Art, architecture, history, travel



Giovanni Battista Tiepolo


Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

b. 1696 Venice, d. 1770

Madrid I saw this painting at the royal palace in Madrid and fell in love with Tiepolo immediately Apotheosis of Spain. Below see his crucifixion from the St. Louis art museum. It has recently been removed from public view. Trained in Venice, Tiepolo also worked in Spain and Germany. His work is simply awe-inspiring.

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo - Apollo and the Con...

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo – Apollo and the Continents – WGA22323 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Born into a wealthy and noble family in Venice, Giambattista Tiepolo was recognized by contemporaries throughout Europe as the greatest painter of large-scale decorative frescoes in the 1700s. He was admired for having brought fresco painting to new heights of technical virtuosity, illumination, and dramatic effect. Tiepolo possessed an imagination characterized by one of his contemporaries as “all spirit and fire.”

2nd third of 16th century

2nd third of 16th century (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A gifted storyteller, Tiepolo painted walls and ceilings with large, expansive scenes of intoxicating enchantment. In breath-taking visions of mythology and religion, the gods and saints inhabit light-filled skies. His ability to assimilate his predecessor and compatriot Paolo Veronese’s use of color was so profound that his contemporaries named him Veronese redivio (a new Veronese). His style was also influenced by renaissance artist Tintoretto.  He was the great eighteenth century painter of the baroque and rococo periods.



Last supper


Tiepolo Crucifixion, Saint Louis Art Museum, SLAM

Tiepolo’s commissions came from the old-established families of Italy, religious orders, and the royal houses of Spain, Germany, Sweden, and Russia. His frescoes adorn palaces, churches, and villas, and his artistic legacy consists of some eight hundred paintings, 2,400 drawings, two sets of etchings, and acres of fresco. When Tiepolo died at the age of seventy-four, a Venetian diarist noted the “bitter loss” of “the most famous Venetian painter, truly the most renowned…well known in Europe and the most highly praised in his native land.”

David Teniers, younger

Würzburg Residence

Würzburg is a town on the romantic road in Germany. Also on the romantic road Castle Neuschwannstein and Rothenburg ob der Tauber.

Wuerzburg Residenz

Wuerzburg Residenz

Tiepolo was active in Italy, Germany, and Spain.

This ceiling and staircase made quite an impression on me the first time I saw it 36 years ago.

Margaret Lewis told me the first time she saw the his ceiling frescoes in Venice it left her in tears, also Rembrandt and Venus de Milo.

Mid-18th century
Mid-18th century (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What artist has influenced you?

What trip or city have you visited that has had a particular influence on you?

Do you have a favorite painting in your home city?

Do you know of another artist with as far reaching a range as Tiepolo?;jsessionid=16f06j5jjb65e?dsid=2222&dekey=Giovanni+Battista+Tiepolo&sbid=lc04a&linktext=Tiepolo
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The Day of Four Popes: The New Saints

The twentieth century

Four Popes and two Saints

April 27, 2014. Sunday

800,000 people pack St Peters square.

The terms liberal and conservative don’t really apply. They are both Radical in their own way. Two men of courage.

Popes of the twentieth century.

I’ve seen two Saints and four popes. This was a very special week.  an unprecedented double canonization.

An Argentine pope, a German pope, a Polish pope,  and an Italian pope.

Pope Francis the first pope from the western hemisphere.

Pope Benedict XVI from Regensburg, the first German pope in 800 years and the first pope to witness the conclave and election of his successor.

Saint John Paul II

The first Polish Pope. A man of unprecedented popularity. He visited 129 countries.

My family was one of a select few to met the holy father during his trip to Saint Louis in 1999.


Saint John XXIII

At my Grandmother’s 90th Birthday her first, cousin not a catholic, told me in 2000
I don’t think people today understand the love people felt for John XXIII.

I Spent a year in Germany Part 2

Bakery for Dampfnudeln in the Baumburger Turm ...

Bakery for Dampfnudeln in the Baumburger Turm in Regensburg, Germany (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The spring term brought the opportunity for more travelEnglish: Twilight panorama of Regensburg, Germany
English: Twilight panorama of Regensburg, Germany (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Andorra la Vella

University of Regensburg, Germany.

Semmelgebaeude University of Regensburg, Germany. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For spring break I had trouble finishing my term paper on Effi Briest. Ten pages in German. Effi Briest is a German novel by Theodor Fontane.  I read it for a class in German literature. Most of my friends were already gone, when I left for Paris by way of Frankfurt.  I was headed for Spain, Portugal and Morocco. I had a semester of Arabic under my belt and was looking for a chance to use it.

Effi Briest (1974 film)

Effi Briest

Paris was nice, my second time there. I have found Paris is best taken in small doses, besides I had other places I wanted to see.

I went to the Louvre. I got to see all of those ancient art things, I had studied last year. It wetted my appetite for Egypt even more. The train through the Pyrenees at night was fantastic with snow and bonfires. When I got to Andorra I was disappointed to find I wasn’t the only traveler there. I bought a pair of shoes and  some stamps and got my passport stamped. It’s quite a place nestled between France and Spain.

Spain When you cross into Spain at Port Bou you have to change trains because Spain uses a different bogey. Barcelona was nice.

Visited the University of Madrid which has another Vanderbilt Exchange program, one of four at the time.with others in France and England, the students were also out on spring break but I had a nice talk with the director. He seemed to appreciate my visit. This is a larger university than Regensburg. On the way back from Morocco I stopped in Cordoba and a festival at Valencia, where I saw a bull fight. I had to wait till 1992 to get to the Alhambra in Granada with Katie.

After Madrid, the train broke down on the way to Lisbon. We had to transfer to a bus. The trip took forever. Lisbon is a beautiful city on the Atlantic ocean. It’s the western most city in Europe. After a few days in Lisbon, Portugal LIS Portela Airport I flew to Casablanca CMN مطار محمد الخامس الدولي on TWA.

Morocco Morocco is on the Atlantic Ocean. I could see the Atlas mountains in the distance. Someone needed my help.  A man was trying to write his girlfriend in English.  After I helped him he invited me to visit his home. I was taking Arabic so a visit to an Arabic speaking country was essential. Both of my grandmothers had been here. One loved it the other not so much. So I had to see for myself. Actually depending on your point of view, they were both right. More on that later.

