Don’t I just love Italian design? I thought they were meant to be the world leaders in design. From our experience I think not. A toilet roll holder that can’t hold a full toilet roll; a toilet designed by toilet brush salesmen; cups that big you can wash your feet in; roads and roundabouts so confusing it gives you a headache comprehending them.
Wednesday – hot and sunny
Drove up to Pisa. Well you have to go and see it. But as our son said it’s a one tower, and of course a Duomo, town. If it hadn’t been for a relaxing coffee I think we’d have left in 30 minutes.
From a EU obsessed with Health and Safety I’m gob smacked that there aren’t barriers around the leaning side in case it falls down.
Have to say though free parking, even if there were no signs indicating a car park, and good 1 Euro bus service – we walked – does make it one of the most tourist friendly and accessible towns.
Driving out of Pisa and some Italian exhaust bandit finally manages to get up my exhaust pipe as she rams into me as we’re setting off from a junction. Fortunately and amazingly, there seems no apparent external damage. Bumper seems to have done it’s job without disintegrating or even cracking. Insist on her insurance detail just in case and photograph everything including FEMALE driver. Whiplash, whiplash, whiplash goes the cry – worth at least £3,000 each.
Then we’re off to Lucca. Told this is a not a place to miss. Pass on the suggestion of cycling around the very formidable town wall – it’s 90F. Stop for lunch which consists of ice creams, it’s so hot. Then we saunter through town, slithering from one patch of shade to the next, like a pair of vampires trying to avoid any direct sunlight.
It has a church, plaza and amphitheatre thingy with street cafes around it. Not all that impressed. It came highly recommended by another of those “Italy’s oh so wonderful”, get up your nose snobby aficionados.
Lucca old amphitheatre
After a busy days driving sat enjoying the benefits of a few quality Reinheitsgebots in the shade on our patio.
Met a group of 9 Brits who were on a cruise. Interesting they all in favour of BREXIT but sadly were that thick they’d assumed they’d got an internet vote. No real idea how they were going to do this internet vote. 9 BREXIT votes lost through stupidity.
Thursday – hot and sunny
Wendy with yet another ice cream.
Oh it ain’t half hot so we have a lazy day around and in the pool.
Put out to pasture each day and kids come and bring them in at night – joy.
Brief trip out to a local supermarket. Just like France no concept of customer service, too busy chatting to their buddies, probably about how good sex was last night.
Germans give us better EU terms.
If you stay in the EU…
* …Even we will acknowledge the Wembley goal!
* …We will stop making jokes about Prince Charles’s ears!
* …We will no longer use sunscreen at the beach – in solidarity with your sunburns!
* …We will do without our goalkeeper for the next round of penalties, for more excitement!
* …We will introduce tea breaks by the bucket!
* …We will voluntarily provide the bad guy for any James Bond movie!
* …We will immediately turns our clocks back one hour!
* …We will introduce an EU directive banning foam on beer!
A bit of cheese. Awesome smell.
* …We will reserve the hotel sunloungers for you with our towels in the morning!
* …Jogi Löw (manager of the German national football team) will guard your crown jewels!
* …We will all attend the Queen’s 100th birthday!
You’re sauntering around town in the sweltering heat and constantly pestered by black (statement of fact not racist) street sellers. You try to swat them away like a swarm of mosquitos, but to no avail. I wonder whether we can buy a repellent spray in the chemist.
Their marketing and sales techniques are abysmal.
Do I look like I need a fake Gucci handbag?
Why would I want a pair of sunglasses when I’m already wearing prescription sunglasses?
Here I am with 20lbs of Nikon camera breaking my back and they want to sell me a Smart phone selfie stick.
Friday – hot and sunny
San Gimignano – Wendy at the well.
Bit of a sleepless night as I follow the referendum results. BBC’s lack of a sensible prediction or swingometer is appalling. The graph / slider seems meaningless.
Get to about 02:00 and despite earlier polls it seems obvious to me that there is a groundswell in favour of BREXIT. Time for some more kip.
Wake up again around 04:00, don’t I just love my old mate insomnia, and finally seems the BBC has been brave enough to make a prediction. By 05:00 it’s looking good, so back to sleep.
By 08:00 it’s a done deal. It’s our 1776 moment and we managed it without Adams and Jefferson, certainly wouldn’t compare Farage, Boris and Gove to those intellectual giants. WE’VE ESCAPED THE EVIL UNION.
Wow the suns still risen; an asteroids not struck; there’s no plague of frogs; our little lizards are still eating flies and ants on the patio; no horsemen of the apocalypse have yet been seen; Internet connection is still crap.
Another gargoyle that would give an adult nightmares, never mind a kid.
Breakfast and off out for a 2nd attempt to visit San Gimignano, lovely hilltop town full of towers. Apparently some middle ages competition to see who could build the tallest. The Manhattan of Italy.
Good job we got here around 10:00 as the car parks are nearly full to gunnels, like Britain and it’s immigrants.
Now that’s a pizza.
It’s a lovely relaxing town, but oh so hot, so we’re dodging from shade to shade again. Coffee stop and then Wendy has an ice cream stop – the best she’s ever tasted. One of the nicest little towns we’ve visited. By 12:00 we’re exhausted with the heat and head for home.
Lazy afternoon around and in the pool. Wendy hides in the cool of the house.
Well the retribution, whining and nastiness has begun. All us BREXITers are a bunch of racist xenophobic idiots. Us oldies, who haven’t got long to live, had no right voting out when the vast majority of the youngsters wanted to remain. Buggered up their future! Yet they were that passionate about remaining only 25% of them could be bothered to come off their Smart phones to vote. Tough. Democracy in action.
Meanwhile the bruised remainders are signing a petition for another referendum. Let’s keep doing it until they grind us all down and they get the right result.
Back at the villa
In the evening our American neighbours come around and ask if we’d like to join them, help them finish of an excess of pizza. We pop round and have a pleasant time with them putting the World to rights; helping them understand the Evil Union from our perspective; discovering their perspective on Trump. Typical friendly Americans.
What is it with ties. Not one of the people on the EU Referendum programme knew how to tie a tie properly. They all had those sloppy, sloping knots.
Is it some upper class elite snobbery? It certainly makes them look like frayed bedraggled bachelors with no wife to dress them properly in the morning.
