Friday, September 28, 2012


Good morning from Vernazza!!
It's Friday here and the day of my cousin's wedding, so rather exciting.

So, we left Milan on Tuesday, all 19 of us on a bus (regular greyhound style), setting off for Vernazza via Parma and Tuscany.

Arriving at the castle by bus

Lunch was at Antica Corte Pallavincina, a small castle built in 1320. Here is where they 'make' Culatello Ham. We had a tour through the magnificent building, very old with amazing frescoes on the ceilings and then down into the cellar where we saw thousands of Hams hanging in the natural air. Peple come from all over to hang a Ham and there is a waiting list. Prince Charles and Monaco royalty have Hams hanging. Apparantly MasterChef did something here and they have one hanging. The smell was overwhelming, not bad, but not that good either!

 Piles of pumpkins in the courtyard
 Mum sitting regally in the old chair in the castle with Neale behind her
Chandelier and frescoes in the castle
Hams hanging in the cellar

From there we continued to another room which is used as a wine cellar and watched a short film on how they get the Ham and other cold cuts ready and then moved to the cheese room where huge rounds of Parmesan are sitting. And in that room a feast of cold meats and parmesan with sweet red wine awaited...unlike anything I have ever tasted.

 Fabulous spread for lunch
Parmesan wheels
After a wander around the farm yard we headed on our way to Cinque Terre through a small part of Tuscany - the scenary was stunning...I am going to need a theasaurus for new superlatives by the end of the trip.

 Amanda, Dad, Mum and me at the castle
The Castle
We arrived at the top of the hill at Monetrosso and left our brave bus driver (the hills and roads were windy, sharp and tight). We were taken to the seaside village of Monetrosso by mini vans, a few trips! Then we had gelato by the sea while we waited for the train into Vernazza.

Beach at Monetrosso

Then the 'fun' hit, up flights up stairs to the station (no idea how disabled people get around here!), getting onto the train with luggage was stressful, the train have high stairs up into them, then off the train, then down more stairs where I realised or thought I had brokedn the handle on my suitcase. I took a deep breathe and thought this is ok, deal with it when you get to your room.

However, our room was at the top of the steepest, deepest flight of stairs, I kinda freaked out, but with some help got up to my room, where I had a bit of a meltdown, between aching shoulder, broken suitcase and a freaking ugly heat rash on my legs (and hormones!) I could have gone home right there!!!

Once I settled - I did say I do not travel well - I made my way into the town and met everyone for drinks and started to feel myself again! The bar on the water does fabulous strawberry Margaritas, and then we had a great seafood dinner. Then we crashed and had a good nights sleep.

The next day we hit the Pirate Cafe at the top of the hill for breakfast - what an experience! Owned by twin Sicilian brothers, hilarious jokers and all home cooked pastries etc. I had hot chocolate - it was more like a hot chocolate sauce
- with a riccotta croissant, soft and again unlike any I have tasted. Never really been one to carry on about food, I am sorry I think I will be annoying the hell out of you all withmy food descriptions. At least all this walking and stairs is balancing everything out.

Pirate Cafe
We spent the day exploring some of the other towns on the Cinque Terre by train. We first visited Riomaggiore, where we wandered up and down, had a beer by the water and an easy lunch at the cafe. Then we headed to Manarola and explored their shops, streets and water front. Each town is similar but slightly different in terms of scenery. The people live on the hills and must be incredibly fit to move around. Lovely place to visit but I couldn't live here. Also very busy and very muggy. Weather has been overcast, but hot, hot, hot!!


Both photos from Manarola
That night we went to the pirate cafe for dinner, amazing 3 course meal with wine for only 25 Euro. I must say things are very reasonable here. I had a prawn cocktail - very different prawns, but delicious, then the spinach and ricotta canneloni, their pasta is very different to ours too, much lighter and easier to digest I think. Then we had a share of desserts for the table selected by the brothers for us  - hot chocolate sauce with vanilla gelato, pana cotta with fresh fruit and chocolate cannollis - Oh. My. God.

