Sunday, 13 September 2015

Day 16: 13/09/15

Managed a good nights sleep despite the noise from the bar. After breakfast headed out to try and find Ascension, the english speaking  anglican church in Munich. First stop was the train station to put our bags in a locker. A train load of migrants ( I use that term because I do not know if they are eccomic migrants or refugees, or most likely a mix.) had just arrived and were been kept on the platform by police. I assume until it was sorted out where they needed to go.

Heading outside to the tram stop, we found the tram wasn't running. Instead we had to take the U bahn to somewhere we could connect with the replacement bus. Once on the bus, I noticed a woman in a smart dress and nice hat who just looked anglican. We got of at the same stop and when we heard her speak to someone in english asked for directions. She was indeed anglican and we chatted to her whilst walking the rest of the way to church. I enjoyed the service, we had some good hymns, and a bishop preaching. Ascension is also doing all it can to help the migrants, many of whom are housed in a nearby army barracks. Over coffee we got chatting with a guy who used to live in Coventry and amn ordanand from Oxford.

After church we went for lunch at the hofbrau beer garden, not the main beer hall in town. After a very plesant lunch we made our way into town and had a drink at Le Clou, where the bar man was looking great in full traditional dress and a fantastic mustache. After that went to Augustiner am Dom before walking to the train station.

At the train station it was very busy, there were migrants looking ready to camp out in the station. We got our bags and then had time for a quick beer. In the bar we got chatting to a bloke who told us all trains had been cancelled and germany was bringing back boarder controls with Austria. From what I saw I would say that the numbers arriving are simply too big for one country, or even for Europe to cope with.  This needs a worldwide solution.

Luckily the S bahn was still running and we could get to the airport. Checked in fine, but at security me, my tablet and the inside of my bags all had to be swipe tested. Luckily I was clear and could continue to the lounge and something to eat.

from my LiveJournal, Jane Williams - The Wombling World of Madness

Day 15: 12/09/15 Kitzbuhel to Munich

Final breakfast in Kitzbuhel before Rob gave us a lift to the station. The train to Worgl was fine. Then we changed to the train for Kufstein, this weekend is the Rosenheim Herbst fest. The train was packed full of people in dirdnls and lederhosen. When we got to Kufstein, we moved quickly to try and beat the rush for the Munich train and managed to get seats. The train got fuller as we moved towards Rosenheim, but then became much emptier.

Arrived in Munich with no problems. Having seen the news reports of refugees arriving in Munich last week I wasn''t sure what to expect but everything seemed normal. Checked in at euro youth hotel. In our younger days we have stayed in their dorms, but have a double ensuite room this time. The room isn't ready till 2pm so we put our bags in the luggage room and went in search of lunch. Bayern Munich were playing at home so places were busy. We got a table at Augstiner am Platz.

After lunch we went back to the hostel. The room is nicer and larger than I was expecting. It is quite large with a double bed, a single bed, couch, table and chairs. It even has a TV, but not really any English channels. After settling in we went in search of liquid refreshment, the weather been rathr hot, this was not beer. Instead we had a lovely ice cream milkshake. We then went for a walk in the Englischergarten. At one point it was very English as there was a game of cricket being played. We also saw the surfers, yes in Muniuch city centre you can go surfing! There are a couple of points on the river where waves have been made, one for expert and one for beginners. We found an ice cream stand and had an ice cream before heading back for a rest.

In the evening we got the U bahn out to Rotkreuz Platz and went for a meal. The beerhall was getting into the mood for Oktoberfest, with pretzels and blue and white ribbons hanging from the ceiling. Aftert dinner we headed back into town and a beer at Augustiner am Dom, where one of the bar staff actually recognised us. After that headed back to the hotel, where the bar was very full and noisy, so showing our age we gave it a miss.

from my LiveJournal, Jane Williams - The Wombling World of Madness

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Day 14: 11/09/15 Kitzbuhel

Had a lie in to start with this morning, then decided to walk out the lake. Had a walk around the lake and then turned of to go up through the woods to Steuerberg. Here there is a  very  nice restraunt where we had lunch.  As we were having lunch, some classic cars arrived, including one very old looking one. Walked back down to the lake through the woods and headed back to Kktzbuhel, stopping for coffee and cake on the way.