And finally my comment on all this acrimony that has now ensued following the referendum:
Our home for the next 10 days, just outside Siena.
A lazy day planned after our sightseeing and cultural excesses.
Lounge around the lovely garden and pool. But no day would be complete without a short trip to a supermarket for the things we couldn’t get yesterday.
Well at last I’m getting to try and hopefully master the Moka stove top espresso maker. It sure makes a powerful espresso, without the need for a £400 baristas special on your kitchen top, and only about £10. Certainly get a coffee that you could underseal your car with, takes your head off, however, still haven’t cracked getting the perfect crema. I notice that it delivers a great cream in the Moka pot but when you pour it you loose it.
Earn big money by displaying a “How’s My Driving” on your car, along with an 0906 number (£1.50 per minute) from BT. Then drive around town like a complete arsehole. Here in Italy everyone would be a millionaire and it’s solve their National debt crisis.
Saturday – hot and sunny
Lazy morning and then we drive into Siena for a bit of sightseeing and culture.
Park at the station car park and all you morons at Blackburn council take note – parking is free. There’s an amazing 10 escalators to take you up to the shopping precinct and then to the old town which is on a hilltop.
2nd patio in case we get bored with first.
The main feature seems to be more churches, than sex slaves on sale in a typical ISIS market, and a rather grand central square. They have a horse race around the square. We were going to sit and have a leisurely lunch here overlooking the square but all the restaurants charge a cover charge. We object to paying about €5 just to sit at a table and then pay exorbitant prices and a 12% service charge, so we settle for one of the many restaurants on the side streets.
Pass on any museum or church tours. Like typical philistines once you’ve seen the innards of one church you’ve seen them all and it rather disgust me to see the sheer opulence of these places. Just imagine if all this money invested in churches had been put to good use for society over the centuries how much better off we’d all be.
Nearly get mowed down as we forget that zebra crossings over here are no more than paint on the road and have no meaning whatsoever.
At last we encounter a decent supermarket, but alas still no baked beans, but all is not lost as they do sell Original Hofbrau.
Driving in Italy is a nightmare. Give me America, Germany with them screaming down the autobahn at 150mph or even France. The side roads have more snakes and turns than you average snakes and ladders game; there’s zero respect for the speed limit; they all want to peer up my exhaust pipe as there understanding of safe stopping distance is measured in centimetres not metres.
Down one of the ten escalators.
Well I have to eat my words. I’ve always been a bit disparaging about Italian beer, worshipping the Reinheitsgrebot and the German Brewmeisters, but I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised at this Moratti I’ve just downed (after 17:00 I might add), a tad sweet but very palatable. But there’s some Pauline’s and Hofbrau awaiting in the fridge.
Siena main square. No horse race today.
What is it with foreign country imports of German beer. There’s a fantastic selection of solid quality beers yet go in an American, British or Italian supermarket and its packed to the gunnels with wheatbeers, dunkels, doppels, triple bocks, schwarzbeer and every perverted brew you can think of. Do the Germans just keep the good stuff for themselves and dump these exotic fashion beers on the rest of the World?
I got to thinking about the certainty of the EU army. Dodgy Dave ranted about the risk of World War 3 if we leave, but just think of the Evil Unions 5 power-crazed presidents podgy little fingers hovering over the nuclear button. Having these meddling megalomaniacs controlling a nuclear arsenal and army represents a bigger threat of WW3.
At least if we BREXIT then there’s a fighting chance it will be the beginning of the end of this Evil Union.
LET’S GET OUT.
Sunday – hot and sunny
Well we’re off to San Giginano, a hilltop town about an hour away. Roof down it’s a pleasant, but slow drive. Most roads around here seem content with 30MPH, with an occasional heart stopping and wind swept hair of 37.5 MPH.
Arrive and it’s heaving, all the car parks are full. Drive around for about half an hour including a dirt track that my satnav seemed to think was appropriate to drive me to distraction but all to no avail.
San somewhere or other.
Plan B – drive home and call in at a much smaller hilltop town – Monteriggioni. Whatever happened to sensible, pronounceable English name like Luton, Preston and even Blackburn. Stop for lunch for Frau Edwards and coffee for me. Menu and food looks so much more interesting than the boring repetition of Venice.
Well our villa here is lovely. Typical Tuscan villa both inside and out. Fairly well kitted out, including a Moka Espresso maker. However, you do have to wonder about the crockery. Cups, with no saucers, that are big enough to wash your feet in. Cereal bowls like flat plates and no beer glasses.
As usual, wherever I go, the internets like an ISIS executioners arm, up and down, but we get by. Watching a mixture of yet more EU debates and The Americans on Netflix.
Don’t get me wrong it’s a real tragedy about the useless slaughter of Joe Cox. But come on ceasing campaigning and the debates for 5 days, in the so called most important decision we’ll have to take, is just over the top. Are they all trying to outdo one another in how pious their campaigns are?
I’d have settled with a day of total abstinence and a commitment from both sides not to use this tragedy to their advantage or part of their campaign. Surely that would be respect enough.
How to drive an Italian mad? Drive at the speed limit. It sends them up your exhaust pipe with frustration.
Monday – hot and sunny
Lunch in Florence
Well it’s another day of culture as we set off to explore Florence, all part of our Grand European Tour.
Road from Siena to Florence is a dual carriage, pot holed ridden nightmare. Plenty of road works with 24MPH sections and a terrify top speed of 56MPH. I can assure you with this number of pot holes, 56MPH is pretty daunting, we really should have bought Wendy’s SUV.
Florence centre is mainly closed off to traffic, thankfully. Manage to get to my chosen car park with no problem but driving into the bowels of the earth it seems that the Italians have decide it’s better to drive on the British side of the road, not that they can be bothered with a sign to let you know their change of heart. Anyway arrive with no incident thankfully.
Florence is pretty crowded with the tourist hordes but quite a relaxing city to wander around. Still suffering from our cultural overdose we’ve really done very little planning other than identifying a car park and aiming for the Duomo on foot.
First glimpses of the Duomo are awe inspiring. It’s most impressive from the outside and no doubt equally so from the inside but e’ve had enough of churches for this year and the long queues mean we don’t bother.
Wendy admiring one of the many statues.
