Posts Tagged With: history

Room with a view

view from the front gate

We went to Italy last month, and it was one of the best

vacations we ever had!  I will start off with the first place we

stayed:  Positano.  We rented this lovely apartment

from www.vrbo.com called Villa Fior di Limone.  We

had the best view from our balcony.  I would make tea

every morning, and just sit out there and enjoy the

boats on the water, or the village below.  At night, we

could hear music from one of the restaurants.  One

night we even heard a party boat in the water.  They

were blasting dance music, and I am sure the whole

town heard it!  Positano is a vertical city, with many

levels.  One day my husband decided to count the steps

up to our apartment from the main street level (the beach is

a few levels down), and there were 443 steps!  I can walk

on flat ground forever, but I was never good with uphill, or steps,

so it was a little challenge for me.  But the view was so worth it!

If you go to the Amalfi coast, I recommend this place, or at least

this town!

me enjoying the view

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Beautiful Venice

Bridge of Sighs

Continuing Countdown to Italy 2012, I thought I would share a few pics from 2006.

Venice is a very beautiful city.  We were surprised to see a lot graffiti in different

places, but that still didn’t affect its beauty.  We stayed 3 nights, and it was bright and sunny

every day.  A highlight of the trip includes discovering gnocci.  Now I make it all the time!

Watching a glass-blowing demonstration on the island of Murano, where I bought my still

favorite earrings, going to the Venice film festival (but didn’t see anyone famous), and taking

a cruise down the Grand Canal.  Now being in Venice, they say you should take a gondola ride.

We didn’t.  It was really expensive, and just riding boats down the Grand Canal, and to other islands

was enough for us.  One of the famous bridges in Venice include the Bridge of Sighs, which was

built in 1602. It connects the prison to the interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace.  They say

prisoners passing over the bridge on their way to lock-up would sigh, knowing it was the last

time they would see the beautiful sights of Venice.  One of the things that really helped me

appreciate the beauty and history of Venice was reading a book by John Berendt, called

The City of Falling Angels.  He also wrote Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.  He lived

there for 10 years and really got to know people in the city, which the characters in his book

are based on.    I highly recommend a trip to Venice.  It is truly a unique city.

St. Mark’s right before sunrise
Batman?
St. Mark’s at night
La Fenice Opera House

laundry day
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Siena, Italy

            Continuing the countdown to Italy 2012, I am looking back at Italy 2006.  We decided to stay in

Siena, which is not far from Florence.  We wanted a smaller, more relaxing town to stay in, rather than navigating through a large city like Florence.  One of my favorite days on this trip was the wine tasting

lunch.  We booked it from home with a walking tour before arriving in Italy.  I remember having lobster tail, I never eat lobster, but this was the best I ever had.  It’s too easy to make it rubbery, but this was

perfect.  We were in the Chianti region, so we were to taste 4 wines.  Our hostess was Alessandra, and she treated us like we were her family.  I apologize, I can’t find the name of the company we used.

I mentioned that I like dessert wine, so she went down to the cellar and brought a red and white up.  Yum.  We ended up shipping about 10 bottles of wine home, a couple we still haven’t opened!

Siena is a medieval town, surrounded by walls  that is famous for its twice yearly horse race, Corsa del Palio,  which goes around the  main square, Piazza del Campo.  One of the most beautiful churches in the town is the

Siena Duomo, which was built between 1215 and 1263.  A distinguishing feature is the black and white striped pillars along with the walls of the clerestory.  Part of our walking tour included a tour of the

nearby medieval hill town in Tuscany, San Gimignano.  Since it is high in the hills, there are beautiful views of the Tuscan landscape.  We were going to take a day trip to Florence, but never made it.

Instead, we rented a car and toured the Tuscan countryside, where we ended up in Pisa and Volterra (previous post).  First time I had ever seen grape vines!  So if you ever decide to visit Tuscany,

I recommend renting a car to explore on your own, if you don’t take part of a tour.

view from San Gimignano

yes, we tasted all that wine!
Main square
Siena Duomo
Bike in front of shop window
street in Seina
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An unexpected surprise-Volterra

Volterra street

Sunset over Volterra
Jim on a Volterra street
Volterra up ahead
View from Volterra, Italy

As my countdown to Italy continues, I am looking back at our first trip

together to Italy in 2006.  We were staying in Siena for a few days, and decided

to rent a Smart car to explore Tuscany.  We headed north to Pisa, and on the way

back, took a route closer to the coast.  We were driving along and saw this town

high in the hills.  We decided to stop and check it out.  Wow, Volterra is a

beautiful little town overlooking Tuscany.  We parked in a garage and started

walking around.   Above the town, we saw a really cool  building and wondered

what it was.  It turned out to be the Medici Fortress, a high-security prison.

