Monthly Archives: September 2022

Aldino, Dolomites, Italy – Day 2

Thursday 29th September 2022
The day started well with a gift of chocolates and a card from David for my 58th birthday. The sun was shining a little and when I first got up you could see the mountains, but only briefly before the mist rolled in. After a quiet morning we headed to Parc Bletterbach for a short hike. The cost to park our car and get a helmet each which is a requirement in the canyon was 14 euro. The hike was 6.4km with an elevation gain and loss of 331m. Over 2.5km of the walk was in the riverbed and brought back memories of the Larapinta trail hiking. The views were nice and we were happy to complete the hike without the rain. About 30mins after we finished, on the drive home it started to rain.

We headed to the the Convento di Pietralba – “the Cathedral of the Dolomites”, unfortunately it was too wet so we decided to try again tomorrow. We were also heading to a lake but have put that on tomorrow’s agenda as well. We headed back home for a little rest before dinner and I managed a hairdresser appointment with David the Magnificent. Yay!

We hoped to find a nice restaurant for dinner but failing that we will have pizza and pasta. We decided not to go to the Michelin Restaurant and headed to the local Pizzeria. I had a vegetarian and David had a bacon, onion, garlic and mozzarella. They were so good. Then we had a lovely dessert of Semifreddo for me and DB had Gelato. It has been a lovely day.

“The Shrine of the Madonna of Pietralba
The majestic Shrine of Pietralba 1520meters above sea level upon the mountains East of the Adige Valley; between Bolzano and Trento, surrounded by the spectacular rocky peaks of the Dolomites, an UNESCO World Heritage Site. This artistic cultural jewel is the most important pilgrimage site in South Tyrol. A point of positive energy capable of regenerating the mind and the spirit. Pietralba exhibits fascinating multiculturalism as it borders two provinces, Trento and Bolzano, and is at the crossroads of three ethnic groups: German, Ladin and Italian.”

Riccione to Aldino, Dolomites, Italy

Wednesday 28th September 2022
Today we awoke early as we needed to be packed and on our way by 8.45am. We have a train booked from Riccione to Bologna at 9.46am and it is a 3km walk to the Riccione Station. So we had break, packed up and were ready to leave on time. I decided we would catch the bus as it was way too far to walk with my big wheelie bag, backpack and food. David was happy with that as well. We caught bus No 125 from stop 58 to 51. Once on the bus we struggled with purchasing our tickets and by the time this was done we were at stop 49. Oops! We had gone a couple of stops too far. We added about 100m on to the 900m walk, but this was a lot better than the 3km without the bus. We arrived at Riccione Station with 30mins to spare.

The the train arrived it was quite crowded but we managed a seat upstairs. For the entire 1.5 hours to Bologna we tried to decide what to do. We were tossing up a couple of options.
1. Stay in Bologna for a couple of days
2. Go to Florence for my birthday
3. Go to towns a little out of the city – like Modena, Vicenza, Padua or Verona – the price were of the Richter scale.
4. Head straight to the Dolomites – except weather is supposed to be wet.

We managed to find an apartment with a kitchen in Aldino  of $10AUD a night. This is the cheapest of any of the options and we decided to go with that. So after picking up the car at Bologna, we got some lunch and headed on our way. David was a little anxious about the drive but he went amazingly well. He drove comfortably the whole way.

The drive out of the city was a bit hectic, but it wasn’t long before we were on the autostrada (speed 110-130kmh). Then it wasn’t long before we saw the mountains in the distance. I started to get excited then. The views were spectacular. The last stage of the drive (20km) was hairpin corner after hairpin. The roads were very narrow and we drove through farm land. We arrived at Scheidnerhof at about 5.30pm. After a struggle with language (they speak German here) we managed to get in contact with the manager and were shown to our lovely apartment. We then headed to the shop for supplies, then back home to cook dinner. I was ready to cook, when we realised we had blown a fuse. I called the manager, but got an answering machine msg in German. Bugger,. I tried again and then got the manager, but she had no English so we communicated through Google Translate. She came over and realised we had blown an fuse but it wouldn’t be fixed. We then moved to another apartment downstairs.

