A Travellerspoint blog

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Slovenia


View Friendship Force International on pscotterly's travel map.

I would never imagined Slovenia would be such a beautiful and friendly country. But then, neither did anyone else on the tour.
Misty_morning_in_Slovenia.jpg

Misty_morning_in_Slovenia.jpg


Green pastures in Slovenia

Green pastures in Slovenia


View from Castle

View from Castle


We all imagined that Slovenia was ravaged by war and had snipers from the church towers. (Actually, Croatia had been like that in 1991 and 1992, but not now.) The Homeland War was over in Slovenia in only 10 days, with very little damage or injury. Apparently, Slovenia has always been populated by one population group and was even fairly isolated politically from the rest of Yugoslavia during the communist era.

Our guide, a Slovenian woman of 38, gave us many hours of history lessons and personal tales as we drove along in the bus. Once she told about how much more they had in Slovenia than the others communist countries. Slovenians could easily travel into Italy. They could buy goods that no one else had access to. Of course, they had to smuggle everything back into the country. This became a fun-filled challenge to see how much they could creatively get past the Slovenia border patrol. Her father's record was wearing 6 pairs of jeans at one time. He would then smuggle these jeans into Russia and trade them - once he traded one pair of jeans for a fur coat.

Bled is a beautiful town. Well known for its medal winning rowing team. Some of us visited one of Tito's former homes that is now a hotel. We ran into some staff membrs who took time out from their chores to show us some of the special areas and features. Everyone in Slovenia seemed so pleasant and were especially friendly to tourists.
I couldl have spent 2 or 3 days more in Bled. I would have really loved to ride a bike, row a boat, and wander through the town.
Rainbow over Bled

Rainbow over Bled


Bled from the Castle Wall

Bled from the Castle Wall


Bled_Lake_from_the_castle.jpg

Bled_Lake_from_the_castle.jpg


But it was back on the bus - we had more castles and shops to visit.
Flags

Flags


Adam and Eve Exiled

Adam and Eve Exiled


Fresh Market

Fresh Market

Posted by pscotterly 19:50 Archived in Slovenia Comments (0)

Life on a Venice Canal

Everyone knows that Venice is a city of canals and no streets.
Everything that comes into Venice must arrive by boat.
If tide is too high, traffic in and out must stop

If tide is too high, traffic in and out must stop


Supplies delivery

Supplies delivery


Everything that moves around by Venice goes by foot or boat.
Personal_transport.jpg

Personal_transport.jpg

Everything that leaves Venice must go by boat.
Bucket by bucket

Bucket by bucket

I only really understood how "no roads" impacted daily life when I sat in my 3rd floor apartment overlooking a canal in a residential neighborhood.
Of course, I found watching life on a canal much more interesting than looking through thousands of gift shops and paying another 3 euro to look at another church.

An apartment across the canal was being remodeled. All the debris had to be hauled out bucket by bucket. All the new materials had to be brought in piece by piece, then hauled by hand to the apartment building, and carried up many flights of steps.
One day, someone in a neighboring apartment was moving out while all the constrution was coming in and out. He merely tied his boat to the other side of the delivery boat. One box at a time, he moveed everything out the apartment door, crossed over the delivery boat, jumped into his boat, stowed the box, retraced his steps over the delivery boat, and repeated the process until his boat was filled.
I assume he reversed the steps at his new apartment, because he returned with an empty boat and continued his work. I didn't see when the furnitre was moved.

The construction delivery was quite a process using a lift.
No sooner was it unloaded and the boat left than a group started checking the bill of lading to the order. Apparently, wrong materials were delivered. Later that afternoon, the workmen had to load another piece by piece, all the misshipped items. They did not have the luxury or a lift.

Congestion_in_the_canal.jpg

Congestion_in_the_canal.jpg

At one point the "moving boat" became untied and started floating down the canal. Other boats came through all the time and everything had to come to halt to make sure there was enough room.
UnLoad finished

UnLoad finished


Notice the man carrying a box is still moving out of his apartment.
Wrong_Shipment.jpg

Wrong_Shipment.jpg

The workers are loading the misshipment back onto another a boat.

I am fatigued just from watching all this. Time for some refreshment.

