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Old 27th September 2012, 21:35   #1
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Default Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.

"I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse." - Vito Corleone

Can anyone separate Vito Corleone & Sicily? The very moment of hearing the name of Sicily will get the flash of all series of this famous movie - God father.

It was almost after a decade I visit this place, Catania. My last visit was so memorable - it happened on one of the those famous days of Black out in Europe. Yes, I landed in Catania when whole of Italy was out of Power.

Catania is the place, where

* I was advised not to venture out at night
* not to roam around beach with visible camera
* not to show that i was a tourist (Is that possible!!!)
* Not to cross the road even if it was green for pedestrians
* and plenty of other NOTs, and suggestions from hotel & office guys.

This is was in early part of 2000.

I was very excited when I landed this time in beginning of this September. Not much changed, except that the airport was completed with renovation.

All my week days went in standing and presenting the training. I had one Saturday for me. So, planned to book a one day tour about Mt. Etna. Unfortunately, there was less takers and hence they could not organize. Finally, succeed to book a half day tour.

I have been to Mt.Etna during winter, and had a life time horror. The car did not had a chain. Hence was asked to stop by the police, park it and not allowed to drive further to the mountain. Got a lift to the top of the mountain on a regular tour bus. Enjoyed the snow, views etc and only when it was time to return realized that there is no transport to take to go down. Damn, I walked all the way down for hours in those freezing cold:(

So, this time I made sure I book it with a tour. And was very lucky to get a fantastic guide, who was explaining things very good. Visiting the same place in 2 different seasons, gave a completely contrasting pictures. Last time when I was in winter, I did not see any lava. But this time, it was DIFFERENT.

Now to the pictures.
Benvenuti a Catania
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Shores of Sicily

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Lazying around in flight

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Our ride for the tour

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Its a Nissan, its a Terrano

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I am 2.7zee zee

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Left or Right

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Double barrel

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Smarty UNO

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Ding-Dong

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One of the many Craters of Mt.Etna

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Stones - Made from LAVA

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Its Lava, everywhere

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Arriving at the Lava that flowed a decade back

Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-img_4196.jpg



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Old 27th September 2012, 22:13   #2
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Default Re: Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Etna

From Wikipedia
Quote:
Mount Etna, is an active stratovolcano on the east coast of Sicily, close to Messina and Catania. It lies above the convergent plate margin between the African Plate and the Eurasian Plate. It is the tallest active volcano in Europe, currently standing 3,329 m (10,922 ft) high, though this varies with summit eruptions. It is the highest mountain in Italy south of the Alps. Etna covers an area of 1,190 km2 (459 sq mi) with a basal circumference of 140 km.
She is one of the few active volcano. The last eruptions was around 3 months back. But not so serious. In the beginning of 2000, this volcano have erupted several times, and washed off many houses in the mountain.

The closest village is called Messina, I think. Previous eruption have luckily just stopped before this village. When I asked why still people live in such dangerous place - the guide answers

"The first priority for human is food. And our Catania never disappoints us. Her soil is so fertile that if we drop a seed, she yields fantastic"

True, the lava is so porous, holds all humid, and hence the soil from lava never needs frequent water. There are many scholars and scientist from all parts of the world - including India, visiting here to research the agriculture in here.

Its very interesting to hear the history and the formation of caves from the lava flows. We did visited one such caves - almost 300m long. Experience of a life time.

There will be some good in the gravest bad too - yes, this is completely true in her case. The fertility of soil is directly related to the lava. The lava is so strong that it takes 50-60 years to become soil. The yeast or bacteria forms the first life on the lava, slowly eating out the lava, and loosening it to finally form soil.

Meanwhile, the lava is used as bricks and most houses around here is built with that. Seems there is good market for such bricks, and people from far Europe also buy such bricks and use in for decoration and special construction.

And there are handywork souvenirs too, from this black beauty.


To the land of LAVA
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Lava parking
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Its Lava, everywhere...
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First life - On Lava
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Life @ first sight

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Indication that Lava is converted to soil
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And it allows visible life
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Cave formed by flowing Lava
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Lava remains of last decade
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Last edited by mjothi : 27th September 2012 at 22:25.
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Old 27th September 2012, 22:45   #3
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Default Re: Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.

