A Travellerspoint blog

Florence and relaxation

sunny 16 °C

Well, well, well....I am one unhappy dolphin. Talk about being totally forgotten. This blog would be about one line if i had my way, it would say "spent the whole day in a bag". Apparently though, i have to tell you what Matt and Jess got up to.

Today, it was decided, would be a relaxing day, a time to recover from all the travelling and try to get over the cold that Matt has (and now Jess is starting to get). I have been taking my vitamins everyday so i won't be catching any colds.

So they left me at about 9am this morning and went off to do the washing and buy their train ticket for tomorrows trip to Bern. (My advice that they buy it early this time). Then it was off for a walk around Florence, and what a nice city it is, or so they tell me, i wouldnt know, being locked up in a backp........ok ok. Geez they dont let you write what your really thinking.

The Duomo - the big church in the centre of the city.
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They went to the Ponte Vecchio (this is a bridge over the river that has only gold jewellery shops on it), investigated the markets that run along all the streets here and bought a supersized pizza.

The hotel where we are staying is very nice, although quite noisy at night. Last night at about 11 there was all this racket outside, it was halloween and the youngsters around the city were partying, how inconsiderate to us weary travellers.

So mostly it was just a relaxing day, Jess had a nap, Matt did crosswords. They also went and bought books for their upcoming train trips. Matt bought more harry, and Jess bought David Copperfield. I bought 101 ways to entertain a lady dolphin (thanks for the advice Pete).

Well thats about it for today folks, off to Bern, via Milan tomorrow (Matt wishes it was saturday so he could stop off at the soccer).

P.S. I'd like to hear from a few more people, so sign up and post some comments, it keeps us entertained, especially me, when im left at the hotel by myself.

Also, photos have been added to the previous entries, so go back over them and have a look.

Posted by Flapper TD 08:42 Archived in Italy Comments (8)

Florence and Pisa...eventually

overcast 18 °C

Well, Matt and Jess thought they would get a leisurely start to the day and not rush off to the train, so we arrived at the station in Rome at about 10.30 or 11am. Then they thought they would be clever and find a train that didn't charge them for seat reservations, and so got out of the long queue they were at the back of, only to find out it took over 3 and a half hours to get to Florence rather than the hour and a half of the high speed trains. So it was back in the queue for Jess, while Matt and I stood guard over the bags in the middle of the terminal. About 15 minutes later Jess comes back to us, not with reservations in hand but with the news that all the high speed trains are booked out.. all of them.... for the whole day!

So lesson learned for us (or Matt and Jess really - I said all along they should have got to the station earlier, or better yet booked the day before!)

So we caught the slow train, and boy was it slow. Matt had Harry to keep him company as always and Jess did crossword puzzles while I caught up on some sleep, so it wasn't too bad after all. When we arrived in Florence, I just sat back in the back pack and let Matt and Jess get themselves lost again trying to find the hostel. Then we waited in the little hostel office while the people behind the desk argued about something we couldn't understand, swapped seats, picked up pieces of paper, put them down again, got books out of draw and put them back again. It would have been quite funny actually if we hadn't been in a bit of a hurry as we still wanted to get to Pisa on the day Matt and Jess had already validated on their rail passes. (Fortunately Dolphins travel free everywhere.)

We got back to the station just in time for the train to Pisa, which took about 1 and 1/2 hours, and then amazingly they didn't get lost this time on the way to the leaning tower. (dissappointed a little to find it was just a building not anything to do with pizza.... it did look pretty at night though.) Finding it cost 15 euros each to climb the tower we settled for a few photos of the outside before it got dark. I saw lots of people doing funny actions under the tower, and Matt and Jess told me they were trying to hold it up. They weren't doing a very good job, I thought, so I tried to help out until I was informed it was just a joke and they were just doing it for photos. They could have told me! That tower was heavy - but I'm strong so I think the tower is even a few centimetres straighter now.

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Then it was pizza and gelati for tea, and then we caught the train home again.

Tommorrow will be a bit of a rest day, at least for Matt and Jess. I might find out if there are any friendly fish in the river here. They'll probably be rich ones too, swimming about under the Ponte Vecchio. (The bridge with all the gold jewellery shops on it.)

Thanks for everyones comments. Its great to hear from everyone, and laugh at your jokes (Homer J.)

