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Composing like Mozart

  

There are days when I feel like Mozart. 
I watched the movie Amadeus many years ago and was fascinated to learn, he did not compose on paper. Rather, the composition happened in his head and later he simply wrote it out. Amazing! 
I know I “write” in my head. I sometimes find myself laying awake at night having scenes from something I am writing play out in my head. Dialog and emotions broiling away and finally all coming together. 
There are times when I have to get up and write while the picture is clear, before sleep fades and blurs the edges. 
While I don’t consider myself in the same league as Mozart. Far from it! However, I understand his need, compulsion to get the finished work out of his head. Out and down on paper. In his case, music! 
The written word can be music to one’s ears though can’t it. When written in such a way as to move us, change us, take us away to far away places, then it can be, to our soul, just like the music of Mozart.
Don’t you just love a good symphony?! 

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Solo

Well i was going to go do my own thing and ken was going with Greenhaugls to see Buckingham Palace, St.Pauls, parliament buildings and Big Ben. 
However with the weather also being a bit soggy, Russ and Annette decided to go to the British Museum etc where they’d keep dry! 
So….. Ken was coming with me. We took the tube to ‘Blackfriar’ stop and walked along the Thames to the millennium bridge which is pedestrian only. It crosses the river right where a replica of the Globe theatre stands… Where Shakespeare’s plays were originally performed.

   
 At least he was interested in the building so not totally bored. 
I had read about the replica of the Shakespeare’s Globe. This was a theatre built in 1599, rebuilt several times and then lost…. The foundation nearby theatre of the same vintage was unearthed while an area was being excavated for building purposes. The Rose theatre. Historians knew the Globe theatre was next door so they were able to locate part of it. 
The replica was built only a couple of minutes walk away but took many years of fundraising, and permits etc. I enjoyed it so much! I wish I could have seen a play there as it would be a unique experience. Our guide said it is unique for actors as well, and some love it and can’t wait to come back, others are afraid as it is light and the actors can see audience. Some of them up close. 
After that, ken and I were looking for somewhere to have lunch. Many years ago, Angela, a London friend of ours took us to a place in Soho called Wagamamas. It is a noodle house, large bowls of Ramen noodles with all sorts of things in it. The place was so successful that there are restaurants all over England. On our walk to the tube station we spied a Wagamamas. What a surprise! So we went in and ate, ordering the same thing actually. The house special, as it had chicken, shrimp, pork, clams…. And noodles, all in a tasty chicken broth. 

   
 From there we headed on to the tube station again, stopping to take pictures of a few things, The Golden Hinde…ship, the Shard (a building) and a market. 
Ken wanted to wander on Oxford street for a bit so that’s what we did, from Bond street where we exited the tube, to Park Lane where we picked up our number 10 bus ‘home’.

  
(Selfridges…department  store)

Time for a rest. 
Snacks for dinner and lastly…..for our last night together……. Need I tell you what else we did?!? 😀

Russ and Annette have one more day in London but we are in Southampton helping Mum to get ready to come back with us for a visit…..see you soon, Victoria friends.

I will post more pics of our trip on Instagram and Facebook once I get home. And the best ones here for any of you who won’t see them elsewhere. 

Caio, cheerio, arrivederci! 

London. 

A comfortable bed! I repeat… A comfortable bed! Ahhhh. We all slept rather well and didn’t rush in the morning. I made sure I had directions to our London hotel. A little boutique place found on booking.com called simply suites. We will let you know if it is as good as it looks. 
A shuttle to the airport terminal was the first thing and ate breakfast there.

Then the ‘tube’ to Hammersmith (familiar Sabrina?!) and on to the nearest stop from our hotel, West Kensington. According to the hotel it is a 7 minute walk from the tube. I think perhaps it means it is a 7 minute walk for a London resident not carrying bags….. We shall see….

