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July 1, 2007

a day at the amazing Basilica

Thursday, June 28th
Thursday morning I awoke to another beautiful day. The skies were blue and the humidity was gone. What more could you ask for! The few clouds in the skies even disappeared by mid afternoon. Thursday would be my day to spend at the Basilica di San Pietro (St. Peter’s Basilica).

I had read that there was a wonderful walk up to a park (the Gianicolo or Janiculum) which is located between Trastevere and the Basilica. It was a steep walk up with a staircase at the top or end of the hill of about 50 stairs leaving your legs wobbling a little when you reached the top. The Gianicolo or Janiculum is said to be the second tallest hill in Rome (although not one of the seven famous hills). Once you reach the top, you then take "la passeggiata del Gianicolo" through this beautiful park, where there are little statues (heads) of important Romans. There you will also find a very large statue or monument of Garibaldi, a smaller statue of Anita Garibaldi, who I am guessing was his wife, and also a lighthouse! In addition, there are amazing views of Rome at the Gianicolo. There is a cannon that fires once from the Gianicolo at precisely noon every day to signal the exact time.

After enjoying the park and walking up from Trastevere, I started to head down on the other side to reach the Basilica. I ran into an English couple who told me that they walked through this big parking lot from the Vatican area to the park. The map was not very clear on the path to take. I asked this friendly Italian woman for directions on my way down. She said she was going that way and I could walk with her. She would just step right out in front of cars. I would keep stopping and she would just grab my arm and tell me to come on. It was as if she had a magic hand. She would put her hand out and stare down the cars as she walked out into the street. We had a very nice chat on the way down. She left me at the parking lot where she went to catch a bus. Once you walk through this underground parking lot, the other side ended up being right at the piazza where the Basilica is located. There was one part on my walk where there was this definite "vista view" photo moment. I really wanted to take that picture but if I did, I would lose my guide and then definitely be lost. Ah, the photo that could have been...

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my last weekend in Roma and in Italia

Big SIGH....my trip to Italy is coming to an end. How did the time go by so quickly? I have so enjoyed my time here in Rome as well as all of the other places I have visited this year. Here's my post about my last weekend in Rome.

Saturday, June 30th
Saturday, after moving apartments, I headed back over to the Bocca della Verità (Mouth of Truth) to take the mandatory hand in the mouth picture. The line was much shorter this time and so I got in the line and waited my turn. It's sort of funny doing this silly thing as everyone waits patiently for their turn and then runs over to the face, sticks their hand in, and someone else quickly snaps the picture.

After leaving the Bocca della Verità, I headed over to see Trajan's markets. Either it was closed or I was in the wrong location. There were still more ruins to see along the way and so I took more pictures of ancient ruins and then headed back to the Colosseum. I was getting hungry and took a short diversion back to Hostaria da Nerone for lunch. I walked in the door and there was the same waiter that was so nice to me and insisted that I needed a handsome man to have lunch with. He again asked why I was alone. I had the spaghetti with clams again and it was wonderful! I stopped by my table often and chatted with me.

When I was leaving, he recommended that I go see the Domus Aurea. I headed over to what I thought was the correct location for this site and was not sure what I was missing. Yes there were some ruins but nothing so spectacular that would warrant a recommendation to see this site. A guy came and asked me if I knew where the Domus Aurea was. I told him I was also looking for it as I thought it was something you had to pay to see and could not believe that the ruin we were standing in front of was it. We both decide to walk around and look together. There were some shady characters on one side of this big park and so I did not go over to that side to see if that was where the entrance was. We finally found it down a few stairs and found out that it was closed on the weekends! I believe if I remember correctly it was only open Tues-Fri. So, I guess I missed out on that one on this trip. I will just have to return again!

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July 8, 2007

visit to the Basilica di San Marco

Wednesday, June 13th
After finishing my Clock Tower tour, now that I understood all about the different ways the time was displayed, I wanted to watch the time change and the bell rung by the Mori. I took another little video of the time changing and bell ringing but again, I need to figure out how to do the youtube thing before posting the video.

