HTC Touch Pro 2's PicturesPages
Well you can tell it's soon time to leave because it's a more nondescript picture here at Zamyatin. The toll of beautiful buildings and baking sun has taken its toll. Plus the fact that I spent most of the time taking pictures with the Nikon and using the JVC to take video on a free trip to Murano which was free from the hotel, the weird thing initially was that the water taxi was paid for by the glass gallery especially since there was a demo and a personal tour thrown in free. Of course this was weird until it became patently clear that this was a sales trip trying to sell us hundreds of Euros of glassware. What's actually odd about it was that last time we came to Venice we paid our fare to get to Murano and when we tried to see if we could have a tour (which we would be happy to pay for) we were all but escorted off the premises but this time since they were more than happy to pay the water taxi and give us a personal tour. By way of thanks we bought EUR25 of glass, that should go some way to paying for some of the taxi fares.
Anyway lets get back to the picture. On the way to find something to eat we stopped near the Teatro Restaurant and this image looked quite nice so I took and snap. The end.
The largest and the only bridge over the Grand Canal in Venice until they built the one until 1854. The first one was wooden but the stone structure now supports shops on either side similar to a larger bridge in Florence, however the one in Florence contains shops with expensive jewellery instead of the souvenirs as with this on.
Near here there are restaurants and Gondoliers lining the sides of the canal. We at last gave in to the calls of the Gondoliers and went for the longest trip which included the Small Canal and the Grand Canal, the Grand Canal trip alone was expensive but adding the Small Canal was only EUR20 extra so why not. It was indeed enjoyable but at the end of 30 minutes (5 of which was on the Grand Canal) we did wonder what little we would have got for the (not much) cheaper trip. Of course during the whole negotiation process of price I couldn't help thinking we were paying for an investigation into the ear or the gut what with the phrases Small and Grand Canal. Perhaps that's just me.
Oh yes I start with a really rubbish pun. For those who have not guessed this is St Marks Square. The trip from Bologna was simple but tiring with a a one hour water bus journey from the airport. At least the one and a half hour trip to the airport was in an air-conditioned car.
This pic was taken during a much needed rest stop after the rigours of shopping for jewellery took their toll. Not much sightseeing today just a lot of travelling and shopping so this opportunity caused a flurry of shots from my Nikon. Needless to say this was not one of those.
On a rather speed bus trip around Bologna we saw many fantastic features of Bologna some of which we saw on the walk around Bologna on Sunday. The features we didn't we saw today at speed in an open toped bus. Here is one of the many gates that surround Bologna that would have been connected by the old town walls. Because of the speed of the bus and the unwillingness of the Touch Pro 2 to take a picture when asked the picture isn't centred, anticipating this I moved the phone hoping to get it right. I am glad however that the gates are in the picture at least.
Other sights we past were a church on a hill overlooking Bologna (San Michelle in Bosco), many statues with their back to us and a church in memory of a martyr who's head was cut off on the hill, his reaction to this was to pick up his head and wander into town to die which was quite impressive.
After the hour trip it was time for a sit. All that driving about sat down was rather tiring when hurtling down cobbled single lane roads at speed.
This is a pic of the Due Torri one of the two remaining towers in Bologna. As anyone who has seen Francheso de Mosto's program will be able to tell you, these towers were built to impress people and show power and wealth. So it would com as no surprise that there used to be hundreds in Bologna and now there are only two.
Bologna appears to be old world Italy. Buildings rather drab and square on the outside. Nothing like the impressive and ornate buildings you see in Florence. The place is nonetheless impressive, where else can you find a station where a crack in the wall caused by a terrorists bomb has been preserved or a rather surprising statue of Neptune or perhaps the grandest entrance I have ever seen to a public park?
Despite the amount of interesting stuff, it is far too warm here so there is only so much you can see before you have to run for the shelter of a bar... It's tough out here!
In a similar place to the last frog picture, in fact just a few meters down, but this time clearer and with a better camera and probably just about the same size I think.
