Italy and the Western Med, 2011
In 2002, Ron got to go to Japan on a business trip. While there he took some vacation time and toured.
The vacation began and ended in Genoa Italy with a 2 night side trip to Torino (also called Turin.) Then an 8 night cruise of the western Med in a loop of 1717 miles.
Washington D.C. (Near Dulles) - National Air and Space Museum (Udvar-Hazy Center) – observation tower. Since Ron and Carol's flight was not until 10 pm, they spent a few hours visiting the large air and space museum near the airport.
Washington D.C. - National Air and Space Museum. Carol standing in front of an F-1 rocket engine. There were 5(!) of these in each first stage Saturn V rocket used for the Apollo missions. Note the size of the engines for the Space Shuttle “Enterprise” in the upper right corner.
Washington D.C. - National Air and Space Museum. The WWII German Arado Ar234 B Blitz. Also called the 'Lighting', it was the world's first operational jet bomber. It first use was in August 1944 for reconnaissance. No piston aircraft could keep up with it.
Paris, France - Charles de Gaulle Airport. Scattered thru-out the airport were lounge chairs. Ron and Carol (in the center) took advantage of this after their red-eye flight.
Between Paris, France and Genoa, Italy. The Alps. It took quite a while to fly over them north to south indicating just how extensive they are.
Genoa, Italy, Hotel Continental. The beautiful antique elevator in the hotel. It seemed to have a mind of its own. Carol and a staff member stuck on it for a few minutes. Carol had to tell him to him to relax. For details on Genoa read http://carolbuckles.livejournal.com/16409.html
Genoa, Italy, Via Garibaldi (street). Considered one of the most beautiful streets in Italy, there are views like this down its entire length. Also located on the street is the Genoa's main art museum ‘Palazzo Bianco’ (built 1711) which took Ron and Carol a half day to complete.
Genoa, Italy, Via Garibaldi. Huge door in to one of the buildings.
Genoa, Italy, Cattedrale di San Lorenzo. After lunch on Via Garibaldi, Ron and Carol did a book-guided tour of Genoa's old town. San Lorenzo Cathedral was originally built in the 12C with many later additions. The alternating back and white stone is typical Genoese. (This is a Photoshop merge of several photos.)
Genoa, Italy, Cattedrale di San Lorenzo. Interior view.
Genoa, Italy, Chiesa (Church) of San Donato. Built in the 12C, it has a wonderful Romanesque interior. Contains the famous ‘Adoration of the Magi’ painting by Joos Van Cleve. See http://www.pubhist.com/w16924
Genoa, Italy. The last remaining medieval city gate.
Genoa, Italy – train station. The electric engine that [could] took Carol and Ron to Torino. In the first 30 min. of the 2 hour trip, there were 12 tunnels, some quite long. For details of our stay in Torino see http://carolbuckles.livejournal.com/16719.html
Torino, Italy – Museo Egizio (Egyptian Museum). The best Egyptian museum outside of Cairo. This is one of the two rooms full of large statues. There are many statues of Sekmet, the lioness.
Torino, Italy – Museo Egizio. Tools belonging to Kha, the royal tomb builder. (New Kingdom) The ‘best of the museum’ were the items found in the tomb of Kha, and his wife Merit. Found in 1906 by an Italian, this was the best complete non-royal tomb ever found. (The most complete royal tomb is that of King Tut.) This exhibit alone made the trip to Torino worth the effort. Kha was a scribe who worked his way up to be the royal tomb builder. He had well-worn tools and Ron likes to think of him an engineer who made good.
Torino, Italy – Museo Egizio. The large and intricate wig of Merit. She had both braids and tight “sausage” curls, all of human hair. Just visible behind the wig is the box for storing it. (To see more from the tomb go to http://xy2.org/lenka/TurinKha.html )
Torino, Italy – Museo Egizio. One of Merit’s cosmetic jars with a lid with duck’s heads. The museum store had copies of this and Carol bought one. [bigger than Merit’s!]
Torino, Italy – Museo Egizio. The museum had a large room of very rare pre-dynastic items dating from 3700 BC to 3000 BC (before the pyramids!). These items are mostly practical—pots and ritual items—but beautifully and cleverly decorated.
Torino, Italy. A beautiful building near the hotel.
