Rainbow Colours of Disney

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week, asks us to show off a few photos, each containing at least four strong colours. I immediately thought of my recent visit to the Disney Magic Kingdom. We were certainly surrounded by bright colours for the whole day. Here are a few pics which I haven’t shown you before.

Street Musicians

Street Musicians

Pluto

Pluto

Street Parade

Street Parade

Street Parade

Street Parade

Mickey and Minnie float.

Mickey and Minnie float

Mickey and Minnie at the castle

Mickey and Minnie at the castle

Stilt Walkers

Stilt Walkers

Balloon Seller

Balloon Seller

Tweedledum & Tweeledee with autograph hunter.

Tweedledum & Tweedledee with autograph hunter.

Dodgem Cars

Bumper Cars

Dumbo the Elephant ride

Dumbo the Elephant ride

I hope you enjoyed my rainbow-coloured pics. To see more bright colours, visit Cee’s post.

cees-fun-foto

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Music, flowers and chocolates

Yesterday was my day for playing the piano at the Mall. As I was driving into the car park, I heard the familiar plinkety-plink-plink of the two elderly musicians, who sit there by the parking ticket machine, day after day, hoping for a few coins to be thrown into their wooden bowl. They’ve been playing there for as long as I can remember, and one of them once told me how much he liked my piano playing. I sometimes feel  a bit guilty that I get paid to play, even though the money means little to me, and I get to sit inside the shopping centre, where it’s bright and cheerful, whereas  they are making music, in order to put food on the table, and have to sit in much less salubrious surroundings. I give them a donation when I walk past, not because I enjoy their music, which is rather tuneless and ponderous, but because I feel sorry for them. How do you feel about giving money to such musicians?

I did enjoy my two hours playing, though, and had lots of smiles and waves. One elderly man, did a little dance around me, holding an imaginary partner for the tango. There was a granny with her grandson in a stroller, and they stopped to listen. She got really excited when the little boy started to move his fingers, as though he was also playing piano. She decided there and then, that as soon as he was old enough, he would have piano lessons. I played that lovely old song, “Moon River,” and it was only when I got home, that I saw on someone’s blog, that Andy Williams, the singer who made this song famous, had just died. I loved his rendition of this song, so smooth and relaxing. I’m sad that he’s gone.

Yesterday was my best friend’s birthday, so when she popped in to see me, it was time for a bit of spoiling. It had to be an orchid, my favourite flower; something to remind her of me whilst I’m away in Florida,

and something delicious, which I know she wouldn’t buy for herself. 🙂

Today is  a lovely Spring day, and will be great for a walk along the beach, so I’ll see you all later.

More about the unique and beautiful city of Venice.

We had real ‘Indian summer’ weather on our tour of Italy last October. Our last day in Venice was very busy, what with all the exploring and shopping we had to do. There were Pinocchios aplenty to choose from, although I didn’t succumb to the temptation. I’ve bought enough souvenirs in my time, and have asked myself when I got home, “What were you thinking?”

We wandered through the narrow lanes, between the towering, historic apartment buildings.

and up and down hundreds of steps. Such good exercise. 🙂

We were serenaded whilst indulging in a delicious pasta and a glass of Chianti at a pavement cafe; “Besame Mucho” and all that, by three brothers on the squeeze box, guitar and violin. How wonderful!  I was loving Italy so much. Mucho magnifico!!

Venice is such a great city to visit. It has everything; magnificent architecture, water everywhere you look, divine food and wine, music around every corner, and a decent amount of shopping. What a romantic adventure! There were plenty of tourists, but we never felt crowded by them. All the while we were enjoying ourselves, the everyday business was going on around us. I got the impression that those Italians work very hard indeed to keep the city well maintained and tourist-worthy.

We went back to our hotel to change for the evening’s activities, and in the late afternoon, again took the ‘taxi’ ride across the lagoon.