Well surprisingly enough the directions worked well and it really did only take a few minutes walk, even with our bags. This ‘hotel’ would have been a house at some point and there is NO ELEVATOR! Greenhaugls room was on the ground floor but the one they had for us was on the third floor! After the Amalfi coast and all the walking and climbing we had done over three weeks we asked if there was something else. We had to pay for a bit of an upgrade but then we only had one flight of stairs…..at this point it was worth it!! 
Our room was not ready but theirs was so we stored our bags in theirs and went ‘walkabout’. Since it was raining we decided upon Harrods. There was a bus only a couple of minutes walk away that would take us right there so off we went. 
We got off the bus and had only to walk around the corner to Harrods.as we crossed the road we literally ran into Tenelle McPhee and the three friends she is travelling with. How could that possibly happen in a city with more than 8million people?? LOL. They were also going to Harrods but actually had walked up the wrong road…if they had gone the right way we might never have seen them. We walked along and visited until we arrived at the store then separated. (We did see them a couple more times while we walked around.) 
  
The food section is always entertaining to walk through…… T-bone steak £11.00 /100g, beluga caviar £350 a teeny jar…. Chocolates £8 /100g some that look like flowers or jewels..  

   
   
We went up to ladies wear… Designers we will never see in Victoria! Children’s wear was fun. A tiny (about size 4) pale pink mink coat…£2,300!  (Annette has those pics)

The Egyptian escalator is a work of art, so we went up and down to see it all. At the bottom is a memorial to Princess Diana and Dodi Fahad. A lovely sculpture plus a memorial. The sculpture is beautiful, full of happiness, joy and hope. I enjoyed seeing it. 
   
 Lately as we left the store I finally found the purse I had been looking for all over Italy! It was so beautiful. Many colours, even a little animal print. Small, with a shoulder strap. I was drooling. It was likely a good thing I didn’t see it until Harrods as there I knew for sure I couldn’t afford it. Usually if you have to ask, because they aren’t displaying it, you can’t afford it. Well I just had to find out anyway. He he ha ha ha LOL. The price? Any guesses?? £1650.00. Hehehe 

Oh well….I can dream! 
We were ready for food by then and it was raining fairly hard so getting back inside somewhere was definitely a priority. Just around the corner was a pub. In we went….and found a mixed slider plate for two with two little hamburgers, two meat pies, three small pieces of deep-fried fish, chips, mushy peas. It was lots to share so each of us couples ordered one and dug in! 
(Pics later)

One we were ‘fed up’ we went out to find a bus. We found seats upstairs so we could enjoy the view back and near our hotel we got off. Kensington High Street goes for a long way and has lots of everything in the way of stores. Annette and I took a quick look in M &S (Marks and Spencer’s for the uninitiated) then met the guys at a Tescos to buy a few groceries. We both have a bit of a kitchen so we plan to have breakfast and snacks or one other light meal there. 

It was a bit far carrying our grocery bags and “beverages” so we hopped on another bus back to the hotel. 
Since it was after 2pm when we had all that food at the pub none of us wanted dinner really. I had a few nuts and some blueberries I had bought and when everyone had rested we got together for popcorn (I think the guys were in some serious withdrawal as they hadn’t had any for several weeks….no microwaves and couldn’t see any to buy and cook in a pan) 
And…….yep that’s right. EUCHRE! 

Arrivaderci Italia

For my last morning in Italy, and since we have been staying in residences instead of hotels…I have not had my cappuccino every day. So, it was a must to go down for one today. Ken and I went down to our little caffe on the corner and had cappuccini and pastry. Actually Ken found an extra large donut. 
Since our flight was not until 5:20pm we took a wander around the shops for a while in the morning. I had a been suffering with pain in my lower back for some time now…on and off since Florence. It was so bad the day before that I was not sure if I would be going anywhere in the morning. However I was up in the night, putting cream on itching and swelling mosquito bites, and hit my hip on the sink. It was painful at the time but somehow I think that put something back into place. LOL. So when I rose I was surprised to find the pain was gone. Yippee!

