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Travel: A weekend in Naples to start with...

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Naples has a reputation amongst many English speaking people as being dirty, seedy and sleazy. While it is dirty in parts - the city is changing thanks to a progressive new mayor who has made the city more pedestrian friendly and given this ancient city a new lease of life. With the airport less than twenty minutes from the city centre, it is an excellent weekend break, although one weekend will make you realise you have barely scratched the surface on what there is to offer...

Staying at Decumani Hotel de Charme, it was an excellent location off the Spaccanapoli to explore both the old and new parts of the town. The hotel staff were very helpful in suggesting places to eat. We headed to one of the best pizza places and had a traditional Napoli Pizza and Peroni. What sets a good pizza apart from the others is the base and the ingredients. This one the base was light and the ingredients were fresh. For €7 including beer it seemed awfully good value. After leaving your name at  the re…

Gargano: Fun among the Grottos

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The Gargano area in the Province of Foggia, which is part of the Apulia region in Italy is a mix of contrasts. With a series of seaside towns along the coast line, one of Europe's oldest forests and one of the oldest shrines of worship at Monte Gargano there is a lot to explore and some excellent food that is grown locally. A trip on an open top boat is an excellent way to appreciate the geography and contrasts of this ancient land, in particular the beautiful grottoes that are dotted along the coastline.

The tour starts out from the port at Rodi. There is a ticket office in one of the shops and you head to the end of the port to board the boats. The boat sets out from Rodi and and heads south along the coast past the seaside towns of San Menaio, Peschici and Vieste. Along the way you past several trabucchi, which are the old fishing platforms that were used to catch fish. These landmarks are now locally protected.

You also will see the old medieval watch towers that were used to …

Weekend in Nice - speedos and groovers

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There is nothing like summer in Nice for a bit of sun, speedos and swimming in clean blue waters. It isn't all beautiful bodies (they seem to be the ones that I have captured on camera) as the beaches are usually relaxed and friendly.

If you want to not stray too far from the old village the area near Plage Castel is the best for sight seeing and watching young men spend an awfully long time lathering on the suntan...



Or emerging from the water looking like some adonis... Although as this is a stone beach you need to be wearing snorkel shoes or swim shoes you can get at a sports store on the main square so you can perfect this look without looking like you're in agony...




Two gentlemen in Verona

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IMG_0734, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London. On route to the opera on a warm Saturday evening... So warm that people were passing out at regular intervals. I'm assuming it was the heat not the quality of the Zeffirelli production of Carmen...

Lake Garda

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IMG_0518, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London. After all that fresh air and walking in the mountains, it was good to chill out for a few days around Lake Garda at Limone and Riva.

The town of Riva was also an excellent place for catching the semi-finals. There were loads of Germans watching it and they reacted very well to not making it in the finals. It was very civilised...

Up to Col Rodella and Back

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IMG_0467, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London. Not content with one walk in the Dolomites, the following day we caught a lift from Campitello up to Col Rodella (in the top right), around those mountains (to the left) and back down. It was lovely and green and along the way there were cows, a marmot and a few gravel roads to slide along... While it could take up to four hours to walk it, we kept at a brisk pace and did it in three and a half hours, including stopping for half an hour at a refuge for a hot lunch...

Veneto and the Dolomites

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IMG_0313, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London. There is nothing like some fresh mountain air during a warm summer... After spending a few warm days in Venice, we headed for the mountains for a few days where these sort of views abounded... The Tre Cime di Lavaredo was a mostly safe walk with spectacular views. Only once did I feel impending death due to the instability of the ground and my ability to stay upright on it... Could be that clumsy gene I have...

Gothenburg Sunsets

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Gothenburg with its open spaces, parks, canals, harbour, trams and dramatic sunsets is a sensible way to spend a weekend. If it isn't up there in the liveability stakes it sure should be. Wandering the streets or sitting in the parks just seemed so calming... And curiously quiet for a city of around 500,000 people...

The locals look like they are straight from some catalogue for successful living... Well dressed, gorgeous and tanned. And oddly mostly hairless... Many made the advantage of the warm weather and endless sun by stripping down to the bare essentials and nobody was complaining... Of course this is a university town too so the fountain of youth was probably in greater abundance than normal...


The only drawback is flying Ryannair... Endless delays, dirty planes and irritating announcements every fifteen minutes flogging their dish of the day, (it was macaroni... there was no mention of cheese which made me wonder if you wanted it with that it would be a few extra pounds...…

Cannoli in Noto

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IMG_0103_2, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London. Shortly after this photo was taken, this cannoli was devoured...

Granita in Noto

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IMG_0051_2, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London. Pity about the 22.5% service charge... But it looked rather lovely

Scenes from Taormina Sicily

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Originally uploaded by Paul-in-London
The lady is smokin'...

Meat-o-rama

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Meat-o-rama, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London. No trip to Australia is complete without a barbecue with dead animal and sausages cooked on a giant grill outdoors in the fresh air and sun and humidity.... Even if the meat tastes better... (and this could be construed as heresy) in Europe... It might have something to do with the cattle being happier when they aren't in a drought... Still a fitting farewell to oz... Especially when the meat is medium-rare...

Scenes from Brisbane Real Estate Boards

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IMG_1428, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London. There is a trend in Brisbane to post pictures of estate agents on the billboards... They might do better business with paper bags on their heads but go on... Give Charmaine a call... She will give you a huge reduction apparently...

Love on a tree trunk...

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Love on a tree trunk..., originally uploaded by Paul-in-London. They have funny ideas about proposing marriage in Brisbane... Or at least they did five years ago...