Trip Journals: Africa | Cambodia | China/Bangkok/Singapore | Europe | Europe Cruise | Greece | Haiti | Iberia (Spain / Portugal) | India / Kashmir | Isreal / Jordan / Egypt | Italy | Maldives | New Zealand / Sydney | Peru / Machu Picchu | Russia / Baltic | Scotland | South America | Sri Lanka | Vietnam
13 days in
Journal Table of Contents
We did a 9-day Globus www.globusjourneys.com tour ZJ:
From the Globus journey web site: This nine-day trip will show you the highlight cities of
If you don 't want caffeine, say decafeinato. Don 't shorten it to decaf.
Cafe Americano - Coffee
Espresso Strong black coffee
Corretto with a dash of grappa or some other spirit
Macchiato with a small dabble of milk
Latte Macchiato with milk
Cafe Freddo Tall glass of cold black coffee
Cappuccino hot with frothy milk
Cafe Latte hot with milk and no froth
About our additional mini-tour
I booked our tour through Odyssey Tours http://www.odyssey-tours.com/ email@example.com but it turned out to be Carrini Tours http://www.carrani.com/ Address: Escursioni Italiane SRL, Via Vittoria Emanuele Orlando, 95 00185 Roma Tel. 06.4742501 06.4880510. (Members of virtualtourist.com get a 10% discount on all tours email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (39) 06 7720 4019 Odyssey Tours at Via Collazia 2F,
Also look at Enjoy Rome - Via Marghera, 8a, just north of the main train station, Termini. Exit to the north (the Via Marsala exit), keep going straight for three blocks. Telephone number is ++39 06 4451843 (or ++39 06 4450734). http://www.enjoyrome.com/ and http://activitaly.it/
Another company is Argiletum Tour Roma Phone +39 06 47825706, via Madonna dei Monti 49 (near Colosseum, Imperial Fora, Termini railways station) . They also had a one day tour to
Time Difference: There is a 6 hour difference. So if it is in
The international dialing code for
In January, 2000 when
US $200 traveler checks x 1.840,862 rate = 368,173 Lira
US $90 cash x 1.854,270 rate = 166, 884 Lira
So, 368,173 + 166,884 = 535,057 Lira 13,500 Fee (about US $7) = 531,577 Lira
In June 2005
US $1,300 yielded Euro 938.63 61.01 Nett Commission 6.50 Fee = Euro 871.12
US $1,300 = Euro 938.63 is a rate 1.38.
Yeow what a huge Nett Commission!!! Their perk is that TravelEx will buy the Euro 's back within 30 days in the same country. It 's still not worth the cost. I always exchange money at AmEx in Atlanta BEFORE I leave on the trip:
In April, 2006 I exchanged money at the American Express Travel Service 3384 Peachtree Road, Lenox Plaza Atlanta , GA 30326
The rate was 1.298432636. So US $500 + $5 fee = $505 yielded 385.29 Euro
You can bring cash, VISA check card. Don't use your Am Ex card because that would be cash advance.
Also check these places in
Georgia International Travel, Inc. *
Also Am Ex location at Mansell Rd and Northpoint Pkwy in Alpharetta.
I converted a lot of US dollars to EUROs as an investment and so I won
't have to convert any more before I go to
Some same costs:
Ladies blouse 9.30, underwear 3.60, bra 3.60, night gown 6.20, sweater 6.20, skirt 7.80, slacks 7.80, jacket 10.40
Gentlemen shirt 7.50, socks 2.60, underpants 3.10, undershirt 4.20, pyjamas 6.20, jacket 10.40, trousers 7.80
www.autostrade.it - Traffic information in
http://www.itwg.com/ click on Destinations
Train Web Sites:
Mom & Dad depart
Alitlaia International Reservation
It is here and
I had quite a scare when I went to check in. In the
The flight from
I am really entruly (is that a word?) looking forward to this trip. I want to get there! But we have 3 more hours to go on this flight. I only took one Benedryl and I should have taken both so I could sleep. Next time I take the Sonata sleeping pill.
The guy in the seat next to me asked if this was economy class. I said yes because we paid economy class rates (but were lucky enough to get front seats!) I still can
't believe these great seats. I would by dying in those smaller seats. I normally travel by myself so it
's easier to get a good airplane seat. This will be a new experience to be with Mom & Dad for 13 days. Mom has had such a great attitude so far. Dad is going to be very adaptable also. When he start with his jokes, I just have to listen like Mom has done all these years. Everyone on that tour will soon know how many countries I
've been to. Yeah, it is an impressive list. It just takes me awhile to get the information up on the www.mytrips.com web site. I regret taking so long to write this
Wednesday and it is about . We arrived at FCO (
When I was changing money, Dad saw a Globus tour guide. They said we can take the shuttle to the Albani Hotel for 16 E each. That
's great cause they handle our luggage. FCO is a long distance from
Check into Rome Hotel where the Globus tour starts. We turned in our hotel vouchers, checked into our room.
From the Internet: With a scenic view over Villa Albani
's ancient park, Albani Hotel is located in central
Each of the 157 rooms is beautifully decorated, some with balcony. The modern lobby is spacious and has an attractive lounge area with an American style bar featuring an impressive stained glass ceiling.
From TripAdvisor.com about the Albani:
There were no tea or coffee facilities in the rooms (again I've heard that this is the norm in
Breakfast was standard continental and fine. Although slightly out of the city centre, Albani can be reached by bus no's 86 or 92 from Termini. There are some very good restaurants in the vicinity (one of which was recommended by the hotel), not full of tourists and fantastic prices. I would definitely recommend this hotel if you don't mind not having everything on your doorstep and I would stay there again.
When we checked into the hotel, my room wasn 't ready so I waited in Mom & Dad 's room. Their room has a pullout couch that I could have slept in. Oh well. It 's their anniversary so I should give them the privacy. Besides, my single room is already paid for. They unpacked and we talked about an hour until my room was finally ready. Nap time .
We were all very tired, but we decided to go out to get some dinner. We went out and wandered down the street about 6 blocks to the Piazza Fiume and found a restaurant with great pizza. It had good flavor. With the tart lemon drink and coke, the cost was 17 E. That 's very reasonable I think. (Actually, that pizza was meant for one person, not three people). Receipt says:
Fusioni S.R.L. Piazza
Varie 3 x 2.00 6.00
Totale Euro 17.50
We walked back to the hotel. Back in the room, I gave Mom all my reading material and we went over some of the optional tours offered on the trip.
Now it 's . Time for sleep. B-fast is , so I suggested to eat around .
From the itinerary: Arrival in
It 's Thursday and I 'm awake. It 's good to arrive a day early before a tour to adjust to the time difference. I organized and rearranged my stuff for an hour, then I went back to sleep with ear plugs. Next thing I hear was Dad knocking at the door at . I was dead asleep to the world. I was ready for breakfast in 10 minutes. I put some clothes on and we went down to breakfast at 9.
The buffet breakfast had with scrambled eggs, ham, cheese, cereal, rolls. The only fruit that I saw was pineapple (from a can). After breakfast it was sprinkling rain outside so we decided to wait and venture out later. I took a shower, washed my hair. The sun was out at 11 so we decided to go out.
't meet the tour until at today so breakfast and lunch and exploring
If you are looking for the best views of
At the first viewing level you can enter the inner circular balcony of the dome which provides some fantastic aerial views of the chapel. More steps up a narrow stair will take you to the outer observation balcony on top of the dome. The views of
NOTE: if you suffer from vertigo or are not in good physical condition I would not recommend this trip! They say there are 320 steps to the top so it 's a good workout.
We opted instead to find the Trevi Fountain. Our farewell dinner on the last day of the tour goes to the Trevi Fountain, but it may be dusk, so we decided to go there today. I can maybe do
We asked at the front desk how to get to Trevi. That was an adventure. We walked out to Via Salaria and bought six
Metrobus Roma bus tickets for 1 Euro each. We took bus 63 on Via Salaria to town. Walked 3 blocks to the Trevi fountain. Did you know that
The Fontana di Trevi or Trevi Fountain is the most famous and arguably the most beautiful fountain in all of
Construction of the Fountain - In 1732, Nicola Salvi was commissioned to create a large fountain at the
The Fountain - The central figure of the fountain, in front of a large niche, is Neptune, god of the sea. He is riding a chariot in the shape of a shell, pulled by two sea horses. Each sea horse is guided by a Triton. One of the horses is calm and obedient, the other one is attempting to control his horse through rough sea. They symbolize the fluctuating moods of the sea.
On the left hand side of
Tossing a Coin - The water at the bottom of the fountain represents the sea. Legend has it you will return to
Dad had printed out photos from 1956 when they visited the fountain. We found the exact same angle and position to take the same photograph 50 years later. That was a lot of fun. It wasn 't very crowded and we had plenty of time to pose for our pictures.
Dad was showing off his pictures to other people around the fountain. A professional photographer took a picture of Mom & Dad holding their 1956 photo. Dad gave his email if she needed permission to publish it. That really made it a perfect day. Except for the light sprinkle of rainbut that didn 't last very long. We walked toward the Forum through the Piazza Venezia. We walked right in front of the Wedding Cake building. The building is actually The Victor Emmanuel Monument.
When we got to the forum, we did a slow walk around the ruins, toward the Colosseum. I had printed out some maps and some information that we used when we walked around. There were several people who offered to give us tours (for a tip). After the forum, we walked along Via dei Foi Imperiali road. Along this road it looked like they were getting ready for a big celebration. Tall bleachers to seat many, many people were being set up along the road. We found out that next day that there was a huge parade down this road on Republic Day tomorrow).
We walked back to the
and we found a quaint restaurant across from the
meet in the restaurant downstairs for the welcome speech. We met our Tour Director Ursula
Ursula gave us the list of optional tours for our trip. There were several additional tours listed in the Globus booklet that we received in the mail. All of the optional tours listed in the booklet are not offered on all tours. They have to customize each tour depending on the time of year, special events and what people want to see. For example, Republic Day is June 2 tomorrow. There is a parade by the Colosseum so we will have to work around that. The shops are closed, but the
At our meeting, Ursula explained each optional tour that is available. We have three days to decide, then we must pay for them on day 4 of the trip.
Make sure you have either a red Globus tours tag or a yellow Brendan tours sticker on your luggage.
She was giving us a lot of information and I was taking notes. Dad was ancy, wanting to talk to people. But we really needed to listen to Ursula 's instructions so we could decide on our optional tours and know what to expect on our tour tomorrow. I just kept writingAt the end of the meeting, Dad introduced himself and Ursula was delighted to hear that it was their 50th anniversary.
