S: James & Kathy Europe 2012 Adventure is Out There...
BC: DEPARTED | ITALY | April 24, 2012
FC: Adventure Is Out There... | James & Kathy Europe 2012
1: Europe | France | ARRIVED 12 April 2012 | In ancient Greek mythology, Europa was a Phoenician princess whom Zeus abducted after assuming the form of a dazzling white bull. Europe, in particular Ancient Greece, is the birthplace of Western culture.
2: After a long flight and a train ride in to Paris, We immediately started to settle in to our cozy Paris flat with one of the best views in the city. We walked around the Eiffel Tower and ate some lovely food from the cafe next to our flat. We were still trying to come to grips with the fact that we were actually here. What a great start.
4: VERSAILLES Our first full day was spent exploring the palace of Versailles. The sprawling palace and immense grounds were breathtaking and also made us think of the strife and difficulties of the French Revolution. The opulence of the bourgeois contrasted to the desolation of the poor and working class. Seeing Versailles made it come alive.
7: We decided to rent a tandem bicycle to tour the grounds. It was an adventure, especially trying to keep Kathy from tipping us over. It was beautiful, everything it was hyped up to be.
9: The weather for our day at Versailles was perfect it was warm, but not hot. The grounds were so green from the new spring. As we wandered around the maze like grounds, getting lost, we stumbled on beautiful architecture & stunning landscaping. We were also impressed by the little hamlet Marie Antoinette had built, to live the humble life. There was definitely an exercise in contrasts. In some of these pictures you see the statue of cupid, the bed chamber of the king, and King Louis on his stallion. What a great day.
10: The Louvre
12: The Louvre | PARIS
13: As we walked through the endless halls and corridors of the Louvre we were constantly impressed with the magnitude of the building and the immense collection of history and art. The building itself was a piece of art. We found it interesting how Mona Lisa was treated like a rock star and how people were fighting to take a good picture with a statue, while some art, just as beautiful, got passed by. Eye of the beholder right?
14: After the Louvre we walked up the Champs-Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe. It was fun to see the craziness of Paris' busiest street. We were especially tempted by the smells of the delicious street vendors. The arc was massive and the steps up to it were intimidating. But the view was breathtaking. It was worth the climb. | Arc de Triomphe
16: One of my favorite parts of Paris, was just walking through the streets. I loved just getting lost and seeing through the tourist hype into the day to day life of people in Paris. Sure we sometimes walked through questionable streets, but that was half the fun. I think the streets of Paris will always have my heart. | Walking through Paris
18: One of the nights, Kathy and I decided to take a walk along the river Seine. Paris is called the city of lights and what better way to experience the lights than a walk on a river. The Eiffel Tower was light up and would sparkle every hour on the hour. It was fun to spend some time with Kathy in this beautiful place. | The City of Lights
20: The Sunday we went to Notre Dame was a very cold one. The wind was absolutely frigid. But the building was gorgeous. Filled with history and the devotion of so many. It was a special place, even if we were shivering.
21: Notre | Dame
22: La Sainte-Chapelle La Sainte-Chapelle was commissioned by King Louis IX of France to house his collection of Passion Relics, including the Crown of Thorns - one of the most important relics in medieval Christendom. Begun some time after 1239 and consecrated on the 26th of April 1248, the Sainte-Chapelle is considered among the highest achievements of the Rayonnant period of Gothic architecture. Although damaged during the French revolution and heavily restored in the 19th century, it retains one of the most extensive in-situ collections of 13th century stained glass anywhere in the world.
23: When you first walk in to Sainte Chapelle you go into the basement. It is dark and dull colored. Then you walk up a small flight of stairs and you enter one of the most awe inspiring views of stained glass. The colors and light tell familiar Bible stories and bring your eyes toward heaven.
24: From Paris
25: To London
26: London We spent one short day in London town. We rode a two decker bus, walked the streets with a homeless man and ate the best fish and chips I have ever had. I loved the feel of the city and the tradition. It didn't hurt that everyone spoke my language...mostly.
28: Old Towne | LONDON
30: London is the capital city of England, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom and European Union. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its founding by the Romans, who named it Londinium. London's ancient core, the City of London, largely retains its square-mile mediaeval boundaries. Since at least the 19th century, the name London has also referred to the metropolis developed around this core. | LONDON, England
32: Italy Oh Italy! How we loved your warmer temperatures, your delicious food and lovely people. We ended hear because we knew we would love you. Kathy already did and now so do I. Was it the focaccia? Was is the gelato? The colors and sunshine? Was it your history and art? I think it was love at first sight.