Once back attempted to sort out the packing. I am sure everything fitted in better on the way out. Packing nearly finished we checked the skis and topped up the edge waxing, ready for when we come back in winter.

We then went to Flannigans and had a few drinks whilst watching the end of the crickett, where England beat Australia again. Went to Huberbrau for dinner. I tried the blood sausage grostel for the first time and very tasty it was too. Finished the evening at glockenspiel and Sigi's.

from my LiveJournal, Jane Williams - The Wombling World of Madness

Friday, 11 September 2015

Day 13: 10/09/15 Kitzbuhel

Repeated the run I did on Monday but only managed to improvre my time slightly. After breakfast went to the ski club to renew our  membership. We the headed up to the horn. The lifts were quite busy and there were quite a lot of people on the walk down through the alpine flower garden. It became less busy once we got past the Alpenhaus, where the car park was very full. We continued down the mountain and in the quiet alpine meadows we could see and hear lots of crickets. I am sure they would be willing to give the Australian cricket team some advice on cricketing skills.

Stopped for lunch at the Adlerhutte. I ordered smoked trout thinking it would be a some slices of fish on a plate with the salad. I forgot this was Austria.There was a token  bit of salad that came on the plate with the fish, by which I mean a whole fish. The rest of the salad had a plate to it self.After lunch we got the lift the rest of the way back down and I went to do some shopping. I wish england still had CandA I got myself a new hooded top.

In the evening we went to Sigi's and Flannigans, where Chipper was winding Andrew up about being old.Went to Huberbrau for dinner, where we met a nice german couple. We finished the evening in Glockenspiel.

from my LiveJournal, Jane Williams - The Wombling World of Madness

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Day 12: 09/09/15

Had lazy start to the day with a lie in. After breakfast we got the bus  to Brixen and went up the mountain to Filzamsee. Among with the cows saw some pigs on the mountain for the first time. Walked round the lake and watched Neptune raise from it's depths. We then continued on to Hochsoll.Surprisingly, as I thought school had started it still seems to be full of kids. There was also a small display of old tractors, and a tractor made of straw bales. Walked up the hill to Salvenmoos for lunch and a look at their goats, one of whom had a very impressive set of horns.

After lunch we walked back dowm through the Hexenwasser, stopping for the odd play and to visit the treehouse. My inner child is alive and well. We then caught the gondola up to the top. On the way up experinced a sudden stop, but arrived at the top safely. We then caught the gondola down the other side. Relaxed in the sunshine of the garden at the roundell.   Wallked the long way round to the traim station to see if there had been any changes, there hasn't been a lot the bullet is still empty.

Went to Glockenspiel for a pre dinner drink and then to the Eggerwirt for a posh meal out with wine. My dinner had an autumnal taste to it with pumpkin soup, venison snitzchel in mushroom sauce and apple strudel. After dinner we finished the night of in Flannigans and Sigi's.

from my LiveJournal, Jane Williams - The Wombling World of Madness

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Day 11: 8/9/15 Andrew's Birthday

Decided to challenage myself this morning and went for a run up the mountain. This quickly turned into more running than walking. Got to just above the start of the finish schuss of the Hannenkamm race when I ran out of way markers, so decided to start heading day. Salvaged some pride by running the downhill bit and a loop of the park on the way back.

After breakfast we set of to walk along the valley to the Fleckalm bahn. We walked past Schwarzsee, the black lake, so called because of the mud in it, which is meant to be very beneficial. The ducks certainly looked happy and healthy. There seemed to be a lot of cyclists about tha we kept having to dodge.

