Onward to Italy

(Part 2 of 113 in 2015 Italy)

Mom and I have disembarked from Quantum of the Sea. We’ll take a quick bus tour of Barcelona, and then we’ve a short flight to catch to Milan Italy.


(Part 3 of 113 in 2015 Italy)

Off the ship, and a quick bus tour of Barcelona before our flight. Photo from the National Art Museum of Catalunya (we didn’t have time to go in, sorry.)

La Spezia

(Part 6 of 113 in 2015 Italy)

Tracy arrived today! She arrived this morning (in Milan) and we met her at the airport. From the airport we took two trains to reach Milan and then La Spezia. This street is lined with orange trees, so I managed to catch a photo of Tracy in her natural state (ie, photographing plants.)


(Part 10 of 113 in 2015 Italy)

Clinging to the sides of a steep ravine, and surrounded by terraced hillsides. We started at the bottom… supposed to be a “good” view farther on, but this was irresistable!


(Part 15 of 113 in 2015 Italy)

Hot in Monterosso today… cool in here with Sinatra, and sangria… wait, what country is this? ….ppppphbt, who cares. SALUT!

To Genoa

(Part 16 of 113 in 2015 Italy)

Frecciabianca high speed to Genoa. (USA transportation sucks; We are 27th in the world.) Turns out a friend from Vancouver BC is in Genoa for a conference …let’s go see Genoa and have dinner with Peter! #smallWorld


(Part 17 of 113 in 2015 Italy)

Birthplace of Christofor Colombo. Pretty hot in Genova today; spent the day just wandering around the old city with Peter.

Train to Rome

(Part 20 of 113 in 2015 Italy)

I’m guesing ~100 mph in the straight sections. Elec power and A/C keep going out, but the cafe car has a proper esspresso machine. Yeup, #italy

Photos from Vernazza

(Part 21 of 113 in 2015 Italy)

Our third day in Cinque Terre, we went into Vernazza with all five of us. Very busy town on the weekend, but it’s fun to return to a place once you’ve gotten a feel for it on a first visit. We took more time to just sit and take it all in.

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Last day visiting Monterosso

(Part 22 of 113 in 2015 Italy)

On our last day of visiting Cinque Terre (while staying in La Spezia), we visited Monterosso last. Hid from the heat in a wine bar and explored every corner of the “old” side of town. Shout out to fellow travelers Larry and Tara from Florida: Thanks for the Venice tips!

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Photos from our day in Genoa

(Part 25 of 113 in 2015 Italy)

On Monday, Tracy and I ran up to Genoa on the Frecciabianca train to spend the day with our friend Peter. (He just happens to be in Genoa for a conference. Small world.) We didn’t have much of a plan for the day, so we spent the whole day wandering around the city.

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(Part 26 of 113 in 2015 Italy)

Out Rome’ing around on Tuesday, and found this. On my mother’s side, we’ve a whole branch of Spagnolas…

The Statues on St. Peters

(Part 39 of 113 in 2015 Italy)

They are truly enormous up close, and their names are carved on each pedestal. It was odd to see them from behind… seemed like peeking out from back stage or something. I was waiting for one of the statues to glance over its shoulder and shoo us away.

Photos from the dome of St. Peter’s Cathedral

(Part 42 of 113 in 2015 Italy)

There is a side tour of the dome. You ascend (by elevator or stairs) to a side roof area at the level of the statues on the fron of the cathedral. From there, it is hundreds of steps in tight, spiral, sometimes sideways-sloping stairs to the upper-most level of windows. At that level there is an exterior walkway around the peak.

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Palatine Hill

(Part 50 of 113 in 2015 Italy)

On Friday (our last full day in Rome), we started out for the Palatine Hill (home of the Emperors’ palaces). We were planning to go to the Roman Forum (a large archeological area next to the hill) and then to continue to other sites. …and then it rained. We saw it coming (being on top of a hill!), and made it to the tiny Palatine museum for shelter from the thunderstorm. Eventually, the rain let up enough that we could cover the 1/2 mile of twisty paths to the nearest metro. (We went back out later in the day when the rain passed.)

