Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Southern Europe Memories

This week, I updated my Photo Gallery on Shutterfly at . It brought back great memories. We sailed from Galveston, TX to Rome, Italy. The trip afforded me the opportunity to see the Azores. I found the Roman Aqueducts interesting. Some of them were two stories high and most were ivy covered. The "green-ness" of the Island was beautiful and the rolling hills seemed to create a sense of peace.

Then, on to Lisbon, Portugal, as we travelled by bus to Fatima, where Our Blessed Lady appeared to three children on May 13, 1917. Visiting this Shrine was a truly moving experience for me.

Each mile and each port brought more exhilaration. Never, in my lifetime, would I expect to see the actual Rock of Gibraltar. Then, on to Barcelona, Spain. We took a bus tour of the city that would, in my estimation, warrant a return for a walking tour. Following this, we toured the "Gold Coast" near Cannes, France. I could have skipped that.

I found Pisa very interesting. Outside the gates of the "Doumo" (the Cathedral with the Leaning Tower), were many vendors. We were told that they were from North Africa. We had to wend our way through them to enter the Piazza dei Miracoli (the Cathedral square). As Mass was being said when we entered the Cathedral, we were limited to standing in the back to ensure reverence while the tour guide whispered some information.

What struck me was that the Bapistry, a separate building completed in the 14th Century, had a slight lean to it. I really enjoyed visiting Pisa.

We went on to Rome and stayed about three miles outside the City. This part of the tour had been arranged by the Cruise Line. If we had planned it, we would have stayed in the City. Our first taxi trip brought us to a more affluent shopping area. We were really looking for an opportunity to experience having coffee at an outdoor cafe. Before long, we did find one on a side street. There we met a couple from Pittsburgh, PA who had completed a walking tour (something I would love to do). They related that it was a hard walk, but they were pleased that they did it.

To round out our experience, a street singer came along and serenaded us. More about Rome later.

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