After the meeting at our group left the hotel to go to our special welcome dinner (included with the tour). We walked to the bus that was parked down the street. We met our (very attractive) driver. His name is Salvatore. Dad asked him (in Italian) about the price of gas: 1.36 per liter Diesel is 1.22
The itinerary said dinner in one of
Antipasto with procuitto, a flour tortilla with tomato, olive oil, and herbs
Pasta rigatoni with mushrooms
Lasagna-type pasta with sauce
Pot roast with potatoes and salad
Finally dessert was a fruit and sherbet
That really sounds like a lot of food, but all courses were small, so it was just the right amount of food.
Between courses, sociable Dad got up from our table and went around to every table to meet everyone on the tour.
Ursula also arranged champagne for every table and a special dessert for Mom & Dad since today was their anniversary date. A waiter put his arms around Mom, kissed her cheeks, and presented her with red roses! Wow! Dad took a picture. Everyone on the trip was congratulating them. He should be proud that they have been together that long. It really was great night!
On bus at = and we got back to the hotel around . I was asleep by and wide awake at . I wrote in my journal for awhile, then finally got back to sleep for a couple hours before our wake-up call.
From the itinerary:
From the optional itinerary: Roman Highlights and Dinner. A guided walking tour takes your to some of the most famous monuments. Admire the Spanish Steps, Via Condotti, Piazza Navona, Parliament, and Pantheon. Later this evening enjoy a four-course dinner at a popular Roman restaurant. Drinks included. 62 Euro.
Our earliest wake up call of the trip is today because of the
Ursula said to bring as little as possible today. Attire is church dress code. Cover your shoulders and cover your knees.
If you buy a religious item, you can leave it to be blessed and they will deliver it to the hotel. Ursula does not like tourist rip-offs, but she said this was really blessed.
Republic Day is June 2 is today. There is a parade by the Colosseum so we will have to work around that. The shops are closed, but the
Republic Day in
There are 506 churches in the city center. A Church becomes a basilica when it is associated with a cardinal. There are over 350 miles of tunnels under
We got as close to the
My notes from the tour
Maybe 25,000 people visit the
Cost to get in the
There are two statues above the exit door of the
We took the escalator up. It was right beside the famous spiral ramp which is closed to tourists now. In 2000 we walked up the spiral ramp. That was definitely a more spectacular entrance, but the escalator was quicker.
There are 3.5 miles of museum. We will see the most important galleries on this tour.
On some statues they removed the interesting parts of the men. They had planned to replace the removed body part with fig leaves, but there was just an empty hole on most of the statues now.
I took a picture of lapis blue marble on the floor.
Urns - The most expensive urns are alabaster marble. The cheaper material (clay?) is used for the poorest buried in the catacombs.
In the Tapestry Gallery there is a rug from 1800 made of wool and silk and cotton. Tapestries are hung to insulate the walls and to look at. The largest tapestry shows the resurrection of Christ. The size is cm 562x954. It was made at the
I took a picture of the ceiling in Gallery of Geography.
I really wanted to see Raphael
's Loggia (LOGGIA DI RAFFAELLO) http://www.christusrex.org/www1/stanzas/0-Raphael.html - 13 arches forming a gallery 65 meters long and 4 meters wide. I saw a duplicate of this room in the Hermitage in
At the end of the
Built 1475 -1480. The Sistine Chapel is rectangular in shape and measures 134.28 feet long by 43.99 feet wide by 68 feet high. It is the exact dimensions of the
It is divided by a marble balustrade. On the side walls there are 12 frescos.
The Chapel is famous for the frescos of Michelangelo painted 1508-1512. His work covers the ceiling, the back wall and the upper parts of the side walls. The barrel-vaulted ceiling includes frescos depicting : God divides the light from darkness, God creates the Sun, the Moon and the Stars, God separates the Land form the Waters, the Creation of Man, the Creation of Woman, the Expulsion from Paradise, the Sacrifice of Noah, the Great Flood, and the Drunkenness of Noah.
In 1533 when Michelangelo was 60 years old, he started painting the Last Judgment. The wall where it is painted is 650 feet square with 391 figures. Christ is in the upper middle, to his right the elect float up to heaven; to his left the damned whirl down in tumult, thrown down below where inexorable Charon waits with the boat ready.
Michael worked alone and painted naked men. Then cardinals saw it and they were angry and said to paint fig leaves. After many months, there were still no fig leaves. The cardinal that told him to paint fig leaves is on the bottom left with a snake around him. No more complaints!
It cost 20 million to commission the cleaning work of the Sistine Chapel. Work started in 1979 and was completed in 1999. The ceiling was cleaned first, then Last Judgment was cleaned last in the 1980 's. After the cleaning, the men were naked again! Before cleaning they had fig leaves.
When choosing the pope, they eat, sleep here in the Sistine Chapel. There is no communication with the outside world during the selection process. After John Paul II died, 115 cardinal gathered here to live in April 2005 until the next pope was selected.
From the Internet http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761560125_2/Michelangelo.html
A major project preventing completion of the tomb of Julius II was a new commission from Julius himself, to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in
The Creation of Adam from the Sistine Ceiling (1508-1512) is perhaps Michelangelo 's finest fusion of form and meaning. Adam 's pose echoes both the shape of the ground on which he reclines and the pose of God the Father, thus giving visual form to the biblical description of Adam as made from the earth in the likeness of God. We see Adam beginning to come to life, as he reaches listlessly toward the vigorous energy that the image of God embodies.
The Last Judgment
Michelangelo was again called to work in the Sistine Chapel in 1534, when Clement
We went into the basement of the church first to see the tombs. These were excavated in the 1940s. They are 23 feet beneath the floor of the church. The featured tomb of John Paul II is only open in the morning. He was pope for 27 years.
Pope John Paul II (May 18, 1920, Wadowice, Poland
Interesting that the Pope 's Will specified that he wanted to be buried in the bare earth and NOT IN A TOMB:
Text of Pope's Last Will and Testament
By The Associated Press
Totus Tuus ego sum
In the Name of the Holiest Trinity. Amen.
"Keep watch, because you do not know which day when the Lord will come" These words remind me of the final call, which will come the moment that the Lord will choose. I desire to follow Him and desire that all that is part of my earthly life shall prepare me for this moment. I do not know when it will come, but, like all else, this moment too I place into the hands of the Mother of My Master: Totus Tuus. In the same maternal hands I place All those with whom my life and vocation are bound. Into these Hands I leave above all the Church, and also my Nation and all humanity. I thank everyone. To everyone I ask forgiveness. I also ask prayers, so that the Mercy of God will loom greater than my weakness and unworthiness.
During spiritual exercises I reflected upon the testament of the Holy Father Paul VI. This study has led me to write the present testament.
I do not leave behind me any property which necessitates disposal. Regarding those items of daily use of which I made use, I ask that they be distributed as may appear opportune. My personal notes are to be burned. I ask that Don Stanislaw oversees this and thank him for the collaboration and help so prolonged over the years and so comprehensive. All other thanks, instead, I leave in my heart before God Himself, because it is difficult to express them.
Regarding the funeral, I repeat the same disposition given by the Holy Father Paul VI: Burial in the bare earth, not in a tomb, 13.3.92.
Apud Dominum misericordia et copiosa apud Eum redemptio
John Paul pp.II
The Atlanta Journal on
It 's right now and we 're going up to the church.
There are no paintings. All the decoration is mosaics and marble work!
In a micro mosaic, one inch of the mosaic has 50 pieces.
The windows are marble, not glass.
The first chapel in the right has Michelangelo 's La Pieta of 1499. This the fourth time that I have seen this statue! I also saw this Pieta statue:
1965 - World's Fair in New York. In the International Exhibits in the Vatican. This is directly from the American Airlines Guide Book:
The "Pieta" Michaelangelo's priceless white marble sculpture which never has been moved from St. Peter's Basilica, is the center of attention at the Vatican Pavilion. Great concern attended the shipping of this famous statue to the Fair from Italy, and a transparaent bulletproof glass has been erected to ensure its protection.
1979 - Europe trip with T & P
2000 - Delta weekend escape with Ron and Gregg.
2008 - On this trip.
There is also a Pieta in
I took 2 pictures of a statue of woman the carving is so smooth that it looks like silk.
A Cupola is a dome. The dome is 480 foot high. To go up to the dome you take an elevator, then you must go up 320 steps.
Raphael died at 37 years old.
There is a 2 year wait if you want to get married here in
#71 (on the map) Baptistery. John Baptizes Christ.
My picture is Sancta Veronica. IEROSOLYMITANA
From the Internet: St. Peter's Basilica,
This great building is the center of Christianity. The opulence of the building's interior bears testimony to the wealth of the catholic church in the 16th century. Emperor Constantine, the first Christian emperor of
A New Basilica - In the middle of the 15th century, the basilica was falling into ruin restoration was ordered and enlargement of the church. After Nicolas V died, works were halted. In 1506 pope Julius II laid the first stone of a new basilica which was to become the largest in the world.
Julius II appointed Donato Bramante as the chief architect of the new Basilica. In 1547 Michelangelo succeeded Bramante. He designed the imposing dome and altered some of the original plans. Michelangelo died in 1624, two years before the completion of the dome. The St. Peter's basilica was dedicated by pope Urban VIII in 1626. Ever since, this church has been the center of Christianity, drawing pilgrims from all over the world.
The Building - The building itself is truly impressive. The largest church in the world, the nave is 715 feet long. The basilica's dome, designed by Michelangelo is the largest dome in the world measuring 138 feet in diameter and reaching more than 450 feet. The interior, which includes 45 altars, is decorated by many famous artists. Some of the most important works in the church are the PietÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€ Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€ Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â by Michelangelo, the papal altar and the Throne of St. Peter - are by Bernini - and the Monument to the Stuarts by Canova. The opulent interior can be visited daily for free although a strict dress code is enforced.
Dome observatory - You can visit the dome itself (entrance is not free, but it's worth it). You can take the elevator or the stairs, the latter being a bit cheaper. The elevator brings you to the bottom of the dome from where a small, long and mostly spiral staircase brings you to the top of the dome. From there you have a magnificent view of
The Swiss Guards - Near the entrance of the Basilica you will probably encounter some of the famous Swiss guards. Since 1506 when pope Julius II invited Helvetian soldiers to join the small
From the Internet http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761560125_2/Michelangelo.html
Saint Peter 's Basilica
In 1546 Michelangelo was given the task of completing the design for Saint Peter
's Basilica in the
In the square is a big pink obelisk. It was build in
After the photo, we had a little time for shopping. It is now and we 're waiting for the bus to pick us up.
Back on the bus and we
're driving through
There are 25 bridges across
We went past the castle, then the bus stopped to drop us off for another walking tour. She stopped the group to explain an altar where they sacrificed animals in the
The Pantheon has huge wood doors covered with bronze. 3 people were needed to open and close the door.
