A Travellerspoint blog

Monday 22nd January 2007

DAY 10 - CONTIKI TOUR 3 Rome

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View Katie and Kylie's World Trip on kyliesyme's travel map.

This morning after breakfast we caught the subway system into the city of Rome which was a very interesting experience. Imagine 50 people waiting on the platform and then the train arrives, completely full and 50 people squeeze in so that everyone on the train ends up being squished up against the windows and we then travel several stops before exiting the train. Trains in Rome are always full. Plus you have the extra worry about security as we were told pick pocketing on the trains was extremely common - we can understand that cause you are all so close together.

When we finally arrived at the Colosseum we did a walking tour of the Roman Ruins with a local guide. Along the tour we saw such wonders as the Arch of Constantine, the Roman Forum and the Monument to Emanuele as well as hearing some of the history about the Collosseum.

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After we finished the tour, Josh took us to the Vatican City. As we didn't have a lot of time we headed directly for the Sistine Chapel and were amazed by the artwork we saw on the way to the Chapel. The Chapel itself is absolutely amazing. It is hard to believe the logistics of actually painting such a masterpiece which contains approximately 300 different scenes and figures. It also contains such notable works as the creation, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and the Great Flood. It also includes the painting, The Last Judgment. The work is massive and spans the entire wall behind the altar of the Sistine Chapel. The Last Judgment is a depiction of the second coming of Christ and the apocalypse. The souls of humanity rise and descend to their fates as judged by Christ and his saintly entourage. It is a breath taking piece of artwork.

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After the Sistine Chapel we were able to go through the group entrance into St Peter's Basilica which is the Pope's principal church. There are over 100 tombs located within St. Peter's Basilica and some of these include 91 popes. It has the capacity to hold 60,000 people and is regularly used for services.

After the Vatican City we headed back into Rome to have some lunch before a group of us went to see the Colosseum. We both really wanted to see the inside and although we were short of time we are so glad that we did. The Colosseum was originally capable of seating 45,000-50,000 spectators, it was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles. Although heavily damaged over the years, there are alot of remaining structures that help to depict what the Colosseum would have been like in Imperial times. It was definately a highlight of our time in Rome.

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After the Colosseum we went to see the Capuchin Monks which is a collection of over 4,000 bones of Monks that have been creatively displayed into different displays. Even the light fixtures have been created out of the bones of the Monks. It was very interesting although a little creepy.

We decided that we would walk to the Spanish Steps and after seeing the Steps, we walked down Via Codotti and Via del Corso two of the main streets in Rome before heading back to the Colosseum where the remainder of the group was waiting to go back to the hotel.

Arriving at the hotel we had a quick dinner before collapsing into bed. It was a very long, busy day but we saw so much and are so glad that we had the opportunity and experience. Rome was definately a highlight of our trip.

Posted by kyliesyme 03:14 Archived in Italy Comments (3)

Sunday 21st January 2007

DAY 9 - CONTIKI TOUR 3 Florence - Rome

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View Katie and Kylie's World Trip on kyliesyme's travel map.

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After arriving home in the early hours of this morning we were up again to do a short orientation of the city with our tour guide before attending a leather demonstration.

After the leather demonstration we headed to the Galleria Dell Accademia to see the statue of David along the way we were able to see the Duomo. Michelangelo's David, sculpted from 1500 to 1504, is a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture and one of Michelangelo's two greatest works. It is a massive 5.17 meter marble statue that portrays the Biblical King David at the moment that he decides to do battle with Goliath. It is absolutely massive and it is hard to fathom the logistics of creating such an iconic piece of artwork. The attention to detail is mind boggling!

After seeing the statue of David we returned to Piazza della Signoria for our walking tour with a local guide. The tour included the Diffizzi Galleri, The Ponte Vechicco Bridge, Palazzas Vechicco and then the Duomo but we left the tour before arriving at the Duomo as we had already seen it and we still had to manage to fit in some lunch before meeting back at the bus.

After the walking tour and lunch we all headed up to the lookout where we had a group photo overlooking Florence. We then made our way through the Italian country side and into Rome.

When we arrived in Rome, Josh, our tour guide conducted a walking tour of Rome which included the Colosseum, Vetorino, Trevi Fountain, Column of Marcus Aurelius, the Pantheon and the Temple of Hadrian before finishing in Piazza Navona where we had dinner.

