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Old 2nd November 2009, 14:26   #16
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Arrow The Trevi Fountain and Tower of Pisa

At 1230, we re-group at St.Peter's square (yes, the very same place in Da Vinci Code) & troop into the coach and Peter, our local guide explains the sights as we drive through. Even the bridges on river Tiber connecting the Vatican are pieces of art, the roads go up and down, parking was orderly, things move at a sedate rate, no hurry, no blaring horns, no tail-gating, no cuttin into traffic. We were amazed when Chiro said Italy traffic was not disciplined, turned out to be true, comparitively, every other place we went, traffic was 50 fold more organized!!!! This is a whole new chapter in structuring, organizing, channellizing and implimenting traffic discipline; we need to take a couple of leaves..... mmmmm, wrong word here....shall we say BIG TREES from here in terms of driving discipline.

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Some of the pictures are taken from inside the coach, not OK, sorry, still uploaded due to importance. Picture of balcony from where Mussolini announced Word War 2 on 10 June, 1940 to his roaring fans, building where his son, Benito Muzzolini, an acclaimed jazz pianist who lived and died in 2003 at the age of 78, jazz was banned by Mussolini Senior during the war!!!!

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Also a trive here is Benitos former wife was the sister of Sophia Loren the Italian siren. We had a 15 minute photo-stop at the Colossium, some tit-bits about this icon of Rome.
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An epitome of Roman engineering & architecture, it could seat 50k people, live death-games involving humans were enactd there, about 500,000 people and 10 Lakh animans died during the active period of the Colossium, imagine that!!!! If you see the film Gladiator, you'd get an idea of what a live one one would be, you can spend easily half a day walking and shooting around here. Peter kept the story flowing for 20 minutes, till we came to the parking area @ 1 pm near the famous Trevi fountain, we walk thro the narrow streets lined with fruit wendors, souvineer shops and eataries, he leaves us here. It's another icon of Italy, most visited fountain in the world, a beautiful piece of art, Bernini was asked by the Pope to design this dramatically and he did on paper before he died, you'd find Bernini touches everywhere, took 23 years to build this. The palace in the background pales into insignificance before the shell shaped chariot drawn by seahorses, water rushes loudly into a pool which represents the sea. Legend has it that one has to throw a coin with the right hand over the left shoulder into the fountain for an ensured return to Rome, a popular version says if you thro two coins it will lead to a new remance and three will ensure a divorce!!! Dont ask me how many I threw About 3000 Euros are thrown into the fountain DAILY, mostly used for the poor, rest is stolen by a mafia that specializes in that sort of work. Hilary Duff tosses a coin here in "The Lizzie McGuire Movie", heard many Italian filims show backdrop.

We lunch/munch around here with Icecreams, big cup for 3E (Euros), cakes, huge & jucy grapes and Apples. We get back into the coach @ 2 pm, and settle down for the 260 KM, 3 hr drive. This is the time to nap, yak or take notes, I consolidate my notes into a small pocked book during the long drives and take pictures from near Chiro or read the travel brochures that are available plenty at every spot. Every 2 hours or so on the Motorways, we stop at fuel stations, Autogril which is always attached with a convenience store, food place and clean toilets, few of them need 1E ( yes, Rs.70/- for a go), the whole system is well organized. Another discipline Naineet required was NO eating in the coach which was difficult to enforce, we had almost everyone buying things during stops secretly eating inside the coach when the drives were long-drawn. The A11 took us to Pisa around 6 pm, it was raining on and off, light was fading, we rushed to catch the last bus from the coach stop at Piza. Most people know about the story of Piza, so here goes the pictures...... and the end of the 1st day. Tomorrow the heard of Florantance art and the most toured city in the world, Florance.

======

Last edited by ramkya1 : 2nd November 2009 at 14:32.
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Old 2nd November 2009, 14:53   #17
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Arrow Cook from Madurai at Pisa, Italy.

