Please comment and let me know what you think Sarah is saying to Bruce The Boxer?
I thought this might bring a bit of fun to the COVID-19 Lockdown! 😀
Please comment and let me know what you think Sarah is saying to Bruce The Boxer?
I thought this might bring a bit of fun to the COVID-19 Lockdown! 😀
As a “Blind Photographer” my sight is really blurry but i can just about frame a shot by the lines. I don’t often know what the lines of the objects are, lol. But it’s how i can get some good images now and then! 😀
As i could get my hands on this guitar….I knew exactly what the lines were! lol.
I thought this weeks Photo Challenge was an ideal opportunity to post a photo of my Taylor K22ce acoustic guitar, which is made from the exotic tropical wood Hawaiian Koa. I just love the lines of this beautiful wood and never get bored looking at them.
As ii’m registered blind, this weeks photo challenge “Focus” is very interesting as i don’t have any focus and need to use the camera’s autofocus!
I chose this photo as the lens was going crazy trying to focus on each of the birds, so in the end i pressed the shutter and got this shot! 🤣
While on holiday at the lighthouse Me, Sarah & Brother Ben took a day trip to Castle Rising castle. I gave Ben my big Nikon as Sarah & I were doing an audio described tour provided by the ticket office for £1. It was a fun tour as the audio description was dramatised!
I still managed to shoot the shots above with my little compact camera! 🤣
A few years ago for Sarah’s birthday present I booked a balloon flight as she has always wanted to go up in one. There were a lot of cancellations last minute due to poor weather but finally one weekend we got to go. The weather as you can see was not very clear, but it was amazing…..And great for “Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge”.
Today iReminisce about this photo i took shortly before Sarah & i travelled on the London Eye. It rained on both times we’d been on it, so i thought i’d add a dramatic black and white effect to the once colour photo! 🙂
Shortly after i’d made it black and white…..It was chosen as one of the photos to be exhibited in Florence, Italy which totally stunned me! And which sparked the amazing “Tuscany Tour”. If you’ve not joined Sarah & i on this amazing trip, we’d love to meet you there! 🙂
I stumbled across an old comment yesterday which i never even knew was there! 😦 Asking if Bruce(Bruce THE Boxer) was aloud to run free on Old Hunstanton Beach? I said yes of course as it took me back to this photo of Bruce running at his favourite place! Then all the memories started flooding back of all our happy times on this beach and staying at the Old Hunstanton Lighthouse for many years(coming soon). 🙂
More from iReminisce
Yay, i’ve decided to try out “Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge” which is a weekly challenge. I have a new zeal for Photography again since my iMac has been repaired and supercharged lol. So sorry if you see a lot more photos here! 🤣
This weeks challenge is the Letters Y or Z. I chose Y(Yellow) and found this Colorsplash image i created a few years ago and thought it would shine out! 🙂
Wow!!! I can’t believe it’s been 9 years since Me, Sarah & Bruce THE Boxer stayed in this log cabin for a week in Acle, Norfolk.
I remember Sarah had bought me the Baby Taylor acoustic guitar a few months earlier for Christmas. I was so happy i couldn’t put it down…..So it came with us! 🙂
It was a lovely relaxing holiday. I played guitar on the porch while Sarah sat in the hot tub for most of the week. Bruce enjoyed long walks and pretending to be a guard dog! 🤣
🌴 Day Navigator 🌴
After more wild blood sugar readings, lack of sleep and nasty coughs, i was really looking forward to our excursion today. If you remember on Day 7 Antigua we had 1 horse power each, but now i was hoping for lots more horse power in our 4×4! 🙂
4×4 Tour of the Western Edge, Azores(Excursion details)
If you want to get up close to São Miguel’s dramatic landscapes, a 4×4 is the way to go. Once we’re all strapped in, we’ll head off to the west side of the island. Our first stop is Vista do Rei. Translated, it means ‘King’s View’ – it was named after King D Carlos, who visited back in 1901 – and the vista from here is definitely fit for a monarch. It pans across Sete Cidades, a massive volcanic crater that’s glazed in greenery and, at the right time of year, baby-blue hydrangeas. Covering its base is a huge lake, split in two by the small bridge that crosses it, plus a picturesque waterside village. We’ll drive along the Pequena ridge to Sete Cidades village, stopping at Lomba do Vasco viewpoint along the way for a few snaps. We’ll have some free time to explore the village, before continuing our drive past Blue and Empadadas lakes. We’ll have one last photo op – at Pico do Ferro viewpoint – before making our way back to the ship.