English: The Atlantic Ocean.

English: The Atlantic Ocean. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Casablanca is a large port on the Atlantic ocean. There is nothing left here from the movie. I spent a lot of time just walking around looking at things. It is very interesting.

MSA you can only understand educated speakers

My first time in Africa, I also had time to visit the cities of Merakech, Fez, Rabat, and Tangier. Morocco has a shameful 40% literacy rate.

My dad’s friend Buck Morse had worked for Purina in  Tehran. The first time I saw Persian writing I was about nine. I thought you’ve got to be kidding, people can’t really read that. I must admit as a left-hander I was intrigued by the idea of a language written from right to left. No Hook. It is because the ancient stone writers held the hammer in their right hand and the chisel in their left.

When I told people I was studying their language they’d say,lets hear you read Arabic very nice Iqra!  I bought an Arabic book for kids called Iqra! . Things are different here.  The week ends on Friday. I love the music. Arabic music is based on maqams with a seven tone scale, unlike the western scale of eight tones.

On the way back to Germany I stopped to visit my friend in  Chalabre, France  near the medieval city of Carcasonne.

Carcasonne France

Carcasonne France

The train along the Mediterranean is beautiful. I also stopped in Geneva and Zürich, where I bought a watch for my birthday. I had that watch till I was 40  years old. It was a good one. It was a left-handed Heuer with the winding stem on the right side. I fell asleep by accident in the train and woke up in Milan. The closest I ever got to seeing Leonardo’s Last Supper.

Liechtenstein is located between Switzerland and Austria on the Rhine. also German-speaking country. Vaduz is the capital. Located on the Upper Rhine, Liechtenstein has a valuable art collection. So by now I had visited three of the five smallest countries of Europe.

Principality of Liechtenstein

Principality of Liechtenstein

I still haven’t made it to Monaco and San Marino the other two. By the time I got back to Germany my backpack was destroyed. Called our director to let him know I was fine. I couldn’t repair the backpack, so I had to borrow a suitcase. I also loaded up on supplies. Then took off for Scandinavia, the second part of my trip.

I was in Aachen for Easter. Then I left for Scandinavia. Stopping in Cologne, Bremen and Hamburg. Bremen is the home of the famous town musicians.

Denmark. Copenhagen and Hamburg. I met my friend Hilde in Hamburg and we took the train to Copenhagen. We had arranged it before. Her father worked for the Bundesbahn, so she got a discount and can ride anywhere in Germany for half price. I saw a special Iraq exhibit of Eshnunna statues from Iraq. I’ve been to Chicago twice and they haven’t been on display. This was a traveling show from Baghdad.  

Tivoli is a famous amusement park in Denmark. It was closed for the season. I went back with Katie, the kids, and Margaret in 1999 and got to see it. We had a great time. It just goes to show if you don’t get to do something the first time, there is always a chance for the future. I have learned in traveling if you try to do too much and see everything in one time you are just going to end up making yourself and everyone else miserable. When you get to a place that you have come along way to see you should see what there is to see there and not go rushing off somewhere else.


Stockholm: Gamla stan (Old town)

Norway and Sweden In Oslo  I visited Nazi defense resistance museum. and home of the Nobel Peace Prize.  Stockholm was the farthest north I got that year.

regensburg ratisbona

Regensburg graffiti


Union Station Saint Louis
Carl Miles Meeting of the Waters

The downtown reminded me of Regensburg. Downtown Stockholm is an island. The city hall Stadshus  looks like the Anheuser- Busch brewery in St. Louis. The best part of Stockholm was the Milesgaarden home of Swedish sculptor Carl Miles. It displays many of his works in an outdoor park setting. Miles did the design for the famous Meeting of the Waters sculpture outside the St Louis Union station. It is still cold here and things are expensive. I can’t wait to leave.  After a month of intensive travel I’m ready to get back to my studies and see my friends.

Austria  Later that Spring we went on a Uni sponsored trip to Vienna and Hungary. There is a direct train to Austria that passes by Melk Abby, and through the Wachau on the way to Vienna. I had a better visit to Vienna than the last time.

Italy  That summer I took the train to Rome, looking for Katie. It seems odd but at the same time she was in Germany with her brother looking for me. My daughter said what you were each looking for each other at the same time? Why didn’t you just email each other. Actually at that time snail mail was the only way and you had to write at least three weeks in advance just to be sure you had time to get a reply. Actually, I had a system worked out. When I had an idea about a place I wanted to go, I would write to the national tourist office for information and would read about the highlights, and others things that sounded interesting, before planning my trip. No internet in those days. Also a trip to the library was invaluable and just talking to someone who had been to that country before.

While in Rome the strangest thing happened, I got a telephone call in my room. I thought how odd, no one knows I’m here. It was my high school teacher. They invited me for dinner. Katie and I stayed at that same hotel on the Via Sistina on another trip to Rome years later.

My travels

My travels

My friend,Ted and I set off in search of our friends Roberto and Marisa, whom we had met in Turkey. We made a stop in Verona, the home of Romeo and Juliette.Verona is a medieval town on a river just like Regensburg. We Found Marisa in Arco a small town on Lake Garda the largest lake in Italy.We had to go to Bologna to find Roberto, where he was a student .

On another trip to Italy I visited the port city of Trieste. It was fantastic. I stayed in a youth hostel and saw a dolphin in the Adriatic. Home of James Joyce in the 1920. Near the border with Yugoslavia and hotly contested. I wish I could have stayed longer. Once part of the Austrian Empire. Remember captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music? It was the port of the Austro-Hungarian EmpireSitting on the border with Slovenia in northeastern Italy, it was annexed by Italy after WWI.


Austria Europabruecke

View through the Alps and the Europabruecke in Austria was fantastic. Italy seems irresistible to me. I’m studying for finals on the train. There were just too many distractions in Regensburg. The Summer semester in Germany was a short one. May was full of holidays. No one feels like studying much in July.


Tower in Regensburg, Germany part of former ci...

Tower in Regensburg, Germany part of former city wall (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Germany Erste Teil

images images I spent a year abroad in Germany 1977-8

Occupation zone borders in Germany, 1947. The ...

