A Travellerspoint blog


Start of an Adventure that we will never ever forget.

sunny 32 °C
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Tuesday 20th June :

Country: ITALY
Population: 61,000,000 (lots of people)
Language: Italian
Currency: Euro (1 Euro = 1.57 NZD)

We started our adventure in Europe! We left Cardiff at 1:35 and arrived into Rome at 4:30.IMG_20170620_115615.jpg20170620_172639.jpg
After we collected our luggage and went through customs we got a shuttle to Roma Camping (Where we were staying, It had a pool!!!!! ) And checked in. We were staying in a small chalet. We found where the pool was and swam for the next 2 hours because it was so hot, the temperature for our stay is supposed to be in the thirties, there is a short walk to a supermarket - here I have learnt my first italian word ‘entrata’ meaning entrance, ‘uscita’ meaning exit!

Wednesday 21st June:
We walked into the Vatican City, The line to get in was long but once you were in, it was worth it. There was a huge wall leading up to the Vatican i can’t imagine trying to get in through the walls! The Pope was speaking so there was a lot of security( We didn’t see him speak.) We got to the top and walked though the rooms, some of the rooms were based on a different part or time in the Roman Catholic Church and some of them were based on the different Popes. The Vatican is one of the oldest museums in the world with a huge collection of older treasures, there were a number of huge paintings, and amazing artwork on the walls. It is hard to imagine how the paintings were done on the walls and the ceilings such a long time ago, there was lots of gold paint so the Church must have been quite rich. There was lots of maps, globes and star patterns that indicated there must have been quite a few people who studied the stars and geography in older times. Close up views of some of the tapestrys and paintings were interesting you could see where someone had a brushstroke but the painting was twice the height of me!!

My favourite room was the Sistine Chapel because the roof had a whole heap of paintings painted on it. It was a very blue roof and a big chapel, this is where they send the smoke out after they have elected a new Pope, black smoke for no decision, white smoke for a new Pope. It was very hot inside and there were so many people walking through the Vatican, it is amazing to think the Catholic religion has attracted such a following so many years afterward. After the Sistine Chapel we went outside and ate our lunch before walked back to the camping ground and going for a big swim. Swimming was a saviour as it was soo hot, we like Italy for the food also - my favourites, pizza and pasta and lots of tomatoes, mozarella, olives and bread.

Thursday 22 June:
We caught the Metro to the Colosseum. IMG_20170622_111751-PANO.jpg20170622_134752.jpg90_20170622_140650.jpg20170622_134552.jpg180_20170622_112845.jpg180_20170622_112539.jpg90_20170622_141547.jpgThe colosseum was huge. It took us about 1hr to walk around the top layer and about 20mins around the bottom layer. This stadium was built in 72 AD - this is when it was started and was finished in 80 AD! It could hold up to 60,000 people - crazy to think it was like a modern rugby stadium but built about 1940 years ago! Gladiators didn’t really have a chance fighting others either with or without armour or weapons, you could ask for ‘Mercy’ if you would like a quick death - this was asked of the crowd and even if you asked for mercy it could be turned down by the crowd and your death could be prolonged!!! Ladies were seated in a different part of the stand at the top while men were closer to the action. The white marbled seats had emperor’s names engraved into them and you can still see some of these today. Emperor’s were in charge of putting on the games in the stadium and also paying for them, some had extensive numbers of exotic animals to fight also including bears, lions, panthers and tigers. Once we had seen all of the Colosseum, we walked to the Trevi Fountain. The carving was amazing.It was carved in 1762 by an artist named Nicola Salvi We threw in coins and made a wish. The water was so blue and clear. There were a lot of Policeman there making sure that nobody sat on the fountain or went into the water, Emily got whistled at for sitting on the steps!! We threw in about 3.50 euro but I’m not telling what I wished for!!! About 3,000 Euros are thrown into the fountain each day.The Fountain itself was huge and had many smaller fountains coming out of the big one. We then carried on walking to the Spanish steps. There were 135 steps and they conect Piazza de Spagna and the Trinita dei Monti Church.The view was so cool because you could see straight over the top of Rome!!!!

