Thursday, April 18, 2019


The yellow bottomed boat is the one we took over to Venice.  I didn't think we would all fit but it's roomier than it looks.

The wharf where the tourists disembark from a menagerie of different types of boats, as well as the area where some of the Gondolas are located.
The scenery is spectacular.

We toured St. Mark's Basilica.  It was beautiful but to be honest, I was pretty much Basilica-ed out at this point in the trip.  They all started to look the same.  

It was a beautiful Basilica with a lot of gold adornments.
I got more sidetracked with less opulent beauty like this series of arches.
The paintings were quite stunning to be sure.
 We were so excited about the Gondola ride!  It met our expectations for fun as well as for beautiful scenery.
It was quite crowded, as you can see.
Mom's laugh is quite contagious!  

In the narrow canals, we looked straight up the walls of the homes and businesses that lined them.

This shot was actually from one of the bridges and not from the Gondola.  Pictures don't do it justice. Venice is definitely a charming place.

It was an amazing trip!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Six months later...

...I am trying to finish blogging this trip.

The leaning Tower of Pisa is actually part of the grounds of the Catholic Cathedral of Pisa.  There is a Cathedral, the Tower, a Baptistry and a Museum.

This building, the Battistero, has the most amazing acoustics.  Normal reverb is a few seconds.  This building will hold reverb (an echo) for a full seven seconds!  It was demonstrated for us and was so cool.
"The Field of Miracles" is at the entrance.  You can see the leaning Tower in the background.  The grounds actually are host to several leaning buildings due to the underground water that makes the land unstable.  The Cathedral and the Baptistery are also leaning.  
 The Duomo (Cathedral), full of works of art.  The chandelier is known as Galileo's chandelier.  Legend says that Galileo's theories relative to the pendulum came to him while he was attending mass and happened to be distracted by the oscillating chandelier.  Unfortunately, this is only a legend because the chandelier was hung in the Doumo only four years after his discovery. 

Good-bye Pisa!  On to Verona!
 "Little Coloseum"otherwise known as Verona Arena is a huge 1st Century Roman amphitheater which currently hosts concerts and large-scale opera performances. 
 Beautiful streets and buildings
Site of the setting of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" the dumbest story of all time.  ha  This is a 14th century residence with a tiny balcony overlooking a courtyard said to be Juliet's house.  
Bah humbug.

Next stop....Venice!

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Florence, The David and Church

We woke up bright and early to walk down to the city center and get in line to see The David, Michelangelo's most famous sculpture.  The museum was built around it and includes other statues and paintings by various artists.  Additional statues by Michelangelo are featured.
A close up to keep this blog's G rating.

The museum also had the very first Stradivarius  violin, according to our guide, on loan from the Medici family.

Afterwards we walked to a small International church for Sunday service.  So fun to meet other Christians!  About half the church was tourists.
It was a very small room and it contrasted so much with the opulence of some of the churches we have seen on this trip.  I wondered if the early church met in small rooms like this.  Maybe - maybe not.
Lunch at an outdoor cafe--love them!  So fun!
We got a gelato in an unsuccessful attempt to cool off.  It was in the 90's and let's just say...Europeans need to learn how to use air conditioning.  First they leave all the shop doors wide open and then they must have the thermostat set on 85.  Ugh.  It's only 5 degrees better than outside in every shop.
So cute!
Next, my mom wanted to take me to see the famous Ponte Vecchio Bridge that she and my dad had seen years ago.  My dad was a history buff and loved the story of how the bridge was saved during the Nazi occupation in WW2.  A German consul stationed in Florence had written letters to the German Ambassador to Italy asking to him to try ask Hitler to protect Florence from destruction.  Hitler had loved Florence on an earlier trip so agreed to keep as much of the city intact as possible.  However, when the Allies were approaching, it was decided that all the bridges had to be blown up.  Here the story takes on several theories.  One is that Hitler himself decided to save the bridge.  Another is that the Germans always left one bridge to try to ambush the Allies when they crossed it.  And still another theory was that American tanks were too large to cross the Ponte Vecchio anyway so there was no need to blow it up.  These theories all have some merit and the truth is probably a mix of the three.  The bridge was originally built in 996 and destroyed twice by floods but the current structure has been there since 1333! It is also known for having shops built on the bridge.  The back shops have been there since the 17th century.  They were originally butcher shops but are now mainly jewelry and watches.

Since my dad loved this bridge we asked someone to take a picture of us in front of it.
We walked around Florence all afternoon, shopping and sweating.
Incredible street art
Since had already eaten gelato, we couldn't have these but mmmmm.....they looked amazing.

Good-bye Florence!
Tomorrow we go to Pisa, Verona and end up in Venice.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Assisi and Florence

I'm too tired to blog tonight so I will just post pictures from the bus trip and a few stops we made along the way.  We are in Florence at a pretty dreadful hotel (i.e: allergy attack from moldy smelling, ancient room with unfriendly staff - ha).

Pretty much the prettiest village ever.  Gah!  Tomorrow we are going to an International Christian Church and will also see 'The David."  In the afternoon we are free to wander around Florence.