With the excursion details in mind(see above), we navigated down the gangway and onto the dock. We quickly realised that the day wasn’t going to be as hot as every other day on the cruise…as we were getting wet, and colder by the second! lol 🙂
Our 4×4 driver and tour guide met us off the boat(which was fantastic) and helped us into our Land Rover. Back when i was a panel beater my friend used to race custom Land Rovers with monster V8’s, and as usual i was letting my imagination get ahead of me, especially when the driver cranked up the engine and it was the disappointing sound of a diesel tractor! 😦 Since i’ve been blind and i use my ears to see cars, the engine noises are all i focus on! Sarah is quick to remind me as we walk into town back in Epsom that she really doesn’t want me to comment on every engine that drives by! lol, but she did acknowledge my disappointment with a gentle stroke on my arm. 🙂
⇧ Sarah and the 4×4 ⇧
Our first stop was King’s View which was really high upon the island, as we stopped and the driver asked us to wait in the car as it was chucking it down with rain, and the fog/mist was like a blankett covering all of the beautiful landscapes he had brought us to see, he left to talk the the other driver in the Toyota Land cruiser behind. He came back, apologised and said “We will try and head as low as we can to see if we can go under the fog/mist and see if it’s any clearer down there. But we have a few minutes here so if you want to get out in the rain, you can”.
⇧ King’s View ⇧
On a clear day there is a stunning volcanic crater with 2 lakes, 1 is blue and 1 is green! There were alot of disappointed sighs etc and some people were complaining…i just thought welcome to my world, and you can still see more than me even with the fog. lol 🙂 I almost felt equal for the first time on an excursion. 🙂
We then headed off on a drive to the lowest point of the island which was beautiful and when we got to walk around by the river and volcanic hills it was like stepping onto the film set of Jurassic park.
The fog did lift a little and the rain slowed down enough for us to enjoy 15 minutes in this fantastic place.
When i found this photo which Sarah had taken, we both started laughing and thought this was probably the best photo of me ever! 🙂 Don’t ask me what i was up to, i can only imagine that i heard a T-Rex or a volcano erupt!! 🙂
Please let me know in the comments below if you have any great captions to add to this photo??!! I look forward to hearing what you come up with! 🙂
⇧ This place really does remind me of Jurassic Park ⇧
We all climbed aboard our 4×4 and headed of to a small village to stop and have another rest and look around. On the way Sarah saw a huge black Bull chasing a local who was running for his life right close to the Land Rover…Crazy! Lol. We stopped at a small cafe where the driver(to Sarah’s delight) started talking about the locally made Portuguese custard tarts. I said “No way, they’re Sarah’s favourites, and we have never had a locally made one before! It will be like when i had a slice of Pizza in Pisa!” 🙂 As usual… no body laughed so i asked “Do they sell them in this Cafe?”If they do could you get 3 and have one yourself!” He said “yeah sure” and we sat and enjoyed this special food moment! 🙂
Most of the people stayed in the cafe as it was raining outside, but Sarah & i were already soaked so didn’t mind a little more rain to try and see as many things as possible in this tiny village.
We were now coming to the end of our fantastic 4×4 drive, but not before he drove us off road and up some really steep rocky terrain, Yay!! 🙂 We were rocking side to side and bouncing up and down, i said “Yeah this is more like it!”. We then stopped and the driver who had his window down as all the windows were steaming up from our drenched clothes…picked up a small piece of Sphagnum moss from the towering hillside. As usual i was the only one who didn’t know what it is(i blame going to the worst school in Derbyshire) He then squose it and we were all amazed by how much water was running out of something so small, fantastic! 🙂
Just one more stop and it was to see a tunnel drilled through the mountain that goes out to the sea so that the rain water does not flood the volcanic crater when there is, from time to time heavy rainfall on the island.
The tunnel is around 80 years old and almost 2 kilometers long and it´s actually large enough to walk through and that is also safe enough as long as you don´t go during heavy rainfall. As you know it was raining but that’s not enough to stop Super Sarah having a look! 🙂
Back on the ship…
Having got changed out of our wet clothes, we decided to try and get a bite to eat at the buffet restaurant on deck 9. We sat down with an assortment of food and enjoyed talking about what we’d just experienced. We were about half way through when Alan Davidson(the piano entertainer) came and sat down with us. He had seen us the day before in Horta taking photos and had admired my big Nikon DSLR. Sarah said “Yeah it’s a nice camera and Steve gets some lovely photos even though he’s blind”. “Wow” said Alan “I didn’t realise”. I never know if that’s a compliment or not? 🙂 He continued “Back home in Scotland i visit a blind friend and help him with life skills etc, and telling him(using a clock face) where his food is on his plate”. I said “Fantastic, Sarah has just done that with me which is why i’m eating more confidently(and a lot less messy) as normal”.