Posted by Smithys 05:59 Archived in Italy Tagged vatican spanish_steps colosseum trevi_fountain Comments (0)

Last 3 weeks

We have had a very busy few weeks including finishing school and Watching the Jounior Eisteddfod

Thursday 1st June :
Nia took Emily and I to the junior Eisteddfod near Bridgend. It started off quite chilly but warmed up once the sun came out. We got our tickets and then walked around some of the stalls. There were a lot of armed officers on duty carrying real big guns and tasers a sign of the problems with terrorism over here. There were some quite cool craft/pottery stalls, one of the stalls had a bowl that said ‘Cawl’ on the side, which Nia bought for Dacu. Dacu is a specialist at making Cawl which is a bone broth soup with vegetables. We carried on walking and looking around for about 10 minutes. Then Nia saw a sign that had the time table of the pavilion on it and we saw that there was clog dancing at 12:10, it was 11:45 at the moment so we ate some snacks and then went in to the pavilion I couldn’t understand what the presenter was saying because it was all in welsh! The clog dancing was really good and I thought that the first boy was the best! The dancers jumped backwards and forwards over brooms and clapped their clogs together over a candle it snuffed out the flame! Some danced to fiddlers, or pianists and they tended to dance really fast!
After the clog dancing we carried on walking around and saw every type of stall you could think of. There was a stall for the Royal Mint (where they make coins) that showed us the difference between a real coin and a fake coin. DYK that they make coins for New Zealand and about 7 other countries.
We then walked to the fair side of the Eisteddfod. Emily and I went on the bungee trampoline and we hooked ducks. For lunch, we had fish & chips and ice cream/block. It was delicious and crispy!
After going to the fair, we walked to the car and drove back to Nia’s so that Emily and I could grab our stuff before going to Mumbles where we met Mum and Carter at an Italian restaurant.

Saturday 3rd June:
We were up at Owain’s early (by 8:00) to watch the Lions vs NZ Provincial Barbarians. The Barbarians lost by 5 points. 13-7! Both teams played well. We had a big cooked breakfast made by Mum, Dacu and Owain. Ffion took us down to the stables and we mucked out Dee’s stable and filed up her hay nets.

Sunday 4th June:
Today we walked up Pen-y-fan in the pouring, freezing cold rain, it was also very windy when we got to the top. This wasn’t really a mountain more the same size as the Richmond hills but they do tend to call hills mountains over here. It was much easier than the other walk up Snowden with a well-formed path and quite rich red dirt that when it rained was very slippery and stained your socks. We got a picture at the top and walked/ran back down. At the bottom we grabbed a hot chocolate piled high with cream and marshmallows. They warmed up our hands and our mouths very quickly. On the drive back we went through common land, there was a whole heap of horses, sheep and cattle along the side of the rode. Once we were back home mum started sunbathing because it was so HOT!!!!! All seasons in one day in Wales!

Monday 5th June:
Today Carter and I started our 2 weeks of swimming at school. We were all tested and put into groups (Carter & I were put into the top group). The school teachers must teach you how to swim over here as well there aren’t any specialist swim instructors. Most of the kids in the school can’t swim or dislike swimming which is really different to New Zealand. dour bus was late picking us up from the leisure centre so we were late back to school and home.

Tuesday 6th June:
Carter and Dacu went to the ODI in Cardiff NZ VS ENGLAND. They said they really enjoyed it even though NZ lost . ☹ They travelled up to Cardiff by train. When they got off the train they walked around the outside of Millennium Stadium (Where the Welsh rugby team plays their home games)to Sophia Gardens. All along the route there were “Cricketeers” showing you which way to go and answering any questions you had. They had really good seats with the big screen behind. New Zealand just couldn’t restrict the English batting and Carter picked England to win quite early on. Lunch consisted of genuine Cornish Pasties and Lemonade! They came home on the train and Mum picked them up at the Railway Station.
They stopped off at the Chinese Take-away for curried chicken and fried rice for dinner. A long day but they both had a good time.IMG_1080.jpg90_IMG_1075.jpg180_IMG_1074.jpgIMG_1073.jpg

Wednesday 7th June:
Dacu was off to Owain’s to watch the Blues play the Lions!!!
The Blues WON!!!! 😊 22-16
Dacu said both teams played very well but the Blues deserved to win.