Took the Fleckham bahn lift up to the top. At the top there was quite a crowd of people enjoying the view. There was also a spinning wheel which would tell you how long it would take to walk for various places. Headed along the path back towards Hannekamm and stoped at Hannenkamm Sturbel for lunch. Andrew got a slice of cake with a candle in it to celebrate his birthday. Got the lift down and had a rest.

The evening started out at O' Flannigans, with some free beers. We then headed to Sigi's where the birthday drink was in a smaller glass and not so nice tasting. Feeling hungry we went to Zinkrug, where Andrew had his favourite dinner of pizza. Finished the night of at the glockenspiel.

from my LiveJournal, Jane Williams - The Wombling World of Madness

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Day 10: 7/9/15 Kitzbuhel

In an effort to of set all the drink and food I am consuming I went for a run this morning. The hills here are steeper than in Coventry and the views are certainly more breathtaking, they left me with no breath at all! By the finish was feeling very unfit but when I checked the time against running the same route last year I was four minutes faster, which made me feel a lot better.

After breakfast we went and got our lift passes and headed up the mountain. Had a nice four mile walk with various types of terrain and levels of steepness up and down which gave Andrew plenty of opportunity to experiment with his new walking poles. Stopped for lunch at the Hannenkamm Stuberl, which due to it not being very sunny was very full inside. Got back to the top of the lift just as the first few drops of rain came. We had coffee and cake before heading back for a rest.

In the evening headed out for a drink at O'Flannigans and Sigis. Ended up having a Sigis burger for dinner  I had the juicy lucifer, which had four types of cheese inside the burger and a spicy sauce. We then headed back into town. Had a beer at a bar that was very quiet then went to Glockenspiel. Here Andrew was persuaded to stay up to see his birthday in, which involved the consumption of several schnapps and flugherls, the singing of happy birthday, flowers and sparkler candles. After that it was definitely time for bed.

from my LiveJournal, Jane Williams - The Wombling World of Madness

Monday, 7 September 2015

Day 9: 6/9/15 Innsbruck to Kitzbuhel

Enjoyed our final posh hotel breakfast of this trip before checking out and going to the station to catch the train to Kitzbuhel. We had an uneventful journey, changing trains ar Worgl with no problems. On arrival at Snowbunnys we were greeted by the newest residents ducks, who have their own paddling pool on the lawn, �� and rabbits ��.

After having got unpacked a bit and settled in, went for a walk round town. Unfortunatly the cafe for coffee and cake was shut, so imstead we went to Huberbrau for lunch. After lunch spent the afternoon relaxing and watching the grand prix. Afterwards we headed our in search  of liquid refreshment. Our first stop was the Irish bar owned by a yorkshire man and a lancastrian O'flannigans. For once they were being Irish and showing the hurling final. Now, thats a strange sport, I can't even understand the scoreboard!

Next we headed onto Sigi's, which was very quiet. We then headed on to the Glockenspiel, which had a few more people in. We had a couple of drinks there, but as their kitchen was closed,we headed next door to Huberbrau to eat. Had a very nice meal and got chatting to an Irish couple that joined us at our table. Over several drinks we discussed religion, the refugee crisis and politics. The evening's irish theme was rounded of when someone came in with an Irish wolfhound. The dog nearly came up to my hips, and was fluffy and very lovely, letting me give it lots of strokes.

from my LiveJournal, Jane Williams - The Wombling World of Madness

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Day 8: 5/9/15 We're Going On A Bear Hunt

Woke to an unusual sound after last weeks weather, water falling from the sky. Lingered over what was a very good breakfast in the hope the rain would clear.  Fish has been missing from t breakfast buffets so far this trip but this morning I had a choice of smoked salmon, smoked trout and herring, and a glass of bubbly to accompany it. My coffee came in what looked like an antique silver coffee pot, it could have come straight out kf Downton.