Outside Autogrill, the service station, convenience store and all rolled into one, pretty good and very organised. You can get a hot coffee there, the only one with milk in it, still you need to put 4/5 packets to sugar to make it palatable!!!

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The Road to Pisa

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It was raining on and of, could not shoot for fear of spoiling the camera, by the time we left it was dark, deserted at around 0715.

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A bit about the Indian dinner we had at Pisa, TC had brought an Indian cook from Rome 250 KMs away to Tratoria Pizza Bar where they loaned the kitched and gave us a lovely banquet, that was the highlight of the day, the cook turned out to be a country cousin from Madurai!!!!

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Last edited by ramkya1 : 2nd November 2009 at 14:57.
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Old 2nd November 2009, 15:40   #18
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ramkya, sir welcome back to town and good to see your splendid trip to europe.Surely you can pen down a trip to moon as well given time permit.Pictures speak thousand words and so does yours as well.Narration are well in order to get along your tour too.Congratulations and let the further part begun.
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Old 2nd November 2009, 15:48   #19
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legend also has it that if you chuck three coins into the Fontana Di Trevi, then it is assured that you will return to Rome, the Eternal City, again.

I believe in the truth of this legend.

your pictures are lovely to see and enjoy - I really appreciate your use of the natural light.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ramkya1 View Post
At 1230, till we came to the parking area @ 1 pm near the famous Trevi fountain, we walk thro the narrow streets lined with fruit wendors, souvineer shops and eataries, he leaves us here. It's another icon of Italy, most visited fountain in the world, a beautiful piece of art, Bernini was asked by the Pope to design this dramatically and he did on paper before he died, you'd find Bernini touches everywhere, took 23 years to build this. Legend has it that one has to throw a coin with the right hand over the left shoulder into the fountain for an ensured return to Rome, a popular version says if you thro two coins it will lead to a new remance and three will ensure a divorce!!! Dont ask me how many I threw About 3000 Euros are thrown into the fountain DAILY, mostly used for the poor, rest is stolen by a mafia that specializes in that sort of work. Hilary Duff tosses a coin here in "The Lizzie McGuire Movie", heard many Italian filims show backdrop.

Last edited by khan_sultan : 16th November 2009 at 11:15. Reason: fixed quotes
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Old 2nd November 2009, 19:15   #20
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Ramkya Sir, your narration is so vivid, it requires more pics to complement it.
Suggestion for next trip "Isle of Wight" near portsmouth.

Yes, tap water in germany is not fit for drinking & smells. My wife stayed at stutgart for a month and she never touched tap water for drinking.

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Old 2nd November 2009, 19:28   #21
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So this is where you had disappeared to!! Good to have you back and that too from Europe. Looking forward to more.
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Old 2nd November 2009, 22:38   #22
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Ramkya, after missing for so long you come up with THIS..!!
This is surely going to be one infologue.
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Old 2nd November 2009, 23:25   #23
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Ramky Sir, What a start with some wonderful pics? Lets enjoy UK and parts of Europe through this travelogue.

Abhi
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Old 3rd November 2009, 00:31   #24
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Arrow Florance the heart of art.

07-10-2009: By 0900 all are into the coach and we turn into A11 towards Firenze (firneze for us) and Florance, en route, we pass through Pistonia, for 15 miles on both sides you can see nursaries of decorative trees as far as the eye can see, this was a rare sight, a keledoscope of colours, never seen or heard of so many nursaries clustered into such a small space, heard that poeple from all over Italy come here to buy saplings of all kinds of trees and plants. We drive for about70 kms
and reach. A little bit on Florance.........

In the famous Tuscany area this is the Florance province, the old capital of Italy. Associated witht Renaissance, art, artists of all kinds, music, education, cuisine, philosophy, religion this was the centre of Italian business at one time. A world heritage sight now, this is one of the most visited cities in the world and lies on the river Arno. The Medici family was the richest in the area and encouraged rewarded artists so you'd find the who is who of the world actually lived and worked from here, some of them, Roberto Cavalli, Cuccio Gucci, Botticelli, Machiavelli, The Michelangelo, donatello, Galileo Galieli, Dante, Salvatore, there are many more.

