Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Why do they even give air time to these people

Well still coming down from cloud nine that was the weekend...  But I just wanted to post this whilst I remembered...

Coming back from work today there was a news story on the radio.  Their is (almost) a new govement in power today.  A right coalition, I'm not overly happy (and can't vote yet) but that's immaterial.

No, what caught me today was a report about a 'Catholic' (in quotes as I am not sure how affiliated they actually are) calling for the banning of abortions.  By sending faked pictures of 10 week old fetuses to various political parties.

Now, I don't want to get into the whole discussion about whether it should be banned or not.  However, their reasoning (outside of forcing people to live to thier ideals) for wanting it banned are just stupid.  They say that if you stop the killing of millions of unborn children (with 16 million people in Holland just how many abortions a year so they think people have???) then you can transfer the carers of those having the abortions to other wards and 'TADAH!' you have solved the staffing crisis in hospitals in one swoop.

I mean, seriously!  So let's start with the care of the woman having children they don't want for whatever reason and the phychological effects of that, lets forget pre-natel, and ante-natel care.  And the extra child care needed (I was in hospital enough as a child).

And lets get onto the really bad part of looking after those that go to back street abortionists and all the care that they will need after that.  I was shocked that the news sender actually bothered to give these people air time!

Sorry, rant over, normal service shall be resumed soon...Oh, and of course the fact that it wouldn't save tat many staff in the first place in the grand scheme of things.  Let's not forget that one.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

A great night out - sorry long post ahead!

Well I’m sitting on the sofa at my friends with a terribly sore throat, and a ringing in my ears, and more than a little tired after only sleeping for four hours.  But I feel great.  (OK it’s Sunday morning now and I am sitting on my own sofa ;p)  I have a feeling this one may be long…  Sorry.  (Gulp just counted and it’s getting on for 1800 words!)

Before going out there was a party in the office for a couple of people that left at the end of last month.  A good time was had, and it was possibly the last BBQ that I’m going to have this year.  It did mean that I didn’t even start getting ready until quite late – and that I couldn’t just get changed, I had to shower as I someone volunteered me to light the BBQ (I have a reputation as a pyromaniac for some reason…), so I smelled a little smoky.

I left to get ready, had a coffee and showered.  As I could not decide what to wear I had taken pretty much every outfit I had, plus some things that I had borrowed from Mrs Stace.  So I started trying on each of my outfits to try and decide what to wear.  I half-dressed when the earth trip switch for the flat tripped.  I am now standing half dressed in pitch darkness, and I have a suitcase on the floor open with all sorts of things lying around making moving around difficult.  The other problem was being half dressed.  It takes me back to something my mum said when I first told them.  In the mornings when visiting I would put on trousers and make myself and early morning coffee.  My mum commented on that saying surely if I feel I am a woman I would not do this topless.  In male mode I don’t have a problem.  However, here I was, as Stace, in a skirt and tights but with only my bra on top.  I struggled trying to find my jacket that I took with me and struggled into it holding it closed before going out of the bedroom to see what was up with the power.  There is no way I could have left the room without the jacket on, and yet 30 mins earlier I was walking in just jeans to ask my friend something.

Anyway, he managed to get the power back on (it seems my coffee killed his microwave – sorry) and then the fashion show began.  I tried on nearly every outfit I had taken with me, asking for input.  With the help of my friend I decided on a knee length beige canvas skirt (he said that was the one I looked most comfortable in).  I matched it with a splash of colour using a turquoise top under the black jacket and then started in the shoes. I tried all 4 pairs that I took with me and in the end I went with the shoes that Mrs Stace brought for the final dance evening in June.  Then it was just getting my make-up and hair done and I was ready to leave.  I managed to poke myself in the eye with both my eye shadow applicator and my mascara brush…  Still I managed to get everything done well enough (considering what I forgot this trip was my hair mouse and wax – when will I remember everything…)

