Monday, June 27, 2005

When in Rome...

Well, you know the rest. Actually, I think the original phrase was "sweat like a pig", but it was probably changed to be more civil.

Michelle got on the wrong plane (well, she wasn't on MY plane), so we arrived at different times. Our hotel was very nice, and run by a musician so there were stereos in every room and a huge CD collection to choose from. On the first evening we just walked around neighborhood a bit and had a nice relaxing dinner.

Day 2 consisted of touring ancient ruins. We started off by going to the Colosseum. It suffered an earthquake in the 14th century and so it is partially destroyed, but you can still walk around the inside and get a feel for what it must have been like with 50,000 people in it and gladiators fighting in the arena. Right next to the Colosseum is the Roman Forum. This is a huge area where people used to gather, and I think there was administrative buildings as well. Only various pillars and partial buildings are left standing. From here we drank lots of ice water and walked over to the Trevi Fountain, which is a gorgeous fountain. It is right in the middle of a square, and Michelle was brave enough to stick her toes in even as the Polizia were bashing in the heads of anybody who did that. At night we went to an outdoor Piano concert in the park, where I was more busy keeping Michelle awake than watching the concert (Michelle wants me to point out that during the parts she was awake for she was keeping me awake too). Jet lag is hell.

On day 3 we did lots of good Catholic things. First, we waited in THE LONGEST LINE EVER to go into the Vatican Museum. This museum averages 20,000 people a day, so you can imagine what the line looked like. Lots of cool statues and paintings in the Vatican, and we also got to see the amazing Sistine Chapel. Michaelangelo spent 5 years painting the ceiling, and then 20 years later came back to paint the wall behind the Altar. You can not even begin to imagine how complex and ornate the painting on the ceiling is... it is amazing that it was done by one person. We had lunch at the Vatican and then walked over to St. Peter's Basilica. This is the main church for the entire Catholic faith, because St. Peter (i.e. the "rock of the church") is buried inside. We joined up with an American that was giving a free tour, and he explained a lot about the church and the art inside. The Basilica is 98 stories tall, almost as tall as the World Trade Center Towers (which were 110 stories).

On Day 4 we just walked back to St. Peter's Square and hung out there for a bit before getting on the train for Florence. In the center of St. Peter's Square is a giant Obelisk that was created in Egypt 13 centuries before Christ, and later moved to Rome. Lining the ellptical-shaped "square" are statues of every minor saint (the ones that only performed 1 or 2 miracles), and the two foci of the ellipse are massive fountains.

We have pictures of just about everything that we saw (actually, we have about 5 pictures of everything that we saw), but we haven't had access to a high speed internet connection yet so we can't post them online. We will do that as soon as possible.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

A Snowy Colorado Painting

My Grandfather painted a snowy mountain landscape as a housewarming gift for my new house in Colorado. Thought you might like to see it:

A Snowy Colorado Day

Monday, June 06, 2005

Fish Creek Trail in Pingree Park

Last weekend I went hiking in Roosevelt National Forest with some HP people and some former HP people. The scenerey was gorgeous, even though we got lost and went off-trail.

Fish Creek trail starts off by going up and over a mountain, and then proceeds upstream along a creek that flows into the Poudre River. Parts of the hike are through a forested area, and parts of it are through open space. We stopped at the open space on the way back to rest and bask in the sun. There are several pictures from the hike, but not too many. See the photos here.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Itinerary for our trip to Europe

Well, we have all of our flights, trains, and hotels booked so I decided to post our itinerary. The hard stuff is out of the way, and now we get to figure out what we actually want to do while we're there. Our Eurail passes are good for one more train trip, and it comes with 2 days of Hertz car rentals so we'll probably be taking some day trips to Siena and Barcelona.

  • (Flight) 24 - 25 June 2005: Denver (DEN) or Austin (AUS) to Rome (FCO)

    • (Chad) Leg 1: Denver (DEN) to Chicago (CHI)

      • American Airlines Flight 1492

      • Departs Denver 10:50am

      • Arrives Chicago 2:16pm

    • (Michelle) Leg 1: Austin (AUS) to Chicago (CHI)

      • American Airlines Flight 1588

      • Departs Austin 11:14am

      • Arrives Chicago 2:19pm

    • (Chad/Michelle) Leg 2: Chicago (CHI) to Rome (FCO)

      • American Airlines Flight 110

      • Departs Chicago 3:40 pm

      • Arrives Rome 25 June 2005 7:50am

  • (Rome Hotel) 25 - 28 June 2005: Franklin Hotel (link)

  • (Train) 28 June 2005: Rome to Florence

    • Eurostar Italia Train 9440

    • Departs Rome (Termini) 1:30pm

    • Arrives Florence (Santa Maria Novella) 3:06pm

  • (Florence Hotel) 28 - 30 June 2005: Hotel Casci (link)

  • (Train) 1 July 2005: Florence to Venice

    • Eurocity/Intercity (EC/IC) Train 704

    • Departs Florence (Santa Maria Novella) 1:33pm

    • Arrives Venice (Santa Lucia) 4:38pm

  • (Venice Hotel) 1 - 4 July 2005: Hotel Marconi (link)

  • (Train) 4 - 5 July 2005: Venice to Paris

    • Artesia Overnight Train 220

    • Departs Venice (Santa Lucia) 7:58pm

    • Arrives Paris (Bercy) 5 July 8:23am

  • (Train) 6 - 7 July 2005: Paris to Madrid

    • Besondere TrainHotel "Francisco de Goya"

    • Departs Paris (Austerlitz) 7:43pm

    • Arrives Madrid (Chamartin) 7 July 9:13am

  • (Madrid Hotel) 7 - 10 July 2005: Quo Puerta Del Sol (link)

    • Phone: 34 (91) 5329049

  • (Flight) 10 July 2005: Madrid (MAD) to Denver (DEN) or Austin (AUS)

    • (Chad/Michelle) Leg 1: Madrid (MAD) to Miami (MIA)

      • American Airlines Flight 69

      • Departs Madrid 11:45am

      • Arrives Miami 3:15pm

    • (Chad) Leg 2: Miami (MIA) to Denver (DEN)

      • American Airlines Flight 942

      • Departs Brisbane 8:16pm

      • Arrives Denver 10:26pm

  • (Michelle) Leg 2: Miami (MIA) to Dallas (DFW)

    • American Airlines Flight 1885

    • Departs Miami 5:20pm

    • Arrives Dallas 7:23pm

  • (Michelle) Leg 3: Dallas (DFW) to Austin (AUS)

    • American Airlines Flight 1153

    • Departs Dallas 8:15pm

    • Arrives Austin 9:10pm

  • Home!!!