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by jalfraser

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This is my 'blog' (or 'moblog' since it will be mainly coming from my mobile phone) that I shall be using to keep a record of my rambles in Italy in October 2006.

I hope that you will find it interesting enough to return now and again to check on the latest postings.

Let me know what you think when you see me, or use the facilities on the site to post your comments.

If nothing else, you at least now know what a 'blog' is!

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Monaco

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Intrigued to know more about the Principality of Monaco we spend the afternoon exploring its prosperous and orderly harbour and streets. It is the harbour that attracts us first and the row upon row of lavish cruisers, one or two the size of small passenger liners. As we walk down the quay we see the occasional person on a boat but judging by their appearance they are crew members, there mainly to ensure the boats are kept in pristine and gleaming perfection for the owners' occasional visits. Later we find ourselves in Monte Carlo and outside the casino. Again our imagination is fired by thoughts of people making occasional visits to see their boats and taking the opportunity to gamble their fortunes on the card tables in the casino. But bizarrely Prince Rainier doesn't allow his subjects (the residents of Monaco) to gamble!
4th Apr 2008, 11:24   comments (0)

Croissant

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The morning sun floods the balcony and its time for breakfast. We take it in turns to walk the short distance to the Boulangerie to buy thie croissants which seem to be the only way to start the day. What is it that makes these so much more desirable than the ones we can buy at home? Is it about more than just the eating of the delicious buttery pastries? Does it perhaps start with the trip to the Boulangerie that says - I am on holiday. But it is also a very different experience in the deliciously smelling shop, queuing with the locals and highlights a big cultural difference. The French still value their little local bakery. So perhaps in some small way, that morning croissant represents the culture of France? As well as being delicious!
4th Apr 2008, 07:50   comments (0)

Nice Market

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What captivated me most about Vieille (old) Nice? Was it the market with its colourful stalls lining the Cours Saleya? The beautiful flowers and fresh local produce? Or perhaps the heady smells from the sellers of herbs and prices? Or maybe it was the sounds? Like the sounds of the traders, calling out their wares? The picture shows Madame Theresa, famed for her Socca pancakes. And later that morning as we explored the neighbouring streets and squares we enjoyed more sights and sounds typical of this vibrant French city such as the entrancing flute playing that captivated us and made us linger in a sunny square. And the lady who sang as if she was Edith Piaf. Wonderful entertainment yes, but everyday life on the streets of Nice.
3rd Apr 2008, 06:58   comments (1)

Nice

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We decide that we will dedicate a day to see Nice and so catch the SNCF train for the 20 minute journey into the the city centre. We stroll down the wide main street and eventually emerge into the enormous Place Messina. The generous public square connects to the maze of small streets in Vieille Nice and where we find the colourful, aromatic and vibrant market stalls. After spending some time soaking up the sights, sounds and smells we walk up to le Chateau - which proves not to be a castle at all, but gardens and walkways. The views of Nice from the top of the headland are breathtaking. Particularly striking though is the colour of the sea - a beautiful azure. It looked all the more inviting as we stood in the hot sun. Finally we descended to stroll along the Promenade des Anglaises, the promenade where the city meets its beach.
2nd Apr 2008, 07:09   comments (1)

Eze

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We travelled to Menton on the A8 motorway but today we set out to see the area following the Corniche route that winds its way along the coast. From its more prominent points the road gives us some breathtaking glimpses of those playgrounds of the rich and famous - Monte Carlo and Monaco. Eventually we arrive in Eze and abandon the car to explore the ancient village's narrow alleyways. Winding our way up we are taken with the prettiness of its maze-like walkways. At the very top of the village we emerge into a man-made garden, an interesting mixture of succulents, statues and breathtaking views. The picture, taken from the top of the garden, shows some of the village looking towards Cap Ferat, with Nice beyond. Frederick Nietzche apparently enjoyed visiting the village. Was it these Mediterranean views that inspired his thinking?
31st Mar 2008, 17:45   comments (1)

Le Cote d'Azur

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We left scarborough very early in the morning to catch the BMI flight from Birmingham to Nice. Mid-morning and we have arrived in France and picked up our hire car for the drive to our appartment near Menton. At last we arrive and having been travelling for over 12 hours, are desperately tired. However, a bit of a siesta and we venture out for a walk along the sea front. The temptation to sit in the warm sun and enjoy a cold beer soon got the better of us. The picture shows Fran with the Rivierra coast looking towards Italy, in the background. Fran is about to get into conversation with some interesting people at the next table. She amuses us all when she introduces me and finds it necessary to explain that I am actually her dad! Salut! Wish you were here.
31st Mar 2008, 07:50   comments (2)

Auf Weidesehn

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And so we have our last ski - sad that it is all over for another year, relieved to have made it without sustaining any injury; a last Apres Ski in the Londoner - and wonder agahow the bar staff and the Short'n'Curlies duo manage to function night after night while drinking so much; back to the Florianihof for our last dinner followed by a last session in Murphies - coinciding with Jim Royle doing an Elvis impersonation! We were up early the next morning to be whisked off to Salzburg Airport. Our farewells to those on the Birmingham flight were hurriedly made in the hotel lobby and after a 5 hour delay, much later that day at Manchester Airport. So to all those who made the week such fun - in the Florianihof and in Neil's ski group - if I didn't get to say it: "I hope we meet again somewhere. Meanwhile - pro-o-ost and auf wiedesehn."
23rd Mar 2008, 17:54   comments (0)

Chalet Florianihof

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Having read several comments on the web about it being 'basic' I was pleasantly suprised by the Pension Florianihof. The first impression was of being slightly care worn and functional but homely and the rooms comfortable. The dining room with communal tables made for very sociable meal times. The food itself was excellent - set daily menu and good home cooking - and the cake that appeared each afternoon was lovely and especially appreciated after the days skiing. So while not being in any way luxurious the chalet was a comfortable and friendly place to stay with definite character. The friendly yet efficient staff ( headed by Lisa shown in picture with Ross) deserve a lot of the credit for making our stay so pleasant and the Florianihof somewhere I would be happy to return to.
22nd Mar 2008, 11:28   comments (0)
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