Once done with this part of the Mountain, the next agenda was Deli-Tasting. Visited the place, and had a awesome treat for the taste bud. From the virgin Oilve oil dipped bread, to the Honey filled cream, to the sweet and tasty wine, to the olives etc. every stuff was considered without opting out any thing.

They also had honey factory in there. Consisting of a small room with equipment for squeezing, filtering and storing of honey.


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Guys, what's happening in there!!!
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From here, we started out journey towards Valley Del Bove.

Last edited by mjothi : 27th September 2012 at 22:48.
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Old 27th September 2012, 23:19   #4
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Default Re: Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.

Next stop was in Valley Del Bove (Valley of Ox).

Now, this valley was running in KMs of distance in diameter. This is a big saving gesture for the people. Since most of the lava flowing this direction, will be collected here, there by saving the villages in down stream.

100s of 1000s if years ago, this was the highest peak of Mt.Etna. Guide mentioned that it was almost as tall as 4000mts. And slowly during the changing age, and blasting from the craters, and finally the peak collapsed forming this valley. When you peep in the valley, all you can see is black, black and black lava. Nothing else.

On the way to Valley
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Zooooming fast
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The Valley
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The BOSS - The GUIDE, explaining the facts with expression
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Your's Truely
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Bingo - Here comes the TATA
Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-img_4284.jpg

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Old 28th September 2012, 06:46   #5
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Default Re: Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.

The next location was to visit one of the natural cave formed by the flow of lava.

The formation of cave is an very interesting fact. The lava that flows from the mountain when passing through the obstacles, or valley, keep thrown away and slowly due to temperature difference it solidifies. This process continues and slowly a layer is formed from both side, and subsequent lava flows keep adding to this layer and finally completes the formation.

You have an interactive Museum to visualize such concepts. But, we choose to visit more places when we were asked if we want to see the Museum or real stuff!

This was explained by the guide using the lava sands outside the cave.

The cave is a rich resource for geo scientist, I would guess. Inside the cave it is cold rather than hot or warm climate. The reason is, the morning mist is captured in the lava, and since it is porous, it retains these mist and result is the inside of the cave is always very cold.

Since the lava provided excellent protection from heat, olden days these caves was used as storage for ice. Once Shepards visited such caves with ice storage, and used the orange they had in hand, squeezed it over the snow / ice and just found the famous Geleto icecream.

Inside the cave, we saw the formation of cave in layers, blisters, colors due to chemical and mineral reactions, and many other interesting stuff. Due to the darkness could not take the pictures with real effect.

We were equiped with helmet + flash lights, before entering the cave. I was amazed when I entered inside the cave. I was thinking I should crawl and move forward looking at the size of the entrance. But inside, its huge, where in you can stand erect and walk, except some places.

Halt for the cave
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Formation of Cave - explained
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Look at people entering the Cave (left of pic)
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The opening called "The Entrance" !
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Getting Ready!
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Helmet + Flash light = Ready to venture
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Here we go!!!
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Entrance - pictured from Inside
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Blisters & Layers of Cave
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Sand of Lava
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More on Layers
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Same Entrance - real effect
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Lava Spikes
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End of the cave
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Lights ON...
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From the Entrance
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Small opening called Entrance
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A panoramic view
Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-pano.jpg

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Old 28th September 2012, 18:15   #6
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Default Re: Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.

Next we moved towards the south of the Mt.Etna, and here was the crater that erupted a decade ago. How huge? You cannot guess its size from my pictures. I am attaching a picture from web (with due credit to the owner!) here.

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There is no words to describe it, so here comes the bundle of pictures.

Beautiful roads to Mt.Etna
Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-img_4353.jpg

yes, it is.
Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-img_4354.jpg

Life on Lava
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Climbing the mountain
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Roads, Roads, Roads
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Reached, Parked
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Entering the Crater
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Climbing the Crater
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View from Crater
Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-img_4362.jpg

Hmm, Now clearer - its "Crateri Silvestri"
Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-img_4363.jpg

Its veryyy light
Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-img_4378.jpg

And porous
Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-img_4379.jpg

No, not from Star trek.
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Can you see the Road?
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Do you have a Vision?
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Bombardments from Crater
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How can Me Miss a Chance.
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Eye-Ball like bombarded from crater
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Closer
Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-img_4397.jpg

Last edited by mjothi : 28th September 2012 at 18:28.
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Old 28th September 2012, 18:40   #7
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Default Re: Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.

