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With more time on my hands these days, this gives me something to do. I hope you get some pleasure, along with me, in sharing this new stage of my life.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Europe Trip 2017: Part 1 of 11: 18th to 20th May.

The trip in a nutshell.

This is the start of our first-ever overseas trip (Lynn did do a NZ trip with Capt Cook, but that was a long time ago).
We went on the 'Italian Treasures and European Gems with the Paris Extention' tour with Travelmarvel. There were 42 of us, plus Tour Director Daniel, and of course the man with the magic wheel, our driver Antonio.
I will let the photos tell the rest of the story.

Videos have to be watched on this page 
 click on photos to enlarge.  

 (NbL) Photos by Lynn

For a little bit of nostalgia Click Here

Thursday 18th

                           1st stop, Dubai.                (PbL)

Dubai airport terminal.

Dubai airport terminal.

Yes, we did see a camel there.

After 'McCafe' I was lost.

                                        Leaving Dubai.                       (PbL)

                                    A bit like flying to Darwin.                       (PbL)

                         A surprise to see so much snow in this area.                    (PbL)

Taking the long way to miss the 'trouble' spots.

As well as being a champion on our national carrier,
I now top scored on an international carrier (solitaire).

Descending to Rome.

We had a big break lock-up in the mini-van going from the airport to the hotel.
The backpack on my lap acted as a air-bag, and then there was the sound
of all the seat belts being done up.

Rome has a four story limit on buildings to preserve the feel of old Rome.

It was amazing to see all this ancient history for the first time.

Hotel NH Collection Roma Palazzo Cinquecento, our hotel for the first three nights.

         View from our hotel room of some ancient Roman Walls.                 (PbL)

Red, but not quite a Ferrari.

Time to go exploring. It was to be 4 hours before we returned back to the hotel.

Yellow-legged Gull. We encountered this gull over the entire trip, its behaviour
reminded me of the kites (birds of prey) you see flying over towns in outback Australia.

Only a small wash today.

The main sort of architecture we were to see all over our trip.

                                                                   Potted gardens.                                    (PbL)    

One of ours in the local colours.

Car parking here had us scratching our heads.

Ahh. we found it.

The Flavian Amphitheatre, Colosseum or Coliseum.
This building is estimated to have held between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators.

The holes are where people have stolen the metal bands which held the stone together.

This was the first of two wolf-like dogs I saw on a lead.

The brickwork in the Colosseum was started in the early 1800's as a restoration exercise.

Army personnel were to become a common sight in Rome.

As they don't like to be photographed I have altered his looks.

Cobble stones came in all sizes, these were the large ones.

It's hard to picture how it was back then when it was built.

These are grand structures.

                                               Arch of Constantine.                   (PbL)

The detail is mind-blowing.


                                                           Colosseum                                           (PbL)

An army road block, next to the Colosseum, to slow the traffic down.

Walking where others did, a long time ago.

Modern paints don't last this long.

                                           Ruins near the Colosseum.                                 (PbL)

Looking towards the Roman Forum and the National Monument.             (PbL)

The back of the National Monument.

Rome street scene.

                                                    Rome street scene.                                   (PbL)

Park over a pedestrian crossing on a corner.....why not.

Flag of the far-right CasaPound Party.

Public transport in Rome.

Rome's main railway station, opposite our hotel.

Friday 19th  (AM free time)

Giardino dei Cinquecento ( Garden of the Five hundred).

                           Music in the Garden of the Five hundred.                         (PbL)

Garden of the Five hundred.

Cratere Colossale  (Colossal Crater) a fountain from ancient times.

Garden of the Five hundred.

The Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs is a titular basilica church built inside the ruined frigidarium of the Roman Baths of Diocletian. The baths were completed in the year 306 and were probably used until about 410. Michelangelo designed the church and started work in 1563 but after his death in 1564 his design was completed by his pupil Jacopo Louca.

          The Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs.                  (PbL)

The Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs.

The monumental organ, built by Bartélémy Formentelli
in the 1990's, and is made using cherry, walnut and
chestnut wood was added in 2000.