In addition to the time that is displayed with the numbers on the two wheels (see previous post), there are two more clock faces. The clock face on the front of the tower under the Virgin Mary displays the time of day, the Zodiac sign, and the current phase of the moon:

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The clock face on the back of the tower, which you can see when taking the street to Piazza San Marco (St. Mark's Square) I believe only displays the time:

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It was a little after 11 am. I realized there was only a tiny line to get into the Basilica di San Marco (Saint Mark's Basilica). I hadn't planned to go into the Basilica as I had been before, but I couldn't resist with such a short line!

My first stop inside was to go up top where the horses are located to get yet another view of the Clock Tower as well as the rest of Piazza San Marco. It was pretty packed but I managed to find a few spots which were not so crowded. For those that don't know, the horses up on the balcony are replicas. The original horses are located inside and with no photos allowed.

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November 11, 2007

views from the base of the Cupola of the Basilica di San Pietro

While in Rome this past summer, I had the opportunity to once again climb to the top of the Cupola of the Basilica di San Pietro (dome of St. Peter's Basilica).

After climbing 323 steps, I was treated to an amazing view from the interior gallery at the base of the Cupola. Although I chose to climb the first portion, there is also the choice of taking a lift to reach this point. However, from the base of the Cupola to the top, the only way to get there is by climbing more steps (I believe it was 228 more steps).

In this post, I would like to share a few pictures that I took from the interior gallery at the base of the Cupola.

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November 12, 2007

onward to the top

After leaving the interior gallery at the base of the Cupola, I continued my climb to the top for some magnificent views. I took this picture from the roof below. If you look closely, you can see all the people along the bottom railing. This is where you end up when you reach the top.
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November 18, 2007

views from the roof of the Basilica di San Pietro

After taking in the 360 views at the top of the Cupola, my last stop on my " Cupola climb” adventure was a visit on the roof of the Basilica. Because it was extremely crowded at the top, I was relieved to find a lot of open space down on the roof. This was my favorite part of the climb.

The roof houses a coffee shop, a gift shop, and restrooms. I must comment that I was quite impressed with the cleanliness of the women's restroom on the day I was there.

While on the roof, you are allowed to walk around, get up close with the statues, and you are rewarded with more incredible views. I spent quite a bit of time just hanging out and enjoying the views.

I also went inside the bar to get a cup of coffee. I mentioned in my July post about a possible trivia question about the roof coffee bar. “Where in Italy will you get an espresso served in a tiny paper cup (and I mean tiny, even smaller than a dixi cup)?” Answer - at the bar on the rooftop of the Basilica.

A few of my favorite pictures from the roof of the Basilica:
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February 17, 2008

boat ride to San Fruttuoso

San Fruttuoso is located in a bay between Camogli and Portofino. It can only be reached by boat or by foot. Since I will jump on a boat any chance I can get, how to arrive there was an easy choice for me. The boat ride from Camogli to the charming little bay where San Fruttuoso is located was quite relaxing.

The day I visited San Fruttuoso in the summer of 2003, a wedding was taking place inside the church. That unfortunately prevented me from more than a quick peek inside. I did however check out the special amber exhibit in the little museum nearby. I was quite surprised with what I learned about amber. After seeing some of the insects inside some of the amber pieces, I have not had much desire to purchase any amber.

I will try my best to briefly describe a little of the colorful history of the Abbey of San Fruttuoso (Abbazia di San Fruttuoso) from the brochures that I have saved and from a few google searches. The Abbey's existence has been dated back as far as the 3rd to 7th century depending on which account you read. The Abbey was attacked by the Saracens, a name which referred to the Arabs, Berbers, Moors and Turks, as well as pirates. The Abbey was rebuilt by Greek and then Benedectine monks. The Abbey was later home to fishermen and then finally the property of the Doria Family. The tower of Andrea Doria was built in 1562 to guard against Saracen and pirate attacks. In 1983, the Doria family donated San Fruttuoso to FAI.

First view of San Fruttuoso by boat:
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July 10, 2008

daytrip to Modena (part 1)

Sunday, July 6th

My plan for Sunday was to travel to Modena. Why would I take a train the day after a long travel day? For a tower of course. The tower in Modena (Torre della Ghirlandina) is only open on Sundays for climbing.

