This morning it started snowing with a vengeance. Everything, even near the lake, is covered in snow. I went out this morning shortly after it started but within an hour the roads were a slippery white and vehicles were sliding all over the place. My car is an Alfa Romeo Crosswagon, which means it has full time four wheel drive. Even so I had trouble coming down a steep hill and I did my best to avoid any steep roads after that.
We were going to go to Lecco this evening to eat a pizza with friends but we have decided to stay local. It is not so much that we are worried about getting stuck but if someone else blocks the road we may have trouble getting home.
Alis has just come back in after going out for a few minutes. She tells me that now it has got dark and the temperature has dropped well below zero the roads and paths have become very icy.
Some sun is forecast for tomorrow and I will try to get a photo attached to this post.
Anyway now that this weather seems to have set in it is too cold to work in the workshop (no heating) and at least I will be able to spend some time on the retro blog of our trip in Australia.
Well it has to be admitted that I am not a dedicated blog writer.
Since lat writing I have managed to get up a selection of photos of our Japanese part of the trip. I will try to get up some more posts in the next few days to go along with the photos. Also I must get some more captions on the photos.
In any case go to the gallery page and you will find my selection of photos.
Alis, Francesca, and I have just returned from the holiday trip of a lifetime. After two months and many adventures we are finally home from the most extensive holiday that we have ever had.
We have been to a small part of Japan including Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara and a wonderful onsen in the mountains north west of Nikko. We have been to Thailand and Chang Mai. We have been to Australia and visited Sydney and Wauchope then travelled south to Melbourne and Adelaide. We then traversed Australia from Adelaide to Darwin visiting many well known and not so well known places before flying to Brisbane. We then returned to Bangkok for two days and hence home to Mandello del Lario.
In Bangkok we stayed at the wonderful Old Bangkok Inn and our gracious hostess, Mrs Nantiya Tulyanond, handed us a sheet of useful tips that will help to save you from being ripped off in Bangkok. The main thing to keep in mind is that a fairly large number of people who can be incredibly believable are going to try to con you out of your tourist dollars (or in this case Baht).
Do not accept any unsolicited advice on; where to shop, whether a monument is open or not, where the entrance is, that you should take a tuk tuk etc.
To give an example: at the Royal Palace and temple complex we had someone direct us to another gate, saying we had to buy entry tickets, when we arrived an accomplice told us the Palace were closed to foreigners that morning for a Buddhist ceremony. He then suggested we take a tuk tuk to see another temple. Fortunately we realized what was going on and returned to the main entrance where, naturally, everything was open as normal and we located the ticket office inside. If we had taken the tuk tuk to the other temple we would have been accosted there by another accomplice who would have told us he had come to Bangkok from the country particularly to buy jewellery at a certain shop that had fantastic prices. I will leave it up to you to guess where the tuk tuk would have taken us next! This is not fantasy, it actually happens, and the frightening thing is that all these people present themselves in a way that is absolutely believable. If you fall into their net they pass information about you using their cell phones so that the next accomplice along the line is waiting for you to arrive.
Onsen is the Japanese word for hot spring but also refers to the baths themselves or the resort hotel or inn (ryokan) that has the facilities of spring fed hot baths. The most traditional type of onsen is associated with a Japanese inn, ryokan in Japanese, offers a selection of hot baths which may be in the open or under cover of a roof (rotenburo), they will offer mixed bathing (konyoku) but will also most likely have a women only bath and perhaps a men only bath too. A Japanese ryokan will offer at least an evening meal as well as breakfast. These will be elaborate presentations of traditional and seasonal dishes from the locality. Many privately run onsen would also offer people who are not guests the use of the facilities during the day for a reasonable fee.