We do have lunch though overlooking the Duomo. It’s the awesome MELANZANE ALLA PARMIGIANA again.
DOn’t ask me why they have this amidst all this old stuff?
Then after a relaxing lunch we wander around Florence. No real idea of the history or culture just soaking up the atmosphere. Get to see a statue of my good old hero Machiavelli. Take some pictures, especially of the naked geezer, which from the appropriate angle looks like he’s got a big rod for his knob.
Invest in a Moka coffee espresso machine for home.
Wendy in front of famous old bridge.
Really relaxing and enjoyable but I don’t see us coming back for another day this trip. It really seems to be one of those cities that people get up themselves about. “Oh darling’s you just have to see Florence, it’s the quintessential Italy so cultured”.
Wendy in front of not so famous a bridge in Florence.
Hmm don’t think anyone thought of it from this angle.
My hero. Wrote “The Prince” in 1516 same year as the Reinheitsgebot.
Take a stroll into Padua to explore. Not the most elegant of cities but it does have some impressive buildings, mind you it’s started to rain so that doesn’t help.
They may not know a lot about beer so no sin today. But they sure know about coffee. Stop at the famous cafe Pedrocchi. The green and chocolate lava on top of my caffee Pedrocchi is awesome and Frau Edwards has had her best cup of tea this side of the EU.
Finally find a decent restaurant for lunch. Yes, it’s lunch today as we’re not eating in the hotel again and most restaurants don’t open until 19:30, when we’re just getting ready for bed.
I have veal livers with polenta, they’re awesome and just mealt in your mouth. Very filling struggle to finish it. Frau Edwards has a unique tasting Lasgne.
Don’t we just love the hotel barman, all the charm and personality of a desiccated mushroom. Who employed him? Hannibal Lecter in his mask would present a more cheerful disposition. I suppose not speaking any Italian doesn’t help but do they not realise that we have a world of languages to choose from. We really can’t speak them all. Simple, they – Johnny Eu Foreigner – should be forced by the Eureaucrats to learn English.
I’ve cracked this Italien food thingy, just smoother everything in olive oil, and they smile and think you a local.
Wot no Tuti Fruiti on TV, no wonder the Italian economy is nearly as insolvent as Greece? Watch this space ready for the next bailout
For anyone not sure of the issues in the EU referendum! this is a really good analogy of how the EU works.
Hotel Montecarlo in Venice.
A son goes to his Dad having saved up some money from his weekend job.
Son “ Dad I’ve saved up £350 pounds to buy the new laptop I need for my college course”
Dad “Well done son, give the money to me and I’ll help you”
Son “Ok now what?”
Dad “I will allow you £185 pounds back less my handling fee of £5 so £180 which you may only spend on a new phone”
Son “But I need a laptop!”
Dad “No, we’ve decided you can only buy a phone and you may only buy a phone from Germany and it must be pink. You must also source the phone within 2 days otherwise I will not release the money”
Son “But it’s my money!”
Dad “I’m afraid you are a member of this family and you must contribute to everyone else’s needs. I will decide how the money is spent”
Our Venice Hotel.
Son “So what happens to the £165?”
Dad “Well your sister needs a new dress”
Son “She has already had many new dresses”
Dad “We’ve put it to the vote and I’m afraid you’re outvoted”
Son “But I need a laptop to continue my course!”
Dad “My decision is final”
Son “But that’s not fair, will I ever have a say in how my money is spent”
Dad “No, and by the way we’ve got a couple more people moving into your room and you’ll have to pay for their keep”
Son “Well I’m leaving then”
Dad “Don’t be like that lad, we need your money. And if you leave you won’t be able to buy a pink phone from Germany you’ll have to buy one here instead”
Son “I NEED A LAPTOP!”
Milo versus Mohammad:
Monday – hot and sunny
Dinner in Venice.
Trip Advisor Review of Hotel Galileo Padua – 4 Stars.
Venice St Marks square
Hotel was bright and cheerful with handy underground car park, where our excellent and helpful receptionist said we could leave the car whilst we visit Venice. Unfortunately the hotels about a mile outside the town Centre, but it’s a pleasant walk.
Room was modern, clean, comfortable and all round good. Although there were no tea making facilities, essential for us Brits, they soon bough one up,when asked. Sadly the bed would probably best be described as firm. It’d probably escaped from a German prison, like sleeping on a concrete floor.
Breakfast was mediocre, mainly spoilt by the same stale bread and rolls they foisted on us in the restaurant.
After another mediocre breakfast we set off like a couple of decrepit backpackers. All our essentials for the next 3 nights crammed and rolled into our haversacks. This is minimalist. Wendy forgoes her multitude of lotions and potions, and hair dryers, straighteners and thingies. I even leave my MacBook. Car and none essentials are left in Padua hotel.
Long life sandwiches for sale on the train platform. It’s 13th June and sandwiches in the machine have a best before date of 12 July. You may well wonder what they’re made of but they’re bread and meat. I don’t believe it. They’ll probably walk out of the machine well before then.
Catch the train to Venice, just under 30 minutes and about €4 each.
Arrive in Venice in glorious sunshine. What a spectacular first impression as we walk out the station.
Then it’s a 1 mile walk through the back alleys and bridges to our hotel. Hotels very comfortable and only 100 yards from St Marks square. Rooms are ver chintzy and regal, not really our style but clean, roomy and well fitted out.
Have a stroll around and some lunch with a sinful Paulaner for me.
First impressions are vibrant, decaying, scruffy back streets, a lot of it well past its demolish by date, and spoilt by too many tourists. It’s heaving, we really do spoil it. But then you see the grand canal and St Marks square and are awestruck by the magnificent architecture.
After 6 miles, and more bridges than hangers onto the Evil Union gravy train, we go back for a rest before heading out for tea.
After having some awesome Italian food in Australia by our friend Peter I just have to eat MELANZANE ALLA PARMIGIANA again. We scour the 1,000’s of restaurants and amazingly the one next to our hotel does it. Go in but no one there, so we vote with our feet. Never mind one round the corner has cannelloni on the menu board, order some drinks and Cannelloni. “Oh I’m sorry sir but we don’t have that”. “But it’s on your menu black board”. “Yes, I know but that’s out of date”. “Well why don’t you update the board”? We walk out in disgust. Finally find a place that does MELANZANE ALLA PARMIGIANA as a starter. Check that it’s on today. Great starter, but nowhere near as good as Peters. Sadly I resort to a pizza, it’s fine, but really must be more adventurous.
