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Blog Archives: Entries for 2011

The festive season

Hello all fellow travellers and followers out there, the festive season is on us once again. So its time to get thinking about gifts for the friends and family. Know someone who’s into travel or would like to hear an amazing story? Well why not think about buying my amazing travel autobiography; Seeing the world my way Published by Silverwood Originals, priced pounds 8.99, $14.50 Travel and adventure with an alternative view. Go on, take a chance; you might enjoy the read yourself! Have a fantastic festive season where ever you are – on the road, in a far flung corner of the world away from family and friends or selibrating with loved ones in your humble abode. Keep rocking in the free world and happy travels to all Tonythetraveller Ps, I’ll be in Greece this xmas, celibrating with my girlfriend and her Greek family – xmas with a different flavour!

A week in northern Italy

Northern Italy, a region of industry, intriguing history, stunning mountains and enchanting lakes. My Greek girlfriend, Tatiana and I spent a week exploring this region with no sight between us!

Two nights in Milan, two nights in Verona, a day in Padua and another night in Como, before returning to Milan for one more evening of hospitality.

We flew from Athens, Greece to Milan, Malpensa on 27th October and returned a week later. There are frequent, reasonably priced Easy Jet flights between the two cities.

Upon landing at Malpensa, a suburb city of Milan, about 30 miles, 50 km from Milan’s centre, we took the shuttle bus – EUR 7.50 to the central train station.

With help, we then caught a bus which dropped us near the hostel we’d booked. We were located about a fifteen minute journey from Milan’s centre, but since Milan has excellent transportation – bus, metro, tram, exploring the city was simple.

We had two nights in the capital of fashion. Our first evening was spent just relaxing and the second evening was spent in local company – a friend of Tatiana’s.

During the day, we explored some of the sites. Milan has several historical and notable churches-basilicas the most interesting being the Cathedral ‘Duomo’ of Milan. It is a huge Romanesque-Gothic monstrosity of a building, which we discovered by strolling around its interior and later walking passed some of its exterior. The audio guide, which is available in several languages, help provide explanation to its many famous windows, altars and other exhibits. The huge candelabra is a must see. Tatiana and I wanted to take the lift-elevator to go up on the roof to take pictures and experience the upper atmosphere, but we were denied due to the excuse of health and safety or, in my mind, discrimination! Tatiana speaks good Italian, but still, it wasn’t worth arguing about.

We explored the Piazza dei Duomo, Cathedral Square – the main square of Milan in the city’s centre. This is where the cathedral lies. The Galaria Vittorio Emannuel II – a glass roofed shopping arcade also begins at this square. Several palaces including the Reale Palazzo, Royal Palace are to be found on and around the Piazza dei Duomo. It is a lively area and the shopping mall is fascinating, full of glass fronted shops and cafes, busy with people talking, eating and wandering.

An interesting spectacle and must do when in Milan, is to take a spin on the Bull! In the centre of the Gallaria Vittorio Emannuel II, are floor tiles with printed pictures. One such tile contains an imprint of a Bull with his privates missing! If you take a spin on this bull, it is supposed to bring you good luck and fortune! After much searching, asking many people, getting lost and being sent in the wrong direction several times, a young couple from Germany, tourists like ourselves, helped us find it. Tatiana and I did our spin and then went in search of Panserotto, a delicious Milanese snack. This consists of a sweet bread filled with cheese and tomato source, folded in half and fried! It cost about EUR 2.50 and was excellent. Although, we did have to cue for what felt like forever.

We later visited Teatro ala Skala, the famous opera house, built in 1778 – two hundred years before I was born! It’s close to the main square and although the museum is not that interesting as most objects are behind glass, it is worth visiting just to enter one of the boxes and view the theatre and stage. Just standing in the tiny box, which seats about four people, you get a sense of grandeur and awe – imagine the atmosphere on an evening of great opera, everyone dressed in their finest. We met a kind Italian named Matteas on the street. He helped us enter the Skala and showed us around the museum briefly before helping us across the road and into the nearby Piazza dei Skala.

We next visited Verona with its various attractions of squares, churches and Roman ruins. We stayed in a nice guesthouse near Piazza del Brar – Verona’s largest square. This interesting square contains the Roman Arena, now used for summer concerts and events, a lovely central fountain and a historical clocktower. The square’s apex is lined with colourful cafes and restaurants. We visited one such place on our first evening in the city. It was named the Hipopottemous and had outdoor tables with heated lamps.

