9.26.2010

Europe - Greece!

Continuation from the previous post on Italy.....
It's now Greece! The ferry ride from Italy to Greece took about 13 hrs.
First hotel that we stayed in Olympia, Tolan...
I had a nice swim in the pool.
Olympia..where Olympic Games first origniated..
It started as a worship to the gods, and sports because a part of the worship process..
The starting line of the arena..
Museum where all the artefacts in Olympia are kept..
Lunch -Greek salad! ( had that almost every meal...)
 Grilled Eggplant
French Fries & Chicken Skewers
Stopped by the Venician Fort built by the Italians in Greece
The next Hotel in Tolan......right beside the ocean! Amazing view! :)
One of the highlights of my Greece trip is swimming in the clear blue waters, with spectacular view of the mountains, and chapel in the middle of no-where. The water was WARM, and so clear that I could see fishes swimming in the water!
After the swim, I sat by the window admiring God's creation, enjoying the light breeze, and fresh air. :)
Dolmathakia me Kima - Stuffed Graped leaves with rice
Buffet Dinner!
Next morning, we went to Mycenae Archeological site
For several minutes each day, the reflection of the triangle from the ceiling is reflected on the wall....
It is the entrance to a burial site
Stepping in, you'll be brought into a huge honey-comb shaped dome ( that my camera cannot capture)..
The stones were gigantic! Imagine transporting it onto the top of a hill..
The famous "Lion entrance"
Spectacular view from the top...

Next, we passed by the Corinth Canal built by the Greeks between 1881 and 1893. It is 90m above sea level, 23 m wide, 9 km long......Amazing! :)
Potterey Demonstration at a factory...
 Items in the store...

Lunch...chicken skewers and french fries again...
 In the evening, visited the National Museum, where they featured the artefacts from the Mycenaean dynasty.
 Greek food - Pita sandwich. :)
Lastly, we visited the Parthenon. It is a temple in the Athenian Acropolis, Greece that is dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their protector. It is mind-boggling to think that this was done in 438 BC.
Check out Wikipedia for its rich history... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parthenon
The newly constructed Acropolis museum.
So this concludes my Italian and Greek holiday. It was a nice get-away from the routine that allowed me to experience a different culture, environment, food and experience. I had a spectacular time, from the never-ending walk in Pompeii to getting lost in Rome, admiring the beautiful streets in Florence to soaking up the romantic atmosphere in Venice, swiming in the Greek ocean and admiring the Parthenon....the list goes on........and on.....
May God bless you with everything your heart desires.
Signing off with love,
Cherry :)

9.18.2010

Europe - Italy!

I just came back from Europe. Places visited in the last two weeks:
ITALY-Rome, Pisa, Florence, Tuscany, Verona, Venice, Ravenna, Ancona.
GREECE-Patras, Olympia, Tolon, Mycenae, Athens.

Italian and Greek food is awesome! YUM :) I love the Gelatos in Italy..almost ate one everyday! :) Somehow the ones in Italy melts in the mouth and taste better. Greek desserts are a little too sweet for me.
Stopover in Heathrow Airport, London before arriving Rome....
Day 1 :  It took us 3 hours by train to get to Naples Napoli...visted the Archeological Museum at Naples. Lots of statues..





Don't mean to be rude to post up these (naked) statues but seriously, every museum had tons of these statues...had to take pictures with at least one. In the olden days, people do not have photos to frame up and hence, statues is one of the ways they decorate their houses, and pass on to the next generation.  

Followed by trip to Pompei Archaeological site: But before that, we had lunch at an italian restaurant. I ordered potato Gnocchi. Looks simple but it's very good. :) Followed By Gelato!

The train ride from Naples to Pompei took another hr....
Scavi di pompei
Mr Hase house, most rich man with 42 bedrooms.
I was surprised how large Pompei was. We walked for several hours to cover the site. I think it's almost the size of Loma Linda...or bigger.
Human body very well preserved
Took a 3 hr train ride back to train station and had Pizza at one of the restaurants for dinner.
Interesting pizza…lots of marinara sauce but the crust is thin and crisp with good flavor. The veggie pizza had lots of vegetables on it, unlike the ones in the US.

