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Cath 4 Oct 2013

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Cath 4 Oct 2013
Sanorini

So then there was Athens! First morning we had a walking tour organised,
that was great we saw the changing of the guards...nothing like the English
one, but with just as much pomp and ceremony. The tour ended at the Acropolis.
Wow, they are busy working on the restoration, wich is unfortunate as all the
front of the parthenon is covered over. It is still an impressive building, in
the arfternoon we went to the museum, wich is excellent, the museum was built
in 2009, it is a credit to Athens.

The next morning we had an early start 6.25 we left the hotel for the ferry
terminal. The ferry took about 7 hours to get to Santorini, it was actually a
welcome relief to sit still for so long, this cracking pace we've had, is
starting to take its toll, I'm pretty buggered.

So here we are in Santorini, yes iit's just like all the pictures
absolutely breathtaking. It think we've already taken another couple of
thousand photos, every couple of steps there is another photo opportunatey.
Last night we stayed out till well after dark, and we wondered if we would find
our way home, ther's so many little alleys. But as luck wouls have it we took
an ex scout leader with us....he can always find his way home,

Today so far we've been out walkinf the clifftops and yes taking more
photos. Tomorrow afternoon we get back on the ferry and head for Naxos(another
Island) for 4 nights should be good. Hopefully that'll be a beach holiday
before we go home....bring it on I say

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Cath 3 Oct 2013

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Cath 3 Oct 2013

The mechanics of travel is a lot of waiting around, first waiting to leave the hotel, then the rush get dressed on the bikes over to the ferry terminal......then wait again. the passengers had to go through customs separate from the riders. We went through without a hitch then we waited....and waited ....and  waited. Apparently the computers were down so of course it was a scramble again at the last minute. the boys had trouble getting  through customs as their computer was down  so then it was out the door and run, John just on the ferry and they took off as they were raising the ramp.

the trip was about 45mins then through greek customs again us girls went straight through and the boys took ages....again checking bike insurance ownership etc. So the girls sat waiting ....waiting....waiting....again!We then rode the bikes to the next ferry and went across the road to have dinner. Ross told us it would be frantic when the ferry came in, and my goodnes it wa,s thousands of people all trying to get on the ferry plus cars and trucks and bikes, skin and fur were flying, We nearly ran over an asian man who wouldnt stop when he was told, it was utter kaos.

The good news is the ship was amazing it was huge, the cabins very good. tI didnt even feel like  we were on the water it was so smooth. We arrived in Piraeus at 7 the next morning, on the bikes and out of Athens ASAP.

We headed to Patras, stopping first at the Corinth cannal, what an amazing feet 4.2km built in the early1800s.....thats a lot of digging. we split up there into 3 groups, we all chose to go over the mountains, what an amzing last day on bikes the mountain passes were fabulious. We all came into Patras on a high.  

The next day it was back to waiting....waiting ....waiting. This is where we were to leave the others. So one minute we're pulled up outside the ferry terminal the next they'reall gone.....just like that.......it's over......

Well almost we still had Jenny and Al with us we jumped in our hire car and headed for Olympia, unfortunately the ancient site closed early on sunday, so we walked around outside and managed to see quite a lot of it. then walked around the new town such a lovely town, had an amazing dinner and then drove back to Patras. Oh I forgot to mention the Olympic flame for the next winter games was lit that morning....missed it by this much!

The next morning we drove into Athens via Dephi an mt Parnassus. Tony did an amazing job of driving us all the way into the center of town. You should see the veiw from the roof of our Hotel.

Ihaven't writen for a few days so theres a lot to tell so I might leave it at that for now and try to take you up to date tomorrow

Ciao Ciao

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Cath 27 Sep 2013
ephesus group photo

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Cath 27 Sep 2013
Cesme

Hello from cesme! Our last night in Turkey, I'm a little meloncoly, after all this time its is almost time to say goodbye to the crew and move off on our own.

We left Kas anticipating a fairly long day, one of our longest rides. It actually wasn't that bad, we arrived in Kusadasi at abou 1/4 to four.

