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Wednesday 20 Sep 2017
Lake Garda, Italy

Trains and Boats and Planes

Trains and Boats and Planes

Reading a travel advertisement in one of the English news papers inspired us to connect with the   agent and take a trip on “Trains and Boats and Planes” (Not necessarily in that order!)

This was a trip to island hop around the Mediterranean Sea and visit habitats of our European neighbours.

 We are always able to catch a plane from Valencia direct to most Cities but unfortunately Verona was not one of them. This meant travelling to England to catch the arranged tour.

 We were pleasantly surprised that with the current situations at the moment, we were not delayed or cancelled from Spain. We caught our ongoing flight from Gatwick to Verona and arrived in enough time to be collected, as stated, and arrived at our hotel in Lake Garda where we spent the next couple of days before venturing onwards. The first day we hired the Hotel bikes and cycled to the local town of Desenzano around the beautiful blue lake stopping for coffee and Italian ice cream on the way.

 The following day we took a trip to Sirmione a delightful town on the peninsular, with a spectacular castle.  This castle was important in protection of city of Verona and the Della Scala family, in particular, throughout the 14th century, though it was never the seat of court. The Scaligeri abandoned the castle in 1405, and it became the possession of the Republic of Venice.

 There are many boat trips surrounding the areas of the lake but we took one around the castle and came back through the moat to the town. Prices here are high but the region is stunning.

One of the objectives of this trip was to take a train journey from Lake Garda to Venice. Good service and a pleasant journey through the country side, in sunny weather, made this railway experience another one to remember.

 We joined our cruise ship “Rhapsody of the Seas” in Venice and sailed out of the number one

“Sail outs” in Europe, past    St Marks Square, Dodges Palace and all the famous, postcard scenery.

Our first stop   was Dubrovnik where we walked the ramparts around the walled city. We were very impressed with the entrepreneurial vendors who had set up ice cream stations and coffee outlets in a lot of the nooks and crannies! As this country is not part of Europe the currency is different. It is Kauna and we had to change coins for coffee and souvenirs. Like most guests we also found one of the same cafes offering Wi Fi where we were able to access our news for free, instead of poor service, and mega money on any boat we have sailed on!

 Next was Kotor, Montenegro. Kotor has straddled the line between East and West since the fall of ancient Rome. It is nestled in one spectacular harbour, in the deep waters of the bay of Kotor.  The country’s Montenegro name is Crna Gora meaning Black Mountain   .Unfortunately it rained all day which discounted our intended cycle ride but we walked around this very old city and enjoyed the experience.

 On our bucket list was Santorini and we were not disappointed. I think it needs to be said we were pleased we had gone to the briefing on the boat because we would not have known that it is not FIRA that is famous, for the iconic blue domes shown on all souvenirs, but OIA, which is in another village.

 Fortunately when we arrived at the cable car at Fira we were approached by a boat attendant who was happy to take us and many others by sea  to Oia and back by coach for a mere 15 euros and we were originally going to pay a taxi 30 Euros. Very pleased we joined the multitudes as it was a wonderful boat trip in clear blue, calm Mediterranean waters.

We walked around the old town, with its myriad of tiny streets and had our prerequisite photo taken amongst the blues domes. These are reflected in the sea and portrayed on post card s, all over the world.

Returning back by coach to Fira we went down in the cable car to the bottom, instead of walking as we were warned the steps down were full of donkey dung and we did not have appropriate shoes. This is another alternative way of ascending this volcanic mountain .Would be nice to spend a holiday there, as many tourists were!

After a night on board our next visit   was to Katakolon, Greece, birthplace of the Olympic Games in 766 B C.  Having been a bit of an athlete in a previous century, it was of special interest to me to visit this iconic site.  We were recommended to go by train but once again on the way to find the station, we were approached by a very nice Greek man who had a tour departing to the historic stadium for a mere 10 Euros, so without more ado were were inside his coach!

 A wonderful experience where the original starting blocks were one of the main attractions.  I was one of the first to line up and go to the end of the 110 metre track. No spectator seats in ancient times just a small area for the dignitaries. The Olympic torch starts from here every two years for both the winter and summer Olympics. It was a fascinating insight to the origins of these games.

 The following day was at sea and these cruises are so full of activities, if you require them and nothing and nowhere if you don’t! This was a smaller cruise ship in the Caribbean line. Apparently one of the original fleet. It certainly lived up to its name Rhapsody of the Seas!

 Excellent crew and staff and of course the night time, live entertainment was remarkable.

 I would recommend this trip with “Trains and Boats and Planes”, from Lake Garda, very highly, if an opportunity ever exists for our readers!

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Trains and Boats and Planes

Travel blog by jill



Trip to "Bucket list" places

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  • Dubrovnic

    Lake Garda


  • The Boat

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    The  Boat
  • Train

    Lake Garda


  • Lake Garda

    Lake Garda


    Lake Garda