And so we left, me more than a little nervous - walking there was one of the things that I was forcing myself to do.  It was dark, and the streets were empty when we started out.  We reached the first corner and there was a group of teenagers hanging around.  We passed them without difficulty, with a bit of distance between us though, and carried on.  We passed a few people on the way, and I started to relax when nobody gave me a second look.  I also started to question my shoe size.  I take a 39 (euro size wise) in most shoes, but court shoes I take a 40.  Or so I thought.  I am wondering if I should stick with 39 and just make sure that I break the shoes in - after a few hundred meters they did feel like they were starting to slip a little…

We reached the cafe and suddenly I got really nervous again.  This wasn’t passing people in the street anymore, this was going into a packed bar and being spoken to.  We walked in, said hi to a few people who knew me from drinking there occasionally, but had never met Stacy, and found a couple of stools by the bar.  My friend ordered the drinks and I tried to get comfortable.  So far, well I wouldn’t say so good, but I had at least managed not to run away… 

The evening was raising money for charity, and the two drag queens who were MC’ing the event come over and said hello.  And I did something really stupid…  “And so what’s your name?” “, um, Stace!”  Christ first time out with people and even I get my name wrong, at that point I did want the ground to open up.  But it passed and the evening carried on.  Until my friend also ‘him’ed me.  And then sat apologising, saying he had promised himself not to do that.  So that was two mistakes, one of them from me!

But.  I got into a few conversations, brought some raffle tickets, and was having a good time.  My friend made me order some drinks.  The entertainment was good, as I commented at the time; what is it with some Dutch music that when you hear it on the radio you want to throw the radio out of the window, but in a café with lots of people, and a bit of alcohol, it works.

One of the women that I met was someone who transitioned 15 years or so ago.  We had a very brief ‘hello’ type chat, but her parting words were ‘Maak je geen zorg, je zit er goed uit’ (Apologies to those who understand Dutch if I messed the sentence up).  Roughly translated: ‘Don’t stress yourself, you look fine.’ That comment put me on cloud nine for some time.

Then came the raffle draw, now I don’t have luck with raffles, and I only had 5 tickets.  But I also know how my luck runs and on the day when I’m out in public for the first time, not wanting to draw attention to myself I knew I was going to win something.

And so…  When a vibrator gets pulled out of the box of prizes I’m sitting in my seat thinking ‘please, no, please…’  It wasn’t, phew.  A few more prizes get pulled, and then there is another vibrator.  And I win it.  So I have to walk into the spotlight, in front of the entire bar to pick up my prize.  Thankfully I think that enough people know that it was my first day so there were not the calls from everyone watching that there could have been.  Either that or my terror blocked it all out…

A bit more music and the second draw took place.  And what do you know, I win again!  A DVD this time.  This time the walk to pick it up was much easier.  Maybe the more subtle nature of the prize helped, or maybe I was getting more comfortable.

The draw over, and with everything going so well (except someone stealing my stool when I went to the bathroom) when I noticed that the woman who complimented me was outside on her own so I went to speak to her.  Now I am not going to put the details of the talk into the blog, I am still working through some of the things that we spoke about.  But there are some lighter things that I’ll put in.  She commented that provided I learnt to do my hair (getting there, but forgetting the wax didn’t help…) that she thought I was in a good position to be Stace, saying my face shape was soft enough and my voice OK even without yet seeing a speech therapist.  It got heavy in places, which are the bits that I am not going to get into yet, and there were tears in my eyes at a few points during the conversation.

It’s the first time I have spoken face to face with someone who has gone through this and emerged o the other side, and it was so great to be able to speak to someone who knows what I’m going through, and the fears that I have.  She has a fantastic attitude, from what I saw, and I look forward to seeing her again.

The end of the evening came, and my friend and I left to walk home.  On the way to the café I forced myself to walk with confidence.  On the way back there was no forcing in there, I was just walking back being me.  And even with the wine inside me I managed not to fall off of the heels – which gave the bonus of not breaking my ankle.  But, by the time we reached his flat I was so happy to take the shoes off!  The balls of my feet were telling me that they had done enough, with one of them slightly blistered.  I asked Mrs Stace when I got home if where I got the blister was normal (I was still thinking about the size of the shoes) and to paraphrase she just said ‘Yup, it’s painful – get used to it’.

