Weekly Photo Challenge: Masterpiece

I chose these pictures for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Masterpiece as I love scenery and consider it both man’s masterpieces of creation complimenting the natural beauty of many vistas.  The first is photo taken in Ravello, Italy.  It shows the creativity of man, building homes and agriculture in nearly impossible locations.

The Hills Around Ravello
The Hills Around Ravello

This next photo wass taken in Montserrat, Spain.  Absolutely stunning scenery.  If you are in Barcelona, you MUST go to Montserrat.

Montserrat From The Townsite
Montserrat From The Town-site

And from above

Looking Down On Montserrat
Looking Down On Montserrat



Weekly Photo Challenge: Up

The Weekly Photo Challenge this week is Up.  The Amalfi Coast in Italy offers many looks that could be seen as an up.  The very fact that they built cities into the cliff side is amazing,

Up the side of a cliff.
Up the side of a cliff.


Venice Italy Through My Favourite Travel Blog’s Eyes

English: The Rialto Bridge over Venice's Grand...
English: The Rialto Bridge over Venice’s Grand Canal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dean and Laynni say hi from Venice.  A new post from my favourite travel blogger.  Check it out.



Wandering to Ravello, Italy

Ravello, Italy, what a truly wonderful, long-lasting memory.  To get there from Sorrento (where we were staying) took two ferries and a bus up a mountain through some of the most amazing scenery I have ever seen.  The trip there and back is worthy of 2 more posts, including the drive back to Sorrento from Amalfi  on the famous Amalfi Coast highway.  For now we concentrate on Ravello.  The drive up the mountain to the town is absolutely beautiful.  The vistas of the Mediterranean are amazing, the view of the town from below, picture postcard perfect.  The views along the road are amazing as well.  We were only able to spend a few hours here as schedules would not allow us more time.  This was unfortunate as it was definitely worth an overnight stay.  Absolutely breathtaking at every turn.

Looking up at the town.

This is a look at the views along the road.

Looking to the Mediterranean Sea

The following are some shots looking out at the countryside from the town.

A few shots from the town.

The obligatory ruins

A pretty nice place to have a bite

The town centre

The famous ceramics of the region are made here (some anyway)

Pass The Olive Oil

A 1-liter glass bottle and bowl Bertolli brand...
Am I real or not. Find out below

This is disturbing.  We remember thinking, while in Italy, that the olive oil tasted way better there.  We chalked it up to fresher olives, locally pressed etc.  Not so.  If you use Extra Virgin Olive Oil, read the linked article and watch the attached video.  Major scam here.  The article rats out the good and bad suppliers to help us in purchasing the real thing.

Wandering Wednesday – Rome – Day 4

It has been a while since I last posted about our time in Rome.  Suffice it to say that I am still very much in awe of this place.  On this day, we were with our English relatives and decided to spend the day at the Colosseum and the Forum.  These were (are?) extremely impressive places.  It literally took us all day to see these two areas and was well worth the price of admission, although, as it turns out, if you are an archaeology student, with the proper ID, you get in free.  Gloating is allowed.

It's Free!!

I really don’t have much to say.  The places are well-known, and pictures don’t particularly do them justice, so I’ll just post them with minimal discussion.

The exterior view of the Colosseum. It is impossibly large.

The inside is crazy.  You can see the corridors and galleries that were once covered with the arena floor.

The Arch of Constantine which stands next to the Colosseum.

You have probably seen the vendors who sell these brutal excuses for umbrellas, and probably wonder who on Earth would buy them.  I happen to know 2 people who have indeed purchased these works of rip off art.

The Arch of Titus on the Forum grounds.

The Forum grounds are dotted with structures such as this.

Imagine what this looked likes a couple of thousand years ago.

Throughout the site is many examples of Roman art and statuary.

Once we were done, our friends headed back to their hotel and we set out to do something that was featured in a movie,  Bocca della Verita, the mouth of truth, Rome’s ancient lie detector.  Legend has it that you stick your arm in its mouth and tell a lie, it bites off your hand. It is found at the Santa Maria in Cosmedi church.  There is usually a lineup and it costs a donation to the church to have your picture taken.

In hindsight, I should have used my left hand, but it all worked out.  I survived.