Back to hotel and watch the Apple update. Sadly no hardware announcements. I “want” a new MacBook.
Tuesday – rain then hot and sunny
I’m up at the crack o sparrows and join the street sweepers for a pleasant stroll around an unspoilt Venice. Definitely the best time of the day. You can actually photograph places without the selfie stick hoards getting underfoot.
Breakfast is good. Plenty of choice, even strawberries and champagne. I’ll save that retirement sin for tomorrow.
Venice early morning – civilised.
We’re off on a cultural trip, Dogs Palace and the Basic Church. Sadly it’s raining and St Marks square, where we have to meet, is a nightmare of bodies and umbrellas. Fortunately I’ve got two eyes so to all the idiots who still had their umbrellas, up even when under cover, in an attempt to blind me, tough I managed to survive. Just.
Pick up our tickets and audio gizmo so that we can here the guide. Very knowledgeable but she had no red flag to follow, we kept loosing her. She kept asking inane questions like “are we all here”. Not that she’d bothered to count us.
Just 5 minutes into the tour and sure enough some feeble minded and weak bladdered adult women wanted potty.
By the end of the 90 minute palace tour we’ve had enough culture to last a year.
Venice early morning.
But hey ho there’s more culture to come as we troop into the Basic San Marco church. What a mistake this was. By now we’re both suffering from anaphylactic culture shock and in need of some intravenous caffeine. Strikes me Starbucks and MacDonalds are missing a real opportunity in this church, a coffee shop with free wifi would go down a treat and drag the church into the 21st century.
Finally escape the clutches of our not so organised guide and head for a well deserved coffee and lunch. Yet another 3rd world toilet, this time not just a hole in the ground, but the added advantage of a door with no lock. When opened it will knock you off your feet. Just what you need when you’re draining the snake or having a crouch. And they want us to remain in the EU when they can’t even ban 3rd world toilets.
I suggest a gondola ride. It’s something you have to do, when Frau Edwards learns the price she baulks at it and does a hasty conversion as to how many hand bags she could buy with that. We pass and instead have a 5 mile hike around Venice.
Venice early morning.
Wendy’s, typical Brit abroad statement, “why do they misspell Venice”?
Greed and stupidity are common bedfellows, nowhere more so than here in St Marks square, famous for it’s overpriced coffee. It’s actually only €1.50 for a coffee to go, but you want to sit down then it’s €6.00. Now any manager with any sense would look around and see that less than 10% of the chairs are occupied yet the whole of Europe is milling around in the square, not even standing room. Does that not tell them that stupidity has taken over from rampant greed. Reduce your price a tad and you’ll get more punters.
They, the government, lied to us before the last referendum in 1975, and now a different gang of lying clowns are lying to us yet again in oh so many ways.
I defy you to watch this and not vote BREXIT, it’s really disturbing – especially when you discover the Evil Union banned us lowering tax on beer, how dare they.
It’s not just about now, but our children and grand children’s freedom and future.
Islam a peaceful religion! More lies and balderdash from David Cameron and the rest of these progressive do gooders who fail to face up to the truth.
Wednesday – hot and sunny
Our Gondola ride.
Champagne for breakfast, now that’s decadent.
Our gondola on the grand canal
Took the FREE hotel trip to see the glass factory at Murano. There and back by private water taxi, a great experience. Very pleasant and lovely expensive glass ware if you’re into that sort of thing.
Bridge of Sighs from the gondola.
Back in Venice we succumb to a Gondola ride. We pass on the €2, 2 minute ferry option, and go for the full Monty even under the bridge of Sighs – very romantic. What a superb way to fritter away your kids inheritance. I think we’ll have one on standby 24 * 7 just in case Frau Edwards needs to nip to Aldi or buy another new handbag. Expensive but I’m the one who said we should do it and dam the rip off.
Then it’s a spot of fodder for her in doors and a sinful beer for me before we buy a 24 hour valporetta ticket and take the long cruise all around the island and over to Lido, then a trip down the Grand Canal and back. Great way to see Venice but by the end of it Wendy’s lost the will to live.
Thursday – hot and sunny
Venice bridge of Sighs
Trip Advisor Review Hotel Monte Carlo – 5 Stars
Great location, just a 100 yards from St Marc’s Square.
Quality Best Western hotel, they’ve certainly gone up yet another notch in my estimation and we’ll be using them more in the future. All staff were friendly and very helpful. Arrived early, no problem. Can we have a double bed room rather than a twin, no problem. Can you change this room to a 1st floor room, no problem.
A 15th Century Venetian suggestion box.
Room was spacious, clean and well kitted out with quality fittings, including tea and coffee making facilities. Furniture and style was very regal and chintzy, very much in keeping with the Venice experience, but not really our taste.
Breakfast was great. Good choice of quality hot and cold food.
Wifi is excellent, just a shame it needs the password palaver, but more understandable in the close confines of Venice.
St Marks square
Even managed to save €200 on a 3 night stay by booking on booking.com rather than direct with Best Western. Pity their web site doesn’t treat customers with the respect their hotel staff do, but €200 is better in my pocket to pay for the excesses of Venice.
Highly recommend this hotel.
After another great breakfast we catch the valporetta to the station for the train back to Padua.
Well we’ve enjoyed Venice. It lived up to my expectations – spoilt by hoards of tourists. Selfie sticks of the vain and eye gouging umbrellas just add to its charm. It’s one of those places you’re glad you’ve been there and done it, but wouldn’t ever want to come back again. We both agreed, even if we called in on a cruise I think we’d be tempted to give it a miss and stay on board all day.
View from a gondola
Get back to our Padua hotel and pick the car up from the secure underground garage, so much better than taking the car to Venice and parking up. All credit to Hotel Galileo, it was ok with them and free. Best Western go up again in my estimation.
Then it’s a 3 hour drive to our VRBO home for the next 10 days, just outside Siena. As per their photos it’s lovely. After all our travels it will be a well deserved rest.