Sarah mentioned that she hadn’t got chance to see much of the town nearest to the dock and we still have a couple of hours left before we sail away. Alan kindly replied “I’ll take you guys, there is a bus on the dock that goes into town, and i can guide you and make sure you get back safely too”. “Fantastic, let’s go” Sarah and i replied. 🙂
We found the market place overlooked by this Cathedral where Me, Sarah & Alan stopped to find a table out of the rain to have coffee’s and a chat. Alan was also a keen photographer and he found a local who took a few photos of the 3 of us, but sadly i havn’t managed to get the photos of Alan yet, maybe one day i’ll get to see them and share them with you. 🙂
Back on board again Thomson Dream sailed away as Sarah and i listened to Alan with our favourite cocktails. Sarahs is a Mojito and mine is a Bailey’s Banana Colada! 🙂
🌴 Day Navigator 🌴
known worldwide for its unintended tilt to one side. It is situated behind the Cathedral and is the third oldest structure in Pisa’s Cathedral Square (Piazza del Duomo) after the Cathedral and the Baptistry. The tower’s tilt began during construction, caused by an inadequate foundation on ground too soft on one side to properly support the structure’s weight.
More of my Weekly Photo Challenges
🌴 Day Navigator 🌴
Happy 40th Birthday!!!
⇧ Me sat with my lovely cards ⇧
⇧ My lovely cards – Thank you everyone! 🙂 ⇧
My new shirt and birthday badge…
I quickly put on one of my new shirts(from Sarah), and the birthday badge(from Sara, sister in Christ) and went out on deck to look out over all that amazing sea.
⇧ Me wearing new shirt & birthday badge ⇧
Then it was back to my fave place “The Coffee Port” for a birthday Cappuccino with a stunning view! 🙂
⇧ My fave seat in the Coffee Port ⇧
Sarah’s Cornea Problems…
Just 1 day before our holiday, Sarah & i spent the afternoon at Moorfields Eye Hospital, London. Over the past couple of months we’ve been to hospital almost weekly, trying to sort out Sarah’s cornea. We’ve now learned that Sarah’s cornea is crumbling and is completely exposed and cannot heal itself, or the ulcer inside. The doctor needed to close the eye lid so that it’s safe from air contamination etc. He did this by a botox injection just above the eye. He said it would close in about 2 days(my 40th birthday) and will stay shut for around 3 months.
And during the afternoon, Sarah’s eye closed. We’d hoped that most of the time we would be in bright sunshine so Sarah could cover it by wearing her sunglasses. And for all other times, we’d get creative.
The Captains Gala Reception & Dinner…
Sarah & i had no idea what to expect as this was our 1st cruise, but i’d brought my suit and purple dotted bow tie, and Sarah had brought some lovely dresses, so lets go and try to find the show lounge!
Sarah had a slight panic when we realised the photographer was taking everyones photo on entrance, but she relaxed a little when he said she was fine to keep her sunglasses on. We ended up with a nice photo to remember my 40th, our 1st Captains Gala and a lovely keep safe shot of us both dressed up! 🙂
⇧ Me & my lovely wife! ⇧
The captain introduced himself and some of his team, then it was down to Deck 4 for the meal in the Orion restaurant. The food, the waiter service and the whole experience was fantastic. A great 40th birthday! 🙂
Our route 4 2day…
Today Thomson Dream continues her journey to La Romana. We arrive tomorrow morning having travelled 546 nautical miles at an average speed of 15 knots.
🌴 Day Navigator 🌴
Up bright and early, packed and ready to go (well we’d like to stay another week) we found the right bus to Pisa (phew) and got our favourite seats right at the front, Yes! 🙂
Arriving at Pisa airport, Francesca (our assistance person) was great. She sorted everything out, then kindly took this photo of Sarah & i in front of the plane as we were first on-board again! 🙂
The takeoff was stupendous! I love the acceleration, and i was just as excited throughout the whole journey! The Captain said “We are at 28,000ft, doing 480mph and its -52degrees outside” Fantastic! 🙂
I think God just smiled at me! 🙂
Sarah & i started our final full day with the legendary amazing breakfast, then headed out to make the most of our last full day in this beautiful city.
Our plan today was to head East, then travel anti-clockwise until we reach our favourite place (South, by the river Arno) to try and take photos of things we may have missed so far, or from angles different from the norm. Right let’s Go!