We tried to find a place on the roadside to have lunch, its not that easy to find places like that over here, anyway long story short, Ross found a dirt road and pulled in, there was heeps of olive trees for shade. Shane decided to go further up the road to check it out and came back saying "go up to the end of the track" there we found a Grrek temple to Zeus....how amazing. So lunch was beside this amazing building!

Kusadasi is a large town70,000 with a cruise ship terminal, very touristy. This morning we had a tour of Epheses, what a great experiense, our tour guide said that in the future they will have a monotrail overhead and you wont actually get to walk in amongst the ruins. Apparently they have only excavated 10% of the city, and once was home to 200,000 people, I didn't think there was cities that big those days. Its still a working archaeological site. It's hard to beleive that it was once a busy sea port, because now it is about 15kms from the sea.

We came back to the hotel had lunch booked out and left. the ride today was only about 200kms, nice little toddle. Cesme looks a nice little place, tomorrow afternoon we catch a small ferry to Chios(greece) about a 40 min trip and then another ferry to piraeous, overnite.

So thats it for Turkey! Its been an amazing time its a bit sad to think it is all coming to a close.....but apparently all good things must come to an end.

See you in Greece   

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Cath 25 Sep 2013
Kas

Here weare in Kas pronounced Kash. What an amazing holiday within a holiday! My new favorite place in the whole world!!!!!

We've had 5 nights at the Nur beach hotel a wonderful little interlude. The sun has been shinning the sea is so blue .....the beer is good and yes I even found a Turkish ouzo its callewd Yeni Raki....blows your sox off! YUM!

After the bustle of Istanbul this a welcome relief they dont hound you in the shops , it's just very lay back. Further up the coast at Bodrim apparently its packed with Poms. this place not so much. We did meet a Pommy couple yesterday that have been coming here 22 years....half their luck.

Unfortunately  I ended up with the dreaded lurgy, so this was a great place to rest and recouperate. Actually a lot of people have been crook I think the hectic pace has caught up with a few of us.....But what a place to recoup! I do feel sorry for the other people staying at the hotel fancy having 23 Aussies  at your Hotel! I've never seen them at the pool......23 Aussies? not so scary......just noisy.

So we've had a pretty great time eating  drinking swimming generally having a great time. Luckily I had a lay day so I felt better.

Today we went on a dive boat  and went snorlelling.....fantastic such a great day.

Tomorrow of to Kusidasi, big day on the bikes, the next day Ephesus doesn't that blow your mind. All my life I've heard all these names in the bible now I'm seeing them.........Wooooow!

See youn soon

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Cath 25 Sep 2013

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Cath 23 Sep 2013

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Cath 23 Sep 2013
Pumakale

We left Istanbul without drama, we catch the ferry we were supposed to, what a bonus. We travelled top Katayah for the night.Ross had us booked into a spa retreat place......a place of pease and tanquility, until the Aussies turned up, it was a lovely spot, with lots of thermal pools around. the area is also a big porcelin   area obviosly porelin is mined in this are....do you mine porcelin? Well whatever theyn do to exract clay.

The next day we travelled to Pummakale, we put our heads down get there early so we could explore the limestone waterfalls. WOW!!!! what an amazing place, again UNESCO world heritage.Its like an upside down limestone cave all the limestone deposits are on the outside. you have to take off your shoes then you can walk up the side of the mountain through the water on the limestone. At the top of the mountain there is Roman ruins. helicroptus they had baths a Greek theatre etc. Also the Tomb of St Phillip is there only unearthed in the last couple of years. Took hundreds of photos. then back to the pension, lovely people the mother Lola cooked us dinner and we ate on the rooftop terrace....I love these rooftop terraces.

I started to get sick with the lurgy in Istanbul, it has gotten steadily worse since then.

We travelled from Pumukale down to Kaz on the coast it was a great relief to see the water again after all the dust and grime of the interior. The mediteranium   is  so blue. I'll tell you about Kas next blog, We're her for  5 nights so there'll be plenty to tell.

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Cath 20 Sep 2013

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Cath 18 Sep 2013
Istanbul

Hello from Istanbul....Oh what a city!

