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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

If it's Tuesday: part 1

- Delphi, Greece (this photo and all the others are from Wikipedia Commons)

I was looking through an old cabinet today and found my mom's big collection of stuff, including an itinerary, she had saved from the one and only trip to Europe taken by me, my sister and my mom just after we all graduated college. We had neither the money nor the nerve to travel there on our own in a way that would allow us to really get to know places and people, so we ended up like the guys in that old movie If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium, on an insane 10 countries in 21 days tour. It was an amazing trip, though fraught with perils ..... have you ever seen what Europeans call toilet paper? .... still I thought I'd try to remember some of the places we went ....

We spent the first three days in England. I was really homesick so I mostly sulked and whinged while we were there and the culture shock kept us from doing much on our own, but I remember going to a play at the Young Vic in London and taking a train trip to Oxford.

- Blackwell's bookstore in Oxford

Day 4 - Greece. Our hotel was in Athens and we visited the Parthenon, of course, but more interesting was a side trip my sister and I took to Delphi. We got on the wrong bus filled with French tourists and didn't understand a word of the spiel, but still we'd heard our philosophy teacher mutter "I'm not the oracle of Delphi" so many times, it was worth it. We next stayed in Olympia and I remember that well because dinner was octopus (yikes!) and there was a small earthquake while we were there. Next stop - Corinth. I can still remember the canal ....

- Corinth canal

Day 9 - Italy. We took an overnight boat from Greece to Brindisi and then stayed in Bari. It's the town where St. Nicholas' relics lie, but at the time I wasn't a Christian, so all I noticed about Bari was the pasta :)

The next day we piled onto the bus that would be our transport for the rest of the trip, and stopped at Pompeii (interesting but a bit creepy) on the way to beautiful Sorrento ...

- Sorrento

From there we took a boat to the island of Capri. One of the great things about the trip for me was seeing all the places I'd read about in art and philosophy and history classes .... Capri was the hangout of the emperor Tiberius and as we drove up to the top of the island, I remembered a teacher saying Tiberius would have people he didn't like tossed from the cliffs. One of the big tourist draws of Capri is the Blue Grotto - I remember the grotto especially because I was almost decapitated by the low chain hanging across the entrance :)

- Capri

Leaving Capri, we took a boat to Naples but I don't really remember being there - odd, as it's the traditional home of pizza :) - and then we boarded the bus to drive to Rome. If only I'd been a Catholic then, I probably would have visited many more churches, but still we did visit St. Peter's, along with the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums, and history geek that I was, I loved seeing Hadrian's tomb and the Roman Forum.

- Vatican Museums

Next, we went on to Florence. For some reason I don't remember much about Florence either but I do have a (bad) photo of the bronze doors of the Florence Baptistry.

- Florence

Day 13 .... we stopped off in Padua at the Basilica of Saint Anthony, and then went on to Venice ... this at least I remember. The tour visited a glass-blowers workshop and the Piazza San Marco and then we walked around on our own.

- Santa Maria della Salute, Venice

Check out part 2 of the trip ......


Blogger Liam said...

Wow, you covered more of Europe in 21 days than I did in 11 years.

You hit some of my favorite places -- Venice, Capri, and Naples (even though you can't remember it). And Rome of course. Too bad you didn't get to Spain.

Also: octopus, when prepared well and in the Galician style, is one of my favorite things in the world.

9:44 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Liam,

We say lots of places but so superficially. The way you did it is better, I think. Still, it was fun. I think my mother enjoyed it most of all.

octopus, when prepared well and in the Galician style, is one of my favorite things in the world.


10:17 AM  
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