Drinks before dinner at Vernazza

Yesterday we went to Pisa, we took 2 trains to get there and are starting to become a bit better getting around on the trainsport. I appear to be one fo the few people who have mastered the ticket machine, rather odd for me, but nice to get something right, lol!

We walked through Pisa to get to the leaning Tower area. About 30 minute walk, lovely town, lots to look at from old buildings, street performers, cafes, shops with great bargains etc. We almost forgot why we were there!

Town of Pisa

But then we turned down a street and got our first glimpse of the Tower, it was unbelievable to see something you have seen so long in books etc for real. It actually looked like someone had painted it at the end of the street. The closer you got the more remarkable the structure was. It really does lean and is REALLY hard to get a good photo of. If you look up, it looks like it will fall over onto you. There are other structures around, church etc, all beautiful as you can see. And heaps of vendors selling everything you can think of.

First glimpse
It really leans!
You have to do the touristy thing!

All the buildings together

By the time we caught the trains back we were exhausted, had pizza slices for afternoon you do...and a rest.

We headed into Manarola for dinner to celebrate Sue's 60th at Tarttoria  Locardo Il Portocciolo. They overfed us with 3 types of pasta for firsts - small squiggly pasta with basil pesto sauce, then spaghetti with little mussels, then linguini with mushrooms and prawns. We ordered seafood - Calamari - for seconds or mains. Then took the train back to crash - huge day!!

Calamari and linguini with huge prawn
Today is the wedding, so I will post more from Rome about that, we leave for Rome at 9am tomorrow. We are all very excited about the wedding today. Amanda and I are ushers, so we need to get up to the church first, hopefully I make it up there :)

Thursday, September 27, 2012


So, we left Newcastle via The Shitkansen and one of it's most notorious stations - Cardiff...the one of 50 million my dodgy right shoulder was pretty effed before we left. And the dragging all my bloody luggage from Woolli Station to airport hotel pretty much did me in...I thought I had culled my luggage to minimal...still heavy to lug!

However we had a good stay at the airport, and excellent meal in their restaurant and up at 6am to catch our 10.10am flight to Hong Kong which went without issue. Hong Kong airport was very hot and HUGE! Took us ages to find somewhere decent to eat, we were almost at meltdown stage by this point, well me literally! 

7 hours is a long time for a stopover, but we survived, and were met by 11 of the others traveling for the wedding so this made time move a little faster. Then we had an overnight 13 hour flight into Milan. Long, boring flight.

None of this is terribly awful, just traveling, but as I said before as much as I love to travel, I'm not a great traveller!

So, we arrived in Milan, overcast and about 17 degrees, had a bit of a mix up with the hotel everyone was staying in, so we are all spread over 2 hotels instead of 1. We are further out of Milan than expected, but it is a brand new hotel and gorgeous!

So after showering off 2 days of traveling, we headed into Milan, more tired than excited...but it didn't take long to get into things. We turned down this street and got our first sight of The Duomo...WOW!!!

We were meeting Mum and Dad, who had secured a fab spot on a roadside Pizzeria looking directly at The Duomo!! We took their spot and had amazing Pizza, perfecto!

Mum and Dad at the Pizzeria

View of Duomo from The Pizzeria


Then we wandered around the piazza, so much amazing architecture, I was in heaven. Gelato for afternoon tea...absolutely. Also wandered through Galleria Vittorio Manuele, amazing shopping area in old buildings, but covered over by glass. This led to a smaller Piazza or square near La Scala.

Inside the Galleria, amazing old buildings that are 
now shops and enclosed in glass.

Outside La Scala, no that is not me!

By this point we were pretty exhausted, so we tramed it back to Mum and Dads Hotel for a drink and more tales of their wonderful Abu Dhabi experiences.

We had a lovely baked veal meal back at the hotel and crashed that night.

Liza in our lobby!!!