Occupation zone borders in Germany, 1947. The territories east of the Oder-Neisse line, under Polish and Soviet administration/annexation, are shown as white as is the likewise detached Saar protectorate. Berlin is the multinational area within the Soviet zone. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Morocco and Spain (NASA, International Space Station, 12/31/11) (Photo credit: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center)6950477589_4e4194a937_s

 I spent a year abroad  in Germany.

I flew from Chicago with a group of eight for Luxembourg LUX on Icelandair with a stop in Reykjavík KEF.

I left in August 1977. It was the summer Elvis died. I set out to visit every country in Europe. The only place I didn’t go was London. Many people in my group were sceptical. You can’t just get on a train and go somewhere by yourself. You’re in Europe. Others disagreed.imgres

You’re an American. You can go anywhere you want. Why are Americans so unpopular? It wasn’t always the case. I never believed in the Ugly American. The tangled history of Germany after WWII left Germany partitioned among the four victorious allied powers including the Soviet Union. In 1953 they  Illegally made their zone into the German Democratic Republik or East Germany. I asked my friends, if they thought Germany would ever be reunited. Never in my lifetime. Regensburg, in the Fulda gap was closer to Prague than Cologne. They figured if the war  ever started, it would be run over before we knew it had started. Poland received one-third of former German territory East of the Oder.

Our director met us at the Bahnhof (train station.) He took us to our dorm two at a time.That’s alll that would fit in his car. A blue Audi. It was one of the few times we got to ride in his car that year. Most of the time we took public transportation or walked. I was the only American on my floor. I’m staying at the Vitusheim.  All dormitories in Germany are student managed. I share a kitchen with the other students. We do our own cooking. There is a student cafeteria or Mensa. The meals are subsidised. It is German food. Bavarians eat lots of starch and potatoes but Sauerkraut-not so much. It is about a 15 minute walk from the dorm. I do have a sink in my room which is nice and a large wardrobe.I brought a calculator  and three cameras from home including an old Zeiss Ikon and a mini Minox spy camera. I inherited a radio and some pots from the previous occupant. I’m making good use of them.There is even a pub. There is one TV and one telephone for the whole dorm. Cell phones, video games, PC’s all in the future.


Minox mini spy camera made in Lithaunia

Minox mini spy camera
made in Lithuania

If you want to call the States you have to go to the main post office downtown, book the call then wait for your turn. I only called home three times that year. We do get mail three times a day. Snail mail, of course–no email or internet. I’m Sharing the facilities with the girls. I’m the only male on the floor. They don’t seem to mind it’s going to take some getting used to for me.

I’ll be studying three things here, chemistry, German and Linguistics. Unlike many American programs I’m enrolled at the University and can register for any class. All classes are taught in German. Although the Biochem class is using an English text, Lehninger. My Chem class doesn’t have a text, just the Professor’s lectures. He is fascinated by Bismarck, ND. I don’t know anything about it, but if I ever get there I’ll be sure to send him a card.
 Of course you can take American literature and read Huckleberry Finn, but what fun is that. The one thing they warn you not to take is philosophy. It’s too hard, even for the Germans. My friend didn’t listen and boy was he sorry.
My first day of philology/linguistics the professor wrote something on the board in Latin, half the Americans quit the class. Most of the Germans also know French and English. At that time Germany was divided into East and West. I was living in Regensburg in the West zone. There was no free access between the two zones, especially for East Germans. btw They don’t like the term East German’s. It’s the German Democratic Republik, while those in the West are the Federal Republik. Each country had it own flag and currency, too. There was also an inter-German border marked by guard dogs, machine guns, and barbed wire.
East Germans drive their vehicles through Chec...

East Germans drive their vehicles through Checkpoint Charlie as they take advantage of relaxed travel restrictions to visit West Germany. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


There was a group of exchange students studying German from Lyon in France. They were all girls except one boy. They are nice. They are all in their twenties like me. The Americans are taking a special six-week intensive language course. Most of the German students won’t arrive until classes start in November.

Holland The first overnight trip I went on was to Amsterdam for a local festival. Not well publicised How did you hear about it, Nikolaustag? St Nikolaus is not the same as Santa Claus, who makes his traditional return from Spain by boat in November. OriginallySt. Nicholsaus is from Turkey, his feast day is December 6th.

The train follows the Rhine. We got off in Düsseldorf, to look around. It was nighttime it was beautiful. On the way back from Amsterdam the customs got on the train with a drug sniffing dog. We met the world’s oldest hippie in a bar in Amsterdam. I wonder if he is still alive?

Freddie Heineken greets you at the Heineken brewery tour. It’s a video tape. Back then it was something new. Before you leave he offers you one for the road.

We get many sponsored trips. In November we went to Berlin. It was awesome. I must take my parents here. On the train through East Germany my friend offers the young border guard an orange. He shows it to the other young guard and brags, I’ve seen these I know what this is. You eat it. Once you cross the border and iron curtain there is no stopping or getting off the train until you reach West Berlin.

Reichstag building seen from the west, before ...

Reichstag building seen from the west, before sunset Français : Le Palais du Reichstag coté Ouest avant le coucher de soleil (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Checkpoint Charlie was on Friedrichstrasse, near Kochstrasse. It was the only crossing between West Berlin and East Berlin that could be used by Americans and other foreigners, and by members of the Allied Forces. The other six checkpoints were for residents of West Berlin or West Germany. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Sign at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin

English: Sign at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


We decide to do something nice for our German friends. We held a Halloween party. In November we cooked Thanksgiving dinner. We had to order the turkeys and pumpkin from the local army base here. Not common foods in Bavaria. The pies were the biggest hit. We had to be sure to clean up the mess. That’s a big thing here.

We took a trip to Neuschwannstein and the Alps.

Germany Austria Switzerland 
A map presenting Poland and the Curzon Line (W...

A map presenting Poland and the Curzon Line (World War II). Version with English labels. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


There are four countries in the world where German is spoken Austria, Switzerland, Lichtenstein and Germany of course. Germany lost a lot of territory in both world wars.

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More Italy 1974 Florence 1974 part 11, 12 and 13

English: Coat of Arms of Florence, Italy, trac...