When we arrive I carefully inspect my exhaust pipe. I’m sure there must be something of interest up it. All these Italian drivers are a load of screaming exhaust bandits, as they hurtle down, and then seem determined to crawl up my exhaust pipe like a boll weevil trying to lay its eggs in a cotton boll.
Sadly it’s then a trip to the local supermarket for supplies. I soon loose the will to live once I’ve chose my coffee, beer, wine and breakfast cereal. Amazing how different the goods are in different countries. Gladly outside our everyday sphere of comfort and one of the joys of travel is to adopt a “when in Rome approach”, even if it does take us 5 minutes to figure out which milk is whole and which is Frau Edwards white water. Strange though not a tin of baked beans in site but walnuts, dates and more aubergines than muslims at a stoning.
Now ISIS, from the religion of pieces and of permanent offence, is selling sex slaves online. But talk about buying a pig in a poke, instead it’s a sex slave in a burka. What a shock when you’ve paid your shekels or camels, lift the veil and find she’s a poster girl for the a celibacy campaign.
The usual lazy start to the day with breakfast, coffee and newspapers. Our new home for 4 days is a lovely 2 bedroom VRBO. All very comfortable, modern, clean (no ants so far) and well equipped – see pictures.
Then we take a leisurely stroll down the river into Heidelberg. Wander dow the Haupstrasse to the main square with the obligatory Rathaus and church. Stop to rest our weary legs, having strolled all of a mile, for an all important coffee. Place is teaming with Japanese cameras strung around Japanese, or could be Chinese, necks. A more disconcerting trend these days is for those vanity sticks – the selfie stick. You have to be under 30 to buy one, but it seems the whole of the younger generation is inflicted with a dweebie narcissistic complex. Bad enough they wander around talking into their Smartarse phones but now they’re walking around video their every movement. By the end of the day they must spend hours sorting through their “treasured” moments. I wonder how they cope with going to the toilet? Can they bear to miss recording those few precious moments?
Continue our stroll down the high street to the new town. Wendy’s on a mission to get a small rucksack to replace the need to carry one of the 401 handbags she has. We visit every handbag and out door shop in town. Some of them twice over for good measure. Finally find a black leather one that can just about cope with carrying an iPhone and one credit card. Fortunately there is a defibrillator in store to help my credit card and me recover.
Then we stroll back down the main street to make sure we’ve not missed any shops. Have to liven our pace to get to the Lowenbrau pub as a thunder storm passes. Not quite up to running yet, but a skimpy thin white dress with a black thong beneath, keeps me moving at a rapid pace as I keep up and can’t help but see the wet teeshirt effect reveal more and more. Good quality street entertainment, none of your boring black bin liners. Thank the FSM for a liberated society.
Somewhat wet and bedraggled we stop for a leisurely lunch. Apfel Strudel for Frau Edwards and a Lowenbrau for me. Yes I know it’s a sin. Yes I know it breaks the 2nd law of retirement – no drinking before 17:00. But I’m not driving today and it would have been a sin to pass up on a golden opportunity for one of my Reinheiatsgebot favourites.
Heidelbergs a lovely old town. Clean and pleasant to just stroll around, you feel safe. Infestered with us dam tourists. Quite a few inverted black bin liners shuffling around with all the accoutrements of modern living such as iPhones, flashy handbags, jewellery, trendy shoes and the wow the occasional glimpse of an ankle. Not quite up to Blackburn standards, yet. Also quite a few street beggars.
What a joke these Harem pants for eunochs are
Qur’an Gangbang episode 4: Islamic Street Preachers
Here we go again, you cannot jail illegal immigrants, court says.
Our VRBO home for the next 4 days
The judgment is seen as a blow to attempts by British, Dutch and French police to deter migrants and people smugglers at the Channel Tunnel. Last year the EU’s Frontex border agency reported that the number of people aiming to get to the UK with fraudulent documents increased by more than 70 per cent compared with 2014. “This case underlines the serious weakness of the returns system in the EU,” said Alp Mehmet, of Migration Watch UK. “This can only add to the problems that we face in Calais and elsewhere. The judgment seems to be paying scant attention to what is happening in the real world and how we should deal with today’s rapidly changing circumstances.”
Dominic Raab, the Tory MP and Vote Leave campaigner, said that the rulings illustrated the “loss of proper democratic control” to EU judges “over a sensitive area of policy”.
Well it’s a choice today between a 90 minute drive up to Frankfurt or a 30 minute drive up to Mannheim. We decide on exploring Mannheim. Frankfurt sounds to big.
We avoid the Autobahns in an attempt to see more of Germany and less of my rear view mirror. Frau Edwards get excited when we come across a Lidl. We have to stop and explore. Consensus of opinion from my merchandising consultant is that Lidl is far superior to Aldi, unlike in England where it is vice versa.
Drive into he centre of Mannheim. It’s like driving through a never ending rabbit hole with Donner Kebab joints on either side. Mannheim doesn’t impress, a modern’ish town infestered with guest arbiters, we keep on driving and give it a miss. Thankfully we didn’t do the two hour each way boat tour to Mannheim.
Stop off in Heidelberg new town and have a wander around.
Stroll in Heidelberg
Then back down the high street to the old town for lunch, alas no Lowenbrau today. We’ve no merchandising mission today other than Frau Edwards wanting a piece of quiche she saw in a deli at the far end of town. Oh well all good exercise.
Has anyone noticed that all German car parks seem to be designed to wreck your alloy wheels, twists and turns down curb lined isles that you’ve no chance of negotiating without hitting them.
Look what I got.
A Lowenbrau sin
Brexit will help us create jobs, say 300 top business chiefs: Leaders say Brussels red tape ‘stifles every one of the UK’s 5.4million companies’
* British exports value to EU has plummeted by a fifth over the past decade
* Leave campaigners said the figures proved the ‘failure’ of the single market
* Remain camp insists access to trading bloc was vital to economic success
Well today we set off to explore the castle. Alas found it a nightmare to park and Frau Edwards was concerned that there were too many steps for her dodgy knee. Abandoned that idea and drove up to the top of the mountain for morning coffee.