We even braved Termini since we were taking a taxi to the airport and Russ and Annette had never experienced it. And it is an experience! Lots of shops, places to eat and of course trains to here there and everywhere. 
By 1:30pm we were all packed up and had eaten what we could of the food we had left. Getting downstairs was a process so calling for a taxi was the very last thing.
We were quite organized. Russ went downstairs first, then I was deposited in the small elevator with two bags and my backpack. Down I trundled. Russ helped me get the bags out and I returned back up to the 4th floor for the rest. I went back down while Annette phoned for the taxi and then Ken turned off the breaker and locked up. Once we were all down and had rid ourselves of the garbage and recycling we dragged everything outside and the cab was already there waiting. 

The driver, nice young man who spoke fairly good English (said he learned in school, took less than 30 minutes to deposit us to the airport. He drove fast, about 130kph, but safely. 
Lots of time to get checked in, go through security and then passport control. Then it was ‘hurry up and wait’ until our flight. We took turns going for a walk and to check out the duty free.
Staying near the airport in London the first night as we didn’t want to go on the ‘tube’ and find our place in London, at night.
Since we had no dinner on the plane, only a tiny bun with a bit of chicken… They don’t feed you as they used to. So we ate a small repast in the hotel dining room to tide us over till morning.
Cheers! 

Rome- day II

After breakfast we decided to get the metro….which was working again. Apparently the strike was only for the previous day. Likely to make a statement which would ‘encourage the establishment to adhere to their wishes. The metro was very busy and we had to stand for a few stops. I managed to get a seat and then Annette, for the last few. The stop for the Vatican was the most popular, almost everyone got out then, including us. 
We walked the gauntlet, every two steps there were people trying to sell you tickets to beat the line to get in and do tours. Of course they charge quite a bit extra to do that. Since we weren’t going in, only looking at the outside, we were happy to ignore them and keep walking. 
(Sorry..no pics with my iPhone)

We reached the square, after walking also through about 4 blocks of shops selling Vatican memorabilia. Once there, we joined the throngs of visitors, many who were in a long, long line that ringed the square. Perhaps some of them might start to think of paying extra to get in sooner……
We took our pictures and I took some pain killers for my back as we had a walk ahead of us to get to Trastavere area of Rome. Annette had downloaded a walking tour from Rick Steves that said it was an old and interesting area worth a visit. 
  
Our walk took us along the river Tiber from the bridge to the Vatican and south. It is a very pretty walk with all the bridges and Plain trees (Sycamore) that line it on both sides and hang their branches and leaves down. 

It was quite a walk, but my pain killers started to kick in a bit and I managed to get there. Ken had also had enough walking though so we opted to stop at a little caffe and have lunch rather than keep going. We met up again with Russ and Annette and walked the bridge across to infer Rome again and were looking for a tram, bus or if all else failed a taxi to take us home. 
We entered a piazza and it seemed familiar. It is the piazza of cats. Seriously. The ruins that all 250 of them inhabit is apparently where Julius Ceasar was murdered. I read that on any excavation cats seem to move in and this one they stayed. Many who are injured or where mistreated in some way, find their way to this place and volunteers look after them and feed them. Spaying and neutering is done and other medical attention they need. 
At this place we also, finally saw our brothers and sisters with three carts. The young sister spoke quite good English, the older couple spoke only a few words but we enjoyed learning about their ministry in Rome. We were told that where the carts are manned at the Coloseum, many Chinese people there take books. Hundreds have been taken to read. We were encouraged to see them there and they were encouraged to meet ones from another country. 
We found taxis nearby and off to our room. I even had a nap! Something that almost never happens. 

For dinner we made some pasta and sauce and a salad. Then Annette wanted to go take photos of the coloseum lit up, so her and Russ went ‘walk about’ to do that. Ken and I thought we would just go for a stroll. Gelato ended up being part of it. 😉

We were all back in time for a few hands of……you guessed it! Euchre!! 

Coloseo

Our apartment is only a 15 minute walk to the Colosseum so off we went. It is an impressive structure and it’s always amazing to know these things have been standing for about two millennia. It was not too long a wait to get in so we followed the crowd and inched along. Before we knew it we had our tickets and off we went. 