After a wonderful breakfast at Hotel San Porta San Mamolo (they put on quite a spread with pastries, special cakes, cereal, yogurt, bread, ham, cheese, eggs, bacon, and fresh fruit as well as any type of coffee and I suppose tea you would like), I headed to the train station. The main piazza in Bologna was so peaceful after my 10 minute walk to the centro. The walk the rest of the way to the train station was a bit longer - about 20 minutes.

I saw this cool old porta (part of a wall with an entry way) as I was near the train station. I decided to walk through it. Ewwww, it smelled of urine (the area near the train station is not a great area) and while somehow not paying attention, I tripped on one of the stones and fell on my hands and one of my knees. Ewwww!!! All I could think of was the yucky urine that I was now probably touching! I got out my little bottle of hand sanitizer and squirted it all over my red hands. I then noticed that one of my toes was bleeding. More hand sanitizer on my toe and then a bandaid.

I used one of the automatic machines at the train station to by my regional ticket. I thought I would miss the train, but for once the train running late was good for me and I just made the train after validating my ticket. The train was full. The last stop was Torino for this train. I am not sure if more people than normal were taking the train because of the planned strike for Monday, or if this was normal for a Sunday in July.

After arriving in Modena and checking out my photocopy of a map I got from one of the Cadogan guides, I was on my way. Right away, I was confused since it seemed to me that I should be going one way, but there was a sign pointing a different way. I stopped and asked a very nice older man for directions. He confirmed that I should be going the way I planned to go. Perhaps the sign was for cars?

It didn't take long for me to fall in love with Modena. The colors of the buildings were quite similar to the colors of the buildings in Bologna and the architecture styles were also quite similar, but it was a lot less crowded than Bologna. On my way to the centro, I stopped at a bar to use the bathroom. This was my first "floor" bathroom of my trip (I believe the correct name is Turkish bathroom). The woman at the bar was very nice. I had an espresso before leaving and then continued on my way with the tower as my goal.

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July 13, 2008

a walk up to the Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca

Monday, July 7th

As advertised on the strike website I have been checking, in the train stations Sunday evening, and on the news, both the trains and the buses were on strike (lo sciopero). In addition it was Monday, so many of the stores and most of the museums were closed. I decided that it would be the perfect opportunitiy to walk up to Il Santuario della Madonna di San Luca (Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca).

A couple from Santa Barbara (who just spent a week in Bologna and had to hire a car to drive them to Ravenna since there was a train strike - bummer for them) were sitting in the lobby when I inquired at the desk on information regarding how long it would take to walk up to San Luca. The woman at the desk said it was only about a 10 minute walk to the start of the 666 portico arches to the top. The couple from Santa Barbara said they thought it would be a much longer walk since it took the bus they were on from the hotel 10 minutes to reach the start of the walk to the top. The couple from Santa Barbara was correct. It took me 45 minutes to reach the start of the 666 porticos and then 40 more minutes to reach the top. Of course I stopped often to take photos along the way.

The couple from Santa Barbara was also very helpful providing me information about where to catch a bus near the hotel. Unfortunately because of the strike, taking the bus was out, but it was helpful for me later during my stay in Bologna.

On my walk to the start of the walk up to San Luca, I saw a tiny yellow car. I first thought it was a Smart Car but then realized it was even smaller than a Smart Car. It was an electric car. Just as I was about to take a photo of the car, the woman, who I assume was the owner of the car showed up. I asked her if I could take a photo. She seemed pleased that I was interested in her car. After I took a photo, she showed me where the plug was and explained how she charged the car.