Spritz is an afternoon apertif. Every bar has its specialities

Spritz is an afternoon apertif. Every bar has its specialities

Posted by pscotterly 22:22 Archived in Italy Tagged venice_canals Comments (0)

Venice, Italy

I should have probably styed 5 days less or 5 days more.
2 days would have really been long enough for me- within 2 weeks, I would have probably found my way around a little easier.

Almost every author since Byron has said " There is noting more that can be said about Venice" then they proceed to write 300 more pages.
The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt is a good book to read about the city.
Brunetti's Venice by Toni Sepedia if you are a Donna Leon fan. I tried to follow some of the tours, but enjoyed reading them more after I had stumbled around on my own.
Check my photo gallery forany tagged Venice if you are interested.

What I liked about Venice:

  • The Hotel Metropole where I stayed the first nights.
  • The two apartments in residential areas where I stayed the rest of the time.
  • The Peggy Guggenheim Collection

What I didn't like about Venice:

  • The guidebook said - stroll through the Rialto market - it was impossible to stroll; it was like getting off the subway at rush hour. Crammed in with thousands of others like a massive herd of sheep - all bleating in 5 different languages "where are we?"
  • The vaporetto strike on my last day when I had planned to go to Burano and Murano
  • The mix-up with the apartment agency when they thought I was checking out the day before I had requested. (However, they did relocate me to another apartment)

Posted by pscotterly 00:27 Archived in Italy Tagged venice_cemetaries Comments (0)

Mantova (Mantua in English), Italy

I was here only by accident. Originally, I had booked a bike/barge trip out of Venice that ended in Mantova. After I had booked a Mantova and following reservations based on this bike trip, I learned I was not booked on the trip and there was no room for me on it.

Arrivederci Vinezia
Traveling heavy

Traveling heavy



So, on to Mantova - and I am so glad that I did! I would have preferred another day or so here instead of Venice.
Hello Mantova Good-bye Venice

Hello Mantova Good-bye Venice


Mantova Central Park

Mantova Central Park


Mantova_Plaza.jpg

Mantova_Plaza.jpg


Thursday Market in the plaza

Thursday Market in the plaza


Rooftops at twilight

Rooftops at twilight


I met Paola Berto through Couch Sufing. She took me on a tour of a museum and then to her home in the country where she prepared risoto and pears with gorgonzola.
Beautiful Paola at her beautiful casa

Beautiful Paola at her beautiful casa


Park at Palazzo Te

Park at Palazzo Te


I rented a bike and rode all around the town. Cars! - had not seen or heard any for a week while I was in Venice.
I stayed at the Casa Museo Palazzo Valenti Gonzaga.

Signori Linardi

Signori Linardi


Signor Linardi

Signor Linardi

Posted by pscotterly 22:25 Archived in Italy Tagged mantova Comments (0)

Cinque Terre, Italy

Everytime I saw a McDonald's I wondered who would want to eat at a McD in Italy.
Then, I missed three trains out of La Spezia to Corniglia - I needed a Big Mac and french fries to soothe my nerves.
Get me to Coneglia!

Get me to Coneglia!

By the time I arrived at Corniglia, it was dark. You have to take a bus (or walk) one mile up a VERY steep mountainside to get to the even steeper town streets. Corniglia is so small there is only one very short business street, but very many twisty, turny streets with many houses - any of which could had been my apartment for the next three nights. Fortunately, I had had sense enough to leave my 42 pound suitcase at the left luggage room in the La Spezia train station and carried only a bag of necessities for the next 3 days. Still, I was perspiring and sruggling.
After much climbing and searching in the dark, I heard someone cry out a window three floors above me. Later I learned it was Italian for "I see a single woman in the street. It must be her." What I did understand a moment later from four stories up - "Paula - turn right and come up these steps, I will meet you." It was the owner of my apartment. They were wondering where I was and looking for me. Have I mentioned that everyone is rather amazed at a single, old lady traveling around.

Last 20 steps

Last 20 steps

Taken the next day in the daylight - actually - there were still 10 more after this and then three up to my door.
Maybe I have some pix of the town street you must walk BEFORE you get to these. Check out my photo gallery for photos with the Cinque Terre tag.