Plan 2 was to walk across the famous bridge and into Heidelberg for lunch. Again abandoned due to parking problems. Whatever happened to the joys of motoring. These days it’s just a nightmare trying to park. Now if we had our bikes then there’d be no problem with great cycling facilities around the town. But like cyclists the World over they seem to feel that traffic lights don’t apply to them. Then there’s the problem of them sneaking up behind you, no bell, just suddenly sweep past. One step out of line and you’re pavement pate. But I’ve one of two solutions:
1 The humane and romantic option – walk down the pavement holding hands with Frau Edwards, spread out across the whole pavement. Then they have to use their bell.
2 The permanent fix option – as you see their shadow sweeping up then execute a sharp right hand signal with your hand flat out, karate style, and let it make contact with the oncoming larynx. Oh so sorry we didn’t see you. They’ll never do it again.
Heidelberg famous old bridge
What is it with this obsession that some so called men have with Harem Trousers. Are there that many eunuchs in Germany? I suppose it’s a marginal improvement on wandering around with your trousers around your knees showing off your gaudy skid stained underwear, but thankfully our kids have passed on these fashions.
Home for lunch.
Then walk into town for a chance to walk across the famous old Heidelberg Bridge.
Heidelberg famous old bridge – no cars
Another stroll around town and stop for a Paulaner – one of Germanys finest beers. Yes, forgive me FSM for I have sinned yet again. Drinking before 17:00 but it would have been a sin to pass up on such a fine beer.
At last a Babel Fish, automatic translation, without having to stuff a wriggling fish in my ear. Why bother to learn a language, apart from keeping Alzheimers at bay, when you have awesome technology like the Google translate app. Type, speak or even photograph text with your camera and hey presto instant translation. How awesome is that almost makes up for all the crap IT we suffer.
A Paulaner moment
Pat Condell: Islamic Invasion Of Europe Will FAIL
Comments from Peaceful Muslims
If you’re a REMAINDER or don’t know for heavens sake please, please, please watch this “BREXIT The Movie”:
Friday – hot and sunny
Up early and say good bye to Heidelberg and we’re off down to Innsbruck.
Well crap a dead cat I’ve just discovered we need one of these vignette thingies to drive on Austrian motorways. So much for the EU, a €8.80 rip off. Hopefully we charge Austrians £17.60 to drive on our roads. Makes sense to me but I won’t be holding my breath.
It’s a 5 hour drive through the Fern Pass. Get the roof down and enjoy the drive. Beautiful scenery and gorgeous weather but not the fastest of roads, despite my €8.80 investment.
Arrive at our Ibis hotel smack in the centre of Innsbruck. Have a pleasant wander around the old town. Very picturesque with some awesome buildings.
Stop for a well deserved coffee and Darjeeling for Frau Edwards. But what does Johnny Foreigner know about making tea, served with cream as usual, Frau Edwards is tut tuting again.
Have dinner in a typical street cafe in the old town. The weather is awesome and we’re adapting well to this European street cafe culture.
What a tasty bit of crackling. No I’m not talking about the young waitress in leder hosen, I’m talking about real crackling on my pork, with pretzel dumplings and sauerkraut. It must be the last century since I had crackling. Whatever happened to it? Is it more EU nonsense? Or is it Islam? Proper Austrian food, but alas no kaiserschmarren or germknodel, so we’re off in search of it and another excellent beer.
Have yet another beer at another street cafe and do a bit of people watching. It’s a perfect spot for capturing the narcissists with their selfies, it’s like a magnet for them.
Well just getting into this German Sprachen after 50 years and tomorrow we say goodbye and hello Italy. Sadly I’ll be the typical Brit abroad, armed with my Google Translate and not speaking a word of Italian – what do you mean you don’t speak English. I’m confused enough with French and German.
Shuffle back to the hotel for Question Time and an early night.
Saturday – hot and sunny and a torrential downpour
Oh we must have been here before. The famous SPAR shop – perhaps our kids will remember it!
Trip Advisor Review – Our Ibis Innsbruck Hotel was good.
Handy underground car park which was ideal as the hotel was in the city centre. Great location for a walk around the old town.
Room was modern, clean, comfortable and all round ok. Sadly the bed would probably be described as firm. Typical German, like sleeping on a concrete floor. Wendy was disgusted that there were no drinks making facilities in the room or 24 hour tea and coffee in the lobby.
Wifi was a disgrace, with the usual password nonsense. Slower than a knackered donkey with two broken legs, but yet again you can pay extra for a faster response. Another money grabbing scheme. Fortunately you could use the electricity or taps without having to enter a password every time you used them or pay extra for a anything other than a dribble of water or a candle light from the light bulbs. Too kind. When will hotels get the message and treat wifi like an essential utility.
Breakfast was good and had an awesome waffle maker.
Last minute fridge magnet shopping in Innsbruck
Set off for our drive to Padua, Italy. Awesome scenery as we drive through the Brenner Pass. Pity about the downpour and having to pay for a toll road.
Arrive at out Padova Hotel after a 4 hour drive and have a lazy afternoon to recover. At least there’s tea and coffee making facilities. Search for somewhere to eat but none of the local restaurants open until 19:00, a tad late for us geriatrics. Decide to eat in the hotel.
After enduring 6 weeks at home, although I have to admit the weather has been pretty good, we finally reached escape velocity on our mission to be in the EU on UK INDEPENDENCE day 24th June and to witness the start of the collapse of the EU – ever the optimist. Bring it on. “Edwards Into Europe”, following in the footsteps of Henry Root of “Root into Europe” fame.
We’re all packed up with essential victuals to survive foreign gastronomy with baked beans; bananas, the curved variety, always a 5 star health rating item with their award winning tamper proof packaging; Starbucks coffee.
My wardrobes packed and ready. Expecting warm weather and needing to maintain a British standard for sartorial elegance, so 3 pairs of shorts; sandals; 7 pairs of black socks to grace the sandals with; 3 factor 50 knotted white hankies to keep the sun from bleaching my hair; oh and I nearly forgot a pair of black braces.
Meet our American home exchangers and do a hurried 1 hour orientation. It’s their first home exchange. Their eyes glaze over as we explain how various things like the alarm system work. When it come to our so called “SMART TV”, which requires a Phd in human computer interactions just to turn it on, we point them in the direction of the 2 inch thick manual and wish them well. No doubt by the end of their fortnight they’ll have managed to turn the sound up.
