Tuesday, September 29, 2009

800 pictures

OK - that isn’t how many pictures are in this post, but that is how many I took on our recent vacation cruising Spain, Italy and France. It was quite difficult to “narrow down” what to share but these are some of my favorites for one reason or another:

I already shared one of my favorite images from Barcelona in the last post. We absolutely loved it there. Since we flew in and out of Barcelona and boarded our ship there, we were able to spend a day on both end of the trips just exploring the city at a more leisurely pace. One of the highlights of the trip for my husband was the opportunity to go to an FC Barcelona soccer game. It was a great game and Barcelona won 5-2 in the end:


Our first port of call was the island of Malta and when I woke up in the morning and looked out the window to see this, I knew it was going to be a great trip:



It was such a beautiful day in Malta. We took one of those tour buses around the city and even though I was snapping away at the gorgeous architecture, I couldn’t help but keep looking up and taking pictures of the clouds:



The architecture in Malta was breathtaking and it might have been one of the places where I took the most pictures. Malta had so many churches and we learned that the apostle Paul was shipwrecked on Malta for 3 months when he was on his way to Rome to be put on trial and then imprisoned and later martyred. Paul introduced Christianity to the island and it is still the prominent religion in Malta today. All the churches in Malta were built with two clocks - one has the right time and the other has the wrong time so the devil would be confused. Pretty interesting!


Our next port of call was Naples, Italy where we took the train to Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast. It was absolutely beautiful:


From Sorrento we went to Pompeii - the city buried by Mount Vesuvius. This was the most fascinating place. I am a little obsessed now, dying to learn more about the city and the culture at the time. I will definitely be reading some books on this one.


I really liked this picture of the streets of Pompeii in black and white:


The third port we stopped in was Civitavecchia, Italy; we took the train to Rome. We visited St Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps and the Colosseum.

The ceilings in St. Peter’s Basilica:


The hallway leading in toward the Sistine Chapel:


Artwork on the walls in the Vatican Museum:


Standing on the Spanish Steps, overlooking a street in Rome:


In Italy there were fountains everywhere throughout town that people drank out of and washed their hands in, filled up their water bottles, etc. Micah really took to the custom:


The next photo is the Colosseum - this is my other new interest. I am so excited to study more about the history here. I have been reading some books by Francine Rivers and they are set in Rome at the time when there were gladiators fighting in the Colosseum. It was amazing to see it in person for myself. The history all around Europe was just fascinating!


Next stop: Livorno - and a short train ride brought us to Florence - one of my most favorite places. It was gorgeous there and I loved walking around the old city looking at the beautiful churches and shopping of course! Here is the Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence (Firenze in Italian):


Beautiful churches in Florence:


Our final port was Cannes, France in the upscale French Riviera. It was of course beautiful there: Here is a view from a lookout point over the city:


There was a walking tour all around the city and this castle was one of the stops on it:


Micah and I went down to the harbor and just watched all the beautiful yachts and the workers readying the boats and preparing the tables with food and fresh flowers on them. Quite the ritzy place!


One of the things I loved about the trip was that things like this clock tower were just normal - beautiful architecture is just standard in all the places we went. I couldn’t stop taking pictures.


Also - everyone had such cute windows. I took so many pictures of windows and shutters:


One of the things I will miss the most though is watching the sun dance across the water as it set every night. We loved relaxing on the boat overlooking the ocean all day - so peaceful!


It was bittersweet to leave but I was so happy to get back and see the kids. It was really hard being away for so long. Happy 10 year anniversary to my wonderful husband.

Thanks to all my clients for the well wishes - I received many emails while I was gone so I will be getting back to you as soon as possible - hopefully I’ll get through everyone by tomorrow. Thanks!