A Travellerspoint blog

Brienz to Lucerne

semi-overcast 9 °C
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Into the van this morning heading for Switzerland. Andrew's turn to drive. 20 minutes later we were over the border into Switzerland. We bought a driving pass for 40 euros to allow us to drive in the country.
Brienz is our destination before going on to Lucerne. Climbing mountains that were breathtaking in both height and scale to the point I doubt photos will adequatly capture. Colder and cooler the weather became as we climbed up these giant mountains even though the sun was out. Mountains, streams, cows and eventually snow passed us by.
Pulled into Brienz after about 3 hours travel and went to the Railway Station and bought a 3 day pass for the lifts and trains to see the mountains by train, bus or ferry. It cost 600 Aus dollars for the both of us but should be worth it.
The BrienzRothorn cog wheel was out first trip. Downright fantastic!! This little steam train pushed us up this mighty mountain stopping only half way up for water. For 1 hour we ascended the mountain travelling forever upward through the clouds and all the while marvelling at the mountains, mountainside and views back to the lake far far below. Cold and excited at the same time we all agreed the view is breathtaking. Up the top you felt like being on top of the world. So high, blue blue sky with birds flying lower than you were standing. One hour back down and we said goodbye to this mighty train and headed for Lucerne. Our hotel is small and the town looks quite pretty. We went out to get some dinner and its pretty hard to find somewhere to eat at 8pm that isn't closed. Ended up in an English Pub. Noisy, not great, but managed to get something to eat. It seems quite expensive here. We were expecting it to be but perhaps not quite as much. It will be interesting once we settle in. I may lose some weight over the next few days!!

Posted by pjandc 19:38 Archived in Switzerland Comments (0)

Como

overcast 23 °C
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We took a ferry to Bellagio today.. It takes 2.5 hours but well worth it. The scenery is fascinating and the mountains that run down to the waters edge are enormous. It would look magnificent in winter covered in snow. As it was quite a few mountain tops were hazed in cloud.
Along the waters edge towns have been established and in some areas they climb up the mountain side as if to escape the lake. Sea planes flying overhead are dwarfed by the scale of the lake and mountains.
Bellagio is a very pretty town and you could easily spend a day wandering the lane ways and playing mountain goat as you climb and decend through the lane ways and roads that criss cross throughout the town
A ferry back was easy sailing especially when they served red wine and drinks from a bar on board. AAAAH! Take the time and do the slow boat. It's fun and relaxing.
Back in Como we went on the Furnicular which was a 5 minute walk from the hotel and provided a great view across Como.
Lovely day. Off to Lucerne in Switzerland tomorrow. How lucky are we!!

Posted by pjandc 19:34 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Road to Como

sunny 29 °C
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Wandering Venice on our last day was a carefree look down the alleyways and shops that we passed days earlier. Hop on, hop off the water transport as we criss cross the Grand Canal. Early evening we had a Gondola ride down part of the Grand Canal and into the back waterways that snaked around deteriorating buildings that have aged by the water contact. The ride was lovely and smooth as the Gondolier gently guided us through his patch of the world.
Last dinner in Venice was by the canal at a very nice restaurant. Pizza was the order of the day and a good choice for me. Celeste had a Lobster Pasta dish which was also delicious. Pork, Pasta and Red wine was also on the menu for our travelling companions.
After dinner we headed to Saint Marks square where we watched musicians that had set up around the square play music to the appreciation of the crowd. Slowly we walked back along the "Rat run" that earlier in the day was full of people but now quiet. A full moon added to the atmosphere along with the lapping water sound as it hit the canal walls and sloshed up onto the pavement in areas. We will miss seeing the water invade the area as the full moon raises the water level. Platforms stacked strategically around ready to be laid down when the situation arises.
Up early the next day, tidy the apartment, pack bags, hop on the Vaperetto for the trip to the station. Onto the train for the 2 hours ride to Milano, pick up the car then drive to Como. While in Milano we went to the Duamo. What a spectacular Cathedral. Well worth the time to visit it. The square at front milled with people chilling out, gathering to talk and generally enjoy the afternoon.
We picked up the car ( a Renault van ) and off we went to Como. Trials and tribulations as Gavinshka ( our G.P.S ) wasn't interested in where we were going so it was the map that got us moving in the right direction.
Arriving in Como at the hotel we didn't have a car park so eventually we found one and the hotel agreed to pay the tolls as we had planned on not using it for the time here. Tomorrow we are going on Lake Como and also the Funicular.

