Duomo di Siena

Thankfully, we had time to tour the beautiful cathedral of Siena.  It was completed between 1215-1263.  Can you imagine the skills it took to build it?  The architecture is Romanesque, which I love.

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We took a tour that took us high up on the building itself, with views inside and out.  It was amazing.  Here is a view of the nave from above:

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The original gargoyles had been removed from the outside of the building and could be seen inside in a special gallery.

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Below, you can see some of the gargoyles on the outside.2015-03-30 12.51.08_500

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We also had great views of the city.

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This view shows a large arch that was to be another entire section of the cathedral, but it was stopped when the plague killed so many of the construction workers.

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Here are some more views from up above.

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I was fascinated by the back of this angel.

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You can just make out the angel from the street, right in the center.  We had walked across that little alcove right behind the angel.

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The details of artwork in a cathedral are mind-boggling.

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What an amazing experience — seeing this beautiful cathedral!

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Our next stop was Siena — one of the prettiest walled towns of Tuscany.  We have a friend that is in Siena for a few months, so we stopped to tour the city with her. First we stopped for pastries in Florence.

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Then we arrived in beautiful Siena and met up with Jenna at the train station.

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We headed for the Piazza del Campo, which was not far to walk to.

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The weather was great for us and everyone else was out enjoying it, too.

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One thing that’s really great about northern Italy is that they give free appetizers at certain hours of the day, if you purchase drinks.  Here are the “aperitivo” that came with our drinks that night:

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The gelato in Siena was also impressive!

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The next stop in our journey was Venice, where we spent one night.  As you know, Venice as a unique look about it, and Chris stepped into the culture right away.

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We found plenty of great gelato.

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We had a nice meal alongside the Grand Canal — salmon for me.

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Venice is such a beautiful city.

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We walked a lot.

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We found a nice place to stay right on the spot.

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There’s tons of shopping that can be done in Venice, at all levels of prices.

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And lots of good food.

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This is the “Bridge of Sighs” — over witch prisoners were walked from prison to their death.

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The gondolas are seen everywhere, day and night.

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Then soon we were back on the train for the next adventure!

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Evening Hike in the Alps

We just had time to take a hike in the Alps before sunset.  We wanted to get up above the village and look back upon the Dolomites and another pretty church.  Here are some of my photos from the hike.

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There were several shrines along the way.

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It was truly a beautiful, amazing evening!

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This is another beautiful church up on the hillside.

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I’ll never forget the wonderful evening we spent in the Dolomites of northern Italy!  Memorable!


The destination that Chris had in mind for us was the Dolomites of northern Italy.  We got off the train at Bressanone and took a bus up to the  village of St. Magdalena.  We arrived just in time to get a few photos before sunset.  Isn’t it gorgeous?

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It was a great place for a jump pic.

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The little church is so pretty.

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The village isn’t very big, but we felt it was very pretty.

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We noticed a climbing wall in the corner of a garage.

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The mountains are stunning.

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We stayed at the Gasthof Edelweiss — a wonderful hotel we would highly recommend for the friendliness of the owners and the great meals.

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Delicious spaetzle and strudel!

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The breakfast buffet was a typical, delicious, German selection of goodies.  It couldn’t have been better.

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Sleeping Pods

We’ve done a lot of traveling, as you know, since our son is a commercial pilot.  It’s interesting flying on standby.  We’re flexible with our plans.  We carry everything on our backs.  We make plans about where we’d like to go (in this case, the Greek isles) but then we go where the flights are available and the weather is good (this time, to northern Italy).  It’s always interesting to see where we end up and what new adventure awaits us!

We flew into Munich since there were direct flights there from Houston.

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We were fascinated by the sleeping pods available for travelers at the airport, but did not use them.  We all had slept pretty well on our flight.

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About all we saw of Germany was the airport.

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2015-03-28 10.51.41_500Unable to make flight arrangements to Greece, we jumped on a train instead and headed south through the beautiful countryside.  Chris had a great destination in mind for us in the Alps.  On the way, a German dinner on the train wasn’t too bad.

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Great Videos

Here are a couple of great videos that Compassion has posted for us.
This great story is from The Philippines:

Here is another compelling story from Brazil:

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