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London, Paris & Italy

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London, Paris & Italy - Page Text Content

S: London then Paris then a cruise around Italy Aug 2011

BC: People don't take trips, Trips take people -John Steinbeck

FC: London | then | Paris | then | a cruise around Italy | August 2011

1: London Aug 11 - 16 Paris Aug 16 - 21 Barcelona Aug 21 - 23 Villefranche Aug 24 Pisa, Florence Aug 25 Rome Aug 26 | Amalfi Coast Aug 27 Venice Aug 28 - 29 Ravenna Aug 30 Dubrovnic Sept 1 At Sea Sept 2 - 3 Barcelona Sept 4 Ottawa Sept 5

2: First thing: Hop-on-and-off Tour on a Double-Decker Bus | London Eye | Parliament | LONDON | Aug 11 | Aug 12 | Berry Bros. & Rudd: Britain's oldest wine and spirit merchant, est. 1698 | They sell wine to the Royal Family | Nelson Mandela gave a speech from here | Nelson's Column | Gigantic replica of the Adm. Horatio Nelson's flagship HMS Victory | Trafalgar Square

3: London Eye, Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace (Canada Gate, Royal Mews, Tea), and Harrods | Westminster Abbey | Buckingham Palace | Royal Mews | Canada Gate | Tea time on the Palace's back patio | Harrods | Royal Wedding,April 2011 | State Limo | Monuments to Shakespeare, Darwin, Dickens, Newton, Lord & Lady Baden-Powell

4: Tower of London | White Tower | Aug 13

5: Tower of London, St Paul's Cathedral, British Museum Shakespeare's Globe was closed to tours | St Paul's Cathedral | British Museum

6: City Cruise boat ride to Greenwich; Walk past Old Royal Navy College, National Maritime Museum and up the hill to Royal Observatory Museum; Pax Lodge; Kew Gardens | Aug 14 | Tower of London | Shakespeare's Globe Theatre | Along the way... | National Maritime Museum | London Town Hall

7: Greenwich Meridian | Kew Gardens | Red ball drops to mark 1 pm

8: Stonehenge | Station Stone | Heel Stone | Burial Mound | Walking around

9: Stonehenge Salisbury Cathedral Roman Baths | The Great Bath | Salisbury Cathedral | Aug 15 | What the front entrance may have looked like | Circular bath (filled with coins)

10: Aug 16 | Walking along Avenue des Champs Elysees | First wine (cheaper than pop, too) | Musee du Louvre | Napoleon's Dining Room | PARIS | Luxor Obelisk | Our first sighting of the Eiffel Tower | From our hotel window | Napolean's Apartments | Our breakfast

11: Aug 17 | Musee du Louvre Musee d'Orsay | Nike of Samothrace | Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss | Cour Marly | Venus de Milo | Mona Lisa | Duchesse of Angouleme Diadem | Empress Eugenie Diadem | Musee d'Orsay

12: Aug 18 | Arc de Triomphe Notre Dame Cathedral Pantheon Sainte Chapelle | Arc de Triomphe | Amazing views from the top | Many steps to top | Notre Dame Cathedral | Rose Window

13: Pantheon | Foucault's Pendulum | The inside was a neat mix of religion, science and politics | Sainte CHapelle | Just enough building to hold up all the stained glass

14: Aug 19 | Catacombes Eiffel Tower | Follow this line on the tunnel's ceiling to get out! | Carefully arranged skulls & femurs | An altar

15: Esplanade du Trocadero | Hotel des Invalides | Louvre | Notre Dame | St-Sulpice | Pantheon

16: Marie-Antoinette's escape door | It was very sunny | Quite the scene, even before entering the Palace | Council Study | Dining | While the Palace was huge, it was dwarfed by its Gardens | Hall of Mirrors | Private Royal Chapel | King's Bedchamber | Queen's Bedchamber | Palace of Versailles The Palace that was so extravagant, it inspired a revolution | King Louis XIV the Sun King | Aug 20

17: King Louis XIV | Marble Galore | Ceiling Art The Apotheosis of Hercules; Ceiling in Diane Room; Ceiling in Hall of Mirrors; Germany Accepts Peace | Gold, too | The Royal Family Louis XV; Marie-Antoinette and her Children; Louis XV Offering Peace to Europe; Louis XIV victorious | Epic Paintings Battle of Aboukir; Army Takes as Oath; Coronation of Emperor and Empress | King Louis XIV