There is a hole in ceiling so the sun could shine into building in the winter. At it shines straight down. Rain comes in then drains through the holes in the floor.
When the Pantheon was built, there were six steps up into the building. Now we walk down into the building.
The dome is 143 feet and 143 feet tall. It is a perfect building. St. Peter 's is 393 feet high. This dome is smaller out of respect for Pantheon 's architect.
All marble is original in this building here. It was never stolen or taken to make other buildings.
From the Internet: Pantheon,
Built more than 1800 years ago, the magnificent Pantheon building still stands as a reminder of the great
Church - Originally a temple for all pagan gods, the temple was converted into a church in 609. The Pantheon contains the tombs of Rafael and of several Italian Kings. Its interior design contrast with the temple's structural design, but the marble floor still features the original Roman design.
The Dome - The most important problem the Romans faced during the construction of the Pantheon was the massive weight of the large dome. In order to support it without proper reinforcement, the thickness and type of concrete varies between the bottom and the top of the dome. At the base very thick 20-foot walls were constructed. At the top of the dome, a lighter type of concrete was used and near the oculus it is only 7.5 ft thick. The use of coffers in the ceiling and the opening at the top also helped reduce the weight of the dome.
The Columns - The huge, 60 tons weighing columns used for the portico were quarried in
Piazza della Rotonda - The Pantheon borders the Piazza della Rotonda, a rectangular square with a central fountain. It is situated in the historic center of
After the Pantheon, we walked over to Piazza Navona and ate lunch.
From the Internet: Piazza Navona,
The Piazza Navone is one of the most famous and arguably the most beautiful of
Domitian's Stadium - The square is built on the former Domitian's stadium, built by emperor Domitian in 86 AD. Hence the long, oval shape of the square. In the 15th century the stadium was paved over to create the Navona square, but remnants of Domitian's stadium are still visible around the area. Guided tours to this underground monument are available, they start at the Piazza Tor Sanguigna 13.
Fountain of the Four Rivers - The main attraction of the Piazza Navona are the three fountains. The central and largest fountain is the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (fountain of the four rivers). It was constructed between 1647 and 1651 on request of the Pope Innocent X.
The design of the fountain was first commissioned to Borromini, but it was ultimately handed to Bernini. The fountain features four figures, each representing a river from a different continent - the
The Fontana del Nettuno, also known as the Calderari, was built in 1576 by Giacomo della Porta. The statues,
Giacomo della Porta also built the Fontana del Moro. The central statue of a Moor holding a dolphin, a design by Bernini, was added in the 17th century. The tritons are 19th century additions.
The front facde of the baroque church was designed by Borromini, Bernini's main rival. Construction started just two years after the completion of Bernini's Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, right in front of the building. The church was finished in 1670.
After a little time in the Piazza Navona, we met at designated spot and walked back to the bus. The parades are over, so we 'll see the Colosseum now. It started pouring rain on the way to the Colosseum. There was a very chilly wind. Our tour of The Coloseum (Piazza del Colosseo) was only on the first floor.
When we got into the seating area of the Colosseum, we did our obligatory picture session. There were so many people wanting to walk out on that balcony to also take pictures. It really helped to hold up the old picture so they could stay back long enough for us to stage and take the same picture from 50 years ago.
It took 3 days to float (fill with water) the Colosseum. The arena had a wood floor.
One-third of a mile in circumference with 80 arched entrances. Less than half the structure remains today. In it 's demise, the Colosseum became a cheap stone quarry. They took marble to build churches and buildings.
From the Internet : Colosseum,
The Colosseum is probably the most impressive building of the
Construction started in AD 72. It was completed in AD 80, the year after Vespasian's death. The huge amphitheater was built on the site of an artificial lake, part of Nero's huge park in the center of
The Building - The elliptical building is immense, measuring 600 feet by 500 feet and reaching a height of more than 169 feet. The Colosseum could accommodate some 55,000 spectators who could enter the building through no less than 80 entrances. Above the ground are four storey 's, the upper storey contained seating for lower classes and women. The lowest storey was preserved for prominent citizens. Below the ground were rooms and cages containing wild animals and mechanical devices. The cages could be hoisted, enabling the animals to appear in the middle of the arena.
Velarium - The Colosseum was covered with an enormous awning known as the velarium. This protected the spectators from the sun. It was attached to large poles on top of the Colosseum and anchored to the ground by large ropes. A team of some 1,000 men was used to install the awning.
Food and Games - Emperors used the Colosseum to entertain the public with free games. Those games were a symbol of prestige and power and they were a way for an emperor to increase his popularity. Games were held for a whole day or even several days in a row. They usually started with comical acts and displays of exotic animals and ended with fights to the death between animals and gladiators or between gladiators. These fighters were usually slaves, prisoners of war or condemned criminals. Sometimes free Romans and even Emperors took part in the action.
Inauguration - Hundred-day games were held by Titus, Vespasian's successor, to mark the inauguration of the building in AD 80. In the process, some 9,000 wild animals were slaughtered.
The Ruins - The southern side of the Colosseum was felled by an earthquake in 847. Parts of the building - including the marble facade - were used for the construction of later monuments, including the St. Peter's Basilica.
After the Colosseum we walked up to the arch of Titus, then up to an overlook where you can see the Forum. We did not enter the forum, we stopped on the terrace overlooking the ruins ( where the Roman Legions marched in triumph). It was still very cold out and a little rainy. People were uncomfortable because of the weather and fighting the crowds of tourists.
I am so glad that Mom, Dad, and I took the time to do our own slow walk through the forum the day before the official tour started. Our tour with the group was so hurried.
The guide talked for awhile and tried to make people interested. It got the tidbit about the virgins: In the House of the Vestal Virgins, 8 girls, 8 years old lived 30 years. They were released to marry at 38 years old.
From the Internet: Forum Romanum,
The Forum Romanum or Foro Romano was the center of life in imperial
History - Until 509 BC, when
The Forum Romanum Today - Today, the forum can look like a disorderly collection of ruins to the uninitiated, but with some imagination you can see the
Triumphal Arches - Three triumphal arches were built on the forum. They were used by emperors to commemorate their victories. The first one, constructed by Augustus, does not exist anymore. The Arch of Titus, built in AD 81 AD commemorates the victory in the Jewish War. It is located at the Via Sacra on the eastern side of the forum. At the other end of the forum, near the capitoline hill is the Arch of Septimius Severus. It was built in AD 203 to commemorate the victory over the Parthians.
Curia - The Curia was the location where the senate assembled. The original Curia was built by the third king of
In the Temple of Castor and Pollux Only three pillars remain. The original temple was built in 484 BC, the current ruins date from its last reconstruction in 6 A.D. The temple was built by the roman dictator Postumius who vowed to build the temple if his army would beat the Tarquin Kings who previously ruled
Basilica Julia - In 54 BC Julius Caesar started construction of the Basilica Julia, a building used as the seat of the centumviri, a court of civil jurisdiction where magistrates held tribunals. The large building, 331 feet long and 160 feet wide, was destroyed by fire in 9 BC but rebuilt again seven years later. After the fall of
More remains - Remains of several other temples and basilicas can be found at the forum romanum, among them the Basilica of Constantine & Maxentius, the Basilica Aemilia, the
At we are headed back to the hotel. Arrive at hotel at for a quick rest (and change clothes for dinner if you want.) Depart at to see Spanish steps then dinner.
We had a short time at the Spanish steps. It was very crowded as expected. The highlight of that visit was the wedding couple getting photographed. Also the very large (100) group of kids wearing orange to identify their group. Our group walked up the steps then on to dinner. We walked right by the place where Ron got attacked by those kids when I visited in 2000. The kids walked right by me then shoved a board in Ron 's stomach and tried to get his fanny pack. He screamed so loud it scared the kids and attracted a lot of attention. The kids ran away without any of his money. It does seem easy to get pick pocketed in this town. Anyway. I digress.
Dinner was very good. Vegetable starter, ravioli cheese tomato sauce, pasta w/ vegetable sauce, chicken grill breast and bell peppers or fillet fish. Baked potato.
From the itinerary: Rome-Pisa-Florence. Follow the
Breakfast at and luggage out at . A short walk to the bus which is parked a couple blocks away and we
're on the bus and on the road by . We will take comfort breaks about every 2 hours. Then spend about 2 hours in
's another cool day today. Yesterday the low temperature was 47 degrees F here in
The Olympics was here in 1960.
We are driving along the
There is no traffic because of the vacation and it is Saturday.
we just entered the
and we are back on the road. We are about half way there
and we are stopping along the way Vecia Marina for lunch at a cafeteria. Our cost at Prince Food Point: Calzone 5.00 E, Pizza 2.50 E, Drinks 2.00 E each. 45 more minutes to
The white spots that we see on
and we are back on the coach and on our way. Dad is being his normal sociable self on this trip. He loves talking to other people and sharing stories, while Mom is very quiet. She
's been listening to him tell those stories for 50 years?!? That 's admirable. Absolutely amazing accomplishment to be with someone that long. Anyway, he passed two of his
We are on day 4 of an 8-day trip. It is Saturday. We have Sun, Mon, Tues, and Wed still to go on this tour. OK. This has really been a nice trip. We 've had beautiful weather so far today. It is cool but not cold. I hope it doesn 't rain again. Yesterday it was sprinkling. Mom 's shoes are slippery on wet stones and pavement so Dad was holding an umbrella in one hand, and Mom 's hand with his other hand. His shoulder was hurting so I grabbed Mom 's hand when I could.
Ursula warned us about the vendors and sellers at
're here. We will spend about 1.5 hours in
The (leaning) tower is a 180 foot high marble monument
Duomo Cathedral. Built in
Earth (dirt) from the holy land was brought for the burial ground here.
It costs 15 E to walk up and you need a reservation. Only 30 people are allowed in the leaning tour at a time. So that means that they only let 30 people walk up, then they allow 30 people to walk down at a time. So you may not be able to come down when you want. You are stuck at the top until the 30 people in the tower get to top.
Construction of the 190-foot tower began in 1173. The soil underneath began sinking before workers completed the third level. but worker forged ahead completing it in 1360.
The tower closed in 1990. Renovation attached a pair of steel suspenders, excavating soil under its foundations. The seven bells were stilled for fear their vibrations would threaten the tower 's stability.
Engineer shaved 17 inches off the tower 's lean so it now back to where it was in 1838. It leans 13.5 feet off the perpendicular.