On the walk home he got an SMS from someone in the café: ‘Tell Stacy that I have respect for her’.  What a way to end the evening :)

My friend and I sat talking for an hour or so – about the night, about my life in general.  Some bits were again heavy.  There were a few more tears followed, but it was a good chat.  We gave up at 3:30am and went to get some sleep.  I was asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.  Unfortunately I was awake again 4 hours later – Saturday was not a good day for me, I was shattered!

Any regrets?  Yes, I got too emotional – I feel an idiot for the amount of times I either had tears in my eyes, or on my cheeks…

Thanks to all for making the night a good one, and to Dave for inviting me along.  I have to do that again!

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Going out for real... Gulp.

Tomorrow night I’m taking another step in the grand scheme of things.  There is a drink and BBQ for a couple of ex colleagues, and when that’s done I’m getting changed and going to a party at the bar of a friend.  It’s a safe place to go out for the first time, especially going with a friend.

As I write this I am split three ways – in equal parts terrified, nervous and looking forward to it.  Terrified and nervous because it’s going to be the first time that I am going to interact with people.  Nervous because the café is on the route from the office to the train station where I work and I’m concerned about running into someone coming back from the party later than I leave (not likely, but I worry about things).  Nervous about walking 1km in 8 to 10 cm heels (I haven’t decided what I wearing yet and about to pack a suitcase with clothes so I can pick when I get ready).  I've done about 400m before without an issue, but I'm going to have a drink at the bar...  Not many, certainly not drunk, but I am having a drink...

And I have the beginnings of a sore throat and head cold, which I am putting down to stressing about it…

But I’m sure it’s going to be worth it…  I let you know if it was…

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Back to Camogli

OK back to the travelogue – see if I can get the whole vacation written up before the end of the year :)

The first day we decided to do a bit of exploring of the local place.  I was still recovering from the 17 hours of driving from the previous two days so keeping it local seemed a good idea.  We had discussed plans before we left and had decided on alternating days out and days by the pool / on the beach.  A bit of exploring and a bit of R&R – not trying to fit everything in
The village is really picturesque, built into the cliff face, lots of old buildings (and old looking buildings) with many cafes and alleyways connecting the streets.

The old looking buildings take a couple of glances to notice.  They look like they have a really decorative facade on first glance – but then you notice that there are areas where the facade seems to be missing and suddenly you see that all the shadows on the brickwork and ornamentation around the windows is painted on.  As is the brickwork and ornamentation itself.  From close up it looks quite strange, but from a distance it looks really lovely...

We had breakfast (they had the best buffet breakfast spread in a hotel that I have seen – but fear for my waistline stopped me indulging too much) a great breakfast cappuccino and left.  Me with my professional camera strung around my neck strangling me, Mrs Stace with her Panasonic box of wonders hanging lightly from her wrist - there are times I don't like having the D5, but the results are worth it.  Snapped a few shots here and there, got a few of the hotel whilst marvelling at how spread out it is – from one edge to the end of the private beach must be a few hundred meters – there must be quite a few meters of airco units mounted halfway up the cliff to keep everyone cool.

Stopping for a coffee (or two) in the village we watched everyone pass by for a while.  Coffee is something that was very cheap, and very good quality in the main.  The coffee shop we used most days in the harbour sold cappuccino for 2 euro’s per cup.  2 cups each and with a 2 euro tip – still cheaper than buying 4 cups in most places here and much far better coffee than here as well.  I learnt my first Italian of the trip here.  ‘Un alto due cappuccino per favoure.’  Another two cappuccinos please.

We stopped at a cafe for lunch in the small marina, after looking for the timetable for the ferry to San Fruttuoso for the next trip. We found a table overlooking the marina itself, watching the boats coming and going and ordered a lucky find in the menu.  The only thing that we understood.  Ciabatta with pesto and mozzarella - we did get more adventurous as the week went on I promise. And a glass of wine (I was on vacation).  All very nice, and cheaper than we were expecting.