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July 17, 2008

church in Portofino

I am feeling a little like this today:
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I took the photo of the rose on a wall by this beautiful church in Portofino.
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When you first arrive in Portofino by boat, you can see part of the church behind the buildings in the main piazza.
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July 29, 2008

close ups ~ Genova Duomo

Last year, after Bob the Navigator from Slow Travel posted this photo, I added Genova to my long list of places to visit. When I decided on Santa Margherita Ligure as one of my bases for my summer trip, Genova was on my list of daytrips. I had did have a momentary thought of using Genova as a base but decided that I better visit it for a day first before committing for a longer period of time. While planning my trip, I read about a few things to visit while in Genova, but my main goal when I arrived was to visit the Duomo, also known as the Duomo di San Lorenzo or Cattedrale di San Lorenzo (where Bob took his photo). I was so excited when I finally arrived. This church was incredible (even if the sun was behind the church when I arrived which seemed to be a pattern for me). It did not have that immediate beauty as say the Duomo in Florence or Siena or Orvieto but instead it had a hidden beauty, one I found more in the close ups of the church. Here area some of my favorite close ups (and don't forget to check out Bob's photo):

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July 30, 2008

more of the Duomo ~ Genova

Now this is a cool photo! Imagine visiting the Duomo back then.
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(photo from Wikimedia Commons - click on the photo for the source).


Here are a few more photos of the Duomo from my visit this summer:

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And for a peek inside...

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September 1, 2008

il Duomo di Modena

The Duomo of Modena is huge! It was impossible to get the entire church in one shot.

There was a mass taking place the first few times I attempted to go inside the Duomo. Each mass was packed. Finally the last mass of the morning ended. There was so much to see. In just 15 minutes, the workers started to close the church for the day. I wish I had more time to spend inside the church. Modena is definitely on my list of places to visit again.

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September 2, 2008

close up shots of the Duomo of Modena

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September 8, 2008

church of San Domenico ~ Modena

One of the first buildings that caught my attention when arriving in Modena was this vibrantly colored building located in Piazzale San Domenico:
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To the right of this building ~ the church of San Domenico:
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I find myself fascinated by so many of the church buildings in Italy. I loved the colors of this church. I would have liked to take a peek inside. Unfortunately the church was closed when I was there.

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September 30, 2008

inside the Basilica della Madonna di San Luca

First, I would like to share this plaque, which provides more information about this church (if you can read Italian). These informative plaques can be found all over Bologna.
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And now, I would like to give you a glimpse of the inside of this magnificent church.
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October 3, 2008

the Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca

Here are my photos of the Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca (Il Santuario della Madonna di San Luca) in Bologna.

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February 26, 2009

photos of the Basilica di San Petronio in Bologna

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There are very strict guards that stand at the entrance of the church by the bottom of the steps. No backpacks or large purses are allowed inside the church. They are very serious about this rule. I even saw the guards turn away a priest with a backpack! I only had a minute to take the second and third photos before they told me to move on. I was not allowed to take any photos inside the church.

March 6, 2009

treasures inside the Basilica di Santo Stefano

Yesterday I shared some of my photos of the buildings of the Basilica di Santo Stefano.
Today I would like to share my photos of some of the treasures found inside these beautiful buildings.

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November 1, 2009

boat ride to Santa Caterina del Sasso

Wednesday, July 15th:
The skies were gray Wednesday morning. Not long after I woke up, it began to rain. I had two full days left in Stresa and both Santa Caterina del Sasso & Orta were on my list as places I definitely wanted to visit. Santa Caterina del Sasso, a monastery that was built in the 12th century on a rocky hillside, looked like the better choice for a cloudy/rainy day. After breakfast, the rain stopped for a bit. I took the 9:55 am boat (5.80 euros roundtrip) to Santa Caterina. For the history of this amazing monastery, check out Dana's blog post.

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November 2, 2009

part 2 ~ Santa Caterina del Sasso

View of the church:
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Cloister outside of the church:
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November 4, 2009

part 3 ~ Santa Caterina del Sasso

A peek inside the church:
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March 24, 2010

the courtyard ~ Mission San Diego de Alcala

Here are few photos I took while exploring the beautiful courtyard/garden of the Mission San Diego de Alcala.