My notes from the map of
1 Cattedrale (with the ornate doors)
2 Battistero (round building)
3 Torre (
Museo dell ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€ Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€ Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¦Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€ Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¹ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“Opera
Museo delle Sinopie (pix)
To duplicate the photo where Dad is holding up the leaning tower, it took a bit of maneuvering to get him in the correct position. We were about 100 feet apart and I waved my hands to move him right or left. His arm is still sore from the rotor cuff surgery a couple months ago and he had to hold up that arm a while I took the photo. I know his shoulder hurt him after that because he took the two Advil that I have him in the bus.
At the doors of the Cathedral, Dad had a big crowd (about 15) people around him. They were looking at the two pictures of Mom & Dad in
the train leaves to take us back to the bus. Now we have about 1.5 hour drive to
When we arrived in
Ursula said there are bad mosquitoes in
we arrive to check into the hotel in
My room is across the hall from Mom and Dad
's room. I was sitting in my room waiting for my suit case to be delivered and there was a knock on my door. It was Dad inviting me over for champagne. Mom had put the bottle they received last night in her Globus bag! What fun. I unwrapped the foil on the champagne bottle, loosened the wire cap, and the stopper came out one notch. I realize that it may soil the carpet when it blows open, so I stood up to head to the bathroom. The cork came out another notch. Oh no. Then a loud
Dinner was at the hotel. Salad with olives, spaghetti with tomato sauce, roast pork and potatoes. It sounds like a lot of food, but it is really small servings (compared to the mounds of food that is normally served in a restaurant in the
From the itinerary:
I got three wake up phone calls this morning. Yeow. I didn 't ask for any of them. I answered because I think it 's Dad calling. We met at Buffet Breakfast. and we are on the road. We met our guide Franchesco at . Our schedule:
Walk to Accademia and tour until , walk to the Dome, Signoria area,
There are 50 museums in the city of
Our ticket says Galleria dell
The clay version of the famous statue Rape of Sabine women is here. Sculpted in 1583 by Bulonia. The actual statue displayed in
The statue of David was made by Michelangelo Buonarroti (Caprese 1475 Roma 1564) aka MA. Michelangelo was 29 years old. He started the statue in 1501. On
Interesting note: Leonardo da Vinci initiated the High Renaissance. In 1500, da Vinci returned to
David is 17 feet tall and weighs 11,000 pounds. He is carved from one piece of marble. He is the shepherd boy who killed Goliath. He is holding a strap with his left hand and holding a sling shot (and stone?) in his right hand. There is a strap across his back. His eye 's show determination. David stands for moral and political values.
In order to learn how the body is put together, Michelangelo illegally dissected at least 50 corpses to understand the human body. It was illegal for him because, at that time, only physicians we allowed to dissect bodies.
About David from http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761560125_2/Michelangelo.html
The subject of this work is the Old Testament story of David and Goliath, in which the young David, future king of
While David reveals Michelangelo's expert knowledge of anatomy (he had been dissecting corpses for about five years), the head and hands are much too large in comparison with the torso. Critics have suggested several reasons for this inconsistency, but the most convincing is that the statue was originally intended for the roof of the Florence Cathedral, and exaggerating the head and hands made them more visible from a distance. The statue was never placed there, but set instead in front of the Palazzo della Signoria, the center of government in
David stood at entrance to Palazzo Vechio palace for 300 years. In 1507 soneone threw a bench from the palace window and broke off David 's left arm. He has been inside since 1873. During the war, they built a cone to protect the statue. There was a time when public nudity wasn 't appreciated so soldiers had to protect him from people throwing stones. In 1991 a man hit a hammer on the 2nd toe of left foot. The only restriction for the man who hit David toe (and other works of art) is that he cannot go into the museum. His picture is displayed at the entrance so they can ID him. Now there is a Plexiglas barrier around David. There are micro cracks in the left leg. The cracks are probably from vibrations of people walking around.
Michelangelo worked because he was paid, but he was a slow worker. Many statues are left undone because they weren 't paid for. The pope ordered some statues, and Michelangelo bought marble, but the pope changed his mind and told Michelangelo to paint Sistine Chapel instead. Michelangelo only did seven of the 42 planned statues. Michelangelo wasn 't happy about doing Sistine He said, I 'm a sculptor, not a painter!. His unfinished statues look like people trying to escape the stone. Michelangelo died with money and the status that he deserved.
In Accademia there is a hall with many, many plaster models. These are the models submitted for requirements for final exams for students.
We had 45 minutes of free time here, then we met in the street in front of entrance at . That was plenty of time to see everything.
The toilet is near exit before you go out.
After Accademia, we walked over to the see the Florence Baptistry and the heavy bronze Gates of Paradise by Lorenzo Ghiberti (1381-1455).
The ten individual relief 's are 31 ¼ inches square. In 1990 the original gilded bronze panels (made 1425-1452 ) were moved to the Duomo museum. There are bronze copies on the Baptistry now. This note was posted:
Note: These photographs were taken of the relief 's outside on the doors. These are actually copies of the original panels which are now in the Duomo museum for safekeeping.
Eastern Door of the Baptistry - This is the masterpiece of Ghiberti, who worked on it for 27 years, lavishing on it all the richness of his imagination, combined with a fine sense of composition and profound knowledge of the modeller's art. Michelangelo defined the door as fit to be the "Gate of Paradise".
The door, a universally admired masterpiece, has ten panels depicting Biblical scenes. At the centre of the door at left is the self-portrait of Ghiberti. The door's original gilding has recently been recovered from beneath the patina formed over the centuries. It was badly damaged by
Gates of Paradise in Atlanta! In July, 2007 three of the ten original bronze panels were on view for the first time in the United States at the High Museum of Art Atlanta. How cool is that!
Beside the Baptistry is the Duomo (Cathedral of Santa Maria de Fiore) and Giotto
Next, we walked South to the
The real statue of David was removed from the square in 1873. In 1913 a marble copy of the statue of David was sculpted. The copy is the same size as the original statue and placed here in the square.
There is also an open air museum here in the square.
The original statue of the Rape of Sabine women is here. 1583 by Bulonia. We saw the clay version in Accademia.
There is huge statue of
About the PIAZZA DELLA SIGNORIA
One of the best loved squares in
Just South of the piazza, and past the Uffizi is the Ponte Vecchio. It is 606 years old, built in 1345 and lined with shops: The paradise of women, the hell of men.
We went West to the Santa Croce church where Michelangelo is buried. We all went into a leather shop where the members of our group helped in a fashion show modeling the coats they were selling. The man that was with 7 women on our trip put on a nice show for the group. Another girl, Valerie, looked great in a 400 Euro White jacket. She was very uncomfortable wearing it because she is a vegetarian. I saw a beautiful Burberry plaid lined leather coat for 680 Euro. Yeow!
Now we have free time from to . If you want to take a Taxi to the hotel it is about 10-15 Euro or bus #14 goes in front of hotel. Giocatola via Martelli. 15-20 minutes ride.
We were the only people in our group that signed up for the optional afternoon tour of the Uffizi. Ursula has learned not to offer it, because then people will sign up for it and then they will be very very tired and complain that they wanted more time for shopping on the tour.
From the optional itinerary: Uffizi Gallery. Admire the world 's greatest collection of Italian and Florentine art. The GALLERY showcases works by Leonardo da Vinci. Botticelli, and Michelangelo. 36 Euro.
We met our Tour Guide Francesca at . Our ticket says Galleria degli Uffizi La mente di Leonardo Price E9.50 Fees E3.00.
Francesca took us upstairs to the famous collections. I have to mention the that best view of Ponte Vecchio is from the second floor of the Uffizi. Francesca 's provided very detailed (almost too detailed) descriptions of the most famous works. Some of my notes:
1423 Gentile da Fabriano. There are 3D God highlights.
Sala del Botticeli. Birth of Venus. Sun-faded. Others have vivid colors.
The Holy Family with the young
Tiziano Venere d 'Urbino
From the Internet: Uffizi http://www.weekendafirenze.com/museidet/uffizi_e.htm
The Uffizi started off as a project by Vasari in 1560 and was completed by Bernardo Buontalenti in 1580. Originally the Uffizi wasn't meant to be a picture gallery - it was intended to house the offices of the Judiciary and Cosimo I raised to the ground an entire quarter, as well as the
I have to mention the one regret I have now is that we didn 't allow enough time to see the rest of the Ufizzi. The famous pieces are in the galleries on the second floor. There are three corridors and many rooms. In order to exit, you must walk down stairs. There is at least three hours of museum downstairs. Many interesting exhibits and hands-on displays. We walked very quickly through everything in search of a restroom.
I would recommend to allow at least 2 hours upstairs and 2 more hours downstairs at the Uffizi.
After the Uffizi, we went in search of the best Gelato in
We were supposed to meet back at the leather shop at to walk back to the bus. So at we stopped 2 shops down from leather shop where Dad and I got a cappuccino. I sure needed that shot of caffeine to help me keep going.
The bus can
't enter the city proper, so it is parked across the
For the dinner tonight, almost everybody on the tour signed up for the optional Tuscan Dinner. The other optional dinner outings A Florentine Night Out and the Renaissance Dinner weren 't offered to our group.
From the optional itinerary: Tuscan Dinner. Drive out to the Tuscan Hills to enjoy a traditional Florentine meal, including drinks, in a picturesque country setting. 50 Euro.
bus on the bus. We drove to great spot for a picture of
Dinner was ab fab (absolutely fabulous). The host was an odd man, quite the comedian. We could choose filet mignon, roast chicken, steak or lamb. I select lamb (of course) It was very very good. Melissa ordered steak. It was a T-bone. Mom and Dad ordered Filet Mignon. Looked very good. The starter was fruit and procutto. Then we had soup with white beans (not pasta). Small pasta dish, penne and a green pasta stuffed with something good. Then our main course with french fries and spinach. Yum yum.
After dinner we danced! Dancing music! The YMCA song got many people up. I remember dancing to that song with T & P 25 years ago on our
Sunday night, and finally left the restaurant. Quote from Stacy (blonde daughter) Vino y Musica makes for a crazy night.
We got back to the hotel at yeow. SO TIRED!
From the itinerary: Florence-Verona-Venice. North to
What is up with this hotel?!? I got two wake up phone calls this morning. Yesterday, I got three calls. At Dad knocks on the door. Yes, I 'm up! At Dad knocks again. We 're going down he is so punctual. Buffet Breakfast.
departure on the road. Over the mountains 2300 feet high pass today. Bus ride from
We arrived in
Ursula found a taxi and explained to the driver that we wanted to go to this apartment and take pictures. And we 're off to Verona 27 Risorgimento. We were all excited about this adventure. The driver seemed a little humored that she would be a part this story. When we arrived at the apartment, we got out of the car to take our pictures. Big trees had grown up in front of the building.
