Why visit Rome?

[flagallery gid=6 name=”Rome”]You may ask, “Why visit Rome”? I will write a bit about what I gained from my visits to Rome and how it could benefit you too.  Growing up in Canada I had no idea of what “old” meant. Discovering Europe was truly an awesome experience. The age of buildings and streets is what really hit me when I first visited and keeps me in amazement every time I return. Rome is one of my favourite cities and is a mix of modern with ancient. According to legend Rome was founded by Romulus, first of the seven kings in 753 BC. I like to imagine what it would have been like to live in Ancient Roman times. Perhaps I would have attended games held at the Coliseum although the thought of that gives me the creeps as there were thousands of slaves and animals killed there. They were kept in a maze under the floor and brought out to fight and entertain the public. Where you sat would depend on your ranking in the society. Today, part of the floor has been recreated to give an idea of what it looked like at that time. Some of the original steps can be seen rising up the sides of the stadium.

The Roman Forum can be viewed and visited in the same area as the Coliseum. Many of the original pillars of marble still stand today. The most famous of these is the three columns of the Temple of Castor and Pollux built in 499 BC. It is more than a walk down memory lane to actually wander through this area. You come to appreciate the life we lead here in Canada and in these modern times. Rome offers so many sites for tourists to see during their stay. I recommend staying at least 3 days to cover most of the popular spots. A favourite of mine is the Trevi Fountain. This is Rome’s grandest fountain where you can see Neptune flanked by two Tritons. It is relatively new, being built in 1762, in comparison with most of Rome’s attractions. While you are there, toss a coin over your shoulder to ensure that you return. We stayed 3 nights in a hotel around the corner from the Trevi Fountain and from this location could walk everywhere.

There is no need to rent a car in Rome if you have comfortable walking shoes. Also close by was the Pantheon. This is truly a work of art with the walls supporting the dome being 19 ft. thick. It is an eye-opener as you walk through the narrow streets of the city, turn a corner and find the Pantheon in front of you. This is the resting place of the artist, Raphael and also several of the Italian kings. There are numerous museums and galleries for those who are history buffs. You might prefer to study up on the historic buildings, streets or piazzas. As for me I don’t like to study history but I prefer to experience it and be filled with amazement. Before we left the city I coaxed my husband into one of the very modern, classy stores we passed. I discovered that Swarovski made a crystal heart. I now refer to this as my “Roman” heart. All this and I haven’t yet mentioned the Vatican.

On my first visit of 3 days I did not visit the Sistine Chapel but only St. Peter’s Basilica. This spring we returned by train and viewed the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel. It is a site not to be missed no matter what faith you practice. The ceiling was restored in the 1980’s showing a lot of vibrant colours. It will instill in you an appreciation of art if you don’t have one already. You could never see and do everything in a short time so what I suggest is to reveille in what you can see and enjoy! It is just as amazing and enjoyable no matter how many times you return and in fact we returned for our third visit in September, 2008.  On this past trip we took 14 others with us and followed our visit with a  Mediterranean cruise which stopped at some Greek Isles, Athens, Naples, Turkey and also Alexandria, Egypt.  That is another whole story which will follow soon.

Good Day Mates!

[flagallery gid=3 name=”Gallery”]Australia is like no other place and to experience it fully I recommend visiting “The Red Centre”.  This is where you can see Uluru (Ayers Rock) and The Olgas (Kata Tjuta).  These are unusual rock formations in the middle of an otherwise desolate land of red rock.  The highlight of the trip was our “Sound of Silence” dinner served in an outdoor “restaurant” between these rocks.   There was a speaker there who pointed out the stars in the sky and when he pointed his light into the sky he could explain different stars to us.  After the dinner we could look through some telescopes that they had pointed at the moon, Mars & Orion.  It was truly fascinating!  To miss this would be like missing the true feel of Australia.    Australia is the size of the United States so you can’t possibly see it all in one visit.  We are looking forward to returning.

Welcome to the Land of the Midnight Sun

[flagallery gid=2 name=”Gallery”] If you would love to see glaciers, mountains & wildlife then Alaska is the place to go.  I have cruised the inside passage 3 times visiting quaint places such as Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka & Skagway.  I am planning another group cruise next June, 2011 that will sail from Vancouver to Whittier with an optional tour into the interior to see Denali Park, a highlight of Alaska.   In this blog I hope to cover a bit of what you can see in each place so keep an eye open for new stuff.  If there is somewhere you would like to know more about let me know and if I’ve been there I’ll write something about it.   Don’t forget to layer your clothing while visiting Alaska so you can stay comfortable.  It is rainforest area so weather can be very unpredictable and variable.   It is a wonderful experience to discover this scenic land.    Enjoy!