Monday, October 23, 2006

Planes, Trains, etc. ~ Part Four

Miscellaneous photos snapped in the ancient ruins of Rome. The second pic is the area where Caesar's body was cremated. It has been roofed for protection from the elements, and people often leave flowers there.

The third pic is the plaque outside the area where he was cremated. Unfortunately, they didn't also hang a plaque in English. If you know Italian, maybe you can interpret it for us.

In the fourth pic, note the broken marble pieces laying about. They are prevalent in that area, and although they keep the paths fairly clear, you do have to watch where you are walking.

Laura asked some questions in her comment to yesterday's post. First: Was I in a tour? No, I went with mr. kenju and miss kenju (our daughter), who planned the whole trip. She has been there before, so she knew just what to do and where to go. I highly recommend that you travel with someone who is a whiz at the subway systems and train stations (staziones). She can go all over Rome and Paris in the subways and also knows how to travel easily by train in most of Europe. We were very fortunate to have her plan the trip and take us there!

Second question: What would I do differently? I would limit any trip to just one or two countries at a time. We went to three, and it was a little too much travel for 8 days. We went to Rome, Florence, Zurich, Paris and Versailles. All of them were wonderful, and it would be hard to choose a favorite city, but it was too much in a short period of time for me to be able to digest all sights and keep them separate. Of course, I will be reliving that trip in my mind (and on the blog) for weeks to come, so it will all sort itself out in time, I am sure.

If I had it to do over: I would travel in Italy exclusively; Rome, Florence, Venice, Pisa, and several other areas I cannot remember right now without looking at a map. We flew over Pisa on the way to Rome (through Paris) and we saw the leaning tower of Pisa. I would love to see it from the ground too. I would go to Tuscany and stay in a villa beside the Meditteranean Sea. I would climb Mts. Vesuvius and Stromboli. I would cruise the canals in Venice and I would eat gelato all over the country and get fat and be perfectly happy!

I have never been a huge fan of Italian food in the US, but I can tell you that I have been persuaded to change my mind about Italian food in Italy. It bears faint relation to the stuff served here. There are little to no preservatives in the food; so I, usually challenged by IBS and milk allergies, was able to eat absolutely everything there without a problem. It seemed a miracle that I could eat cheeses, butter, ice cream and sinfully rich pastries and suffer no consequences, but I did. The only problem occurred because they apparently don't know about decaf coffee. I, who have been essentially decaffeinated for 25 years or more, drank their regular and very strong coffee everyday. On returning home and going back to decaf, I couldn't stay awake for more than 2 hours at a time, and I developed caffeine-withdrawal headaches. My solution was to drink some regular Coke, which perked me up very quickly, but I do need to taper off caffeine as soon as possible. That was the only downside to the trip.
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kontan said...

Oh wow! Thank you for sharing your trip! Here from Michele's and I'm going to look around

Tracie said...

What a wonderful trip! A friend of mine recently spent a year in Italy teaching and even since she came back and has been talking about it and showing me pictures I am dying to go visit.

Michele says hi!

Tracie said...

"I would eat gelato all over the country and get fat and be perfectly happy!" too me too!!

You make the food sound so wonderful!

Michele says hi again!

Killired said...

hi there! i see you commenting on carmi's blog a lot.. just thought i would get the word out: Killired: WWCP official launch

Jay said...

You are very lucky to have a daughter for a tour guide. I like to take things a little easier on vacation myself, but one can hardly complain about having seen too many beautiful things!

mar said...

Bella Italia! such a beautiful place to visit, eat the wonderful food (I would double my weight in less than 3 months!) and enjoy. It sounds a lot for only 8 days, you certainly need some time to "digest" your nice trip! wonderful pics :)

Seamus said...

Such a wonderful trip, but I agree that 3 countries in 8 days seems a bit overwhelming. Great that you had you own personal travel planner and tour guide! :D

Wordnerd said...

I was at the beach this weekend and had time to finally go my brother's hundreds of pics he took on HIS vacation to Europe in August. Rome just seems so incredible. Take me with you next time!!!

Paul said...