Dad said that when they moved in, they asked for the bidet to be removed. The Italians must have thought that Americans were dirty people, when in fact we probably take more showers. Dad probably has a couple more stories to add here
Next, she drove us to Castelvecchio (meaning old castle) A museum inside a 14th century palace. The sign in front said Epoca medievale (1355) Museo d
'arte Medievale e Moderno. She dropped us off at one side of the bridge and we walked across the
We waited on the other side of the bridge and looked for the taxi. Walked a block left, then right. No taxi. I ran back across the bridge and the taxi was waiting at the other side. I got in, and thank goodness she understood to drive around the block to get to the other side of the bridge to pick up Mom & Dad. Dad recognized the Piazza Bra area and told her to drop us off there. I wasn 't sure where we were in the city but Dad seemed to have his bearings and he said we would walk back to the meeting place for our bus. OK.
So here we are beside the arena in the Palazzo Barberi. Dad found a (clean) public restroom in the plaza where you have to walk down stairs. We walked across the plaza to the Roman Amphitheater, aka The Arena. A huge pink marble structure, very well preserved. It is now used for operas. Seats 25,000 people on 44 rows of seats in the arena. We needed to get a picture on the highest top row of the arena, but we were told it was closed on Monday, in fact all museums are closed on Monday. Well, it looked like people were going inside, but we really didn 't want a workout climbing stadium seats so we settled on duplicating the picture of Mom at the entrance gate.
Beside the arena is the Town Hall building with beautiful white columns. It is two-stories high. In my photo, there is an Egyptian statue 1.5 stories high in front of the building. It looks like a staging area for a some sort of celebration of
We walked back down Via Leoni to Via Cappello to see Casa di Guilietta made famous by Shakespeare 's Romeo and Juliet. The courtyard was open and you could see the Juliet 's Balcony. This is really the house where Juliette 's family lived. We had a difficult time staging our pictures with all the people in the courtyard. Many people were more interesting in the statue of the naked lady and rubbing her (now shiny) breasts. It helped to hold up the old picture so people could see we were trying to take a photo and they stayed back.
We grabbed a meat danish to go a restaurant on the way to our meeting place at the San Fermo Church. The bus arrived at and we were off on another part of our adventure. It is a 2 hour bus ride from
To get to the main island, we drove across the
We got off the bus with our hand luggage and walked a block to hotel. We arrive at the
Hotel Carlton &
The Hotel Carlton and Grand Canal with its one hundred windows, looks out onto the Grand Canal, the romantic stretch of water lined with magnificent palaces and their thousand reflections and colors: a truly unique location which makes this elegant hotel the perfect option for an unforgettable holiday discovering Venice - a magic, timeless city!
The hotel is in a great location, one block from the bus and opposite the railway station. It is in a 300-400 year old building and all the rooms in the hotel are different. Melissa is in room 262, I 'm in room 263.
I was waiting for my suitcase to be delivered and I wish I had known that it was out in the hallway! I had to bring it into the room.
meet in the lobby for our Gondola serenade ride. This is another awesome perk for tours. (The first perk for tours on this trip was the quick entry to the
From the optional itinerary: Gondola Serenade. Enjoy a serenaded ride in a traditional gondola, gliding through centuries-old canals, under famous arched bridges, and past lavish palaces and quaint piazzas. 38 Euro.
The Gondolas were lined up and waiting for us. We divided up into 6 people per boat. Mom, Dad, Melissa and I were in one gondola with the musicians a singer and an accordion player. It was quite a memorable ride. Mom & Dad were sitting comfortably in the big seat at the back. Since the musicians were in our boat, we got our photo taken a lot.
After the Gondola ride, we met in the lobby at for the A Venetian Night Out dinner.
From the optional itinerary: Travel by private water taxi along the splendid Grand Canal with its elegant palaces to a fine Venetian restaurant, and taste four mouth-watering courses of local specialties and wine. Later there
's time to explore and absorb the romantic and unique atmosphere of
We walked half a block to the water taxi stop. Climb aboard and ride to the city center, then a short walk to the restaurant. Ursula really knew these streets! She walked us by some very impressive architecture. A spiral staircase made of stone on one home. Wow. We arrived at the restaurant at .
Starter was "Proshutto con melone" It is prosciutto with slices with melon. Seemed odd to me. I was eating each piece separately, but then I saw someone put them together. Wow, the taste when you put both prosciutto and the melon in your mouth at the same time yum. Prosciutto is salted pork. Preparing it according to local customs it takes anywhere from nine to eighteen months.
The rest of the dinner was very good for Mom and I. I think Dad ended up getting a fish dish (again). Everyone seemed very energetic and loud. Our group was divided into about 5 tables and we were sitting at a big table. We were getting so loud talking between and among the table that I noticed a couple asked to be relocated away from our group. The cost for a dinner like that would be about 58 Euro without the wine in that restaurant.
After dinner, Ursula walked us over to
We had such a great time today, we had to call T in
From the itinerary:
buffet breakfast. Mom & Dad were so early arriving at this breakfast that they got seated with the other Globus group. I have to say that Dad is very punctual.
meet in the lobby for sightseeing. Dad opted not to join us today. He wanted to rest and keep his feet elevated. So Mom and I forged ahead. Another full day of touring.
Our group boarded the water bus. We went north, passed by the freedom bridge, the headed NW, then south, then east around
In the canals here the water is 15-20 feet deep. It is brackish water salt and fresh water. She said there is a problem with the smell of the water and the age of houses.
We passed by some HUGE docked cruise ships: the Blue Dream by Pullmantur cruises. Another cruise ship: Silver Wind. Dad said that there 's a good chance that a friend of his, Dr. Scheibler is on one of those ships. That would be a coincidence!
If you want to take city transportation back to the hotel.
About lunch on your own:
If you go to the famous Harry 's Bar http://www.cipriani.com/cipriani/Locs/ven.htm it costs 34 Euro for one hamburger, a drink is 14 Euro, Coke is 8 Euro, and water is 6 Euro.
At the Hotel Splendid they have a day special: 2 dishes and dessert. 20 Euro for light lunch.
We were dropped off a couple buildings east of St. Marks square where we met our guide. Glass blowing first and then a walking tour of the Doges palace.
It was short walk to the Vecchia Murano glass factory. It is near the
They did a demonstration and made a vase. A Murano glass blower made the vase but it was not made in Murano. Therefore, they must put the finished vase back in the fire to melt. Since it was not made in Murano, it cannot be sold as Murano glass so they must destroy it.
To make the glass colors they add copper to make green glass, or a Manganese for the amethyst color. It took 700 years to realize that adding gold made red so red is the most expensive color.
They explained how to make 2-fire and 3-fire works. They put gold on 4-5 layers then enamel decoration.
They had a Blue light special (oh no, Wal-Mart lingo in
After the tour, we walked through many, many rooms of glass works for sale and more demonstrations throughout the labyrinth. Mom and I walked quickly so we found the bathrooms before they got crowded. We finally found the exit.
Our group was supposed to meet at in the same room where the glass factory tour started. We picked up our whisperers (what a fabulous invention for large groups on walking tours). There were several people from the group still missing, but we had to get moving to the next tour. Another 30 minutes would have been nice to see all the incredible glass items, but our tickets for the church had an appointment time stamp that we had to adhere to.
It was a short walk to the square. For a good basic map of the square, go to http://www.cheapvenice.com/map-saint-mark.gif
Our ticket says:
Musei Civici Veneziani Musei di Piazza San Marco:
We had a walking tour of St. Marks Basilica (Basilica di San Marco) the main church on the square. There is absolutely no talking allowed in the church except for leaders of tours who are using the whisperers. A man started scolding our tour leader for talking because he didn 't know that she was guiding a group through the church. It was interesting to see the high water marks since the church has been flooded so many times. There 's lots of information on the Web about this church.
Next we go to the
There were 140 Doges. They were elected for life. They pick richest and oldest and someone who is not related to any other doges. They usually elected very old doges. The shortest doges term was 30 days. One years is a long time.
The doges were social but they never decided anything. Those around him were the ones with the power to decide. Very unusual political system. There are 200 elected to the senate. It was a very big room with wood seats around the edge of the room. The largest canvas painting in the world by Tintoretto is here.
We saw the Institutional Chambers Prisons The Bridge of Sighs
Renaissance means early 16th century. They are in process of restoring all the time. The word restoration now means to remove the dust. Absolutely nothing is added, changed or retouched because what is lost, is lost.
the tour ended and our guide left us in front of St. Marks Basilica. Straight ahead of us in the square is the Procuratie Vecchie. At the end of the long building along the square, scaffolding had been covering the Torre dell 'Orologio clock tower for 15 years. They just removed the scaffolding last week! There were many beaurocratic problems so it stayed up so many years.
Our ticket for Doges palace is also valid if we want to visit the library, museums around St. Marks. That
's nice, but were tired and hungry and we had a long walk back to the hotel. We took our photos of Mom with pigeons (same as 50 years ago) and the Campanile. I have a picture of Mom & Dad beside the Venice Campanile that is located in Disney
's Epcot in
After pictures, I headed us out of the square in what I thought was the right direction (through the Museo Correr). Wrong. Mom sensed that we needed to go the other way. We came back to the square and walked through the Procuratie Vecchie. She was right because we saw signs to the
That done, we were on our way again. We walked slow because it was so crowded! We had to hold hands the whole way because there were so many people everywhere. I didn
't want to get separated. We also did many, many steps up and steps down on bridges over waterways. No place to hold on so we had to hold onto each other. (I really did enjoyed that!) We finally found to big road Strada Nova. It took us all the way around the west side of the
We stopped to eat along Strada Nova, then it was a short way back to the hotel. We arrive around . We were both dead tired. We had been on our feet since and it was at least an hour walk from the square to the hotel. Yeow. I can 't believe Mom! 71 years old and she never slowed down and never asked to stop and rest. I was impressed. We found Dad in the room, relaxed and rested. It really was a great morning out with Mom.
We had till to rest and get ready go out and about again for our dinner tonight. We are doing a lagoon cruise to the
From the optional itinerary: Leave the crowds of
meet in the lobby.
The water taxi is not fast and the seat are not padded. You leave busy areas and it is a relaxing leisurely trip. Cruise to island and see a sunset on the way.
We passed by the
You cannot buy islands in the lagoon. You must lease them for 99 years.
Engineers are rigging something because water level is falling and exposing wood that
We got out of the boat on the
We stopped to see a store where the made lace. Beautiful clothes, table cloths etc. We walked about 2 (beautiful) blocks to the restaurant on the island.
