Day 18 & 19 – Genoa

Louise and I decided to catch a train to Genoa and so we did.  We stayed at an awesome hotel called ‘Romantik Villa Pagoda’ I guess it was a bit romantik – it’s about 300 years old and was once the home of a wealthy Genovese merchant – and it had a swimming pool which we availed of.  Although a bit ‘Fawlty Towers, we fell in love with it. The lift was ancient and I timed it once and it took 5 and a half minutes to get to level 2. We think there were some ghost floors, coz when we got to level 2 it seemed like we were a long way up. We had dinner at the Hotel the first night (I had seafood because the beef had run out (even though we were the only ones in the ristorante) and betroot gnocchi for Louise) and I decided to have an after dinner dessert wine – only to be told I couldn’t have it  in no uncertain terms – ‘not available’ apparently – so I had a prosecco.

Pics of Villa Pagoda and surrounds

Day 2 of our Genovese escape was a bit of a disaster – we decided too head into Genoa Central for some sightseeing only for me to leave my mobile phone in the taxi – realising I didn’t have it just as the taxi drove off. A futile run down the road was to no avail. The phone and it’s associated features (google maps, …etc) were pretty much our lifeline – I don’t think I realised how much I rely upon it until the very moment it disappeared into the distance. Pissed off doesn’t quite capture how I felt… 

Anyhow, after a couple of espresso coffees (which really wound me up, and after some helpful spanish tourists let me ring Villa Pagoda, we started to track the taxi down, and after returning to the hotel, it wasn’t long (using find my phone on the computer) that we able to track the taxi down and, thankfully, have it returned. Phew!

Anyhow, we think Genoa is a nice city and we don’t have any photos to prove it.

We returned to Milan to gather our strength for the next leg of our journey to Monfalcone, Grado, Venice and Pula.

 

Days 14 to 17 – Rho

Louise and I spent 3 or 4 days with Romana soaking up the local way of life in Rho and Milan central. We’ve had to pick our expedition times carefully to avoid the hot weather and to not coincide with pomeriggio (the afternoon nap).

For my benefit, Romana showed us around Rho – it really is a gorgeous town with narrow streets and crazy drivers. Romana just lets them go around her and pays them no heed.

A handful of pics here:

 

Now, I’m just going to get this out there at the start of our time in Italy (and with the benefitof hindsight). Cured meats in Italy are THE. BEST.*  Yes, I’ve read the research that says cured meats are no good for you but I DON’T CARE.  In Italy, I can have them for breakfast, lunch and dinner and no-one bats an eyelid. And the cheese OMG!!! I’m in heaven…

On Thursday, Louise took me on a day-trip into Milan to see Duomo – and we had lunch at the top of Rinascente (guess what? cured meats and cheese!). I reckon this is the best spot to see Duomo from – you can almost reach out and touch it. Pics here…

 

On Friday night we took Romana out for aperativo at Bar Nazionale and then dinner. for Prima, I had Spaghetti Vongole (clams) – simple but utterly delicious. Louise had frutti de mare fritti (calamari, prawns, octopus but no fish)

For secondi I had a pizza with sausage and it was humungous, but tasted delicious.  I couldn’t eat even a quarter ofit after my spaghetti dish, wo we took it home and stuck it in the frigo. Home early so Romana didn’t have to drive in the dark. I’m not big on posting food photos, bet here ya go…

 

 

*I acknowledge over-use of capitalisation/fullstops to make a point.

Louise’s right of Reply re: driving around Ireland

Auntie Weeza Online 😎
Hello everyone, finally I get to use a bit of technology whilst Peter is otherwise being entertained with his second passion, BEER Tasting compliments of my cousin Max !!!!!

Abbreviations: ” Nora ” the name we gave to the female voice on his Mobile Phone that tells us what road to take 5 minutes after the turn.

I’m going to start on the Monday before we left, having already decided and packed the smallest suitcases we could find, Peter was adamant he didn’t need to use the Man Bag loaned to us by Baz….. So I had my bag, loaned from Marilyn, with our cabin bag full of of stuff and his heavy Back Pack ( which he couldn’t remember where he put things in anyway ) never even opened on any flight !!!!!!! Which all could have fitted in our suitcases anyway.
The Back Pack left no room for Peter’s feet on the plane and so we took turns. I also now had the Passports and tickets organised and ready to whip out at a seconds notice 👍👍👍 I know.