We rode from Hotel Kum to Aceabat onto a ferryover the Dardonelles to Canakkale. then rode to Yalova to catch another ferry to Istanbul. It all sounded soooo simple. It went well till Yalova when we reached the ferry we weren't booked on ,even though Ross had booked.And apparently the ferry was fully booked, So after lots of arguments we managed to get onto a ferry going to the Asian side of Istanbul. Should be simple you say! Only 26kms from our hotel, Sunday afternoon should be a breeze!    Well thats where everthing went pear shaped. We had 4 GPS to 8 bikes and 1 van. At the first possible turn we all got split up, so it was  every man for themselves. We ended up with Mike and Elspeth and Mark and Carolyn, as they both had GPS we stuck to them like glue. After a bit of circle work we finally managed to get onto the freeway to the other side of Istanbul. that should have made it easy, but it was bedlam, every man and his dog apparently gets their car out on sunday apparently. Anyway a long story short it took us about 2 hours to get some 26kms, impressive hey!

Goodies GPS took us down to another ferry to cross the Bosphorus to Sultanamet where we were staying.Goody took a wrong turn at the ferry terminal and couldn't get over to us so Mike and Tony lifted his bike over a concrete barrier so he could get on the ferry.....you can do anything in Istanbul!

We arrived 2nd, Ross and Shane and Shaz had just arived then the van and then another group finally Ivan Brett and Di and Al and Jenny rolled up, let me tell you it was a releif to see every one, we all had lots of stories to tell apparently Ivan and co went over the Bogazici bridge 3 times, lucky it isn't a toll bridge.

So that leaves me Istanbul, first thing yesterday we went up to the Blue mosque, and yes we had to put on veils and long dresses etc, we  looked like we were in a rerun of fiddler on the roof. Very impressive building, then off to the Grand Bazar, woo...I thought Paddies market was big.

In the arfternoon we took a ride up the Bosphorus River almost to the Black Sea. For dinner we had a great dinner on the roof of our hotel as it was Al Bignells last night.

Today we went to Hagia Sofia a church that was built in 660AD can you beleive that, it was a christian church then it was turned into a mosque, now it is a museum, if only those walls could  talk. we also went through the basilica cistern an underground water storage room, really amazing.

So tomorrow we leave early and head for Kathaya, or something like that, hopefully we get the right ferry tomorrow.

See you soon

PS I'll post some photos tomorrow I'm too tired now

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Cath 15 Sep 2013

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Cath 15 Sep 2013
Galipolli

Here we are in Gallipolli, or as the locals call it Gelibolu.

We left Thesseloniki and took lots of back roads up hills , down dales and had a lovely day, we caused quite as stir as we rode little villages, I dont think they knew what had hit them. It was quite a big day, we arrived at Alexandropilus quite late Al, Trish and Carol had come the direct route and had arrived at 1pm. The accomodation was beautiful, we all had a verandah overlooking the Ionian Sea......Very Nice!

the next day we decided on the direct route to Gallipolli. We had a dream run through the border, was expecting a bit of grief but Aussies are trustworthy hey! A van in front of us was totally pulled apart they had stuff everywhere, but they weren't interested in ours whew!

We arrived at Hotel Kum at 2pm, Ross had told us that it was not a very flash place so we weren't expecting much....and let me tell you we were pleasantly surprised, it is a camping ground plus accomodation, right on the sea a couple of kms south of Anzac Cove, a great spot.....love it!

This morning we were picked up by a bus and guide for an Anzac tour. WOW! what a great day. Our guide was so good very good english and very informative, I've been trying to learn as much as possible before we came and this guy could just quote facts and figures without blinking and eye I learned more from him than hours reading at home. He was also very passionate.

I am just dumbstruck with the reverence they have for our boys, considering we invaded them you would think they would be bitter, but no  they are very respectful. He told as may anicdotes which were very illuminating. There was a story of a turkish water boy that hauled water from a town behind there lines, apparently he go a little lost and ended up in an Aussie trench. He quickly told them that his comander had sent him with fresh water for the injured, as they had been using salt water for drinking.

the Aussies were much appreciative and sent him home will bully beef and biscuits. Apparently the turk commander through a message back that said a few men had broken teeth on the buiscuits(in jest) He told us many heart warming stories . The day was truely a high light of the trip so far.I now understand so much more, and would love to now sit down with my Pop and talk to him about his time here. I wonder if our boys ever got a chance to see the beauty of this place.

