My last travel update ended in Naples from where we then headed the next morning to Rome. Headed with bags in tow over to the main train station and once again stood awaiting a platform number, train arrived, on we jumped into our respective carriage and seats and away we went again. There’s always a ‘little man’ somewhere who makes his living from helping tourists with their bags so we made use of one and he dragged our big suitcases up onto the train and into the luggage holders for us – gave him 5 Euros ($7.50) but then clicked his fingers and wanted the same again for the extra bags – what the heck – he saved our backs!!! Sometimes it’s just easier to pay for a bit of help than tug and heave ourselves.

Hint: travel with a smaller case when using trains in Europe!!

Pickup at our hotel at 8am with first stop being at Herculaneum.

The next part of our trip has been heading down to Naples on the Eurostar train. We arrived lugging our bags from the hotel onto the platform and waited with however many other people until a platform number came up on the electronic display board which appeared a whole 10 minutes before the train was due to depart. So off everyone trundked way down the platform to respective pre-booked carriage numbers.

Today was what anyone could want when visiting the Tuscany region of Italy. We had a 9am start from our hotel and headed out from Florence in our BMW van which is Federico's method of transporting people around. He had obviously cleaned and polished it prior to meeting us again so it was obvious he took great pride in what he does for a living.

Shopping, Shopping, shopping!

This place is leather heaven and between 3 of us now we have managed to accumulate about 9 or 10 handbags!!! They are really cheap and 'will never go astray!' That's our motto anyway.

Gold earrings have been another favourite between us - in general prices are really cheap here - more so thatn we imagined so we are getting our shopping in whilst there are no husbands around!!!

First stop out this morning was along the Arno River in Florence, at the Ponte Vecchio - the main bridge across the river. It is not a vehicular bridge but more an icon of Florence with heaps of little shops on top and a very touristy area. But onward and forward to the church of Santa Croce! But ho hum - there's lots of leather shops around !!!

A new day in Florence and a bit of a late start as we have a tour guide collecting us today for a full day trip. I had organised a private tour guide over the internet who made some suggestions as to what we might like to see and do and eventually along with my input, we came up with a plan. A bit of a worry plaaning something like that over the internet but "Federico" our tour guide turned up promptly at 10.30am as planned in his nice clean Mercedes van, introduced himself and off we set.

Click here for photos

As many of you know of course, Kemm and I have jetted off to Italy this time, but not before a bad start with me walking around the house, handbag on shoulder, waiting for our pick-up – brrrr brrrr, phone call – sorry, you’re flight’s been cancelled! And that was from the driver who was due to pick us up! 5 minutes later we heard from Emirates – the flight had not even left Auckland so they had certainly known for a good few hours but hadn’t got the message to us –mmmm.....
Anyway a few phone calls later and we moved everything out by 24 hrs – so yes, Scruffy, I heard you barking but you didn’t Know I was still home!!!
So it was then Wednesday night when we headed out – first flight direct from Brisbane to Dubai – 15 hours worth, then a 5 hour wait in transit at Dubai airport before our next leg from Dubai to Venice of 6 hours. A very long haul but we both did manage a few hours sleep along the way.


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