We enjoyed another roster fry veges but this tine we had turkey. It was yummy once again.  It is the for an early night tonight. Hopefully I can get to the competition posts in the next couple of days.


I can’t wait to hike tomorrow if it isn’t raining. If it is, I can’t wait for a lazy day in our lovely apartment.

Riccione, Italy – Day 7

Tuesday 27th September 2022
We have finished our competition (I will get to the last 2 days posts soon) and are having a rest day at Riccione in our cabin to start organising the rest of our travels. Unfortunately today was a pain, David finally found out how tough, expensive and annoying trying to book a car for this holiday has been. I have tried so many times, and spent many, many hours to no avail. He tried from about 6am until 4pm when he ditched the whole task altogether with the cranks. He had found a cheap alternative with Avis with limited kms only 4500km close by, or Europcar with unlimited kms but about $300 more from Florence and not available until 29th. Decisions, decisions. We are not very good at them. Also it doesn’t pay to know the rules, as it causes more grief. Once we finally made the decision, he went to book, the prices had gone up 50% from $2000AUD to $3000 for both options. A very cranky David turned off his computer and we went for a walk for a gelato. Yummy! So we had spent all day and nothing had been gained or booked.

We had made some inroads on what to do. The plans currently are hire a car in Italy for 4 weeks, pickup somewhere from Rimini or a bit further north and head to the Dolomites, then try to meet the surf gang at Bellagio in a weeks time, then head to the south of Italy, maybe via Milan as we missed that, then head as far south as Sicily. At 4 weeks we will drop the car back at Bari in Italy and catch the ferry to Dubrovnik Croatia, hire a car for 2 weeks and drive north to Zagreb. We will then catch a flixbus to Dresden and a train to Benny in Chemnitz about 9th November. That is our current lose plan which could change at any stage.

We enjoyed a lovely walk, gelato and the restored calm. When we got back to our cabin, we resumed looking for options, we could get a cheap car in Florence but not until 30th now, which would have been ok, we could have gone there for my birthday and picked the car up on 30th. I wasn’t too keen as we had been to Florence last time. In hinsdsight it may have been a good idea. I then managed to find a car from Bologna tomorrow for $2000AUD with 4500 limited kms through Avis. I could also book a reasonable train to Bologna. So thats what we decided to do. At this stage not sure where we will stay. We had our first home cooked meal since our omelette in Milan. Stir fry veges and chicken, YUMMY! It is amazing how quickly you miss home cooked food.

Anyway, I did a quick pack up and clean up after dinner, semi organised for an early departure in the morning.

World Titles Day 2 – Riccione, Italy – Day 5


Sunday 25th September 2022
World Surf Lifesaving Titles – Teams Day

Well it has been raining all night and the weather is looking inclement for today. It is looking like we will have a miserable day on the beach. As we got ready early again today, 6.30am up and out the door by about 7.30, we have been saved. The weather is still overcast and miserable, but it has stopped raining. Yeehah! As we head to the beach for our teams day, I am just a spectator today as we have no other girls here and they won’t let me make up a team with the boys. Oh well, I will just enjoy the day watching and supporting our team.

First up was the 170+ swim teams, David came in 1st place, Mark came 12th and Nick 14th. To get a result, you add all the placings for each of the teams and the team with the lowest number wins, the next lowest comes 2nd and so on and so on. The boys manage 2nd place, a silver medal. Our first race on teams day and a medal. Woohoo!

The next race was the 170+ board relay. We have two teams in this one. David, Doggy and Mark, and then Smithy, Nigel and Graham in the other. So this is a race where you race in relay style. Paddler one competes the course, tags paddler two who then completes the course and then tags paddler three for his turn with a run to the finish line. David headed out first and tagged Doggy first with a good lead by at least a wave, then Doggy stayed in front tagging Mark, who continued the race and held the lead. Winning our first gold teams medal. Yay boys. Smithy, Nigel and Graham all paddled well coming 7th.

Next was the 170+ ski relay. We only had one team in this race, being David, Doggy and Mark. They paddled in the same order but were a little slow out of the blocks as David missed the start as he was straightening his ski against the side current when the gun went to start the race. They finished in 5th place.

