After the heat and sunny skies of Italy we have been treated to grey skies and rain in Holland. We dressed in traditional Dutch costumes and tasted cheese in the historic town of Volendam. Despite rain we visited the village of Marken and toured a wooden shoe “factory” where we saw traditional wooden shoes as well as many other styles including pink high heel wooden shoes. We listened to classical music in a stone arch passageway in Amsterdam- violins, accordion and trombone sounded like a full orchestra as notes of Handel’s Messiah soared around us. We admired Rembrandt’s Night Watch in the Rijk’s Museum then walked amid life size replicas of the characters of the painting at Rembrandt Plaza. Along with hundreds of others we rode bicycles along the city canals and through Vondel Park. After walking around for awhile we were thrilled we were able to find our bikes among thousands of others!
I have learned from travel that everywhere you go it becomes a part of you in some way – it is impossible to return the same person you were when you left😄
Verona is situated along the shores of the Adige river in northern Italy.Mediterranean style rooftops as far as one can see.
Dante stood near while we ate lunch.
Verona has been immortalized in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Casa de Giulietta is where the Capuleti family is said to have lived. FYI – not true- the Capuleti’s never lived there and the balcony was added in 1936 to attract tourism. I found the wall leading to Juliet’s balcony to be fascinating. People write their names and maybe a love phrase in every language and colour. These panels are changed twice a year, on Valentines Day and on September 17, Juliet’s birthday, so the crowds have a new space to write their love phrases.
We started our via Ferrara tour in Valli del Pasubio. It was a gentle introduction to Ferrata but with temperatures continuing to be in the 30’s C we felt like we were hiking in a sauna. This Valley, as in many areas of the Dolomites, is full of reminders of the fighting that occurred between the Italians and Austrians during World War One. Each spring when the snow melts and the talus shifts, bones rise to the surface of the slopes. An Ossuary has been built to honour the remains of these unknown soldiers.
La Spezia is a lovely port city we used as a base to explore the historic Cinque Terre villages. We have been experiencing temperatures in the 30’s C so we chose to visit the villages by water rather than hiking. We literally got a “taste” of each as we motored from one to the next and had a beer, then gelato, then lunch, etc. Great fun😄
Sagrada Familia is a Catholic basilica in Barcelona. Construction began in 1882. In 1883 Antoni Gaudi became involved and made it his life’s passion. It was only one quarter complete when he died in 1926. Construction of the basilica relies solely on donations. It is hoped construction will be complete in 2026 – one hundred years after Gaudi’s death.
Sagrada Familia is unlike any of the churches we have seen on our travels and seems to defy description. Eyes feast on a buffet of sights that soar, colours that shade dark to light as they rise to the heavens, facades that carve Christian messages in their towers. Astonish, amaze, admire – wow!
(Gaudi’s tomb in a crypt beneath Sagrada Familia)
We had a great evening at the fabulous Palau de Música in Barcelona. Guest violinist was Kolja Blacher of Germany. He played Tchaikovsky’s Concerto d major, Op 35. It was a program of Wagner,Hermann and Tchaikovsky. Loved it!