After lunch we carried on exploring and seemed to spend an awful lot of time climbing steps.  Camogli is made of them.  A 5 storey building from one side may well have an extra 3 floors on the other side as the cliff drops away.  We stopped to take photographs of the strange sights (there are many buildings with trees growing through them) and generally wandered for a bit before heading back to the hotel to read and relax before food.

I can’t remember where we ate the first night – only surprised that most places were very, very full!

The next day was spent by the pool, reading, drinking coffee, water and swimming in the salt water pool – so salty that you could float in it like the Dead Sea.  Good fun!

Church and apartments that seperate the beach from the marina
Our hotel from viewed from the above church.  It incorperate amost all the buildings in the shot at sea level, and the private beach extends almost to the other side of the picture
Camogli lighthouse at the entrance to the marina - we brought an oil painting of this view before we left
This is a fish restaurant that is famous locally for having an oak tree growing through it.  The tree is visible through the roof of the conservatory part
I just liked this shot :)

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Getting better (mostly)

Well today has been a turn up for the books.  Began a little slowly, with metting followed by meeting, and no time to do any actual work.  In the IT meeting I was put on the spot by my boss about the new teams (I guessed this was going to happen, but with the other meetings had no time to prepare).

After the IT meeting though, things went great.  A meeting to improve our deployments went well, with lots of idea's that we can try to put into practice, and then in the afternoon a meeting with a service provider that went well, and led to a conversation with a software provider whose software in't performing, which led to lots of information which can hopefully solve the performance issue.  All in all a productive day that made me feel like I was doing something useful for my salary :)

Then I got home and my xbox died with the 3 light red ring of death, just when a colleague had lent me a wheel to see what I thought of it.  Annoying, but in the grand scheme of things not important...  Question is do I replace it for the one game I still play, and the one I want to buy or do I clear space in the living room and save the cash...

Tuesday, 14 September 2010


Isn’t it strange how the simplest of jobs can trigger a sudden panic, followed by a deep low?  That’s how I spent the latter part of my weekend.  It started when we saw the new Ikea catalogue and decided to bite the bullet and replace our mattress.  It’s been on the cards for a while now – the old one was brought in our previous house that had damp issues and it showed on the mattress, but we never got around to buying the replacement.

Flicking through the catalogue we found one that was just what we were looking for (at least the description said that it was), and went to Ikea late on Saturday in the hope that it would be quieter.  No chance, when we got there the car park was still completely full.

A bit of browsing whilst looking for the beds, looking for a sofa bed to replace the double in the spare room – as it’s only used a couple of times a year it seems stupid to have 3/4 of the room taken up with it – and other bits and bobs.  We found a great sofa bed – sprung base, looked nice when not a bed, and was comfortable in both guises.  It was easy to unfold and fold back up again and there was a little storage space built in as well.

This is the point where the ‘bad’ thoughts started.  If the worst happens and I end up losing Mrs Stace that’s what I am going to have to buy for the living room of a flat (seeing as a one bed place is likely to be my budget).  And when looking at the chairs for the dining room I started to glance around at the cheap tables that were there to the same effect.

When we finally managed to find the mattress the issue of ‘should we buy it when we don’t know the future?’ came up.  I said buy it anyway, even if that does happen the mattress is going to be needed.  And then spent time looking at the cheap beds (just in case I need one).

And so it goes.  We both made light of it at the time, but since then it’s just been weighing heavier and heavier on my mind – to the point where I have ended up sitting on the sofa rocking backwards and forwards in tears.  Stupid I know – neither of us knows what is going to happen so there is no point dwelling on it, but it just hit me this weekend.

I suppose looking at the bright side I managed to start exercising again this weekend – a 23km bike ride on Saturday (too long, my knees were in agony by the half-way point) and a 3km run on Sunday (should have been 6 but my knees were reminding me of Saturday so I decided to be sensible for a change).  It felt good to be running again, and the endorphins were certainly released.