Dinner starter is fish spread with bread. Then came the lasagna with sauce. The main course of grilled fish, shrimp, calamari (looked like onion rings!), seafood risotto, salad, fruit. Dessert is a special Burano cookie You are supposed to dip these cookies in white wine, then eat it. Hmm, sounds like a grown up version of dipping Chocolate Chip 's Ahoy cookies into milk.
The meals on this trip are truly fabulous. Great quote from Alex 's father Tony: I can 't wait till we don 't have to eat like this again
Boat ride full of very tired people back to the hotel. And finally sleep.
From the itinerary: Bus ride from
Breakfast and luggage out at . (Ughhhh!) Depart at to walk back to coach. Bus departs at .
We are driving South to
At we had a potty stop for 20 minutes. Actually, they call it a Technical Stop for a bathroom break.
2500 feet height over
's and we are near
At we passed an on-ramp to get back on the motorway so I guess we are off the 222? and we are back on the highway. So we did a 30-minute detour to see Chianti country. We took the 222 road near/after
OK, lunch is over. Ursula showed me on a big map where we were driving. Yup, winding road through the countryside. It 's now and we 're back on the road after lunch.
On our long drive back to
It was a common practice to move olive trees in front of new hotel or buildings. But now, it is illegal to cut down or move an olive tree. About every 5 years the government takes a satellite picture of your land. If you chop down an oak tree or an olive tree, you get a fine. Ursula said they have 90 trees on their property.
Ursella 's bidet instructions. Her instructions were much more entertaining and just as informative as the instructions on http://www.ehow.com/how_13097_bidet.html She was very tasteful in her description. She didn 't know the word straddle so she says jump on it like John Wayne. So here are Ursula 's bidet directions:
Face the wall
Fill with water so it is a lake
And you sit in the lake.
's are used in
Ursella 's risotto recipe
1 spoon olive oil, 1 spoon butter (for flavor)
Stir fry finely chopped onion till glazy (not brown). Put in risotto, when golden, add wine and very slowly add ladles of soup broth to get the creamy texture. Let liquid evaporate. Simmer for creamy risotto. Add 1-2 spoons of parmesan cheese. Add any vegetables, asparagus, etc. Cooked Pumpkin or pesto sauce.
Ursula about pasta: Every pasta has it 's own sauce. She said that the way pasta is cut makes it taste different in your mouth. Penne pasta is cut diagonally and rigatoni is cut straight and that gives it a different taste! I 'm just sure..
Per Ursula, sneezing is dusting your brains
At the Hotel Majestic the cost is 374 E for a single room
Italian men do not pinch.
There are many many Oleander trees around
Check into our HOTEL in
Built in 1975 and remodeled in 2003. It is located in a residential area 3 km south of the
The copies of the group photograph that we took
The farewell dinner evening starts at the Trevi Fountain.
From the optional itinerary: Toss your coins into the Trevi Fountain, then enjoy a memorable dinner party with you newly found friends in one of Rom 's popular restaurants, where a delicious four-course meal and drinks will be served. A wonderful way to say Arrivederci Roma! Cost is 55 Euro.
we left the hotel. She warned us that it may be a 55-minute bus ride to city center where we get dropped off. Actually it was an hour plus 5 minutes. There was so much traffic. I would not want to be driving around this city in a rental car. At we arrived at the place where the bus dropped us off. It was a short walk to the Trevi Fountain. It was so crowded with so many people everywhere. There were so many shops along the walk to the fountain. Some members of our group didn 't even see the fountain. They got sidetracked with the shops.
We had about 20 minutes to walk around the Trevi. There is no way that we could have taken our staged Trevi photos in that time! Also there was no way to take a decent photo of the fountain. I am so glad that we came here the day before the tour to take those pictures of Mom & Dad. It was absolute zoo with so many people everywhere.
Ursula told us that throwing coins in the fountain is a symbolic gesture, so use the smallest denomination. 1, 2 and 5 cent red coins. She said about 250 to 350 Euro a day is fished (taken) out of the fountain. The money goes to a homeless organization names Caritas.
Another tradition is to throw a coin in if you want to return. This is my third time here, so I did not throw a coin in the fountain.
We walked back to main street to wait for the bus to pick us up. Ursula explained that it is OK to drop off, but it is not OK to pick up at that location. I guess they don 't want buses waiting on that very busy street. So where are they supposed to pick up? We gathered the group together, then Ursula used her cell phone to call Salvatore and the bus arrived at to pick us up.
and we are still driving to the LaTana de Rey restaurant on
With three of us at the table, they gave us 1 carafe of red wine, 2 open bottles of white wine, 2 one-liter bottles of water,
1st plate was antipasto which included salami, 2 slices prosciutto, and grilled vegetables: 1 slice of eggplant, 1 zucchini, red pepper. Very good. Next was two pastas: Soup with white beans, and the next one pasta with the best vegetable sauce. It was red but it didn 't seem tomato based. Very delicious. Salad came next. For the main course you selected fish, chicken, or meat.
Dad got his salmon (with some bones). Mom and I got the best veal ever. Two large very thin slices, with a nice sauce. Sweet white potatoes. We had a choice of dessert from the trolley: tiramisu, lemon cake, or chocolate cream. Mom got the lemon and Dad and I got the tiramisu (which may have been a mistake as we find out the next day).
This dinner was very special for our group. The entertainment provided by the restaurant, a woman and a man on guitar, was nice and the entertainment provided by people in our group was even better. Dad was enjoying the guitar player, then he asked if he could borrow the guitar. So there he was, Dad doing my get up and go has got up and went poem for the whole group. Anther girl in our group ( I think it was it Lisa ) sang with the woman. Was it Ava Maria? I wish I hadn 't waited so long to type up this journal. If anyone is reading this and remembers who sang and the song, please let me know.
After dinner, we had a short (cool) walk back to the bus. Then a drive around for our illumination tour of
Tomorrow, Thursday is our down day. I sure need it. I 'll see St. Peters Cupola next time (if there is a next time). My 46-year old body is so tired . I can 't imagine how Mom and Dad feel.
This is last day of the official tour. Most people have homebound flights, but we have a DAY OF REST! We are staying at the same Villa Pamphili hotel. I got a Travel Bound Hotel Voucher with a
What really happened today is I slept till . I went to the bathroom at , again at . Took 2 Imodium. Yuck.
There are great breakfasts at this hotel and buffet breakfast is included in the room rate. I felt OK, so I went down to eat breakfast. They have fresh-squeezed orange juice. You press a lever and watch the oranges get pressed. They had all kinds of cheeses, breads, eggs, etc. Very good, but I didn 't feel like eating much.
At breakfast we met Susan. She takes pictures for Grand European Tours.
Tony and his wife were also in the breakfast room. Alex, their son was also sick. They found out that he wasn 't the only one from the group that was sick. A couple other of the girls who were flying back today weren 't feeling well. So it turns out that Dad was sick, and then I realized that I was sick also. I think we figured out that it was the tiramisu that made everyone sick. I can remember thinking that it wasn 't good considering all the calories that it contained. I never imagined that it would make me so ill.
After breakfast we went back to the room and immediately had to lay down. Mom was fine. But Dad and I could not move all day. Horizontal in bed was the best, I mean the only position. Any vertical position and I had to run to the bathroom.
It was a rough day. I was glad I was in the same room as Mom and Dad so we could commiserate together. One thing I have to mention is that the orange juice tasted just as good the second time. Anyway. By about 5 or Dad and I were feeling better. I kept water down and half a melba toast. Around we started repacking. We were staying in the same room the next night so all three of us packed our over-night stuff into one suitcase. We would store the other two suitcases here at the hotel. After our mini-tour, we come back to this hotel for one night before we fly home.
At I made some instant oatmeal and ate it slowly. I can 't imagine if we had to fly home when we were sick. That would have been unbearable. I tried to cancel our Naples Sorrento Capri tour but it 's paid for, so I we are going on the tour.
Asleep by Dad was up at Uuugh.
I slept great last night. Dad said he was up every 20 minutes all night but he was feeling a lot better today. We sure needed that day of rest to recover from whatever we ate at the farewell dinner and the very fast-paced tour. Perfect timing for our down time, but now we were going to hit the road again.
Buffet breakfast was included in room rate, but we are leaving before breakfast is served. So, the hotel is packing three breakfasts for us. We will get lunch and dinner included on the mini-tour.
But it turned out to be Carrini Tours http://www.carrani.com/ Address: Escursioni Italiane SRL, Via Vittoria Emanuele Orlando, 95 00185 Roma Tel. 06.4742501 06.4880510. (Members of virtualtourist.com get a 10% discount on all tours email email@example.com or phone (39) 06 7720 4019 Odyssey Tours at Via Collazia 2F,
TOUR number 16: Naples, Pompei, Sorrento, Capri (2 Days/1 Night) - Depart Rome to Naples, the ancient city of Pompei, historic Sorrento overnight, the beautiful Island of Capri, and return to Rome.
Departure Dates : Every Day of the Year, Departure Time : Hotel Pickup - between and
Price: With a double room: 257.00 per person.
Includes: Pickup from Hotels within the greater
Overnight in hotel with bed & breakfast, two lunches and one dinner. Only one piece of luggage per person is allowed.
From the itinerary - The first day of mini-tour is Rome-Naples-Pompei-Sorrento:
I got a confirmation email that we would be picked up between and by bus Carrani Viaggi (Tel: 39 06
At we were in the lobby. We checked out of the room and stored 2 suitcases. At we were still waiting on the shuttle to pick us up. I nibbled on my breakfast. It was sure nice to be able to keep food down.
At a car arrived to pick us up from the hotel. It was a 20-minute crazy drive to the Carrani office where the bus was parked. At we were on the bus waiting to take off. It was big bus. The seats were very close together and every seat was full. I think our guide 's name was Monia Sebastiano. When we boarded the bus, Monia asked us what language we spoke. I think there were three languages on the bus.
There was also 3 tours on this bus. There was 1-day, 2-day, and 3-day tour people. Its was about a 3 hour drive to
After 1 hour on the bus, we stopped for a (bathroom) break.
We arrived in
After lunch we had a 20-minute stop in the Cameo Corals store.
It was a little frustrating at times dealing with the people and trying to listen to her give us information. It really made me appreciate the whisperers on all the other Globus tours that we had the previous week. Over all, I think
People here are thankful for Vesuvius. It left fertile soil from past eruptions and it brings tourists now.
At we met in the parking lot to find correct bus for the next part of the tour. The 1-day tour people were going back to
It was 50-minute drive to
Grand Hotel Ambasciatori
Via A. Califano, 18
Average daily rate is 260 Euro for our Deluxe Plus room. From their web site:
A double room with sea view balcony, luxury furniture and bathroom in fine marble. Deluxe Plus double rooms are spacious and luminous, all provided with balcony or terrace overlooking the
Services: individually adjustable air conditioning and heating, mini bar, direct dial phone, modem plug and internet access, wardrobe with safe, television with satellite antenna connected to the major national and international television channels, radio, desk with lamp.