I got your note about gelato. You're right: it's good. Lucky me, I don't have to travel all the way to Italy for some. My daughter and her husband recently opened a coffee house and included the only gelato bar in The Whole Big City. So I have permission to eat all the gelato I want--and share it with my grandkids (their kids). I'm going to get us all in trouble one of these days.

Laura said...

well then, tell your daughter I plan to take her with us if we ever go to Europe! ;)
Unfortunately, that might be years. :(

I've also heard, several times before that Italian food bears no resemblance to it's American counterpart. I've always wanted to go on a culinary tour of Italy, and France as well, and I can only imagine how good it all must have tasted.
hope you have come down from the caffiene withdrawls by now!

colleen said...

I'm going to keep that in stick to Italy...which I want to go to anyways. Can I hire your daughter? I love good Italian food, so I know I'd be in heaven there! I think they do the best food in the world. I want to float in a pink gondolla!! (reference to my post today).

PI said...

My goodness you really crammed a lot in! I spent a week in Rome with someone who can translate from the Latin and believe me a little of that can go a long way!
I agree you are an excellent photographer.

Greg Finnegan said...

The three columns are the remains of the Temple of Castor and Pollux. We know them better as the twins of the Gemini.

Great pictures, Judy!

Paul said...

Here's a URL to the coffee house that I mentioned earlier. Enjoy.

And if you come visit, I'll treat.

And BTW, I've really enjoyed these photos...

trinamick said...

Finally got caught up on your travels. What an amazing trip! Sounds like you all had a lot of fun. Glad we get to live vicariously through you!

Angie said...

I saw the smoking fish! I always forget and there you are with it on vacation!! hahahahah!

Anonymous said...

OH this post is making me soooo hungry! Seriously, it really sounds like a great time!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

What a fabulous trip, Judy...!
I must say about the food...WE are lucky here in Los Angeles...we get "the real stuff"....
Isn't it wonderful that you could eat everything and NOT have a problem...

I would LOVE to go to Tuscany....Well, I would love to be able to go anywhere...!

srp said...

We only got to stay in Rome for two days but we did stay at the Columbus, which was two blocks from Vatican Square.

Most of our two weeks was spent in Florence and you could have stayed a month and not seen it all. Pisa is a day trip away and that's enough time for it.

Love their seafood. The best food was at a small family owned restaurant at the bottom of the hill where my brother's Florence apartment was. Each day the menu, hand written, was different. Each day, the hours of operation were different. No particular schedule... that was so different from everywhere else. They just don't keep schedules.

Shephard said...

Isn't Gelato the best? We tried 14 dif. flavors in Venice and Florence. :)

Ya know, Naomi's right, you can find authentic Italian now that you know what it tastes like! I've found one Italian restaurant that tastes like Italy. But... it will not be as preservative free, I'm sure. I was so intersted to hear that your milk-intolerance was not a problem for you. B is going to experiment with that next time we go.


EuropeanTop said...

Hello and thanks for the opportunity to read and post on your blog.

I’ve just posted an article related to travel tips for seniors on my blog and I thought maybe you’d be interested in reading it. Here is short preview of some of the areas I covered:

- Prefer a backpack on wheels instead of a suitcase, you could pull it behind you when your back hurts or you are exhausted.
- Consider checking your bag in with the airlines, because it would become an unnecessary burden to be dragged all over the airport or the city if you are going to have a short visit.
- You could stay outside the city, in a hostel maybe, because it is cheaper, less crowded and the air is much fresher, but you have to walk or use the transport more, to get in the city or to the station.
- Most museums, some concert halls, railways, airlines, bus lines, ferry and shipping lines have a discount policy for seniors.
- Electronic devices are useful but sometimes they can give you a lot of headaches. You could help yourself with a micro-tape recorder to record your notes. It would be easier than to write and you would put them down on paper later, to share your notes with your family.
- If you bring a camera with you to keep the beautiful images alive along the time then make sure you know how to handle it or you might fail to record them not only on that camera but also in your eyes.

For more resources on travelling to Europe you are welcome to visit my blog, where you can also get acces to some excellent maps of Stockholm and maps of London, together with information on hotels and restaurants.

Best regards,

Michael R.