Sunday, 10 February 2013

Thailand - Chiang Mai summary

Well, we are at the end of our holiday. Nine weeks away and just 1 more night (on a plane) before we are home. We are in Bangkok waiting for the night flight to Sydney and again have wifi and the chance to add a final blog.

On Tuesday morning we left Venice after a short walk, a trip on the water bus and launch trip to the Marco Polo airport. After flights to London them Bangkok we arrived at Chiang Mai at 8 pm Wednesday to be met by a tearful then beaming god-daughter, Little, and her fiancée Joe.

On Thursday we did a big of shopping for for lighter clothes before having a wedding rehearsal. The wedding was held in a church on the outskirts of Lamphun at 5 on Friday. I have almost no photos because as "Father of the Bride" I could not carry a camera. I'll have to rely on others for photos. The wedding, the Thai dinner after the ceremony and the party on Saturday were all enjoyable. After the initial nerves and responsibility I think I could get used to being FOB.

On Saturday we caught up with friends Jirasit, Fon and son Time, visiting their house and enjoying a wonderful meal together.

Now the trip is almost over and we have mixed feelings - sad that the trip has come to an end, but looking forward to being in the familiar comforts of home and with family again. Dear grandson Cameron is not quite as little as when we left.

After we are home I'll add some more photos from camera as this blog has used only phone-camera and most of my photos were taken with the Canon camera, especially under conditions where the phone just couldn't cope.

It's been fun preparing this Blog. Thanks for reading it.

1 &2: the bride and bridesmaids (no pic of groom as I'd been stripped of cameras
3: with Jirasith, Fon and Time
4-6: Bangkok airport - statue decorations and a view of about half the checking area (it's huge - row after rows of counters)

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Guess where - not too difficult

Sadly we left Venice this morning and took a launch across the lagoon for today's mystery destination where we have a 7 hour transit stopover before flying to Bangkok tonight, then on to Chiang Mai tomorrow.

There was enough time to escape from the airport for 3 or 4 hours and observe the locals and their customs.

No prizes for guessing - where are we ?

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Venice - Walking and climbing about

Just a quick entry the day after the event as we are packing and preparing to leave Venice. Yesterday was fine and sunny, but not quite as clear as on Sunday. Many people in elaborate costumes were parading through the streets. We met at the Opera House (image 3) and joined a guided walking tour for a "Secrets of Carnevale & Casanova " tour through the small lanes of Venice. Our guide David is shown below (cape and 3 corner hat). After lunch we took the water bus to the island of San Giorgio to see the church and were able to go to the top of the bell tower (a lift!) for a fine view of the city and even of the Alps and Austrian border.

Today we flight via London and Bangkok to Chiang Mai in northern Thailand for the final stage of our tour. Next message will be from Thailand.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Venice - Carnevale starts

Carnevale events should have started yesterday in Piazza San Marco but the strong winds and driving rains led to cancellations. Today was completely different. The weather was mild (for this time of year), the wind had dropped and skies were blue. Visitors arrived by the thousands and there was a wonderful atmosphere.

Some of the costumes were truly stunning and photographers crowded around the best, or perhaps the oddest, costumes. Groups of gondoliers carried the girls in the "Maria" competition, bands played, flags were waved and tossed in the air and the "Doge" (historic ruler of Venice) and his retinue paraded through the packed square to the stage to review the rest of the parade.

Various events were staged during the day and on the evening a jazz band played with the theme "a touch of blue". It was a memorable day.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Venice - The most serene city

This morning we left the wonderful hospitality and kindness of the Feletto family in Conegliano and took the train to Venice. So, some of the buildings could do with some TLC, but they are 5,6,7 hundred years old! It's a wonderful place and we are glad to be back .

Image 1 - the view as you walk out
of the railway station.
Image 2 - a couple of the "palazzi" along the Grand Canal on our way to our B&B. this must be the most picturesque (water)bus ride in the world.
Image 3 - local seafood platter for lunch at a small "osteria" near our place.
Images 4&5 - 2 views of Santa Maria della Salute from the Grand Canal.

Viva Venezia!

Budapest - been and gone

This should have been yesterday's entry but I was a bit slack. Anyway, better late than never!

It was a day of mixed transport modes: in Bratislava we walked from the hotel to the bus stop, caught the bus to the station and the train to Budapest (2.7) hours. In Budapest we took the airport shuttle from the station to .... The airport (you guessed that, right?) and flew to Treviso, north of Venice where our friend and host Giacinto met us and took us "home" to Conegliano.

The picture is not good but was the best I could do through the security barrier and plate glass windows at Budapest where you can make out 2 jets (expand the image to read the name of the airline - yes, "wizz" airlines). It's a Hungarian budget airline. Imagine the travel conversation: "what did you do on your trip ?"; "took a Wizz or two - when you've got to go, you've got to go!"