10 AM : Salve leads the pack through the Florantane streets, the same street through which many famouse people have walked. Salve's distinct yellow shirt and blue pants are for a purpose, to identify him in any crowd ( I am sure he hates the yellow Govinda Shirt ) while he narrates the history of the place, man has deep knowledge of the terrian we did, says has been doing 4-5 trips a year to Europe for 4 years, what a way to make a living!!! He says we meet back here around 0130 PM and disappears.

The Cathedral is the first famous sight.

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Last edited by ramkya1 : 3rd November 2009 at 00:36.
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Old 3rd November 2009, 00:43   #25
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Arrow The Famous Piazza Della Signora Square

Next is the famous square Piazza della Signoria is a free for all place full of masterpieces / statues, most of them naked. This L shaped square is still the political hub, tourist hub and is a bee-hive of activities, the town hall is the old palace, the Uffize Gallery (always huge crowd to get inside) which holds florantine treasures, the Govt.buildings are nearby. David's statue, a copy of Michaelangelo, after killing Goliath, statue of Cosimo, The Lion, Hercules and Cacus and the

Rape of the Sabine Women,
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Perseus with the head of the Medusa
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The river which almost destroyed everything, see the high water mark.
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Another famous one from...........????
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are some masterpieces out in the open for free viewing, you can sepnd two full days around here, we had half a day + time time to grab lunch. Some photos of the place.

Fountain of Neptune
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Last edited by ramkya1 : 3rd November 2009 at 00:57.
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Old 3rd November 2009, 10:56   #26
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Nice coverage there !! Cool pics.
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Old 3rd November 2009, 12:27   #27
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Arrow Small Rooms In Europe

At 0300 we're back on the bus and shortly stop at the florance view point / photo-stop from where the skyline of Venice is visible, fortunately it's a clear day though cloudy. Around 4 we levlel A1 and join A13 to Padova, 95 kms away, we pass Bolonia, an industrial town, traffic slows us down. Where the motorway crosses towns, even the sides are walled up to reduce noise polluton to residants, the value for environment, safety, quality of living and life in general is visibly very high. At 0630 we turn to A4 towards Venice, 30 kms away. We stop at Gourm India, a popular Indian restaurant to catch an early dinner, the other Indian place there is Maharani Restaurant. The temp has dropped to around 6, a vary cold day at Venice, we will stay put at Hotel Marconi, Padova after dinner today. A vary bad choice of hotel by TC; the air-conditioning is switched off from 1st October, no fans, it gets stuffy in about an hour, if you open the windows the heavy traffic passing outside makes it difficult to sleep, no solution, we send a joint complaint mail to TC, Mumbai and try to sleep the best we can. This was the day of maximum walk so everyone is zapped and somehow managed to sleep. Something for TC to learn form here.


European rooms are small, just functional. The toilets have to seats, a fat person would find it impossible to turn around inside the shower cubicles and practically no room service, run with skeletal staff. As with eveyrthing, driving conditions for Chiro are strict, only 500 Kms average a day, the vital statistics recorded in a white disk and checked by the transport authorities periodically, 1 days compulsory rest after 5 days of driving, so he took a break in Switzerland, our next destination. I am recording this daily detail so that prospective travelers get a perspective of rooms. Some pictures related to this.......

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Found a Nano size Diesel Car, was samller than Nano and cute, belonged to one of the cleaning staff of the parking lot!!!!!