Last but not least was the 170+ Oceanman Relay – this is one leg ski, next leg swim and final leg board. We had 2 teams in this one, they were Mark on the Ski, David in the swim and Doggy on the board. Our 2nd team was Nick ski, Graham swim and Nigel board. Mark was about 5th or 6th on the ski, David swam and came in about 6th in the swim leg and Doggy paddled down and was on the wave with one other competitor for 3rd place, unfortunately he took 6 or 7 steps and pulled his hamstring and hobbled to the finish in 4th place. Our 2nd team came in 10th.

So with a small team of 8 we managed a Gold and a Silver medal on teams day.

World Titles Day 1 – Riccione, Italy – Day 4

Saturday 24th September 2022
World Surf Lifesaving Titles – Individual Day

Well today we woke in the dark to get ready for the World Surf Lifesaving Titles for individual race day. The morning was cool, I was a little healthier but still have a nasty cough. We headed over to the beach at about 6.45am to watch the most gorgeous sunrise with the flattest surf conditions possible. What a shame, it would have been lovely to have at least yesterday’s little wave. We headed in to have a warm up on both the board and ski, testing the shallows and working out strategies. The ski felt a little better today.

After lots of the usual procrastination, they changed the areas. All the girls were in one area now which was disappointing because it meant I was in the area on my own instead of being in the same area with David, Doggy, Mark, Smithy and Nick. David was also in the area next to me but he was on his own as well. The rest of the boys were all together. I miss the camaraderie of sharing the races with everyone. We did all try to watch as much as possible but when you are in different areas it becomes difficult.

We got started an hour late at 9am.

First race for me was the ski and I happily came 9th in the final out of a field of 13. I then sat out the swim race although it was ideal conditions for me, I didn’t want to push too hard. Next race was the board where I had a great start and was ahead for the first 15-20m, then Alison caught me. I sat on her shoulder wash 2/3 of the way out to the first can and then she lost me. Another girl passed me around the cans. I was in 4th place and held that to the beach. After a long break we then had the Ironwoman race. The order was Ski, Swim, Board. I started out okay on the ski and came out in 7th place, I held my own and didn’t lose any placings in the swim which is very unusual and then the girl in front of me headed out past the turning buoy on the board, I tried to call her to let her know but she didn’t hear me. This mistake put me in 6th which I held to the end. I was really happy with this result considering how sick I have been the last 8 days. David said he thinks I would have been 50m ahead of where I finished in the iron race had I had a better preparation. All good though, I was just happy to get the opportunity to race. I might be sorry tomorrow but that’s ok.

David’s first race was the Board Rescue, he and Doggy paddled home well and they just missed out on the Gold, finishing 2nd by a whisker. Then David had his swim race which was very close and he came in 5th. Next was the board race and he was in first place all the way till just before the end when Chappo from Kurrawa pipped him at the post. Then in the ironman David didn’t get a great start on the ski and he played catch up the whole way finishing in 6th place. Sorry for the scant details on David’s races but I only briefly saw some of them as I was racing at the same time and he is suffering from a little bit of sunstroke tonight and has been sleeping. So I will fill you in with more details tomorrow.

Riccione, Italy – Day 3

Friday 23rd September 2022
Today we woke to lovely clear blue skies and a nice temperature. I was feeling the best I have felt in over a week. It is the first morning I haven’t had a blocked nose, I am still not 100% but I am definitely improving. After a restful morning we headed out in shorts and t-shirts to organise our hired craft and headed down to the beach. We had a couple of Kracka boards and new Vanquish ski to try. The skis were a little different to what we are use and took a bit of practice to get used to them. After a little while we were all managing them quite well. The conditions were a little challenging with a couple of cross angled swells coming from different directions, making coming in on the wave or runner tricky. With a little practice it got easier and it was good to have a play around on both the ski and the board today in preparation for tomorrow’s competition. It was lovely to get out in the water and do a little activity.

We then headed back home to the cabins and had a team lunch on our balcony. It was a lovely time shared with friends. After some more craft organisation we had a restful afternoon. Then followed by a lovely dinner across the road. David and I have taken to sharing a pizza and another meal, which tonight was Seafood Spaghetti, giving us the best of both worlds. Tonight’s pizza Cappricciosa was really yummy as was the spaghetti.

