|St. Peter's Basilica in the background|
|Bernini's Apollo and Daphne in the Borghese Museum, Rome|
|Don and I atop the Island of Capri with spectacular views|
|Onboard Luigi's boat off the Island of Capri|
|Town square and cathedral in Orvieto, Italy.|
|Old town cityscape and cathedral, Siena, Italy.|
Orta San Giulio, Italy: set on the eastern side of Lake Orta (the westernmost of the lakes in the lake region of Italy.) We had two spiritual-centered experiences. First we toured around Isola San Giulio, the small island in the center of the lake which has a Benedictine monastery on it. Next we climbed to the top of the peninsula to a UNESCO site, Sacre Montre of Orta, that has been a pilgrimage site for christians for centuries. It has a series of twenty chapels created in the 1600s to tell the story of St. Francis. My favorite gelato of the trip was consumed in Orta San Giulio. The owner of the gelateria makes his own gelato with fresh ingredients. I had an odd combination- rum raisin and plum- but still very delizioso.
|Carly on Sacre Montre with Isole San Giulio in the background.|
Mürren, Switzerland: a small village in the Swiss Alps that is unreachable by a road. We had to take a series of train, tram, cable cars to reach it and then had to wait a day and a half to see the spectacular site of these three mountains in the Alps- Eiger - Mönch - Jungfrau- that were obscured by clouds up until then. But the wait was worth the view!
|Don taking a photo of Jungfrau on our stopover from the tram to the gondola.|
Basel, Switzerland: We visited friends in this this last stop on our vacation tour but got to spend a half day in Basel, home of the oldest university on the planet and the cultural heart of the country. The architecture was so different than what we had seen in Italy and I was entranced by the style and colors of the old city hall. We lunched along the Rhine river where we watched the freight traffic up and down this big river and watched many people floating down it hanging onto inflatable, waterproof bags, known as Wickelfisch, containing their clothes. Next trip to Switzerland, I am doing this!
|Architecture of City Hall, Basel, Switzerland|
Books read on the trip:
- Vintage Munro by Alice Munro. This collection of short stories from this Pulitzer-prize winning author were selected from throughout her career. All the stories were superbly written but most had a very depressing theme. I left this book in the lending library at our hotel in Sorrento.
- Speaking with the Angel edited by Nick Hornby. A short story collection from well-known UK authors. Many were quirky ("Nipple Jesus" topping that list) and funny. My favorite story, "The Department of Nothing" was written by the actor, Colin Firth. I left this book in the lending library in our hotel in Siena.
- Close Range by Annie Proulx. All stories set in her beloved Wyoming, Proulx is fabulous writer but all of the stories were about sad or pathetic characters, mostly cowboys or ranchers. I passed this book off to my husband who was raised in cattle country in Eastern Oregon.
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon. It was a reread for me. It is about a young autistic boy, Christopher, who sets out to solve the mystery of who killed the neighbor's dog. It is an insightful book about what it is like to be autistic in today's world. I borrowed this book from my daughter after she finished it. I didn't have a chance to pass it on, since I was still reading it on the airplane ride home. I'll donate it to a student at school since it is one of our summer reading selections.
- Looking for Alaska by John Green. I started this book on the flight home after finishing The Curious Incident. It was the first John Green book I ever read and it started my love-affair with this author's books. I am forty pages from the ending of this reread. We found it on the lending library shelf at our hotel in Siena. Carly reread it before me.
Time for a shower and more laundry. Bye!