Disneyland Paris

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Some came down for breakfast - dressed Very  appropriately for Disney.  

Some came down for breakfast - dressed Very  appropriately for Disney.

 

A quick breakfast then into the coach. 

A quick breakfast then into the coach. 

Getting closer...  

Getting closer...  

And closer  

And closer  

Closer... Then released  into the magical kingdom that is Disneyland.

Closer... Then released  into the magical kingdom that is Disneyland.

Health and safety seemed a bit OTT at the candy floss stall

Health and safety seemed a bit OTT at the candy floss stall

Everyone met up at the end of the day some to chat and use their purchases and others excited to see the parade. 

 

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Languishing in Lucca

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Lucca, a living testimony to past times, kingdoms and dominions, lies in a green valley just north west of Florence. This almost perfectly preserved jewel of medieval architecture and buildings, emanates charm and shows layers of history from every corner of its narrow winding streets.

Beginning in Roman times, continuing through the Middle Ages, on to the Napoleonic era and finally to the RisorgimentoLucca's monuments, churches, palaces and roads, even its very shape have a story to tell. Each layer blending with preceding ages marking the growth and changes of the city.

The broad, high walls, which characterize the city, are a feature of its past, and a pleasant element of its present.

 

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Completely surrounding the ancient city, the walls we see today date back to the 17th century. Now, no longer used for defense, they are crowned by 4 km of green parkland, and are a lovely place to walk, cycle or stop for a picnic. Just another example of how, over the centuries, though buildings last, their roles metamorphose as times change.

Rich families who embellished the city are closely connected with Lucca's many enchanting legends and tales. 

 

  The central square, at the heart of the city, maintained the shape of the Roman amphitheater and shows the outline of an ancient arena

 

The central square, at the heart of the city, maintained the shape of the Roman amphitheater and shows the outline of an ancient arena

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The owner of the independent music store alongside the staff cafe was proud of his Rolling Stones signed fender guitar .

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The Towers of San Gimignano

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San Gimignano, a small walled village about halfway between Florence and Siena, is famous for its medieval architecture and towers that rise above of all the surrounding buildings offering an impressive view of the city from the surrounding valley. 


At the height of its glory, San Gimignano's patrician families had built around 72 tower-houses as symbols of their wealth and power. Although only 14 have survived, San Gimignano still retains its feudal atmosphere and appearance. 

Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1990, San Gimignano offers visitors the chance to step back in time while enjoying its local products including saffron and its white wine, the Vernaccia di San Gimignano.

Arriving at the walls of the Town

Arriving at the walls of the Town

Viewing the Tuscan countryside before entering the walled town. 

Viewing the Tuscan countryside before entering the walled town. 

Replenishing water .... It's hot! Under the afternoon Tuscan Sun.

Replenishing water .... It's hot! Under the afternoon Tuscan Sun.

We soon found the town square

We soon found the town square

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Some chilled out whilst others explored. 

Some chilled out whilst others explored. 

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As I'm blogging this back at the Hotel there are screams of joy coming from the Pool as we were back in time for an impromptu swim before dinner. 

Sunshine in Siena

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Siena is likely Italy's loveliest medieval city, and a trip worth making even if you are in Tuscany for just a few days. Siena's heart is its central piazza known as Il Campo, known worldwide for the famous Palio run here, a horse race run around the piazza twice every summer. Movie audiences worldwide can see Siena and the Palio in the James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace

Cards by the pool before boarding the coach. 

Cards by the pool before boarding the coach. 

A typical side street in Siena. 

A typical side street in Siena. 

One of the statues we saw outside of the Duomo Romulus and Remus and the She-Wolf.

One of the statues we saw outside of the Duomo Romulus and Remus and the She-Wolf.

Siena is said to have been founded by Senius, son of Remus, one of the two legendary founders of Rome thus Siena's emblem is the she-wolf who suckled Remus and Romulus - you'll find many statues throughout the city. The city sits over three hillswith its heart the huge piazza del Campo, where the Roman forum used to be. Rebuilt during the rule of the Council of Nine, a quasi-democratic group from 1287 to 1355, the nine sections of the fan-like brick pavement of the piazza represent the council and symbolizes the Madonna's cloak which shelters Siena.

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Close up of another Romulus and Remus. They will often be pictured suckling from the Wolf. 

Close up of another Romulus and Remus. They will often be pictured suckling from the Wolf. 

First concert in Pescia

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Pescia

Pescia is a small town located in Tuscany, in the province of Pistoia. The town is located between Florence and Lucca and is spread out over an area of 79 sq. km. Pescia is mainly a floricultural and agricultural town and has recently gained much popularity as a tourist destination due to its scenic locations and its many beautiful hills that are covered by olive trees, flowers and citrus fruit trees.

One of the most attractive features of the town is that it has still managed to retain its medieval features. According to archeologists and scholars the Lombards were the first people to set up a settlement close to the river bank.

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Welcomed by a civic dignatory.   

Welcomed by a civic dignatory. 

 

Playing in the open air town square. 

Playing in the open air town square. 

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Guest conductor  

Guest conductor  

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A Thankyou from civic dignatories before boarding the coach back to the Hotel. 

A Thankyou from civic dignatories before boarding the coach back to the Hotel. 

Fascinating Florence

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Florence, small and immense and at the same time, is an open air museum grown more beautiful over the centuries; a treasure chest enclosed by ancient walls that safeguard grandiose masterworks of art and architecture so close that you can almost touch them.

From its magnificent position, the city sits at the feet of the Appennine Mountains in a valley that opens onto the Arno Plain. Its buildings and monuments tell stories of art, war and life. Its streets, today crowded with tourists, are the same ones through which Leonardo da VinciMichelangeloDante and many other of the most illustrious minds of all time, threaded their way.

Connie our local guide led us on an informative tour of the centre of Florence. 

Connie our local guide led us on an informative tour of the centre of Florence. 

Connie was aided by her portable amplification system   

Connie was aided by her portable amplification system 

 

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Amongst the other shuts of the City it is the first time I've seen chip Pizza. 

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No cameras were allowed in the Uffizi Gallery, but 32 of us chose to visit whilst the rest had free time to explore the city or sit and chill by the river, or in a Cafe.

Montecatini Terme

 

We have arrived and are now strolling around the town in small groups or taking a dip in the refreshing waters of the hotel pool.

  Montecatini Terme is located in the heart of northern Tuscany, between Lucca and Florence. It's a spa town, healing waters that gush from the earth are drunk, soaked in, and talked about.

 

Montecatini Terme is located in the heart of northern Tuscany, between Lucca and Florence. It's a spa town, healing waters that gush from the earth are drunk, soaked in, and talked about.

           

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Swimming at The Hotel Royal Palace