Monday 27 May 2013


For those who have followed my recent travelblog charting my trip from Singapore to Rome at will know that we should have stayed in Italy for 7 days, we left after 2! The reason is simple. My travel companions Jill, Angelo and I didn't like it there.  Why? 

Our opinion of Italians is that they couldn't organise a p***-up in the brewery, they are rude and hostile, even to each other and the trains are a total nightmare.

So, start at the beginning.  We arrived in Rome last Saturday, checked into a nice hotel with "bad attitude" staff and set off on our planned walking tour of the Vatican.  Took the bus to Vatican City, managed, with great difficulty to get directions to our meeting spot, eat lunch and then tried to find out why there were so many ambulances in the vicinity.  No-one claimed to know.

After lunch we set off to walk to our rendevue spot but by this time the crowds had built up.  As we walked the crowds got thicker untill we became hemmed in and could hardly move.  Still no-one seemed to know what was going on!   We tried to press on, but couldn't, tried to go back, but couldn't.  It was very scary because we were being moved into ever thicker crowds.  After we finally moved to clearer ground we found out that Angela Merkel was in audience with the Pope and they were expecting 300,000 people in St John's Square.  Mad.  And no-one knew this was going to happen.  Oh come on!

OK, we were the victim of circumstance.  Next day we set off to ride the hop-on hop-off bus. We were told to stand in line and buy a ticket from the newsagents. BUT the newsagent had run out of tickets and we were then told to stand in line get one on the bus.  This we did, for nearly 40 minutes! When it arrived it was nearly full and fights broke out to get on while three attendents stood by and watched. 

Nearly an hour later we managed to get on the next bus.  Same thing, but being determined we managed get on.  The route had been changed and took us no-where interesting and the commentry didn't match the route.  Finally we decided to give up and went back to the hotel via the railway station so that we could check out the trains to Sorrento the next day.  Have you ever been to an Italian railway station?  My advice, don't!

Again, total chaos reigned and we weren't able to find out anything worthwhile.  I have travelled on Italian trains and know the traumas involved.  Even their own advice is "Note: some of the escalators and elevators are not working so you may need to haul heavy luggage up/down stairs.  Keep an eye on luggage in case they get feet and walk off.  There are also sometimes bad people that have either spit on the seats or have other bodily fluids that don't smell too good on the train floor. You can take the train to Sorrento by checking on the boards.  Attention as they might change platform at the last minute. Inside the train there are, sometime, a few people begging for money.  Do like you never heard them and do not open wallets around."

No shit! Sounds a ball doesn't it?  And then there were the four druggies that were passed out cold on the pavement on the way back to the hotel and the two black guys routing through a suitcase that obviously didn't belong to them. This is not to mention unmentionably dirty toilets, some without doors and a tramp using  the washhand basin to clear his throat and nose in full sight and sound of people buying fancy cakes in the bakery.

When we got back to the hotel we looked at each other and almost in unison said, "shall we go home?" The answer was "yes"!! 

Monday 6 May 2013


Regular readers my already know that  I am currently on a cruise from Singapore to Rome.  To read all about it simply click on the map on the side bar.  As a "taster" here is my current post.

I had booked on a tour of the Pyramids, but after receiving a notice warning that because of unrest in Egypt Princess Lines might have to revise their schedule I decided to cancel but was then  encouraged to “go for it girl” by my friend Steve Smith and a fellow passenger said  that if I didn’t go I might regret it afterwards I have decided to go on the trip to Cairo and the Pyramids after all.  Scheduled for  9th May.  So.....  today is Monday, 6th May.  Does that mean we go on Thursday?  Too much heat, food, entertainment and chat has made my pea brain melt. 

The tour is as follows:-

Your thrilling Egyptian adventure begins when you meet your drive and guide at the pier for the scenic drive to Cairo.  Travel through a dramatic landscape of unrelenting sand and scrub, before arriving at Giza, to discover The Great Pyramids.  The largest, the Great Pyramid of Cheops, was built out of 2,300,000 limestone blocks, each weighing and incredible two and a half tons. View the Pyramids of Chephren and Mycerinus, and if time permits, explore their mystical narrow interiors.  Enjoy a stunning photo opportunity at The Sphinx, which bears the body of a reclining lion, and is thought to bear the likeness of the Pharaoh Chephren, before browsing the lively souvenir shops.  Feast on a buffet style lunch at a local hotel before touring the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, which houses more than 120,000 objects.  The star attractions are the treasures of King Tutankhamen, and his striking Gold Mask.”

So three more sea days.  At the moment we are in the Red Sea just passing Mecca, Saudi Arabia on our way to the Suez Canal.  Tonight I have an invitation to the Captains cocktail party.  Although I normally avoid “formal” occasions the lure of free booze is very, very tempting. 

After the show tonight we have the rare treat of watching the film Zero Dark Thirty up on deck at 9.30.  It’s a film I missed when it came around so I’m happy to go to that with the promise of free pop corn.   This is a small ship and doesn’t have the big screen on deck, but they have “improvised” (whatever that means!). Fascinating.

After four seas days we seem to have become even sillier.  Jill said that Angelo has a new name for me “Lady GaGa” (don’t ask!) so I said I would call him “Lord GaGa” and announced that we are now officially a couple.  I said “wouldn’t it be funny if I changed my facebook status to “in a relationship with Lord GaGa”.  We were hysterical at the thought of that and only the fear of messing with the minds of friends and family stopped me!

One thing that I am gutted about is that after we left Dubai one of my Oz-Bus friends contacted me to say “are you still in Dubai?  If you are let’s meet up for a few gins”.  I would have soooo loved that Jane.  I didn’t know you were still there otherwise I would certainly have done that.  Much love.  Love to the boys too. I met up with them in Melbourne last year.  You’re a great bunch of people and I think of you often.