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June 7, 2011

getting to Italy & the Duomo in Milano

I am now in Venice but will begin from the beginning…

Tuesday, May 31st:
A week before my trip, I started gathering all of the things I planned to pack using the same packing list I have used for the past few trips. I knew it was going to be a challenge this year to fit my new camera, lenses, and MacBook Air, as well as everything else into the same bags I took with me on my last trip. I was hoping to not have to take a larger bag. On the day of my flight, everything was going so smoothly until a couple of hours before I planned to leave for the airport when I tried to fit one last thing into my bag. That is when my mini-meltdown occurred. I tried over and over to fit everything inside my bags but nothing worked. It was getting later and later. At one point, I even dragged out my larger bag. I finally ended up unzipping the expander zipper of the original bag I planned to take, something I hate to do until the last leg of my trip, and managed to make everything fit.

I arrived at the airport just in time to check my bag, go through security, and arrive at my gate as the last call was being announced for my flight. Phew! I really cut things close this time! A big thank you to my dear friend who stood calmly by as I had my mini-meltdown and drove me to the airport.

When I reached my seat and began to lift my carry-on roller up into the overhead bin, the man sitting behind me offered to help. I thanked him and told him that I could manage. I have been working very hard the past few months trying to build up my strength in my arms and shoulders. My goal was to be able to lift my bag up into the overhead bin without any problems. My workouts paid off as I easily hoisted it up and even got a bravo from the man who offered to help me. I smiled and told him that my trainers would be proud! As I was settling into my seat, I realized that I had met this man years ago while studying Italian in Hawaii. He is the owner of La Gelateria in Honolulu and was also traveling to Italy. As I introduced myself, he told me that the man sitting behind him was the owner of an Italian restaurant in Honolulu and was also traveling to Italy. Small world!

My two flights were uneventful. I was able to sleep some on both flights. The wait in Newark between flights was long as usual. This whole Continental and United merger thing seemed to be a bit confusing. When I first saw that the name on the plane said United instead of Continental, I was worried that the plane was no longer one of the Continental planes, the ones with the little movie screens in front of every seat. I was happy to find out that the plane was still one of the Continental planes. I guess all the planes now have the name United on them. Everything else seemed to still be Continental although they no longer serve free food on the long 9 hour flight from Honolulu to Newark. At least they still serve food on the shorter flight from Newark to Milan/Malpensa (both dinner and breakfast). I heard a few passengers complain in Newark about the upgrade procedures. I think they were loyal United customers.

Thursday, June 2nd:
When we arrived at Malpensa, one of those stairway things was driven up to the door of the plane. I don’t recall having to walk down stairs when arriving at Malpensa in the past but I am always in a jetlag haze so I may have and just didn’t remember. Shuttle buses zipped us all over to the arrivi door. Passport clearance was quick. My bag also arrived very quickly which was a first.

There was a huge crowd waiting for four small elevators to go down one flight to get to the train station area. I figured it would take at least 30 minutes to get on one of those elevators, so I searched for another way to the train station below. I followed these green arrows and found both an escalator and stairs heading down to the train station. My plane arrived on time, exactly at 8:50. I just missed the 9:33 train. I took the 10:03 train and arrived in Milan 30 minutes later, finding a row of taxis right outside the train station. The train ticket cost 11 euros and the taxi cost 8 something.

My room was not ready when I arrived. I started switching some stuff around in my bags so that I could gather up a few things to take with me while I checked out the area around my hotel. Just when I finished getting out my camera and a few other things, I was told that my room was ready. The bed in my room was very inviting. I was so tempted to take a nap but knew if I did that, I would sleep the rest of the day. Instead, I unpacked my stuff, took a quick shower, and headed out to explore Milan.

It was gray and cloudy and a bit chilly outside. I headed straight for the Duomo. I visited Milan for a few hours with my friend Katia many years ago before the Duomo restoration work was done. I have been looking forward to returning to the Duomo now that it was all nice a clean.
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After taking a few photos, I walked around a bit looking for the Obika mozzarella bar that I had read about. This restaurant is located on the roof of the La Rinascente store. I was seated in the bar area and had a wonderful lunch. After lunch, I spent a few minutes checking out some of the other levels of the store while it was sprinkling outside.

