Showing posts from February, 2013

Amalfi Coast, Sorrento & Positano

One of the highlights of the cruise was getting to dock on the world-famous Amalfi Coast. Compared to the hectic, run-and-gun tours of Florence and Rome, our visit here was very relaxed and pleasant as we really got to take our time and sight-see, enjoy the food, sip some coffee and people watch; the way the Italians love to do!

Easily, the Amalfi Coast is one of the most incredible locales in all of Italy. And that’s saying a lot since almost every city in Italy has it’s own character and charm! What it lacks in history (Rome), art (Florence) and majesty (Venice), the Coast makes up for with sheer breath-taking beauty!

* The town of Sorrento, where many artists and poets have found love and inspiration throughout the centuries.

Rome - In The Footsteps of The Pilgrim

Visiting the Vatican just a few months after Jerusalem was such an awesome experience. While Jerusalem shall always be the spiritual center of Christianity which it shares with Judaism and Islam, the Vatican serves as the center of Roman Catholicism and contains the most beautiful churches and works of art in tribute to Christianity.

Thanks to our awesome tour guide, we were able to navigate around the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica and Square with ease. In this album; however, there are no pictures of the Sistine Chapel due to its sensitivity to being photographed.

A lot of times, my cousins and I found ourselves making up our own Gregorian Chants as we were walking around the grounds.  The place is definitely conducive to coming up with “religious” sounding chants that don’t actually make sense.

If I have but one complaint about St. Peter’s is that though it is the most iconic church in Roman Catholicism, you hardly see anyone praying inside.  People are just …

Rome - Trevi Fountain and Pantheon

After the Colosseum and Roman Forum, we went straight to the Trevi Fountain, which is not only one of Rome’s more iconic tourist spots, but also is apparently, a favorite of pickpockets and snatchers. Upon arriving, I could see why, as tourists were cramped like sardines all over the place!

* The beautiful Trevi Fountain which I assume is even more glorious at night when all the lights are turned on. For some reason, I kept on thinking bout that fountain stage in Tekken Tag Tournament 2.

Rome - In The Footsteps of Gladiator

Rome was my biggest disappointment this whole trip. Disappointment not because I wasn’t moved or impressed by the place but because we had but one day (8 hours) to explore BOTH Rome AND The Vatican. That would be the equivalent of spending an hour in Disneyworld.

Ideally, I would like to explore the city of Rome for a whole week, and The Vatican for a few more days after. Hopefully one day my cousin Clark, an even bigger History buff than myself, decides to follow his dream of being an archaeologist and actually move to Rome so that I can come and crash in his place when I visit.

* The first view of Constantine’s Arch and The Colosseum. Take note of the line of tourists towards the right going inside the Colosseum with an estimated waiting time of 1 hour and 20min.  Now compare that to the one hour which was the total time we spent here in this part of Rome.

Florence - Birthplace of the Renaissance

Since I had my cousin’s wedding for majority of the day in Florence, we only actually had about two hours to explore the city center. This resulted in the “spot-point-click-run" shots below as I was literally running from one part of Florence to another, not stopping to truly appreciate what I think is the most beautiful city in this whole Euro trip.

Everything about Florence just screams art, and no wonder this is so as Florence is where the Renaissance was born with the works of Brunelleschi, Botticelli, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci dotting the “city of the Medici’s" and where the likes of Dante Alighieri and Niccolo Machiavelli circulated their literary masterpieces. 

Two hours is definitely not enough to spend in Florence and I immediately resolved to return someday and to stay for at least a week!

* The Basilica Santa Maria del Fiore, better known as the Duomo, has in my opinion the most impressive outdoor facade of any church that I have seen so far (and that is…