Info sec 2008

April 24th, 2008 , 17:02

So what can we say lots of compaines trying to sell you stuff half you probly need and if you haven’t got why not ? half you probly don’t need and if you got it why?

The stuff we came to look at was good, not to much in the extras but a good day over all.

So rounding off in the pub ware else beer free wireless and a blog update the sun is shinning and if the tub is working the end to a purfece day.

What is it in Bedford Square ?

April 21st, 2008 , 9:06

So I was walk around London still trying to get use to the new camera (a Nikon D300), I now know what some of the buttons do :).

Mainly trying out different exposure setting and getting use to interpretative the back display and histograms , I still have a lot to learn moving from film to digital.

When i came across this in Bedford Square ?

So the question is what is it, why, and by who ?

Florence Tips

April 14th, 2008 , 19:42

We took the train which is a nice way to go though we didn’t get much sleep. So were a bit tired the first day. The other problem was the train was late – both ways. We were two hours late into Florence and about an hour late into Paris on the return. We booked plenty of leeway into our change at Paris (about 5 hours) so no worries but many people were trying to catch the 11.30 Eurostar service – the train got in at 10 so it would have a been a close run if they didn’t know exactly how to get to Gare du Nord!

Definitely book museum tickets on the web before you go. Be aware that you may need to exchange your voucher for an actual ticket. At the Uffizi we headed straight for the door which was marked ‘pre-booked tickets’ only to be told we had to go to door 3, then back to door 1 to enter. Not a big deal but can save you some walking.

Florence has lots of museums, plan carefully! Best line of the holiday was overheard while we were in the Uffizi gift shop: “Hurry up! The next museum closes in an hour!”

Check the web for museum opening times as these change. Some museums have early closing as well.

Go to the popular museums earlier and if you find yourself in a room with a huge crowd just wait a minute or two. Most of the large crowds are tour groups and they tend to cruise through the museums looking at the highlights and don’t tend to stand by them for very long.

There is a lot of information about rip off restaurants in Florence but we really didn’t find that a problem. Perhaps we got lucky! We did check the guidebook for the types of food we wanted and found that generally it was all good. Note that service is generally included in the price and if in doubt ask. They didn’t mind and one place actually pointed out that it was included and we shouldn’t leave a tip.

And finally, if you can, stay at Hotel Balestri! And if you can ask for a particular room, get room 502. It has a small terrace with table and chairs with views over the river to Ponto Vecchio and the view out the window is of the Palazzo Vecchio. There is also a larger terrace which is shared amongst the four rooms on the 5th floor with views over the city, including the Palazzo, Duomo, and Santa Croce. It is within easy walking distance of most things in the city, only minutes from the Uffizi and Santa Croce. The staff is very nice and very helpful.

Also we booked through Railbookers. Very nice, very helpful and I think we got a good on the hotel and travel. The only compliant was that on the way out on Eurostar our seats were not near each other. But that was solved in a person very nicely moving for us.

Frog Blog

Home Again

April 14th, 2008 , 19:25

We made it. Very tired when we got to Paris but walked from Gare du Bercy to Gare du Nord. As the train was coming in it was dark and wet looking, but as we walked along the river the sun came out and it became quite a pretty day.

We walked along the river to Notre Dame and Joe took photos. We then turned off the river to walk by the Centre Pompidou. Stopped to get coffee and a crepe then on to the station. Nice walk but we were quite tired from the train journey.

At Gare du Nord we got drinks and fries and waited for check in to open. First class travel on Eurostar at the end of the school holidays was very interesting. Lots of parents bringing their children back from holidays at the second house in France. And then there was Joe and I with laptop and camera, rucksack, and scruffy from the train travel!

But home and mugs of tea and an early night.

Frog Blog

Panoramic View Over Florance

April 14th, 2008 , 10:02

A panoramic view from micalangleos Piza

Please Note The Small Pictures are placed ware the photo was taken from.


Last day

April 12th, 2008 , 17:28

Of course the past two days we’ve had cloud, some spitting rain but not much, and a few sunny spells. So last night we got ready to go to dinner and walked out to a downpour. Got to the restaurant and had a lovely meal despite the party going on at the next table. And ran back to the hotel in the room.

For the last day I had planned a nice walk – over the Ponto Vecchio, along to the fort on the hill overlooking the city, then along to San Miniato al Monte then down to Piazzale Michelangelo. Mainly for views over the city and Joe could get some photos. So woke up this morning to the sound of rain hitting tiles. And it didn’t get any better. We stayed in bed pretending it wasn’t rain we were hearing but finally had to give up, get our showers and get breakfast. Dragged that out, packed the bags slowly, then checked out. Still raining. So we gave up and headed for Santa Croce. Spent a good hour or so in the church looking at frescos and tombs. The rain was slowing down so we headed out only to get more rain so we ducked into Museo Nazionale del Bargello which we were walking past. Looked at all the sculptures; unfortunately Donatello’s David is being restored, however, it is being restored in the gallery. So you can see the statue lying down on the table. Better than not there at all! As we left the Bargello the rain was slowing down and Joe was statued out.

We started heading for the Duomo – the museum behind the church has the Pieta that Michelangelo had designed for his tomb, and as we’d seen the tomb in the morning we thought we’d have a look at the Pieta. However, we ended up outside the Palazzo Vecchio and remembered we’d said we’d go in there for a look, especially as we had that view from the hotel! So in we went. By this time we were a bit overcome by all the art so the Palazzo is a bit of a blur. A lot of ceilings. Lots of ceilings. And huge empty rooms.