Torino, Italy – Galleria Sabauda – Roman fountain, 1C. About 7 ft. (2.2 m) tall. The Galleria Sabauda is Torino’s largest art museum and contains mostly European and Christian paintings. Although Ron thought this was the best of the museum. All the art was collected by the various Savoy princes of Torino.
Torino, Italy – The ‘Duomo’ Cathedral (right, 15 C AD) and bell tower (left, from the original, much older cathedral). The Duomo enshrines the much-contested ‘Shroud of Turin.’ In the foreground is a much earlier Roman wall.
Torino, Italy – Porta Palatina. A Roman gate from the 1st century AD. The side towers were added in Medieval times.
Torino, Italy – The Mole [moe’-lay] (19C). The symbol of Torino. 548 ft (167 m) tall, it was first built to be a temple for the Jewish community, but construction was stopped due to lack of funds. The building was then donated to the city and completed. Like the Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona, it is one of a kind. (Another photo merge.)
Torino, Italy – The River Po. Looking up stream where the river springs in the Alps. From here it flows west all across northern Italy.
Torino, Italy – Le Petit Hotel. Carol standing on our balcony just before we left for the train.
Genoa, Italy – The symbol of the city, the lighthouse ‘Lanterna’ as seen from our ship balcony while leaving Genoa.
Marseille, France – Cathedral of Notre Dame de la Garde. A 19C church, Ron and Carol stayed on the perimeter enjoying the spectacular views of Marseille. Carol found a chapel for prayer and did so.
Marseille, France – Cathedral of Notre Dame de la Garde. Memorial to lost sailors. The small island in the middle of the others is Chateau d’If, made famous by Alexandre Dumas’ ‘The Count of Monte Cristo.’
Avignon, France – The Palace of the Popes. Avignon is about hour drive northeast of Marseille. In the 14C, the papacy was moved to France and split in to two; one in Avignon and one in Rome. This lasted about 100 years. To the left is the older part with thick walls and small windows. To the right is the newer, Gothic style, with thinner walls and large windows.
Avignon, France – The medieval bridge at Avignon. (12C) Made famous by the French 15C children’s song ‘Sur le Pont d’Avignon’ (On the bridge of Avignon.) Taken out by a huge flood in 1668.
Barcelona, Spain – Montjuïc Castle, as seen from the ship. Note the watch tower at the left. Ron and Carol decided the last time they were in Barcelona to walk the length of Montjuïc hill. It was a wonderful walk. (Montjuïc means Jewish mountain.)
Barcelona, Spain – Montjuïc Castle (18C). Carol in front of the watch tower with our ship in the background. (More on the ship later.) Although historically interesting, Montjuïc Castle was mainly occupied by Barcelona’s enemies and was used to suppress the population.
Barcelona, Spain – Montjuïc, western end (41.3576,2.1585). This is José, the bee keeper. José gave Carol a tour of his bee hives. Carol and he managed to communicate in broken Spanish/Catalan and José said we were the first tourist ever to visit!
Barcelona, Spain – Montjuïc, eastern end. Jardins Mossèn Cinto Verdaguer. (Say that three times fast.) A beautiful garden divided into five different themes. Ron and Carol’s favorite was this one with several pools of different color water lilies. (Mossèn Cinto Verdaguer was a famous Catalan poet.)
Valletta, Malta – The MSC Fantasia. In 2011 it was huge at 135,000 tons, and can carry 3,900 passengers and 1,313 crew. The layout is very good, but Ron and Carol mainly stayed on their balcony. Their cabin was just above the second life boat from the left (stern.)
For more pictures of Malta taken by Ron on a previous trip go to http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1092747538813&l=ebe78e62cd .
Marsaxlokk Bay, Malta – A fishing village, here are drying nets and the typical brightly colored fishing boats of the bay. Each has eyes on the bow, a practice dating from Phoenician days in the Med.
Hagar Qim (Ħaġar Qim), Malta – A megalithic temple (3600-3200 BC). (A UNESCO World Heritage Site.) The site is famous for the several ‘fat lady’ statues found there. Several larger items displayed at this site there were copies. The originals are in the archaeological museum in Valletta. (Ron and Carol revisited the museum after this.)
Hagar Qim, Malta – A side chamber. The whole temple is covered with an awning to protect the soft limestone from the elements. The guide said that the awning had ripped badly in a recent storm. The ruins were covered by soil until excavation less than 100 years ago.
