A Travellerspoint blog

Amazing night in a Medieval Castle - Ferrara

Ferrara, Italy

overcast 16 °C

Last night, Otello took us on a tour of a medieval castle called Castello Estense in Ferrara where we are staying a couple of nights along with some of his friends. It was an amazing castle full of history and beautiful artwork. We had dinner with his friends in the castle. What an experience. We finished just after midnight and walked the streets back to the hotel room. It was an interesting night trying to converse in both english and italian. So glad Otello was there to translate the Italian.

Once per year the local people celebrate by dressing up in medieval clothes and have a big parade down the street towards the castle. Canons are fired and soldiers in medieval clothes parade the street. It only happens once per year and we just happened to be here.

I love the fact that most shops break at 12pm and then open up at 4pm until around 7.30pm. Sunday in italy is a day of rest so shops are closed.
However Otello tells me that markets operate and some small shops do open.

Posted by ktime 00:59 Archived in Italy Comments (3)

Day trip to Verona

rain 18 °C

The following day it was raining, and we took Otello's advice. He told us it would be nice to visit Verona while it was raining as Venice can get flooded on wet days, so we took his advice and we were glad we did. We hopped into Otello's car and he drove us to Verona. On the way we saw a lot of greenery, lots of vineyards and farms and hills. It looked beautiful from the highway. The signs were all in Italian, however it was still easy to work out signs by looking at the symbols. I was so excited that i could understand some of the signs written in Italian. The highway was beautiful, however they have so many gates where you have to pay a fee to get through to pay for and maintain the beautiful roads. The speed limit was 110km.

It is strange seeing Otello driving on what we call the wrong side of the road in Australia. Also seeing him drive in the left seat. We see various types of cars on the road, not many japanese cars. I have not spotted a lamborghini or Ferrari yet but i am hopeful. We have seen porsches and maserati's, along with fiats, ford, chevrolet, mercedes and volkswagons.

Otello took us in the streets of Verona and we walked and walked down small cobblestone beautiful streets and very old buildings. He took us to the balcony where Juliet (Romeo and Juliet) lived. We tried to get a tour of the house however it was so busy we could not get in and the wait was very long. There were italian police there because there were so many tourists on the day. Otello told me it was busy like that everyday.

We also visited some beautiful churches. The artwork is amazing in the Italian churches. All catholic churches. All breathtaking to me.

We also found out that Italians have cappuccino's only at breakfast time and espresso's the rest of the day and evening.

Posted by ktime 00:57 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Day trip to Venice

sunny 20 °C

Oh our day trip to Venice was AMAZING!! What a beautiful city on water.

Otello picked us up from the hotel in Favero after we checked out and he drove us to the outskirts of Venice where we parked the car in a parking lot and walked to catch the train or what looked like a monorail to St Marks Square. From there we walked into the streets of Venice. Words cannot describe it. It is a very busy place with lots of tourists and lots and lots of small shops and beautiful bridges and churches. Otello says it is made up of about 130 islands. It is also famous for making a unique glass made only in Venice called Murano glass.

The weather was sunny. The water looked green. We saw lots of gondola's and water buses.

He took us to St Marks Basilica. OMG it was breathtaking. Otello tells us that the artwork on St Marks Basilica contains gold.

What can i say - but a very beautiful, unique city on water.

Posted by ktime 00:49 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Landing in Italy

Marco Polo Airport & agriturismo-ca-beatrice

overcast 17 °C

After the mad rush, we finally made it to the other side of the world.

We realised on the plane to Italy just how far away Australia is from Europe - a very long long way!!

The plane trip took about 14 hours from Sydney to Dubai and then another 6-7 hours from Dubai to Venice. We had a short stop-over at Dubai. Not much to see except the airport. I had an experience at Dubai airport ladies toilet - I went in as per usual however when I opened the toilet door, to my surprise I saw like a sink in the ground with a tap with running water. I thought OMG what is this and assumed that they were all the same. I was getting so stressed about it. Luckily there was a nice lady in the toilets cleaning the floor and walls and i asked her for assistance. She did not speak english however she was able to show me a normal toilet and i was very happy. This link shows what i saw. Now i understand what it was.

http://www.myspace.com/snapmaster_t/photos/41567095#%7B%22ImageId%22%3A41567095%7D

I must add we travelled Emirites and am happy to say they catered very well for a gluten intolerant poor soul like me and that the food was not bad. Neal and I had to laugh though, as they served me two plain rice cakes which Neal assures me are Sunrice rice cakes as a substitute for bread.

Neal and I were both amazed at how easy it was to get through Italian customs. We stood in the queue to get our passports stamped, picked up our luggage and then thought we would have to go through customs. There was no paperwork to fill out and no checking through customs. In other words, we could have brought into the country whatever we liked.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venice_Marco_Polo_Airport

After the big trip we stayed at this lovely place not far from Venice airport (Marco Polo). It was the best experience. Lovely place and lovely people and lovely food. Neal and I were both curious as to know what the extra sink in the bathroom was. Oh yes, i managed to ask our Italian friend Otello and confirmed that it was indeed a bidet. However i was not game to ask how to use it. Apparently Europeans feel dirty if they don't use it. I had the biggest laugh.

The bed was so comfortable and the pillow was too. The pillow was massive in size. One night we ate at the restaurant and both Neal and I ordered sea bass with prawns. We were surprised when they brought out two grilled sea bass, heads and all, on a platter - the waitress started filleting the fish for us right in front of us. She was super fast at it. The food was delicious.

http://www.booking.com/hotel/it/agriturismo-ca-beatrice.en.html

Neal and I have been managing to get by with both English and Italian. Otello our italian friend has been the best help. He has been amazing with us. A very generous, fun person.

Tomorrow, Verona.

Posted by ktime 23:52 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Final preparations

Take off approaching

rain 17 °C

Final preparations are happening and take off from Australia is approaching fast.

Although we are very excited about our trip there is so much to do before take off.

Stay tuned as we will be in Venice very soon.

Posted by ktime 13:15 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

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