Thursday 8th June:
We were all very excited, even Dacu because we hadn’t seen her in 2 months!!!
She stopped in CHCH, AKLD, SIN, and then arrived in LH. She arrived at 7:05pm the next day.

Saturday 10th June:
The Crusaders played the Lions. The lions beat them 12-3. It was a good game but the lions weren’t pushing in the scrums so the Crusaders gave penalty’s away. Michelle made us DELICIOUS pancakes with melted chocolate and strawberries/banana’s on top for breakfast. There are so many sweet treats over in Wales, there is a lot of sugar in everything!!! Not so good for your teeth!

Sunday 11th June:
We had Lunch at Dacu’s cousins, they cooked an amazing roast dinner, Lamb.
Then for dessert you had a choice of trifle, Chocolate cake and apple pie, Carter and I had all three so we had to walk home!!!
It was also A.Js birthday so we wished her a happy birthday from the other side of the world!!!!

Monday 12th June:
We started the countdown to when dad got here!! And Dad had his Exam in NZ, there were about 5 questions in the whole test but each question was worth a lot of marks, he hopes he did well!!!
Only 2 days until dad gets here!!!

Tuesday 13th June:
Dad gets here tomorrow, everybody is really excited. In school swimming Carter and I have started swimming 25 meters instead of only 15 meters!!!! So we are swimming quite well and enjoying it!!!!!!!!!!!😊 Dacu and Nana have gone out for tea in Haverford West [AD4] with[AD5] some friends of theirs . Only 1 more day until dad gets here!!!!!!! And only 3 more days of school left!!!

Wednesday 14th June:
Dad arrived !!!!! We were all so excited to finally see him it had been so long since we had seen him. Dacu picked him up from Cardiff after dad had caught a coach from London. He brought some pineapple lumps which were delicious. Our friends tried them for the first time!!!

Friday 16th June:
Our last day at school, we were very busy wrapping presents and writing cards before we left for school. Nan had made a pavlova and we had some pineapple lumps left over so we took them as well, Mum, Dad , Dacu and Nana came into school at about 9:30.

Posted by Smithys 05:27 Archived in Wales Tagged #june!!!! Comments (0)

Mid term break!!!!

Sunday 28th May, we went for a boat trip on the Viaduct in Llangollen.
It was a slow relaxed ride and the lady speaking taught us a lot about the canal.
The boat company was called Jones The Boats and the boats were long skinny barges that floated low in the water. We passed several other boats, with people, cats and even ghosts living on them!90_IMG_7095.jpg90_IMG_7092.jpg

We travelled across this amazing canal bridge called an aqueduct. It was built on stone pillars high up in the air, quite scary to look over the edge! Did you know that they drain the aqueduct every 5 years? It is closed for about 3 days, and they start the process by draining it, how they do this is there is a big pin in the middle of the aqueduct which you pull and it empties the water into the river below. They then have to scrub it by hand before filling it back up again and re-opening the canal.
Canals changed life for industry in Wales. Prior to the canal horses and carts were used to take goods such as wool, coal, hay, pottery and other things to markets. Horse and Carts had limited space for goods but boats could carry much greater loads and much heavier loads. During the winter months’ roads got very wet and unreliable and in the summer months they baked and got quite rutted, and the introduction of canal boats drawn by horses meant that exporting of goods became much easier – this was also the precursor to the railways.
After the boat trip, we walked back and fourth along the canal before having an amazing roast lunch at the Telford Inn. We then made our way to the Horseshoe Falls which is this beautifully designed and picture perfect ‘falls’. Where a river flows over the side of a horseshoe shaped wall about a metre tall, it flows directly into the canal. The water that flows into the canal then gets cleaned and it put in to the canal.IMG_7126.jpg
We went back to where we were staying and we had a very nice BBQ, and went to bed early so that we could wake up early on Monday morning
Monday 29th May, we left very early to get back down to Pwll (it took 4 hours). Outside it was the perfect day for travelling as it was pouring with rain and we were all tired. Once we were back in Pwll we started packing for our trip to Cardiff the next day. Mum wasn’t coming (she was working!) Dacu was driving us up to Cardiff for 2 days. Once we were all packed and food had been bought we settled down for dinner, after dinner everybody got to bed pretty early.