English: Coat of Arms of Florence, Italy, traced off of File:Firenze-Stemma.png (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

7/9 Tuesday

This morning I went to the San Lorenzo market  and bought a chicken head for show and tell.  I went for my report on grocery stores.  I really enjoyed the market, watching them chop the meat and skin the fish, etc.  A chicken head costs L50 (10 cents) and the feet are free.  I also went to the Ponte vecchio and shopping. Found a million lire watch (about $2000.00).  This was the day of the work strike.  During lunch I made my presentation of Grocery stores.  Everyone was surprised to receive by blessing with the chicken head.  I have been nicknamed St. Ted of the Chicken head.  Cheri is the Queen of the tootses.
Tonight I went to Harry’s American Bar for a peach juice and vodka and had a good time.  I’ve decided Roland doesn’t know anything about drinking and will probably end up like Rothman.  The bar tender at Harry’s was very nice, and we had interesting conversations. afternoon I took a tape tour of the Uffizi.   What a fiasco!  I had so much trouble with the machine I couldn’t enjoy the museum.  A walking guide in a book would have been so much better, or even a book similar to the one from the Prado.  I don’t have a good impression of the Uffizi.  Talk about looking like a tourist, and on top of it I was all tied up in the cord, what a dumb idea!  The fact that they had moved the pictures all over made things worse.  As far as the paintings: I still think the works of the Germans like Duerer are better, maybe because they painted in a later century, his pictures are clearer, have better perspective, and look more realistic.

7/10  Wednesday Florence

Went back to the Boboli gardens to the dwarf, took Lisa and Susie.  They didn’t like the gardens either.  The dwarf and the pig are two sculptures in Florence.  The Dwarf is a stone statue of a fat naked man on a turtle.  It was built during the Renaissance.  At that time dwarves and other oddities fascinated people.  Some say it depicts one of the Medicis, and was done by a jealous rival to bring bad luck.  But today rubbing the dwarf’s stomach brings good luck.  The pig stands at the front of the straw market.  It is not the original statue.  The original was a marble one from Roman times but it was stolen.  There has always been some kind of statue there, though.  Always of a pig but not of the same material, marble granite, bronze.

Some saying rubbing the pig’s nose brings good luck, but others say in a more specific way.  Rubbing the pig’s nose will make a fair, young maiden or anyone pregnant.  I wonder what will happen to Scott Rothman, who rubbed the nose.  The fountain is also used to take collections for a hospital in Florence, they’ve collected lots of money there.

More Rome, Florence 1974 part 10

The Church Militant and the Church Triumphant ...

The Church Militant and the Church Triumphant by Andrea da Firenze (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Annunciation, painted by Fra Angelico (1387-14...

Annunciation, painted by Fra Angelico (1387-1455) (Florence) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Michelangelo Buonarroti

Michelangelo Buonarroti (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Florence, Italy

Santa Maria Novella with the trinity by Masaccio Florence, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: A vertical panorama of a copy of the ...

English: A vertical panorama of a copy of the statue of David by Michelangelo on the Piazza della Signoria in Florence, Italy. Nederlands: Een verticaal panorama van het standbeeld van David door Michelangelo op het Piazza della Signoria in Florence, Italië. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The equestrian statue to Cosimo I de' Medici, ...

The equestrian statue to Cosimo I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, by Giambologna, Piazza della Signoria, Florence, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Medici (Photo credit: Groume)

7/6 Saturday Rome

I am starting to like Ann.  Mike says she is too good for me, but what does he know.

Left Rome for Florence via Sienna.  Sienna was a nice place but somehow I got the feeling I saw all there was to see in the few hours we were there.  How ridiculous!  In Sienna I could definitely see the hills.  I liked the head of St. Catherine.  I guess one of the disadvantages to being a saint is having your body cut up and parts sent to different churches after you die.

7/7 Sunday Florence

The façade of Santa Maria Novella, completed b...

The façade of Santa Maria Novella

The façade of Santa Maria Novella, completed by Leon Battista Alberti in 1470. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First day in Florence.  It is a beautiful city.  Went on a tour this morning.  First stop was the galleria dell’accademia.  This gallery contains the original of Michelangelo’s David (moved there in 1873).  It also contains another of Michelangelo’s pieta’s.  The four unfinished prisoner statues, also by Michelangelo, help give a better understanding of the way by which a sculptor transforms a chunk of rock into a beautiful statue.  Next we went to the monastery of San Marco.  This building was first a Dominican monastery, work 1437-1452.  Michelozzo built it for Cosimo de Medici.  The frescoes were done by Fra Angelico.  There we also saw the cells of Savonarola, Fra Bartolomeo and Cosimo de Medici.  We saw the home of the foundlings, which was the first Renaissance building.

Next we went to the Medici chapel.  Almost all of the Medici’s are buried here.

The palazzo vecchio used to be the town hall of Florence, but today it is used as a museum.  It houses the famous statue the Wrestlers by Rossi a student of Michelangelo, showing Hercules wrestling another man, Diomedes.  For some unknown reason no male can view this statue without experiencing a sense of pain.

Michelangelo’s David stood outside the palazzo vecchio in the piazza signoria  until the 19th century, when it was moved indoors to the academy and replaced by a copy.

The food here is really good and the place is nice too.  We are staying at a pensione run by nuns.  They do all the cooking.  A specialty of Florence is unsalted bread.  After lunch we took a walking tour of Florence.  We visited the Duomo and baptistery. The Duomo was constructed between 1296 and 1436 in the Romanesque and Gothic styles.  The baptistery  is Romanesque and is the oldest building in Florence.  The doors of the baptistery contain the gates of paradise all done by Ghiberti.  The south door depicts the life of John the Baptist.  The north door shows the life of Christ and the east door depicts scenes of the Old Testament.  Including: expulsion from Eden, Cain and Abel, Noah, Sacrifice of Abraham, Joseph, Moses and the Queen of Sheba meeting Solomon.

Then we went to Santa Maria Novella with the trinity by Masaccio.  This fresco shows Christ on the cross with God above him and the holy ghost appears as a bird and it is hard to see at first, because it looks like a collar around God’s neck.  There are two saints on the sides of the fresco.  This is a Renaissance painting because of its dimensions, looks 3d, perspective, colors and sense of realism; typical of Renaissance works.  Next to the church of Santa Croce (Holy cross), which is another Gothic church.  This one has a beautiful wooden roof, because the people ran out of money, while building it.  It contains the tombs of famous people including Michelangelo and Galileo.