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(Part 52 of 113 in 2015 Italy)

Piazza della Signoris: Made it to Florence. This a half block from our apt. Commence exploring!

Florence American cemetery

(Part 67 of 113 in 2015 Italy)

We’re on a bus tour today and we just drove by the Florence American Cemetery.1 Although I had read about it years ago, I had forgotten, and certainly never thought I’d see it, let alone on Memorial Day.

We flew by on the Autostrade, but the hillside of nearly 5,000 crosses in the bright sunshine was very poignant on Memorial Day. Our tour guide didn’t mention Memorial Day; I will fill her in when we stop.

Thus, in one sense, my trip along the road back to Rome tended to impose new scenes that blurred my sharp memories of the war in Itally — until on Memorial Day we visited the American cemetery at Anzio and saw the curving rows of white crosses that spoke so eloquently of the price that America and her Allies had paid for the liberation of Italy. If ever proof were needed that we fought for cause and not for conquest, it could be found in these cemeteries. Here was our only conquest: all we asked of Italy was enough of her soil to bury our gallant dead.

~ WW II general Mark W. Clark, from his book “Calculated Risk.”

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florence_American_Cemetery_and_Memorial 

San Gimignano

(Part 69 of 113 in 2015 Italy)

Home to a 14th century, mine’s-bigger-n-yours tower arms race. No, seriously. UNESCO heritage site for its medival towers.

San Gimignano

(Part 79 of 113 in 2015 Italy)

After four glasses of wine, everyone on our bus was able to pronounce San Gimignano! So off we went for a ten minute ride. This town is perched high on a hill and is little-changed; It fell from importance and was ignored (ie, not town apart and rebuilt) until last century when people realized they have, like, 42 mediaval towers from the 1400s. BAM! UNESCO World Heritage site. BAM! Tourists (me included :)

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Bye Venice

(Part 87 of 113 in 2015 Italy)

(post on Instagram is video, everywhere else just a still cover is shown) Well THAT was a crazy, whirlwind, dive-bomber, i-bought-hyphens-wholesale, visit to Venice. Yeeeeup, definitely need to go back there!


(Part 88 of 113 in 2015 Italy)

Piazza della Signoria, gazing at the Neptune Fountain and the Pegasus statue, warming up in the sun.

Stand by, non-linearity ahead

(Part 89 of 113 in 2015 Italy)

I’ve been posting photography two ways; I can shoot Instagrams on the fly, and they are picked up by my web site and posted — so those (like the previous breakfast shot) come out quickly. But the albums of photos that I’ve been putting up take a little bit of time for me to sort through the day’s photos, do some fixing and upload them.

So far, I’ve kept up with the photography so things have (hopefully) made sense. But I’m now far enough behind that photo albums are going to be appearing that are a couple days behind the more real-time Instagram shots.

“Portions of today’s programming are reproduced by means of electrical transcription, or ‘tape recordings.'”


(Part 93 of 113 in 2015 Italy)

Two of his telescopes, and a tiny lense is enshrined in the ornately carved display case at the bottom. (From the Galileo museum in Florence. They also have several ofhis fingers…)


(Part 95 of 113 in 2015 Italy)

This giant sun dial is awsome! So cool to see people notice their shadows, then the indicator behind them, them they explore the instrument on the piazza itself. Human curiosity for the win!


(Part 96 of 113 in 2015 Italy)

Just watched kids playin a neat variation on h-n-seek. fun to try to rev eng their game w/o knowing wat theyre sayin. #piazzaLife #italia

Florence walking tour

(Part 112 of 113 in 2015 Italy)

Random photos from a walking tour (from the Rick Steves’ Florence book) that we did in the afternoon, on the south side of the Arno river. Lots of neat shops (like the chandilier repair shop) and artisans. There’s also a photo in here of the Trattoria 4 Leoni where we later had, one of the best meals of the entire trip. Just off the charts, wow.

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Victory lap

(Part 113 of 113 in 2015 Italy)

Friday was our last day in Florence as we were leaving Saturday morning. We did so much in Italy, had so much fun, took so many awesome photos (I’ve 2,400 after deleting all the junk — 700 are uploaded to the web site here in this series)… well, I felt it was time for a victory lap.

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