I think it is a day that will stay with us all for a very long time.

So tomorrow Istanbul can you beleive that somebody pinch me! See you then

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Cath 12 Sep 2013
Meteora at Kostas place

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Cath 12 Sep 2013
Ioanina to Thessaloniki

Hi  everybody, here we are in Thessaloniki. We have been from one exteem to another the hotel in Ioaninna was  probably the flashest place I've ever stayed The Grand Serai it was from another age.  As Tim would say it was as flash as a rat with a gold tooth! But let me tell you looks can be deceiving, service wasn't so good didn't feel comfortable at all. Where as here we are in thessaloniki, the Hotel is old but clean, beds crap, room smells of smoke (cough cough!) but friendly people couldn't be more helpful.

Now the trip here. We travelled here through Meteora, truly one of the most aweinspiring places I've ever been. Monastries built on the top of huge monoliths of stone.7 in total, I knew there was a couple I did't know there was so many. I tell you they were tuff men that built them. Quite a feat. We kicked around there for a couple of hours and then we stopped for lunch at Kosta's place, who's Kosta you may well ask just some random fella we met on the road and invited us back to his Hotel. So of course we went his 90 year old mother cooked the meal......it was fabulious. 11 Euro each, gotta be happy with that.

So a few hours later we headed off again. It got hotter and hotter, it was pretty hard going on the bikes with all our bike gear on in 35 deg heat. We had to stop a few times threw  a lot of water around and then back on the bikes.

When we reached the coast we finally got a bit of relief. Let me tell you Thesseloniki was  a welcome sight. Its a pumping city. Its vibrant, noisy and just fun! Today we've just been kicking about the city, looking around, a really great place. It was really great to have a lay day most of us were a little worse for wear a few of us suffering from cramps last night from heat and dehydration. So tomorrow Alexandrupolis, the next day Gallipoli, mind blowing hey!

See you in Gallipoli

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Cath 10 Sep 2013
Albania

Here we are in Greece let me tell you that is a wonderful thing, Greece is so civilised, let me tell you about our adventure.

We left Dobrovnik and travelled through Monte Negro. Just a step down from Croatia. The countries getting poorer as we travelled south, then to Albania what can I say about Albania (other than we all got pretty excited when we crossed over into Greece). Albania!!!!!!Probably a country I will never forget. The traffic horrific!!!!!! the roads abonable, the road rules none exsistent,the smells dont even mention them. But at the end of the day we all made it safetly, and did I mention Greece is really great.

A friend of mine said  driving in Albania is like playing a playstation game you hold onto the controller and ride then all of a sudden a donkey jumps in front of you you hit the brakes then off you go again and next thing a tracker jumps in front of you and you need to swerve and then on you go and if you dont loses your life by the end of the game its all good.

What an experience, I'll probably remember this for the rest of my life. Albania is a country of extremes, from complete poverty to  extreme wealth. I now know a few Albanian words Shitet- for sale, Mobileri furniture shop..... and yes there's hundreds of mobileri we even passed one that had no glass in the windows, I kid you not there was a building full of leather lounges etc. and no windows, go figure.

Oh and did I mention that Albania is like a retirement home for Mercedes Benz . Apparently every old Benz in Europe ends up in Albania. At least thats how it looks. there's also a car wash every couple of hundred meters, apparently they like to keep their Benz's nice and clean. Also they have petrol stations and car washes every 50 meters or so.

Apparently Albania has no road rules what so ever and no lines on the roads, so its a bit hard to work out if it is a 2 lane highway or a 3 lane highway.....but then again maybe it doesn't matter.

The Hotel we stayed at was great we just didnt want to leave it. Outside was a bit scary. Did I mention how good it is to be in Greece?

No seriously wouldn't have missed Albania for anything, we will remember it forever. Did I mention how good it was to be in greece?

So see you in Theseloninka

 

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Cath 10 Sep 2013
Albania

Here we are in Greece let me tell you that is a wonderful thing, Greece is so civilised, let me tell you about our adventure.

