Last leg before home...

September 3, 2008 - London, United Kingdom

It's been a little while since I lastblogged but I'l give the excuse that we've been on the road andwithout a reliable or cheap internet connection. If I haven't beenresponding to any emails it's because I (stupidly) locked myself outof my email account and have been trying for two weeks to get backin. No luck so I've got a new one. It's exactly the same address as thelast one but put a number 2 before the @ symbol.

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We left Antibes and made our way toFlorence, the city which was the heart of the Renaissance movement. There are amazing sculptures and we saw the square whereMichelangelo's David was until relatively recently. There is a copyin its place, so we saw “the fake David”. In the same square aresome fantastic sculptures including a series that were over 1800years old! It's mind boggling.

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Rome was our next stop and we spent twodays walking all over the ancient city. We saw the Pantheon,Colosseum, Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish steps and so muchmore. While in Italy we tried to speak as much Italian as we could. I was really surprised by just how much I remembered from highschool. The weather was stinking hot but we pushed on and avoidedsunburn. Justin was horrified to discover that his legs were purewhite after spending nine months in long pants every day!  We also went to the Vatican Museum and saw the Sistine Chapel.  One of the best parts was climbing to the dome of St Peter's Cathedral.  The view was spectacular, unfortunately the photos don't do it justice.  It's a very long climb and claustrophobic as you just keep spiralling up and up into a smaller and smaller walkway that leans to the left.  Made me dizzy.

Back on the bus again for Venice and along drive in heavy traffic was rewarded y a toga party. It's prettyhard to look good in a sheet but everyone on our tour managed to looksomewhat chic. Lots of silly, drunken photos were taken; I can'twait to see them all. We spent the next day soaking up life amongstthe canals. We took a gondola ride and walked through what seemedlike every street in the entire town! I was really interested in alace demonstration we went to where we had explained to us the artand history of Venetian lace.

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That night was tuesday night whichmeant “Incredibly Camp Tuesday”! This may sound a bit silly butevery tuesday everyone on our tour would dress in a camp way andgenerally have a laugh. Justin totally out did himself in Venice andearned some serious camp points... hmmm. Cue “YMCA”.

Venice was where we left the tour,which was pretty sad. I wanted to keep going with everyone! I missyou guys! Justin and I had HUGE hangovers after tuesday night'sschenanigans and slept for pretty much the entire day. Thursday weleft for Berlin on an EasyJet flight.  Thanks heaps to Ash for fearless trip leadership, Welshy for the wonderful food (and stuff) and Wazza for always keeping your cool and being the best driver ever!

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On Friday we did a free walking tour ofBerlin which was a great tour. It went for four hours and it turnsout the guide was a guy Justin went to school with! How's that for asmall world? Saturday was Justin's 28th Birthday and wecelebrated that evening by going to a beer garden and having sometraditional German food and local beer. In the morning we climbedthe dome of the Reichstag building for a view over Berlin and went tothe Pergamon Museum where we saw the Pergamon Altar, which was prettyimpressive.

The best part of the trip to Berlinhappened on Sunday afternoon.  We were lucky enough to be in town during a series of Beethoven concerts so we saw Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in the square where Nazi book burnings were held.  Coincidentally the university where Einstein taught for twenty years is just across the road.  It was very moving and a wonderful performance.

As I write this I am in London on our last day in the UK.  We leave tomorrow for Australia via Bangkok, which is only a airport stopover.  I'm hoping the political situation doesn't blow out in the next few days as my Mum and her partner are in Thailand at the moment as well.

There are lots more photos under albums starting with "Europe", so please have a look-see!


PS:  This won't be my last blog but thankyou very much to everyone who has left comments over the last year.  It's been great to hear from you all!


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September 3, 2008
Great to hear from you again Mel!
Looking forward to seeing you both back in Oz.
No problems here despite media reports. We drove back into Bangkok tonight (Wednesday) and fly to Vietnam on Friday.
Love you,
Mumma & Peter
Margery and Dennis Hamer:
September 4, 2008
Hello Melanie and Justin,
We are staying with Joy and Colin at Scarborough after a trip to Ballina for Harold's 80th Birthday. We had a good party. Ian and Glenda were there. We met Kay and Sue and families and even Brenda and her boyfriend. We went to Sue's for a couple of nights and we went to Lismore to see brother John's framing business. It was lovely scenery in the area. We are going out for an Italian feed tonight at Redcliffe. Your dad has gone into Brisbane today shopping. He has taken a lot of photos over the last few days. Pop had a good 80th birthday. We went to the Freemasons Hotel. Pop's got over his operation very fast. We wish Justin belated birthday happiness. We will toast it when you come to visit us. All the very best to you both. We look forward to seeing you soon. Love from Nan and Poppy and Dad xxxxxxxxx
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