And the mattress is extremely comfortable.  It’s memory foam so it starts off as a little soft when you first lie down, but then gives you great support once you are lying down on it.  Flat packed too – it comes vacuum packed, and rolled so a 160 * 200 mattress even fits in a V50.

Update: I wrote this on the way to work on Monday.  Since then things have gone downhill a little, I ended up yelling at my boss over a trifling incident (he has told me I was correct and didn’t come across as that shouty, but I know I should have handled it better) and had to leave the office before breaking down again.  Didn’t take long for the vacation feeling to disappear did it…  I’ve levelled out – it’s not getting any worse – but neither is it getting better yet…

Saturday, 11 September 2010

A weekend away

After getting back from my vacation last week I had a few days of rest and relaxation that were seriously interrupted by a cold (three hours back in the country and it started, is that really fair?) followed by a weekend away with the company I work for.

On the Friday before we were supposed to leave I actually called my boss to say that I wouldn’t be coming, but his phone was turned off.  Seeing as I was not simply going to not turn up I packed my rucksack with lots of Paracetamol and nose spray to keep the sinuses open.

We reached the small port in the north of the Netherlands and found that we were to travel to the island where the party was organised by speed boat.  Very exciting and a lot of fun – though really cold in the middle of the sea!  The pilot was having some fun swerving from side to side and doing a few circles when someone decided to side on the rubber side of the boat.

As soon as we arrived the group was split in two.  Half the group did an afternoon sailing on a clipper, and half did a beach games afternoon.  I was in the second.  We started with Jellyfish ball (literal translation) where you fill a hessian sack with wet sand and have to get the sack into bucket of the other team.  That’s the rules in completion and I am still in pain, and have cut up legs now :)  Think British Bulldog with goals...

Whilst the team lost I did at least manage to get the sys admin manager (natural enemy of a developer obviously) into the water towards the end, and it was us two that spent most of our time hanging onto the sack to make sure the other could not run away with it.  It was fun, though painful – and with the cold I wanted to throw up after just a few minutes.

Next up beach five a side football, though with the tide coming in it turned into water polo after a while.  And finally beach volleyball.  I love the game, but am completely useless at it.  I think I cost the team more points that I won.

After a (unfortunately poor) meal we had a party with a live singer, who whilst not my cup of tea did get the party mood going.

Next morning we went back to the mainland on the clippers, and a few of us helped the crew with the sails (damn is that hard work!) before chilling and sleeping in deck.  I don’t know many people managed to avoid sun burn on that 4 hour trip (as opposed to 45 minutes on the speed boat) and there were more than a few lobsters in the office on Monday :)

Whilst writing this I’ve been watching the BBC breakfast program, and I have to say I can’t believe the drivel that they are putting on to fill the time.  There are some good interviews, and stories.  And then there was a 10 minute discussion of an article in one of the papers about where the best place to buy a prawn sandwich is.  Were they really that desperate for filler?

Then there was the story about the tax mistake in the UK.  The tax office seem to have dropped the ball quite seriously there – both with the mistakes, and the way they are handling it.  I think the worst was the radio 4 interview with the head of the tax office saying that he didn’t feel he has to apologise, and there were no mistakes on the part of the employee’s or computer systems of the tax office.  To me that says that it was deliberate...  I don’t know the in’s and outs’ but I though the whole idea of PAYE in the UK was that this type of mistake should not happen.

Right, time for breakfast and getting ready for my first run in three weeks!

Oh, one last thing...  Whilst browsing the blogs my virus scanner popped up with a warning that a virus was downloaded when visiting one of the pages.  I don’t think that it infected anything, but I’m now running a scan to make sure.  Be careful out there people.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Wonderful day

Wow, I didn’t realise I had left it this long since my last post...  I’d hoped to have finished my travelogue by now, but various things have happened so I have just not had time.  So this is going to be a little out of time.