Don’t loose your head over the EU (Bonn).
Then it’s a 2 hour drive over to Hull. So much better than having to drive 7 hours to Portsmouth. Although we’re reminded in just under a hundred miles how many road works and traffic jams can be crammed into such a short distance if you really try. My votes been cast for BREXIT but if remaining in the EU could guarantee good roads and no traffic jams I’d almost, but not quite, be tempted to become a REMAINDER.
PO ferry from Hull is so much more civilised than Brittany Ferries. 5 minute queue to check in then you drive straight onto the ferry, no hanging around for hours.
Our cabins got bunk bed so by the time I’ve put on me crampons and ascended to the top bunk I’ve got a nose bleed. Time to change cabins. End up with twin bedded ocean views cabin – wot no balcony cabins. My god I do spoil her in doors, this is the first of 4 cruises this year.
Sit in the bar munching our butties. Ships full of geriatric hairy bikers. No doubt disembarking will be the usual cacophony of gunned engines to compensate for their minuscule penis’s as they rev up their phallic symbols to rupture the eardrums of everyone on the car deck. Joy!
Pat Condell: I Vote Against You
TOP economists and politicians today joined forces to blast the establishment’s “deceit” over what would happen to Britain’s economy outside of the European Union (EU).
The Treasury has been accused of Brexit deceit.
Backed by leading Leave campaigners Nigel Farage, David Davis and John Mills, the Economists for Brexit (EfB) said experts from the Treasury, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Bank of England have all forecast an economic doomsday if the UK leaves the EU by relying on flawed modelling.
Establishment critics have said Brexit would hit the economy in both the short and long term based on incorrect assumptions that trade would suffer and policymakers would be in a weakened position, according to the Economists for Brexit (EfB).
In fact, Brexit would be a move towards more free trade for UK exporters, which would boost competition and the economy, said Professor Patrick Minford who is part of the EfB.
Eurosceptic MP David Davis said the establishment is guilty of “group thinking” at today’s conference, which exposed the scare-mongering tactics to try to convince Britons to vote Remain.
Saturday – hot and sunny. With a monsoon of thunderstorms and some rain in the afternoon.
A proper German restaurant (Bonn)
Well here we are in the land of the EU puppet mistress, Mrs Merkel, envoys set to observe the daily habits of Johnny Foreigner in his own environment before the realisation dawns that this failed experiment, is about to collapse and there is a way out. Will there be crowds in the street celebrating BREXIT? I very much doubt it. Will they realise that this is the beginning of the end of the evil empire, not just for the UK, but for all the the citizens of Europe? Will they be glad to see the end of this failed dictatorship and relish the prospects of regaining their sovereignty and democracy? These are just some of the questions our mission will attempt to uncover.
After the vote we have 3 weeks to observe the start of the death throws of the evil empire as panic sets in, the rest of Europe wakes up and it starts to implodes in on it’s own power grabbing vanity. As we say goodbye to meters, welcome back feet and inches; goodbye to kilograms, welcome back to pounds and ounces; goodbye continental breakfast, welcome back a cholesterol special fry up.
Then on our last day we may pop in on one of the 5 megalomaniacal presidents of the evil empire, wish them well and with a smug face point them in the direction of the nearest dole office. As the gravy train hits the buffers.
Finally find our hotel in Bonn and within minutes my lucks in as this brazen young piece of eye candy asks me if I want to go with her, in front of Frau Edwards to boot. The hotels great. We have an apartment and of course there’s free wifi.
Pity about the weather as it keeps raining, but the intrepid envoys are not to be put off as we set off on foot towards the old town in the wrong direction. It really helps if you take the map with you.
Take 2, with the map, alongside a swollen Rhine towards the old town. Have a pleasant stroll in the rain around this lovely old town whose main claim to fame seems to be that Beethoven lived here and it used to be the capital of Germany. Boy it’s so close. Come across a Starbucks. Ah but they can’t accept a UK Starbucks app – and they think they’re a Worldwide brand! Then retire to an old pub for a few Kolsch beers and some tea (dinner to any Southern softies), typical German food. Awesome.
I’d forgot how good these brewmasters are. I don’t think I’ll be wasting any of my so called “daily units” on wine, when there’s all these tasty biers to be had.
For Frau Edwards there’s a Kartoffel Kloesse (Potato Dumplings) recipe to add to her repertoire.
Just holding my beer (Bingen)
Well what are our early impressions of Germany this time round. Doesn’t seem quite as swish as Holland when driving through. 200 miles and 3 hours to get to Bonn from Rotterdam. Sure there were a few road works but they didn’t cause any hold ups and not a single traffic jam the whole way. Driving on the autobahns is fast, lane discipline is good, your rear view mirrors your most precious piece of equipment and you need your wits about you.
Bonn’s a quaint old town, with a modern and swish new town, but with some beggars around and can’t help noticing a Muslim presence, although nowhere like Blackburn, not a black bin liner in site.
Amazing really you go to France and your lucky to get a toilet seat, more likely a hole in the ground, yet Germany and Holland has awesome and clean facilities.
George Carlin on Phone, blue tooth and answering machines:
Doesn’t it make you want to throw up? it’s like some dark comedy dreamed up by a psychopathic Machiavellian criminal mastermind. Yet it’s just the tip of the EU incompetent interfering iceberg.
How we lost the plot on immigration: As a one-legged Albanian drug dealing murderer gets citizenship, benefits and a home, two utterly decent and hardworking families face being expelled
* After eight years in Scotland the Zielsdorfs are being deported to Canada
* They have invested more than £200,000 in the rural community business
* Inverness based Brain family have been given a 60-day visa extension
* Murderer Saliman Barci is using human rights law to avoid being deported
Sunday – hot and sunny. With a monsoon of thunderstorms and some rain in the afternoon.
Relaxing in Ruddesheim
Trip Advisor Review – The ANTics in our Hotel.
Room was clean, comfortable and all round excellent, a full service apartment complete with sitting area, desk and kitchen. Bathroom even had one of those thingy’s for washing your feet in.
Wifi was excellent, but with the usual password nonsense. Fortunately you could use any of the electricity or taps without having to enter a password every time you used them.
Market square Ruddesheim
Location was fine. A half hour walk to the old town. Convenient underground car park.