Wow, another bell tower, how did i miss this!
Heading North of our hotel, we stopped once again to gaze upon the stunning architecture of the Florence Cathedral and the Palazzo Medici Ricardi…
As we were heading west, i found another statue, but thought i’d take it from a random angle! 🙂
Sarah found a shop with sunflowers (her favourite flowers)…
Gold anyone!! 🙂
Oh did i mention…. i’m actually in Italy,Yay!!
Well i’m not actually in Italy as i write this, i’m at home on my iMac! But Sarah kept on catching me opening the maps app and taking a screenshot of our location!
Today we thought we’d head south towards the river, then curl round and end up North of the hotel at the Palazzo Medici Riccardi to see if last night really was a dream.
The Vasari Corridor….
Sarah & i really liked the “Vasari Corridor”, but now Sarah won’t let me through as i am a commoner, lol. Eventually i managed to negotiate a deal, but it meant looking round more shops! 🙂
Sarah looking fluent in Florin! (Italian gold coin)
Sarah at Tiffany’s! 🙂
After a while we decided to rest a little and get refreshed ready for more exciting touring. Mmmmmm coffee and cake! 🙂
Wow, now that was fantastic! Anyway better get back to it! 🙂
It wasn’t long before Sarah found another friend, in the form of a statue.
As we walked past the amazing Florence Cathedral, Sarah noticed and got excited that there was now a Christmas tree & nativity scene.
After being wowed, we took lots of photos to try and get one good enough to possibly make Christmas cards for loved ones.
Now on to the Palazzo Medici Riccardi…
We arrived at the palace (left in photo above) and found the exhibition, yay i didn’t dream it! 🙂
As the majority of the artwork displayed was created by blind & partially sighted people, it was really tactile so we got to touch the creations. I’m so used to going to museums etc and not being able to see or touch the art. Thanks artists! 🙂
As i mentioned yesterday (see Day 5) i was 1 of 3 artists (still not used to being called that) from the UK who exhibited, so i’d like to introduce to you…Ann and her paintings…
And Christina’s photos…
After a long walk around looking and touching the art, we went out of the back exit where i found an archway, and a huge ring that we kept finding on the outside of buildings, i think for the horses.
We’d had another fantastic day in Florence, and if you remembered on Day 4, i’d topped the evening off with an amazing cherry topped cake…Well this evening it got better still…..
Bistecca alla fiorentina…..
Just when you thought the evening couldn’t get any better…Sarah & i shared the amazing Florentine steak! We had been told by Grace from our favourite restaurant in the world (Sicily Restaurant) that we couldn’t leave without trying one. Wow, she was right. It was truly magnificent and everything we’d hoped for, although i think Sarah got arm ache from sawing the never ending extra thick meat!! 🙂
We’ve had such a memorable and unbelievable time in Italy, and as this was Thursday, we still had a full day Friday, before we headed home on Saturday.
Hope to see you on Day 7, where we take more considered time to get photos of things we might of missed!!
Well this is it, the actual reason we came, lol! I know i mentioned i only had my iPhone 5s & Sarah’s iPhone 6 Plus to take photos, the main reason (apart from weight, lenses & tiny viewfinders) was the GPS map pins, i love them! 🙂
It was now Wednesday and it was time for the sun to make way for the rain. The hotel room even had it’s own umbrella with “Brunelleschi” as the logo, i like this hotel! The exhibition didn’t start until 4pm, so we decided to explore (now we knew where we were going after our fantastic walking tour) for a couple of hours with our new umbrella! 🙂
It turned out that the streets were much quieter which is great for us, so we could relax a little more too after a couple of hectic days. OOoooo another coffee shop! 🙂
We left the hotel with posh clothes on and fancy umbrella in hand and headed to the Palazzo Medici Riccardi hoping there actually was an exhibition even though we had still seen no signs at all, not even a hint that there’d be one.
Then we turned into the main entrance…..
Sarah said “Wow, now this is a lot of people, the posters are up all around us and look great, and it’s in the beautiful, main part of the palace”. I started to feel a little out of my depth all of a sudden.
Sarah then found Ann, who has also travelled from England, UK (thats ⅔ of the UK representatives, lol) so i had a chat with her as i’d never met her before, she’s an enormously talented artist and has a few paintings in the exhibition.
We hadn’t noticed, but the crowd had started making their way to the large area in the centre where the president of the blind union was talking (in Italian) through a PA system. By the time we had arrived we were at the back wondering what was going on, and none of us were able to see anything (even the sighted ones) as we were just too far away.
