Trip reflections, trip gems.

Estes Park Travel Blog

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Siena Duomo interior. Busy stripes.

Carol was great to travel with, our tastes are so similar, and we survived 2 weeks of living in each other’s pocket and are still speaking to each other.  Even after her having to dress my blistered toe every day for a week.


The green, pink and white marbles were used in the construction of most of the cathedrals/churches we visited.  The dark green stripes seemed to be a common theme in religious house construction that we saw repeated over and over.  The Duomo in Siena had striped columns inside the church, and the effect was quite unsettling to the eye.  Only when one looked at the altar did the eyes achieve peace; come to think of it, maybe that was the sole purpose of the stripes … to keep the attention focused on the altar. 


I was impressed with the infrastructure in the cities we visited.

Street cleaner, early morning, Siena.
  The amount of trash generated by tourists in Perugia, Siena, Florence, and Venice must be incredible, but every night the city crews were out cleaning/washing down the streets.  The canals in Venice were not smelly, even though the heat was terrific.  The only trash we saw in the canals was drink bottles, undoubtedly discarded by tourists.


There are no screens on the windows.  I saw several women propped on their windowsills, watching all of us tourists scurrying through their cities.  And of course, they provided photo ops.


The weather certainly was a factor in our comfort.  At least in Siena and Florence, the evenings cooled off, but Venice was hot 24/7.  Travel in the shoulder seasons is definitely a plus!


I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many plunging necklines.

Window gazing off the Corso Cavour, Perugia.
  And there is a style of European bras that have clear plastic straps, so one can wear a bra with a thin-strapped top and not have bra straps showing … sort of.


While awaiting boarding at Gatwick, I noticed a young black woman in what I gathered was traditional clothing, who had lacy tattoos on her hands and feet, extending down her fingers and toes.  Quite exquisite.  Might they be tribal tattoos?


People queue to debark trains just like they do on planes.  5-10 minutes before the train reached the station, people were gathering by the exit doors so they could be first off the train.  Why?


The bread everywhere was simply to die for.  I don’t think I’ve eaten so much bread in the past 3 years as I did over 3 weeks in Europe.  Even Perugia’s saltless bread was wonderful.


Dogs are allowed in Italian restaurants.


The pleasantly-surprised smile I got from the information clerk at Charles de Gaulle airport when I thanked her in French for her help … which was in English, of course.


Alderney butter is lemon-yellow.  It looks almost not real.


The word “whilst” is not dead yet.  I saw it used in literature and information signs in the Channel Islands and Great Britain.


And most special, I got to see our son, Tom.


I did not experience any hostility from Europeans toward me because I was American.  I learned that if you are courteous and make an attempt to speak the native tongue, even if it’s simply “please” and “thank you,” people respond in kind.  And that some things are universal, the world over.

free08 says:
Enjoyed reading your blog!
Posted on: Nov 28, 2012
SandyMinID says:
What a neat story. Thanks for telling of your travels. I enjoyed it all!
Posted on: Oct 12, 2007
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Siena Duomo interior.  Busy stripe…
Siena Duomo interior. Busy strip…
Street cleaner, early morning, Sie…
Street cleaner, early morning, Si…
Window gazing off the Corso Cavour…
Window gazing off the Corso Cavou…
Estes Park
photo by: kchrist454