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A Long Day in the Saddle

   The one down side to traveling by car in this part of Spain is the time spent on the road. Today we are off to Santillana del Mar, breaking up the very long trip to San Sebastián by stopping at this picturesque village some 450kms from Santiago de Compestela for the night. When you are planning these trips you look at the map and say ‘she’ll be right’, just down the road. Non! A long way down…and up, the road. Our trusty stead, a Corolla, was ok on the flat, but struggled up the hills.  Luckily the road system in Spain is great, and the scenery when we hit the coast was spectacular. Hills and valleys separated by flowing rivers, charming little villages dotted around, all terracotta and white washed walls! Incredible engineering…some of the bridges are mind boggling. A word on the roads in Spain….plenty of tolls, easily manoeuvred, speed limits that don’t apply to Audi & BMW, trucks that stay in the outside lanes and never speed….or tailgate! Cars that overtake then …

Homeward bound for Jack’s 21st

Homeward bound for Jack's 21stHong Kong, China Hong Kong, China Our last day. So what better way to start than with a sleep in? Sort of, met Cards at 8.45 for brekky across the road, then on to Harbour City for a bit more shopping. Just needed to get a couple of things for kids, so all done in no time at all. We looked at a Playstation 3 for Jack as they were pretty cheap, but Bluray not compatible and no warranty, so no sale. Sorry Jacko! The shopping in Honkers is so over the top, designer everything, about six thousand watch dealers all flogging top end pieces, Chanel on every corner, dodgy Indians everywhere selling tailored clothing, fake everything, and all down skanky lanes as it is most illegal. Markets on every other corner selling cheap clothing, phone covers, **** jewellery, plants, animals, food (I think), you name it. Shopping mall after shopping mall selling the most amazing array of designer labels, interspersed with electronic stores, camera dealers, did I mention watch shops? …

Last full day in Honkers

Last full day in HonkersHong Kong, China Hong Kong, China With our only full day in Hong Kong it was up and at ’em, with Cards waiting in the lobby at 8.30am to commence our day. First stop was breakfast across the road as the Hotel charges $30 and we couldn’t possibly eat that much to make it worth the spend. The coffee was pretty good and it was our first proper cooked breakfast of eggs we have had in 9 weeks. Our first stop for the day was the Star Ferry Terminal to catch a ferry across the harbour to Hong Kong Island. From there we caught a skinny double decker tram which took us along the Main Street amongst all the shops. 20 minutes later we disembarked and headed into a shopping centre called SOGO. This place is like Myers and DJ’s all rolled into one and is the size of Chadstone and Southland put together……huge. Hugh and I went one way whilst Cards went the other with the intention of meeting up …

Honkers

HonkersHong Kong, China Hong Kong, China Welcome to Hong Kong! Oh, the joys of an 11 hour flight with no sleep! We left Milan at 1pm yesterday and got into Honkers at 7am, 3 movies & 2 TV doco’s later! Customs was a breeze, unbelievably quick, then straight to the taxi and off to our hotel, the Intercontinental Grand Stanford. Waiting there was Cards, ready to go after two days on her own. Luckily, we were able to check in straight away, so off to our room to freshen up before heading out into the city. Cards had done wonders on the itinerary with us readily handing over the organisational duties. First we headed off to get Cards bags from her hotel, and while she checked out Rachael and I wandered along Nathan Road, one of the busiest shopping streets in Kowloon. If I had a dollar for every person who asked if I’d like a tailored shirt or suit, or a cheap knock off watch, we would have funded the whole trip! Every 5 …

Arrivederci

ArrivederciMilan, Italy Milan, Italy Our last morning in Italy and up early as we need to be in Milan by about 10.30, and its 200k’s away. It’s typical that the best breakfast place we’ve stayed at doesn’t open for business till 8am, and we left at 7! Stop off at an Autogrill on the autostrada and into Milan by about 10, filling up with petrol before dropping the car off. Petrol here is about €1.80 per litre ($2.60), but if you don’t fill it up Hertz charge you €3.56 per litre ($5.15)! Plus another €20 service charge, plus they charge you for a full tank! There’s a lesson here, folks! Anyhow, into the airport straight to baggage check in…..no one else in line….miracles continue in the lovely country. We’ve been accumulating luggage along the way, and had madly rearranged to try to save on excess costs, but placed bags on weigh bridge with some trepidation. Rachael 2 kg over limit, place mine on……waiting, waiting. It’s like wheel of fortune here! Waiting……kerching, right on the button….40kgs, …

Castle to Mount

Castle to MountMalcesine, Italy Malcesine, Italy Our last full day in Italy started with a run…..for Rachael. I dressed for the occasion, but once we got out the front gate, claimed injury and retired to the safety of our room, and bed! From all accounts the run was lovely, the scenery spectacular, and the air clear, but I still didn’t feel guilty. Yes sirree! I’m injured and must rest up. Rested, we headed for breakfast. The Hotel Meridiana has quite the reputation for its breakfast, and unlike our previous hotels slapdash affair, this one lived up to the kudos. Muesli, yoghurt, fruit, croissants…the list goes on. Relaxed, fed, exercised (ok, it’s overrated!), and ready for our last day in Italy. Its most prominent landmark is the Castello Scaligero, which has 13th-century fortifications and an older medieval tower We made our way thru the old town to the Castle which sits on the high point by the lake, with commanding views in every direction, the perfect place from which to defend the town. Next we wandered …

Venice to Lake Garda via Verona.

Venice to Lake Garda via Verona.Malcesine, Italy Malcesine, Italy Goodbye Venice, hello Lake Garda. As planned, the alarm went off at 6am, and was ignored! Up at 8.30 for brekky and packing time, again. Breakfast in this place is pretty diabolical, so didn’t linger, but went back for a last look around and photo op. Besides brekky our hotel has been really good, if a little small as is typical for most hotels in Italy with space at a premium. We would definitely recommend it to anyone looking to stay in Venice on a bit of a budget. No lift was a bummer, having to walk up and down four flights of stairs, but we hardly spent anytime in our room, so no big deal. Bags packed we headed off to the vaporetta back to the train station, and on to Venezia station to get our hire car. The train station was a shambles as the fast ticket machines were all down, and the ticket booth queue was massive, but luckily found the water taxi …