Costanza, who organised the whole thing (with her husband) cut through the crowd, took my had and led me right to the front next to the president and a few of the other artists.
Then after about 5 minutes, she put the microphone into my hand and said “Speak one word”.
The place went silent, i could feel there were lots of people around, i had no idea if any of them spoke english. So i said “ciao a tutti (Hello everyone), i’m Steve Rebus from London”. It seemed to go across well, but i was so terrified i didn’t have a clue what to say next. Constanza gently took the mic and passed it along, aaaghhh i could now relax a little. 🙂
After a few more people spoke we were given a glass of Prosecco and Costanza took me to see what they’d done with my photos. I had only sent the prints and they had mounted, framed and hung them beautifully, i can’t thank them enough, they looked great and very professional!
It wasn’t long before people started crowding round as they viewed each of our works.
Everyone kept telling me how fantastic the photos were and that i was a “Provider of inspiration” (now that’s a title, lol. , all i could say is thanks. I was completely overwhelmed by the whole evening. I never knew it was going to be this big, professionally done and not held in a dark attic somewhere! I’m not good at playing the artist game and kept thinking that i better start taking some better photos, lol. 🙂
After a couple of hours walking round the exhibition, i was amazed at the level of talent. I enjoyed the paintings (a lot were tactile too), sculptures and other photography, simply brilliant!
I’ll post more photos tomorrow when we returned to see if we were just dreaming!
Sarah got me to stand next to one of the Art Senses posters while holding the amazingly professional catalogue/book of all the works and artists bio etc. Costanza really worked hard to put everything together, and i thank God that she found Sarah to ask for blind artists from the UK.
I heard Art Senses are holding a similar exhibition next year in Rome!! I better get taking some photos, if i want to be invited as an artist again. Wow to do all this in Rome, unbelievable! 🙂
During another sublime breakfast, Sarah & i wondered if there was a walking tour around Firenze?! We now have a love of walking tours after our hugely successful one yesterday (see Day 3). It’s much easier for us to just follow a group instead of getting lost and wondering around aimlessly, and it’s a great way to learn the history and culture of the area.
They did do a tour and it started just after lunch. We booked on it and then decided to go for a walk to see if we could find the starting point by ourselves. It was in an area we hadn’t covered yet so we knew it was going to be a challenge…..We failed, but we found a lovely cafe! We sat outside with the sun blazing down, it was fantastic! 🙂
The image below shows me staring at the sun. Since being registered blind and having no central vision at all, i can now stare at the sun without squinting or blinking. Didn’t know it made me look this weird though, lol. 🙂
We then spent a couple of hours enjoying finding new and wonderful shops, before heading back to the hotel. The reception had arranged for someone to walk us to the walking tour meeting point, fantastic! 🙂
Firenze Walking Tour…
The group met up in a different square than the one we found earlier, and gave us another one of those radio thingy’s, Yay! As the guide was talking about the square, i captured some shots!
Moving from the square and through some little side streets, we stopped at the “Basilica of Santa Croce” founded by Saint Francis. Sarah said “Wow, it looks like someone has iced it like a cake! It doesn’t look real”.
Walking through the streets we were told of a local artist who’s adding figures to road signs.
Continuing with more fantastic Medici family history we found ourselves in a familiar square (Piazza della Signoria).
As we didn’t have lots of time to walk around and take photos, Sarah & i revisited on Day 7 to get some more interesting shots. Now it’s onwards to the river. 🙂
When we accidentally found the river Arno during the Firenze marathon, Sarah had said that the river looks dirty, like brown sludge. But today with the sun shining bright, it glowed gold like nothing i’d seen before! 🙂
Then finishing our tour at the Florence Cathedral (Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore). Yay another amazing bell tower! 🙂
I’ve heard of “Knocking’ on Heaven’s door” but now i was stood at “The Gates of Paradise”.
Sarah then said “Go and stand in front of the doors of the Cathedral, we need more photos with you in them so people will know you were here”. I really don’t like this side of the lens, but this is for you guys! 🙂
Wow! Were these doors made for the Nephilim?!! 🙂
After this amazing tour, we felt that we could now spend a few days exploring with a little more confidence, starting with a trip to our fave coffee (and cake) place which is right next to our hotel. The cherry on top of the cake below really sums up our day. It’s been another unbelievable day that always leaves me saying “How am i here? This is like a dream! I still can’t believe i’m here?!”
You’ll be very pleased to know that my next post (Day 5) is the opening day of the exhibition!