When we left the Palazzo we decided we needed to eat so headed for a little coffee bar we’d been passing. Lots of people hanging out as it was ‘free wi-fi’ – if you had your passport. We skipped on the wi-fi but had a nice lunch instead. Service was chaotic but the food was good.

When we left the coffee bar the rain had stopped so we headed over the river and started up the hill. It kept threatening rain but when we got to the top the sun came out and we had lovely views over the city and Joe took hundreds of photos. Or it certainly felt like it. There was a Monster Ducati show on as well! We only made it as far as Piazzale Michelangelo but the views from there, past the tour bus crowds, are lovely. Having made it to the top of the hill we headed back to the hotel to get our bags, have a cup of coffee and update the blog!

We are off to the train station shortly and soon back home.

Frog Blog

Why to go to Florence

April 11th, 2008 , 16:54

To see the art of course. And to see art concentrated go to the Uffizi which is what we did today.

Up early(ish) after a good night’s sleep and had breakfast then off to the museum. I bought the tickets on the web so had a voucher. Top tip: you need to take the voucher to door three to get your tickets before going to door one to enter the museum. If you go straight to door one you will be sent away to door three. And door two is the entrance for people who have to buy a ticket and that queue is very very long indeed. Also, if you have a bag you will have to leave it at the cloakroom. Which means if you have a ridiculous amount of camera equipment (as Joe does) you will be left juggling it while the very nice guard laughs and gets you a clear plastic bag. Because you are leaving the bag in the cloakroom. Which is free.

We ended up not taking all day as the museum is slightly smaller than I expected and bits are closed off due to renovations. But the art is wonderful. Unfortunately Titian’s Venus of Urbino is in Tokoyo so I didn’t get to see it, but that was the only main piece that I wanted to see that I didn’t get to see. The rest was there and wonderful. The roof top terrace for coffee/hot chocolate is wonderful and Joe enjoyed taking photos from there.

Which reminds me – if you aren’t seeing the photos it’s because he’s had trouble loading them on the site. They will eventually be up there!

We spent the later part of the afternoon walking to the train station (the long way round) stopping in San Lorenzo to see the tombs of the Medici (but didn’t really get to see the major works because parts were closed off which was disappointing). But saw Lippi’s Annunciation which was nice. We were headed to the train station to work out when we have to leave tomorrow to catch the train to Paris. So only one more day to wander around Florence. If the weather is nice we’ll go over the rive and walk up to San Miniato al Monte and Piazzale Michelangelo.

I think we have one of the best rooms in the hotel and also have access to the roof top terrace with views of the Palazzo and Duomo which is lovely at night all lit up!

Frog Blog

A Room with a View

April 10th, 2008 , 17:37

Well we made it and for some photos check out Joe’s Panoramio section. Or his Google web album.

First stop St Pancreas which is lovely. I had my first real walk and gawp around the station since it’s been redone and it is quite nice. We also got to see a Harris hawk and it’s handler taking a break from chasing pigeons away. Lovely way to get rid of pigeons.

The train ride to Paris was uneventful and we got the RER to Gare du Lyon and then walked. Had a sandwich in a very nice little sandwich shop and then waited. And waited. And waited a bit more. At least we were in the nice lounge, as our train was about half an hour to an hour late. When they announced the train (well, the attendant in the lounge came in and said ‘it’s there, the only train out there, have fun!’) we joined the throng waiting to get onto the platform. And waited a bit more as a whole horde of children in red baseball caps were ushered onto the train.

When we were finally allowed on and found our carriage it was nice and we had a good dinner on board. As usual however, very little sleep and up early a bit worried we’d miss our stop. Turned out we could have stayed asleep as the train was about 2 hours late into Florence! Still, we were due in so early it didn’t much matter. We found the hotel after a lovely walk (the city is beautiful) and they held our bags as we headed out to explore (as it was too early to check in). (More on the hotel in a bit.)

We walked around the city until about 3pm and saw (as I remember it) the Duomo and Campanile, the Uffizi, the Palazzo Vecchio, Ponto Vecchio, loads of churches and bell towers, loads of lovely houses, loads of little streets, and just loads of everything. The only place we went into was the Cappella Brancacci inside the Basilica di Santa Maria del Camine to see the frescos by Masolino, Masaccio and Lippi.

After all the walking we headed back to the hotel (by way of the hordes of tourists on Ponto Vecchio) stopping on the way for an ice cream (a must have, it was lovely). Got taken to our room which is lovely. The whole hotel is beautiful, but the room is wonderful. We have a little balcony, with table and chairs shielded from the wind, but standing up you can see the river, the Ponto Vecchio, and beautiful views out over southern Florence. Out the other window you can see the tower of Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi. Lovely. So we really do have a room with a view!

So now getting ready to go out for a bite to eat (once Joe has his photo of the sunset and Ponto Vecchio).

Frog Blog

Poor critters

April 6th, 2008 , 11:58

Well, Joe finally got his new camera kit and has been out and about harassing the local wildlife trying everything out. We had a few photos of polar bears in a snowstorm and black dogs at night while he works out the settings but overall the photos are coming out nicely.

Ah yes, it has been snowing today. Got up this morning to a lovely white back garden. So now Joe is cross with me for not waking him up so he could get photos of the snow; by the time he got up the snow was patchy. But he still got the photo of the annoyed sparrow!

Frog Blog