We spent an entire day exploring, wandering the narrow cobbled streets, packed with Saturday shoppers and market goers. Apparently, the autumn market was in full swing and we became entangled in the stalls and products later in the afternoon. We began our explorations in the Brar Square and a kind, local couple helped us find and enter the ancient Roman Arena. It was largely an open space of rough ground, which you enter through a kind of tunnel entrance, that slopes downwards into the arena. At one time, chariot races occurred in this arena. We felt a couple of enormous, stone square pillars.

Next we followed the main pedestrian street into the centre of the city. We explored Piazzas Erbe and Signori respectfully – the latter contains a statue of Dante and has the Arco del Costo on one side. We asked several people for directions to the house of Juliette of the famed Juliette and Romeo. We were given several directions, which took us along many medieval, narrow cobbled streets, but alas, we kept hitting blocked streets. Eventually, a really kind, local man showed us the way and even helped us enter the house, ascend the two flights of steep stairs and go onto the famous balcony. There’s a statue of Juliette in the courtyard on a plinth with one breast revealed to the public. Tatiana stood on the plinth and she was able to touch her. We both rubbed Juliette’s breast for good luck!

We finished the day’s investigations by stumbling through the open market and finally, discovered the church of Santa Anastasia, which is Tatiana’s first name. We listened to the organ in practice, before wandering around the large, open church. It was quiet and cool. We found several statues and angels to feel plus an altar or two. When travelling as a blind person, finding objects to tuch and atmosphere to sense is an important part of the entire adventure.

Next we headed to Padua for a night and this is where problems began! We caught the train with assistance and on arrival in Padua, took a bus to the location of our accommodation. However, we missed the stop and had to go back. We found ourselves in a kind of residential countryside, trees and fences and few people. I had remembered the directions of the guesthouse from the bus stop, so we set off in what we hoped was the right way. Luckily, we met a lady who knew the guesthouse we wanted. We discovered that the guesthouse was located far from Padua’s centre and was surrounded by a large car park set back from the road. Thus, it made it more difficult to find. We settled in before going into the city to find food and get our bearings.

Padua has a large square called Prato della Valle, a huge piazza with a canal in its centre ringed by a balustrade containing 78 large statues of significant figures. Once in the centre, we went in search of a cafe, but since it was only 5.00 pm most places weren’t open. We did eventually find a cafe and had coffee before going exploring. We returned to the Prato della Valle, where the bus had dropped us and crossed the road intending to explore the piazza. it was at this point that we encountered some Italian gipsies. I didn’t understand what was happening, and before I was able to take in the situation, one of them had taken my camera and run off. It was an upsetting moment. It has happened to me before and was most frustrating. Nevertheless, once I had recovered from the shock, we continued walking along by the canal, attempting to feel the huge statues with our canes.

As it was getting cold and it was already dark, we returned to the guesthouse and continued our endeavours the following morning. We found Padua somewhat frustrating, partly because we didn’t know where we were going, and partly due to the expansiveness of the area. However, we did manage to meet a couple of nice locals, one who helped us find the Basilica of San Anthony, a huge church with interesting monuments. The day we visited was All Saints day in Italy and a service was in progress. We managed to visit St. Anthony’s tomb, but I was denied from taking photos. We also met another kind lady on the street who took us to the church of Santa Justina, a lovely church which faces and overlooks the Prato della Valle. We heard the bells being wrung as we approached, which was magical. Once inside, we felt the vastness and expansiveness of this wonderful historical church.

We eventually headed to the train station and discovered to reach Como, on the lake, we had to return to Milan and change trains. Therefore, we arrived at our booked guesthouse in Como around midnight. Luckily, the owner was a kind gentle individual and he even upgraded our room when he saw we were blind. We spent a relaxing day in Como, walking around by some of the lake, listening to the ducks and other birds, before briefly visiting the town’s cathedral and main square. We had lunch in a lakeside cafe before taking a bus to the train station and with some assistance, caught a train back to Milan.

We stayed with Tatiana’s friend for one night, before catching our early flight back to Athens. A delightful trip with only one unhappy incident. Verona, we certainly intend to revisit, but there are many more places and cities in northern Italy to keep us busy for a significant time to come. I’m now relaxing in Greece until December when Tatiana and I return to England for a few days.