36: Venezia is a city in northeast Italy sited on a group of 118 small islands separated by canals and linked by bridges. It is located in the marshy Venetian Lagoon which stretches along the shoreline between the mouths of the Po and the Piave Rivers. Venice is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. We only spent a few hours in this beautiful city, but is was long enough to fall in love with its vibrant colors and delicious food and gelato. Maybe it was because it was our first gelato but it may have been my favorite. Stepping off bus to Venice was like stepping in to summer. Finally a beautiful warm day in Europe. | Venice
38: ITALY | MILAN
39: Our stay in Milan was too short, barely enough to scratch the surface. But could see why Kathy loved it and why I want to go back. Although I will not be packing Kathy's bag next time I climb the Duomo
40: From Milan we took a train to Kathy's other mission area, Genova. Kathy took me on an early morning tour of the city and showed me her favorite square and the street where her dear convert lived. It was very sweet. We will go back and stay there longer next time. And eat a lot of Focaccia
42: Cinque Terre
43: Cinque Terre stole my heart. from the first view of the color and ocean. This was one of the places I was most excited to visit. It didn't disappoint. We had a little miracle when Kathy found her good friend Tanzilya after we had given up hope. We walked the walk of love, walked along the ocean, eat along the ocean and slept in a cozy little flat in Monorola. The pace and lifestyle of Cinque Terre is beautiful and intoxicating. Definitely could spend some time exploring these cities from top to bottom.
44: CINQUE TERRE
46: The Cinque Terre (CHINK-weh TAY-reh, which means "five lands") is a series of villages clinging to a remote stretch of the Riviera coastline. Each town is a variation on the same theme: a pastel jumble of homes crouching in a gully like crusty sea creatures in a tide pool, undisturbed by traffic or modern development. The rugged villages of the Cinque Terre, founded by Dark Age locals hiding out from marauding pirates, were long cut off from the modern world. Today the villages, linked by a milk-run train, a ferry, and a spectacular trail, draw hordes of hikers.
48: Florence (Italian: Firenze) is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area. Florence is famous for its history. A centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of the time, Florence is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, and has been called the Athens of the Middle Ages. A turbulent political history includes periods of rule by the powerful Medici family, and numerous religious and republican revolutions. From 1865 to 1870 the city was also the capital of the recently established Kingdom of Italy. | Florence
52: Florence was my first introduction to Tuscany. Green rolling hills, topped with castles and valleys filled with red tile rooflines. Florence was a fun city to walk around, enjoy the scenery, the art, and the architecture. We had a bit of rain our first day in Florence which made the streets shine and made the city more magical. Luckily we had an umbrella.
54: ROME | Italy | 20-24 April 2012
55: Our time in Rome was a high- light of our trip and was made even more special because we were able to stay in the Squarcia home. We were so grateful that Franca took us around the city two days and treated us to cookies and cakes every morning. The city has so much history and depth. It was amazing to think of the voices, the moments and footsteps that have been there. It is remarkable.
56: Rome's history spans more than two and a half thousand years, since its founding in 753 BC, with the union of rural villages. It was the capital city of the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, which was the dominant power in Western Europe and the lands bordering the Mediterranean for over seven hundred years from the 1st century BC until the 7th century AD and the city is regarded as one of the birthplaces of western civilization. Since the 1st century AD Rome has been the seat of the Papacy and, after the end of Byzantine domination, in the 8th century it became the capital of the Papal States, which lasted until 1870. In 1871 Rome became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, and in 1946 that of the Italian Republic.
58: ROME | The Vatican
61: The streets of Rome are filled with magic in every piazza. But for us our favorite was the Pantheon. The sheer age of the building is awe inspiring. The architecture is so good it has lasted hundreds of years and housed millions prayers of faithful citizens of Rome and the world. Truly wondrous.
63: For me this really was a trip of a lifetime. I had never left the country (unless you count Mexico). I have always dreamed of going to Europe and seeing the places I have always read about and seen pictures of. It feels almost like a dream that we even went. Luckily I have a few pictures to remind me that it really happened, and that I want to go again.
64: SYDNEY TOWER | is Sydney's tallest free-standing structure, and the second tallest in Australia (with the Q1 building on the Gold Coast being the tallest). It is also the second ta | Franca's husband Awei, took us on a tour of Ladispoli after a peaceful Sunday. He wanted to get us to the beach right at Sunset, and he timed it perfectly. Thank you Awei.
68: Our last day in Rome was a great ending to our trip we walking though the Sistine Chapel, hiking through Roman Forum, visiting the Colosseum, and wandering through the idyllic streets of Trastevere. I definitely left with a sweet taste in my mouth for Europe, especially Italy. We were blessed with great traveling friends with the Binghams and kind family to watch our girls. Until next time Italy...
70: Farewell Europe... until next time....