Yes it is that time again, the annual migration to Coffs Harbour for Easter. We spent time at another lovely beach and park area known as Park Beach. It is just a couple of kilometres north of the CBD and is where Coffs creek meets the ocean. It is a very popular area for everyone especially for families. The water is so clean and crystal clear and safe. There is lots of park area with picnic areas, tables and seats, free bbqs, running water, toilets and showers. There are cabins that you can stay in close to this beach which makes it a very popular destination particularly for families. The Coffs Harbour surf club is close by, and offers a fabulous restaurant over looking the beach and ocean. It is a great spot to sit back and enjoy a great meal, a cold beer, glass of wine or cup of coffee and watch surfers, or even dolphins in the surf. Actually there is a variety of accommodation close by with restaurants and take away shops, hotel and bowls club. There is so much to see and do in Coffs. If you are ever in this neck of the woods, drop by and see for yourself. In the meantime, I would like to wish you all A Happy Easter. Buona Pasqua
Another trip I took from Venice was to the island of Burano. Burano is situated 7 kilometers from Venice, a short 40 minute trip by vaporetto.
Once you leave the vaporetto, after a short walk you will arrive in the centre of the island to Piazza Galuppi. You will be encouraged to go in to the shops to see the lovely lace working.
Burano is very famous for its lace. However on the island there is also production of venetian masks.
Fishing is also a major industry on this island. Everywhere you look you see the little fishing boats and of course the brightly coloured houses.
In the main square you will see the elderly ladies laughing and chatting while they do their embroideries.
There are several great eateries where you can enjoy the locally caught fish. If you just feel like a snack I can recommend the gelato which you will find in the bar or you can get one of Burano’s famous sweet dishes, the Bussola or the Esse
There are many colorful houses to see in Burano. Every color of the rainbow is represented. The village is quiet and peaceful. Enjoy lunch or a drink and buy some lace from a local artist.
Almost every shop on this little island sells lace products. However, beware that there are many cheap foreign products, and the real stuff is quite expensive. In most of the shops in Burano you can tell the hand made lacework from the machine made especially if they are side by side.
The only way to get around Burano is by foot.
Burano is another must to visit if you have the time while staying in Venice.
After a couple of days in Venice, I decided to hop on the Vaporetto for a trip to Lido. It was only a short ride on the water bus.
I had purchased a 3 day pass for the Vaporetto which made it so easy and so economical to hop on and hop off the water buses day and night. I highly recommend purchasing a multi day pass for the vaporetti.
As soon as I arrived in Lido, I felt good. I walked down Gran Viale Santa Maria Elisabetta, passing the eye-catching Grande Albergo Ausonia & Hungaria, to the main beach area.
It is less than a kilometer. I sat and enjoyed a gelato before taking a long walk along the beach.
It is not a great beach but it sure was nice to get away from the crowds and just take in the refreshing sea breeze.
It was cool when I was there so not enticing for a swim however the water was clean and quite warm and there were some people in swimming.
There is a great bus service if you would rather not walk or you can rent a bike. Lido on Bike is a bike rental company that is located half a block from the Vaporetto stop. You can cycle all around the island if you have the time. It is a great experience
The Gran Viale Santa Maria Elisabetta is a beautiful wide tree lined street running through the main part of Lido housing hotels, shops, restaurants and cafes.
When I return to Venice, I will re visit Lido, it is a delightful escape from the crowds and busyness of Venice. There were very few cars, people were walking and riding bikes
If for no other reason, visit Lido and breathe some lovely fresh air.
Another wonderful city we visited was Siena in Tuscany. It is actually one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy.
It is famous for its art, cuisine, museums, outstanding beautiful architecture and the very famous Palio, a horse race that is held twice a year. Actually, the Palio is such a big event I will do a separate post on it.
Siena is easily one of Italy’s loveliest medieval cities. It is so worth while to take the trip when you are in Tuscany. A day visit is great however if you have the time stay a couple of days. There is just so much to do and see in this gorgeous city.
There are a few options in getting to Siena from Florence. I have travelled by coach, I have driven and also take the Sita bus from Florence. I learned that although taking the train into Siena is an option it is not the best option. Siena does have a train station, however it is located further from the historic city centre than the bus station.
The SITA company runs the buses between Florence and Siena, and the departure point in Florence is just across the street from the city’s main train station, Santa Maria Novella. Siena’s bus stop is at Piazza Gramsci, well inside the old city walls.
The journey between the two cities takes roughly 1.25 hours on the fast bus. This is a direct trip. There is another bus which stops several times including a stop at Poggibonsi where we stopped on the way to San Gimignano.
If you are travelling from Florence by car, the quickest way to get to Siena is on the autostrade which only takes 1 ¼ hours and goes through the very beautiful Chianti region. If you decide to go via the scenic route, make sure you have a very good detailed map and or a GPS
If you are not from Florence, I highly recommend seriously considering not driving in Florence. It is not the most driveable city in Italy and is very frustrating. If you plan on renting a car, wait till you are ready to leave Florence.
At then end of the day of my last trip to Siena, after walking till our feet ached, we chose to sit in a great bar overlooking the piazza and drank our wine and people watched.
Now this is an activity I can thoroughly recommend. When I travel I want to make every post a winner but some times I just need to sit back, reflect and watch the world go by.
There is so much to see and do in Siena I will do another post at a later date.
One of the weekend excursions that we did from the school in Castelraimondo was to Florence, Pisa, Lucca, San Gimignano and Siena.
This was my first visit to San Gimignano and I loved it as soon as we arrived there. I knew that I must return which I did just a month later.
San Gimignano is a small fortified medieval hill top town in the province of Siena, Tuscany in north central Italy.
San Gimignano has managed to conserve fourteen towers of varying heights, for which it is known internationally.
You can travel to San Gimignano by car, train or bus from Milan in the north, Rome in the south or Florence. Travelling by train you come in to Florence. By air you can fly into Pisa airport or Florence airport and then connect to San Gimignano by train or bus
When we travelled to San Gimignano while staying in Florence we took the bus from the sita bus terminus next to the main train station in Florence. The station was a brisk walk from the monastery and only took about 15 mins. There are regular buses from Florence and Siena. We took the bus to Poggibonsi where we had time for a coffee and dolce before taking the bus up to San Gimignano.
Our trip from the school was part of the full weekend excursion by very comfortable coaches.
We enjoyed a great lunch with wine in one of the great bars overlooking the valleys below.
Later we had gelato from the gelataria which makes the world’s best gelato.