Tonythetraveller

Travels

I’ve been busy the last couple of months. In late July, Tatiana and I met up in Rome, Italy’s capital for four lovely days of romance and adventure. We explored the Colosseum, Parthenon and many other famous places and visited the Vatican, a separate sovereign country and the world’s smallest.

In August I attended a couple of successful book signing events and appeared on Radio Bristol. I also undertook several internet blogs and conducted a skype interview for a website in Minnesota called Eyes to
Eyes.

In early September Tatiana and I went to the USA for three weeks. We visited New York City, where it rained, Indianapolis, where Tatiana met people who share her disability. We explored Nashville, Tennessee, visiting the Grand Ole Oprey, the home of country Music and enjoyed southern cuisine in style. Eventually, we ventured to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina where I’d studied in 2000 and stayed with friends. We had good weather for once and walked part of the long beach. Finally, we had five interesting days investigating all the monuments and sites in Washington DC, the US capital. We had one problem on arrival in Washington, as the private room we had reserved turned out to be a dorm room. Notwithstanding the confusion, this was eventually re-aranged and we stayed in an interesting friendly hostel named Hilltop Hostel in the suburbs.

Because we had a fifteen day bus pass and could travel where we wished, we spent a day in Philadelphia, accompanied by more rain. We were allowed to touch the famous Liberty Bell, a treat, as it is off limits to most other tourists. We also sampled the famous and delicious Philly steak and cheese sandwich.

I’ve spent the last two weeks doing book signing events around the UK including an Alumni event for my former University in Northampton. I also did an interview for BBC radio Wiltshire, which is one of my best to date. You can listen to it if you go to the link to radio interviews.

This weekend, I am book signing in Waterstones Cardiff, 2A the Hays. On Sunday 16th October, from 5.30 pm I will be at Stanford books in Bristol. There will be a book reading, a talk by me and an opportunity to buy signed copies of my book, Seeing the World My Way.

I return to Tatiana in Athens, Greece next Wednesday 19th October. We fly to Milan on 27th October for a week and plan to explore Verona and visit Lake Como.

Happy travels to everyone on the road.
Tonythetraveller

Rome blog

Rome: From a Blind Person’s Perspective By Tony Giles Tonythetraveller Rome, is the capital city of Italy. Vatican City, residence of the Pope, is a walled enclave within Rome. Italy’s capital is an ancient area where the Roman Empire began 2,800 years ago. Notable archaeological buildings, such as the Colosseum, Pantheon and the Forum Romanum ruins, bared witness to the vast civilization that existed centuries ago. Vibrant modern day Rome is a reflection of its 14th-16th century renaissance period, illustrated by the crowded Piazza Navona, Piazza Popolo and Piazza di Spagna, plus the Piazza del Campidoglio, re-designed by Michelangelo. The famous Trevi fountain, designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and created by Nicola Salvi (1732), is another popular site for both tourists and locals. The 18th century Spanish Steps, by Italian architect Francisco de Sanctis, which lead to the lavishly designed French church Trinità dei Monti with magnificent views over Rome, is also another popular meeting place. The combination of stylish architectural extravagance, vast vociferous crowds and an important church, conjure a vivid picture of Rome, both during the renaissance and today.

However, what is the significance to a blind person? Indeed, even to someone daring to travel with sight loss?

The answers only become apparent once people realize that blind people might wish to travel or, in my case, journey frequently. I’ve spent the last thirteen years travelling solo around the world blind. This came from a desire to be independent and challenge myself. My girlfriend Tatiana, who I met through my website, is from Greece and is also totally blind. Since we both live in separate countries, we decided to meet in Rome for four days, as it is approximately half way between Greece and England. In addition, Tatiana is studying Italian and strongly desired to visit Rome.

On 18th July 2011, we met up in the arrivals area of Fiumicino (Leonardo da Vinci) airport. Rome has two international airports – the other is Ciampino. Most disabled people receive assistance when flying and are usually met at their destination. So, despite both Tatiana and I being blind, we found each other assisted by airport staff. They even helped us catch the airport train into Rome’s centre. A single ticket currently costs 14 Euros and the journey takes forty minutes. We discovered later that although the bus takes over an hour from the city to Fiumicino, a single ticket only cost 8 Euros.

