Sunday, 29 April 2012

Annecy - France

Annecy France - 4th & 5th April 2012

Annecy is a small town in Haute-Savoie in France, around 35 kilometres south of Geneva Switzerland.

The 'Palais de l'Isle', also called the "old prison", was built from the 12th century. It is the symbol of the town and is among the most photographed monuments in all of France.

Palais de l'Isle
 The Basilique de la Visitation, built in the 20th century, contains the tomb of Fran├žois de Sales and Jeanne de Chantal, and offers a magnificent view of the town and surrounding mountains.

On the drive to Annecy you pass an old bridge 'Pont de la Caille' that used to be part of the main road to the town. It is nice to take a small stop an admire the views of the mountains and small river below.

The old town of Annecy is dissected by a river, and either side are period buildings that contain numerous restaurants and curiosity shops. The food is fantastic, and the river idyllic.

 When you walk along the river, you come to a huge lake surrounded by mountains - Le Mont Veyrier, Le Semnoz, La Tournette and the Parmelan. This is an area of France which is visited by many sailors you like to talk yachts out onto the lake in the summer.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Venice Italy - April 9th 2012

Venice Italy - April 9th 2012

To get to Venice you have to cross a bridge from the mainland to Tronchetto. Here you need to park your car before continuing to Venice proper, as there is no road transport allowed on the Venetian Islands.
Bridge to Tronchetto
Tronchetto also called "Isola Nuova", or "New island" is an artificial island located at the westernmost tip of the main island.
The island was created in the 1960's, and now is used as the main car park for tourists who cannot bring their vehicles into the city. After parking your car, you can use either a Water Taxi (Very Expensive) or take a Water Bus. We bought 5 day passes for the water bus system for €50 

Entrance to Parking

View from 'Hotel del Opera' Balcony

View from 'Hotel del Opera' Balcony

View from 'Hotel del Opera' Balcony

The Restaurant Poste Vecie dates back to 1500, it is the oldest Venetian restaurant and originally was a postal sorting of ancient Venice.

The Resturanet is adorned with many itams from its past history. Below are some of the older letters, coins and bank notes that the resturant recieved during is working life.

As you can see from the food above, the cuisine is exquisite, and is just as delicious as it looks.

Hotel Honor Bar

Hotel Patio - Enjoying Gin and Tonic from the Honour Bar

Rialto Bridge
The Rialto Bridge is on the site of the oldest bridge in Venice, and divides the districts of San Marco from San Polo.

The first crossing of the canal was a pontoon bridge built in 1181 by Nicolo Barattieri called the 'Ponte della Moneta'. As the importance of the Fish Market on the Eastern bank grew; so the traffic increased on the pontoon, so in 1255 it was replaced with a wooden bridge. Around the 15th century, two rows of shops along each side of the bridge were added. The bridge collapsed in 1444 and again in 1524 due to the weight of people. The present bridge designed by Antonio da Ponte was completed in 1591, and is now an icon of Venice.

Rialto Bridge from a Gondola

Water Ambulance

Silvia helping a local resident

My new PPE for the BBQ

Drinks and Sea Food with a good friend

The Osteria 'Al Ponte' is a super place. We met a friend who had helped us find our Hotel when we arrived walking near the Osteria, and we asked him for a drink to say thanks. He took us to this little unassuming place were we shared Proseccio. We noticed that there was a lot of small dishes of sea food at the bar, so we tried everything, Mussels, Gambas, Oysters etc. The food was superb, some of the best we had eaten in Europe. The proprietor was very friendly, he gave us free proseccio and desert, and after eating and drinking for 4 hours or so the bill was just €40. We recommend any one visiting Venice goes to eat here.

Osteria "Al Ponte"

The Osteria ran out of wine, but luckily I found this!

St Marco Basilica,

€10 Euro for each coffee :-(

As we had Water Bus passes, we took the bus to the Island of 'Murano'. Murano is 1.5 km (0.93 miles) north of Venice, and has a population of around 5,000. Murano is famous for its glass making. The trade mark for Murano glass is now protected by the Venician and Italian authorities.

Murano Glass Maker

The Finished Product

Bellini's in a typical Murano street cafe.

We found Harry's Bar!
We had been advised to visit 'Harry's Bar', but after several searches could not find it. Then on the way back from the island of Murano we decided to get of the water bus at a different stop just for fun, and.... guess?   Right at the end of the dock for the bus was 'Harry's Bar'.

Harry's opened in 1931, and it was declared a national landmark by the Italian Ministry for Culture in 2001.

Harry's Bar has been visited by many famous people, including :- Ernest Hemingway, Arturo Toscanini, Guglielmo Marconi, Charile Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Truman Capote, Orson Wells, and Baron Philippe de Rothschild.

Harry's is famous for its 'Bellini' This is a drink of Prosecco mixed with liquidised Peaches'. Below you can see Silvia and I enjoying the Bellini's but....... watch the price, they are €20 each.

Bellini's at the ready

At The Fish Market

Mmmmm More Bellini's

In Venice, everything arrives by boat

Campanile of St Mark's church

Birthday celebration in San Marco Square

Birthday drink on the Hotel Balcony

Whilst we were at the Hotel, Silvia said she was going to the Honour Bar for some Gin and Tonic. I then heard some thing happening outside so went to the Balcony to find Silvia and a small band on the little bridge over the Canal playing me a "Serenata' for my birthday. I was so touched, what a special thing to do.
The band 'Formatia Frateli played several songs on the bridge before comomg to the Hotel room to play more. The Hotel gave us a big bottle of Proseccio which we shared with the band.

Formatia Frateli  

Birthday trip on a Gondola

My beautiful wife on the Gondola

Serenata on the bridge

Video of the Serenata (May not have volume on Windows 7)