Traveling Europe ~ One City at a Time ~ Rome

Our last stop on the European tour was in Rome. We spent a long day of what I call trains, busses, cabs and trains to get there from Monte Carlo. We began about 7:30 am, by train only a short hop. There we discovered that the tracks into Italy were being repaired so we had to take a cab about 20 miles to Ventimiglio, Italy. No problem – there were a number of cabs ready and willing to take us, though it was much pricier than the train would have been. Once in Ventimiglio we discovered that our next train was not running either and we would have to take a bus to Limone, which is north. It seemed odd to us since Rome was to the south, but evidently going north first was the only way to get our connections to the high speed train. As it turned out, we had to wait about three hours for the bus outside in the cold and damp. Few people in the vicinity seemed to speak any English, so we did our best to ensure we were waiting in the right location, for the right bus.

The bus ride to Limone ended up being the highlight of the day’s travels. We were headed into the Alps and traversed through a number of small villages as we worked our way up the mountainside – often only centimeters between us and other vehicles as we passed one another. We climbed and climbed for about two hours until we came to a one way tunnel, where we had to wait about 20 minutes before we could continue on. Limone ended up being a lovely little ski village, and our train was waiting in the station when we arrived.

Limone

The rest room at the station left a great deal to be desired as it was simply a hole in the floor. A bit awkward, but better than no facility at all.

From Limone we began to travel south, with two more stops and train changes before we reached the high speed train in Turin that would take us to our final destination. The train was the first we’d encountered that was packed full, so it wasn’t as enjoyable as most of our other train excursions. We finally arrived at Rome’s Termini station about 10:30 pm where we took a cab to our flat. The flat was perfect and in a fantastic location only about one and a half blocks from the Coliseum.



Our host was delightful and incredibly helpful, and the neighborhood was wonderful. We ate the best food in a couple of local restaurants just minutes from our Air B&B. Ravioli, pizza, tuna and wine ~ lots and lots of wine.

We spent the next two days seeing as many of the sights as possible. We bought tickets through OMNIA, which allowed us to get on and off their busses as often as we wanted, and also allowed us to use the metro whenever. The card also included tickets to the Vatican, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Coliseum. I will let the photos speak for themselves. Our first stop was the Coliseum:






Then the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica. The main hall was an incredible feast of murals and tapestries. Then we traversed through various rooms with unending works of art before we finally reached the Sistine Chapel, which was a great disappointment. It is not a huge space, and they crowded about 200 people into it, with guards continually shouting “NO PHOTOS.” So, my apologies, but there are no photos of the Sistine Chapel.








My Map Lover





There is no end to the sites in Rome. As we walked along the streets there were ruins amongst the shops and apartments.




There were street performers like this one everywhere:

We visited the Castel Saint ‘Anglo, with amazing views of the Tiber and the city from the top:





Our host arranged for a cab to pick us up on departure day and get us to the airport. It was bittersweet to be leaving ~ we really wanted to see and do so much more, and we will. . .on our next trip to Europe!

Traveling Europe ~ One City at a Time ~ Monte Carlo

It was quite the adventure traveling from Barcelona to Monte Carlo by train over a 12 hour period, but we absolutely knew when we had arrived in Monte Carlo. The train station was fancy schmancy with beautiful lighting and a long marble tunnel. It was kind of amazing as far as train stations go. We had directions that indicated out hotel was only a 5 minute walk from the train station, but after half an hour of up and down the streets of Monte Carlo, we finally figured out the problem. None of the hotels have names on them. I know, weird, right? There must be a city ordinance prohibiting hotel signs because we never saw a one. Finally we walked into what we thought looked like a hotel and asked in the lobby for directions to the Port Palace Hotel. “Oh, it’s right here,” the lovely desk clerk said, as if it should be obvious.. By now it was about 10 pm, so when I said, “Oh thank goodness, we’ve been walking and walking and walking,” she asked how we’d arrived. I said by train, and she informed me that “We’re only a 5 minute walk from the train station. Duh, I thought.
Anyway, we fixed any lingering train-lag when we found our room. We promptly ordered room service – pizza, fries, pasta, and a bottle of wine. That was lovely as was the huge jetted tub in the luxurious bath. We so deserved that!