Once the rain stopped, I went inside of the Duomo. The entrance into the Duomo is free. Here are a few photos from inside the Duomo.
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The climb to the roof was the top thing on my to do list in Milan. There are two ways to get to the roof – by foot (5 euros) for by elevator (8 euros). As a fan of climbing towers, I of course went by foot. I followed the signs and went to what I thought was the entrance to climb to the top. I was told that I needed to purchase a ticket at the office located in a building nearby. After purchasing my ticket, I returned. After scanning my ticket, the man told me that I was in the wrong place. That entrance was to take the lift to the top. I walked around the corner to another door. This time when the man saw that my ticket was scanned, he tried to send me back to the lift entrance. I had to explain to him that I bought a ticket to climb to the top! Finally, I was let in. I have been working out regularly and thought I was in good shape, but the climb was pretty tough, tougher than I thought it would be. When you reach the top, you traverse along the roof and then reach a second staircase where you get to the very top.

I took tons of photos. Here are some of my favorites.
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June 15, 2011

the rest of day 2 in Milano

I am now in Bologna taking Italian lessons. Way behind here and not much time to catch up this week. Busy all day with lessons and homework at night.

Here is the rest of day 2 when I was in Milan...

Friday, June 3rd:
While looking out from the castle, I saw this very cool arch called Arco della Pace or Arch of Peace. It did not look that far away but ended up being quite a walk.

Here's a photo looking back towards the castle from the Arco della Pace to show the distance from the castle. Somehow the arch looked much bigger when I was in the castle than the castle looks when at the arch.

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AND here are a couple of photos of the Arco delle Pace.

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By this time, I was pretty hungry but I did not want to stop for lunch because I wanted to make sure to find the place where Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper was located. For some reason, I thought I needed to be there 30 minutes in advance. I found it very easy to follow a map and find places in Milan. I almost stopped in a couple of restaurants along the way but continued on. When I arrived, I found out I only needed to be there 10 minutes in advance. However since it was booked for the entire day, I did not want to miss my opportunity to get in and so I found a bar (a place to eat) nearby. The food ended up being pretty bad but it filled me up.

I returned about 20 minutes before my reservation, told the man my name and got my ticket. When it was the time for my group to go in, we were let in to a hallway, where we stood and waited about 5 minutes. This hallway was cooler in temperature. Then the door opened and we were let in. The last supper was bigger than I imagined and definitely worth a visit. We were only allowed to stay in the room to view it for 15 minutes. I would have loved to stay longer. Photos of course were not allowed inside. Here is a photo of where the Last Supper or Il Cenacolo is located.

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By this time, my feet were tired from walking all day but I did not see any taxis around. I took what I thought was short cut instead of walking back towards the Duomo. I am so glad I did this because I stumbled upon this amazing Chiesa di San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore, located on the corner of Corso Magenta and Via Luini. There were amazing frescoes covering all of the walls with a dividing wall in the middle.

By this time, my feet were tired from walking all day but I did not see any taxis around. I took what I thought was a short cut instead of walking back towards the Duomo. I am so glad I did this because I stumbled upon this amazing Chiesa di San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore, located on the corner of Corso Magenta and Via Luini. There were amazing frescoes covering all of the walls with a dividing wall in the middle.

If you are ever in Milan, definitely plan to visit the Chiesa di San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore. Here are a few photos:
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I continued on back to my hotel. Along the way, I came across these Roman Columns located in front of San Lorenzo Maggiore, the oldest church in Milan.
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I went inside for a peek and then continued on towards my hotel. I started seeing lots of people walking by eating gelato, turned the corner and there in front of me GROM! YUM!! I bought a gelato, walked by Rossopomodoro, a chain place that makes fabulous pizza, and finally arrived at my hotel. In the evening, the rain began. I walked back to Rossopomodoro for dinner and had a fabulous pizza, packed, and went to bed.

I did pretty well dealing with the jet lag this year, probably better than most past trips. Milan was wonderful. I am really glad I finally visited this very interesting city. I would have been happy to spend a few more days in Milan and will probably return one day.