And then there was more Switzerland, Italy Spain 1975

7/14 Monday Switzerland

Today I went to buy cigars for Jill’s dad with Jamie, Vicky and Jill. We mailed them home from the post office. Her dad likes contraband cigars. We went to visit Mount Pilatus. There is a restaurant and observation deck on top.

Switzerland is not as exciting as I thought. I would rather have spent more time in Germany; I would rather have gone to Munich and spent less time here. (Thinking it over after 30 years I think is was wrong, I’m glad I got to see and do those things in Switzerland with my friends while I had the chance. I got to spend much more time in Munich and Germany later.)

I took Vicki and Vicky for a night tour of Luzern. We went to a café but it was very crowded and we had trouble finding a seat. I am very popular because I am going to college and have been to Europe last year; also because I can speak German. I am very tired and went to bed early.

7/15 Tuesday Lucerne

Alan’s alarm went off at 5:30 am instead of 6:30. We stopped in Brienz at a wood carving place. Brienz is actually near the headwaters of three major rivers Rhone, Rhine and Danube. Also famous for its cuckoo clocks.

7/16 Wednesday Grindelwald

Slept late 9:00. There are four people to a room here. The guys from Iowa did their wash in the sink in the room and hung up their wet clothes. They told us not to do that here. I was mad.

It seems that half the people here are mad about something. I think it is the Foehn (a particularly warm, dry wind with low barometric pressure also known as a rain shadow.) People say that it is very clean here. They are right.

I bought an English book here Englisch fuer Auslaender. The publisher is Langenscheidt. It teaches people who know German how to speak English. I still have that book. Spoke German to the lady at the printers and in the Bookshop. We had lots of salad for lunch. Went out with Nolt and Kirch and Zem(enski). Left them, Bought a Swiss army knife with graduation money from Aunt Sue. I kept that knife until 2003 when I mistakenly left it in hand luggage and had to give it up on Magadan Air flight from Alaska to Siberia. I gave it to our Bus driver.

Then we had dinner. Gave another walking tour of the pedestrian  bridge of Luzern with its famous murals of the Dance of the Dead. Went to the Swann Gasthof for a beer. Took a shower and packed. Dianne and Vicki are up to something.

7/17 Thursday Interlaken

The driver got a commission but the prices were cheap anyway. I wanted a music box with a traditional Swiss tune, but all they had were popular American tunes like Frank Sinatra. I still have the Swiss music box my Grandmother bought me when I was a kid. It plays The happy wanderer. I bought a music box for my Dad. He still has it. It has a picture of an old man on it. I also saw a beautiful music box with good tone it played three songs. I cost 2400 Swiss Francs ($1000.00) half the price of this trip.

Oberer Gletscher. We had lunch at the Wetterhorn Hotel. From here you can see the Eiger and Jungfrau mountain peaks. We are right in the middle of the Swiss Alps. It is beautiful here.

I went for a walk alone after lunch. I walked right up to a glacier it was cool. Glaciers are actually a compact for of ice that doesn’t melt in the summer. Some glaciers have an amazing pale blue color. You can walk right up to them and touch them and they will not melt. Glaciers are constantly moving. Albeit very slowly, about a half inch per year. It is the repeated freezing and thawing as well as the pressure that forms the glacier.

I am in a bad mood. I think I have a chip on my shoulder and am determined not to like it here. I think it has something to do with the weather.

It rained in Interlaken. The quality of life in Switzerland is equal to the US but not better. I wanted to feed the swans but it was raining. Came back wrote in Journal and post cards home. Dianne is mad at me but I don’t know why. Could the weather here be the Foehn? Went down to have a coke with Jill.

Italy Venice


Train transfer to Venice 10 hours. There was a nice couple on the train with a dog. They had an interesting kind of milk in a tube. They spoke German and Italian only. They thought I was English and complimented me on my German.

They offered Becky and me some Cognac. Susie choked on a sip.

Two Swiss kids from Switzerland couldn’t understand my German until their mother explained it was Hochdeutsch (High German). I taught them Some phrases in English What is your Name? And do you speak German?”

We are staying in a cheap hotel. The hotel is actually in Mestre on dry land. The hotel is old but it is okay for sleeping. The electricity kept going out whenever the girls tried to use their hairdryers. Our RAP is Pasquale. He is old and kind of strange. He has very tight pajamas. I think he is a little too interested in the girls. He is Italian but harmless. Someone tried to play a practical joke on me while I was asleep. I was not amused. I think it was Zem.

A note says I spent L 2,000 for meals about $2.50.

We had hard rolls with butter and jam for breakfast today and coffee of course. I’m drinking coffee now. Black, my friend Sharon says any other way and you’re only fooling yourself.

This morning was our tour of Venice. We saw many interesting things including the Doge’s palace, Prison and Weapons of Leonardo including a chastity belt. We saw Chiesa San Marco one of the great Byzantine cathedrals of the world. Walked to the top and stood right behind the famous horses.

7/18 Friday Venice

English: Piazza San Marco in Venice Italiano: ...

English: Piazza San Marco in Venice Italiano: Piazza San Marco a Venezia Español: Plaza San Marco en Venecia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Venice is the only city of its kind in the world because of the way it was developed: it was built on over 100 islands in a lagoon four kilometers from terra firma and two kilometers from the Adriatic Sea. If you have ever seen the movie The Italian Job then you will know what I’m talking about.

The entire historic center, crisscrossed by canals connected by hundreds of bridges, is a treasure from the artistic and architectural point of view.

It takes on an exceptional atmosphere during the phenomenon of “high water,” when the high tide exceeds the level of dry land and floods the main streets and piazzas of Venice.

For these reasons, Venice is one of the cities most visited by tourists from around the world. From the administrative point of view, it is the capitol of the province and of the Veneto region. It has 310,000 inhabitants.

Today we went to the glass factory it was very interesting. This is a very old City. Enjoyed a coffee with Roger at the Piazza San Marco. We ate lunch on the piazza. We met Sally’s mom here and she treated us all to ice cream. That was nice.

