Tourist

Becoming a Google Local Guide

So my pal and brother-in-law Glenn Ison posted a photo on Google Maps. It was of a place in Paris. Next thing he knows he gets an email from Google saying “How would you like to be a local guide?” He goes “Yup” and then tells me all about it. So this post takes you through my look at this particular program by Google. So I started by posting a

The courtyard of the Doge's Palace, Venice

This entry is part 17 of 20 in the series European Cavalcade

As part of the European Cavalcade Costsaver tour’s free time in Venice we partook of the Doge’s Palace. This place is so grand that this one post is only going to tell you about the courtyard. Huh? Yep. Tis true. Just the courtyard. OK. If you don’t know, the Doge’s Palace is at the heart of Venice, next to San Marco. The Doge’s Palace, just like so many older buildings

The paths through Venice: September 2015

This entry is part 16 of 20 in the series European Cavalcade

And so the saga continues, albeit well behind schedule! This is how I summarised on Facebook our first full day in Venice: “If possible we are even more tired. Another early start to see glass blowing (Rhiannon enjoyed this ☺ ) and then entry into San Marco basilica where I unfortunately could not take photos. Then we had 8 hours free time in Venice. We wandered extensively including Santa Maria de

Apologies... and into Venice

This entry is part 15 of 20 in the series European Cavalcade

Hi all, Firstly an apology for my neglect in recent weeks, especially the past fortnight or so. With my final date due to redundancy rapidly approaching (Friday 29 January) I find myself focusing on setting myself up for the future. Alas maintaining this blog or reading other blogs is way down at the bottom of my list of my current priorities. Sorry. :( Interestingly I had coffee today with a friend

Fair Verona

This entry is part 14 of 20 in the series European Cavalcade

OK – long post today. I am way behind in processing my European photographs. Well, I do have around 6,000! But today I worked on it. If you follow me on Twitter (not that I post much) you will see that I am also tired from having swum a kilometre yesterday. I am really not up to that. So today I carry on with the adventure of a lifetime, my

Innsbruck in Austria

This entry is part 13 of 20 in the series European Cavalcade

…so we avoided the strange man in the Charlie Chaplin outfit and the squeaky voice… Oops. I’ve started the story midway. Must be because I am tired, confused and still recovering from the wild New Year’s Eve party three days ago. But by damn that was a great party. It was at a local club. The band played mostly 80s classics. There was a lot of dancing. And we had a

The Wilten Basilica, Innsbruck, Austria and the Bon Alpina Hotel

This entry is part 12 of 20 in the series European Cavalcade

Today’s post is brief and back to telling you all about my amazing holiday :) The coach sped us away from Lichtenstein and towards Innsbruck in Austria. My trusty Google map below shows where Innsbruck is. The countryside along the way was a spectacular panorama of mountains and trees. I must admit that I often found it difficult taking high quality photos while the coach was on the move. The

Lichtenstein is not what Frankenstein does with his tongue!

This entry is part 11 of 20 in the series European Cavalcade

OK – stupid title for a travel post. But let’s face it, Lichtenstein is a tiny and boring place. At least it is on a Trafalgar Costsaver tour. Close your eyes so we can do a mental re-enactment with you as the protagonist. Hang on, can’t do that. You won’t be able to read my wonderfully evocative words with your eyes shut. So you are just going to have to

Loving Lake Lucerne (plus a great little shop in Picton)

This entry is part 10 of 20 in the series European Cavalcade

Hi all, Today’s post is two stories. The first is set today, during a little drive to a New South Wales’ town called Picton where I found a marvellous little “collectables” shop. Then back to Switzerland in September. Armour Collectables in Picton Obviously the name of this shop got my attention straight away. Two things that I love: armour and collectables. Alas I saw no armour in it. This said,

