This holiday happened in 1996 but IgoUgo only dates back to 2000 so that's what i've used. To prepare for our tour of Italy, we took Italian lessons the winter before we went. That was fun! I did get to use some of what i learned even though pretty near every person replied to me in English. Oh well! It added to the anticipation of the trip at least.
We started in London. I had only been there once though have been many times since then. I've kept the travelogue that i wrote so the experiences will be in the words i used then. I don't remember the names of most of the hotels and they will have changed in the intervening 13 years, by price and sometimes even by name. I can recall what some of them were like, but not much else and the cost, of course, was included in the tour.
Yes, we took a bus tour but we enjoyed it quite a bit. As a result we were in the main tourist areas and attractions but we did get to go off on our own on free time. We had four days in Rome, two to ourselves, and three days in Sorrento with lots of time to ourself there as well. Sometimes we chose to partake in optional extra tours (which cost extra too) and sometimes we did our own thing.
The weather was not very good at all though not cold. It was overcast in London. It was rainy in Italy the whole first week. The sun only really came out properly the second week for a few days. When we got back to London at the end? Rain again but we were only there overnight before our flight home.
We *loved* Italy, the bits we saw, rain or not! In retrospect, I'd love to return to Venice to see more of it on my own and i'd love to see Florence. By the time we got to Florence at the end of the trip, we were getting a bit burned out so really didn't appreciate it or see as much of it as we wanted because we were tired of walking, tired of churches, tired of art on walls and even tired of shopping! *gasp*!
In London, we stayed at what is now the Thistle Euston in a twin room. This wasn't our choice as it was the hotel that the tour used but we were satisfied with it. We saw Sunset Boulevard which was playing at the Adelphi on The Strand. Awesome!!! We don't have theatres of that caliber here in Halifax though we do have some very good regional theatre.
We visited Westminster Abbey in the evening and because they were using the nave for a choir practice, we were allowed in the chapel area for free which is usually costly. We were even allowed to take photos! Very cool, accompanied by beautiful music.
We took a hop on hop off bus tour of London to get a real feel for the layout. I had been to London once before but not really had a chance to see much of it. This was a great overview and we stopped off a few times, once to see St. Paul's Cathedral and we even climbed right to the top of the dome! Fantastic views! Boy were our legs jelly when we came down and we had sore thighs for days!
We spent a morning going through the British Museum. That was pretty amazing too. Seeing ancient things like the Rosetta Stone, the mummies and the Greek statues! We braved the crowded tube and went to Harrod's and even had tea in one of the cafes.
On our last day in London, we met up with an internet friend of mine and they took us to Leeds Castle after a lunch in a very old pub called The Bell Inn. Leeds Castle was really beautiful. We weren't allowed to take photos but on my recent visit there with my mother, we could so i have lots now! I visited the Dog Collar museum, the aviary, and the English garden. We watched the ducks and went through all of the castle that was open to the public.