All roads lead to Rome

 

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Rome is one of my favorite cities. This past May we completed our fifth visit, and there are still places I want to visit and visit again. Rome is a combination of the remains of an ancient empire (which you can see everywhere), the birthplace of the Catholic Church, art and the la dolce vita. When I started my blog, almost three years ago, Rome was my first entry and I thought I would share some of the images I have taken since then as well as thoughts on my favorite places in the city. Continue reading »

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Tuscany

 

untitled-24If you are spending several days in Florence, you should take some time to visit the countryside of Tuscany. Tuscany is a region in central Italy known for its postcard like scenery where you will find Italian hill towns set among rolling hills, wineries, olive groves and 16th century farmhouses. The hill towns were built with thick stone and masonry walls on  the highest point of land so as to provide protection for their original inhabitants. Tuscany is also the home to the Sangiovese grape variety that is the base for some of some of Italy’s famous wines such as Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino. Continue reading »

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Florence

 

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Overlooking Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo

Florence was founded as a Roman settlement but it wasn’t until the 14th century that it rose in prominence as the birthplace of the Renaissance. Fueled by trade and located on an important trade route between Venice and Rome, Florence had become a wealthy city and the emergence of the Medici family seeded this process. The Medici family were the bankers of Europe and made their fortune by loaning money to important clients, including the Church and the Popes, and became the most politically prominent family in Florence from 1350 to 1743 when the last family member died. Continue reading »

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Venice

untitled-42Venice is unlike any other place in the world.  Built on an archipelago of 117 islands, formed by 177 canals and connected by 409 bridges. Transportation within the city is entirely on water or by foot, unchanged from centuries ago. Continue reading »

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Madeira

 

untitled-7This past May we did a transatlantic cruise from Ft Lauderdale to Barcelona. There were 7 sea days before our first port, Madeira, a group of islands southwest of Portugal and while we had great weather during the crossing, we were ready to set foot on dry land. Continue reading »

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The Algarve

 

untitled-7The Algarve is the southernmost region in Portugal and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe with over 7 million foreign tourists visiting the area each year. We had the opportunity to visit the area on a cruise several years ago when our ship made a port stop in Portimao. Continue reading »

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Palacio Nacional de Pena (Pena Palace)

 

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Approximately 18 miles outside of Lisbon is a remarkable castle overlooking the town of Sintra.  Originally a chapel,  a monastery was built on the site in the 15th century. It was considered to be a pilgrimage site and sanctuary until it was destroyed in the devastating earthquake of 1755. The existing castle was purchased and built in approx. 1850 by King Ferdinand. Continue reading »

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Lisbon Portugal

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This is one of my favorite pictures, the colors, the tiles, the hills and the tram- this is Lisbon

Located on the banks of the Tagus River, with cobbled streets, castles, impressive cathedrals, colorful buildings, a rich history and the trams, Lisbon is a great city. It is the capital of Portugal and one of Europe’s oldest cities. This was our third visit to Lisbon and we have thoroughly enjoyed each visit. At the conclusion of each trip, we make a mental to do list of what we want to do the next time. Continue reading »

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The Big Easy

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This past March, I attended a National Geographic Photography workshop in New Orleans. The workshop was fantastic and I am glad I attended. I had not been there before and my conversations with people who had visited were a mixed bag from ,“its great” to “it’s awful & a cesspool”. My conclusion is that it is great and I had a blast. I can’t wait to go back. Continue reading »

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Cruising the North Island of New Zealand

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Kia ora

The final stops before disembarking our cruise in Auckland were three ports on the North Island of New Zealand. Our first stop was Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, next was Napier, also known as the “Art Deco City”.  While in  Napier we visited the Cape Kidnappers Gannet Colony. Our last stop was in Tauranga, which is the gateway to Rotorua, home to Rainbow Springs (and its nocturnal Kiwi house), “Hells Gate” (a seismic area) and Mitai village where we explored the Maori culture. Continue reading »

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