We left Dobrovnik and travelled through Monte Negro. Just a step down from Croatia. The countries getting poorer as we travelled south, then to Albania what can I say about Albania (other than we all got pretty excited when we crossed over into Greece). Albania!!!!!!Probably a country I will never forget. The traffic horrific!!!!!! the roads abonable, the road rules none exsistent,the smells dont even mention them. But at the end of the day we all made it safetly, and did I mention Greece is really great.

A friend of mine said  driving in Albania is like playing a playstation game you hold onto the controller and ride then all of a sudden a donkey jumps in front of you you hit the brakes then off you go again and next thing a tracker jumps in front of you and you need to swerve and then on you go and if you dont loses your life by the end of the game its all good.

What an experience, I'll probably remember this for the rest of my life. Albania is a country of extremes, from complete poverty to  extreme wealth. I now know a few Albanian words Shitet- for sale, Mobileri furniture shop..... and yes there's hundreds of mobileri we even passed one that had no glass in the windows, I kid you not there was a building full of leather lounges etc. and no windows, go figure.

Oh and did I mention that Albania is like a retirement home for Mercedes Benz . Apparently every old Benz in Europe ends up in Albania. At least thats how it looks. there's also a car wash every couple of hundred meters, apparently they like to keep their Benz's nice and clean. Also they have petrol stations and car washes every 50 meters or so.

Apparently Albania has no road rules what so ever and no lines on the roads, so its a bit hard to work out if it is a 2 lane highway or a 3 lane highway.....but then again maybe it doesn't matter.

The Hotel we stayed at was great we just didnt want to leave it. Outside was a bit scary. Did I mention how good it is to be in Greece?

No seriously wouldn't have missed Albania for anything, we will remember it forever. Did I mention how good it was to be in greece?

So see you in Theseloninka

 

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Cath 8 Sep 2013
Dubrovnik

Hey Ho!

here we are in Dubrovnik, wow!!!!!!  World heritage listed. What an amasing place.

the History in this place is quite mind blowing, for Aussies, where our main st has heritage listed buildings from the 1930'S......

So much has happen in these walls in its lifetime. I've never thought of Croatia being a world power but it certainly seems that it has been over the years.

The first morning we left the hotel and went down to the old city, we walked around the walls took 2 maybe 3 hours by the time we finished it was really getting hot. But let me tell you the view was awesome. Believe it or not there was a photo shoot on part of the wall, medevil knights etc. apparently the next Game of Thrones. How cool is that!

We kicked around the city for most of the arvo, up allies down streets, this place is huge.

Today we went up on the gondola to the mountain right behind the town, to a fort that Napoleon built.... well he probably didn't actually build it  he probably just pointed his finger and the serfs did it. This fort was the homeland stronghold against the Serbs and Montenegrans in the war from 1991 to 1995.There is a museum in the old fort, the photos chilling, to think an army in our liftime would shell such an important piece of history. Apparently they laid seige on the city of Dubrovnik for 30 days and when they didn't surrender they shelled the old city, a disgraceful thing to do.

The good news is you would never know, they've done an excellent job of restoring all the buildings.

This arvo Goody organised a sea kayaking adventure.......I'm just getting too old for this stuff let me tell you I'm going to sleep well tonight, that is if all my aches and pains don't keep me up but I'm glad I did it, it is quite  special seeing the city from the sea.

So now its time for bed big day tomorrow see you in Greece

PS thanks for all the comments really appreciate it and Leonie the photos are going great a big thanks to you

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Cath 5 Sep 2013
Croatia

Hi there again we're now in Trogir, Croatia and you guessed it this is pretty fine too. So let me tell you how we got here.

yesterday morning we left Lake Bled it was a little brisk but not too  cold. Brett and Di had organised our meals out of the van. It all went really well with a few thermoses for hot water we had tea and coffee some bickies and fruit for morning tea and then yummy sandwiches for lunch. We should be able to save a lot of time and money this way.

We crossed over the border into Croatia very easily no drama,  I beleive it will get harder as we go. We rode past a Military museum, Its easy to forget that these beautiful countries have been torn apart by war in the 10 years or so.