After a reasonably early dinner, we headed home to prepare for the carnival tomorrow. Hopefully I wake up a little more improved and can actually race. Fingers crossed.

Hoping everyone is well at home and you haven’t been washed away in the rain again.

Riccione, Italy – Day 2

Thursday 22nd September 2022
A better nights sleep last night which was fantastic. I may have even managed about 6 hours. Yeehah!

After a lovely smorgasbord breakfast of eggs, prosciutto, cheese, yummy grain bread, croissant and fruit for me and same, same but different for David, we walked to the accreditation centre to register for the event. This was a 4km return walk in pleasant walking weather, blue skies and  21°C.  We arrived at the Pool Rescue facility and did our registration. Afterwards we had a chat with some competitors from Cornwall and one of them ended yup being the guy David raced against in the Netherlands. They both remembered that race and were laughing about how shocked Rob was that he was passed by David who was 20 years his senior in the first leg of the board relay inn Noordvjik in 2016. Following our chat David would have loved a swim in the empty pool but they wouldn’t let you pay for individual entry and were charging 30 euro for a lane per hour. As Davis was the only one wanting a short swim, there was no way he was paying that much.

We then headed back to last nights hotel to collect our bags and walk the 2.5km to the “Romagna Camping Village” to check in to our Mobile Homes (cabin) for the next 5 days. In hindsight, we probably should have caught a taxi. we then walked another 3km return to the grocery store for supplies. The rest of the team arrived in stages over the rest of the afternoon. We then walked another 2km return to meet our team for dinner. Another lovely pizza for dinner with an average seafood skewer and salad, finishing off with Creme Brûlée and Lemon Sorbet. We had a lovely night chatting and then walked back home. David and I have a 4 berth cabin to ourselves so we are sleeping separately tonight which means I don’t need to wear a mask sleeping. Yay!

We are so lucky he still hasn’t caught my virus yet. Fingers crossed he can last another 4 days.


Milan to Riccione, Italy

Wednesday 21st September 2022
Today I have woken feeling a little better than yesterday. Fingers crossed I continue to improve.

Well, we are off on the road again today, so after breakfast and packing our bags we head over to Central Station to check how things work and where we need to go for our train travel today.

We then head back to get our bags. It is lovely to get out of the apartment and have a little look around, albeit only a 200m2 area. We looked at the different types of transport that navigate this small area to help people travel throughout the city. Eco buses, Trams, Metro and Trains. There were many beautiful old building, many new glass like structures and the sculptures on the Station building is exquisite.

As we arrive back at the station with bags in tow, we head to the entry gate where our train is due to come in and wait until the platform is assigned. At about 11:50am our platform is determined and we head in to the train, which is waiting for its passengers. We are travelling in Super Economy – Business, which comes with a welcome drink and snack.

The trip was about 3.5 hours to travel 339km, at one stage we were travelling 298kmh. It was a lovely, comfy trip with wide leather seats. On arrival at Riccione we then walked to the coast to our accommodation. Only a 600m walk and not too many cobblestones to negotiate.

After checking to the Hotel Mediterraneo, we head out for a walk, check out the surf, buy a few groceries and then head back to the home for a rest before dinner. We enjoy a 7pm dinner with Nick at a local Italian Restaurant. I enjoyed some Ravioli and David had a lovely meal of swordfish with grilled bees. Yummy! I had a little food envy.

Anyway, hopefully I will have a good night sleep tonight. Fingers crossed for me.

Milan, Italy

Tuesday 20th September 2022
Well, not much sleep for me last night. Maybe 2 or 3 hours. I tossed and turned, coughed and spluttered, and felt very ordinary. Oh well. Today is another day. I am going to rest up today and hopefully will feel a bit better tomorrow. I have taken so much Panadol in the last 36 hours, enough to sink a ship. Looks like we may have to come back to Milan for some sightseeing.