June 27, 2011

another rainy day in Venezia

Tuesday June 7th:
I woke up to gray skies Tuesday morning, put on some warm clothes, and went down for breakfast. I sat down for a moment and thn told Wenyu, the other person running B&B Fujiyama, that I would be right back. I went back up to my room to put on more warm clothes, adding my fleece, my purple pashmina scarf, as well as some long underwear under my pants. Now I was ready for breakfast. Wenyu was very amused.

Every morning for breakfast, I was served a brioche, two warm bread rolls, and either a little cake or pastry of some sort. I was also offered both coffee and tea and usually had a caffè macchiato and then some wonderful Jasmine tea.

I had no plans for the day. I was tempted to just stay inside until the sun came out, but according to the weather I might be waiting a few days. As you all probably know by now, I don't do well in cold weather and am not a big fan of rain. But I was in Venice, so after about an hour when it warmed up a bit, I sucked it up, packed three maps and two raincoats, and headed outside.

I got as far as the Chiesa di San Sebastiano before it started to rain. I had a lovely chat with the woman selling tickets inside the church. I had not thought about whether or not I wanted to purchase the Chorus Pass (10 euros for entrance to 16 churches in a one year period). After listening to her explain the benefits of the pass and thinking about the rainy weather outside, I figured that a day of visiting a few churches would probably be a good choice. The woman also gave me some information about the Chiesa di San Sebastiano and apologized because parts of the church were covered due to the current restoration. Many of the ceiling pieces were also missing. Someday I would like to return to this church once the restoration is completed.

Outside, it was raining and blustery. I did not have much of a plan for the day. I started to think about lunch. I checked my map and then headed out, walking towards what I hoped was the Fondamenta delle Zattere to find a place to eat. It was a short walk but still I was soaked by the time I made it to the few little restaurants I saw by the waterfront. I did not do my homework and had no idea where to eat. I chose Ristorante Terrazza Casin dei Nobili. The woman seating me was very kind as I took off my plastic see through rain jacket that I was wearing over my other rain jacket so that I would be able to keep my camera dry. I wasn't sure if she would be upset that I was getting everything all wet, but instead she helped me hang my plastic jacket on the chair across from me as she seated me.

I ordered bruschetta and spaghetti with clams. The food was ok but the view was fabulous!

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After leaving the restaurant, I hopped on the vaporetto and headed over to the Church of the Redentore (a Chorus Pass church) on Guidecca island. I took photos of this church from many angles throughout the day. It is such a beautiful church. The photo below was one of my favorites, showing the weather of the day. It almost looked to me like there was snow on the church.

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I took these photos from the steps of the church of the Redentore.

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I had never been to the Guidecca island before so I decided to walk a bit. I took these photos along the way.

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July 2, 2011

two visits to San Giorgio Maggiore

Tuesday June 7th:
I visited the island of San Giorgio Maggiore and had been in the Basilica di San Giorgio Maggiore the last time I was in Venice but since it was a rainy day and the vaporetto was making a stop there anyways, I decided to visit the island and the church once again and I am really glad I did because of the surprise I found when going inside the church. Not only did I visit the island on Tuesday, but I returned again on Wednesday!

Below are photos I took while on the island on Tuesday and if you click continue reading you will find photos I took during my return visit on Wednesday.

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When I walked inside the church, this is what I found

It is called Ascension and was created by Anish Kapoor. Not something you find every day in a church! Not thinking, I took the video sideways. I don't know how many times I have done this now, but it has been a lot! I went back the following day to take another video the correct way but the Acension was not working properly while I was there. Fortunately, I found out when I got home that iMovie 11 allows you to rotate the video.

There was a girl sitting at a table near the door with information about this exhibit. She also told me that there were two more exhibits on the island. The first was called Real Venice and the second was called Penelope's Labour - Weaving Words and Images.

So out of the church I went to find these two exhibits. They were both located to the left of the church down by where many of the boats are docked.
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The Real Venice exhibit was one of my favorite exhibits I visited while in Venice this year. There were some amazing photographs. I spend quite a bit of time enjoying them. Unfortunately, I probably spent a bit too much time in this exhibit because when I continued on, following the little arrows, I arrived at the Penelope's Labour exhibit too late. It just closed for the day. No big deal though. That was the main reason I returned to the island the following day. That also meant I was able to spend a little more time in the Real Venice exhibit again since I was back on the island.