Ascending Mount Stanserhorn

This entry is part 9 of 20 in the series European Cavalcade

About two centuries before Christ was born people settled the Nidwalden valley. I’m guessing that they were Celts, the so-called Helvetians, based upon vague memories of some of my university studies done in the 1980s. One such place they settled became known as Stans, and I am guessing that from this settlement the mountain known as Stanserhorn got its name. Our tour guide got us out and into the coach

Our landmark in Lucerne

This entry is part 8 of 20 in the series European Cavalcade

One of my big rules when travelling is to always identify landmarks that I can use for navigating around town. In Lucerne we picked a big double-steepled church just up the road from our tour’s squishy hotel. Up until writing this post I had no idea what the place was (other than a church). So here is a photo taken from a roadway below it. To get from our hotel to

Lucerne for a few nights

This entry is part 7 of 20 in the series European Cavalcade

I first visited Lucerne in 2001 on a Globus Tour. Prior to this I had little interest in Switzerland. I just saw it as some mountainous backwater of Europe where people stashed money in inaccessible banks. Pretty dumb, eh? Me, that is. The Globus Tour showed me a magnificent side of the country, particularly Lucerne where we stayed in a fantastic hotel in the centre of town overlooking the lake. I

A quick photo opportunity at the Rhine Falls

This entry is part 6 of 20 in the series European Cavalcade

Imagine a place where in winter, every 10 seconds, water the equivalent to an Olympic size swimming pool rushes down a waterfall. Well, that place is the Rhine Falls near the town of Schaffhausen in northern Switzerland. These are reputedly the largest plain falls in Europe. The coach for our tour (Trafalgar’s Costsaver ‘European Cavalcade”) dropped us off here. (OK – it may seem that I’m giving them lots of free advertising,

Heidelberg in about one hour

This entry is part 4 of 20 in the series European Cavalcade

The Trafalgar Costsaver Tour entitled “European Cavalcade” is, as I have insinuated before, a kind of taster experience for Europe. During 18 days you can expect to do a lot of miles (or kilometres) by coach with a number of short stops. The real value is in the two night stopovers. Everything else is kind of nice, but rushed. Leaving our Rhine cruise behind us, we were whisked off to nearby

The Rhine Cruise

This entry is part 3 of 20 in the series European Cavalcade

A brief note from me Before I describe my Rhine Cruise to you all, I will just say something briefly about the appalling events of this weekend: Beirut then Paris. I am not some genius. The ebbs and flows of human misery and joy in their totality are beyond my meagre ability to comprehend let alone offer much insight upon. So I will keep it simple, and this is purely

Starting our European Cavalcade - leaving England

This entry is part 1 of 20 in the series European Cavalcade

Today’s post is about how I planned the tour part of my family’s European trip and then the first half of the first day. Planning the tour In mid 2014 we (being my wife and I) agreed to the holiday half way around the planet (we live in Sydney, Australia). Thing was, we then had to turn a vague idea into something more solid, something more structured. So we had to establish our

Cleopatra's Needle

Hi all, You may remember this stone dude from my British Museum post: His name was Thutmose I and he was a renowned warrior Pharaoh, pushing Egypt’s boundaries further than ever before. Some reckon that he was also probably the first Pharaoh buried in the Valley of the Kings. Thing is, he had a grandson who would turn out to be even more ferocious. The Royal Egyptian family displayed unusual flare and originality in naming this grandson Thutmose

I return!

A big hello to all my friends. Seven weeks since last we spoke. After composing and losing a post several times on the WordPress app for android, I gave up in disgust on trying to post while abroad. So over the next few months I must make up for it. Where to start? Well, they say that travelling broadens the mind. I must admit that my waistline is not the worse

Third book teaser, travels, genealogy and keratoconus

Wow – that title is sure a jumble of thoughts. Yes – my next brain-dump is upon you. Flee while you can! Third book teaser So I have chucked (I love that word) the teaser for the third book up onto the menus. For those of you not following my blog, I wrote a ginormous novel and then decided that it did not work together well in one whole. basically