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Last edited by ramkya1 : 3rd November 2009 at 12:31.
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Old 3rd November 2009, 12:51   #28
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08-10-2009: Wake up at 7, pack, check out, B'k fast at 9, load luggage and we're off at sharp 9 AM, timings begin to improve. A foggy, rainy day, we pass Hotel Sheriton at Venice and reach Port Mastre, the port connecting mainland to island Venice for the 30 minute ferry to Venice, a wet ride, drizzling, bad light for photo and a cold day indeed. A burly Italian took us across and shooed away anyone standing on the deck to shoot, said the waters are dangerous so stay down under. We walk 15 minutes to St.Marks Square, the "The Drawing Room of Europe", one of the very few places in the world where motorized vehicles cannot be seen or heard in such a crowded place, we have till 11 to catch the boat back to the coach. We stand in queue for 10 minutes to enter the Basalica to find out that we need to leave the bags and rucksack outside, something the TC brief missed, we decide to give it a miss for want of time. We walk around the up-market shops for window shopping, prices are fancy, you can pick up T Shirts or trinklets like key chains and masks for 2E to 10 E, most of us did. A little bit about Venice is mandated here.

The city of Water, city of Light, City of Bridges, Venice is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, many elements resembeling Aleppey, Kerala, minus the glamor. Made up of 118 islands, Roman refugees were forced to live in the marshes due to recurrent wars, adopted to the watery life, built houses on water and beacame a maritime power by supplying ships for the
Crusades and connection with the The Byzentime empire made them powerful. War-torn all around and with the Muslim rulers nearby, there's a lot of history to Venice. When the body of St.Marks was claimed back from Alaxendria after a war and interred in St.Marks Basalica, Venice, it bacame more popular. The four bronze prancing horses were also raclaimed in war and placed above the entrance of St.Marks Cathedral. St.Marks Square is the centre of govt. offices and Archbishop, the St.Marks Clock tower, lots of up-market trendy stores who deal with Venetiaan Glassware and Jwels. This is know to flood during the rainy season much like the Mumabi ones where the tide and floodwaters play havoc on the square!!!!
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Last picture here: Point of interest is the Bridge of Sighs which connects Doge's palace to the prison, an old bridge like many others. Prisoners get a last view of the world from here after conviction. Legend has it that if you kiss a girl under the bridge on a boat here you'd have eternal love, how romantic!!!!!!

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Last edited by ramkya1 : 3rd November 2009 at 12:59.
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Old 3rd November 2009, 13:14   #29
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Ramkya Sir!!!

Excellent triplogue with lots of history that you have mentioned.

The Tuscany region in Italy is really breathtaking, specially the vineyards. Those who slept in the 250kms odd coach ride from Rome to Pisa must have missed some beautifull sceneries.

And I am specially happy (very very very happy actually) that you have posted a close up photo of "Ponte Vechhio" in Florence. Its one of my favorite bridges ever. Specially with the history involved behind the bridge.

Looks like the photo was taken from 'the view point' in Florence.

Waiting for more to come to read all the history and to see all the pics.

regards
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Old 3rd November 2009, 13:25   #30
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Ramkya Sir!!!

Excellent triplogue with lots of history that you have mentioned.

The Tuscany region in Italy is really breathtaking, specially the vineyards. Those who slept in the 250kms odd coach ride from Rome to Pisa must have missed some beautifull sceneries.

And I am specially happy (very very very happy actually) that you have posted a close up photo of "Ponte Vechhio" in Florence. Its one of my favorite bridges ever. Specially with the history involved behind the bridge.

Looks like the photo was taken from 'the view point' in Florence.

Waiting for more to come to read all the history and to see all the pics.

regards
Hai, Thanks for the encouragement. I found it difficult to sleep, I was most of the time sitting on the floor near the Chiro and shooting what I can, watching the road and signs, I am planning a drive in Europe sometime down the line, no way I would miss anything on the road.

Yes, you're on target, the picture was from the view point, we were luckly and got a 10 minute sunshine break on a very cloudy wet day. The Oldest Bridge in Italy has a big story behing it as you said, even the Germans did not blow it up because of the beaury... but time and space and picture uploading constraints here........ I must move on and finish the story.

Last edited by ramkya1 : 3rd November 2009 at 13:26.
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