Posted by Flapper TD 11:27 Archived in Italy Comments (3)

Breakfast

Breakfast is yoghurt with a fork and peach jam - which is actually quite nice.
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Posted by Jessie M 23:35 Comments (2)

Pompeii

storm 15 °C

First of all, i must apologise for not blogging last night, i know you would have all been expecting something. But this little dolphin was just too tired to blog after such a long and tiring day.

Today (im pretending i did write this yesterday so Matt and Jess don't get angry with me) we went to Pompeii, the ancient city that was covered in ash and frozen in time when Mt. Vesuvius errupted. It was hard enough just getting there. We took a bus, then a train, then the subway, then a train, then another train and then walked about a km. So by the time we got there it was almost 1pm, and we had left at 8am in the morning. It was well worth the trip though. The place is so huge and we were there for about 4 hours and only just managed to see most things. Its really hard to describe in words what the place is like. Its almost as if the city has been frozen in time. The excavation process must have been huge, but everything is still there, from the cart wheel marks in the stone streets, to the kitchens, people and even a brothel. It is something that you really have to visit to experience, just the feel of the place is an experience in itself.

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I must admit, this little dolphin was slightly disappointed at the lack of water, but i got excited when we came across the swimming pool, only to find that it was empty.

The new town of Pompeii was actually quite nice, much better than Rome. The streets were cleaner and the scenery much more nicer.

So then it was time to catch the train back home (along with all other sorts of transport). We went through Napoli (Naples) but didnt get to see much as we were in the station. However we did see the first sign of high rise buildings there.

We bought pizza by the kilo for tea, that was an experience, they just have all different types and u just ask for what you want, and they weigh it for you, just like when u buy ham or something at the supermarket. Just out of interest margerita costs 8.5 euros per kilo.

So by the time we got home it was past 9pm and Matt and Jess (and even me tonight) just fell into bed. It was thundering and lighting for most of the night, with lots of rain too.

Its off to Florence tomorrow and the leaning tour of pizza. Sounds good to me cause im getting very hungry.

Posted by Flapper TD 23:00 Archived in Italy Comments (3)

Colosseum (not Pompeii)

sunny 23 °C

Well hello there boys and girls, what an interesting day we had today. It started off with a planned trip to Pompeii, that is until we reached the station and found out the price of tickets. However we are able to use our eurail pass, which we need our passports for, which Jess didn't have because the people at the hostel had for security reasons. So the Pompeii trip is occurring tomorrow instead.

So finally, after lots of fiddling around (on Matt and Jess' part of course, not mine) they decided that they would go to the Colosseum instead. If theres one thing that this little dolphin can say about the Colosseum, its that its huge (and theres no water either). It was quite amazing to see that such a gigantic structure is still standing (i use that word lightly as there are numerous supports and scaffolding holding a lot of it up) after all these years. I got a nice picture of myself sitting in it. I think i would have made quite a good gladiator back in the day. I have the body for it i reckon.

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Then it was on to Vatican City and St Peters Basilica and billions of people, far too many for a little grey dolphin. I got another good snap of myself standing in the big square outside. The lines were huge to get inside and far too long for the patience of Matt and Jess. Editor: They were about a kilometer long and in the hot sun (come on Dad, im sure you understand).

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So that was about it for today, they ended up deciding to come home early and have a rest. Talk about old fogies, two days of travelling and they are buggered. Me, im like the energizer battery, i could just keep going. No wonder they lock me outside every night when i don't stop zooming around them.

Posted by Flapper TD 08:46 Archived in Italy Comments (4)

Stadio Olympico

What an ordeal trying to find where to buy the tickets to the soccer....and dont get me started on the seats.... And the toilets....

The day started off nicely with a trip to a less crowded part of Rome to see the Crypt of the Cappuchin Monks, which is the one decorated with the bones of about 4000 monks. That was fascinating if a little creepy and I think I might have night mares...

Then we caught a tram to Stadio Olympico, which is the home stadium for AS Roma and Lazio the two football/soccer teams in Rome. Luckily we got there early, as it took us a little while to find the stadium, then we just about walked around the whole thing looking for a place to buy tickets but couldn't find anywhere. That stadium is locked up like fort knox! I sat back and relaxed in the backpack while Matt and Jess did all the running around trying to understand directions to tickets from non english speaking Italians. We found an English family also looking for tickets, and to cut a long story short, finally found a little out of the way shop with absolutely no signage outside directing you to this as the place to buy tickets.