So on to Selce arived about 2pm, a lovely little place Ross told us it was a little fishing village so I visualised old salts sitting beside the water mending but not one to be seen. Selce was more of a beach resort holiday town, for local Croatians.

This morning we travelled along the coast WOW! It was like riding along the great ocean road .....on seroids, unbelievable. Such spectacular scenery.

We arrived at Trogir at 3pm which gave us time to have a good look around. Trogir is a medieval town. We're actually staying right in the heart of the old town, the hotel is lovely and the rooms are truely beautiful.

So tomorrow Dubrovnik yeah yeah!

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Cath 3 Sep 2013
OMG! Slovenia

So much has happened since I last blogged. we left Venice and headed for
Slovenia to pick up our bikes in Ljubljana OMG! what an amazing place soooooo
beautiful! We went into the old part of the city it is just amazing, definitely
a place I need to come back to for about a week. the slovians are the
friendliest people I think I've ever met. And how good is this, set price
anywhere in Ljubljana in a cab for 5 euro.

The boys picked up the bikes, that took a while ,but alls good the bikes
are great Matej keeps the bikes in excellent condition, not like the last
time........But then again it might  be
that this time there's no Ducatis. The only problem being Kaylene couldn't
reach the foot pegs but with a little help from the owner of the Hotel and a
couple of blocks of wood , a little duck tape......you get the picture.

This morning we headed for Lake Bled.....OMG!!!!!! what a beautiful place,
again could easily stay a week here. We arrived early as it was only 60kms from
Ljubljana. We couldn't check in as it was too early so we walked around the
lake. Ross said it would take about an hour...he had that wrong! 4 hours later
we got home. though we did a detor up to the castle, yes it was pretty much
straight up. My legs are pretty tired. We then rode out  to Lake Bohinj. OMG! What an absolute treat
Beautiful like Lake Bled only less touristy.

 

 

We rode to the the end of the Valley where there is a waterfall, and yes we
again climbed another mountain, I'll be lucky if I can walk tomorrow. But it
was worth it . the trip was absolutely breathtaking meandering up through the
tiny Austrian type villages.......I've really got to come back here.    I've got a feeling there's going to be lots
of places that are too good to not repeat.

Slovenia is an absolute MUST SEE!

Tomorrow Croatia whoo hoo! Can hardly wait.

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Cath 1 Sep 2013
Venice were here

Hi there ,Venice we arrived in obviously, the weather is very warm. we arrived last night andwent straight into town and had a look around, thinking we'd only stay a couple of hours  so we could have an early night. I got that wrong we ended coming home at 10.30......not bad when we had just gotten off a 24 hour flight. I had the first bad meal in Italy  I didnt think that was a possibility, a bad meal in Italy. You would have thought I would've gotten a hint when we had an Indian man running an Italian resturant! Indians cook excellent Indian not so good Italian.

Today we went out to Marano then onto Barano(is  hat an echo I here!) had an excellent day food was great (thats very important) We stopped at Ponte Rialto for a grande birra or two. Love Italy, Gotta love Venice! Tomorfrow we go to Slovenia sounds excellent doesnt it, cant wait.

Had the best day things look like its going to be a fun trip, I will keep you posted

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Cath 28 Aug 2013
I'm Leaving on a Jet Plane!

Hey there all, yes thats right we're leaving on a jet plane tomorrow. All our bags are packed and we're ready to go.........sounds like that should be a song.

So off we go again for a busy time of product testing....we really do take our job seriously. We may enjoy ourselves on the way too. So I've been having a bit of a play as I've been packing my bag, and I've found these amazing packing cells from Sea to Summit. I've got all my shirts in one , all my pants in another and all my undies in another......you get the picture. Actually if I can work out how to insert it I will put in a picture.....(I'm such a dinosour when it comes to technology!) Oh did I mention I dont have spell check I'll have to fix that.

This is just for a practice so I'll see you on the other side.....of the world, next stop Venice.

So Ciao for now

Cath

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Tony Ryder 21 Aug 2013
Day of our trip

This is one adventure that you will not forget.

First things first time to grab your gear

So much to chose from

Important to get the right gear for the right job....Just ask the product tester

 

 

 

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