The sun was setting behind the Basilica Santa Maria della Salute, as we sailed across. The Salute is a vast, octagonal building built on a platform made of 100,000 wooden piles, and is constructed of Istrian stone and Marmorino (brick covered with stucco containing marble dust).

Here you can see the bell tower of the Basilica di San Marco on the left, with the Doge’s Palace in the middle, and The Bridge of Sighs on the right.

At the dock, our Gondolier was waiting for us, and I gingerly stepped in first. I fully expected it to capsize, but fortunately, although it rocked like crazy, I made it to the ‘love seat’ at the front, and then hubby and four other friends got in too.

We pulled away from the pier,

and set off under the ‘Bridge of Sighs’, so-called because it was the bridge over which prisoners were led before being incarcerated in the prison usually until they died, as the conditions were appalling, the cells being barely big enough for a person to lie down. There were serious renovations going on, hence all the scaffolding.

We asked our boatman to sing to us, assuming that all gondoliers were the singing types, but he just said that would cost extra.  The guy in the gondola in front of ours started to sing “Buona serra senorita,” and ours joined in, albeit somewhat half heartedly. A local man walking along the path, called out in Italian, “He can’t even sing. Why don’t you tell him to shut up?” Served him right for being so miserable. 🙂

We passed between really tall, ancient buildings, some with their stone steps half hidden under the water. Apparently in winter, all the ground floors are flooded. The plaster has fallen off the outside walls long ago, and they looked extremely ‘distressed’.

We could see through the brightly lit windows into people’s houses, and they looked so beautiful and cheery.

It was now getting dark, and a church bell was tolling in the distance. I couldn’t help imagining those prisoners of long ago, cooped up in their tiny cells under the Doge’s Palace, hearing that same bell day after day until they eventually died. It really was very spooky, and in some parts, the smell was very unpleasant. When there was a sudden gushing of water from an outlet at the base of one buildings, I had to wonder if someone up there had just flushed the ‘loo’. 😉

Here is a restaurateur waiting to welcome diners, who would be arriving by gondola.

Our ride was for about half an hour, and then we suddenly emerged out of the gloom, into the bright lights again, where more tourists were waiting to take our places on the gondola.

Our guide led us through the streets to our restaurant, the “Trattoria Do Forni,” where we were treated to the most delicious four-course meal. I had Prawn cocktail in Aurora sauce, Linguine with seafood, Fillet of sole with zucchini, and last but by no means least, the best Tiramisu I’ve ever eaten. The decor was very elegant, and don’t you just adore these Venetian glass, wall lights?

It was a fabulous farewell dinner, and a wonderful end to the trip.

So finally I’ve finished my Italian travel tale. Just doing this post has made me long to be back there again. Maybe some day.

Travel Challenge “Rhythm”

Ailsa, of the “Where’s my backpack” blog, has given us a travel challenge this week. The challenge is ‘Rhythm’, and some of you may know that I’m in Phuket Thailand on holiday at the moment. I have heard the rhythm of the beginning of the monsoon rains, most evenings, as well as the rhythm of the waves crashing onto the beach just across from our room. The rhythm of the wind in the palm trees lulls me to sleep at night. I’ve been looking out for street musicians here, but so far haven’t seen even one, so I decided to use photos taken in other places on my travels.

This one was taken in Rio, as we were sitting having lunch at an open restaurant just across from Copacabana Beach. Halfway through my meal, a band of merry minstrels appeared, and insisted that I come join them whilst they serenaded me.

Whilst in Venice last year, we were sitting at a street Pizza Cafe, when these three brothers stopped to sing to us. They weren’t very in tune, but it was nice all the same, and added to the  romantic rhythm of that wonderful city.

One evening, whilst staying at a resort on the banks of Lake Titicaca in Bolivia, we were entertained by these guys who performed some of their local music for us. It was a fascinating performance, and quite different from our Western style music.

If you would like to see more entries for this challenge, just click here.