I’m so blessed that you’ve stuck with me on this incredible journey. God bless you. 🙂
The dark cloak of night consumed us, light had escaped the dungeon of darkness but had vanished..…Sorry, just trying to set the mood for the final destination on our amazing Tuscany in a day tour.
Chiara had been telling us of the year 1348 when the black death had wiped out over ⅔ of the walled medieval town of San Gimignano, the majority of the people who survived the terror had left. Continuing on this theme, and the fact that it was totally dark outside (due to this time of year) set the scene for what we were about to experience!
Welcome to San Gimignano…
After a short walk uphill, the group arrived at the main entrance of the walled town. We then had about 45 minutes free time to explore, then meet back here. Afterr the group dispersed, Sarah & i entered…
No amount of photos could ever get across the feeling of this place! The black windows towering over you from each side, the silence and the shadows following you everywhere, generated a smothering atmosphere that had flavours of Fear, Death, Sorrow for the people of old, Awe and a weird taste of Joy and amazement. You really can only experience San Gimignano by physically being here!
As Sarah was checking out the few little shops on the main walkway, i’d stay outside and just stand, soaking up the atmosphere that my words can’t describe. Sarah says “They only sell pottery or Knives”.
As i was stood (see above) it was completely silent. Then all of a sudden i heard heavy footsteps from behind sounding like they were headed straight for me. I expected to see a blade sticking out of the front of my chest as an assassin wearing a monks tunic (from the video game (assassins creed) shot out of the shadows sending me to paradise.
As i turned though it was just a person leaving the church behind me, although i’m still not sure how they managed the booming footstep thing. My imagination really doesn’t help my heart at times like these! 🙂
As we met back up with the group having felt we’d been to probably the most special place of the trip. We were so grateful we hadn’t decided to stay in the coach as it was just too dark to risk having accidents.
I really hope you’ve enjoyed joining us on the “Tuscany in a day” tour?!
Which city was your favourite?
The Siena Cathedral with its humbug bell tower, is my favourite church building of all time (so far).
What is your favourite church building? And why?
While approaching Sienna, we were given a fantastic little radio thingy that you put around your neck. It has a single earphone so you can still hear the tour guide within a large radius,or if it gets noisy. We then met the new Siena tour guide who would guide the group and share interesting stories and history of this stunning place.
Welcome to Siena…
We were very happy to meet in a little square around a huge Christmas tree (see above). I am now only wearing a thin shirt as it is like a summers day and it’s December!! 🙂
Walking through the narrow streets and hearing more about how the Medici family slaughtered and captured Siena, we arrived at the famous medieval square (Piazza del Campo). Yay another tower! 🙂
After a walk around the banked curves of the square (feeling like an Indy 500 car), the group then left the square and headed towards (what has now become my favourite bell tower of all time) Siena Cathedral!
Walking under a narrow archway, the group made a collective sound, it went something like (wooaaahhhhooww), Sarah said “Wow! A humbug tower!” I said understatedly “Oh right” as i could only look at the ground to try and navigate, and i can’t see the tower or any of it’s detail anyway. But when i got back, and was able to zoom into my photos to see what i was pointing my camera at…..”Wow, Wow Wow”.
Sarah was very happy when we went inside and found more humbugs! 🙂
The group then sat down to hear the final part of the tour guides history. Just after i said to Sarah “Wow, isn’t it amazing to think that all of this unbelievable place was done for Jesus?! It all points to Him!”. The tour guide said “And this was all done for Mary!”. I was not amused at all!
We then had some free time and was told to meet back at the medieval square, now which way was that??
We did eventually find it, and we met back up with the group. to then return back to the coach, but on the way we passed the Christmas tree where we had first started and it looked beautiful! It finished Siena off nicely! 🙂
After quite a scare of nearly getting lost and left behind as the group disappeared into the darkness, Sarah and i boarded what we hoped was our coach (it was). Now it’s off towards our final destination. 🙂
As we left the amazing Pisa, Chiara (our tour guide) gave us some more interesting yet gruesome Tuscany history about the Medici family killing everyone again and taking over more villages and cities. She also mentioned a man called Leonardo Da Vinci, “no way” i said to Sarah “I thought he was a ninja turtle, not a real man!” She gave me a swift elbow in the ribs, and Chiara continued.
Welcome to Vinci…
The image below is of the landscape that greeted us from the coach.
After taking in the amazing scenery, we headed off on foot to the Museum of Leonardo Da Vinci.
I really like bell towers!! 🙂
Sarah & i found inside the museum much too dark, so we struggled to see any of the fantastic creations on display. Sarah was using her iPhone 6 Plus with it’s wide aperture of f2.2 to view each design as it showed much brighter on her screen, rather than the dark blob in front of her (she’s a genius).