So friends, the end of this story is as I imagined, we have no Back Pack, no Travel bag, and my bag is now a Man Bag and holds everything we need safely…..all IPads, LapTop & associated x3 million attachments and cords are always in the suitcase……mind you” Principessa Louisa ” or Princess Louise was very lucky that Peter carried all of them anyway, because it was so hot the first few Days…. We are now like a well oiled machine in our packing, although Auntie Romana has her bedroom full of our shopping and unused bags….. We are going to have to buy a bigger suitcase for the trip home.

Nora played a big part in our journey that began in Ireland, initially I was confident that in today’s technology she would guide us safely to our destination without any problems……not knowing then that there were no street signs in Ireland…….as Peter mentioned the good old fashioned Map, (you know the coloured ones that show you where you really are ) was a million times more accurate than Nora, and Peter actually turned into streets using MY VOICE instead of that bloody lying Nora Bitch !!!!!!
I think most of you know that I am directionally challenged at the best of times, and this was no different….the L roads seemed to extremely confusing and with no Landmarks to speak of, a ” wonderful debate ” between Peter and I commenced ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Another issue arose to complicate our already escalating ” debate ” with Peter continually trying to negotiate with Nora, whist driving on those extremely narrow L Roads !!!! Did I mention the signs that directed him to slow down at blind corners, NOT, and NORA continually turning off, with Me trying not to add to his already alarming nervous demeanour ” YES Peter who is usually so cool calm and collected.
I tried to help by watching Nora’s green arrow, and found out later from Peter that it was going the wrong way !!!!!!
Luckily a MotorWay sign appeared out of the Blue…. Yippe, a Toilet, a Fag & Coffee and a Map saved the Day and we kissed and made up. Peter continued to trust in Nora….. Me, I had the Map which continued to keep me calm and was used pretty much from then on…..I’m sure Peter felt sorry for her, BUT ME, she’s a pice of crap !!!!!
We did manage to laugh about it all and had a wonderful time in Ireland, it was a Magical Place xxxx Louise

What I learned in Ireland

  1. People like a drink
  2. Orla’s family are amazing – we should have spent more time with them (especially Ruby!)
  3. The food was much, much better than expected.
  4. Irish strawberries are far, far superior to Aussie strawberries
  5. ‘L’ roads are to be avoided at all costs (apparently)
  6. How to drive (thanks Louise – I didn’t know I’d been doing it wrong all these years)
  7. The weather in Ireland is more changeable than in Melbourne.
  8. The local ales are awesome
  9. The Irish love their sport as much as we do and – and with even more parochialism.
  10. 10 days in Ireland is nowhere near enough – we’ll be back for a longer visit.

Day 11, 12 & 13 – Dublin

Mostly a travel day and didn’t encounter any ‘L’ roads. Getting back to the Thrifty rent-a-car drop point at the airport in Dublin raised some minor challenges – filling up our little Peugeot 308 before return was certainly a challenge!

Got an awesome Taxi Driver – full of ‘Yes Ma’am’, ‘yes sir’, ‘not sure if sir knows this’… He was so nice we booked him for the return trip to the airport in a couple of days.

Checked into the Trinity City Hotel – which was very nice indeed – if you like purple (which Louise does). Check out the groooooovy decor here:

We walked into Temple Bar for Dinner and had dinner at one of touristy-type restaurants and had a quite nice cottage pie.

On the way backLouise stopped to check on the Guarda who were comforting a passed out reveller – to see if they were doing it right. Fortunately the young woman was pink and breathing regularly and Louise was satisfied she was in good hands.

Some things we saw along the way included a sweets shop that sold ‘Runts’ and ‘Fluff’.

Tried to get a cappuccino on the way home, but the staff at Insomnia obviously don’t have it – the shop was closed and the staff were at home fast asleep.

Sunday the 20th saw us seek out Trinity College to view the Book of Kells and the old library.  This was a must see for us – and it didn’t disappoint.