Rome, Italy – September 14, 2010

Piazza Navona - Roma
Piazza Navona

The morning of the 14th, and we are expecting company.  Lori’s cousins from England are due to arrive at some point.  We decided it was good day to take our time, have breakfast, do some shopping and generally stay close until they arrived.  Being right on Via Del Tritone has its advantages.  Via Veneto was 100 yards from where we were staying and there were shops everywhere.  Lori went off browsing and I stayed behind to catch up on photo downloading etc.  I did have time to peek off the balcony of our apartment though.

Balcony of Our Apartment in Rome

Our companions arrived, but, quickly became tuckered out as they climbed the stairs to the 5th floor of the building, at least they seemed tuckered.  We hung around until Lori got back and we were off, with no real plan.  We gathered near the Spanish Steps.

The Crew

We arrived at the Spanish Steps and it was very active.  It looked as though a show was happening.  We were lucky enough to be directly in front of the stage and I took this video of Opera on The Spanish Steps.  Very impressive.

They day started late, and we left to find a restaurant for supper and some more evening life in Rome.

View from The Top of The Spanish Steps

Our friends called it a night.  Lori and I continued on into the evening, eventually ending up at Piazza Navona where yet again there was multiple events happening.  A concert, artists, shops, you name it.  Rome is an unbelievable place.  The video I took did not turn out, but the one I have here is representative of the evening in the Piazza and appears to be taken the same night we were there as I vaguely remember this happening.

Alas, the day was done and we had a big day planned with our friends the next day.  Back to the apartment we went.  I cannot describe how it feels to wander through the streets of Rome at night.  There is absolutely no fear at being in a strange city and no appearance of any danger.  I have never felt so comfortable anywhere else I have been.

Related Links

Rome Italy – September 13, 2010

Rome Italy = September 12, 2010

My Reasons to Travel….As Often As Possible – Number 3 – The Food

Insalata caprese, made from mozzarella, tomato...
Caprese Salad

Let’s face facts, we all love to eat.  As Canadians, we are very lucky in the variety and styles of cooking that one can sample without leaving the country. Having said that, I find it far more exciting to actually eat an Italian dish when in Italy.  Seems more logical to eat a Caprese salad in Capri than to pick one up at the local Sobeys.  I have yet to find buffalo mozzarella, olive oil or roma tomatoes that are even close to what we ate in Italy,  the same yet vastly different.  Eating catfish in New Orleans, English breakfast in England, pannenkoek in Holland, Belgian chocolate in Belgium, pasta in Sorrento, pizza in Rome.  I could go on, as both Lori and I have no issue whatsoever sampling what is local, and jump at the chance to try new foods.  Here are some of our prize meals.

Breakfast in Brighton, UK
Lunch in Cosat Maya, Mexico
Lunch in Rome
Supper in Sorrento, Italy

Rome, Italy – September 13, 2010

Our second day in Rome.  We woke up, oddly refreshed.  I put the coffee on and checked out the window.  Pretty nice looking day.  Grabbed my phone and checked the time.  Two o’clock PM.  That would explain the oddly refreshed part.  Stupid jet lag nailed us.  Nailed us good.  Oh well, we shall make the best of it.  And we did.  A full day in Rome.  First stop lunch (breakfast).  We stopped at a spot on the way to the Trevi Fountain and had a pizza.  What else.  Looked great, tasted great.  The ambience of the place was great, Al Presidente Restaurant.

Continue reading “Rome, Italy – September 13, 2010”

Rome, Italy – September 12, 2010 – Getting There

Let’s face it, travel to Europe from Calgary, Alberta, Canada can be a gruelling exercise.  In the past we have only flown into London, an 8.5 hour flight.  We have left in the afternoon from home, landing in London in the morning their time, but pushing midnight Calgary time.  Late enough to start being tired, but not a good thing with the full day ahead and no sleep on the plane.  We kind of figured out last time to stay up for a few hours, have a 3 hour nap, then get up, have a bit of lunch and then, start drinking and continue until you pass out mid-evening.  You wake up with a bit of a hangover, but have made the transition to GMT.

This trip would be a 14 hour plain, train and automobile thing, as there are no direct flights out of Calgary to Rome.  We flew British Airways to Heathrow in London, with a 2 hour layover to Rome.  We went this route to try something different on departure time.  This flight departed at 9:30 in the evening, meaning it would be midnight over Hudson Bay and maybe sleep would come.  For the first time in a zillion flights, I actually did fall asleep.  I think for a good 4 hours or so.  We got into Heathrow, easily making our connection into Rome and settled in for the last part of the trip in.

Continue reading “Rome, Italy – September 12, 2010 – Getting There”

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