Posted by pjandc 18:40 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Venice

overcast 27 °C
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DSC_8532.jpgDSC_8527.jpgDSC_8512.jpgDSC_8511.jpgDSC_8509.jpgDSC_8508.jpgDSC_8498.jpgDSC_8491.jpgDSC_8437.jpgDSC_8394.jpgDSC_8384.jpg]Arrived in Venice to an overcast day around mid afternoon. Bought a 3 day Vaperetto pass to enable us to use public transport for 3 days. Half hour bus trip then Vaperetto ( water taxi ) to San Silvestro stop then 3 minute walk to our apartment. Up a few flight of stairs after we get through the 2 sets of doors of the lane way then 3 deadlocks on the apartment door we are in. Quite a big apartment with kitchen and an area big enough for us all to gather in. It overlooks a square and is pretty central to the Grand Canal and the Rialto Bridge which unfortunately for us is under renovation so much is boarded up across the sides. A stop at a supermarket to buy breakfast supplies should save us a few Euro.
A walk got us lost for a while as we meandered along over bridges, turning corners while craning necks looking at the washing hanging above our heads and marveling at the age and various states of repair (or disrepair) of the buildings that shadowed us from both sides.
Kerry, Katrina and Andrew have been here before so we had instant guides to explain where we were. Very busy around the Rialto Bridge area but we moved away from there to a square that Kerry and Andrew had been to before and we had some dinner while we watched the local kids and parents play soccer and chat as a community gathering.
A Vaperetto back to our stop with an ice cream and coffee on the way to tide us over. Back to the apartment for the night as the sun as well as the temperature went down.

Posted by pjandc 18:43 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Venice toBurano


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DSC_8367.jpgDSC_8360.jpgDSC_8359.jpgDSC_8347.jpgA good sleep other than someone pushing our door buzzer through the night. Awoke refreshed and brekkie was cereal, toast with tomato, ham and cheese. Headed toward the market down by the Grand Canal where it was in full flight. Plenty of fruit from all over the world including bananas from Australia. Fishmongers with fish so fresh they glistened. Huge slabs of Tuna alongside many other varieties.
Onto the Vaperetto and we headed out to Murano for a brief stop famous for Glass making which is about 30 minutes away. Then onto Burano which is a beautiful town where the houses are washed in all the colours of the rainbow. This is where the lacemaking takes place and the work is exquisite. Lunch sitting on the canal edge eating a pannino was lovely.
Back onto the water transport and around the other side to the island of Lido. Jumped off looking for a toilet and wound up having an espresso ( best I have tried so far ) Back across to the start of the Grand Canal and jumped off at San Marco. A beautiful structure with a huge square surrounded by intricate stonework on the buildings. A human tidal wave slowly moved across the square and drifted into the laneways before dispersing in all directions.
Kerry in charge this afternoon of all things not getting lost (including us). Brought us out at the Rialto bridge and back in. Again. Turn left, turn right, we were soon back into familiar territory. Lemoncello bottles bought, Icecream aquired and consumed saw us back to our apartment just in time for the church bells that are on our square to herald our arrival. Weary feet at 5.30 in the afternoon we put up before they need to take us out to dinner! Late inclusion. Check out weary traveller photo in Venice Gallery.

Posted by pjandc 18:38 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

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