Some more pics from the Crater.

On the edge of the world? No.
Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-img_4399.jpg


On the cloud? yes...
Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-img_4401.jpg


Those white spots, are actually litters :(
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Max I can cover in my point & shoot
Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-img_4405.jpg


Yes, Visit-but-not-ate
Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-img_4421.jpg


Wanna climb the other one?
Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-img_4424.jpg


No rocks, but lava
Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-img_4425.jpg


Few random Panos
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Old 28th September 2012, 19:09   #8
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Default Re: Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.

Having done with the main attraction it was time to return back to hotel.

Here are some of the pictures on the breaks we had on the way back.

The house you see covered by lava was damaged in 2000s. Officially you are not allowed to build houses in these areas, but s you know, there are always souls that think they are smarter, powerful than nature. They neither listen to rules, or Nature. Finally, looses.

Just below this deadly mountain, I see so much green. Wish we see such greens on those vast lands in India too.

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Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-pano11.jpg
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Old 28th September 2012, 19:32   #9
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Default Re: Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.

Now, let's move into the downtown of Catania.

Center Square!
Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-cataniadowntown.jpg


Gymnasium. That's what written on entrance
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The Cathedral
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Elephant - Landmark for downtown
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The Fountain
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Toy Train
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Wanna a Ride
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Sloppy/steepy rodes
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Fountain in the Park
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Closer look
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Different view
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In the center
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Cathedral
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Entrance of the Downtown Center
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Haathi, with its haath.
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Flying Lion
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Light post
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Leo.
Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-img_4139.jpg

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Old 28th September 2012, 19:39   #10
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Default Re: Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.

Stitched Panorama - with different processing.
Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-downtown.jpg

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Dinner in the Chinese restaurant.

Starters
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Sushi!!
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Yummy!
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Perfect END.
Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-dessert.jpg

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Old 29th September 2012, 13:37   #11
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Default Re: Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 30th September 2012, 12:23   #12
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Default Re: Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.

Lovely travelogue there Mjothi, you are one lucky guy who can utilise work and leisure and give us a peek into unusual places. Good job there friend.
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Old 1st October 2012, 08:45   #13
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Default Re: Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lukeskywalker View Post
Lovely travelogue there Mjothi, you are one lucky guy who can utilise work and leisure and give us a peek into unusual places. Good job there friend.

Thanks Hari.

Frankly, this trip was very different for me. And was very thrilled seeing those volcanoes and lava which I have only read and seen in books.

Even though my heart was praying to see some eruption (selfish!!!) my brain was praying not to.
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Old 4th October 2012, 18:52   #14
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Default Re: Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.

What's an Island without the Beach? So, here you go.
Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-beach.jpg

Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-beach2.jpg

Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-beach3.jpg

Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-beach4.jpg

Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-img_4151.jpg

Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-img_4153.jpg

Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-img_4168.jpg

Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-img_4171.jpg

Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-img_4176.jpg
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Old 4th October 2012, 19:17   #15
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Default Re: Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.

The next weekend was in Marseille, France.

The plan was to visit the Chateau d'IF (If Island).

From Wikipedia.
Quote:
The Château d'If is a fortress (later a prison) located on the island of If, the smallest island in the Frioul Archipelago situated in the Mediterranean Sea about a mile offshore in the Bay of Marseille in southeastern France. It is famous for being one of the settings of Alexandre Dumas' adventure novel The Count of Monte Cristo.
This is the island made famous by the County of Monte Cristo. If you have watched the movie, the very first scene where he swims and escapes was from this very prison.

Here are the pictures from the ferry ride, before reaching the island.

Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-img_4585.jpg

Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-img_4588.jpg

Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-img_4598.jpg

Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-img_4604.jpg

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Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-img_4614.jpg

Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-img_4620.jpg

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Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-img_4591.jpg

Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-img_4627.jpg

Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-img_4629.jpg

Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-img_4635.jpg

Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-img_4639.jpg

Photoblog: From God(Father)'s own country to Monte Cristo's Island.-img_4640.jpg

Last edited by mjothi : 4th October 2012 at 19:22.
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