Another therapy session, another trip out as Stacy, the session went well, but there are a couple of things that stood out for me.

He said that the way that I come across, in personality and mannerisms as nothing but female, and even with the issues that anyone not on hormones and not zapped is going to have (facially etc) it’s something that disappears quickly when in conversation and personality makes the other things shrink into the background.  That was really nice to hear :)

The other thing good thing was as I was leaving, I had on the outfit I brought with the money from my sister-in-law for my birthday.  These include a pair of ankle boots, with a bit of a heel.  He asked me to be careful on them, I said that it wasn’t too bad except for maybe my height – about 185cm (ish) in the heels.  He looked me up and down and said in Holland it’s not that bad (to be fair I was still shorter than him :)

And lastly…  I felt great today on the way to therapy.  Not having gone out for a few weeks I was a little nervous again.  I managed to forget my handbag so I had to lug my rucksack around instead and I forgot my razor and had to borrow a disposable one from my friend who’s flat I use and hope not to rip my face apart (almost managed it)  But after I left his flat, I was on seventh heaven.  It just felt great to be me again.  Happy, even managed to look some of the other rush hour drivers in the eye instead of trying to hide my head when driving this time.  Great end to the day :)

Anyway, my wine glass is empty, and Mrs Stace wants the computer to check something online so I’m stopping here…

Normal service soon, I hope…

Friday, 3 September 2010

1250km's in two days

Seeing as we were going 1250KM’s we decided that we would split the travel into two days.  Once day to get to Switzerland, and one to cross Switzerland and get to Camogli; meaning that we could leave at a normal hour of the day instead of getting up at a stupid time of the morning we could get up and leave at leisure. And as we were travelling on a Sunday we thought that the roads would be easier.  Hahahahahahaha…

Holland was a breeze; we managed to get to the border with no issues at all.  Then came Germany.  Big Smile.  Really Big Smile. In Germany you can put your foot down and see where the needle stops moving (last trip to Venice that was at 225kmph – and then it broke down).  But there was a huge amount of traffic and I whilst I love speed, it does have to be a little safe – and when it’s busy you do pretty much Dutch motorway speeds in order to maintain that.  There were a few places where it cleared out and I could set the cruise control at 180 to keep up with the other traffic, but most of the time it was too busy to really enjoy it.  In fact it was really stressful, not a good first day of a vacation.  Mrs Stace took over after a few hours and had as much fun as me with the traffic.  Especially when the big boys in the S class Audi’s, BMW M class and AMG Merc’s started to bully the other traffic (not us so much, but they were doing a good 50+ kmph more than the rest of the heavy traffic, tailgating and weaving behind cars to try and intimidate them into moving – when someone was in their way).  Considering how good the German drivers were two years ago I was shocked at how bad it was that day – quality of driving was just nonexistent.

With road works and traffic we were on the road for a long time.  After a while we gave up trying to get to Basel with enough time to eat and stopped on the motorway to get a Burger King meal to keep us going.

About an hour later we arrived in Switzerland and found the hotel (difficult as it was too new for the Satnav to find – even though we brought new maps before we left) and checked in.  The hotel was great, a 3 star business hotel that was, as I said, brand new.  The room was pristine (or so we thought) with an amazing bathroom made out of frosted glass and a huge, comfortable bed.  Oh, they also had BBC – good to relax to when you’ve been on the road for 11 hours.

The next morning we got up, had a nice breakfast and left for the final part of the journey.  On getting up though we noticed that the curtains had a patch of blood on them in the folds.  Not the nicest thing to find.

On the road again we got lost getting onto the motorway (there were so many corners leading up to the motorway, and after getting on that the Satnav could not keep up with the ‘Turn left, then stay right, then turn left etc’ and the road signs didn’t help at all.