         The Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs.                 (PbL)

Marble floor in the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs.

Making repairs to the floor.

The Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs. This head was very large.

The Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs.

Fontana delle Naiadi (Naiad's Fountain) in the Piazza della Repubblica.

This mirror-finished Benze really stood out when the sun hit it.

Look left first.

Anti-scooter bollards?

Mini police station.

I suppose it saves space.

The Fontana dell'Acqua Felice, also called the Fountain of Moses.
It marked the terminus of the Acqua Felice aqueduct restored by Pope Sixtus V.
 It was designed by Domenico Fontana and built in 1585-88.  The scooters aren't that old.

After a quick coffee break...........

.............. it's back to work for this undernourished beggar.

Orange street trees.
Street signs in Rome are all on stone tablets.

If the white car can park on a corner, then what's wrong with double-parking on a corner?

Part of the original defensive wall around Rome.

Policeman on duty at the entrance to Villa Borghese, one of the largest parks in Rome.  
 Esercito Italiano on the side of the van means 'Italian Army'.

Being electric assisted made it easy riding around Villa Borghese.           (PbL)

Parco dei Daini (Park of the Daini),  Villa Borghese.

The reservoir of the Acqua Marcia  (Il serbatorio dell'Acqua Marcia)
The Water Tank Marcia and Pia is located in Deer Park, Villa Borghese
and was built between 1923 and 1925.

Left: The bronze statue is Scudela, the mule of the Alpine decorated
 with the Gold Medal for Valor at the end of the Great War.
Right: Monumento all'Alpino, a mountain warfare corps of the Italian Army,
added in 1957.  Villa Borghese.

Stone Pine Trees (Pinus pinea), in the Villa Borghese Gardens.
 These trees are a feature in the Rome landscape.

PM: Tour of Rome, Colosseum and Capitoline Hill.

Our first day with 'The Group'. We descend on the Colosseum.

There were a lot more people here today.

Today we go inside the Colosseum.

The scouts and guides were singing.

Amphitheatre Flavian.........you can work out the rest.

Our first local guide, he was good,
but unfortunately we only had him for half the day.          (PbL)

Inside the Colosseum.

Gladiators   ( I think the 3rd from the right is Russell Crowe).

Inside the Colosseum.

Inside the Colosseum.

Inside the Colosseum.

Early Roman toilet block.

Illegal seller of souvenirs.

Tour Snippet.

Circo Massimo  (The Circus Maximus) was an ancient Roman chariot racing stadium.
 Construction of the Circus Maximus is believed to have been in the late 7th or 6th century B.C. It was originally made mostly of wood and had a capacity of approximately 145,000.  Under the rule of Julius Caesar, the stands were changed to stone to prevent fire damage and the stadium was expanded. The track became 1,968 feet (600 meters) long while the total number of seats was increased to somewhere between 200,000 and 300,000.

Ancient reminders are everywhere.

The Capitoline Hill, a hilltop square designed by Michelangelo.            (PbL)

The Capitoline Hill, a hilltop square designed by Michelangelo.

Lynn likes to photograph flags (so she says).

Piazza del Campidoglio.

              Palazzo Senatorio (Senatorial Palace).                 (PbL)

This marble statue is one of two river gods flanking a fountain on a
grand staircase designed by Michelangelo in front of the Palazzo Senatorio.

The Roman Forum

The Roman Forum

               The Roman Forum                      (PbL)
The Roman Forum, a vast excavated area of Roman temples, squares & government buildings, some dating back 2,000 years. The Roman Forum is one of the world’s premier archaeological sites, giving visitors a feel for what life was like in the ancient and iconic Roman Empire.

Yes, we were there.

The Torre delle Milizie (Tower of the Militia) is a mediaeval fortified tower.
The earthquake of 1348 caused both the crumbling of an upper floor
and the slightly tilting of the structure.

I think our guide said that this ancient building held a lot of public records in fire-proof faults.

The Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II (National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II) or Altare della Patria (Altar of the Motherland). Il Vittoriano has raised several controversies in art criticism. Because of its glaring whiteness, vast size, and positioning, the over-the-top edifice has been labeled the monumentissimo by its critics. Others have dubbed the building the torta nuziale (wedding cake) or macchina per scrivere (typewriter). 

The Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II (National Monument to
Victor Emmanuel II) or Altare della Patria (Altar of the Motherland).
Completed in 1925, Il Vittoriano was built to honor Italy’s first king, who is
 credited with creating a single Italian kingdom in 1861.                    (PbL)

Bronze chariots, driven by the goddess Victoria, on the top of the National Monument.

Mussolini gave a speech from this balcony in 1936.

Saturday 20th: AM: Tour of Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain,The Pantheon.
PM: Vatican and Dinner. 

The Column of the Immaculate Conception, erected in 1856, in the Piazza di Spagna.
At rear: Palazzo di Propaganda Fide (Palace of the Propagation of the Faith),
designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1644.                               (PbL)

Palazzo di Spagna.
In 1647, in consideration of the development which had occurred in the area,
 King Philip IV of Spain bought the building to use it as the permanent location
of the Spanish Embassy. Today it houses the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See.

Walking down the Piazza di Spagna, nearing the Spanish Steps.

In the background is the Flaminio Obelisk. It was built during the kingdom of
Pharaohs Ramesses II and Merneptah (13th century BC) and placed in the
Temple of Sun in Heliopolis, it was brought to Rome in 10 BC by command of Augustus.
The obelisk was discovered in 1587, broken into three pieces, and it was erected in
the Piazza del Popolo by Domenico Fontana in 1589, at the command Pope Sixtus V.

The Spanish Steps

Lynn standing in front of the Fontana della Barcaccia (Fountain of the Ugly Boat),
a Baroque-style fountain. The fountain was completed between 1627 and 1629 by Pietro Bernini.

Geoff, Jenny and the Chestnut Cooker.
The ever-present police personnel.

Expensive shopping here.

Rome street scene.

Rome street scene.


         Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain)

             Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain)                    (PbL)

Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain) was in a more confined space than I imagined.

Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain)

Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain)

Now there's at least four coins in the fountain.
(Three Coins in a Fountain)

It started to rain at the Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain)..............

...........time for gelato, thanks Daniel.

On the bus, Capitoline Hill, Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain.

The poncho sellers made a killing.

Anyone for pasta?

Rome street scene.

The remains of theTemple of Hadrian (Tempio di Adriano).
It was built to the deified Hadrian , built by his adoptive son and successor Antoninus Pius in 145.

The Pinocchio shop.

The Pinocchio shop.

Guess who went to the Pinocchio shop.

The Pantheon.

The Pantheon is a former Roman temple, now a church, on the site of an earlier temple commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus. The present building was completed by the emperor Hadrian and probably dedicated about 126 AD. It is one of the best-preserved of all Ancient Roman buildings, in large part because it has been in continuous use throughout its history.

Inside The Pantheon.

Inside The Pantheon.

Inside The Pantheon.

Inside The Pantheon.

The rain was coming down through that great hole in the dome.

We were sheltering inside during a thunderstorm, and because of the hole in
the dome the thunder and lighting was somewhat highlighted.

We had to go out in this to have some lunch.

The horses didn't seem to be enjoying the wet conditions.
 The Fountain of the Pantheon (behind the horses) was commissioned by Pope Gregory XIII. In 1711, Pope Clement XI requested that the fountain be modified and had Filippo Barigioni design a new layout, which included a different basin, made of stone, and the Macuteo obelisk, created during the period of Ramses II, set in the centre on a plinth with four dolphins decorating the base.

Security no longer gets a second glance.

The Carabinieri is the common name for the Arma dei Carabinieri,
 a Gendarmerie-like military corps with police duties. They also serve as
the military police for the Italian armed forces.

Reflection after the rain.

I haven't got a clue where I am.

Bill tops up at an ever-running fountain.

Loving the colours.

We arrive at the Vatican.

St Peter's Basilica.

The dome of St Peter's Basilica.