Bathrooms are provided with bathtub and shower, direct phone, hairdryer and a well provided courtesy line.
Pictures at http://www.ambasciatorisorrento.com/gallery.php. It was a very nice comfortable room. It was maybe a half mile walk to the main square and shops in
Six people got off the bus. We got very brief instructions. Dinner and breakfast is included. We are supposed to meet in the lobby at without luggage tomorrow.
It was very nice hotel. We had a suite with 2 rooms and the bathroom was in between. You could close the door for privacy to each room.
Dinner was at the very nice restaurant in the hotel. I had stuffed anchovies, salad bar, cold veal with tuna paste and capers. Dad had tomato soup, fish in a foil tent. Mom had rigatoni pasta and veal with a wine sauce. We all had pistachio ice cream for dessert. We were all so tired, it seemed difficult to eat. But we did it. It was delicious.
After dinner we took some picture, then went back up to the room and crashed. My head hurt and I was so tired. My whole body is tired. I can 't imagine how Mom and Dad feel. Tonight we were asleep by .
Dad was up at . I said I wanted to wake up at so he knocks on my door at . I wanted 10 more minutes! I guess it 's better to be early than on time. I showered and was ready in about 25 minutes. It 's easy to get ready fast when there are no decisions to make. Dad wore his Cisco t-shirt under the shirt that Paul gave him. Are were off on our last day of adventure.
Breakfast at 7. Buffet Breakfast is included in room rate on the tour. We checked out of the room, and they tried to charge us for peanuts that we didn 't eat so we refused to pay for the peanuts.
I was a little nervous about leaving our luggage at the front desk, but that is what we were instructed to do. We will get our suitcase later today at for the drive back to
From the itinerary - Second Day of our mini-tour: Capri-Sorrento-Rome
After breakfast, we will embark for
In case of adverse weather conditions; should the visit to the Blue Grotto be impossible, it will be replaced by a visit of the Villa di San Michele in Ana Capri.
A bus picked us up at . We were at the dock at , and departed the dock at . It was about a 25 minute hydrofoil ride to
Our ticket says: Linee Marittime Partenopee. Cost was 12 Euro. (this cost was included in our tour)
From Fodors: Linee Marittime Partenopee offers one to three hydrofoil departures every hour from Sorrento (EUR8, travel time 20 minutes), seven ferries per day from Sorrento (EUR6.5, 50 minutes), and one hydrofoil per day from Ischia (in the morning, EUR12, one hour).
Other services: Caremar (PHONE: 081/5513882 or 081/8370700, www.caremar.it). Linee Marittime Partenopee (PHONE: 081/8781430 or 081/8071812). Navigazione Libera Del Golfo (PHONE: 081/5527209 hydrofoils from
We met our
I think we reached
It was a little tricky going from boat to boat with waves bouncing you up and down. Dad was in the front of the boat and I was in the middle. We rowed directly into the grotto, no waiting. I got a picture of Dad ducking down in the row boat. It looks like about 10 inches of clearance in the rocky grotto entrance.
It was beautiful inside the grotto. Someone in another boat was singing and the echo was incredible.
Getting back out was a little scary. You really have to lay all the way down in the row boat to get through the little opening. When there are high waves, no one can enter (or exit). Overall, our grotto experience was much better than I expected. We were out by .
The grotto is only open about 100 days a year. They close it because of waves and weather. We were very lucky to be able to see it.
From the Internet. http://www.capri.net/ The
SIGHTSEEING The road that climbs from the main town of
DINING After decades of foreign (mostly French) influence, the island's kitchens have returned to their Mediterranean roots fish seasoned with olive oil, squid (often prepared with a cheese filling and a tomato sauce), pasta with fresh veggies, ravioli (the island version features pasta made only with flour and water, served with a tomato sauce and fresh basil), and Capri's trademark dish, insalata caprese, a classic salad of sliced tomato, mozzarella, fresh basil leaves, dressed with olive oil.
Anacapri: La Grotta Azzurra
A magic no word or image could ever describe. It is a 200 feet long, 80 feet -wide cavity; to get into it, you need to take one of the small rowing boats moored outside the cave; since the opening is very narrow, you will Relais Mare have to lie on the bottom of the boat to get into the grotto (in experience case the sea grows rough, boat service is suspended). There is the World" actually a bigger but completely submerged opening; this very underwater entrance allows the blue coloration of the water inside the grotto, due to a phenomenon of sunlight reflection. There is an almost surreal view in the inside, the transparency and the blue colour of the water give us the impression of navigating through a clear sky, and the boats seem to float on a fantastic universe.
The Blue Grotto has been known since the Roman times, and Emperor Tiberius chose it as his own personal nymphaeum. The statues of pagan gods found on the bottom of the cave date back to the Roman times), later on almost nothing was known of the grotto, also because the fishermen of the island believed it to be haunted by evil spirits. It was rediscovered and made popular as late as
There were many other boats are waiting when we were leaving. It was great timing for our group.
From my writings in the boat: It is an absolutely beautiful day today. Maybe 78 degrees F. Light wind. Big blue sky with some clouds. Mountain island all around us. Mom and Dad (both healthy- yeah) are sitting in the boat with me. Wow, our last day in
We boarded a small bus to drive up to Ana Capri. Here is some information from our very good, very entertaining guide:
12,000 people live here year round. In the summer 24,000. And 10,000 to 25,000 people visit in one day.
There are 90 days of rain a year.
There is no water on the island they collect water on the roof tops.
There are no sandy beaches here. It is a limestone
It 's and we are driving up a very scary narrow road 1000 feet up. You can also walk up 777 steps up to Ana Capri. Our guide said there are parachutes under our seats (in case the bus goes off the road).
Our guide is really good. He has great sense of humor and you could tell he loves his job. That is refreshing to see.
we arrived in Ana Capri. We have one hour (until then we meet for lunch). Some people opted to shop. There was no question about what I was going to do the chair lift up
Seggovia Monte Solaro ANACAPRI P.I. 02158321006 Tariffa Biglietto di Andata e Ritorno
I think it was about 8 Euro. It was single chairs that takes 12 minutes to climb 970 feet up to the highest 1932 peak on the island. Dad went with me and Mom waited at the bottom.
On the chair lift, we went over people 's houses. It was almost as if we were in their back yard with them. 2000 feet high at t the top and it was awesome weather so the view went on forever.
We made it down in time to meet the group for lunch (included in the tour). First course was soup or pizza or lasagna. The next course was veal or fish. I confused them a bit by ordering soup for my first course and lasagna for my main course. It made sense to me, and they accommodated me. I just couldn 't eat veal or fish again.
After lunch waiting for the bus I realized that I left my camera on the table. I ran back to get it.
We had a short, harrowing bus ride to
Our guide took us to the main square in
And we 're off on another highlight of our trip: to find Mom & Dad 's hotel where they spent their fist anniversary. We were all so tired, I 'm sure we could have rested with a cappuccino, but we had an hour and a half. We could walk slow and find this place. To get to La Floridiana:
Take Qui Susanna left, then first right. Follow the signs to the hotel. Other landmarks (so we can find our way back) : Malo, Prada, Best Western, Silanos.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Via Campo di Teste, 16 80073 Capri PO Box 90
Directions: From La Piazzetta take Via V. Emanuele to Via Camerelle.
Ideal for those who want to relax in a central but quiet position (5 minutes from the famous little square), LA FLORIDIANA is surrounded by greenery and faces south in a marvelous triangle of sky, sea and pine trees. It's just a few minutes from the Certosa congress center and the Gardens of Augustus, and near a public swimming pool, tennis courts and disco.
The walk to the hotel was down hill most of the way. It took us 9 minutes to walk there. We took some photos in front of the hotel sign and they let us walk out to the balcony to take some pictures.
At one point in planning this trip we had reservations to stay at this hotel (at a rate of 322 Euro per night!). It was very expensive and we would not have seen
We walked back slowly because it was up hill and it was a warm day. There are lots of expensive shops on the streets. We wandered near the meeting spot and found a shady bench to park Mom & Dad. It was a 20 minute bus ride down to the main marina. We were at the 21 dock at where we got our one-way ferry ticket back to
When we arrived in
Now we are waiting on Carrani Tour to pick us up between bus pick us up at Hotel Royal. Dad was encouraging Mom to go to the restroom, I got the front desk to help me check on our flights home. The guy at the desk called Alitalia and Delta. Everything is confirmed so I guess we are flying home tomorrow.
I have to say that I was very impressed with Odyssey Tours and the Carrani organization. We had great multi-lingual guides on the bus. She said everything in three languages. Our
We rode from
We got off the bus and bought some snacks while we waited. I got a chicken sandwich. I realized that I hadn 't eaten any chicken on this trip. There 's probably a good reason for that the bird flu scare. Oh well,
We had a quick toilet stop. ETA (estimated time of arrival) arrive in
For traffic information in
it 's still light out!
About we transferred to a shuttle to take us to our hotel. We stopped at two other hotels, and finally we were the last to be dropped off. We checked back into the Villa Phampille (it means
' little nut). Or is it Villa Pamphili. Located at Via Della Nocetta, 105,
We got our suitcases out of storage. Started repacking all our suitcases. Dad was sniffling a little. I hope he 's not getting a cold. Traveling is so hard on your body! Asleep by . We were so so tired.
From the itinerary: Homebound flight arrives the same day.
Buffet Breakfast (and VAT) included in room rate. I got some more of that really good OJ (Orange Juice). We took a taxi to the airport. It was worth the 58 Euro to have a no hassle, direct ride.
We got to the airport in plenty of time and the flight was also delayed one hour. I 've got a really good story about what happened when we were waiting at the gate. The seats in the gate are in a U configuration. We are sitting at the back of the U. A family with small children is at the end of the U. The little boy got sick and puked all over the floor. We 're talking projectile stuff here. Very stinky. They notified the gate attendant to get someone to clean it up, then they left. People would see the empty seats, and start to walk to the seat. Dad and I would yell to STOP and held our hands up, then pointed down to the floor. Yuck, yuck, and yuck. Only one guy walked right into it, we successfully stopped others. Whew. Now that was entertaining.
I got a bit of information from the young guy sitting next to me in the airport. He stayed in the hostel in Ana Capri and the cost was only 80 Euro. It was a nice room. He took the transport to main square and the hostel is a short walk from there.