We did find a cool bike though!!
Now it was back outside to have a wonder around and see what we can find. It wasn’t long before we found a familiar object!
Sarah wasn’t happy with the “Vitruvian Man” and thought Leonardo had missed something out. So we added something extra……The Vitruvian Man & Woman! 🙂
Now for Chianti…
After another trip on the coach through amazing rolling hills, olive grows and vinyards, the coach parked right up at the top in Chianti where we were to do a little wine & local Tuscan food tasting.
I didn’t have time to take any photos as we were guided straight to our table and greeted with a lovely plate of local baked bread, olive oil, cheese and spicy meat.
The lady first pour a little Chianti Simple (table wine) into the huge glass and as she was going into great detail of how to hold the glass etc, i continued on the food (i couldn’t see anything she was doing, so her over complicated directions were wasted on me, lol). As i don’t really drink alcohol except a very full bodied glass of red wine on special occasions (normally 1 bottle a year and that’s usually Châteauneuf-du-Pape i receive as a Christmas gift). My thought is that if i’m only going to have one glass on rare occasions, then i would like one that i enjoy! 🙂
I really know nothing about wines, only that some are red and some are white, and some are watery and some are thick (like coffee, lol) and i only like the thick ones, which now i know are called full bodied! 🙂
Then she poured a little of the Chianti Classico (full bodied..Yay!) and that was much better!
But probably my favourite taste of the day was the 30 year old Balsamic Vinegar we got to taste! Wow, now that’s amazing, but expensive so didn’t get any to bring home! 😦
As we finished there was a mad rush to the little shop area. I stayed at the table as Sarah went to have a look and take a few photos for us!
I hope you’ve enjoyed the trip so far?! Next stop Siena!! 🙂
I forgot to mention in my older 2 posts in this Tuscany Tour series, that i didn’t take any of my DSLR’s with me to Italy (you’ve probably already noticed, lol). All of the photos taken were using my iPhone 5s or Sarah’s iPhone 6 Plus.
I’d like to split Day 3 into 4 separate posts, as i don’t want them to get too long, and dare i say boring! If you’re just joining the “Tuscany Tour” for the first time then you can click here to start from Day 1.
Sarah & i were up bright and early, excited yet anxious for today’s big adventure. As we were in the reception area admiring the beautiful Christmas tree (see image above), the entrance doors opened as our taxi driver entered and escorted us to his taxi. It was still very dark (especially down the narrow side street) and already raining, and when i noticed the black minivan with blacked out windows (which only appear on episodes of 24) and the voice of the driver say “Get in”, i had a funny feeling that this could be anyone and we were in some kind of movie (this didn’t do my slight anxiety any good at all, lol).
The driver was very friendly and nothing like the man i was imagining, he dropped us off at the exact collection point for the ‘My Tour’ coach stop where we were met by Chiara, the tour guide. She already knew we were blind & partially sighted and said it would be easier for us if we sat on the front 2 seats of the coach. “Yes!” i said as they’re our fave seats too, good start! 🙂
It took about an hour until we arrived at Pisa, Chiara was telling us lots of interesting facts and history of the Tuscany regions we were passing through, this (and my excitement) made the journey seem really quick. The coach parked right near the Cathedral Square (Piazza del Duomo) and after a short walk in the group Chiara said “Now you have one hour free time, then meet back here”. This was just perfect for Sarah & i as we now have a point of reference to go from and to return.
Welcome to Pisa!
First for my tourist pose! 🙂
And now it’s Sarah’s turn! 🙂
Everyone was rushing straight for the tower, so we hung back and got a few photos of the Baptistry and the Cathedral.
Sarah sneakily snapped me tower gazing and trying to soak up the atmosphere, and the fact that i was actually in Pisa, looking at probably the most famous bell tower in the world! 🙂
There was only one small cafe opposite the tower, so Sarah & i went to check it out. We ordered 2 Cappachino’s and to my delight, a slice of pizza. I know you might laugh, but i just had to try the Pizza at Pisa! 🙂
The image above is the view from the open windows at our table, it was just amazing being sat with the leaning tower of Pisa as the backdrop. 🙂
After this final panoramic photo, we met up with the group and headed back to the coach.
This visit already made my day and i’d of been happy if that was the end, but this was only the beginning!!