    
We had downloaded the Rick Steves audio guide and so gained some info on that we were seeing. 

  
Along side the coloseum is the Arch of Constantine.
We then made our way into the Forum. Much of these buildings are in ruins but there are a few that are still standing. The long history though is amazing to see and gain a little insight in the lives of ones that lives so long ago. Also, to walk on the same stone blocks that have been walked on for several thousand years. Perhaps by the Apostle Paul…. And others mentioned in the scriptures. 

 

Arch of Titus.

Once we exited the Forum, we kept going and found a little place to have a sandwich. Ken and I shared one that had Turkey, lettuce, tomato and Bresola (smoked beef Italian style!) it was very good. 
A little farther and we had reached the Pantheon. Rather a marvel in engineering and still intact after several millennia. 

    
Next up Trevy Fountain, yes we were on a role! Unfortunately there is restorative work going on and the fountain has been drained. It was better than I hoped though and in pictures we took actually see the amazing sculptures. 

  
So close now to the Spanish steps so we kept going. The other reason was that it was where we could get the Metro back to our apartment. 
Spanish steps was disappointing as the building at the top was being restored…again. Twice now we have not had a good view. The fountain at the bottom was also not in use so it was a no go.  

So was the Metro….they had gone on strike. Taxi it is!! Only €11 so not bad really. I was not able to walk another step really either so I was grateful to sit and be chauffeured home. My lower back has been a problem for a few days now so the walking is just aggravating it. 
After a rest it was time to find food….. The previous night while we were waiting for our takeout I spied a sushi place…. Since I was really up to my eyebrows in pizza it would be a welcome change. 

  
  
  
Ken and I love our sushi so we got the ‘all you can eat’ one price menu. Russ and Annette chose to just order a couple of things. This meant we had to sit at separate tables….just in case we might try to ‘share’.
The food was very good though and we had our fill! Yum! 
Just enough energy for some more euchre…….
Ciao 

Via Pompeii

We woke to rain, and thunder and lightening so it would be iffy stopping in Pompeii on our way to Rome. The drive from Praiano to Pompeii was to be about an hour and by then we would be around in the bay of Naples so we thought we’d wait and see what the weather was like before making the decision to just keep going. 

By the time we arrived at Pompeii the rain had stopped and the sun actually came out a little. Our timing was good. 
   
    
   
Ken and I had been here 10 years previous and there are things that have been uncovered and cleaned up etc since then. There is also an exhibit of bodies that were unearthed. They poured plaster of Paris around the remains and so there is a form that can be seen. (I will post my picture of that when I get home, it’s on the camera) 

Of course the buildings of stone managed to stay somewhat intact. Even frescos and mosaics, marble counters are well preserved but living matter was destroyed instantly. 

  
This time seeing the bodies made the disaster all the more real. Seeing a mother and her children who died together was more sobering than the eerie feeling I had the previous time just looking at all the empty buildings and roads. I felt a little like I did standing at ‘ground zero’ in New York. 
So, as we left and got onto the autostrada to Rome the weather came in again and it rained quite a lot of the way. The directions into Rome were great and other than being bumper to bumper for a while, we made it to Termini where we hoped we could drop the car as we did the last time. Avis wanted us to go to a drop off garage which was not far, but we missed the spot the first time and took about 10 minutes to get around all the traffic and one way streets to get back. We finally made it and found a taxi to take us to our apartment. 
The husband, whose wife owns the apartment where we had booked, was waiting for us and up we went to the fourth floor. The building has elevators however they were built after the fact. Little two person ones. Which meant, with bags it was one of us at a time. Even two people without bags you are “up close and personal!” 😊
We settled in and didn’t feel like going out for dinner so next best thing was to pick up food from the corner Cafe. Two pizzas coming up! 
Pizza and a few cards and we were all done in. Plans were made for what we would see on the morrow, then we all retired for the night.