David is still well, so the mask and separate sleeping arrangements are working. I have sent David out for some groceries, some more Panadol, echinacea and tissues. Hopefully, he makes it back today but only time will tell. One thing with being in Italy, he won’t be able to start up a conversation with anyone. Hehehe! He was back within the hour, realising he needs to learn some Italian words. He only succeeded with some of the food and will go out again later to the Farmacia.

After lunch, David had great success at the Pharmacy. Fingers crossed all the tinctures work as I am still feeling pretty lousy.

David headed out for a swim at the local pool this afternoon but unfortunately it wasn’t open. I have been in Italy almost 24 hours and haven’t had a gelato. That must be a record.

So a big day of rest for me. Hopefully I will feel a lot better in the morning. a little exploration fir David and hopefully he is still well tomorrow,

Oh and by the way. I didn’t last 24 hours. I had a gelato from Aldi before dinner. /yeehah!

Sydney to Milan, Italy

Sunday 18th and Monday 19th September 2022
Well, off we go on our next adventure. Three months in Europe. Yeehah! We are so lucky.

We set off on our way a little later than planned. Gavin and Arlo gave us a lift to catch the 5:27pm train from Gosford to the Airport. It was an uneventful trip down there as I spent half the time on the phone trying to talk to someone from Transport NSW to top-up my Opal Card. With this finally done I enjoyed the last half hour or so on the train.

We are staying tonight at the Rydges Sydney Airport which is only 100m from the Departures at Terminal 1. It is quite awesome as far as location goes. We ventured over to the airport for a Thai meal as I was keen on vegetables and not to start our eating out at a high level of expense. After dinner we headed back to our room and David tried to turn roaming on my Telstra Pre-Paid sim to no avail. They cancelled that service a couple of years ago. So “Problem No 1”. What would we do? We headed back to the Terminal to Vodafone and after going to the 2nd Vodafone counter, as the 1st said it was not possible. We finally left with a Sim and transfer of my number at about 10:20pm. So much for being in bed early and well rested for our 2:45am wake up call.

My health started to deteriorate whilst we were doing the phone Sim and by the time I got into bed at about 11pm I was feeling very ordinary. Looks like we are going to pay about $100 an hour for our sleep tonight. DB thought we would manage about 6 hours so that would have made it $50 an hour. Oh well. I was so crook I even slept in my mask to try to keep my germs away from David. We both ended up getting about an hours sleep, Oh well not the start we were hoping for.

We walked in to the T1 terminal at about 3:15am on Monday morning, a little later than we hoped but it wasn’t too chaotic. It took about an hour to move through the 3 switchbacks of the queue and we were checked in by 4:15am. DB with 13kg of main luggage and 8kg carry-on and me 19kg and 7.5kg. Not as good as last time but we need surf gear, summer and winter travel clothes. It then took about 40mins to get through immigration. I was hoping I would feel a bit better this morning but I have woken up worse, popped some Panadol and crossed my fingers for improvement along the way.

We took off a little late, about 6;30am instead of 6. Unfortunately I coughed and spluttered and struggled for the entire first 14 hour leg of the trip. I have not felt so bad in a very long time. I am very grateful I did that PCR test and was Covid19, RSV, Influenza A & B, Parainfluenza, human metapneumovirus, adenovirus and rhinovirus NEGATIVE. Kazzie thinks maybe just a common cold and if that is the case it is the worst I have had in a very long time. Nasty cough, agonising throat, blocked nose and fevers.

Anyway, enough whinging from me. We arrived in Dubai after 14 hours with a short 1.5 hour stopover and then continued on to Milan. Both flights were on an A380 with 500 passengers and were very full. I didn’t really notice any spare seats. We arrived late in to Milan at about 9pm. After the usual immigration, baggage collection and customs we headed to the exit. Train or bus was the next decision. Time wise we decided on the 10:17pm bus which cost 10 euro each and took 67 mins. It was a full bus load of travellers and we arrived at Milano Centrale Stazione at 11:40pm. With a short 5 min walk to our accommodation, we met our host who charged a little 20 euro for his late night check-in.

Our apartment is very good and fortunately it has a sofa bed as well, so David can sleep away from my festy germs. Hopefully I will improve tomorrow. Off to bed at about 1pm. Wish me luck for a speedy recovery.