18: Barcelona | Aug 21 | The Magic Fountain of Montjuic | Siesta | First ride on a subway | It was hot

19: Boqueria Market | Gelato | Public fountains on Las Ramblas | Catalunya Square | Font de Canaletes

20: Aug 22 | Sagrada Familia | Front | Back | A private tour of Barcelona | Side | Santa Maria del Mar | Section of Roman wall (4th century A.D.) now a part of the Royal Chapel of Santa Agata and the Royal Palace

21: Park Guell | Olympic Stadium | Antoni Gaudi: prominent architect

22: Aug 23 | On to the CRUISE

24: Around Nice, France | It was built to keep the Ottomans out but it wasn't finished in time | Fort Mont Alban (1557) | Villefranche-sur-Mer | Observatory built by Eiffel | Aug 24

25: Wine lesson from Olivier | Chateau - belongs to Duke or/Lord, grapes from within 5 km range of Chateau, best to get Domain - from within 5 - 8 km range of Chateau, next best to get Bordeaux - general mix of grapes from outside the 8 km range of Chateau | Olivier brought us to a Nice Boulangerie (Bonheur de pain) so I could satisfy my craving for a real croissant. Shannan surprised Jay with a mille-feuille | Nice | 18th Century Carousel

26: St-Paul de Vence | Confiserie Florian: Wonderful handmade candy | Gorges-du-Loup

27: Monaco | Casino | Palace | Near Gourdon, Tourrettes-sur-Loup | Eze | Fragonard Parfumeur | Making soap | Back at the pier | Opera House

28: Pisa and Florence | Leaning Tower | Cathedral and Baptistry | Second Leaning Tower | Pisa | Aug 25 | Santa Maria della Spina | University | Reflection on car window

29: Tuscany and Chianti Regions | Olive trees | Basilica di San Miniato al Monte | The view from the Basilica | Lunch | It was very sunny

30: Basilica di Santa Croce | Galileo | Michaelangelo | Danti Aligherio | Florence (Firenze)

31: Giotto's bell tower | Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore | Battistero di San Giovanni | Piazza del Duomo | Ponte Vecchio | Michelangelo's David | Piazza della Signoria | Palazzo Vecchio | Uffizi Gallery | Loggia dei Lanzi

32: Aug 26 | Rome | Colosseum | Luca (our guide) was lots of fun

33: Circus Maximus (chariot races) | Holes for various poles, pulleys, etc.

34: Spanish Steps | The best pizza | Imperial Forum | National Monument to Victor Emmanual II (aka The Wedding Cake)

35: Trevi Fountain | Pantheon | Yummy gelato!

36: Vatican City | Laocon and His Sons | The Belvedere Apollo | Fragment of a Sarcophagus | Wall around the City | Massimo (our guide) | Vatican Museum | Braccio Nuovo Gallery | Octagonal Courtyard | Ceres | Hera | Nero's porphyry bathtub on a Roman mosaic | Neptune or Tigris | Hercules

37: This is a painting... | There are two people here but three people here | The same tapestry but from two different angles | A room with optical illusions | Gallery of Tapestries | Gallery of Maps | Pope's symbol - two keys

38: Sistine Chapel | St Peter's Basilica | Michelangelo's "La Pieta | Bernini's Baldacchino | "Without having seen the Sistine Chapel one can form no appreciable idea of what one man is capable of achieving." --Johann Wolfgang Goethe, 1787 | Church officials walk up these steps to the Chapel | We came out of the Chapel at the top of the stairs. These doors lead to the Pope's Private Quarters.

39: Pope's apartments | Maderno's facade | The Dome | Papal Conclave: smoke from chimney in Sistine Chapel window | St Peter's Square | Swiss Guard

40: Amalfi Coast | Amazing views | Aug 27 | Mt Vesuvius & Pompei | Positano | Lunch | Ravello | San Marzano

41: Amazing little finds | Sorrento | Positano | Amalfi | After lunch | Ravello | Jay: Do you have any lemon jello? | Limoncello factories

42: Venice | Boating around | San Stae Church | Psst - Guess what? We're in Venice | Aug 29 & 30

43: Venice at Night | Go this-a-way It's that-a-way | Ostaria al Garanghelo Calle Dei Boteri