Day 2! 
Breakfast in the hotel. I love the "nutella" with crispy bread. :)
Followed by the Catacomb @ San Castillo
Pictures not allowed inside but the board shows how the tombs are placed. Just in case you do not know what Catacombs are- they are ancient, human-made passageways for burial or protection. Any chamber used as a burial can be described as a catacomb, although this word is most commonly associated with the Roman Empire. Many are under cities ( underground).
 Visited Circus Maximas followed by Mouth of Truth:

La bocca della verita which means "Mouth of Truth" is an ancient stone mask from the classical period that represents a river god with an open mouth, wide eyes and a flowing mane of hair. Macabre legend associated with the massk...if a liar puts their hand inside its mouth, they will lose it. outside the paleochristian church of santa maria in cosmedin.
 
After this, we visited the Italian Immigration ( free entrance)..some random pictures.

 Next stop: Pantheon.
After 2000 years it was built, The Pantheon's dome is still the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome. It is one of the most preserved Roman buildings. During storms, a drainage system below the floor handles the rain that falls through the oculus. Pretty impressive.
Followed by the famous Trevi Fountain. It is a fountain in the Trevi rione in Rome.
Standing 25.9m high and 19.8 m wide, it is the largest Barouque fountain in the city, and one of the most famous fountains in the world. Estimated of 3000 euros get thrown into the fountain each day.
Water that comes out from a hole- rumored to give good luck to anyone who drinks it.
 The Famous Spanish Stairs
Bruschetta
Tiramisu!
Day 3:Vetican City...
The tour guide shared many historical information about the statues, pictures, capets in theVetican Museum.
However, the best of all was the Sistine Chapel...the artwork was simply Breath-taking....looking up at the pictures on the ceiling gave me a neck-ache. Every scene, from the Creation story to Revelation depicted his creative thoughts. MichaelAngelo is an amazing person!
The first sculpture done by Michaelangelo. Jesus on the lap of his mother, Mary. This sculpture started his fame in the Vetican city as an artist.  

The drawings, sculptures and archtecture inside the church are detailed and grand. Time pause as I stare in awe at what humans did hundred of years ago.
Dessert while waiting for the coach bus to arrive..Tiramisu again, and cream cheese cake
Next: St Peter's Basilica, Colosium, Roman Forum,downtown shopping
Day 4!
Leaning Tower of Pisa, Arrive inTuscany, followed by dinner.
Day 5!
Tour around Florence! Visited the famous UFFIZI Gallery. It has lots of famous art paintings. Rick Steve on audio was great. I am better able to appreciate and enjoy the art gallery as he explained the details of the painting, giving a better perspective of how art changed from one period to the next. 
Italy is famous for its Spaghetti Alla Carbonara -  Basically its a dish based on eggs, and pasta. It usually has ham but the restaurant did it with mushrooms for us.
Day 5!
City of Verona, where we saw Juliets Statue and Romeo's house, wandered about the beautoful streets. and Dinner at Venice
On our way to Verona in the bus...
The biggest Nutella bottle I've ever seen! 
Commonly believed that if any unmarried person touches the right breast of Juliet, it will bring good luck to that person...Married people cannot touch her breast as it will cause troubles to their marriage.
Love notes on the wall..
More love notes everywhere..
 On our flight back, British Airways was showing the movie Letters To Juliet. I enjoyed the movie even more as many scenes in the movie look familiar. Oh, what a romantic girly movie.

Found this at one bakery..pretty cool :)
Such a beautiful city!
Few hrs to spare before Venice...hence we went to the supermarket. Water is not free in Europe. Hence, we had to source fir water. ;)
Boat ride to Venice!
Beautiful sunset
With Armando, our tour director. He has a Roman accent and his cliche words are, " Hello my friends, wakey wakey. Did you miss me?"  ;)
Venice is so much quieter and nicer at night. I guess romantic is the word. :)
Day 6! VENICE during the day! :) 
Bell Tower, St Marks Cathedral, St Marks Square, Gondola Rides around Venice, glass blowing demonstration
View from the Belll tower was spectacular!
Flooding is common...when the tide is high.
It is cost 1.50 Euro to use the bathroom. Hence, eating in restaurants is one way to use the bathroom...
GONDOLA around the fish-shaped island!


Interesting to watch how nothing can be made into something. In this case, the guy was demonstraiton how he made a glass horse. It took him a few minutes to do it. 
Day 7!
One of the oldest church in the world, Beautiful city of Ravenna, Lunch W home made pasta, Cruise ship to Greece
Cool- Gelato ice-cream!
Fresh hot Baguette- soft on the inside and slighty crisp on the outside =lovely :)
Gelato for dessert.....oh, how i miss you! :)
Tour Group Picture
Overnight ferry to Greece...
Room for the night
View outside our room
Greece is next! Will post up more pictures on the next post. :)

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