Tuesday 30th May, Dacu, Emily, Carter and I dropped Mum off at work, and then drove to Cardiff, Once in Creigiau we unpacked our bags, grabbed our togs and headed for the pool, Nia took us to Cardiff Bay Pool, we swum for about 1 ½ hours and went down a slide, we would have gone down more but as it was half-term the lines were really long. Then we went to the waterfront and got an ice cream, and some delicious Welsh cakes, all different flavours.

We then went to Caerphilly Castle where we met up with Euros and Sandy, we went in and around Caerphilly castle, and climbed all the way to the top of the biggest castle in Wales (Caerphilly). It was gigantic there were tons of rooms, we went around the same tower twice because we were a bit lost!!! We saw the red dragon and a picture/story of the green lady and her daughters/granddaughter. We also saw the leaning tower and the great hall (Dacu once sung in the great hall). IMG_7132.jpgIMG_7130.jpg

After we had seen Caerphilly Castle we went to Euros and Sandy’s for a delicious lasagne and salad, We also watched the second semi-final of BGT. My favourite was Izzy the 8yr old magician. She won!!!! We decided to go back to Nia’s at about 10pm.

Wednesday 31st, Dacu took us to the Big Pit, in Cardiff. IMG_7143.jpgIMG_7142_-_Copy.jpgWe went on the underground tour, the guy there was really friendly and he was very educational. One of the most interesting things was that if you were a girl over the age of 12 you would have work in the coal mines opening and closing doors when ponies and boys with carts of coal came past. The doors were kept shut so that the air circulation kept going and the gas or methane gases couldn’t get through if there was a leakage.
After the underground tour, we went up and through the bath houses and there were a lot of showers that the miners and family would have used. There was also a lot of information about all of the different jobs and the higher ranks meant better clothes for family members. Once we had gone through the bath houses we then went into this cinema room with a 20-minute movie on the life of a miner, and we went through a whole heap of different rooms with different machines that they would have used in the different years to get it done quicker. Then off to the café for a nice ice block, juice, hot chocolate, tea, sandwich or slice of Bara Birth! IMG_7137.jpg
After we had been to the Big Pit we went back to Nia’s where Carter and Dacu dropped Emily and I off before driving back to Pwll (and stopping off for some Chinese noodles).
Meanwhile Emily and I stayed the night with Nia, which included painting our nails, watching The Devil Wears Prada and getting a good nights’ sleep.


Posted by Smithys 11:36 Archived in Wales Tagged #mid_term_break Comments (0)

