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Showing posts from May, 2012

Counting Our Blessings.

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Throughout this awesome trip we did in Europe, our 3 year old was safely in the care of my husband's parents. We all went to Austria together for a week and then we parted ways in Munich, where we saw them off at the airport to come back to Muscat on their own. Hubby's parents were looking after our son in our house while we were away galavanting through Europe. Here I say I am truly blessed to have them in my life. Not many grandparents can do that for their kids so we're very lucky. So to avoid them going stir crazy in Muscat, hubby arranged that they go to Kathmandu, Nepal for 3 days for a tour around there with our three year old in tow! Mind you this will be 3 Year Old's second time there.
A friend couldn't believe that this was happening, and pointed out that we were sending our son with his grandparents on their own to Oman in the Middle East and then on to Nepal, both "third world countries", were we crazy? Well that's looking at it in a way …

Venezia - Last and Sad day

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We slept in. We got ready, checked out of the hotel and dragged our bags through the street to the boat. We decided to go to the train station to check the train times, leave our bags in the baggage storage and make our way to a Salvador Dali exhibition and see the museum of costumes before catching a later train to Milan for our flight in the evening. As we stood on the boat enjoying the sights of Venice I reached for my phone to take some last photos, when I did I noticed I had messages. One of them was from my dear friend who has been like a sister to me since we met four years ago. In the text she tells me that her test results came back and that she had breast cancer and she will have a mastectomy this week-end. I looked up to find my husband for support and it's as if Venice had gone black, had lost it's glamour in that one moment. All I wanted was to get home to hug my son and then go see my friend and hold her hand and just be there for her through this terrible journe…

Venezia: Day 2 Morano Glass

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Venice day 2
We took up the free ride offer from the hotel to go see how glass is made on the island of Morano. It was a very cold day and windy over the water. They took us and four others in a water taxi which was quite comfortable. We saw the glass master heat the particles in extreme heat and mould it into a vase then another into an horse. His skill was fascinating to watch and they are apprentices for many years before they can be masters. Afterwards we were shown through to their immense shop with the hope that we'd buy some products. As much as I wanted one I was just imagining arriving home to Muscat and finding a shattered expensive ornament in our backpacks! So no grazie to the pricey glassware. 














We walked through the small island to the town centre Colonna, had coffee and jumped on the boat to San Marco square to make the most of the day. It was a bright cold day but we arrived to hordes of tourists all over the place. There was a long queue into the Doges palace which w…

Venezia

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Venice day 1
We took a train from Verona to Venezia/Venice that took one hour with beautiful views. We pulled into the Venice train station and outside the main entrance we bought public transport tickets for 48 hours 28euro each plus Venezia Tourist Cards(highly recommended) that get us into many attractions with minimum payment or no extra fee, meaning you avoid the long queues too. We caught the boat to Lido Island where our hotel was located. The boat took about 40 mins but the views were just beautiful. We learned later that you can take a boat that makes fewer stops which cuts travelling time. 


"O Romeo, where art thou?" Verona

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Verona
We arrived on Wizz Air from Budapest to Bergamo near Milan. We caught the train with one change in Brescia for Verona. It took about 2 hours all up to travel by train. Our hotel thanks to hubby's great skill on hotel finding (again) found us one halfway between the train station and the Arena or town center. We checked in and made our way into town. The Arena was closed to the public so we couldn't go inside but we walked around it and walked the streets of Verona until we came across Juliet's house of Romeo and Juliet. The courtyard with walls were filled with graffiti of love letters from people for Juliet! In the courtyard was a statue of Juliet of which her right breast is exposed and the left one had her hand over her heart. There's a myth that if unlucky one can rub Juliet's heart for good luck. While we were looking around in the courtyard we witnessed with amusement some tourists holding on to Juliet's right breast and having their photo taken! We…

How did we get here?

In two days time, one of my closest friends will start undergoing chemo-therapy, to be rid of any remaining cancer cells in her system after undergoing a mastectomy last month! I never thought I'd say that, ever, but here we are, just another group of people affected by this terrible disease called cancer. I guess you think you know what it's like but you don't until it hits people you're close to. When I got the bad news, we were floating along the canals in Venice, one of the most spectacular cities in the world but at that moment it felt like someone had sucked the life and magic out of Venice in one breathe and we were left in darkness with terrible sadness and shock.  Hana is one of the strongest women I've met and know. And this dreadful cancer as another friend put it, has met it's match. She is fighting this thing and living life like nothing awful has happened. With a healing scar on her chest she is going through each day like any other day. Taking her…

Budapest Day 6

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The next morning we bought tickets on the Hop On Hop Off bus. It took us on a tour around town past the memorial square and past the theater, the Red light district and we got off at the foot of the hill where Buda Castle was located. We walked up the steep steps and garden which had beautiful views of the city. The Castle was a series of buildings on the top of the sprawling hill. Buda was more hilly than the Pest flat side but just beautiful. We walked around the streets near the castle. We went to go into the beautiful Matthias church there, then we noticed a small poster on the ticket office window that warned that there was renovation in progress so you could only view one quarter of the cathedral for the same price...well no  thanks to that. We then continued on and enjoyed the sites until the next bus came to our stop. We took the bus up to the highest point the Citadel. From there we could see past the castle across the Danube river at the Pest side of the city where the beaut…

Budapest Day 5

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Hungary
We left Prague in the afternoon to catch our flight on Wizz Air to Budapest. Hubby was hard on the iPad and got us good fares on Wizz air to omit the long train ride. We landed and caught the minibus which wasn't too expensive that dropped us to the door of our rented apartment which hubby found on agoda To our surprise it was a cosy apartment with 3 bedrooms and slept 6 people with everything in it. Two bathrooms one with a bathtub and a fully-fitted kitchen. It was fantastic and if that wasn't enough, it was right in the city centre on Nador Utca(Streer) that leads into the St Stephen Basilica Street. It was a great find. Classic Samoan style we hadn't made concrete plans before this trip, but armed with the iPad and 4 years outdated Lonely Planet on Europe we managed to get around and find killer deals all over the place! The boxes that needed ticking in our accommodation range were the obvious ones but must be near tram/train station and must have Wireless Inter…

What to feed your kids

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Ok so I am a pretty relaxed mum. I like to think so but I also like to make sure what my child consumes at this point in his life is healthy but balanced out with the junk that is available to this age.                                                                                                                    
My son is a chocoholic...and I mean this child will say no thanks to candy but YES to ANY type of chocolate in sight he would ask for chocolate any time of the day and if he has a whiff that there's any in the fridge well good luck to us as he won't rest until he either eats it or knows for sure there isn't any!

That doesn't mean we make sure there's chocolate in the house at all times...no sirree we only buy it now and again and give it to him at certain times! However I also am not going to say no to pizza once in a while. Having said that a lot of my friends are on the same boat as I, but then, you come across the odd one that just tries everything sh…