Top of my list to do in Innsbruck was a visit to the Alpenzoo, and it's bears. However given the weather decided to start by visiting the Hofkirch. The church houses a massive cenotaph to Emperor Maximillian. The cenotoph takes up most of the nave and is surrounded by giant bronze figures of past great leaders including a  Arthur,  King of Englamd. I didn't think Arthur ever ruled England and fought against the english.

Had a look around the round the museum next door which contained displays about tryolean life and handcrafts. It included a display of nativity scenes, some of which were I suspect not entirely reliable  whilst some must seemed slightly strange. There were also displays about life and death and the festivals that are celebrated in tyrol through the year.

When we came out it was stll raining, so we then went to the tram museum. We arrived just in time to go for a ride on one of the old trams they were running. Have to say the new ones feel a lot smother, but it was still a nice way to see some of Innsbruck. The museum itself was very small with photographs and documents about the development of Innsbruck tram network.

The rain had begun to show signs of begining to ease and Andrew's shoes showed signs of leaking. So we went back to the hotel for Andrew to change his shoes. Then we headed to the Alpenzoo, the zoo is part way up the mountain outside Innsbruck. To get there we caught the kettlebell mountain railway, which acts as a ski lift in winter. The zoo itself was bigger than I expected, we saw fish and toads and lizzards as well  as wolves and wild boar. There was a small collection of domesticated animals, cows, pigs,goats, chicken etc. There were also a few unexpected things, one being the tombstone of a man from Coleshill, the other a moose. However the zoo kept the best to last, walking down the path to the viewing point of an enclosure, I turned the corner and found myself face to face with a bear! The bear kept coming up to the window to say hello. Andrew eventually managed to drag me away from bear watching and we headed back to the hotel for a break before dinner.

We dined at the Theressien Brau. As they had pork knucle on the menu Andrew was very happy. The bar brews it's own beer which tastes very nice. The bar blends traditonal beer hall with a modern industrial feel from pipes running across the ceiling and making up the shelving around the bar. After dinner we just headed back to the hotel bar for a couple of beers beforw bed.

from my LiveJournal, Jane Williams - The Wombling World of Madness

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Day 7: Verona to Innsbruck

After breakfast checked out the  hotel and headed to the train station. Our train for Innsbruck  left on time.  We had some great mountain views as we headed through the alps. After my first visit to Italy here are some things I noticed about it:
1.) There are lots of mopeds
2.) You don't need any special clothing except a helmet to ride a moped, sundress and flip flops will do.
3.) It's more a cafe bar culture, than a bar culture.
4.) If you just order coffee, you will get expresso.
5.) Cars don't stop at pedestrian crossings unless you've actually started crossing the road.

As we got closer to the Italian/Ausrtrian border, there wasan obvious increased police presence at some srations. There were no problems until we got to Brenner. There was a group lf about 8-10 young african men on the platform, and police standing by the train. The men made no attempt to get on the train until anothe passager started telling them the train was going to Munich and encouraging them to get on. The police then got on the train and made them get of again saying they didn't have tickets or passports. This delayed us a little but we weren't too late arriving into Innsbruck.

The weather had turned cloudy. After checking into the hotel, the Grand Europa, which for Chalet School fans is where Madge and Joey stay when they first come to Austria, I set out to buy new shoes. My old ones had disintegrated in Rome, but up till now I had been living in sandals.

After having got new shoes we found a cafe next door to the shop and celebrated arriving in Austria with coffee and cake. We  then had a walk around the Old Town. Innsbruck is surounded by mountains, so you find yourself looking down a main shopping street and seeing a mountain at the end. Most of Old Town hada "hapsburg"  style to it, although some areas do have modern buildings mixed in as well. Eventually found a bar to have a drink, which had a large mental bird in it.