In the afternoon, I took a tour of the Guiness storehouse whilst Louise did girlie things. The best part of the tour was watching our far east brothers and sisters trying to pretend they like Guinness at the various tastings.  The Gravity Bar provides an awesome 360′ view of Dublin and was a great way to finish the tour.

Pics here:

Took me 2.5 hours to get home on the bus – crowds from the gaelic football semi-final b/w Kerry and Mayo – it was a draw 2-14 to 2-14and the crowd was  ~80,000 – were streaming through the streets. It reminded me of the MCG after a big final; there was a real buzz in the air.

Neither of us felt like eating out – it was a big night and I’d had my fair share of Guinness, so we had dinner in the hotel bar and had an early night.

More random pics of Dublin here:

On Monday, our friendly taxi-driver showed up on time and took us to Dublin airport well in time for our flight Dublin-Brussells-Milan (Malpensa).

Not going to talk about this much, suffice to say (and here’s a bit of free advice). DON’T. EVER. CHOOSE. A. FLIGHT. PLAN. THAT. INCLUDES. A. STOPOVER. IN. BRUSSELLS.

We arrived at Malpensa at about 8.00pm and promptly had an airport coffee – nectar – and finally arrived in Rho at Auntie Romana’s house at 9.30.

Day 10 – Galway

In the end we had to give the lady who talks to us on Google maps a name – so given that we had just driven past a sig for Kilfenora, we decided to call her Nora.  And didn’t Nora give us the shits trying to find our accomodation in Galway – she just wouldn’t find us on the map in Galway. It was raining and wet on the roads. Anyhow, google maps had plotted  bit of a course and we were able to get to near where we were going before Nora kicked in and took all the glory for the last kilometre. We were early and Anne (our AirBnB host )made us more than welcome.  Anne’s sister Kathleen offered to take us into town (Galway’s latin quarter) for shopping, a much needed haircut and beard trim for me, a waxing session for Louise (in anticipation of hot weather and swimming in Italy) and some dinner. Dinner was in The Dail Bar.  The smoked pork sausages, gravy and mash were to die for. I have never had a better snag. Louise had cake 😉

no images were found

 

Gotta say 1 afternoon in Galway ain’t enough. Definitely coming back here to explore again.

Days 8 & 9 – Co. Clare (Ennystimon, Lahinch and the Cliffs of Moher)

Caheersiveen to Ennistymon

Lovely drive through the rest of Co. Kerry to Tarbet to catch the ferry to Kilrush – with an obligatory stop at Castlemaine (my mum has a very similar photo of her at the same spot!)

 

…and then on to Ennistymon to check into our ‘Wild Atlantic Cabin’ – which we managed to find after driving through  Kilshanny and taking a couple of ‘L’ roads (more sage advice received from Louise about driving in Ireland).

We met Lizzy at the cabin who showed us the ins and outs of the features and settled in for a rest afternoon and evening. Soup and toasted cheese sanga for dinner and an early night.

#cabinlife #cabinfever

We got away on Thursday morning at a reasonable hour to explore the wild atlantic way, (after dropping off some laundry at the local laundromat) starting in Lahinch to visit Ireland’s equivalent of Torquay – Lahinch. The day was cool and windswept, but it didn’t seem to stop hundreds of people swimming between the flags an learning to surf.

 

Then off to the Cliffs of Moher where I had to buy a beenie coz the wind whipping around my ears gave me an earache. Anyhoo, the cliffs were cliffs and I’m glad we went (notwithstanding the 24 euro it cost us to get in. Here’s some pics.

 

We took a quick road trip up to Doolin and sat on the beach looking at the charterboats trying to dock to take people on a boat trip around the cliffs of Moher. Timing was everything for those trying to get on… It was a flat out no from Louise when I suggested it might be a good way to see the Cliffs.

We stopped of in Liscannor for lunch – at Egans Pub. and then wound our way back to the WIld Atlantic Cabin in the late afternoon. Recovery and then off to Byrnes Restaurant for dinner, overlooking the Ennistymon cascades. A most satisfying dinner of fish and oven-roasted root veg and mash and a craft beer whose name escapes me (shoulda written it down).

More pics here.

BTW, here’s a picture of me trying to get my technolgy working… (Here’s a tip for you… When you arrive in a new country, get a local sim card. The traveller one’s are shit.)