44: Rialto Bridge | Piazza San Marco | St Mark's Basilica | Campanile | Procuratie Nuove | Santa Maria della Salute | Sarah (our guide)

45: Doge's Palace | Bridge of Sighs | Scala del Bovolo | Boat Traffic light | Lunch

46: Ravenna | Aug 31 | Adriatic Sea

47: Dubrovnik | Exploring outside the Old City | The Old City | Sept 1

48: On the ship | Weekly | Mohit

49: Back in Barcelona | Sept 4 | View from hotel room: Casa Mila | Sept 5

50: Notes from the postcards | Aug 11 - arrival and double-decker bus tour Aug 12 - London Eye, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Harrods department store Aug 13 - Tower of London, Shakespeare's Globe (but it was closed to tours at that time), St Paul's Cathedral Aug 14 - Royal Observatory and Greenwich Meridian, Pax Lodge, Kew Gardens Aug 15 - Golden Tours company: Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral, Bath and the Roman Baths Aug 16 - to Paris. We saw the Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysees, Louvre, Jardins Tuileries Aug 17 - inside the Louvre, Musee d'Orsay, wine tasting and yummy supper at O Chateau Aug 18 - climbed to the top of Arc de Triomphe - awesome views, Notre Dame, ice cream, Pantheon and Foucault's Pendulum, Sainte Chapelle Aug 19 - Catacombes, Cimetiere du Montparnasse, Eiffel Tower at 9:30 pm. We loved the croissants for breakfast at Hotel Maillot and the fact that a glass of wine could be cheaper than a glass of pop. Aug 20 - Versailles then random stuff for the last day in Paris

51: Aug 21 - to Barcelona - 6 am departure from Paris hotel, arrive at train with 10 min to spare. Silly work on M1 meant rerouting on trip to train - Arrived to a hot Barcelona then walked approx 30 min to hotel - Quick tour of Las Ramblas (market) - Bought hair pin Aug 22 - Morning tour of Barcelona - Saw church by Gaudi, Park Guell, lookout spots, Roman, medieval and modern Barcelona - Supper at nearby tapas restaurant Aug 23 - Departure on Cruise - Subway trip to Columbus Square - Smooth check-in then hung out in Windjammer restaurant, pool and Dinner Hall

52: Aug 24 - Villefrance, Nice, Eze and Monaco - Olivier was our tour guide - First stop - Fort Alban, 1557, was built to keep the Ottomans out but it wasn't finished in time. We could see the observatory that M. Eiffel (ala Eiffel Tower) built - We got wine and a quick French wine lesson. If the label has (a) Chateaux:– the wine belonged to Duke/Lord, the best to get, grapes came from within 5 km range of the chateaux, (b) Domain: the next best, 5-8 km range, (c) Bordeaux: means general mix of grapes from outside of the 8 km range. (d) Also, the colour at the top of the cork - green is good wine, blue is not - Croissants from a Nice boulangerie (Bonheur de pain), we then rode a carousel - St Paul de Vence, medieval village with stores - We stopped to see waterfalls on River Loup - Confiserie Florian - make candy with sugar and all-natural ingredients, including flower petals - Fragonard in Eze for perfume and a quick tour of their perfume making factory - Monaco for a quick tour - We then had to rush back to the port. Luckily, Olivier was very comfortable driving on narrow, twisting roads. He was able to by-pass the traffic jam. The way got so narrow at times that the side-view mirrors had to be moved in. Very impressive driving. We caught the last shuttle boat back to the Ship.

53: Aug 25 - Pisa, Florence (Firenze) - Mike was our tour guide (from Rome in Limo company) - We saw Santa Maria della Spina, a church right beside river railing - We saw the Leaning Tower, Cathedral and Baptistery of Pisa; all cathedrals have bell tower and baptistery - We had gelato at 9 am (from Bar La Torre) - We saw the Second Leaning Tower of Pisa (San Michael de les Sculzo -[Bare Feet) - We drove through the Chianti region, saw lots of olive trees and vineyards, big and small - We stopped at San Miniato Al Monte with beautiful church and view of Florence - We started our time in Florence with a yummy lunch at Cucina Tuscana - We visited Santa Croce - the church where Galileo, Marconi and Michaelangelo are buried or have monuments - Duomo - beautiful building - We saw the replica of David in front of the Uffizzi Gallery - We had more gelato (from Gelateria La Carraia) - We then went back to port