Decided it was time for something to eat, so found a nice beer hall type place for some good austrian food. After dinner we decided to see where else we could find. Walking away from the restraunt, we spotted a sign 20 craft beers, craft beer in Austria, what was this? We headed down the steps into the cellar, to be greeted by whitewashed walls with pictures painted on them. Passing through a door we entered the bar. At one end of the long narrow room comfy sofas and stools were placed around a table of packing cases. Beer taps gleamed in a row on the bar, whilst a screen listed the elixers available. Beers from Austria, Germamy, Denmark, Holland and others. Should I try the monks elixer, maybe not at 10%. Settled for an Austrian brewed summer ale. It gleamed golden in the glass, the taste dancing across my tongue.
Emerging later into the moonlight, we headed for the hotel and bed.

from my LiveJournal, Jane Williams - The Wombling World of Madness

Friday, 4 September 2015

Day 6: 3/9/15 Verona

Had breakfast at the hotel then set out to explore the sights of Verona. We began by walking to Castel Veldicchio. The castle had been in militrary use until the 1920's when it was turned into a museum and nkw houses Verona's fine art collection. We didn't go into the museum but had a look around the courtyard which includes remains from an earlier building, possibily 4th, century. We then walked across the castle  bridge to the other side of the river. We walked along the river bank to the roman theatre. Parts of the site were closed for earthquake protection work. However we were still able to see the amphitheatre and climb through the ruins to see the views from the top.

After we came down, we climbed back up even further to Castel San Pietro. The castel is shut to the public, but the views from the top were well worth the climb. Stopped on the way down at a bar for some much neeeded refreshment with a drink of very delicious lemon soda.

Back down at the bottom we crossed over the old bridge and made our way to the cathedral. The current cathedral is built on the site of previous churches, with some parts still well preserved. In one of the older parts is a 12th century baptismal fonr of carved wood. It is a suitable size for full imersion baptisms and looks much  better than the paddling pools I've seen used.

Aftere the cathedral began a search for food. After much wandering of the streets we found a place called Cafe Monte Baldo. They offered two tasting menus, a valpolicella one and  a soave one, with each course matched with a different valpolicella or soave wine. Andrew had the valpolicella one, whilst I tried the soave one. My first course was spaghetti with clams,  whilst Andrew had papperdella with duck and both came with excellent wines. My second course was cuttle fish and prawns with polentra. It was the first time I had tried cuttle fish or polenta and I must admit I wasn't that keen on them. The prawns and the wine were very nice. Andrew had veal for his main course, along with another excellent wine. We then had an almond biscuity cake thing with delicious dessert wine and finished with coffee.

We began to amble back to the hotel and on the way came across Juliet's balcony. Quite how it can be hers when she didn't exist, except in Shakespere's imagination, I am not sure. However something in the story obbiously speaks to people given the crowd there and the amount of love graffiti on the surrounding walls.

Much later in the evening, when we finally began to feel hungary again we went for pizza and a bottle of wine in the warmth of a italian evening before we head north and over the alps to cooler weather tomorrow.

from my LiveJournal, Jane Williams - The Wombling World of Madness

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Day 5 2/9/2015 Rome to Verona

Had a last breakfast overlooking the hills of Rome before checking out. The local train came about on time for once, but was very full, I only just managed to squeeze on and my backpack straps got caught in the door. Arrived at Famencio station and of course the doors opened on the other side. After a lot of tugging managed to free my backpack. Got to the main train sation OK after that. Had a bit of a wait until our train to Verona arrived. It was a modern italian high speed train but surprisingly had very little luggage storage space. Our backpacks had to have seats to themselves which luckily they didn't get chargd for.

Arrived im Verona and found our hotel down a path through an archway.Reception area is very nice, marble and operatic themed decoration. Our room is smaller than in Rome  just a bedroom not a suite, but still seems very nice. Only problems being the wardrobe door sticking, but a man appeared to try and fix that and a lack of plug sockets.

Took a walk up into the old town of Verona. Verona has it's own version of the collesum, although slightly smaller. It is still used fgor staging operas and therefore has all sorts of bits of scenery lying around outside it. Had a walk around the old town and up to the oldest bridge im Verona. Decided I like Verona, it has a river, and for some reason I like being near water, it has lots of lovely old buildings and narrow twisting streets. There seems to be a good range of independent shops and the one not independent shop I love to see, the Disney store.

