Donnerstag, März 31

Cute Potatoe's Travels

Leaving America with Madeline.  Flying is oh-so fun!

Arriving in New York City.

Campanile di San Marco, Venezia  323 feet high, climb, climb, climb

A ride on an Italian merry-go-round in yet another lovely Italian square.
Tuscany chef who made, moi!, Cute Potatoe, an amazing plate of pasta and blew me a kiss.

Tiny Tuscany restaurant

Happy and smiling after my Gondola ride.

Graffiti everywhere.

Me dreaming on the Grand Canal, Venice.

Street View

A pigeon plopped down in front of the gondolas on the Grand Canal, just catching some zzz's, I guess.

Rialto Bridge, once lined with shops and filled with rag sellers, taverns and brothels on the periphery.

Many famous 11th-17th century masked balls have taken place in this square during Carnival.  Today an early morning chorus of small birds singing at Saint Mark's Square in Venice, Italy fills the air.  Later on, the air will be filled with the endless chatter of locals and tourists.  The square has been called "the finest drawing room in Europe" and it's easy to see why.  Casanova was imprisoned nearby in the doge's palace, in a very dark, dreary cell.  From the grating of his cell, he could see rats of a "fearful" size.  For a man who once wrote, "The chief business of my life has always been to indulge my senses" this rat infested jail probably did little to contribute to that sentiment.

A mask store in one of the hidden alleys of Venice.

On the Express Train.

Just chillin' as we wait for the Vaporetto to arrive in Venice.  (pinch me, Mutter, I really am in Venezia).
A sunny day, good enough for a picnic near Ponte Vecchio, constructed in 1345 by Taddeo Gaddi (just behind me).
Good bye to Venice and the Grand Canal.  On the train to Tuscany.

Outside of Palazzo Poggi, across from Piazzale Michaelangelo.  Right behind this perfectly proportioned palazzo (now a fabulous restaurant) is the delicately adorned with inlaid white Carrara and Verdi di Prato marble church of San Miniato al Monte (from the 13th c.).   It's the spot where, legend has it,  San Miniato picked up his decapitated head (scary) and carried it from the Arno River to a spot on the hillside.  The tiny church is filled with fading frescoes that seem to sparkle when the monks sing their daily Gregorian chants (4:30 pm).  Nearby is a gorgeous villa built for Marchesa Pucci in 1780 and bought later by, some would argue the greatest tenor of all time, Enrico Caruso.

Two Polizia Municipale chatting outside of the Uffizi Gallery.  No pictures allowed inside the Galleria dell'Accademia or the Uffizi.

City views of Florence, Italy from Piazzale Michaelangelo, one of the most famous vantage points, it was sort of like an upgraded  balcony seat.  
Here I am in Florence, Italy buying a postcard for my Liebe Mutter, Beate.  Küsse, Küsse.

Our waiter in Firenze, Italy.  His name is Mario and he wants to be an actor.  We hammed it up together and he promised to keep in touch.

A festival and historical procession for Pisa's New Year's Day, 25 March 2011, a 10th century AD ancient maritime ruling that the year would start nine months before the birth of Jesus.
The spanking clean Leaning Tower and Cathedral in Piazza del Duomo,  Pisa, Italy.  It took 177 years, in three stages, to complete the tower and there are 296 steps to get to the top.  All of those steps help a girl to work off all of those licks of deliziosa gelato.  My favourite flavor was the Amarena (cherries).                                                                                                                                              

Trafalgar Square, London, right before a bunch of protesters got real rowdy.
Lunch at London's National Gallery Cafe.   A few secret nips on Madeline's Organic Cider made me feel pretty Yellow Submarine mellow.   mmm.

WoW.  That organic cider carries quite a kick, let me tell you.  Westminster Abbey has such bright colours.

 Westminster Abbey's Clock.  The inscription says, "Let the People Praise Thee, O God."

Entering historic Westminster Abbey, the setting for every coronation since 1066, as it was getting ready for a Japan Earthquake Ceremony.  I couldn't get a closer shot of the flying buttresses (don't you just LOVE that word?---my buttress grew just a bit on this trip:) ) because of the security in place for the ceremony.

London's Underground is called the Tube and it's so easy to follow.  Princess Madeline (in the window) and Moi on the Tube.

"C'est Moi" next to a Statue of revered Queen Victoria right in front of Buckingham Palace.  The Changing of the Guards was fantastic to see but I'm quite sure I could never be hired as one of the Queen's guards.  1) Guns scare me.   2) How could I go pee without knocking off my tall, furry hat?  3) Standing still for long periods of time.  4) Not talking.  That one would get me to the guillotine quicker than new paint drying on old stone.                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Off to the right of the statue, they are building scaffolding in preparation for the Royal Wedding of Prince William and lovely Catherine Middleton.

A taste of Steak and Kidney Pie and Ginger Beer.
A view from the capsule of the London Eye.
A view from the balcony of our London hotel.  That's Big Ben, pretty cool, huh?
My, what big feet you have.  Statue, right front, Buckingham Palace.  Some people were climbing on some of the statues which I personally didn't think Queen Elizabeth, were she peeking from an upper window, would much appreciate.  Later, a group of rather unruly children, with their parents,  sat down in the middle of a bed of (now desperately trampled) daffodils to take their picture.

Almost home. Good bye to London.  Hello to Chicago, U.S.A airport store.  That's me after looking for a sweatshirt but they didn't have one in MY size. I tried a Chicago hot dog with all of the works instead.  It came with (gasp) French Fries which gave me quite a jolt of adrenaline, let me tell you. 

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