I’d researched Rome’s attractions and hostel accommodations on the internet previously, with the help of a screen reading software called Jaws. Therefore, I roughly knew the directions to our reserved accommodation. We met an Australian couple on the train and they kindly assisted us to our hostel, as it was getting late and dark and there were many homeless and thieves loitering outside Termini train station. Once at the hostel, a second floor apartment up three flights of stairs and through several heavy doors, we settled in and asked directions to a nearby restaurant to sample Italy’s delicious cuisine. Tatiana and I both use long canes to negotiate streets, stairs and all other obstacles. We rely on the public, other travellers and hostel staff to help with directions to places and attractions. Travelling is a challenge which is often difficult, but most rewarding when successful.

Why do we travel? For the sounds, smells, food, music, historical interests we both share. But mainly to meet people and experience the culture.

The next morning we asked for directions to the nearest metro for the Colosseum, Rrome’s most famous building. We exited the hostel, turned left and walked along the uneven pavement until we found the first street on our left. We quickly discovered that Rome’s roads and pavements are uneven and many have cobbles, which caused problems for our canes. We asked directions for the nearest metro in both English and Italian and were eventually guided there by a local. Once inside, we stood still with our canes until someone asked us if we required a help “companion”. We stated our destination, and were taken to a staff member. Several escalators later, we’d descended into the bowels of the metro and were helped onto the correct train. Rome currently only has two metro lines, A and B (although line C is under construction). We both knew that the metro and buses would be busy and provided good opportunities for robbery, a common practice in Rome. We kept our valuables close and suffered no incidence. Tatiana counted the stations and listened to the Italian announcements.

At our stop, we pushed our way through the people and alighted. However, as I was stepping off, I slipped and my left leg went between the metro and the platform – a scary moment for both of us. It’s happened to me before and I’m used to incidences occurring having travelled for many years. But Tatiana is relatively new to the game and it frightened her. However, metro staff rescued me, assisted us out the station and gave us directions to the nearby Colosseum. Although I’m blind, I like taking photographs. So after refreshments at an adjacent café, we crossed the road by listening for the quiet of traffic and followed the sound of other pedestrians. Once across the road, we discovered a large cobbled open space, which I took for Colosseum Square. We were in direct sunlight, which meant we were away from the shadow of buildings. I asked a tourist for directions to Constantine’s Arch built (315 A.D.) located on Colosseum square, and another tourist helped me take a picture. We walked forward a few metres before turning right and followed the sound of more people. We enquired about the line for the Colosseum and were told to continue passed the people, many who’d been standing in the blazing sun for over two hours to buy tickets. Being blind enabled us to skip the line and enter the Colosseum. I showed my disabled bus pass and we were allowed free admittance and received a discount on the audio guide. It’s a hand-held device containing a tactile keypad.

We were taken to the start of the self-guided tour, physically shown the direction to go and informed to complete the audio tour in approximately two hours. We were left beside a stone column on its side near the entrance in a corridor like area underneath the amphitheatre. We briefly listened to the audio guide before going in search of our first location. With our audio guide and cane in one hand and our other linked together, we followed the corridor. I tapped the right hand wall with my cane until I found steps on my right. With confirmation from an American tourist, we ascended the flights of large steep steps, following them until they finished. Once up, we listened to the first commentary about the Colosseum. I took photos of the area, using the walls and pillars as a guide. The audio guide was somewhat confusing, as it gave no directions to each place relating to the commentary. Initially, I was unsure if we were on the correct level, and when we asked other tourists for the numbers relating to the audio guide, nobody understood our request. Eventually, we met a tourist with a map corresponding to the guide and the lady helped us to the next place.

The upper gallery gave views over the Colosseum’s arena where circus animal entertainment and gladiatorial contests occurred. The animals and gladiators were held in cages and brought into the arena through trap doors in the floor. These doors and underground tunnels are now visible. We continued following the audio guide and feeling the walls and ruins as we went. I showed Tatiana a huge column and she measured its circumference by walking around it. We located the panoramic terrace, which apparently gave good views towards the Roman forum, Constantines Arch and the ancient Temple of Venus and Roma. We learnt about the seat sectioning according to class with the carved names of important individuals still noticeable in the marble.

The Colosseum’s Construction began in 72 A.D. under Empiror Vespasian and was completed in 80 A.D. under Empiror Titus. It’s considered one of the greatest structures of Roman architecture and engineering. We enjoyed it for its size, rough textures of various building materials, such as stone, brick and marble, and absorbed the information, gaining an impression of the Colosseum at the height of roman imperialism. We briefly explored the lower level, assisted by a couple of staff members before exiting into the hot blazing sun and returning to the only café in the near vicinity.