Had a rest at the hotel before setting out in search of food. After a walk through a park and round some side streets, found a Trattoria and had pizza's. I also had my first Italian wine imn Italy, a half bottle of Soave. Took a walk up the main street afterwards, dissapointed not to hear any opera. Failing to find a bar in town we had a drink at the hotel. I had a chardonay which was sweeter than the Soave, but still nice. Then we retired to bed.

from my LiveJournal, Jane Williams - The Wombling World of Madness

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Day 4: 01/09/15: In Search of St. Peter

After a lesiurely breakfas went to the station and had a lesiurely wait for the train. The time and freqency of trains seems to bear no resembnlamce to the  timetable! We headed to the Tivoli fountain, unfortunatly it is currently under attack from the tribe Scaffoldi.  Whillst the restoration work is being done, you can't see much or throw  coins in. Today is turning into another scorching day, hopefully it will get cooler as we head north tomorrom. We had a walk around and ended up at some more ancient ruins, the forum eof Augustus.

We got the bus from there to St. Maria Sopa Minevera. Outside the church is a statue of an elephant with an Egyptian obelisk on its back. The statue is bt Berini. The obelisk on its back comes from the nearby site if an egyptian temple to the goddess Isis. I thought the elephant had a very happy smile.

The church itself contains the shrine of St. Catherine of Sienna, who worked to bring the papacy back to Rome from France and to establish peace among the Italian city states. She is one of six patron saints of Europe.

The Chuch is Rome's only gothic style church and is built on the site ofa previous temple to Minerva. We only had time for a quick look round before heading to the Vatican.

After a quick stop for an ice cream we approached the swiss guards and after security checks were allowed into the vatican. Here we reported to the archeological office with whom we had booked to go on a tour to see the tomb of St.Peter. The tour tool us deep into the Vatican. The first church here was built by Constantine, who built it on top of a necropolis. Parts of the necropolis have been excavated and are fantasticaly preserved. It really is a city of the dead with streets and mausolems the size of houses. You can see the sarcophagi and mausoleums where some of the wealthier citzens would bury their dead. The mausoleums silll have mosaic floors and frescos painted on the walls. Families would come and eat and drink on top of th graves, so the would be celebratring with the whole family, alive and dead. They brought fresh flowers to mask the smell, and we still put flowers on graves today.

The current altar is built on top of one by Gregory and the one by Constantine. However before there was even a church a simple structrure hads been put up to mark the grave. The archeologists dug under the altar and found a buriel space, surrounded by smallwr buriels, suggsting that this was somneone important that people wanted to be buried near. The main grave was basicallly a hole in the ground, nothing much to mark it. Archeologists are convinvced that this is the grave of St. peter. After alll Peter was killed at the height of Nero's  persecution, anyone trying to make the grave special would probably have been killed as well. However, the grave when discovered, was empty! So where was St. Peter? A wall had been excavated before the grave was found with some writting and a little niche on it with bones in. These had been put in a box and put to one side whilst the main excavation took place. It was only later that someone bothered to look at the inscription on the wall, although damaged, it could well read "here lies Peter". The bones were then annalysed and found to belong to a 70ish year old man, who died towards the 2nd half of the first century and would have been of a large build, suitable to be  a fisherman. Is this St. Peter? Whilst there is no conclusive proof the circumstantial evidence seems to fit and the bones are considered by the Vatican to be St. Peter's. A priest in our group led us in a prayer before we left the site where the bones are. After that we made our way out, past several lovely side chapels and the tomb of "the old pretender" son of James 7th of England and 2nd of Scotland. The final side chapel we stopped at contained the original altar built on the site by Constantine.