Taormina, Italy (on Sicily, south of Messina) – Carol in Palazzo Corvaja which dates from the 10th century! It was originally built by the Arabs. (Staircase is 13C.)
Taormina, Italy – Ancient Greco-Roman theatre, first built by the Greeks before being re-built by the Romans. On a clear day, one can see the active volcano Mt. Etna in the distance.
Taormina, Italy – View of the village of Castelmola from Taominia (37.8519,15.2924). Castelmola is the highest village in Sicily at 1,736 ft (529 m). Taormina (old town) is half way up from the coast.
Taormina, Italy – The three legged ‘triskelion’ is the symbol of Sicily. (In Italian, 'trinacria' similar to "triangle" as in the shape of Sicily.) The guide said that it was likely a Celtic symbol, but no one knows where it originated. It is similar to the “trefoil” pattern seen in medieval windows. Ron and Carol bought a small one for decor.
Strait of Messina – Power tower called the ‘Pylons of Messina’. Built in 1957 they were the tallest pylons in the world till 1978. The wires were removed in 1994. Ron and Carol’s friend Vern Hawk sailed under the wires while in the Navy in 1970. They had to go through at low tide to keep the ship from touching the power lines.
Rome, Italy – St. Peters Basilica (17C) from St. Peters Square. Note the podium in the center. The weekend Ron and Carol were there Pope John Paul II was to have his beatification, considered the first step toward being declared a saint in the Catholic Church.
Rome, Italy – San Pietro in Vincoli (The church of St. Peter in Chains, 14-15C). Michelangelo’s Moses. Moses is the centerpiece of a full wall of figures. Also in the church is the actual chain used to hold St. Peter!
Rome, Italy – The Basilica of St Clemente (exterior only). This is an 11C church sitting on top of a well-preserved 4C early church on top of 1-3C Roman buildings, all uncovered and open to the public. The early Christian frescoes are amazing (8-9C). A stream ran deep in the Roman section and Ron and Carol took a drink. No pictures were allowed inside, but Carol bought an excellent book.
Rome, Italy – The Colosseo (Coliseum, 1C AD). On the way to the Coliseum, Ron and Carol stopped to have lunch in a small café, just in time to see Prince William and Kate Middleton take their wedding vows. It will be easy for them to recall the exact day they visited Rome. (Note most places in Rome are considered UNESCO World Heritage Sites.)
Rome, Italy – The Colosseo. Ron well labeled with a 2000 year old stone carving. (Ron is called ‘Pop’ by family members.)
Rome, Italy – The Colosseo. Note the reconstructed floor toward the rear.
Rome, Italy – The Pantheon (1C BC). An incredible ancient Roman building. The name comes from ‘Pan’ meaning ‘All’ and ‘Theon’ meaning ‘the gods’; it is now a church. The artist Raphael was buried there in 1520.
The inscription across the front translates "Marcus Agrippa, son of Lucius, having been consul three times, built it." Marcus Agrippa was the general who defeated Anthony and Cleopatra.
Rome, Italy – The Pantheon. A view through the open doors showing the beautiful ceiling and opening called the Oculus, the Eye. Breath taking!
Rome, Italy – The church of San Luigi dei Francesi (16C), Caravaggio’s ‘The Calling of St. Matthew’ (1600). This painting is a favorite of Ron and Carol. There were three Caravaggio's in this one side chapel, all on Matthew!
For a better view see:
Rome, Italy – The River Tiber flowing westward toward the coast and the Tyrrhenian Sea. Up to this point Ron and Carol had been using taxis to expedite their tour of Rome, but ended up having enough time to walk along the tree lined river. Very nice! Note St. Peters Basilica about 1 mile (1.6km) in the distance.
Rome, Italy – The Mausoleum of Hadrian (d. 138 AD) now called Castel Sant’Angelo. It has been added to over the centuries as a stronghold. There is still about 50 ft (15 m) to the bottom that cannot be seen in this photo. Note the umbrella trees. These are Italian Stone Pines.
Paris, France – Notre Dame de Paris in the setting sun. Ron picked a flight with a 14 hour layover in Paris. What to do? This is the view as Ron and Carol came out to the St. Michel metro station. April in Paris! But only for about 10 hours.