Great Blog Posts Demand Excellent Article Rewriting

Our beloved Boles Blogs author Nicola just finished writing an incredible, and memorable, stretch of connected articles that absolutely deserve our devotion and celebration!

Over the past 20 days, our Nicola wrote 18 articles for publication.  These were not simplistic blog posts.  These were intricate posts packed with photographs and personal insight.  Many Boles Blogs articles average 300-500 words, but Nicola’s works in this stretch averaged over 800 words per post and many doubled that number.  That’s over 15,000 words written in 20 days!

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Venice on Foot: San Marco

If Venice on the canals was chaotic — on land was far worse! We were woefully short on research and needed to find directions to our departure point for the ferry that went up the Grand Canal to the airport. The Italians are hopeless at directions.

The ticket officer for the ferry line we were using sent us in totally the wrong direction. She sent us back into St Marks square — over the narrow canal bridge and into the hordes of tourists which flock here in the summer.

All of my senses were telling me we were going in the wrong direction and Mr P had to agree with me that something was wrong when I fished out our basic map and said we should be going that way not this way.

I took refuge from the heat of the sun under the arches of the Doges Palace while Mr P went off in search of someone who knew their way around and to get us some sensible directions.

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Danke und Auf wiedersehen Vienna

Vienna was for us a huge delightful surprise.  A well-preserved, clean city with ample, clean, reliable public transport that was reasonably affordable.

Vienna was more expensive than we anticipated but not as expensive as other capital cities such as London or Paris — however I feel that we got what we paid for.

If you are a museum buff there are ticket schemes that allow you to pay in advance and get some discounts on most entry tickets. These would be well worth paying for as almost all of the major attractions charge for entry = allow 15/20 euros a head for adults — more if you want a guided tour.

Eating out is also expensive in comparison with Lisbon and the rest of Portugal and we found it hard to find authentic Austrian Cuisine — allow at least 50 Euros a head per meal — not including wine or dessert.

There is no such thing as a quick coffee — however their coffee confections and alternatives like herbal iced tea are to die for.  These two at The Medusa left no change from 12 euros.

Mr P has iced cappuccino, I have iced lychee and lavender tea — both were amazing and were the height of our culinary experiences here.

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Vienna by Fiaker and the Baron

Mr P loves horses.  He is with horses the way I am with cats — luckily, he has enough common sense to know that, at present, owning even one would be untenable.  We had hoped to go to the famous riding school while we were here but knew in advance that they close for six weeks in the summer and the stallions are moved to a summer camp where they rest from their daily rigors and get some “R & R.” They also get to service suitable mares to provide the next generation of stars.

So instead of watching the horses being put through their paces I decided to offer Mr P his horse fix in the form of a horse and carriage ride around Vienna. I have to say that in the balmy sunshine the whole experience was most delightful.

We chose our carriage with care. Most of them are veteran, if not antique, and offer seats of varying comfort. As most of the inner city is cobbled, and we are both prone to the odd back ache now and then, we looked for a carriage that had well padded seats. Mr P was also keen on choosing one that was drawn by healthy looking horses who were well-groomed. we also wanted someone who looked as though they had made an effort — no jeans and T-shirt for us!

There are standard fares/charges in operation — these were 40 euros for 20 minutes, 80 euros for 45 minutes and 120 euros for 90 minutes.  You also have the option to hire for the day or half day.  Note this charge is for the carriage itself — not per person.  Most carriages will sit four people — sometimes a 5th can sit up front with the driver.  Some only sit two.

Let me introduce you to Wolfgang Fasching or Georg Fasching — otherwise known as the “Fiaker Baron” — our driver for the next 45 minutes.

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Vienna: The Continuing Saga of the Lost Card

We made our way back to the hotel intending to have dinner at a little restaurant we had spotted at the bottom of the road before turning in for the night. Our trip on the underground took us to THAT STATION — the one where my card got eaten and we thought we could go to the security offices and check for an update.

In the end, we did not need to make that detour — as we met our friendly helpful security guard who gleefully informed us that our card had been found  — and would be posted to our home address in Portugal.   SIGH ( Sigh here means much muttered swearing under breath and sheer desperation).   We double checked it had gone to our Portuguese address and not to the hotel — but, no, he said it had definitely gone to our Portuguese address.  We said thank you as gracefully as we could under the circumstances and rapidly changed our dinner plans for the evening.

We decided to dine in. I always travel with crackers of some kind in case I need something to eat quickly.  We had a bottle of duty-free champagne saved for our night in Venice as well.  We stopped off at the supermarket in the station and bought some pate, cheese and some fruit and bottled water and headed back to the hotel for the night.

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Vienna: The Albertina Museum and the Rathaus

It seemed a little sacrilegious to actually walk up the steps painted with Monet’s water lilies.  There is a lift which provides wheelchair/disabled access as well should this be needed and an excellent cafe at street level.

When you get to the top of the steps you are greeted by this statue and a view over the streets around you.

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Vienna: Day One, Part One

We slept like kings!  We slept so well that the hassles of the previous night were temporarily forgotten, and we showered and took ourselves down to breakfast.

We went to reception to inquire about breakfast and the internet — not really having been in a fit state to do so the night before. Breakfast starts at a whopping 19 Euros for a continental breakfast and goes up to 28 Euros for the full Monty.  Internet usage is 35 Euros a day.  They could, however, offer us a daily package of 35 Euros per room to cover both. PHEW!  We thought we had better check on car parking while we were talking EXPENSE — 25 Euros a day !

We could take our breakfast outside, which we chose to do.  PANIC — where is my camera?  I want to photograph this. Mr P goes to the car and I check the room — then we do it in reverse to make sure the other has not missed it .  Still no camera!  Mr P suggests it might have been left at reception after the debacle the previous night.

We asked, they checked, and bingo — there was my camera!   I was able to give make and model, identify and name other objects in the camera case and, phew, I had it back.

Continue reading → Vienna: Day One, Part One