Breakfast was one of the best ever, an amazing choice of items.
Only downside was the room had its own formicarium – ant farm. With ants in the kitchen that got into some of our essential survival rations and meant they were wasted – fortunately tins of baked beans and bananas survived. When we complained receptionist seemed clueless at handling a complaint. On paying the bill I asked what they were going to do about the ant situation. She offered me free parking. Wow I was bowled over with gratitude. Told her this wasn’t satisfactory, my wife had spent half an hour assassinating and burying the ants. As usual the receptionist was not empowered to deal with some compensation and had to spend 10 minutes on the phone getting authority to compensate. Eventually offered 26 euro discount, which we accepted as by now we’d lost the will to live, but the whole incident spoilt what was a 5 star stay
Had a pleasant drive down the Rhine gorge. It certainly is gorgeous. Stopped off for coffee at Koblenz and had a sunny stroll along the Rhine and Mosel and then around the old town. The place was teaming with tourists and 4 river cruises in town. But despite this wonderful opportunity for commerce it seems your German shopkeeper has been infected with the French disease of feckless laziness. All the shops were shut.
Drive down the rest of the Rhine gorge to Bingen. Sit at a level crossing for 20 minutes, along with a crowd and other cars, waiting for every train in Germany to trundle by. How very tolerant they all are. I’m ready to tie the stationmaster to the tracks.
Watch the Brussels Business – who runs the EU, on YouTube and find out how the European Round Table (ERT), of major industrialists, uses threats, blackmail and lobbying to manipulate the EU.
1. I’m not saying let’s go kill all the stupid people. I’m just saying let’s remove all the warning labels and let the problem work itself out.
2. I changed my car horn to gunshot sounds. People move out of the way much faster now.
3. You can tell a lot about a woman’s mood just by her hands. If they are holding a gun, she’s probably very unhappy.
4. You know that tingly little feeling you get when you really like someone you’ve just met? That’s common sense leaving your body.
5. I don’t like making plans for the day. Because then the word “premeditated” gets thrown around in the courtroom.
6. I didn’t make it to the gym today. That makes 1,500 days in a row.
7. I decided to change calling the bathroom the “John” and renamed it the “Jim”. I feel so much better saying I went to the Jim this morning.
8. Dear paranoid people who check behind shower curtains for murderers: If you find one, what’s your plan?
9. Everyone has a right to be stupid. Politicians just abuse the privilege.
Monday – hot and sunny. With a monsoon of thunderstorms and some rain in theafternoon.
Trip Advisor Review – Our 4 star Hotel was just ok.
Room was cramped but clean, comfortable and all round ok, complete with a balcony with an obstructed view of the Rhine and vineyards. Wendy was disgusted that there were no drinks making facilities in the room or 24 hour tea and coffee in the lobby.
Wifi was a disgrace, with the usual password nonsense. Slower than a knackered donkey with two broken legs, but you can pay extra for a faster response. Another money grabbing scheme. Fortunately you could use the electricity or taps without having to enter a password every time you used them or pay extra for a anything other than a dribble of water or a candle light from the light bulbs. Too kind. When will hotels get the message and treat wifi like an essential utility.
Breakfast was good, and a great location with views over the Rhine gorge and the vineyards.
All this way to Bingen Am Rhein and the Hotel has the aussergewohnlich audacity to serve Becks, have they no pride in their awesome range of beers in Germany – shameless. Looked at the menu, with a view to dinner in the restaurant overlooking the Rhine, but with a pathetic pricey menu that a 3 year old could have prepared we pass, bread and water would have been more enticing. You have to be joking.
I’d always made a point of staying in NH hotels in Amsterdam on business, and enjoyed them, but this place was a let down. Overall I would probably have given it a 3 star but the wifi was just the straw that broke the camels back so they get a punitive 1 star.
Never mind we found a restaurant that served some proper Reinheitsgebot and some traditional food. Mixed meat and cheese plate with bread and dripping – reminds me of the good old days when I was a lad, perhaps they’ll serve sugar butties for sweet or cornflakes in tea.
Set off down to Ruddesheim. We could have caught the car ferry across but decided to drive down to the bridge. Wow what a lovely little town it was. I so wished we had stayed there rather than Bingen. Lots of typical small hotels and eating places serving great beers. Very picturesque. Spent a good two hours wandering around. Stopped for coffee and asked for an Americana, instead they bring a Ruddesheim coffee which consists of coffee, a small bottle of Asbach brandy and a plate of whipped cream to go on top – gross. Rejected.
Our home for the next 4 days – Heidelberg
The Asbach brewery is just on the outskirts so we both get quite excited about a factory tour. Alas it’s Monday and the mighty German powerhouse has truly got the French lazy bug – closed Sundays AND Mondays. Never mind perhaps another time.
Drive down to Wiesbaden and stop for lunch and a couple of hours stroll around. A pleasant busy town. Starbucks are the usual disgrace in that they don’t accept their very own App for payment and wifi doesn’t work.
Drive down to Heidelberg to our VRBO home for the next 4 nights. All very clean and comfortable. Once we’re settled in, after nearly dying lugging a 20 stone suitcase up the stairs, we drive down to Aldi for some victuals. What a shock this German Aldi was. A brand new store but even I noticed it was not a patch of an English Aldi. No way would they be Which best UK supermarket if they were like this one and with such a limited range of foods. However they do have an awesome bread machine, up to 12 different choices of bread, press button and out pops a warms loaf or roll, but better still can you believe it Krombacher Pils just £0.80 for a 0.5 Litre, admittedly in a can which is a sin, but just another example of rip off Britain.
Good start to our stay as we watch yet another EU debate the wifi quits. Is it some sort of electric field I exude that always seems to result in Internet problems. Why is it so difficult to have quiet enjoyment of the Internet. If it’s not wifi, it’s BBC inlayer, if it’s not that it’s my VPN playing up, if it’s not that it yet another shoddy web page that was written by a pimply 12 year old who had no common sense and not a jot of interest in testing it. For gods sake when will this industry grow up and deliver a service. Finally wifi gets fixed and is back to 40Mbps. Let’s hope it stays like that.
Recently, Germany declared: “The European Army is our long term goal…..”, and of course we all know that Germany is the puppet master of the EU. For more details read: