Which door takes me home?

My office in Raleigh, June 7

Okay, I’ve been delinquent in getting the rest of the photos up… everything’s here now!

Including my very special photo collection of cool doors I noticed in all of our travels. I’m not quite sure why the doors struck my fancy so, but I loved them.

Look at the grate above this door, wow! Literally medieval, heh. From one of the windy little passages that pass for streets in the Cinque Terre (Vernazza)

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Posted in 2011 Trip, Estonia, Finland, Gina, Italy | 1 Comment

Big Fin(n)ish

May 31 – Raleigh, North Carolina

I had intended to write up one final post on Helsinki before we left, but here it is almost two days since we touched down in Raleigh and I’m just now getting around to it.  I’m still technically on vacation (i.e., my first day back to work is tomorrow), and today we enjoyed a vacation-like (i.e., expensive) lunch at our favorite sushi place.

This is not Raleigh. This is Bob with his Large Cannon at Suomenlinna Fortress just off the harbor in Helsinki

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May 27 – Helsinki

With only one more day left on our journey, I have to say we’ve been extraordinarily fortunate with weather.  I counted up the rainy days I’ve seen in the now-almost-five weeks I’ve been traveling and barely got to five.  Two of those happened while I was en route to someplace and so was sheltered by bus or train.  All in all, an amazing track record–until now.

Gina enjoying cappuccino at Kappeli, where it appears half of Helsinki hangs out

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May 25 – Tallinn

Yesterday we threw down for an all-day tour of some historical sights outside of the city proper.  We went with this small outfit Gina found online, ESTadventures, and had a great time.  The tour (and company) was run by an Aussie guy, Andrew, who came here to study five years ago and ended up meeting an Estonian girl, and well, the rest as they say is history.

Tallinn Town Hall, from later in the day

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Scary trains…

Look closely at the train number on our tickets from La Spezia to Milan (to get our flight to Tallinn)… it’s the Devil Train!


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Olde meets new

May 23 – Tallinn

After a long travel day–trains from Riomaggiore to La Spezia to Milan to the airport; flight to Tallinn; taxi to hostel–Gina and I arrived at around 10:00pm.  Not that you’d notice.  At this latitude, the sun was barely over the horizon at that hour.  We toyed with the idea of going out–for about ten seconds–and then fell into (twin) bed(s).

Tallinn Town Hall, built in the 15th century

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A classic scene

When I saw this out the window of our apartment, I tried my best to capture it with our little point-and-shoot camera… There are still real people who live here, but for how much longer… who knows?

Enjoy it while you can ;-)


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Portovenere, our last big stop
in the Cinque Terre

Portovenere, Italy 5/18

[with extra-huge slideshow at the end!]

Our day trip to Portovenere, south of Riomaggiore, started with a ferry ride from the rugged boat landing between the harbor and the “beach” (place by the surf covered with small stones ;-) in a boat full of stick people, oh no! I did grab us a great place to sit at the front so we could enjoy the wind in our hair as one should while traversing the Mediterranean.

You can’t see our hair blowing here, but rest assured, it was…

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Posted in 2011 Trip, Bob, Cinque Terre, Gina, Italy, Portovenere, Riomaggiore | 1 Comment

Of sticks and stickers

May 18 – Vernazza & Portovenere

Remember that post I wrote about how important it is to roll with the punches when traveling?  Well, I have an addendum to that bit of wisdom, or maybe caveat is the better term.

Gina and I visited Vernazza yesterday (town #3 in the row of ‘five lands’) which looks much like Riomaggiorre, and indeed I’m beginning to think these towns are all pretty much the same, except that for whatever reason Vernazza attracts more tourists than Riomaggiore.

Bob in Vernazza on a busy afternoon

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Exploring Vernazza

Vernazza, Italy 5/17

A panorama of Vernazza from the Torre

After my leisurely cappuccino morning, today brings a day trip to Vernazza, the most popular of the Five Lands (Cinque Terre). We didn’t do too bad trying to start out on the early side… hey, for once I was up early, but wasn’t actually ready to *go* anywhere quite yet…

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