The grounds of the stadium are ornate, which is probably why they keep it locked up.

Inside the stadium or first stop in the bathrooms greeted us with a surprise - all the toilets were just holes in the ground! Luckily dolphins aren't too fussy about these things, but Jess was less than impressed!

The seats to watch the game were little backless things, had appeared to not have been cleaned ever. The locals obviously knew this and came prepared with newspaper to sit on. The game was fun and a good experience, and the Lazio fans kept up their enthusiastic cheering throughout the whole match even though Lazio lost 1-0, with my man Asamoha scoring.

We all enjoyed the day but came home exhausted, so now its tea time. Matt and Jess are having schnitzels, and I think I'll try the grilled swordfish I spied on the menu. Then it's off to bed (gotta watch out for mossies though cause matt got bitten last night, mossies in italy, what next) as we'll have full day tomorrow going by train to Pompeii. Looking forward to it though!

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Posted by Flapper TD 05:10 Archived in Italy Comments (3)

Rome - day 1

sunny 16 °C

Well hello there folks, its Flapper here again, feeling quite disappointed at the moment (got left behind whilst Matt and Jess went galavanting off to investigate Rome.)

Well last night we flew from Singapore to Rome. The plane was almost empty so we all had a row of seats to ourselves. Matt and Jess got lots of sleep but i was still stuffed in my bag, brought out only occasionally. Got lots of sleep though and when we arrived in Rome we were feeling quite refreshed, considering our situation.

We caught the train into Rome and then got connections to our Cabin. Its in a place called Camping Tiber, which is set right on the banks of the Tiber River, the river that runs through the centre of Rome. We are about 2o minutes train trip from the city. Seems like an ok area, but lots of vandalism and what not.

So then Matt and Jess decided to drop off their bags and head out to visit Rome, leaving a very unfortunate Flapper behind, feeling sad, depressed, and angry. I managed to entertain myself by doing laps up and down the Tiber, trying to find some fishy friends. Quite a friendly bunch in all, not many dolphins though.

Piazza Del Poppolo
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Well when Matt and jess got back, they told me of their adventures. They went to see the Spanish steps, which were not at all what Matt thought they would be. He was expecting some kind of water flowing down a heap of steps, what an idiot. Then they went to visit the Trevi Fountain and a few parks in Rome.

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Matt got scammed by some guy who was talking to him about soccer and the next minute making him this wristband and trying to slug him 5 euros for it. He managed to escape alive and gave the guy 2 Euros.

They tell me that the city was quite dirty and lots of litter and graffiti everywhere (whingers, i tell you). Lots of people selling stuff and trying to flog you anything and everything.

So far, Jess says she isn't enjoying it much more than last time. Its good to see everything, but the city itself isn't very appealing. They are looking forward to getting out into the country.

Well we have just had tea (fish for me) and are heading to bed, once Matt has finished helping me write this blog. We have managed to stay awake all day and its now about 6pm, so thats a pretty good effort.

Until tomorrow, this is Flapper the super dolphin, signing out.

Posted by Flapper TD 18:18 Archived in Italy Comments (2)

Singapore Airport

32 °C

Hi everyone, Flapper the Dolphin here for my first blog.

Matt, Jess and I are currently hanging out in singapore airport and I'm watching Matt play soccer on the free X-box games. Thats the good thing about this airport - there seems to be lots to do so we won't get totally bored in our 8 hour stop-over (longer than initially anticipated due to arriving an hour early!)

The plane ride was ok... I was cooped up in a back pack most of the time. We were disappointed with the entertainment system as it was different to Malaysia airlines and wasn't movie on demand, but they replayed every couple of hours. I think Matt was most disappointed to find that the games didn't work very well, but at least he had Harry to keep him company (Potter that is.)

I've been making friends with the local aquatic wildlife in the Koi pond here in the airport. Quite an antisocial bunch though once they work out you aren't going to give them food.

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So thats it so far. Matt's playing X-box games, and Jess is helping me write my first blog. Many more to come I promise!

Flapper

Posted by Flapper TD 04:16 Archived in Singapore Comments (2)

Coming Soon....

The World Adventures of Flapper the Dolphin

Soon Flapper the Dolphin, accompanying Matt and Jess on the trip, will be bringing you all the latest news from their adventures, straight from the dolphin's mouth....

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Stay tuned!

Posted by Jessie M 14:19 Comments (4)

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