Venice is built on islands and completely surrounded by water. The gondolas are really cool. For longer and faster trips you can take a vaporetto. It works just like a city bus but it’s a boat instead. After lunch I went on a walking tour with Nolting. Customs house. Church of Santa Marie del Salute. We went to the L’Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia but it was closed. Then the Ca’ Rezzonico palace and Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari and school where we saw the altar of Frari by Titian and where we lay on the floor to look at the ceiling frescoes. It is an abandoned Benedictine monastery dedicated to the Virgin Mary. My favorite museum in the wold. Guggenheim Museum in Venice.
Venice: acqua alta in Piazza San Marco.

Venice: acqua alta in Piazza San Marco. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Went back to the Rialto Bridge. We had salad and ravioli for dinner With Susie T, Melanie, Ellen, Marcie, Elicia and two others. Marcie’s sister is a senior at Vanderbilt. She is from Arkansas and is Melanie’s friend. She visited me at school later and we went to the Station Inn in Nashville with her sister. She is really nice. Went back to the Piazza where we had lunch. The girls bought peaches. Then we went on a short tour of the Piazza San Marco and Bell tower (Campanile.) We saw the landmarks where citizens of New York saved Venice after the floods of 1966. . date accessed 8/14/11This tower was very important to the city of Regensburg the largest city in medieval Germany it was copied so often due to trade with Venice. Regensburg is the only city north of the Alps to have these towers.

Dianne and Sharon spread toothpaste on my lips while I was asleep. I woke up of course. What a practical joke! I finally figured out what they were up to.

The Remains of St. Mark the evangelist were brought to Venice from Alexandria in the ninth century by Italians.

The only building on the San Giorgio Maggiore Island, this church was built in 1566 AD. It is built inside a Benedictine monastery (that was erected in 1000 AD) in accordance with a plan by Andrea Palladio. The bright interior is covered with paintings by Carpaccio and Tintoretto, such as ‘L’ultima Cena’ and the ‘Raccolta della Manna’. From the bell tower, there is a magnificent view of San Marco. Mass (with Gregorian chants) is held every Sunday. date accessed 7/29 2006


7/19 Saturday

Feast of the Redemption

This was a big day. Went back to the Piazza San Marco and bought a book about for two dollars. I really like this place. Then to the Accademia. It was open this time and we took pictures. And the Ca’ Rezzonico palace. And Piazza it is built right on the water. Had lunch at a Student place and met a student from Denmark named Paul at the International hostel.

Walked around. Took the vaporetto across the wide part of the Grand Canal to San Marco. Found a junk market where I ran into Cam and Randy, the guys from Iowa. Took a nap in the piazza San Marco. Saw the altar and walked around the inside. I chased the birds in the square and an old lady got mad at me. Bird walk. Came back early and took another nap. We had dinner at the facility. Went back to the Piazza San Marco another time. They are celebrating the Feast of the Redemption of Mankind. This festival is unique to Venice. It has been celebrated for 400 years. It is a Feast day of the Catholic Church. It is like the 4th of July for Venice.

They had great Fireworks. We had a very hard time getting from Mestre because of the crowds. First we missed the bus, then the first boat. Jack and Vicky got the next boat. I think there is a little romance starting here. Nolting left with most of the group. Marcie, Roger and I got the next boat—we found Jack and Vicky under the Lions tail. Sat at café—ordered one of those big ice cream gelato with cookie rolls chocolate sauce and strawberries and sparklers. It was really cool.

Return to Nolting and group and bus station Fireworks.

7/20 Sunday Padua

Sunday Bus transfer to Florence. The bus was late, stopped in Padua. The Giotto Frescoes are beautiful. Scrovegni Chapel


We are staying in a pensione again. The food is delicious and the location is good. The girls are washing clothes. We had pizza for dinner with ice cream for dessert. I took Vicki on a tour of Florence seeing the David, Duomo and Baptistery. She is sick. Talked to Sylvia and Marcie.

I was just about to enter my pensione when I hear a woman passing by in a Carmen ghia convertible, screaming my name at the top of her lungs Teddy—-It was my High School English teacher. I didn’t know she was going to be in Florence. See travels with my aunt Margaret

I’m making Friends with Vicki. She is a junior. She bought a very nice necklace for herself today on the Ponte Vecchio. Had fun at the San Lorenzo Market again, bought some leather goods, including a pair of driving gloves. This is one of my favorite places in Italy. In addition to the leather market there is also a fresh food and meat market here.

I’ve discovered the trattoria got the bill for dinner tonight L 17,000 about $26.00 for six people including wine, water and bread. I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I thought it was going to be $1000. I had roasted veal, pasta and red wine. I’ve discovered sparking water is cheaper than still and much better for you too. I found some interesting licorice flavored gums called charms. They sell them at the espresso bars.


A day trip to Pisa in the morning.

Pisa was very good; we had a tour with a good guide. We climbed the leaning tower. There are also a Baptistery and Basilica here dating from the twelfth century. Pisa was ruled by the Ghibellines. They were the mortal enemies of Henry the Lion and the Welfs from Bavaria.

Leonardo La ultima cena date accessed 8/9/11

7/24 Thursday Assisi

On the way to Rome the bus makes an excursion to Assisi, Umbria. The visitor feels as if he’s on a journey down the aisle toward the altar. No approach could be as spectacular or as appropriate as this. On the wall to the right of the staircase are frescoes done by Cimabue, who taught Giotto to paint. The largest and most famous is the Madonna with Four Angels and St. Francis. Assisi is a beautiful medieval town built on a hill—just being there gives a better understanding of what medieval life was like. St. Francis was a very interesting man. The girls are talking about the movie Brother sun Sister Moon. The churches are good. The Giotto frescoes are excellent. Saw the black body of St. Claire and a cloistered nun. Her face was covered.

Got to Rome before dinner. Facility on top of hill. Casa Tra Noi Good location for St. Peter’s and Vatican. Had meetings. Didn’t go out. Told jokes in Vicki’s room.

It is very hot in Rome this year about 30 C, in fact it is so hot the asphalt is melting in front of the Caesar forum.