Later, we visited the Trevi Fountain, one of Rome’s most famous attractions, full of atmosphere and people. We entered the Colosseo Metro and asked about a train to Trevi Fountain. A staff member informed us we needed a bus and took us to one outside the metro entrance. We told the bus driver our destination and hoped he’d remember as the bus was packed! It was early evening, around 7.00 pm. Two People gave us their seats and another local told us when to alight. However, we were dropped a few streets from the fountain in question. Tatiana asked in Italian and eventually we found someone who spoke both Italian and English. The lady helped us cross several streets and told us to continue walking straight, the most common advice we received in Rome! We finally arrived in a pedestrian street with many restaurants and continued asking for the Trevi Fountain. We reached a dead end, the street being blocked by a large van. A local man took us around a barrier and up to Trevi Square. Tatiana heard the fountain and we walked towards the noise. We pushed through the large crowd and moments later our canes hit a barrier and we were beside the Trevi Fountain.

We followed the voices of several tourists, descended a slight slope, carefully climbed down three irregular shaped stone steps and approached the large rectangular fountain. Tatiana and I sat on the small wall and dipped our fingers into the cool water. The fountain itself was in front of us and slightly to the right. I followed the small wall towards the fountain’s sound and asked a tourist to take our picture. An American guy described the fountain with ‘the restive sea horse’, a statue of Neptune in a sea shell chariot being pulled by two sea horses, one calm and the other restless, representing the changing moods of the sea. We sat on the small wall and relaxed in the company of the musical Trevi Fountain.

Later, we had dinner in the pedestrian street we had walked earlier. We shared a pizza topped with cheese, tomatoes, mushrooms and Italian sausage, washed down with lemonade, followed by the exquisite ice cream gelato in a nearby parlour. As we finished our meal, it began to rain – some people would have a wet meal that night! Restaurant tables are invariably outside and usually consist of wooden tables and chairs, the tables decorated with fine linen, candles and a rose – the Italians appear both friendly and romantic. It was extremely hot both day and night during our stay, hence dining in the open.

We returned to our hostel by bus, locating the bus stop with help from a delightful Irish couple. They were on their honeymoon and exploring Italy.

This is a brief account of the activities of two blind people exploring Rome. An interesting city, full of history, ruins, friendly and helpful Italians, good food and wonderful piazzas and fountains.

I’m currently 32 years old, live in Teignmouth, Devon, UK I’ve visited sixty countries, all 50 US States, 10 Canadian Provinces and every continent. My travel website is http://www.tonythetraveller.com Facebook: Tony the Traveller My first travel book: Seeing the World My Way Published by Silverwood Originals Priced at £8.99 (paperback) and also as an e-book Available in UK book stores. http://www.silverwoodbooks.com/my-way http://www.amazon.co.uk/Seeing-World-Way-Tony-Giles/dp/1906236380/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1314177576&sr=8-1 I enjoy travelling, walking by the sea, dining with Tatiana, listening to classic rock music and reading historical fiction.

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Since we last spoke, I ventured through southern Bolivia on a four day jeep tour, visiting abandoned mining villages, rock canyons, hot springs, volcanoes, mountains and dry desert. The highlights being the many lagoons, geysers and the amazing salt flat Uyuni de Salar. I completed my exploration of Bolivia along its ‘Gringo trail’ with a brief stop in Potosi, one of the highest cities in the world. Tourists can take a guided mine tour to see for themselves the horrors of South American mining and exploitation of people. I spent a day wandering the city centre, found little, but enjoying walking/climbing the steep streets and hills. Finally, I visited La Paz, Bolivia’s political capital, Sucre is its historical-administrative seat.

I spent three days in La Paz, soaking up the atmosphere of the Wild Rover Backpackers, an Irish owned establishment with first class facilities. Entering the hostel off the grimy, noisy, dirty and crowded streets of La Paz was like switching between different worlds! The hostel was an excellent place to party, meet young western travellers and unwind after tiresome travel, but it was not authentic Bolivia, not at all. I Explored the city with its main squares, large impressive churches and garish markets in the company of an Irish couple I met in Potosi and two girls from Northern Ireland who I had met previously. Hiking the steep hills hurt my legs and punished my lungs, but it was what I enjoyed. Plus, it was the last place of altitude I faced on this trip.