Sphere Within Sphere (left) in The Cortile del Belvedere, the Belvedere Courtyard.

It gets crowded in the Vatican Museums.

We walked through the Vatican Museums, unbelievable.

The following is a small sample of the splendor /grandeur / glitz of the Museums .

Painted to look 3D


His eyes followed you down the hallway.

The Ceiling of the Map Room in the Vatican Museums.

The Ceiling of the Map Room.

          There was gold everywhere.                 (PbL)

Sistine Chapel. The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo Buonarroti, 1508-1512.

Sistine Chapel

Scala Regia (Royal Staircase) is a flight of steps that connect the Vatican Palace to St. Peter's Basilica.        

More popular than the Royal Easter Show.
Even the veranda was pretty flash.

By now I'm starting to think we have a 'photocrasher' in the group.
I was overwhelmed by the size of the cavernous interior St Peter's Basilica.

St Peter's Basilica.

St Peter's Basilica.

St Peter's Basilica.

St Peter's Basilica.

St Peter's Basilica.

St Peter's Basilica.

Pope John XXIII lying in state in St. Peter's Basilica, he died in 1963.
 I think one of his quotes "Men are like wine - some turn to vinegar, but the best improve with age"
refers to me.......come on, be nice.

St Peter's Basilica

The Vatican

St Peter's Square.

The obelisks in St Peter's Square was originally raised in the Forum Iulium in Alexandria by the prefect Cornelius Gallus on Augustus's orders around 30–28 BC.  Brought to Rome by Caligula in 40 for the spina of the Vatican Circus, relocated by Pope Sixtus V in 1586.  It is the only obelisk in Rome that has not toppled since Roman times.

Some of the 140 Saint Statues on the Colonnades around St Peter's Square.

Some of the 140 Saint Statues on the Colonnades around St Peter's Square.

"What's that you said?"    "I said, I think a bird's going to land on your head"

Fellow on the right is saying  "It wasn't me, I don't even own a bow".

Swiss guards on duty at the Vatican.

The balcony from where the Pope addresses the crowd.

Inside the Colonnades.

A Yellow-legged Gull eating a feral pigeon.

Isola Tiberina (The Tiber Island).

Palazzo Bonaparte (now Palazzo (Palace) Misciatelli).
Napoleon's mother, Maria Letizia Ramorino Bonaparte, lived here,
after the fall of her son, until her death in 1836.  The building is characterized
by a covered balcony on the first floor, one of the few still surviving, called "dice box"

Returning, by bus, to our hotel.
(watch out for near misses, illegal parking and the interaction of vehicles with pedestrians)

We had dinner that night at Ristorante Pizzeria 4 Fiumiin in the Piazza Navona.

Piazza Navona was once an ancient stadium for athletic contests (Stadium of Domitian).

I enjoyed the atmosphere that permeated from the buzz of the people having a good time here.

Fontana del Nettuno (Fountain of Neptune) in Piazza Navona.

Portrait artist in Piazza Navona.

Caricature artist in Piazza Navona.

Fontana dei Fiumi (Fountain of Rivers) in Piazza Navona.

Fontana dei Fiumi (Fountain of Rivers).

Caricature artist in Piazza Navona.

The scarf seller.
 Gail, Ron, Greg, Margaret (hidden), Kathleen, Geoff (hidden), Peggy, Lynn (taking photo) me, Bill and Judy.         (PbL) 



         Dinner with 40+ lovely people.                (PbL)

This fellow, trying to sell a Kim Jong-un singing doll, and other toys,
had us all in a joyful mood.

A seller of roses went away happy.

I think this is where we all became aware of Craig's (in blue flashing glasses) sense of humour.
Going by the smiling faces it looks like we all had a great night.


Other stuff I saw: old doors, poster and street art.

As a bonus: I uploaded a few un-edited photos to G+ (Dr Google)  and he did this with them.......

The Forum

Rome Snippets

Cameras:  Canon PowerShot SX60 HS................Sony DSC-W690 ............ Samsung S5 (phone).

To go to Part 2 click / tap on 'Older Post' at bottom of page.    


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