I’m enjoying the little pieces of coconut for sale by street vendors for 100 lire about 25 cents. I’ve learned that it only costs 50 lire to sit down, while drinking your espresso, that’s less than 15 cents. Saw some great maps of the extent of the Roman Empire by the Forum today.

Rome still my favorite city in the WORLD!

7/25 Friday Rome is still great!

It’s the Holy year.

The “Heavenly Jerusalem” is a metaphor for the Catholic Church. And in Rome, St. Augustine saw a metaphor for God’s society of goodness and order and peace in the world based on its role as the heart of Christ’s Church. The singular authority this Church has maintained over two millennia of changing civilizations makes that truth abundantly clear. Amid the ruins of the former empire and its pagan temples, the Church of Rome stands as the living and unfolding history of the Christian legacy. It is only natural that the pilgrim’s journey should lead here.

Catholics usually gain special indulgences by going to Rome during a Holy Year and performing certain devotions, such as visiting St. Peter’s Basilica or other main basilicas such as St. Mary Major, St. John Lateran or St. Paul Outside the Walls. The Pope inaugurates this Holy Year with a solemn Mass, often celebrated on Christmas Eve of the preceding year (in this case 1999). He will also open the holy door of St. Peter’s Basilica, which has remained bricked up since the last Holy Year in 1975, and close it again at the end of the year; the dates for those ceremonies have not yet been set. Other rites, usually including special papal audiences, beatifications and canonizations, are also celebrated, but no schedule of events has yet been issued.

Pope John Paul declared a special Holy Year in 1983. 2000 was also a Holy year

Michael Petracioni is our RAP again.

Because I’ve been to Rome before I’m getting to do some things on my own without the group. In a few days, I’m planning to go out to the model city of EUR it is very far away and hard to get to. I also visited the ancient Appian Way and church of San Sebastian and tomb of Cecilia Metulla. I’m using the little orange guide book I bought last year.

Went back to the Tivoli Garden tonight with the group it is such a silly place.

The ruins are beautiful. St. Peter’s looks big this year. Probably because of all the other churches I’ve seen. Last year I had nothing to compare it to. Went back to the Sistine Chapel and Vatican museums, the Raphael frescoes didn’t appear as good as last year. This time I liked the Sistine chapel. The impressive mosaic maps of Italy in the map room were also as remembered. Saw the holy hammer used to open the holy doors for the holy year. Walked to the top of St. Peter’s again this year—no film. It was Fantastic.

7/26 Saturday Tour of Rome

Saw the Pantheon, pyramid of Cestius, Spanish steps; San Paolo fuori le Mura, St. Peter in Chains saw the Michelangelo Moses. Tre scalini was on strike. Later went to St. Mary Major and St. John Lateran on my own. There is a communist Festival in the village of San Giovanni.

I tried to get a Vatican stamp for my passport by the Swiss Guards but they wouldn’t do it. Apparently a stamp gives permission to enter the Vatican and not just show that you have been there. The Vatican does have its own special stamps and coins however. Paul VI is still pope. He is at Castel Gandolpho for the summer. Saw Aida at the baths of Caracalla with camels and horses but no elephants.

There is a special story about the Knights of Malta. Their territory is located on the via Condotti next to all of the fancy shops. Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta

The Sovereign Order of Malta is a sovereign subject of international law. The Order – which is based in Rome, in via Condotti – has its own Government, an independent magistracy, bilateral diplomatic relations with 94 countries and is granted the status of Permanent Observer in many international organizations, such as the United Nations. Its operational activities are managed by the six Grand Priories, four Sub priories and 46 National Associations of Knights in the five continents.

The Order issues its own passports and stamps and creates public institutions, endowed with independent juridical personality. Order’s life is governed by the Constitutional Charter and the Code, reformed in 1997. I still have never made it to the Borghese gardens or Naples in all of the times I have been to Rome. Update it is 2011 and after another attempt in 1986 I finally made it to the VB. It was well worth the wait. Went to the Zoo with KT and met Marion after lunch we had to make reservations several days before. Naples and Sicily another time I guess just spent ten days in Rome again. Fantastic I really love that city.

Public bus #118 goes from the Colosseum to Via Apia Antica. The church of Domine, quo vadis is there and the tomb of Cecilia Metulla. The bus line ends where the ancient road begins.

Some people in our group said they saw Dan Rather downtown in Rome. CBS reporter and recently appointed 60 Minutes correspondent received national attention due to reporting on Hurricane Carla.

Jack and I played a trick on everyone. I had him dress up in a sheet like Caesar with powdered face and laurel crown. I had everyone assemble in the court yard and at the right time Jack jumped out from behind the curtain. I told everyone I had found a statue in the Forum.

Olympic stadium

Drove by the Stadium from when the Olympics where in Rome in 1960. It doesn’t look anything like our Olympic field at home in St. Louis.

The History of the Olympics: 1960 – Rome, Italy It had been Coubertin’s wish since 1904 to have the Olympics hosted in Rome: “I desired Rome only because I wanted Olympism, after its return from the excursion to utilitarian America, to don once again the sumptuous toga, woven of art and philosophy, in which I had always wanted to clothe her.”* Fifty-six years later, Coubertin’s wish was fulfilled.

Italy created a mixture of modern and ancient sites to hold the contests. An Olympic Stadium and a Sports Palace were built for the Games while the Basilica of Maxentius and the Baths of Caracalla were restored to host the wrestling and gymnastic events respectively.

The 1960 Olympic Games were the first Olympics to be fully covered by television. The history of the Olympics date accessed 8/6 2006.

7/27 Sunday

7/28 Monday

The night before leaving we went back to the Piazza Navona and Tre Scalini, another big group. You know how much I hate that! Well I made the best of it. I had another tortufo with the secret center; it’s kind of a tradition with me.

7/29 TUESDAY LAST day in Rome Went to EUR.

Public bus #93 from the Termini to EUR

Yes, it’s probably more accurate to think of Fascist architecture as either the product of Italian Rationalism (a kind of cool, minimalistic modernism) or a variant on the Art Deco style (in this case a stripped down classicism). Granted, much of it is monumental, cold, and uninspired. Part of that is due to the fact that so much of it was in the form of public buildings. They were often built on large undeveloped (or newly razed) tracts over a relatively short time frame, which tends to encourage architectural monotony.