Oh by the way…..The pizza was fantastic!! 🙂
Hope you’ve enjoyed the first stop of this “Tuscany in a day tour”. Please take your seats and see what’s coming next! 🙂
As Sarah & i were about to leave the room to try our first breakfast, we suddenly heard a faint sound of bells. We quickly rushed to the window and opened the inner windows and the outer shutters, and the sound was immense! I wanted to record the sound but the video below doesn’t do it justice.
Breakfast, i can only describe as an amazing taste sensation. The chef must have only had one knife though, as everything was sliced about an inch thick! What seemed like a block of cheese to us, was a slice to them. lol, but i didn’t want to seem rude and waste any! 🙂
The search for the Palace…
After filling up with breakfast, we started out on our primary objective for the day…to find the Palazzo Medici Riccardi where my photos will be exhibited in a few days time.
Once out on the main street, i stood facing north (towards the Cathedral) and opened the Blindsquare app on my iPhone. I had save 2 locations to the favourites – the hotel and the palace, so they would b read out instantly and hopefully tell me (if the cellular network is good) where the locations are using a clock face description. It said “Palazzo Medici Riccardi is at 11’o clock at 350 yards”. Right let’s go! After passing the Florence Cathedral it was just a straight road until the Palace was on our left. Now to find the entrance which was another mammoth task for us …
We started walking around the outside of the whole building finding everything including a cash machine (very useful, clothes store & even a McDonalds (the poshest one we’ve ever seen). Finally we found it but we couldn’t see any sign of the Art Senses posters anywhere. We went inside anyway to have a look around where we’d maybe stumble across a tiny room being set up for the exhibition.
Inside the Palace…
As we were walking around, we both kept saying “I think we’re in the wrong building, there is no way the exhibition will be in here somewhere. But this place is amazing so we’ll keep looking”.
⇧ We totally need to get door frames like these!! 🙂 ⇧
Then a few minutes later i found a ceiling design for our home too!! lol.
As we entered the next couple of rooms, Sarah was oooing quite a lot, and now as i’m looking back over the photos to see what i was actually looking at, i should’ve known there were shoes!
After being amazed for a while longer, we decided to double check outside to see if this really was the Palazzo Medici Riccardi….It was!
I said “There is no way my photos are being exhibited in there, just no way”.
Then as we turned to find our way back to the hotel, we suddenly realised there was a marathon going on!!
Yes a marathon, actually the 31st annual “Florence Marathon (Maratona di Firenze)”. Now the streets were not only packed, but worse still for us, blocked off so we couldn’t get back the way we came.
After a few hours of getting lost, trying different coffee shops and of course the clothes and shoe shops, we found ourselves by the river. Sarah said “oh, this is the river!!” I said “But isn’t the river south, way past the hotel in the other direction?”
We both realised we had no idea which way to go and we were both really tired from dodging people and with all of the noise, so we just decided to pick a street and walk up it. Then to our complete surprise as we were getting really fed up, Sarah said “That’s the sign to our hotel”, “No way, i had no idea we were here, now let’s get a takeaway coffee from our new local and rest for a while”.
After an eventful and tiring day, we decided to try heading east but only down one street as it’s dark now and we really don’t want to get lost again. The hanging street lights were beautiful and we found lots of clothes shops and a nice little sandwich/coffee bar to relax in for a while.
As we returned to the hotel we booked a “Tuscany in a day” tour for the morning. We knew it was a lot in one day but it will be ideal for us. Now we were getting even more excited. I could be stood next to the leaning tower of Pisa!! No way!! 🙂
Please join us on day 3 to see how we got on!!
Wow, wow, wow!! What a fantastic and surreal experience!!
After spending 1 week in Italy pretending to be a photographer, and being blown away by the beauty and simply magnificent sculptures, architecture & History of this amazing part of the world. I’ll try and bore you to death with my day to day experiences. 🙂
I’m trying to create a post for each day we were there (maybe extra ones too!) as we did a few tours which included Pisa, Vinci, Chianti, Siena, San Gimignano & of course Firenze.
⇧ Benz Badge ⇧
⇧ Bends of a Benz ⇧
⇧ Nice wheels! ⇧
⇧ Old racing car ⇧
⇧ Old racing car 2 ⇧
⇧ Sarah’s fave car!! 🙂 ⇧
This week’s challenge is all about the Vehicle Details. This is your chance to show off those wheels, steering wheels, tail lights, headlights, motometers, hood ornaments, hoods, windows, engines, paint, etc. I want to see parts of cars and trucks. Have fun with this theme. I’m looking forward to seeing what you all come up with.
Click image above to join the challenge! 🙂
What do you get if you cross a diabetic, sight loss and a baby ... MY LIFE!
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