I eventually departed Bolivia and headed to Peru. I spent one fruitless night in the small town of Puno, on the shore of Lake Titicaca. I stayed at a delightful family-run hostel before taking a long and bumpy-twisty night bus to Lima, Peru’s capital. The bus journey took over twenty-six hours although, the coach was reasonably comfortable and snacks were provided.

I stayed near the beach in the Barranco district of the huge metropolis and spent my few days in Peru with a lovely guy named Paul, a friend of my girlfriend’s. They both share the same disability, although Paul has little trouble with his sight, unlike Tatiana who is totally blind.

Pictures will be available of Paul and I together shortly after this blog is published.

We spent an evening by the ocean near Barranco’s main square, taking photos before having dinner. I tried cow’s heart, which was chewy and tasted slightly like liver, not my favourite delicacy!

The following day, Paul and I explored the city centre, visiting San Martin Square with its large equestrian statue and fountains and Republic square with its famous political buildings, more fountains and a huge national flag. We witnessed the changing of the guard, a colourful affair with much military music in the hot sun, a wonderful spectacle for the huge crowd.

We walked one of the bridges over the Rímac River and visited a water park with many more beautiful fountains. I love the sound of flowing water.

I spent time with Paul and met and had several meals with his lovely family. Paul’s dog is crazy! He showed me an iguana, which thankfully was stuffed – its claws were very sharp!

I also visited a charity organization supporting deaf-blind people called Sense during my brief stay in Lima. I went to an organized event in London in January 2011 and discovered they had overseas projects, including one in Lima. Therefore, when the opportunity presented itself, I decided to meet some of the staff and discover what occurred in Peru. I met a brother and sister, called Antonio and Monica, who were both deaf-blind. We communicated through Ricardo, the head of Sense Peru and one of his colleagues. It was an interesting challenge. I conversed with Ricardo, who spoke excellent English. He translated for his colleague who knew a little deaf-blind sign language. This is done using the hand. The question I asked or answer I gave was first presented to Monica who informed her brother Ricardo. We communicated like this for just over an hour. I noticed immediately upon our opening conversation that they were both intelligent. Ricardo had some sight and was able to do a menial job. Monica had no sight or hearing, but had become educated before she lost the ability of both senses.

It was a fascinating learning experience and demonstrates that almost anything is possible. I also visited a school to discover how deaf-blind children learn and were supported in Peru. The government plays no role in this support and schools are private and equipment is bought by generous donations from wealthy individuals and small groups.

The education centres around sensory stimulation by using different shaped animals and large inflatable balls and blocks among other items.

A unique experience and insight into disability in South America.

Since April, I have been in Greece with Tatiana. We briefly explored the island of Salamina near Athens. However, as we alighted from the ferry, the heavens opened and the only church of note was closed.

We spent a weekend on Paros Island in the Cyclades, walking and exploring in the heat. We visited the large church of Our Lady of 100 Gates just before a wedding began, that was fun!

Tatiana and I explored Ireland together in early May, visiting Belfast, capital of Northern Ireland, where we took a coach tour to Giant Causeway, which was disappointing, especially as there wasn’t much to touch or walk on. The rope bridge event was good even though we became wet and exhausted during the walk to and from the bridge.

We also took a ‘Black taxi’ tour around Belfast monuments and wall murals and the former trouble spots during the violent times.

In the Republic of Ireland, we had four days in Dublin, dodging yet more rain and trying to find places that were open to the public. Our trip occurred a week before the Queen of England was due to visit. Thus, many places were off-limits, including the castle tour and the Trinity College library with its book of Kells, most annoying. We had delicious Irish stew in a couple of different pubs and heard traditional music, blues and some jazz, which filled our spirits. The final stop was in Cork City at the bottom of southern Ireland. We experienced little of the city, using Cork more as a base to visit other places such as Clonakilty for a Michael Collins guided tour and Blarmey where we visited the castle to kiss the famous Blarmey stone. Tatiana and I ascended over 200 narrow, winding steps to the castle ramparts. I managed to kiss the stone lying on my back, while Tatiana kissed thin air. She did manage to touch it.

We are about to meet up in Rome for a few days 18th-22nd July and embark on a tour of the east coast of the US in September.

That’s all for now.

Tonythetraveller.com

Enjoy the photos and videos of Antarctica and South America which will appear later this month.