In recent years, there has been some re-evaluation of the qualities of the architecture of this period. It is not entirely fair to dismiss it with the evils of Fascism. Buildings may certainly convey a sense of power and become dehumanizing, but qualities like these are not exclusive to architecture built under dictatorships. There is an understandable natural tendency to project a dark symbolism into Fascist architecture. There is also a remarkable tendency to reinterpret such symbolism when the same forms appear in a democratic context.

For example, do you recognize this structure in the photo I’ve attached? No, it’s not Saarinen’s St. Louis Arch, gateway to the American West. It’s an unrealized Fascist project for E 42 (now called the E.U.R.).

Part of the Museum of Roman Civilization was closed but I did get to see the model of ancient Rome and some of the other things. Walked around, saw the sport palace from a distance also found beautiful gardens.

Went to St. Peter’s for the last time. I wanted to buy a candle but there were none. Used Holy water. Tried to get a pin for the Holy year. Left for Madrid after lunch.

7/30 8/3 Sunday Spain

We flew from Rome to Madrid

Madrid. We flew from Rome to Madrid. We saw some soldiers on a catwalk with machine guns at the airport in Rome. Due to the killings on an El Al Israeli airlines flight. A couple of men got a little unruly on the plane Alitalia I guess they were drunk. Went to a special department store downtown. Bought a wallet El Corte Inglés. We are staying in a nice hotel again. Went to the café Iowa bar near the Plaza d España.

I’m glad to be back in Madrid, because I had so much fun here the last time.  It seems strange to be ending up the trip here this time.  We had a tour of Madrid with a terrible guide.  We didn’t see too many things.  She kept taking us to shops and asking, “Don’t you want to buy something.”  I think Kirchoffer was angry.

This year our trip includes a visit to Philip II royal palace at el Escorial our guide is a hoot she is chiding the girls for not paying attention to her history lesson.  I can still hear screaming about Titian’s Charlie the V fighting the Araps (sic).  She wouldn’t answer questions.  The tombs were beautiful marble.

Valley of the Fallen and el Escorial

This controversial monument is a Roman Catholic Basilica and now contains the tomb of Spanish dictator Franco.

The most beautiful of the many grand squares in Madrid is the Plaza de Cibeles. The heavily trafficked square is surrounded by majestic buildings.

The Plaza Puerta del Sol is the perfect starting point to explore Madrid. This bustling, centrally located square is one of the city’s most lively places.

La Cibeles

Everyone went to the new Burger King downtown. I did not go. I don’t see what the big deal is. We returned to my favorite the Plaza Mayor at the center of Madrid. We did not eat at Botin’s this year.

So I ended up in Madrid again where I had begun my adventure a year ago.


Went to el Rastro. Today the Flea market bought a couple of things – a very large brass key and an antique metal box with a lid. There are a lot of veterans here selling trinkets from WWII. Security is tight at Madrid Barajas airport. There are lots of soldiers with guns. Edie M. had to have a hand search because her underwire bra set off the metal detector. That was scary.

Flew back to Chicago and then to St. Louis on Ozark. It was a lot better than the bus last year.

1973 December 17th – Italy, Rome Airport: five Palestinian terrorists began shooting as they pulled weapons from their luggage in the terminal lounge. Two people were killed there. The assailants then made their way to an American Airlines 707 preparing to take off for Beirut and Teheran. Hurling incendiary devices inside the aircraft, they killed all 29 people aboard and destroyed the plane. Next, they herded five Italian hostages into a Lufthansa jetliner and killed all 29 people aboard and destroyed the plane. Next, they herded five Italian hostages into a Lufthansa jetliner and killed a sixth person, an Italian customs policeman, as he tried to escape. The plane, carrying the hostages, crew and terrorists, took off and the pilot was ordered to head for Beirut. Lebanese officials refused to allow the plane to land, however, and it flew on to land in Athens.

In negotiations with Greek authorities, the group demanded the release of two Arab terrorists held since August 1973 for an attack on the Athens airport. (It is unclear whether the Greek government refused to release the terrorists or whether, after their release, the two Arabs refused to join the terrorists, as they were from a rival Palestinian group.)

In an effort to gain compliance with their demands, the terrorists killed one of the hostages and threw his body onto the tarmac before leaving Athens. The pilot had urged Greek authorities to meet the terrorists’ demands, reporting that four other hostages had been killed. (He was unaware that it was a hoax designed to place more pressure on the Greek authorities.) The plane then flew to Damascus where it took on fuel and food during a two-hour stop. Later that day, after landing in Kuwait, the terrorists released their hostages in return for free passage to an unknown destination.

Bombings shootings at airports. date accessed 8/6/2006

Back in ITALY, again 2011

Katie and I recently celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary by visiting our daughter in Rom

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My top 12 favorite places in the World

St. Louis Arch

Gateway Arch, Saint Louis

Gateway Arch, Saint Louis

Washington Monument, USA

Washington Monument

Big Sur, California, USA


Big Sur, California

Waikiki Beach, Oahu, Hawaii


Waikiki Beach

SUNRISE at Hileakaua Crater, Maui, Hawaii

Maui, Hawaii

Hawaii Sunrise

St. Peter’s and Colosseum, Rome



 Kremlin, Moscow

Kremlin, Moscow

Soviet Palace of Congress and Opera House

Kronotski Stratovolcano,

Kamchatka, Siberia, Russia


Kamchatka,Russia! (Photo credit: pluckytree)

Great Wall of China, Badaling  八達嶺 

Forbidden City, Beijing 紫禁城

Peking Forbidden City

Peking Forbidden City

Itsukushima Shrine, Miyajima, Japan


The torii of Itsukushima Shrine, the site's mo...

The torii of Itsukushima Shrine, the site’s most recognizable landmark, appears to float in the water. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Three Views of Japan (日本三景 Nihon sankei?) /pilgrimage/shikoku/


date accessed 12/26/2008

Machu Picchu, Peru, So. America

Machu Picchu

Giza Pyramids, Egypt

Giza Great Pyramid

Great Pyramid, Giza

Deir al-Bahri, Valley of the Kings

  • Have You been on a trip lately?
  • Do you like to travel?
  • What are your Favorite places?
  • Please challenge my list. Have fun!