Forza Azurre!

There’s nothing better than watching great sporting tournaments with locals. Last night, we watched the Euro 2012 final Spain v Italy, in Italy – Monterosso on the Cinque Terre in Liguria.

Italia colours decorating the streets of Monterosso, Italia

All the bars had big TVs set up outside, Italian flags everywhere, all the town out wearing their colours, chanting and singing – it was a fantastic atmosphere.

Italian fans cheering the final of Euro 2012, Monterosso, Italia

The result wasn’t fantastic though with Spain dominating the whole game and cleaning up to thump Italia 4-0. After the first half and three corona beers at Euro3.50 each (about A$4.50), I was feeling a big boozy woozy and needed to eat…so we left the locals to it and found a little restaurant, Pozzo, and at 10pm ate spaghetti alle vongole. It was exactly what I needed, although, it wasn’t the world’s best vongole.

We collapsed into bed about 11pm and slept for Australia. We where shattered after 6+ hours flying, an hour to get into Milano central, a 3+ hour train ride and then a 20 hike up the hill with our backpacks – all 16kg + hand luggage.

Italian fans standing for the national anthem at the start of the Euro 2012 final, Monterosso, Italia

 

Coral Bay – Ningaloo Reef snorkelling

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Hello!

Here we are, Zorba and I, on the beautiful Coral Coast in Western Australia. It was a big effort to get here. We left Perth on Friday at 4pm, drove to Geraldton in good time, arriving just after 8pm. We checked into the All Seasons hotel and pretty much ate and crashed out.  Up early on Saturday to make the most of the day and our long trip ahead, driving to Coral Bay.  It took us about 7.5 hours, which included a 40min detour to Carnarvon – a non descript town really.

At the Coral Bay turn off – it’s a looong drive from Perth

Coral Bay has not disappointed. We chose the best accommodation in this little town, the Ningaloo Reef Resort. Bad news for us is that targeted to families.  Our one bedroom apartment includes a double bed in the master bedroom, as well as a double bed in the “lounge” with a single bunk above, and an additional single bed. No sofa or couch, but more beds than bodies to sleep in them.  At $300 per night, it was fairly basic accommodation.  Two electric burners in the kitchenette, average bathroom, and a full size fridge.  Although, if you split the cost between 6 people, $50 per person is pretty reasonable.  The views from our balcony are magic.

The magical view from our balcony at the Ningaloo Reef Resort, Coral Bay, WA

The tour company recommended to us was Coral Bay Eco Tours and they took us on a boat trip to snorkel and swim with manta rays.  The boat capacity was 37. As it turned out, luck was on our side with only 10 passengers on board, which made it a lovely small group.  We snorkelled at two different spots from the Kurni-Ku boat, both were beautiful. We saw clams, huge amounts of gorgeous little coloured fish, parrot fish, and green sea turtle – so cool.  When we went to the manta ray spot, luck again was on our side as two manta rays were swimming in a 360 degree formation to create a vortex which enabled them to trap the plankton and feed. It was pretty cool to see.  Manta rays are usually solitary creatures, so to see two together was hugely special.  And to top off our day, we saw a hump back whale in the distance.  Very cool.

Manta ray swimming in a 360 degree formation to form a vortex to stir up plankton to feed

Green sea turtle, Coral Bay

Coral Bay has spectacular sunsets. We were in for a double treat with a rising full moon on one side and the spectacular sunset on the other.

Sunset at Coral Bay

Gorgeous full moon at Coral Bay

Quad biking is a popular tourist activity in Coral Bay and the thought of hooning up and down sand dunes and snorkelling in places you can not reach by car was just too appealing.  Zorba and I donned helmets and followed our instructor, Tice from Holland.  Well, I tried to follow him. I have to be honest, I struggled to control the quad.  It was heavy to steer, well, at first, impossible for me to steer. I ran it into several embankments, much to my embarrassment.  I persevered and finally got the hang of the quad.  It gave me a whole new respect for the quad riders in the Australasian Safari that’s for sure!  Snorkelling was gorgeous.  We had a great morning out.

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