I found out later, that on Fridays, a gourmet restaurant inside is open to the

public served by inmates!  It is quite popular, and reservations are required.

But we ate a different restaurant, and it was one of the best meals I had in Italy.

Volterra is known for selling items made of alabaster. Personally, I was not

interested in those souvenirs, even though they had some really nice things.

My favorite part was being able to see the sunset over the hills of Tuscany.

Some of the best things that happen on a trip were never planned!

high security prison in Volterra

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Eiffel Tower through water

available at Etsy.com

The Place de la Concorde in Paris is one of many beautiful spots in the city.

It’s next to Musee L’Orangerie (giant Monet works), and at the end of the

Champs Elysees.  Of course you can see the Eiffel Tower.  A view I don’t

see too often is through the Fountain of Maritime Navigation, one of two

fountains here.  I just like the pretty fountain with the water droplets

spilling into the air, with a part of one of the most famous  landmarks

in the world in the background.  You can also see this photo in my shop 🙂

Categories: Paris, photos for sale | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Hey kids look… Big Ben, Parliament….

available at etsy.com

I will forever associate these two major landmarks with National Lampoon’s European Vacation where Clark drives past Big Ben and Parliament several times as he can’t get off the roundabout.     Though I think the first movie is much better!  What do you think?  Christmas Vacation was really good too.  Anyway, I love the dramatic clouds over Parliament, as it kind of looks like a storm is coming, but it was actually partly sunny.  And I LOVE this picture of Big Ben.  We were out late one night taking photos, and decided to finally go back to our hotel.  We got off at Westminster Tube station, walked out, and surprise! there was Big Ben.  And yes, the clock is accurate, it really was almost midnight.  We had this photo made into a large canvas over our couch, and it looks awesome.  You could own these photos too at etsy.com!

available at etsy.com
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Monet’s Garden

Water lily pond, Monet's gardens

flower in Monet's gardens

Claude Monet's house, Giverny, France

sign for lily pond in Monet's gardens

Monet's gardens, Giverny France

While visiting Paris, we took a day trip to Giverny France, home of the Impressionist artist Claude Monet.  He is our favorite painter.  Right now is the perfect time to go, as the gardens are breathtaking, looking just they do in his paintings.  We took a train to Vernon, leaving from the Gare St. Lazare station.  We then took a short bus ride into Giverny.  There really isn’t much there except Monet’s house.  Photography is not allowed inside.  I found it fascinating though, that the artwork covering his walls were of Oriental nature.  There is a gift shop at the end of the house tour where you can buy prints and other souvenirs.  Walking around the grounds, you find hundreds of kinds of flowers, including the famous water lilies.  I personally believe his best water lily paintings are housed in the Musee de l’Orangerie.  These painting span several feet across the wall!  For information on getting to the gardens, you can visit this site.  Enjoy!

Categories: Nature, Paris | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Swishy pictures!

available at etsy.com

available at etsy.com

My favorite kind of photography is night photography.  I love getting the car headlight trails in front of a nice subject.  I call these “swishy pictures” since the car lights are all blurry and swishy.  Here are a couple of my favorite:  the roundabout at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, and Big Ben with traffic on the Westminster Bridge.  When I was preparing my tripod and camera for the London pic, some drunk kids came by, and I got a perfectly framed shot of someone mooning me!  I chose not to capture that image 🙂  You can also see these photos on etsy.com.

Categories: London, Paris, photos for sale | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

My obsession with street lamps

available at Etsy.com

For some reason, when I travel to other cities, I am fascinated by the street lights.  I guess they just make it feel “big city” for me.  I grew up in rural areas, the closest city light being the flashing light at 4-way stop sign.  So throughout my posts, I will feature various street lamps from different places.  This one here, is my favorite in the world!  The ornate street lamps on the Alexandre III bridge in Paris.  If I had money to burn, I would replicate one of these for my front yard.  You can also see this photo at Etsy.com.

Categories: Paris, photos for sale | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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