Of course the day did not start with frog watching, in fact the day started with Tabley Hall. We started out late but obviously not late enough, but we didn't realise at the time when we arrived because we were all starving and ended up in the Tea Room there which was pretty fantastic. After feasting on a weird but really nice ploghmans and coffee we went off to view the hall that was closed until 2pm and there was no way that we were ready to wait for another hour for it to open no matter how great the idea of going back to the Tea Room and eating cake and grabbing another coffee seem to be, so we headed off to Cotebrook to find some beads. Needless to say I did not partake in the bead mania that followed.
On from the Grand Canyon we have Red Rock. Different in that it costs only five dollars or ten if you go about it the wrong way like we did. It includes a 13 mile scenic drive which seems to take ages (I'm not complaining it was quite spectacular and would have been even better if I weren't driving). I have come to the conclusion that an American mile is longer than a British mile owing to the amount of time they take to drive, however I suspect in the UK I would actually be driving faster.
Anyway back to Red Rock. Aiming at the rock climber, cyclist or car driver who likes looking at big things you drive around the base of the canyon and it's impressive in a different way. With the Grand Canyon you see a huge canyon from the top and get herded around, with this one you get to drive around or even climb over the canyon at your own pace. The picture is from the visitor centre that you need to get done before the drive as the drive exits you from the park meaning you have to pay your entrance fee again to see the visitors centre. No guesses which way we did it... But it's only five dollars.
So it's the Grand Canyon today and to the sky walk. It's a bit expensive and that's without a helicopter trip that I thought that we were going to splash out on until I found out that just the normal trip was a splash out. OK so I am a cheapskate.
What's surprising is that whilst you are walking on a glass floor 4000ft above the Colorado river it just doesn't feel that high. Perhaps it's too high to comprehend. Mind you we nearly never made it. It turns out last night when I though that I was charging the GPS it was actually discharging it. After 10 minutes in it switched off so out came the car charger. When I left home I decided not to bring the old tried and tested charger but a new one which I now know doesn't work. Needless to say I was under the bonnet looking at fuses to find them all fine, so a map of Arizona and a new charger later we were on the road despite the new charger not charging well and not allowing us to use the GPS whilst charging. Well as you can see we made it so it was not all bad.
Just for those that doubt that I am here, here is the classic Las Vegas sign, not that this really proves it to be honest and not that anyone cares but it was the best photo of the day. We went to the Stratosphere but the pictures were poor. The Stratosphere is pretty impressive though with rides at the top that are truely frightening. Personally I didn't think I would like just being at the top but once I was used to it and was certain that the building wasn't swaying and that the clunks were a result of the ride catapulting thrillseakers (or idiots as I prefer to call then) off the edge of the tower I was fine. There was also a ride that suspended people over the edge and spun them horizontally but that wasn't working. So from here it was to downtown and the old Las Vegas which was pretty good and a little like Blackpool even down to the Kiss Me Quick hats... Nah I'm kidding. We did wait for the light show that never happened so that was a bit of a let down but hopefully the Grand Canyon will make up for it tomorrow... I hope.
The short drive to the Hoover Dam or the Boulder Dam as it was initially called isn't that interesting and to be honest the story of the Hoover Dam is more interesting than the place itself. Mind you a paddle on the shores or Lake Mead might have soothed our aching feet from yesterday but we passed on that. It's a huge structure and impressive but the tour that we went on wasn't up to much despite going from the top to the bottom via lift it almost felt rushed. 650ft+ of concrete at the base and complede in 4 years it powers millions of houses and gives drinking water to about 4 states. It appears impressive in figure form at the very least. Mind you the water line is dropping and if this continues it does make you wonder what they will do if Lake Mead runs dry.
So back we go heading for Ethel M's Chocolate factory. Built by Mr. Mars to provide handmade chocolates, it makes you wonder how exactly it fit into the whole history of Mars as nothing really explains. Short and sweet (no pun intended) it appears to serve more as a shop than anything else. So it was off to drive back down the Strip which as this time of day is a little like a slow moving car park, but we did see Stratosphere which we will have to go to so that we can see a bird's eye view of Las Vegas though I suspect no-one will be up for the fair ride at the top.