54: Aug 26 - Rome - Luca (from Rome in Limo company) was our guide; Kalina and Callum loved him, he was very nice, funny and playful. He has a PhD in Linguistics and can speak many languages. His love of history, architecture and meeting people made this a great job for him. - View of St Paul's Basilica - Pyramid (burial spot) - Walls - Coliseum - Palantine Hill and Circus Maximus (chariot races) - Road of Temples - First hotel - Roman Domus - Piazza Venezia - Roman Forum - Monument to Victor Emmanuel, first king of Italy (aka Wedding cake) - Mussolini's balcony - gave speeches here - Trevi Fountain - we tossed in a coin to come back - Spanish steps - Piazza del Popolo (executions happened there) - Pantheon - Castle of St Angelo - Restaurant for lunch - yummy thin crust pizza - Gelato at Captain Cono - Private tour of Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel and St Peter's Basilica with Massimo

55: Aug 27 - Amalfi Coast - Massimo (from Rome in Limo company) was our tour guide, but he spoke very little English so little info was given along the way - Lots of driving - Saw Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii from a distance; saw lots of beautiful coastline, towns and mountains - Quick stop at Sorrento to check out little shops and small, private limoncello makers. Jay expected lemon jello - boy, was he surprised that it was a liquid and had alcohol. Jay and Shannan found the drink very strong; I liked it. - Hour-long stop at Positano to check out little shops aka tourist traps. It was very hot and hilly; beautiful church and beach - Quick stop at Amalfi to check out its square - Ate lunch at a small restaurant with a beautiful view on the way to Ravello. Yummy pizza, inexpensive white whine, tiramisu (for Shannan and I) and lemon profiteroles (for Jay), a shot of limoncello for all, much to the chagrin of Jay and Shannan. - We stopped at Ravello to check out shops, buildings, pathways and scenery – all beautiful. I felt like it made up for the heat, chaos and boredom of the previous few hours. I'd go back to Ravello - We drove through San Marzano on the way back to the port. San Marzano is famous for their tomatoes - As a parting gift from Rome in Limo, Massimo gave us a bottle of limoncello Aug 28 - hung out on the Ship, relaxing

56: Aug 29 & 30 - Venice - Sarah was our Walking Tour guide - She took us from Piazzele de Roma to San Marco, pointing out the history and little tidbits of Venice, and took us to a really good gelato place - From San Marco, we had an hour-long water taxi tour of the canals. Our driver dropped us off near our Ship. - After supper, Jay, Shannan and I poked around Venice at night and walked to and from San Marco. The kids stayed on the Ship in the Kid's Zone. - The next day, Jay, Shannan and I took a vaporetto to San Marco and gradually made our way back to the ship. We bought some nice Murano jewelry - We managed to find Scala del Bovolo after a while and Shannan asking for directions many times. We kept on being told, with hand waving, This a-way, That-a-way. - Venice was beautiful and very quiet (outside of the tourist areas). Lots of walking to be done to get anywhere so it can take while to get from point A to point B. No wonder Venetians all seem to be in good shape Aug 31 - Ravenna - We found our way to a beach, rented 3 chairs and an umbrella from 10 am to 3 pm. We relaxed and played in the Adriatic Sea - I got a sunburn

57: Sept 1 - Dubrovnik - Our taxi driver, Beli, took us on an hour-long tour of the outskirts then dropped us off at the gate to the Old City - In the Old City, we poked around - On our way to the marina, we climbed many steps. We went through a doorway in the outer wall, expecting a great view - we found a little cafe with an amazing view, cold drinks and steps down to the water. Jay, Shannan and the kids went for a swim while I hid from the sun - We walked back through the old city until we found the cable car entrance. We took it to the top of the hill, hung out for a short while then headed back to the ship Sept 2 & 3 - On the Ship - The kids hung out in the Kid's Zone. Jay, Shannan and I relaxed by the pool, reading or napping. On the 2nd, Shannan and I found the front of the ship to watch the ship pass between mainland Italy and Sicily Sept 4 - Disembarked in Barcelona -After finding our hotel, Next To, and leaving our luggage there, we went to find a snack. After a quick bite to eat, we took a double-decker bus tour of Barcelona. For supper, we found a tapas restaurant. Sept 5 - Headed back to Ottawa. I had to leave around 6 am to get to the airport. I was very sad to see the trip end.

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  • Title: London, Paris & Italy
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