After oversleeping, we made our way to breakfast and worked out it was a bit difficult to get to Monza (our plan for that morning) plus it looked like rain, so we made our way to collect Mum and Dad and headed back into Milan and have a better look. We scored the same table at the Pizzeria from yesterday and had another fabulous pizza lunch and soaked up those views again. Then the rain hit and hard, so we had to look at the shops. Things are reasonable in terms of clothes etc despite the exchange rate.

When the rain settled we headed to the Duomo to tour inside, totally free and totally remarkable.  I am not religious but you do not have to be to to appreciate such beauty and magnificance. The Stained glass windows and paintings and icons were remarkable.

 Inside The Duomo, photos do not do it justice!

Then we headed back to the Galleria, we went through their Prada shop - wow, just wow...if only to have money, but the shop itself was a deco masterpiece. Then we headed into this amazing antique shop where Mum bought herself an amazing fake pearl and diamante bracelet - just gorgeous!
We headed back to Mum and Dads hotel to shower and have drinks in the bar before heading out for our wedding party dinner.

Twisties are called Fonzies in Italy....heeeeyyyyyy!!!

We all met up at Carne e Dintorni, owned by friends of Daniel's Mum's cousin. What a night of food and drinks!! They turned it on for us, with plates of all sorts of Anti Pasto, delicious. Then plates of all tpes of woodfired cooked meats, potatoes and salads. Followed by 3 types of desserts - Creme Brulee, Crepes, and a platter of cream type desserts and dipping biscuits. Plenty of red wine, bottled water, limoncello and ouzo plus coffees etc. €35 - brilliant!!!!

 Daniel talking to Sue and Neale (Demi's parents) 
with Maria and Denise to the left 

Mum and Dad with Demi

Friday, September 21, 2012


Most Of Us Need The Eggs will be taking a break in usual transmissions to bring you Most Of Us Need The Eggs Goes On Holidays!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am heading off on a European Vacation (cue Holiday Road by Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks) for 6 weeks and rather than prep a brand new blog I figure here is as good a place as any.

I am hoping to bring you photos, stories and laughs from the road - time and wifi pending of course.

So where am I headed and with whom?????

I am off to Italy and France with my sister, Amanda, and my parents for some of the way too. My cousin, Demi, is getting married to the gorgeous Daniel in Italy (Vernazza to be exact) so other family members and their friends will also be along for the first part of our journey.

The trip is divided into the following legs:

1. Getting there - leaving today for Sydney and flying out tomorrow morning via a longish stopover at Hong Kong Airport.

2. What I like to call the Wedding Leg :) - Arrive in Milan for 2 nights on Sunday with the wedding party, family and friends. Mum and Dad left yesterday via Abu Dhabi so they will have arrived in Milan a day earlier than us. Then from Milan we all head to Cinque Terre via Parma. We are staying in villas in Vernazza (part of Cinque Terre) for 4 nights, the final day/night being THE WEDDING!!!!!!!!!

3. Then we head to Rome for 5 nights where we pick up with a Trafalgar tour that will take us to Pompeii, The Amalfi Coast, Isle of Capri, Positano, Florence and Venice.

4. From Venice we are hiring a car to drive to Marseille via Verona, Lake Garda, Mondena, Maranello, Parma, Monaco, Nice, Cannes, Grasse, St Raphael, St Tropez, Brignoles, Aix-en-Provence!

5. Fast train from Marseille to Paris for 16 nights!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Paris has always been THE destination since I was about 13, always a Francophile, I will be testing my 6 years of school French out, lol, I should be fluent - I am not! Thanks Mrs Kumar (French teacher who was more interested in dancing on tables to Edith Piaf than teaching the actual syllabus!). As a beret loving, pastry and cake addict, Depardieu is god, and French Film nut I will be in heaven, wandering those amazing streets.

It will be a blast I am sure, I feel excited, nervous (not a great flyer) and a little emotional at the moment (as much as I like travelling and exploring, I do like my creature comforts and 6 weeks is a long time to be away from home). I cannot wait to see as much Art and Architecture, History and Culture as I can find and meet all those wonderful Italian and French citizens!