The Swiss motorways were great, almost empty, with polite drivers and it was a really enjoyable journey from the hotel to the border.  About half way you come to a famous Swiss tunnel.  The Gotthard Road Tunnel is very impressive.  You have a big lead up to it, they only allow a certain amount of traffic in at any time, limiting the amount of lorries more than cars, and you realise the length of the tunnel when you see the first KM marker (16 to go IIRC).  You leave a very German Switzerland behind, complete with German language road signs and picture book Swiss cottages and arrive in Italian Switzerland, with Italian signs and very Italian building styles on the other side.

Switzerland felt really quick, and before we knew it we were driving through the border and onto Italian roads.  Also very empty, though the quality of the tunnels was immediately visible – pristine white tunnels in Switzerland, dirty tunnels in Italy.  After driving for an hour or so we stopped to give the car another drink, and get some lunch.

First test of the vacation (Mrs Stace can speak German so there was no problem in Basel).  We had no idea how to order, what to order, how Italians queue etc.  Eventually I got served, tried my hardest to pronounce the name of the hot sandwich we eventually decided we wanted and ordered my first Italian cappuccino.  I must have got it wrong, but can’t fault the service.  Even though it was very busy the guy (manager I think from the way he flitted between serving places) did his best to understand what I wanted in broken English on his side and poor Italian on mine.  He even managed an up-sell of fresh fruit salad into the order ;p  the food was great, the coffee fantastic.

On the road again the satnav gave an ominous warning.  4 hours of queuing traffic due to an accident in a tunnel near Genoa.  We took its advice on a reroute.  With the same warning 5 minutes later.  So we took another reroute.  Mistake.  After coming down the mountain pass (80kmph section of motorway that curves around the mountain in a wonderful way) we left the motorway and went through the centre of Genoa, I hate driving in Italian cities and this was no exception.  I kept getting ’I’m glad you’re doing this and not me’ from Mrs Stace and getting a little anxious we finally wound our way through to the motorway again.  It was nice to see the town, though with a little less stress next time...

Getting back onto the motorway was also a bit disconcerting.  You got to see the concrete pillars holding up the bridges.  Very high bridges they are too.  You get to see the steel reinforcement rusting and sticking out of the concrete as well.  Gulp.

A quick blast down the last section, some more twisting local roads and we were at the hotel.  A struggle to find a parking space – before we found that you just give the keys to the valet parking guy to fit it in somewhere, checking in and watching someone else carry our luggage and we were in.  Once we had unpacked we headed sown to the bar and had a nice drink watching the sea.  We’d got there :) 

Views from the bar terrace at the Camogli hotel

The Swiss Hotel Room

Thursday, 2 September 2010

16 hours (ish)

Wow. In the last 2 days I have spent about 16 hours catching up on 10 days of blog backlog.  I think I am now up to date.  Appologies if there are any I have missed, or not commented on - my eye's started to swim in the screen at some point along the way :)

I've started to write up the vacation, and there are some photo's that I am proud of that I'll post as well.  And some thought processes that happened along the vacation...

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

She's Back!

More chilled than before, with a slight tan, and with the after effects of too much Italian food and wine :)

The break was to go on vacation with Mrs Stace to Camogli on the Italian Riviera for a week, but due to me being one of the world’s worriers that isn't something I feel comfortable with saying in advance...  Stupid I know, but there you go :)

We drove the 1250 km's as we are both terrified of flying (shame as we would both love to see New York at some point, but it's just not going to happen), stopping off in Basel for a stopover (apparently it's a lovely city, but we wouldn't know as we did not get further than 2km's from the motorway).

We stayed in a 4 star hotel, with a salt water pool, private beach and a few restaurants.  So much nicer than the hotels that we normally pick, we thought that we would treat ourselves for once.  Only problem is that we are really not 4 star people, and it felt so strange to have someone carry our bags to the room whilst we carried nothing.  And having someone park the car for us (though I’m not for handing my car keys to someone else…)

A week of relaxation (managed to finish 4 books by the pool / on the beach) and some sightseeing followed.  Lots of great Italian food (and some not so great) and lots of Italian coffee (all good) and a few cocktails whilst looking out over the sea…

Right, time for some home-made Italian espresso and to get the pets sorted :)