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Posted by kyliesyme 10:00 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Saturday 20th January 2007

DAY 8 - CONTIKI TOUR Nice - Florence

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View Katie and Kylie's World Trip on kyliesyme's travel map.

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After leaving our hotel this morning it was a short drive before we stopped for a special demonstration at a perfume factory called Fragonards. It was really interesting to learn about how perfume is made and what is required in order to make it. It was one of the better demonstrations we had although the smell was extremely overpowering and when we were taken into the gift shop and allowed to try some of the samples we were a little alarmed after Katie developed a strong reaction to the scents. We declined on the offer to purchase!

Safely back on the bus, and with no permanent damage, we spent travelled through the amazing landscape of coastal France before decending into Italy. We went through something like 192 tunnels during our travels along the coastline so when we finally arrived at our afternoon stop, we were all very relieved.

Our afternoon stop was the little town of Pisa which is most famous for its Leaning Tower and we quickly filed off the bus to get the photo opportunities. It was especially significant to Katie as she has baby photographs of her in her baby carrier on her mums back as they climbed precariously up the inside of the tower.

Unfortunately we were not able to climb the inside of the tower due to time constraints but it has been re-opened to climbers after a decade of corrective reconstruction and stabilisation efforts. As we didnt have alot of time in Pisa we took the obligatory photographs before returning to the bus and making our way into Florence.

Tonight we had an amazing Tuscan dinner (one of the best on the tour) which included an Opera singer and musical entertainment. After dinner we all headed off to Space Disco Tech a mazzive nightclub where we were able to dance the night away.

Posted by kyliesyme 09:46 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Friday 19th January 2007

DAY 7 - CONTIKI TOUR 3 Nice on the French Riviera

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View Katie and Kylie's World Trip on kyliesyme's travel map.

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Today was possible one of the nicest days we have had one tour and after our first and only late start of the entire tour we walked along the Promenade des Anglais which runs along the beach. It was an amazing day although not warm enough to tempt us to go swimming. Nice is one of those cities that enjoys a pebbled beach and some of the areas along the beach are reserved for 'hotel guests' which translates into 'those with money' and since we were not dressed for the occassion we were quite happy to observe the wonderful views.

After walking along the Promenade we found a great local flower and food market which was an amazing thing to see. Completely run by locals we were able to sample different types of food (mostly olives) and see all kinds of beautiful flowers and we both felt very cultural for the experience. We decided that we would have some lunch overlooking the market in this great cafe and feeling very french we ordered the traditional food - Crepes!

After lunch we reluctantly walked up the hill the Le Chateux which offers amazing views of Nice and of the water looking back towards Cannes. We got some fantastic photos before heading back into the city down Avenue Jean Medecin which also happens to be the shopping avenue of Nice.

For tonights entertainment we headed to Monaco and had a fantastic Montesque dinner before viewing the Palace du Prince and views out over Monaco. We then headed into the city centre and visited some Casinos although we avoided going into the Grand Casino as just the entry fee was $10 Euro. Monaco is an amazing place and is the world's most densely populated country and second-smallest independent nation; with a population of just 32,410 and an area of 1.95 square kilometers. It also boasts more millionaires per capita than any other country and relised heavily on its casinos for revenue. Another great thing about Monaco is that its residents dont pay any taxes so we are under the distinct feeling that the casinos help out alot!

Posted by kyliesyme 09:28 Archived in France Comments (0)

Thursday 18th January

DAY 6 - CONTIKI TOUR 3 Barcelona - Nice

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View Katie and Kylie's World Trip on kyliesyme's travel map.

As today was yet another bus day we feel we need to explain that typically we spend one day on the bus traveling to the designated city, a full day in the city followed by another day travelling to the next destination. So as you can expect we have become experts in bus travel!

At one of our stops today we were able to visit a walled city in France called Aigue Mortes. Unfortuently most of the city was closed but we were able to walk around for a while and we found a great little cafe that was able to make us some pizza's for lunch before we needed to get back on the bus again. It was a shame that most of the stores were closed as the city seemed to have alot to offer and it really was like stepping back in time.

After arriving in Nice we went to dinner at a wonderful restaurantbefore heading out to see the local nightlife.

Posted by kyliesyme 09:23 Archived in France Comments (0)

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