The next bit of entertainment was the entire bottle of sprite that leaked into my carry-on bag. A couple people let me know that my bag was dripping. Oops. No worries though because I carry everything in zip-lock bags. And I mean everything, even my sweater was in a plastic bag. So we finally board our flight home.
Mom, Dad, and Suzi: Depart Rome / Fiumicino Alitalia flight 7608 Operated by Delta, non-stop. Arrive
At we pulled back from the gate. Tina is having kittens because our layover in
Half way into the flight I was really really dying. That was, by far, the most uncomfortable flight of my life. I could not sit still. I was so fidgety. I could not wait to get off the plane. We finally arrived in
Mom & Dad depart
I think they stayed in a hotel in
Fantabulously fun awesome trip over all. What a great way to celebrate a 50th anniversary reliving young memories.
We booked this trip with Globus. Brendan (a Globus partner) has the same tour for the same price.
Globus Tours Web site www.globusjourneys.com or call
Brendan Tours Web site http://www.brendanvacations.com/italy.asp?id=12
ZJ Vacation Overview
This nine-day trip will show you the highlight cities of
This vacation offers family friendly departures with special activities and optional excursions perfect for families. Look for "Family Vacation" when booking this vacation online. Please note, these vacations are only available for families traveling with children under the age of 21.
Tour includes accommodations, 7 buffet breakfasts (BB); 2 three-course dinners (D) and Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description, including admission charges when applicable, including admission charges when applicable.
Land Price $1,469 in 2006 (in 2011 the cost is now $1709)
Single room supplement: $255 or Triple room reduction per person: $24.
Extra nights per person in
Price Guarantee: All vacation prices are based on rates (including foreign exchange rates) expected to be in effect at the time of departure. Prices are subject to increase without notice if such rates change prior to departure. The current price will be confirmed at the time of reservation. However, once Globus has received your deposit for any vacation departing during the current year, that land price is guaranteed, and any subsequent land cost increases are at our expense, not including any government tax increases. Airfares included as part of air-inclusive vacation prices are guaranteed when we receive confirmation of air itinerary and full payment. Vacation prices are per person, based on double occupancy. Single room supplements and triple room reductions may be applicable.
Not included in the tour price: Federal Inspection Fees for the U.S. Customs and immigration; International Air Transportation Tax; agricultural tax; any other taxes; security fee; airport taxes and fees; passports; visas and vaccinations; tips to your tour director; tour host; tour driver; local city guides; gratuities on ferries, trains and cruise ships; laundry; telephone; mini bar; alcohol; beverages and food not on the regular table d'hÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€ Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€ Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â´te menu (these extra items will be billed to you before leaving the hotel or restaurant); optional excursions; porterage at airports; travel protection; excess baggage fees; all other items of a personal nature.
Day 1 Board your overnight transatlantic flight.
Day 2 Arrival in
Day 4 Rome-Pisa-Florence. Follow the
Day 6 Florence-Verona-Venice. North to
Day 8 Venice-Rome. A scenic drive today through the lush plains of the mighty River Po and across the wooded Apennine mountain range. An exciting detour then takes you off the highway into the vine- and olive-clad Tuscan Hills which are the home of the popular Chianti wines. Then speed south along the Highway of the Sun. An optional festive dinner may be just the way to celebrate the success of your Italian vacation. (BB)
Day 9 Your homebound flight arrives the same day. (BB)
FEATURES INCLUDED in GLOBUS TOUR
VENICE - Private boat ride; guided sightseeing including headsets; visit St. Marks Square and Basilica, Doges ' Palace, and the Bridge of Sighs; glass blowers ' demonstration
CHIANTI COUNTRY - Panoramic drive
Drive out to the Tuscan Hills to enjoy a traditional Florentine meal, including drinks, in a picturesque country setting.
Cost: EUR 50 per person in 2006, it is 53 in2011.
Highlights of Uffizi Gallery
Admire the world's greatest collection of Italian and Florentine art. The GALLERY showcases works by Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, and Michelangelo.
Cost: EUR 36 per person in 2006, it is 34 (lower!) in 2011
In the magnificent setting of Palazzo orghese, enjoy a four-course dinner with wine served by waiters wearing costumes inspired by the great Florentine banquets fo the 15th century. Original Renaissance music, ballets, and a jester will add to the cheerful evening. Cost: EUR 51 per person
Excursion to Tivoli
Leave Rome for a guided visit of the famous VILLA ADRIANA or the VILLA D'ESTE GARDENS and FOUNTAINS in Tivoli. Followed by a typical country style dinner with wine, spumante, and music
Approximate value: EUR 75 per person
Rome at Leisure and Dinner
Time at leisure to discover the famous Spanish Steps and to browse around the fashionable districts of Rome. Tonight enjoy a four-course meal with drinks included.
Approximate value: EUR 55 per person
Roman Highlights and Dinner
A guided walking tour takes you to some of the most famous monuments. Admire the Spanish Steps, Via Condotti, Piazza Navona, Parliament, and Pantheon. A four-course dinner including drinks at a popular Roman restaurant can also be added for the total price of EUR 62.00 per person. In 2006, 65 in 2011.
Cost: EUR EUR 62.00 per person. In 2006, 65 in 2011.
Classical Concert in Venice
Enhanced by exquisite 17th-century costumes, this memorable concert is performed in the prestigious main hall of the Scuola Grande di San Teodoro in Rialto. The famed Orchestra I Musici Veneziani performs Vivaldi's Four Seasons or the most enchanting Baroque arias.
Approximate value: EUR 35 per person
A Venetian Night Out
Travel by private water taxi along the splendid Grand Canal with its elegant palaces to a fine Venetian restaurant, and taste four mouth-watering courses of local specialties and wine. Later there's time to explore and absorb the romantic and unique atmosphere of Venice by night.
Approximate value: EUR 66 per person in 2006, 68 in 2011
Enjoy a serenaded ride in a traditional gondola (for 6 people), gliding through centuries-old canals, under famous arched bridges, and past lavish palaces and quaint piazzas.
Approximate value: EUR 38 per person in 2006, 37 (lower!) in 2011.
Lagoon Cruise with Lunch or Dinner in Burano
Leave the crowds of Venice behind and appreciate the peaceful vistas of the Lagoon while you glide past the islands of San Giorgio, Santa Elena, and the famous Lido. In the picturesque fishing village of Burano, renowned for its pastel-colored houses, savor a four-course lunch/dinner with drinks included. Afterward there's time to shop and stroll.
Approximate value: EUR 62 per person in 2006, 67 in 2011.
By Zeeya Merali Scientific American
It is on New Year
's Day, 2001, in the picturesque city of
Now Project Moses, a controversial $3-billion-dollar government-funded scheme to keep
The Tide Turns
To better understand why
However, the waters that have defended
Water, Water Everywhere
Parting the Sea
Since 1951, 90,000 people have left
The mobile gates were first proposed more than a decade ago, so why has it taken so long for approval? The answer is that Project Moses has had to overcome many environmental objections.
The most ambitious such project involves raising the sidewalks and shores of the city
's lowest-lying areas to a height of one meter. This should protect these vulnerable regions from flood levels that are high enough to cause damage but too low to activate the gates. Thus far, the CVN has raised 960 hectares of land, 80 percent of the target. So why are the mobile gates needed at all? Why not simply raise the city even higher to safeguard it from floods greater than one meter? "In historical
The chosen height of one meter seems to be a good compromise. At that level 5 percent of the city 's surface area must be raised, at a cost of around $40 million. However, to raise the pavements by just an extra 20 centimeters escalates costs to $2 billion, because 30 percent of the city would then need to be raised. The mobile gates, on the other hand, will protect the city from floods between one and two meters. And, Brotto stresses, the gates will only be called into action around seven times a year, minimizing effects on marine life.
The Threat of Obsolescence
But will the gates be enough if sea levels rise as predicted from global warming? No, says Paolo Antonio Pirazzoli, a geophysicist with the
An environmental-impact study, commissioned by the CVN, comes to the opposite conclusion. Raphael Bras of M.I.T, the lead researcher on the 1997 study, states that the gates can successfully handle a rise of 50 centimeters in the next 100 years, which is a greater amount than many models predict for the
Pirazzoli remains unconvinced. He is currently preparing a paper with four new case studies that he says will show that the mobile gates cannot cope with a 50-centimeter rise. He also questions why the M.I.T group chose to examine a worst-case scenario of a 50-centimeter rise at all, when the second
By Tamsin Smith BBC,
The Italian Government is planning to raise the retirement age from 60 to 65, a proposal which has already triggered labour unrest including the announcement of a strike on 24 October.
Helping families to have more children if they want to is a duty for our country and workforce Marco Follini Christian Democrat leader
But is there a simpler solution? This week the Italian Government announced in its annual budget a cash bonus for the birth of a second child - can this deliver? The Italians spend more on baby clothes and toys than any other Europeans, but they have fewer babies.
'Save the family'
In the pre-war years, Italians traditionally had large extended families, but rapid industrialisation meant people moved away from their familiy network to find jobs in cities and the birth rate declined rapidly.
Today this situation is nearing crisis point. We do see a peak of fertility when the measure is first implemented, but then we see that the attitudes come back to normal levels because it is not just about money Maura Mitziti Population researcher
"If projections are right, then in 2050 Italy will have 15 million fewer people than today, which means we won't have enough young people to pay for welfare system, pensions, health and so on, " says economist Giuseppe Pennisi.
In a country where family values are still closely linked to the church, the Catholic lobby in government has been shouting loudest for solutions to save the Italian family from extinction.
Helping families to have more children if they want to is a duty for our country and workforce," says Marco Follini, leader of the Union of Christian Democrats and supporter of the new proposal to reward parents financially for producing more children.
It's not just the money, it's too difficult for schools, services and everything like this Parents Francesco and Natalia "In our budget we have set aside 500 million euros for families, so we can offer 1,000 euros to each child born and to help parents bring children more easily into the world."
So could this measure be the key to a new baby boom? "It is possible that it works," says Maura Mitziti, a researcher from the national institute of population research in
"Measures like these have been used in
In the early evening many church squares across
Asked why she only decided to have one child, Bettina said: "People prefer to just have one so they can give the child everything - the best schools, the best clothes, the best everything." "We have one child," said Francesco and Natalia. "She's five but we're not planning any more. It's not just the money, it's too difficult for schools, services and everything like this."
The problem is that the rapid post-war industrialisation of
Schools here in
Although this year's budget plans cash handouts for new babies, there are no plans for investment in these social services so badly needed by working mothers.
Watching Italian parents pushing their single pushchairs or prams, you are left with the impression Ital is becoming a nation of only children.
To reverse this trend and to re-populate
Story from BBC NEWS: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/3155324.stm
Published: 2003/10/02 © BBC MMVII
Grazie E Arrivederci