Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Riva del Vin, Venice, Italy

We just had to eat dinner at one of the restaurants de la Riva del Vin on the Grand Canal. We certainly paid too much but the atmosphere was worth it.

We started our gondola ride from here also.

The Bird's Eye view is here.

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Ponte dei Sospiri, Venice, Italy

Connecting the Doge's palace with adjacent prison is the Ponte dei Sospiri, commonly known as the "Bridge of Sighs." Lord Byron helped to popularize the belief that the bridge's name was inspired by the sighs of condemned prisoners as they were led through it to their execution.

The wikipedia article is here.

The Bird's Eye view is here.
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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Ponte di Rialto, Venice, Italy

Ponte di Rialto is the bridge that comes to mind when you think of Venice. Construction began in 1588 replacing previous wooden bridges.

Our gondola ride took us right under it.

We ate dinner in a sidewalk restaurant just West of the bridge.

The wikipedia article is here and there is a good website on it here.

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Hotel Antica Locanda al Gambero, Venice, Italy

In Venice, we stayed at Hotel Antica Locanda al Gambero. Let's just say it wasn't the easiest place to find (nothing in Venice is). But it was well worth the search.

There's a nice restaurant on the ground floor. The hotel office is on the next floor. We had a second floor room. Remember, they count the floors differently in Europe. Oh, and there's no elevator. The room was the nicest we had on that trip. The walls were covered in gorgeous fabric! The bathroom was awesome. I wish we could have stayed there longer.

There's a long story of how we made our reservations there that I'll share over a glass of fine Italian wine.

Their web site is here and TripAdvisor's review is here.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Noonan Shore, PEI, Canada

One day while we were just riding around on PEI, I wanted to get a good view of the Confederation Bridge so I found the road closest to the bridge and followed it down to the Northumberland Strait. This road was Noonan Shore Road.

What a discovery I made at the end of the road. There was this old fishing boat tied up but the tide had gone out and left it high and dry.

The blues and reds in the boat perfectly matched the red sands and the blue water and sky. Awesome!

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

San Lorenzo Market, Florence, Italy

Another destination nearby our Hotel Casci in Florence was the San Lorenzo market. If you can't find what you're looking for there, it doesn't exist. We bought leather goods there that weren't fashionable back in the States for almost 2 years.

As typical in Europe be sure to haggle with the sellers. You can always get a better price than is posted.

Here's the street view and here are some comments from TripAdvisor.

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Sunday, May 03, 2009

Galleria dell'Accademia, Florence, Italy

Just down the street from Hotel Casci is the Galleria dell'Accademia. In this museum is an entire wing full of Michelangelo's works including the iconic David.

Although there were signs all around the statue admonishing to not take photos, flashes were popping all around so I finally pulled my camera out and took a couple.

After we had seen everything in that wing, we walked through a small passageway into the rest of the museum. In that passageway was a door, like into a service closet. Except the wall around this mundane doorway was painted to look like an elaborate entrance way. I was amazed.

So I snatched out my camera and started taking pictures. Instantly a guard approached me and begin warning me to not take pictures or he would confiscate my camera! You'll see I got one anyway.

The wikipedia page is here and their web site is here.

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hotel Casci, Florence, Italy

After another "exciting" drive through Florence (we saw 3 wrecks on the way), we arrived at Hotel Casci. When I asked about what to do with the car, they said we had 2 choices: 1) drive across the Arno and park in public parking or 2) they would valet park it for me. I literally threw the keys at them.

Hotel Casci is so centrally located. It's 2 minutes from the Duomo and Galleria dell'Accademia (where Michelangelo's statue of David is). The Ponte Vecchio bridge is just a little further walk.

Their web site is here and the TripAdvisor article is here.

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Porta Pinciana, Rome, Italy

Leaving Rome, we rented a car and headed out to Florence. As we drove out, we went through Porta Pinciana, a gate of the Aurelian Walls.

Driving in Rome was "exciting." As we approached Porta Pinciana we observed a near miss (millimeters, not inches) between a bus and a scooter. In the effort to avoid the bus, the scooter almost ran over an elderly lady walking on the side of the street. She never flinched!

The wikipedia article is here and an interesting web page is here.

Be sure to look at the street view.

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Piazza Navona, Rome, Italy

One of my co-workers whose wife owns a travel agency suggested that we visit Piazza Navona while in Rome. I was glad I asked for his advice.

The piazza is small giving a very intimate feel. The Fountain of the Four Rivers stands in the center of it surrounded by street performers at night. Across one side is a strip of restaurants and, yes, they also serve gelato.