So I hope I do not annoy you all with my ramblings from the road.

Stay tuned for the next - and hopefully much more interesting installment!

Au Revoir and Arrivedeci!!

Cathy xoxo

Sorry, I couldn't help myself and I really hope we do not have the following experience, LOL!!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I love RocKwiz, it's probably my favourite show. It's a simple format, so obvious you wonder why no one else has tried to produce it. Music and trivia in a pub - and not just any pub, the fabulously seedy Esplanade Hotel in St Kilda or as it is lovingly known, The Espy.
Every aspect works - the RocKwiz Orkestra - tight, brilliant and Australian Rock 'n' Roll royalty! Julia Zemiro shines, sharp and funny, I want to be her when I grow up. Dugald adds that pub roadie feel and Brian Nankervis hold it all together with his bounce and upbeat excitement about all things musical! The audience participation is usually more hit than miss - which is a rarity and the musical guests are always superb.
I love the show and have watched it from the start, for all of the above and also because I am a bit of a rock nerd and love testing my own musical knowledge and seeing how I rate...mostly pretty good I must say! And I love my RocKwiz community on Twitter - like minded fabulous Novocastrians and some a little further a field. We have a blast, and I was sad to pass on joining some of them at the recent RockWiz tour. I was saving madly for my trip and didn't get a ticket.
However, due to the generosity of a lovely lady I managed to get to the Civic Theatre on Thursday 30 August and see the tour! There are no words to describe my thankfulness and joy at this stunning act!
So, I dragged along Mary, met up with Tania and we were ready for a night of musical awesomeness!!!
Almost time to start, finishing a drink in the bar, Brian comes bounding out - with as much energy as you see on tele - and encouraging us all to take our seats!
The first half was Brian and the audience members. He started by talking to us about his first real Rock 'n' Roll love - The Rolling Stones. Like every good rock nerd, it was more preaching, but in the best possible way. He was fabulous and funny and assisted by Dugald. There were 24 audience members and they were asked many questions and tested on heaps of riffs (my specialty) to get them down to the 4 who appeared on stage in the second half. This section was entertaining and amusing. I imagine it is much like the real experience at The Espy.
After a break, the show proper started, Ash Naylor was sitting in with the fabulous three! And the Bull Sisters assisting with backing vocals. Brian introduced Julia, who in turn introduced and sung with Vika and Linda. All as you would imagine if you are a fan of the show. Then it was down to business, there was a keyboard on stage, so in my mind I was thinking someone like Kate Miller-Heidke or Tim Freedman, as soon as they said her date of birth and double barreled surname, I knew it was Kate - Yay! I am quite the fan, love her vocal range, her individuality and her wicked sense of humour. We were in for a treat.
Next guest - well, all you needed was Greg from Darwin - I went a little bit ballistic, HUGE Tex Perkins fan and I like to think I am the only one who has coined the phrase Texy - which perfectly describes him. Pretty much a member of the RocKwiz family, Tex was right at home on stage, was funny and Texy and my night was made. Oh sang Iggy Pop's The Passenger - It really does not get any better!!!!
Then there was a third guest - again, beside myself, Marcia Hines (do we really even need a last name!). I have been a fan of Marcia since Countdown, played her when it was uncool to play her and then of course via Idol she was back on top. Love her voice, never seen her live (something I must rectify) and she sang You, which would probably be my favourite of hers!!! It was like the show was put together especially for me.
The final guest was Suze De Marche from Baby Animals, did not really care for them, however I appreciate her voice and her rock attitude, she sounded good.
In between each guest performance were plenty of questions, antics, and laughs. Then it was almost over!
Kate and Tex sang a haunting duet - cannot remember what it was and then everyone was on stage for the finale of Joe Cocker's The Letter. Tex should think about doing a Cocker show once he is finished with Cash - he belted it out brilliantly. The show had gone on for well over 3 hours by this point, we left feeling happy but wanting more...the sure sign of an excellent show.
I highly recommend going along if you ever get the chance. (PS my photos aren't great, but better than nothing!)