We had about 36 hours to enjoy the this lovely city in Monaco, so headed out in the morning for the Prince’s Palace. It was a sweet walk up to the palace with amazing views.

Near the Prince’s Palace are amazing gardens, which we walked along on our way to find the Oceanographic Museum and Aquarium. The views along the way were stunning.

The Oceanographic Museum and Aquarium was very interesting and one of the nicest aquariums I have ever visited. Here are a few of the highlights of the museum.

With relatively little time in Monte Carlo, that Palace, gardens, and museum adventure kept us busy. The rest of the time we were looking for good food (and found quite a bit), and walked up to the Casino area. Here are a few photos from our night time adventures.

We discussed the idea of visiting Monaco again in the future and when the best time to visit might be. Summer is out for me – too many people (I hate a crowded beach!). I’m thinking spring would be lovely.

Trapeze Yoga Now Being Offered



UPDATE ~ Gentle Yoga

Traveling Europe ~ One City at a Time ~ Barcelona

Welcome to part two of our European tour! After leaving Paris we traveled to Barcelona, Spain by high speed train. It took us about 6 1/2 hours to travel the 500+ miles. We enjoyed first class accommodations and wonderful views of the countryside as we rode along the tracks.

Our purpose for visiting Spain was my Yoga Trapeze training at the Yogabody Studios in Barcelona. We arrived Monday evening at our flat in the Gracia region of the city; a wonderful neighborhood filled with tradition. There was a lovely little square nearby, and a bakery, on the corner, with delicious empanadas.

Our flat:



I was not able to see as much of Barcelona as Dave was since I was in training most of the time we were there. We did a LOT of walking though. Each morning I left the flat a bit before 7:00 am to get to the studio before class began at 7:30 am. Dave usually walked with me, then he’d walk back to Gracia. Then he’d walk back to the studio to meet me for our break, and this went on 3 times each day. The training schedule was 2 hours of training, 2 hour break, 2 hours of training, 2 hour break, 2 hours of training, 1 1/2 hour break, 1 1/2 hour lecture. Whew. . .we finished about 8:00 each night.

There are 3 Yogabody studios in Barcelona, but nearly all of our training was at Yogabody 3:

During the walk to the studios in the morning one of the landmarks was this cathedral:


It was lovely lit in reds. There is a square just in front of it with a fountain, though you can’t see that in this shot.

We did have one day of touring the city together, which we spent at La Sagrada Familia. Designed by architect Antoni Gaudi, the project began in 1883 and he labored on it for 43 years. When he died in 1926 the church was about 20% complete. The work was stopped during the Spanish Civil War and began again in the 1950s.

La Sagrada Familia

Today, the work continues, funded exclusively by private donation and entry fees. It is anticipated that the church will be finished in 2026, for the 100th anniversary of Gaudi’s death. The detail is amazing both inside and out.






We climbed one of the towers for this amazing view of the city:

Recently watching an episode of Blindspot, which was filmed in Barcelona, I noticed several familiar places, including La Sagrada Familia.

Visiting in early December allowed us to enjoy the festive lights on display at night.


One local landmark that I didn’t find particularly appealing, but couldn’t really go unnoticed was La Torre Agbar-

For those interested in learning more about this structure, click this link.

As the week went on we began to appreciate the opportunities to walk around the city enjoying the sights.

Again, we will need to return because there is still so much we didn’t get to visit, including the Picasso museum, the Gaudi homes, the Cathedral of Barcelona, the many quaint neighborhoods, and of course, the Mediterranean.

In our time there we saw little sign of the Catalan Independence Movement, except for the occasional flag draped over a balcony.

After our 6 nights in Barcelona we began the trek to Monte Carlo, Monaco. This train adventure proved to be long and exhausting, but so worth the journey.

Adeu per ara!