Here's the street view.

As we left, we took a taxi. Unlike the other traffic, our taxi driver was stopping at every red light. I asked him why, joking that he just wanted to make the meter run. He said that he wouldn't stop if I'd pay his fine. I laughed and said I would. He proceeded to run every red light all the way back to the hotel.

The wikipedia article is here.

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Sunday, April 05, 2009

St. Peter in Chains Basilica, Rome, Italy

As we walked to the Colosseum, we went past St. Peter in Chains Basilica. The was a mass going on so we sat out front and had gelato before going on to the Colosseum.

On our return, we came back by St. Peter in Chains. It was well worth it.

The legend is that the chains that bound Saint Peter when he was imprisoned in Jerusalem are held here. The chains are kept under the main altar in the basilica. There's also a statue of Moses by Michelangelo.

Here is my photo of the ceiling.

The wikipedia article is here.

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Palatine Hill, Rome, Italy

The Palatine Hill is near the Colosseum. The word "palace" comes from this place.

People have occupied this site since 1000 BC.

The wikipedia article is here.

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Colosseum, Rome, Italy

What can you say about the Colosseum? It's OLD!

We approached it on foot and as we emerged from around an apartment building, there it was. I actually got goose bumps.

The wikipedia article is here.

Arch of Constantine is just outside the Colosseum.

With street view, you can actually "walk" around the Colosseum.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Vatican Museum, Rome, Italy

The Vatican Museum is just around the corner from St. Peter's but it's a big corner. Often the waiting lines wind back to St. Peter's. Get there early!

Our primary destination was the Sistine Chapel. As you walk through the museum, there are signs pointing out the way to the Sistine Chapel. I believe that they run you all the way through the museum. There has to be a more direct way to get there. But it's worth the walk!

The wikipedia article is here and their web site is here.

There's a pretty neat street view here.

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Sunday, March 08, 2009

The Vatican, Rome, Italy

One of our first stops was the Vatican. It's not on the subway route so we walked a little.

Pay attention as you wander around St. Peter's. We went down into the tombs and had to exit outside.

The wikipedia article is here and their web site is here.

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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Welcome House, Rome, Italy

We stayed in Welcome House at Via Nazionale, 230, just down the street from train station. There's even a McDonald's nearby! But we ate more gelato than Big Macs.

Their web site is here and their write-up on TripAdvisor is here. Many of the comments are in other languages. I think that gives you a feel that this is not a hotel that is routinely frequented by Americans. Remember that.

Here's the street view.

We walked back up to the train station and caught bus #110. Here's a page out of Rick Steve's Italy describing the bus route.

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Usk Castle, Wales

Usk Castle is in the middle of the village of Usk. Certainly the smallest castle we've visited.

The original Gate House was the work of Richard "Strongbow" de Clare in about 1170.

The wikipedia article is here. Their web site is here.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Caldicot Castle, Wales

Although smaller, Caldicot Castle reminded me somewhat of Warwick Castle in that it was so well preserved and most recently used as a residence. The remnants of the surrounding moat are still apparent.

The castle sits in a 50 acre park so bring a picnic lunch and spend the afternoon.

The Normans built a structure here as early as 1086 and the current structure dates from 1221.

The wikipedia article is here. Their web site is here. There's another good web site here.

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Monday, February 09, 2009

Chepstow Castle, Wales

Just down the (narrow, winding) road from Tintern Abbey is Chepstow Castle. PICT1453 is taken from across the River Wye.

It seems like the castle is on the wrong side of the river to be in Wales but, like the roads, the river is windy there.

The wikipedia article is here. Chepstow's web site is here. There's another good web site here.


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Monday, February 02, 2009

Raglan Castle, Wales

Raglan Castle was one of the newer castles we visited in Wales being built in the 15th century. An older castle was on this site from the 12th century.

It's neat with the moat surrounding it and the magnificent views of the plain from the top of the Great Tower.

The wikipedia article is here. Their web site is here. There's another good web site here.

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Traffic Circle, University, MS

On the campus of the University of Mississippi, there's a new traffic circle. It's just down the street from the baseball stadium.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Traffic Circle, Ridgeland, MS

Ridgeland is just north of Jackson, Mississippi. Some highway engineer down there has gotten excited about traffic circles. While I love traffic circles (no 4-way stops), I'll bet they're confusing to the guys on the tractors.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Cell Tower, Ridgeland, MS

We've all seen cell towers "disguised" to look like trees. Just outside of Ridgeland, MS is a cell tower "disguised" to look like the Washington Monument!

Could I make this up?