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Showing posts from September, 2011

Bari, Bari Cool

Port #3 was into Bari, Italy which is 2nd only to Naples in economic importance to Italy.  It's also a university town as well as an ancient port city.  We stuck to the old quarter, wandering around until we found the Castello Svevo --castles and palm trees:  how cool is that??  The castle was built around 1100, burned and was rebuilt a bit later that century; it's old, no?

Meandering through the medieval streets I was again struck by the marriage of the ancient with the working modern and I caught these:

A door onto the street just happened to be opened--look!  So this is where residents park!   I could SO live here, you?
We ended the afternoon at the shore--the water is right over there over that line of cars:
Then back to the ship for some dinner

We got back to our room after dinner, another one of Aldrin's CUTE creations greeted us (he even stuck my sunglasses on him :)

Ravenna Rave

Cruise Day 2 we woke up in Ravenna, Italy to this view:

Ravenna has a crazy quilt history dating back to the Etruscans who settled it Long-Long-Ago-BC--it was accepted into the Roman Republic back in 49BC!  It's architecture reflects Byzantine, Ostrogoth, Venetian and Roman occupants over the centuries. Ravenna with the most outstanding mosaics in the world.   Lots of biggies of history came through here.

The day was overcast so a bit cooler.  Using internet info as a guide, we set off on our own walking tour.  Amazing stuff.  I'm afraid my little Sony camera didn't do it justice--so you really must come see all this for yourself!

Note:  whenever you think you're seeing a fresco/painting; you're not.  Absolutely everything was done in mosaic.

The Basilica of San Vitale--1500 years old--you can tell my looking at the people inside the scale of this place:

 Check out the split and mirrored marble column on the right--the place was full of them.  Belissimo!
This one…

Slovenia & Stallions

On Sunday we sailed away from Venice...
...and we awoke to these stunning views of Koper, Slovenia, from our stateroom balcony!

I had read that the city of Koper pretty much closes down on Sunday, the day we arrived; and Randy really wanted to see the stud farm of the famous Lippizan stallions.  So, we joined the tour group the ship was offering and off we went on a 45-minute bus ride into the fall scenery of the Slovenian countryside.  There was a guide on the bus who filled us in on tons of interesting Slovenian factoids.  I have to admit that this tour would not have been on my radar screen (even though my mom had taken me to a performance of the Dancing Lippizans for my 16th birthday)--I thoroughly enjoyed it!  Once again, hooray for the spice of spousal differences :D

This particular sight of Lipican had been breeding these special horses since around 1400.  The grounds were beautiful!  We enjoyed a tour of the stables, a museum tour and a special performance--they really do dance!…

The Clampets Do Italy

...and Croatia! ...and Slovenia!  Yep, they actually allowed Randy & I into each of those countries.  Amazing.  Do you think immigration realized I graduated from Kern (aka Korn) Valley High in a class of 99 people??

We just returned (into UB at 6 am after 2 Aeroflot flights; bleck) from 12 days away--7 days spent on a GIGANTIC cruise ship--and an extra 3 days in Venice :) .  The last 2 full days spent in airports and on flights.

We were gobsmacked the entire trip.  What struck me most about Venice was that people actually livein the midst of all this antiquity and beauty.  Be forewarned; I'm planning to blog this trip in installments.

Venice rocks!  We got there after exactly 24 hours of travel (10 hours in Moscow airport--double bleck) and armed with this amazing book that is now totally dogeared and gelato stained:
SO much better than Lonely Planet (and lighter, too).  I got one for Croatia, too.
The hotel in Mastre sold us tickets for the local bus into Venezia  (note:  th…