The views from the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore are pretty cool. Here are a few photos I took Tuesday afternoon.
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To see photos of my visit the following day, click on "continue reading" below.

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July 12, 2011

a church day in Venice

Thursday, June 9th:
Thursday morning, Sandra and I met downstairs for breakfast. The weather was still overcast and cool (for me). After talking about various choices on what to do, we decided to try to make the 11:00 Mass at the Basilica di San Marco to see the mosaics all lit up and to avoid the line.

After breakfast, we walked to the nearby Ca' Rezzonico vaporetto stop and rode the vaporetto to the second of the two San Marco stops.

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We headed straight to the side door of the Basilica as it was almost 11:00 and they won't let you in if you are late. There seemed to be some confusion when we arrived. We finally realized after trying to figure out just what was going on that all public masses were canceled for the day. Some important church person, I think a Bishop? happened to be visiting. Just our luck!

So onto Plan B. We also talked about checking out the Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni at breakfast, so off we went. Let me tell you, this was one difficult place to find. We must have stopped and asked for directions at least three times before finally finding it. No photos were allowed inside the Scuola. I noticed when looking at my ticket, it says Scuola Dalmata delli Santi Giorgio e Triffon. The little sign on the building says both: Scuola Dalmata S. ti Giorgio e Triffon and San Giorgio degli Schiavoni so I guess you could ask for either when asking for directions or information about this place.

I took these photos while we were on the search for the Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni, and yes that tower in the second photo is tipping a little bit.
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After leaving the Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni, we started to think about food. Neither of us knew of any good places to eat nearby. We checked out a few places nearby but none really thrilled either of us. As we continued to search, somehow, after taking a turn down one of the little side streets, we ended up right back out onto the waterfront not too far from the vaporetto stop where we arrived earlier in the day.

So we hopped on the vaporetto and went to the Fondamenta delle Zattere where we found a little restaurant called Ristorante "GIANNI" Pizzeria, also known as il ristorante Da Gianni. This restaurant is located right by the Zattere vaporetto stop and turned out to be a great choice. Not only were there nice views but the food was also good. I ordered mussels and a caprese salad. Yum!! I can't remember now what Sandra ordered but I am pretty sure she was also happy with her meal.

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February 19, 2012

the beautiful Santa Maria della Salute

Now don't faint anyone... finally, I am getting back to my Italy trip report from last summer. I figured I better get to it before baseball season begins and I get distracted again. I'm also avoiding doing my taxes right now...

Friday, June 10th:
My plans for Friday were to wander and take photos until later in the day when Sandra and I would meet up to head to Padova for our Scrovegni Chapel reservation. I will break this day up into a few posts.

The last time I was in Venice, the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute was covered in ugly scaffolding so it was on my list of places to visit on this trip. I love this church. It has so many dimensions to it. I am definitely more of a fan of sculpture and architect than paintings and this church has so many dimensions to it. I could stare at it all day and discover something new.
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February 20, 2012

vaporetto ride and two more churches

Friday, June 10th (cont.):

Continuing on with my day... I jumped back on the vaporetto and headed up the Grand Canal with not set plan in mind, just taking photos along the way.
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February 23, 2012

trip to Padova & the Capella degli Scrovegni

Friday, June 10th:
The train ride from Venice to Padova was short and went by quickly. When we arrived, Sandra went to the infomation area to get a map and I found the train bathroom, always a fun visit. Not only did I get to see a guy flip out at a high school age kid trying to sneak in (it was one of those pay turnstile bathrooms) but I also witnessed a woman dyeing her hair black at the sink of the bathroom. The Bourne Identity immediately came to mind.

We spent about an hour walking around Padova. It took me a few minutes to adjust to all the cars after being in Venice for a few days. I took this photo not far from the train station.
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Lock at Porte Contarine, in the old town centre.
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Caffé Pedrocchi
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We wandered into this building. Not sure if it was a museum of some kind or an office building.
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Yum!
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Palazzo della Ragione
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