking if we were going to Murano. It turns out they were having a promotion day and we could get a free boat a ride (in a water taxi, just like the one above), well we were in, much better than a long ferry ride. Went to Murano and watched some glass demonstrations, had a wander around and then caught the ferry to Burano.

Arrived at Burano and hurried to find a restaurant as it had just started to rain, found a fantastic place (picture of our lunch above) and settled in. There was thunder and lightening and torrential rain, the thunder was soo loud. After a while, a few beers and wines later the weather cleared and the sun came out, to a beautiful afternoon wandering around Burano.

Tonight was the boys last night in Venice, they head home tomorrow so we had dinner at the Rialto Bridge, beautiful seafood and great location.

Exploring Santorini

Yesterday morning Jenny and Kelvin hired a car to explore the island. It was a Nissan Micra, a large car by Santorini standards!

So off we went, Trev opted to do some walking and didn’t come with us. We set out to head to the Monastry on the highest point of the island but ended up at Red Beach.

After that we tried to find a shortcut road to the Monastry, the maps here are pathetic. Anyway we started driving up a reasonable sort of road that quickly narrowed considerably, we kept going, Jenny was starting to get a bit concerned that it was too narrow.

We kept driving on and on, at times cars had to reverse out of our way into alleys etc. By this time we were in the country so thought we were on the right track to get to the Monastry. Jenny was very grumpy that we kept going and kept saying she wasn’t coming with us again, meanwhile Kelvin and I were laughing and enjoying the adventure. The road was very narrow at this point and we were climbing up higher, narrower and narrower. Then we came to a point where we couldn’t go any further. So had to turn around and come all the way back. A fun adventure.

In the afternoon Trevor and I went on a Sunset cruise, on a beautiful new boat with all food and drink included. Went to the hot springs near the volcano had a swim there, then sailed to Red beach, had a swim there, then off to White beach and swam, fed the fish and snorkelled there, having a BBQ dinner before setting off to sail back to Oia to watch the fantastic sunset. Met some lovely people from Australia, UK and Malaysia. Was lots of fun and a highlight of our time in Santorini. A beautiful day.

Hello Santorini

Arrived in Santorini on a classic beautiful bluebird day.

There was a bit of an issue with our rooms, and after a lot of toing and froing over a day, we have to stay put, essentially because there is no room anywhere. We feel a bit stuck without a car. Yesterday we caught the bus to the beach, we waited for 45 minutes for a 15 minute ride, then caught another bus to the beach. It was a black stone beach, lovely to be beside the water and get the cool breeze, was 32 degrees here.

We came back to the hotel, watched a wedding from our balcony, then caught another bus to Oia to watch the sunset. It was a beautiful little town with a festive atmosphere.

This afternoon we are heading off on a boat trip to a couple of islands, it also takes in dinner and sunset tonight. Jenny and Kelvin are hiring a car to have a look around.

Observation: Greek plumbers must be 7 foot tall. All of the showers so far in Greece are hand-held with a hook about 8 feet up the wall, I can only reach it to hang the shower up!

More Mykonos

Having a lovely relaxing time in Mykonos, beautiful weather, lovely beach and pool

Yesterday morning we caught the bus from outside our hotel and went into the main town of Mykonos. It was chaos with people and traffic. The roads here are only the width of one lane and there is two way traffic including great big buses!

The town of Mykonos is beautiful with its white buildings against the unreal blue sky.

We walked up to the windmills and then along to Little Venice for morning tea. Had a great spot right on the ocean, the waves were crashing into the building. There was a Pelican there, inside near the toilets, he seemed quite happy, how weird, lol.

THere are a lot of lovely shops here, I think we were in the label area, didn’t do any shopping, ha.

Came back to the peace and quiet of our hotel pool and beach, lovely spot to spend the afternoon, had lunch at a cafe which featured in the movie Shirley Valentine, that is just at the bottom of our hotel on the beach.

Went out for dinner to a local restaurant which had a fantastic waitress, she was totally great, gave her a tip at the end of the night and she hugged us.

spending a couple of hours at the pool then catching the ferry to Santorini.

They have the same drivers here that are just as bad as they are in Queenstown!!

Greek Islands

We left Chania and on our way out visited the Allied Forces War Cemetary. A beautiful spot and very very neat and well kept. Visited Pops’ brother’s grave. 446 New Zealand soldiers buried there with soldiers from UK, Australia and a couple of other places, majority were from UK and NZ.

Then off we went to Heraklion (pronounced Irakleeon) in our pathetic car

Nothing of any event happened on the drive, thanks to Kelvin’s great driving, the motorway speed limit was very low and we arrived without incident at our hotel.

The hotel was lovely and we had a delicious lunch at the hotel restaurant, probably the best food we have had so far. I have to say that we are very spoilt with the quality of food we have in NZ.

The next morning we caught the Ferry to Mykonos, it was an overcast and reasonably cold day (20 degrees) so a good day for travelling but not for traditionally beautiful Greek Island photos.

Today is a lovely sunny day about 23 degrees, which is the coldest we have had so far in terms of heat, but great for mooching around the pool/beach and having a lazy day.

Chania

Well, what an adventure getting to our hotel in Chania (pronounced Hanya).

Mrs Google was telling us to go down closed off streets. Most of the streets in the Old Town are one way, or walking only. Our hotel, unbeknownst to us was on a walking only part of town. We parked up, Kelvin and Jenny took my phone with google and walked to the hotel to get some help with getting the car there, ha the hotel was all locked up and the keys were celloptaped to the door!! Anyway we got as close as we could with the car and walked to the hotel.

We couldn’t believe how busy the cafes and restaurants were it was 1:30am!!, got to bed grumpy and tired at 2:00am.

This is what we woke to the next morning.

Amazing town and very beautiful. Did some laundry and got my hair done (sick of being a frizz). Wandered around, did a small glass bottom boat trip, Jenny and Trev had a swim.

Apparently there was an earthquake in the early hours of this morning, Trev and I didn’t feel it but it was a 5.5.

Off to Heraklion today.

Our brekky delivered to Jenny and Kelvin’s balcony

Hello Athens

Arrived in Athens, very hot weather averaging around 34 degrees, phew, its exhausting.

Had a wander around the ruins, did the hop on – hop off bus and, thanks Emily for the advice not to stay in Athens for more than one day, you were right. Was great to see the Acropolis and where the modern Olympics started.

Things we observed about Athens, people friendly, the Acropolis and other ruins are the focal point of the city, you can see them for miles, there was heaps and heaps of tagging and graffiti everywhere you went.