After all that excitment we headed back to the hotel for a rest and to get packed ready for our departure tomorrow. Decided to venture a bit further in search of food this evening and got the train to Flamenico. We found a nice looking tratorria. I had pasta and Andrew had pizza, and as he couldn't eat it all, I has some pizzza to. The food was very good and cheaper than other places we ha been to. So after dinner and a few beers headed back for an early night before our departure in the morning.

from my LiveJournal, Jane Williams - The Wombling World of Madness

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Day 3: 31/08/15 In the Footsteps of Saints and Popes

Had a slightly more lesiurely start this morning, lingering a bit more over breakfast. Had a slight detour to start with as we got on the wrong train, which then missed out the next stop. Eventually managed to get going in the right direction towards the basillica San Cle!emnte.Entrance to the 12th century basillica is free  despite the bloke standing by the door with a bowl asking for money. The basillica is quite impressive in it's own right, lovely decorated ceilling and altars, with a range of styles frlm 12th century to Baroqoue. This is complimented by a lovely peaceful cloister.

However for 10euro you can go on a journey through time. Underneath the present  church are the remains of a 4th century chuch. There are frescos on the walls and the remains of the mosaic tiled floor. One of the fresco's is  believed to mark the tomb of St. cyril , apostle to the slavs and founder of slavonic literature. You can see in the stonework where materials from an earlier building have been reused. There is a stone slab with a pagan inscription on one side and a later christian inscription on the other.

Our journey back in time does not end with trhe 4th century christians but continuing deeper there is the remains of 1st century buildings, possibily a house and also a larger building that it is thought may be  a mint. The larger building has it's own spring, still running. The house has it's own mithraic temple, complete with seats and an altar. A real glimpse into the past 2000 years ago. There has also been discovred a deeper layer containing burnt material and it is believed to date from the fire of Rome in 64 AD.

We emerged from St. clement's back into the 21st century and headed towards the next countr on our tour, the Vatican City State. We  had an arrangement to meet someone for quick access to the museums but had  a bit of time spare before, so went to look art St. Peter's Square. On the way we received countless offers of scarves, selfie sticks, guided tours etc.  St. Peter's square wasn't as crowded as I expected. The basilica is quite imposing at one end with the sides of the square framed by collonades topped by statues. An obelisk and 2 fountains are in the centre. This of course is where Calligua's circus was and many early christians and other enemies of the state met their fate. Little feeling of that remains, can ground once soaked in blood be hallowed by years of prayer?

We then headed to our meeting point ouside the vatican museums. The musems contain some stunning art works some history, amazing ceilings, artworks and ceilings - lots and lots of them. After a while it all becomes a blur. The things that stood out for me were probaly some of the religous art, the tryptichs and altar reredoses, the tapestries and the maps. I was also impressed with the ceilings and the fact that there was a Graham Sutherland piece that looked very like part of the Coventry Cathedral tapestry, you come alll to Rome and see something from home.

Of cvourse, what everyone really goes to the vatican museums to see is the Sistine chspel. Like most of the Vatican museums it has ornately painted ceillings amd walls, these just happen to be painted by some guy called Michealangelo. It has to be said they are very imlpressive. The only problem is that the chapel is absoloutly full ofpeople, all walking around looking up at the ceilling and therefore walking into each other.

After the Sistine chapel we dedcided to see what the queue was like next door for St. Peters. As there wasn't muc queue we went in. I must admit my first impressions after a two days in Rome were it's a big church with lots of good art, again, and lots of people. If we could get that many people into Coventry Cathedral I expect the canon treasurer would be a very happy man. Back to St. Peters, I must admit I found the tomb that looked like it had a dead pope in it on display a bit of putting. I also didn't feel any particularly strong holy atmosphere. Maybe that was just due to me feeling tired and churced / arted out.

Got the metro back to Flammenico and found a pizzeria bar fof a beer. The first beer came wirh bits of pizza, the second with a large plate of crisps.

After a rest at the hotel just went to the same place we went the first nigh for dinner, where I sampled a plate of italian cheese and cold meats, the salami was a lot tastier than the stuff I buy in the supermarket back home.

from my LiveJournal, Jane Williams - The Wombling World of Madness