All this was worth it. I loved Cinque Terre - especially Corniglia. Although most of the hiking paths were closed because of a washout from rains this summer, I did get to walk about 3 miles. The steps in all the towns were enough to be a day's hike also.

Here are some views from the trail:
Along_the_path_9.jpg

Along_the_path_9.jpg


Terraced_mountainside.jpg

Terraced_mountainside.jpg


As much as I have wanted to go kayaking this trip - decided this was not the spot for me to put a kayak in the water.Kayaking anyone

Kayaking anyone

Tending grapes

Tending grapes


Here is a photo of a phot on the grapes being harvested back in the 50s.
Historic agriculture conveyor

Historic agriculture conveyor


Here is the way they transport grapes and olives from the terraces to the road or farm now. I bet the men don't just sit and watch the women run this conveyor.
Agriculture conveyor

Agriculture conveyor

Posted by pscotterly 22:33 Archived in Italy Tagged terre cinque Comments (0)

Florence

"They" say You either love Florence or Venice - but not both
They are right - I love Florence. Although it is also filled with tourists, it is still a town where people live and work. There are still real shops that sell real goods, mothers with prams, and actual offices. I didn't even mind the traffic.
Wall of Duomo

Wall of Duomo


Duomo rooftop

Duomo rooftop


At Piazzalle Michelangelo

At Piazzalle Michelangelo


Dome at duomo

Dome at duomo


Commemorating Resistance

Commemorating Resistance


Gargoyles along the hill path

Gargoyles along the hill path

I was also delighted to find some modern public art and even a Francis Bacon exhibit at the Strozzi.
John the Baptist

John the Baptist


Statue in Rose Garden2

Statue in Rose Garden2


Hurrah! Contemporary Art

Hurrah! Contemporary Art

I took a walking tour (actually it was an art history lecture) and a bike tour - both went to the same spots, which I wasn't expecting.
Florence Bike Tour

Florence Bike Tour


The long long lecture

The long long lecture

Fountains and the River Arno add to the delights of the city.
Heron and lime tree

Heron and lime tree


Fishermen on the Arno

Fishermen on the Arno


Happy Hour on the Arno

Happy Hour on the Arno


Ponte Vecchi

Ponte Vecchi


This bridge was the only bridge across the Arno in Florence that was not wiped out by the Allies during WWII. This one dates to the 1400s. The lower level shops were originally butcher shops. All the sraps and old meat were just thrown into the Arno. When the Medicis moved to the Pitti Palace on the South side of the Arno and had to walk across the bridge to their offices on the North, they had the upper level built so they did not need to travel along the street with the common people and the butcher shop. The smell was still so bad, they had all the butcher shops closed and turned all the shops into gold and silversmiths - as it still is today.

Posted by pscotterly 13:52 Archived in Italy Tagged florence Comments (0)

USA Contribution to World Culture


View Friendship Force International & Munich on pscotterly's travel map.

There are only two contributions that I can see the USA has made to world culture:

McDonald's

McDonald's

There is one at almost every train station in Italy

Graphic T shirts with vulgarity written in English
Eat Me  Enjoy Yourself

Eat Me Enjoy Yourself


Oh NO

Oh NO


Even saw one young beautiful thing in Munich on the arm of her boyfriend with a T shirt dress that said "I am so drunk I can't (expletive).

My 19-year-old friend from Albania, who is very fluent in Italian and English, believes that most do not realize the vulgarity of these words. Whenever I say I am from Colorado, everyone under the age of 40 says "South Park!" They all watch programs such as this on TV with Albanian, Croatian, Italian, etc. subtitles. They think of these as common and clever words. My 13--year-old Albanian friend, who is fluent in English and studying Arabic, said a couple of English words that I had to tell him were not at all polite I told him if he said similar Albanian words to his mother and grandmother they would be very upset. He was quite surprised.

On the coach tour, we were at a "typical meal of Slovenia." The 50-year-old entertainer, who played the accordian and sang, was also a professor of musicology at the local university. He was quite entertaining and talked about the history of local music and musical instruments. He kept peppering his talk with such words as bullshit and screwing. To me, Ms. Foul Mouth, it seemed rather strange; all my prim and proper tour mates giggled and thought it was cute - go figure.

Posted by pscotterly 14:46 Comments (0)

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