Sunday, May 31, 2015

Cappadocia, Turkey

Cappadocia in Spring, curtesy of my friend, Bernd Junghans who is a guide in Cappadocia.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Villa Borghese

A visit here requires prior reservations. If you know when you want to be there, you can go on the Internet to make your reservation from home and bring your confirmation with you. We were going to take the bus there but woke up late and ended up taking a taxi there. We paid for a guided tour which was one of the best thing we did because there was so much to see. The best part was the main floor which had all the Caravaggio paintings and all the Bernini sculptures. The sculptures were so incredible like this one, the rape of Proserpine. The villa is small but packed with treasures. The upper floor held thee paintings and all the walls were just packed also. Its so amazing to see such wealth in a single place but that is the norm in Rome. Amazing.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Santa Chiara, Assisi, Italy

There are usually a few churches in all towns in Italy. Assisi is no different. This is Santa Chiara and some pilgrims come in the morning for the 11am service.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

St Francis of Assisi

This is the church that all Christian pilgrims come to visit, the place that venerate San Francisco. We couldn't take any pictures of the interior but be assured that the interior is beautiful, both the lower and upper church. The frescoes are in the upper church, the frescoes of Cimabue, with Giotto as his assistant. Giotto would later decorate the Scrovenggi chapel in Padua.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Rambling around Assisi, Italy

Its hard work, makes one hungry and it was time for some sustenance. A look at the pastry shop counter, lots to choose from. This rugelach is so incredible but the Italians have a different name for it, I forgot what it was but it was really good.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Temple of Minerva, Assisi, Italy

An ancient Roman temple built in the first century but now houses a church.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Assisi, Italy

We took the first train out from Rome to Assisi. The same train also goes to Spoleto and Perugia. We met other 'pilgrims' going to the church of San Francisco in Assisi. Its a popular pilgrimage destination for Catholics. The town is situated on a hillside and it made for tough walking but there was a bus which we took to get up the hill to the village on top. It was still early in the morning and there wasn't many people up and about. We walked the narrow lanes between the stone houses. It was quite pretty.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Scandinavia and Finland

.....wild craggy coast lines, wild meadows and summer cottages painted red...... I'm putting the finishing touches to my itinerary...I've made so many changes, I need to leave soon because I'm afraid I might make more changes. This is it, no more meddling.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome

 It being Sunday and it was evensong at all the churches in Rome. Here it was no different, an evensong service in most of the little chapels and there were Catholic priests all over thee place.

 We stopped at one of the little chapels because we heard some incredible singing. Wow, I'd love to hear some of the hymns again.
What an incredible day it was, a Sunday in Rome. There's no other place I'd like to be on a Sunday than to be in Rome. I miss Rome already, hope to see you again soon.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Treasures among the ruins, continuing our journey to Rome

 The massive and iconic ruin that once was the temple of Emperor Maxantius which was defeated in the battle over the Milvian bridge. Constantine became the sole emperor of the Roman empire thus beginning the Byzantine empire with Istanbul as the capital. The building project seen is the shoring up of this temple even as they construct the metro line C near and under it. Finally they are extending the metro system which until the completion of line c has only 2 lines, line a and b!

 This is also an iconic view of Rome, there are lots of paintings of this.
It is always so gratifying to be walking on the old roads of Rome, never fail to invigorate me.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Colosseum, Rome

 Not Colosseum, wrong photo, this was Sorrento.
 After San Clemente, we were within walking distance to the Colosseum. Rome is quite compact, one can walk to most sites. Be fit and wear comfortable shoes.

The usual suspects at the Colosseum, the vendors and the carabineri. The carabineri were chasing after little petty thieves. There were hordes of African immigrants selling selfie sticks, they were harassing everyone.

 The arch of Constantine, noble and awe inspiring. It was fenced off. I'm glad because these days the visitors are quite fond of carving their names on monuments. What disrespect.
It was crowded but not as crowded as in Summer. We used to see a lot more Japanese visitors in the old days. But we saw huge groups of Chinese, kids especially, quite unusual to send kids so young to Europe. Well, its better to get a head start and maybe an advantage for later in life.

Monday, May 04, 2015

San Clemente, Rome

 It is unassuming on the outside, plain and simple. It doesn't look like there's anything remarkable about this church. This was my first time here after numerous trips to Rome. San Clemente is actually a very old and very remarkable church.

The interior is so sumptuous with numerous glittering mosaics. I wasn't allowed to take any pictures but I found a way to do it. Nothing stops me. I took them from the outside looking in. Most remarkable of all was thee basement. The underground hides a 1stC, 4thC and Mithraic temple. There are even beautiful frescoes there. Wow!

Saturday, May 02, 2015

The cloisters at San Giovanni in Laterano

In the arcaded cloisters were displays of numerous excavated artifacts. This was ancient Rome, with its wealth and power that anywhere you dig now you will find remnants of ancient Rome. Imagine in almost every Italian villa there are numerous such artifacts, in almost all the major museums in the world, there is a huge section with ancient Roman artifacts. Its no wonder the ancient Romans were such snobs that they call anyone who is not Roman a Barbarian. I was amazed when I was last at the New York Metropolitan museum of art that the Roman room stretched for miles (almost). Here in the cloisters were odds and ends but it was still fascinating.