Sunday, July 27, 2008

The French Rivera


The next morning...not a very early morning for all of us...we went to see the beach...I set my feet in the French Rivera and off we went back to Frome UK. The trusty Queen Air got us back in 4 hours 45 min flat ...
I must admit she is a very nice Queen... thanks to her and our trusty pilots... she made another "M&M adventure flight of a lifetime" possible.
My thanks go out to Chris Vincent for his hospitality making us feel at home in his castle. Thanks again to Chris for letting me share his dog Jack and hopes for his full recovery.
Thanks to Sam and all the office help for putting up with me doing this blog in or near their wireless internet !and to Eve or Alice or whatever her name was who copied the pictures for us and for the laugh we had !
Thanks to Matt the cook who fed us when we needed food !
My thanks to Mandy for her friendship on the first leg of the trip to the UK...We were great
flight attendants together!
I can't say enough to all the people we met...but may God bless you all ! We had a wonderful time there and We will never forget you !
I must also thank my new found cousin, Grazia, for making our trip to Italy one of special heart felt time that I will never forget...beautiful ! Very beautiful ! bellissimo...Thanks Grazia!
Stay tuned for more M&M adventure flights!
Cheers .... Chow ....and goodbye for now...M&M(Mell and Mary)

Beautiful Evening


We found a place to park and took a walk on the harbor. We had dinner their in a sidewalk cafe and watched the moon come up.
We walked around the harbor and looked at million dollar yachts.
Well....we had no place to stay the night...and decided Cannes would be a better choice of hotels...so we take off for the highway.
We got back to Cannes much faster this time...but the choice for hotels was slim ! Everywhere we looked they were full. Again Chris got out his GPS...it will give you the names of hotels...so he got on the phone and called until we found a place that had rooms for the night. It was 1 am before we hit the sack...it never felt soooooooo good.

Monte Carlo Casino


It was still light when we arrived in Monte Carlo...we passed this massive casino...looks like some kind of palace !

Leaving Venice

We left Venice on the water taxi to the island of Lido...
We flew only part of the way back to UK stopping for
the night in Cannes France. We arrived around 6pm.
The guys just had to see Monte Carlo... one hour away...so off we go ...rented a car...well none of us spoke French...we thought we were following the sign to the interstate...when my gut said "we are going in circles" I looked back and can you believe it? Maryln Monroe passed me by for the 2nd time ! European vacation all over again!
But hey ...finally Chris got out his GPS and we found the interstate ! It was a very exciting time for all of us ! Mell was driving and Chris was navigating...
Sam and I decided we thought they did better in the air !

Rowe Gondola,Taxi Boat, Supply Boat













The guys on the Rowe Gondola...just out for their morning exercise.
We never rode the water taxi...they had water buses...you paid one price to ride all day.
Check out the supply boat...mostly beer kegs.

Dinner on the canal

video

We were serenaded by this nice Italian accordion player !

Taking a break


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Streets of Venice


This was the smallest of the streets we saw.
You can only walk through Venice. No cars
Not even bicycles ! Only boats...

The Front of St Marks Cathedral










This is just a portion of the mosaics and statues on this building !

St Marks Square and Cathedral











We are starting to be tower climbers... except this one had a lift.
We are up in the St. Marks Bell Tower. It was the only way to
get a picture of this place !

The Gondola Ride

video

Rialto Bridge











The oldest of the three bridges in Venice on the Canal.
Was originally made of wood and caved in in 1440. It was rebuilt of wood but added shops along it. It wasn't finished until 1592.
It has a 90 ft span and 24 feet high in the middle. It was built on
12,000 pylons.
Thats the way Venice was built too....on pylons !

The Bridge of Sighs and Gondalier
















The Gondalier must be a Venitian, he learns his trade from his father or Uncle or some family member.



The bridge of Sighs gets it name because everyone who crossed it was on death row...it was their last sigh....

View from the top of the Hotel







The Ferry Ride


We took a taxi to the Ferry and the Ferry over to Venice.

Lido Beach


We returned back to our hotel in Lucca said our goodbyes to Grazia and Giacomo and left the next morning for Venice.

This is where we landed, but not on the beach !

Sounds of Florence

video

At the top of the Tower





































The Cathedral of Florence


Originally built in 1310 and finished in 1436, demolished in 1587, for unknown reasons. Rebuilt in 1887 to the way it is today.

Giotto'a Bell Tower














We climbed 414 stairs to get
to the top of this tower.

Neptune Fountain


This sculpture was made between 1563 and 1575.
Opposite the fountain is a marble circle to remind us
that it is the place in which Girolamo Savonarola was burnt on the stake on May 23, 1498.

Piazzale Michelangelo
















We walked up and up to the top of this hill overlooking
Florence. There is a statue of David at the top in the
center of the square.

Florence











We hopped on the train in Lucca and headed to Florence.
This is Ponto Vecchio, the old bridge,on the Arno River, the most ancient bridge in
town. It was first built in wood, then in the 12th century was rebuilt in stone. In 1333 it was demolished by floods. Then rebuilt in 1345 as it is here. The shops here were first used for food.
But since the 16th century have been used for goldsmiths and silversmiths. All the shops today have mostly jewlry.

Roman Anfitheatre in Lucca

video

Via dei Fossi

Further down this street are Medieval walls,
gates of some sort. Due to dead batteries I missed the
shot of the Walls !

At the top of Guinigi Tower













This is Lucca from the top
of Guinigi Tower

Church of San Michele














This church is in Lucca...There are many churches in Lucca
This one was really close to our hotel and opened up into a very
large square, one of the centers of town.
There is a large bell tower on the side which was started in the 12th
century and ended in the 19th century.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Garden


This was one of the awesome views on the Wall of Lucca.

Basilica of San Frediano

This is a mosaic...consacrated by Pope Paul III in 1147 ... this church was founded in the 6th century....awesome!