Weekend in North Wales

overcast 9 °C

Last weekend we went to North Wales and had a great time. We started off the weekend (Friday night ) by driving to Aberystwyth in the 27-degree heat.IMG_0829.jpg90_IMG_0830.jpg
Our first stop was at Aberaeron, Dacu Emily and Carter went in to this pub on the wharf and got a pint of lemonade each (dacu got a pint of beer). While mum and I got some fish and chips which were scrumptious.
We carried on our way and got to our apartment amazed because we were so close to the water (and it was so big) we literally had to walk across the road and we were on the beach! We stayed in an apartment called Cardigan Bay which was right on the water front.
At 8:35pm we decided it was still warm enough for a swim in the bay. We swam for about 1 hour and we were all freezing cold. The temperature had dropped about 4 degrees and the sun had started to go down so it was getting quite chilly.
In our apartment, we showered and ate some warm lasagne. It was mouth-watering and there was just enough of it to go around. The apartment was so comfortable and everybody had a good sleep apart from the thunderstorm that woke us up at a very early hour (4:30 am).
(Saturday) At about 8:30 we left to walk up Mt Snowdon. It was raining while we were driving but when we started climbing it was fine but starting to get quite misty and cold. We started walking at 11:00( Dacu took the train) and got half way up by about 1:00 and ate some light food. We carried on until we got to the top. Once we got to the top it was pouring with rain and it was so foggy you couldn’t see past your nose. We wanted to get a picture at the very top but the line to the top was massive.IMG_0877.jpg So, we just got a picture with the top in the very faint background!
We then decided to go inside to get tickets for the train down but there were no tickets left. So, we had to walk down. It took us about 1 hour and 50 minutes. It was very slippery and we all wanted to get in to the car.
Once we were at the car, we ate some more food and got changed into some warm clothes before we carried on to Llangollen and stayed at Dacu’s friends house. We had a BBQ for dinnerIMG_0913.jpg and it was delightful. We then watched a couple of movies before going off to bed at around 11:30.

Posted by Smithys 02:20 Archived in Wales Comments (0)

Day 2 in London

Shopping and a Show

London Day 2 Sunday 21st May

Mum, Emily and I left the house at precisely 10:25am to catch a 10:55 train to Waterloo Station. Carter and Dacu left about 2 minutes after, they had a very exciting day ahead at the Twickenham Sevens!!!
We got to the station on time and got the underground tube to Piccadilly Circus. From there we went to the ambassador’s theatre and booked tickets for the 3 o’clock STOMP show!!!! We booked the tickets and walked back to Hamleys. We had a look inside Hamleys and it was mind-blowing. It is 6 storeys high (including the ground floor) with a basement.
-1(Basement): Star Wars
Ground floor: Lots of different toys but mainly remote control and dolls.
1. Water based toys e.g. Water guns and bath toys
2. Craft and BIG Lolly shop
3. LEGO and only Lego (they made the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and a red telephone box with a guard outside, out of Lego. Full sized.)
5. Heaps of different types of Toys!!!!!!
I got 3 of my nails done by a lady out the front of the ground floor doing a “tutorial” of this product. We watched lots of different tutorials but my favs were either the magic show or the magic pens that change colour if you put this special pen over it. You could also get a blower that made you art have a spray paint effect (Same set)!!!After Hamleys we went to find something to eat but first we stopped off at gap and Em and I brought 1 dress each!!!!
Then we did find somewhere to eat it was called PIZZA PALOUR!! It was delicious! Em had a Salami and I had a Margaretta.
After the food, we rushed back to the Ambassador’s theatre, just in time to watch STOMP! Stomp was so different to any other stage performances I had ever seen before. It was extremely creative and so FUNNY. My favourite was this song where they were using only newspapers to make the beat and rhythm.
After the show, it was an extremely fast walk back to the underground station where we got on the Bakerloo line to Paddington Station.

Meanwhile Carter and Dacu were having a sensational day at the London sevens at Twickenham (The home of English rugby)!!! They Got to their seat on the 10-metre line, Halfway up the stand (In the East stand). They started off supporting NZ but we got knocked out by Scotland 21-24 but New Zealand should have won because New Zealand were up 21-0 at half time.
After that they supported England and they beat South Africa in a nail biting finish 17-12, England scored after the hooter had gone and won the game. That meant that England were in a semi-final against Canada!
The next game we watched was Wales vs France we supported WALES!!! And they won easily (well not very easily) 26 – 17.After that we had to leave to get back to Paddington station on time. We travelled on the underground tube to Paddington.
Mum, Em and Lucy arrived about 5 minutes after we got there and we got some sandwiches and drinks and then got on our train home. It seemed like a very long train ride even though it was only 2 hours. Once we were of the train in Cardiff we drove back to Pwll and arrived at about 10:30pm.

Posted by Smithys 06:26 Comments (0)

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