Villa Torlonia

So here are a few more pictures from Rome this fall- these photos are from the Villa Torlonia park. There are a bunch of these parks in Rome centered around an old mansion or villa.







Munich Churches



IMG_0834While in Munich I visited several fabulously ornate churches. I love the decoration in these places, especially the ones that added a Holiday themed element like a Christmas tree or a Creche scene.





IMG_0814 First off, two days in Paris is definitely NOT enough. But I did make it to many of the major sites- the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral, Pont Neuf, and the Arc de Triomphe. Despite the rainy weather, the city is still beautiful. There’s an awesome Christmas Market on theĀ  Champs Elysees- the end near the Seine, not by the Arc de Triomphe- which was fun to wander around, even though I got my feet all wet because it was sunny when I left my room and decidedly not sunny when I came back. Tomorrow I head to Munich for Christmas, so I can compare the French version of a Christkindlmarkt with the original German version!

Some Pics from Trastevere

These are just some pictures from around Trastevere that I’ve taken throughout my weeks here:)




(Okay, this one is of St. Peter’s Square. But it’s on the same side of the Tiber, so it’s close to Trastevere!)



Sorry for the scanty postings of late…I’m dealing with a tough personal situation right now but hopefully things will be better soon!

Roman Fall Foliage


Even though it’s already December, there are still fall leaves aplenty throughout Rome. The grey clouds made getting pictures a bit hard- the colors are kind of muted- but the yellows and oranges and occasional reds are actually very bright, and the piles of downed leaves drifting on sidewalks are feet deep in places! For someone who grew up in CA, where fall foliage is pretty much limited to Sycamore trees, this plethora of color is extra exciting!



IMG_0775The colors in this one really didn’t show up very well, but I couldn’t resist the great view of the dome of St. Peter’s behind the yellow tree. It looked much brighter in person.



The Uffizi and Firenze in the Rain

First up- the Uffizi. I was supposed to go yesterday, but there was a strike about something…I don’t know what, so the museum was closed. I did see the workers marching with big red flags with the Russian socialism symbol on them, but whether they were striking for or against, I don’t know. But the nice lady at the ticket booth changed my ticket for today so I went today instead. So much for all the scary warnings I read online about how you must arrive exactly at your scheduled reserved ticket time or you won’t get in. The ticket woman said I could go “whenever I wanted.” So I spent a few hours wandering around, looking at the art…man, there is a LOT of art there. I like the Renaissance paintings and the antiquities sculptures best. Probably not surprising, given my taste in art. Then, after I got lunch, it started to rain. Now, I’m not one of those people who’s all “Oh, I don’t mind the rain. It’s just water.” I’m one of those people who tries to convince myself that I shouldn’t mind the rain because I don’t melt and it is just water. Notice I say “tries.” Because it doesn’t work. I really don’t like the rain. It’s cold and wet and gets your feet all wet and then (if you’re like me, at least) your fingers and toes go numb for hours. Well, maybe that’s just me and my version of Raynaud’s syndrome. It’s a completely benign but still irritating thing where cold triggers my capillaries to shut down and so my fingers and toes go numb and don’t un-numb for hours. But there is an upside to Florence in the rain: all the tourists scurry inside at the first drops, so those people with umbrellas (or those who genuinely don’t mind the rain!) get a few lovely minutes alone in the famous piazzas and outside the cathedrals. That’s a nice side benefit! But now that I’m back in my apartment and dry and un-numbed, I don’t plan on going out in the rain anymore today!







Pisa is famous for it’s leaning tower (which, perhaps obviously, really does lean! I’m not an engineer, but it looks like some laws of physics are being defied by the fact that that building has not fallen over yet.) but it also has a gorgeous cathedral and the same network of winding streets filled with cafes, restaurants and other sundry businesses as every Italian town. The cathedral and the tower are clearly the high points of the tourist itinerary in the town, but a wander around the streets surrounding them, and in the streets between the train station and the Piazza dei Miracoli is a very worthwhile way to while away an afternoon.

Atuin the Great Sky Turtle*

Atuin the Great Sky Turtle*

That’s what this guy in the Piazza Santa Maria Novella reminds me of. He’s not holding four elephants and the world on his back, but he is holding a huge, heavy stone monolith! Plus I like turtles, so I had to share a picture of him:)

Firenze continues to surprise me- even though it seems somehow more unified than Rome in it’s architecture and art- it’s mainly Medieval and Renaissance, while Rome runs the gamut from B.C. to Baroque and even later- there are still plenty of odd and funny things just waiting to be spotted. And that’s what this guy seemed to me to be:)

I hope you all have a great weekend!

*for those of you who don’t read Terry Pratchett, Atuin the Great Sky Turtle is the tortoise who carries the world on his back, resting on four elephants who balance on his shell. He’s a pretty awesome tortoise!